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Mass Defection rocks APC over President Buhari’s second term declaration

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Mass Exodus Hit APC Camp in Bauchi

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As reactions continue to trail Monday’s declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that he would seek re-election in the 2019 general elections, there are indications that some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would dump the ruling party ahead of the polls.

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The looming defection, New Telegraph learnt, is because the President’s confirmation of his second term bid has foreclosed the ambitions of some APC chieftains also eyeing the party’s presidential ticket.

A party source, who disclosed this to our correspondent, said the presidential hopefuls, mostly outgoing governors of northern extraction and top ranking federal lawmakers, have to look elsewhere to realise their respective ambitions.

According to him, there is no doubt that presidential ambitions of these younger northern politicians in the APC have been buried because Buhari would have little or no opposition in picking the party’s ticket.

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His words: “There is no doubt that the jostle for the APC presidential ticket is over because President Buhari will have had little or no opposition in picking the party’s ticket as it is certain that he will have had the right of first refusal as an incumbent.

“At the moment, he is the only person to have officially declared for the party’s ticket and it is unlikely that anyone else will do. And with the way the President had his way in the recent impasse over tenure elongation for members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), it is clear that he is now fully in control of the party structure.

“So, it is expected that anyone who has a presidential ambition within the party should look elsewhere as it will be foolhardy for anyone to face him at the primaries.”

The belief in some political quarters before now was that the President will not seek for re-election, given his health and age. He is 75 years and would be 76 by May 2019, when his first tenure elapses.

There was also an alleged agreement that the President would serve only one term to pave way for other interests in the party to have a shot at the presidency given that the APC is an amalgam of three major opposition parties – Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

It was against this backdrop that some northern political leaders within the ruling party, at a time, started shopping for his replacement ahead of 2019, to avoid being caught napping.

Among those touted then were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Governors Kashim Shettima (Borno), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Nasri el-Rufai (Kaduna).

But Atiku left the ruling party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in November last year, when it became clear, as some of the President’s supporters predicted, that he (Buhari) would be fit to re-contest in 2019.

The source, who confirmed that some of the APC presidential hopefuls will toe Atiku’s path, said: “There will be movements out of the APC in the days ahead. And the likely destination for those who would be leaving is the PDP. But the challenge some of them will face is whether the former ruling party will open its door to them given the way they dumped the party ahead of the 2015 elections, which contributed to the party’s loss of the presidency to the APC.”

He ruled out the option of the would-be defectors joining the third force being championed by for President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying the PDP provided a more veritable platform for anyone who intends to unseat the APC.

“Yes, those behind the third force have been mobilizing Nigerians ahead of the 2019 elections, but it is likely that it won’t make any impact because you need a platform with structures across the country to defeat an incumbent government. This is where the PDP comes in. So, expect movements into the party any moment from now because no one can stop a sitting president like Buhari from picking the APC ticket.

“And one thing that the APC members are likely to cash in on is the PDP’s resolve to field a younger candidate in the 2019 presidential election. Some of them are young and fit into the calculation of the opposition party,” he said.

The source added that though some people in the presidency have dismissed the one-term deal allegedly entered into by Buhari, the PDP and ACN camps of the APC feel betrayed as they have to wait till 2023 before they can take a shot at the number one position as the CPC camp, which produced the president in 2015, is insisting on going for a second term.

His words: “There was a mutual agreement in 2015 that the various camps that formed the APC will take turns at the presidency, which informed the one term deal, but now that the CPC camp is insisting on Buhari’s second term, what do you expect the PDP and ACN camps to do because they have to wait till 2023, and that is for those from the southern part of the country.

“For those from the North, they have to wait till 2031, given that after Buhari’s second term in 2023, if he wins in 2019, power will shift to the South for another eight years. The question is: Where will the northern elements who are also interested in the presidency now be in the next eight to nine years?

“Kwankwaso is 61 years old now, by 2032, he will be 70; Saraki is 55 years old now. By 2031, he will be 64; Tambuwal is 52; he will be 62 then; Shettima is 51 and by 2031, he will be 60, while El-Rufai, who is 58 years old now, would be 67 by then.

“This was the main reason why Atiku, who is 72, left the APC. If he had remained in the party and opted out of the 2019 race because Buhari is contesting, he would be 77 by 2023, when power is expected to return to the South. Can the former vice president afford to wait for another eight years after 2023 to actualise his dream?

“Would he be disposed to run for the presidency again at 85 in 2031, when power will return to the North, if the power shift arrangement still subsists? Would he still have the financial strength to fund the project, and what happens if a new power bloc emerges in the North by then?”
Last night, efforts to speak to the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, proved abortive. He did not pick his calls nor replied to text message sent to him.

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Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father’s Demise

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Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father's Demise

Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father’s Demise

 

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– Governor presents condolence letter to Speaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Obasa says Lagos Assembly is governor’s support base

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday led members of his cabinet to the Agege home of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, on a condolence visit over the demise of Alhaji Suleimon Atanda Obasa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alhaji Suleimon Obasa, father of the Speaker, passed away on Tuesday at 83 with Governor Sanwo-Olu describing the incident as shocking especially as he was hale and hearty a few days before his demise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“On behalf of the government and the people of Lagos State, I want to extend my sincere condolences to you and the entire Obasa family.

 

 

 

 

 

Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father's Demise

 

 

 

 

 

“No matter how old one’s parents are, one can never want them to go. So one can imagine the shock that the incident came with, but we have the belief that it was the appointed time.

 

“This is something that all of us owe life. We only pray that we live long and leave good legacies.

 

“It is clear that having produced you, your dad actually left a good legacy. So the onus is now on you to carry on with his good works as a community leader and one that brought together the entire family,” the governor said.

 

Sanwo-Olu also commended the Speaker for his effective leadership of the Assembly and his service to Lagos. He prayed that the Speaker will continue to have the capacity to lead the legislative arm as he had always done.

 

In his response, Dr. Obasa described the House as the Governor’s support base adding that the legislative arm is poised to ensure the success of the current administration.

 

Obasa said the visit by the Governor and his cabinet is a confirmation of the love, cooperation, unity and friendship that radiate in government.

 

“The truth is that I hold you in high esteem always. And because we have the same father in Asiwaju Tinubu, we have always worked for the same goal which is service to the people of Lagos.

 

“I always say there is no amount of money one can acquire that would sustain one better than what one has done in one’s community,” the Speaker said noting that Agege has experienced massive progress because of the Governor’s collaboration and intervention.

 

“Like I continue to say, we should continue to be particular about the people, not ourselves because there will come a time when we will leave office and people will make reference to what we have done.

 

“Mr. Governor, you’re my brother anytime and day. Whatever we achieve in the House of Assembly is because you support us. We are there to work for your success and that is why as part of our religion, we must pray for you, the deputy governor and every other person before ourselves. That’s the only way one can grow,” Obasa added.

 

Eromosele Ebhomele

Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly

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Yahaya Bello: Anti-Corruption CSOs question alleged unusual collaboration between opposition parties, EFCC

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Yahaya Bello: Anti-Corruption CSOs question alleged unusual collaboration between opposition parties, EFCC

. Those still calling for Bello’s arrest ill-informed, sponsored by opposition figures

. We refuse to support lawlessness, EFCC should reform its activities

 

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Again, scores of Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations have kicked against what they described as the perceived use of the platform of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by politicians to fight their political battles.

They said this during an emergency Press conference on Friday, in reaction to a joint press conference by “a civil society organisation and a group, which called itself Kogites United Against Corruption Coalition.”

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The frontline CSOs, led by the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, wondered why a few Nigerians were not seeing the persecution in the current case against the former Governor of Kogi State, considering the anomaly in the undending calls for arrest, mainly by members of the opposition party in the state, in collaboration with alleged sponsored CSOs, when the matter was before the courts.

According to them, the line-up of lawyers, both at the Tribunal and as seen on the current charge sheet against the former Governor, throws up the name of the same lawyer standing for the opposition party at the Tribunal and for EFCC in the suit against the former Governor.

Addressing the press on Friday, Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said, “One wonders how opposition politicians and the EFCC now collaborate on a case of corruption allegations as is so glaring in this matter. We are aware of all the clandestine meetings by opposition political parties with some activists with a view to sponsoring protests and Press Conferences against us. For as long as they do that, they’ll continue to spoil their own case in public view and justify the fact that this is beyond corruption investigation but direct persecution.”

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They described those who addressed a press conference, calling for the arrest of the former Governor and attacking their activities as “ill-informed folks” allegedly being sponsored by opposition political parties who had seen the EFCC as a reliable ally in actualising their interests.

“Today’s Press Conference by those ill-informed folks, who we have reasonable suspicion are being sponsored by opposition political Parties who are fighting their own political wars on the matter and, even, the Commission against us, was filled with a poor comedy of judgment and an apparently orchestrated blackmail against our coalition. This is why this is so political rather than prosecutorial,” the activists said.

According to them, the EFCC would be doing itself a lot of good by ignoring characters asking the Commission to disobey lawful court orders and apply maximum force by bringing in the military “with a view to violently arresting a defendant we are repeatedly told by the Commission is being investigated for ‘white collar crimes.'”

Adeniran said, “Anyone who has even a little knowledge of our pedigrees in the fight against corruption should know that we have fought many battles against corruption and at the same time against all forms of injustice in this country, even at the risk of our lives and livelihoods. We do not pick and choose which injustice to fight against. We invest time, energy, resources and relationships into pursuing the cause of justice throughout this country for decades now.

“We are not emergency activists and we are beyond compromising even with all the billions in the world. We stand for the cause of humanity which is about justice, fairness and the highest ideals of a decent and free society.

“Therefore, any individual or a group of individuals who allege us of supporting corruption is either ignorant of the subject matter or doesn’t know us at all and, therefore, cannot make an informed judgment on us or our activities.”

The CSOs said their struggle was not only against corruption but also against injustice, adding that they would not be intimidated into silence in the EFCC/Yahaya Bello matter because there was a clear case of injustice and disrespect for the rule of law, which in itself was corruption.

Adeniran stated, “We are not politicians and we are not in the business of partaking of the loot by corrupt public officials, we fight them. Even as a sitting president, we came out vehemently against Olusegun Obasanjo because we believed he had a case to answer. Who paid us to do that?

When the current EFCC Chairman was nominated and there was brouhaha about his qualification for the job due to him not having a security training background, I was among the leading figures who stood by him and insisted that he was qualified enough for the office. Many groups were sponsored against his confirmation, some of whose leaders I personally called to convince them to drop their opposition and they did. How much did the EFCC chairman or anyone pay me for that?

“When he was eventually confirmed, we not only congratulated him but we also cautioned that he should avoid the pitfalls of his predecessors by doing everything according to law and must never act contrary to the orders, rulings and judgments of courts of competent jurisdiction because that would be a recipe for anarchy and his own downfall like the others. We were confident that as a lawyer, a senior one for that matter, he wouldn’t follow the route of disobedience to lawful court orders.

“Therefore, when we saw that the commission under him was tilting towards that direction, we decided to speak up as a reminder to the chairman that this wasn’t the way to go. Nobody should take this as a crime against us. We refuse to be intimidated into silence. We refuse to stop speaking out against injustice. We refuse to support lawlessness.”

The activists said an EFCC chairman should engage in less of media celebrity show and concentrate on the critical assignments of making the Commission work.

“An EFCC chairman should not be someone you see everyday in the media exposing critical information that should even be secret in order to assist in the effectiveness of their investigation. An EFCC chairman should be seen lesser but be heard by the competence and capacity he brings to bear on his office. That is why the Commission has a publicity department. Let them do the talking whilst you provide effective leadership,” they insisted.

“I don’t know Yahaya Bello, I’ve never met him, I don’t intend to meet him. But the same way that the June 12 actualization struggles were not about M.K.O Abiola as an individual is the same way that this intervention is not about Yahaya Bello as a person,” Adeniran noted.

“Already, many of Yahaya Bello’s supporters are alleging an assassination plot. The government would do well to avoid anything that could confirm these suspicions and the only way to avoid this is by playing by the rule of law to the letter,” he said.

Those who represented over 80 Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations on Friday were Comrade Sina Loremikan (Campaign Against Impunity); Comrade Olufemi Lawson (Centre for Public Accountability); Declan Ihekaire (Activists for Good Governance); Gbenga Soloki (CAIDOV); and Ganzallo Gbenga (Transparency Advocacy for Good Governance).
Others were Comrade Funmi Jolade (Community Women Forum); Princess Ada Nwandu (Ohaneze Youth); Alh. A. Abdullahi (Justice and Peace Centre); Comrade Adeshina Ishola (Transparency Agenda); Comrade Daniel Oyesola (Stop Impunity Coalition); Comrade Leke Adebanjo (Committee for Amnesty); and Kayode Sampson (Democracy and Justice Forum), among others.

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Rivers’ Journey of Transformation Under Fubara* By Paul Thomas

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*Rivers’ Journey of Transformation Under Fubara*

By Paul Thomas

 

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As I stepped into Rivers State, I was bracing myself for accounts of a prolonged and bitter conflict, perpetuated largely through social media and fueled by a dominant narrative that has come to define the state in recent times – one of incessant strife and unyielding hostility. Expecting to witness chaos and turmoil, I was prepared to encounter a state mired in political squabbles and clashes, as sensationalized by the headlines. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a vastly different reality. Instead of the anticipated disorder, I was met with a transformative landscape that told a more comprehensive and optimistic story, one that is frequently obscured by the din of political theatrics. Under the visionary stewardship of Governor Sim Fubara, Rivers State is undergoing a remarkable renaissance. In a mere 10 months, Fubara has spearheaded numerous projects, effecting a radical overhaul of the state’s infrastructure and ushering in an era of peace and security, thereby redefining the very fabric of the state.

One of the most striking aspects of Governor Fubara’s administration is his commitment to peace and security. During my visit, I observed a palpable sense of calm and safety. People went about their daily activities without fear, a stark contrast to the tense atmosphere that once pervaded the state. This peace is not accidental; it is the result of deliberate policies and actions by the governor. His administration has prioritized security, investing in the police force and implementing measures to curb crime and violence. The once-turbulent state now exudes an aura of calm, an evidence to Fubara’s commitment to security. But it’s the infrastructure development that truly left me in awe.

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In this last 10 months, Governor Fubara has embarked on an ambitious journey to reshape Rivers state. From the bustling city of Port Harcourt to the serene rural areas, the signs of progress are evident. Roads are being constructed and rehabilitated, schools are being renovated, and healthcare facilities are being upgraded.

One of the most impressive projects is the reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Aba Road, a critical artery connecting the state’s economic hubs. This thoroughfare, once notorious for its deplorable condition, has been transformed into a modern, safe, and efficient transportation route.

Governor Fubara has recently reaffirmed his commitment to delivering the highly anticipated 12.5km Trans-Kalabari Road project, and has taken a significant step towards realizing this promise by paying 30 percent of the contract sum to mobilize the contractors to commence work on the project, thereby ensuring its timely completion. This development has brought immense joy to the people of Kalabari Kingdom, who have long awaited the transformation of the swampy areas, and are eager to reap the economic benefits that the completion of the road project will bring. By taking concrete action to fulfill his promise, Governor Fubara has demonstrated to his people that he is a leader who not only makes promises but also manifests them, thereby earning their trust and admiration.

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Fubara’s team has also made significant strides in healthcare, with the establishment of world-class medical facilities and the revitalization of existing ones. The Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, a flagship project, has become a beacon of hope for quality healthcare in the region.

The realm of education, a crucial facet of societal advancement, has been accorded significant consideration by Fubara’s administration, which has undertaken a multifaceted approach to enhance the sector. Not only have schools been constructed and renovated, but also a conducive learning environment has been fostered, enabling students to thrive academically. Moreover, the introduction of innovative programs and scholarships has empowered the youth, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in an increasingly complex world, thereby brightening their future prospects.

Furthermore, the governor’s unwavering commitment to infrastructure development has extended to the state’s waterways, with the construction of modern jetties and terminals, which has not only augmented transportation but also stimulated economic activities, creating novel opportunities for trade and commerce to flourish.

The incessant unveiling of projects serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Governor Fubara’s administration to crafting a more affluent and thriving future for Rivers State. These projects, while indispensable for the state’s advancement, transcend mere physical edifices; they embody the very essence of a revitalized Rivers State, one that is forging ahead with unyielding resolve and unwavering purpose.

What left an indelible mark on my psyche was the palpable sense of pride and proprietorship exhibited by the residents. They spoke of Fubara’s projects with an air of possessiveness, expressing heartfelt gratitude for the profound and transformative impact on their daily lives, thereby underscoring the profound connection and sense of belonging that has been fostered between the government and the governed.

Fubara’s administration has tackled the state’s longstanding challenges with a multifaceted approach. From road construction to healthcare and education, every sector has received a boost. The governor’s dedication to creating a conducive environment for growth and prosperity is palpable.

Yet, despite these positive developments, the narrative about Rivers state in the media remains largely negative. The feud between Governor Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, dominates the headlines, overshadowing the transformative work being done in the state. This focus on conflict is not only misleading, but it also does a disservice to the people of Rivers state, who are eager to move beyond the past and embrace the future.

Governor Fubara is not a man easily swayed by distractions. He remains focused on his vision for Rivers state, a vision of growth and prosperity. His commitment to this vision is evident in his actions. Despite the challenges and obstacles, he continues to push forward, undeterred by the noise and distractions.

My journey through Rivers State revealed a narrative beyond the feud – a tale of transformation, progress, and hope. Governor Fubara’s infrastructure revolution has set the state on a path towards sustainable growth and prosperity, inspiring a new generation of Rivers indigenes. The old narratives of conflict and feud are slowly being replaced by stories of progress and development. And at the center of this transformation is Governor Fubara, a leader who is not just building infrastructure, but also building hope.

It is imperative that we redirect our attention away from the protracted and contentious rivalry between Fubara and Wike, and instead devote our energies to acknowledging and appreciating the transformative initiatives underway in Rivers State. Let us commemorate the significant advancements achieved thus far, confront the obstacles that lie ahead with courage and resilience, and offer our unwavering support to the ongoing pursuit of a more prosperous and enlightened Rivers State. For ultimately, it is not the conflicts and discord that define our character, but our capacity to transcend them and pave a path towards progress and growth. And under the visionary leadership of Governor Fubara, Rivers State is indeed charting a course towards a brighter future, one marked by tangible progress and unwavering determination.

This is a call to action. A call to change the narrative about Rivers state, to focus on the positive developments, and to support the transformative journey being led by Governor Fubara. For it is in this journey that the true story of Rivers state lies, a story of resilience, progress, and hope.

Rivers under Governor Fubara is a state in transformation. It is a state that is shrugging off the shadows of its past and embracing a brighter future. It is a state where the daily lives of its residents are improving, where security is being restored, and where development projects are being executed with impressive efficiency. Amidst the noise of political rivalry, this is the narrative that deserves to be heard. This is the Rivers that I saw, and this is the Rivers that Governor Fubara is building.

As I left the state, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of optimism, knowing that Fubara’s vision will continue to shape a brighter future for Rivers.

Thomas is a UK trained freelance journalist writing from London.

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