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THAT LAGOS APC MAY SURVIVE AHEAD OF 2027

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THAT LAGOS APC MAY SURVIVE AHEAD OF 2027

THAT LAGOS APC MAY SURVIVE AHEAD OF 2027

 

 

 

 

 

By Animashaun Ogundele

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That It did not start right now, but what has the tendency to finally destroy the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos has become a foetus that could be birthed before the 2027 general election. The party in the state is still trying to strengthen-up from its loss at the presidential election of 2023. That was, indeed, a shocking output from which many fingers point at the leadership of the party in the State led by Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi.

 

 

 

 

THAT LAGOS APC MAY SURVIVE AHEAD OF 2027

 

 

 

 

A review of the 2023 election by some members of the party showed that the usual steps to victory for the party was jettisoned under Ojelabi, whose exco decided to hire consultants. The party had always incorporated all the ward chairmen for mobilisation during electioneering. It was not done. And the result? A strike below the spine that got all and sundry bracing up urgently ahead of the governorship election that followed.

 

It is known the world over that one beautiful goal of a political party is winning elections but this is supposed to be through an effective membership drive. Thus, the more the members of a political party, the more strength the party garners. But in the case of the Lagos APC, the party has embarked on what is now termed ‘a weeding spree’, an action that has caused anger and opposition by some members. Currently, the exco is now said to be thriving in confusion following an escalation of an action it thought was close-knit.

 

THE BEGINNING

 

What is now becoming a danger to the party started on Monday, June 24, 2024, when Ojelabi reportedly met with stakeholders in the APC in the Alimosho area of the state. Alimosho had been challenged by a leadership crisis which is believed to result from loyalty to two groups – Justice Forum of Nigeria and The Mandate Movement of Nigeria – within the party. Ojelabi, a member of the Justice Forum, had reportedly caused suspicion when he was said to have invited members of his group in Alimosho led by former Deputy Governor Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire. Also invited was Abdullahi Ayinde Enilolobo, an ought-to-be member of the Mandate Movement, but whose tendencies favour the Justice Forum. With the news filtering out that Enilolobo was invited, suspicion took centre-stage. The members of the Mandate Movement marched on the party secretariat and met a defiant chairman who initially declined honouring them until he realised how resolute the protesters were. The protesters wanted to be part of the meeting because they did not trust Enilolobo, whose antics, they claimed, led to the defeat of the party in the presidential election of 2023.

 

However, while the meeting lasted, a separate template was being hatched by the exco. In just 24 hours after the meeting, some leaders of The Mandate Movement in Alimosho were summoned by the police in Alagbon based on a petition on behalf of Ojelabi. Among other allegations, they were accused of cyber stalking, threat to life and illegal possession of firearms. The police found nothing against the leaders.

 

On July 1, 2024, the party, through its secretary, Dr. Adeola Jokomba, sent a letter to the ward chairmen in Alimosho to activate Article 21 of the party constitution “to investigate the said occurrence of 24th June, 2024.” This letter came with a pre-assumed list of those to be investigated, many of whom were said not to be at the party secretariat on the day of the protest. The letter had claimed that the protesters were armed and unleashed violence on the chairman. This, meanwhile, is against the explanation that the same chairman held a fruitful meeting with them after his initial stance.

 

One of the suspended members, who said he received the letter through Whatsapp explained that Article 21 of the party constitution emphasises fair hearing, but “without even inviting us for a defence, we suddenly started seeing our suspension letters on social media. Some letters were sent on July 3rd while some people got theirs on July 5th. In fact, what they did was to profile all members of The Mandate Movement for suspension. In Ward A of Ayobo-Ipaja LCDA alone, 54 members of the party were issued suspension letters. Using some local government council chairmen, this same suspension has been extended to some political appointees at the local government levels suspected to be loyal to The Mandate Movement of Nigeria.

 

A PARTY WITHOUT MEETINGS

 

First, a part of the grievance within the party stems from a complaint that since the 2023 elections, the party has hardly held general ward or local government meetings as it used to happen. General Ward meetings have only been held four times while LGA meetings have been held just three times. Meetings with LGA party chairmen were held only three times while no meeting has been held between him and all the 376 ward chairmen since he became the state chairman. The members are now left in limbo.

 

One issue pointing against Ojelabi is that under his leadership, the party still grapples with two parallel excos in the Mainland area of the state. According to insiders, the issue had been resolved by the last state chairman of the party. However, to shore up the strength of the Justice Forum, he was said to have declared that he was reviewing the resolutions following fresh petitions. “Now, there are two factions of the Mainland exco of the party. During the election and up till now, he uses his friends and cohorts as consultants thus jettisoning the party structures,” an aggrieved member said noting that APC canvassers and some agents of the party during the election have not been paid till now.

 

Aside from this fact, insider sources say polling unit committees set up to administer voting during the elections have mostly remained unpaid till now. Reliably gathered, some ward chairmen had at a time complained to the Governor who, in turn, told them to ask from Ojelabi how the latter expended the N2 billion out of donated campaign funds set aside for that purpose. Confronted, Ojelabi reportedly said he was not aware that his consultants had not paid most Polling Unit committee members. He promised to look into the matter. Since then, those affected say they have remained unpaid.

 

Checks show that the supposed consultants are not just party members who should ordinarily contribute like others to the party’s progress, they are also drawn from his Justice Forum. They include two former commissioners, one from Agege and the other from Alimosho, and the third a former head of one of the parastatals in Lagos. A general belief among party members is that the supposed consultants are channels through which party funds are piped out of the secretariat by the chairman.

 

Members continue to grudge over his strategy which they claim is a major reason APC lost the presidential election in Lagos. Ojelabi lost the presidential and National Assembly elections in his federal constituency. He lost all the polling units around his Iba/New Site residence too to the Labour Party. A strongly held view among party members is that the APC under his watch would hardly match the fortunes recorded under Chief Henry Ajomale and Tunde Balogun, who once held sway as chairmen. As it is, party members are left confused. They say it does not look like there are structures in place to begin to smarten up from the last election as activities at the APC secretariat are at their lowest ebb.

 

ONE-MAN SHOW

 

For some members of the State Executive Committee, the APC secretariat on Acme Road is run more like it is handled by a sole administrator and a member of the party lamented: “you either shape in or fall out. You don’t only fall out if you oppose, you also fall out of every favour. Whatever opportunity you have to make a contribution, the chairman thinks he is doing you a favour.” According to them members, no other member of the exco has a say in the running of the party. And for his decisions? They are final once he takes them. No recourse to anybody. An evidence of this, they pointed out, is how he had allegedly constantly cowed and intimidated the party secretary and treasurer frustrating them at will. It is a gossip within the secretariat that anybody who tries to oppose him should be ready to face frustration beyond limit.

 

“His word is law oh! That was how he orchestrated the suspension of an exco member leading to other exco members being mindful, conscious, and scared of making inputs no matter how important and beneficial such would be,” an aggrieved party member within the secretariat complained.

In fact, it is claimed that one reason attributed to the loss of the party at the 2023 election was that Ojelabi “moved the secretariat from Acme to an unknown location making it a Herculean task for party chiefs, LGA and ward party chairmen who had complaints about developments during the election from reaching or accessing him.

 

PARTY LARGESSE/SHARING FORMULA

 

One baggage that Pastor Ojelabi carries on his shoulders is the allegation that his leadership makes sure that largesse and palliatives to party members are skewed in favour of the Justice Forum within his constituency and the state. This is believed to have happened consistently. Examples are said to have been noted in the federal and state governments’ palliatives and cash transfers. One such occasion occurred when he was said to have under-declared the number of palliative slots given to the party at a meeting he held with his exco members. Some of the exco members at the meeting could not stomach this. They openly criticised him at the meeting.

 

AMBITION 2027

 

Those kicking against Ojelabi’s current style of leadership say he is tilted to achieving an acclaimed goal of becoming the running mate to Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat in 2027. Engineer Hamzat is believed to be eyeing the governorship seat and according to insiders, Ojelabi has mapped out his own plan ahead of the election and has begun “hatching the eggs” by cajoling council chairmen to either belong to the Justice Forum overseen by Hamzat or get their fingers burnt.

 

CHALLENGE BEFORE OJELABI

 

A major headache before the party chairman and the exco currently is how to effectively mop up the suspension letters issued out already. It was learnt that leaders within the Governance Advisory Council had blamed him for his shoddy handling of the protest. He was also said to have been reminded that as chairman, he should allow democracy thrive in every of his actions. Coincidentally, while the intervention by the GAC was ongoing, the suspension letters had been released creating for difficulties in retrieving them. The only option left to the chairman was for an outright public denial of the order suspending the members. A press release was issued by the party in this regard, but those already suspended, said the letters sent to the ward chairmen ordering investigation as well as the suspension letters to the members were proofs that the Ojelabi meant to ostracise them. There is no doubting the fact that despite these challenges reeled out, APC in Lagos remains strong in comparison with other political organisations. However, this health, though fragile, is laced with injuries. What is left to be done is for well-meaning party leaders to salvage the party, heal these injuries and make it hale and hearty again.

 

 

Ogundele, a political analyst and APC supporter, writes from Lagos.

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Buratai Lauds Tinubu’s Increased Support for Counterinsurgency Operations

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Buratai Lauds Tinubu’s Increased Support for Counterinsurgency Operations

Buratai Lauds Tinubu’s Increased Support for Counterinsurgency Operations

 

 

 

 

…as NDA Course 29 Reunites in Maiduguri, Reaffirms Commitment to Nation-Building

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, played host to the 29th Regular Combatant Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy NDA as they gathered for their 2024 Annual General Meeting. The event was a celebration of their rich heritage and a reunion of old colleagues.

 

 

 

Buratai Lauds Tinubu’s Increased Support for Counterinsurgency Operations

 

 

 

The evening was filled with cultural dances, jokes, and sumptuous meals, creating a relaxing atmosphere for the members.

 

 

 

Former Chief of Army Staff and former Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, commended the federal government for the support in the war against insurgency.

 

 

 

 

 

“Nine years ago, we would never have had the opportunity to gather like this here in Borno and in Maiduguri in particular. Once it is 2 o’clock as someone said, everyone goes inside and remains there till the following morning probably nine or ten. The restrictions were heavy, the atmosphere was charged with so much insecurity. But today, to the Glory of Almighty God, we are thankful to God for the sustained counterinsurgency operations leading to the sustainable security being achieved and being experienced today in the Northeast,” he said.

 

 

 

“We must appreciate the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the increased support to the Armed Forces to prosecute the counterinsurgency operations against Boko Haram and its subsequent version of ISWAP.”

 

 

 

 

 

Buratai also praised the members for their support during his tenure as Army Chief. “You have been wonderful for over forty years precisely 44 years when we met together for the first time 3rd January 1981 and we have maintained that relationship. I want to thank you for your support to me in particular.

 

 

 

 

 

“You stood by me when I was Chief of Army Staff in a very difficult period, the time of the Boko Haram rampage and it was a period that was volatile, uncertain, complex and of course ambiguous environment and times as well. The environments were charged with so much opposition and mischief that is within the sociopolitical environment and within the geographical environment of the northeast also was tensed with the various attacks that have been going on in this area but you stood by me and supported me and together, we succeeded.” He adds.

 

 

 

 

The Betara of Biu equally applauded the Theatre Commander Major General Wahidi Shuaibu, the other components as well as troops for their resilience and sacrifice.

 

 

 

Commodore MB Teidi (Retd), President of the Association, reflected on the journey that began over four decades ago. “Let me take a moment to reflect on the journey that has brought us to this moment. The history of NDA 29th Regular Course started on 3rd January 1981 when 155 young men reported for military training at the Nigerian Defence Academy. Most of us received the Presidential Commission and thereafter were posted to various services in the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force to pursue their Military career, while some opted out of the training to pursue their next best destined options.

 

 

 

“The inaugural meeting of this association was initiated by Major TY Buratai when most of the members were on Staff Course at the Command and Staff College Jaji. It was not until 2014 after the burial of one of our course mates, that the idea of a formal body with a constitution was muted. Since then the association has enjoyed consistent yearly meetings in line with its constitution.

 

 

 

 

 

The event brought together former colleagues from across the services and the business community, including serving military personnel such as Major General Wahidi Shuaibu, Theater Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, and the Air Component Commander.

 

 

 

 

The reunion demonstrated the strong bonds and camaraderie forged during their military careers. As they reminisced about their past experiences, they celebrated their achievements and the progress made in the fight against insurgency.

 

 

 

“Nine years ago, we would never have had the opportunity to gather like this here in Borno and in Maiduguri in particular. Once it is 2 o’clock as someone said, everyone goes inside and remains there till the following morning probably nine or ten. The restrictions were heavy, the atmosphere was charged with so much insecurity. But today, to the Glory of Almighty God, we are thankful to God for the sustained counterinsurgency operations leading to the sustainable security being achieved and being experienced today in the Northeast,” he said.

 

 

 

 

“We must appreciate the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the increased support to the Armed Forces to prosecute the counterinsurgency operations against Boko Haram and its subsequent version of ISWAP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buratai also praised the members for their support during his tenure as Army Chief. “You have been wonderful for over forty years precisely 44 years when we met together for the first time 3rd January 1981 and we have maintained that relationship. I want to thank you for your support to me in particular.

 

 

 

 

“You stood by me when I was Chief of Army Staff in a very difficult period, the time of the Boko Haram rampage and it was a period that was volatile, uncertain, complex and of course ambiguous environment and times as well. The environments were charged with so much opposition and mischief that is within the sociopolitical environment and within the geographical environment of the northeast also was tensed with the various attacks that have been going on in this area but you stood by me and supported me and together, we succeeded.” He adds.

 

The Betara of Biu equally applauded the Theatre Commander Major General Wahidi Shuaibu, the other components as well as troops for their resilience and sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

Commodore MB Teidi (Retd), President of the Association, reflected on the journey that began over four decades ago. “Let me take a moment to reflect on the journey that has brought us to this moment. The history of NDA 29th Regular Course started on 3rd January 1981 when 155 young men reported for military training at the Nigerian Defence Academy. Most of us received the Presidential Commission and thereafter were posted to various services in the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force to pursue their Military career, while some opted out of the training to pursue their next best destined options.

 

 

 

 

 

“The inaugural meeting of this association was initiated by Major TY Buratai when most of the members were on Staff Course at the Command and Staff College Jaji. It was not until 2014 after the burial of one of our course mates, that the idea of a formal body with a constitution was muted. Since then the association has enjoyed consistent yearly meetings in line with its constitution.”

 

The event brought together former colleagues from across the services and the business community, including serving military personnel such as Major General Wahidi Shuaibu, Theater Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, and the Air Component Commander.

 

The reunion demonstrated the strong bonds and camaraderie forged during their military careers. As they reminisced about their past experiences, they celebrated their achievements and the progress made in the fight against insurgency.

 

 

 

 

The 29th Regular Combatant Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy is no doubt, a shining example of the power of friendship and service to the nation. As they look to the future, they continue to stand together, committed to their objectives and to the development of the nation.

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LG Autonomy: APC Working Against Tinubu in Rivers – Coalition

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THAT LAGOS APC MAY SURVIVE AHEAD OF 2027

LG Autonomy: APC Working Against Tinubu in Rivers – Coalition

 

 

The Coalition of All Political Parties Supporters in Nigeria (CAPSN) has vehemently condemned the All Progressives Congress (APC) for obtaining a court order to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from releasing the voters’ register for the forthcoming local government elections in Rivers State.

According to CAPSN President, Ibrahim Mustapha: “The APC’s action is a breach of President Tinubu’s desire for local government autonomy and smacks of mischief.

“It’s an assault on the recent landmark Supreme Court judgment granting autonomy to local governments.”

Mustapha described the court order as “frivolous and mischievous,” adding that it’s targeted at making a mockery of the President Bola Tinubu’s efforts to ensure local governments are autonomous.

“The APC’s actions are unacceptable and don’t mean well for the common people of Rivers State. We call on the National Secretariat of the APC to deal decisively with the Rivers State Acting Chairman, Tony Okocha, who deposed to the affidavit attached to the originating summons,” Mustapha said.

CAPSN urged the judiciary to dismiss the suit and award heavy costs against the agents of mischief.

They also called on the people of Rivers State and Nigerians to condemn the attempts to stop the conduct of local government elections, which is in line with the provisions of Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution.

“The APC’s actions are a clear indication that they are working against President Tinubu’s patriotic efforts to ensure local government autonomy. We will not stand idly by and watch them undermine the President’s efforts,” Mustapha declared.

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