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Chairmanship: PDP Govs Insist On North, NEC Adopts Zoning Report



GOVERNORS elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday insisted that the national chairmanship of the party should go to the North.

This position held sway as the National Executive Committee of the PDP adopted the report of the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led PDP zoning committee, at its 94th NEC meeting, in Abuja, on Thursday.

The Ugwanyi committee had recommended that all party positions hitherto held by southerners should be swapped with those currently being held by northerners.
The committee in its report recommended among others that, “The current offices being held by officers in the southern zones of the country, namely, South-West, South- East and South- South zones, should swap places with the offices currently in the northern zones of Nigeria, namely, North-West, North-East and North-Central zones.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, who announced the decision of NEC, while speaking to the media after the meeting said, “NEC adopted the report of the Ifeanyi Ugwanyi’s Committee on the Zoning of offices of the National Working Committee.”

Asked whether the issue of zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket was discussed and what decision was arrived at, he said, “The issue of the Governor Bala Mohammed Committee came up and it was resolved that it should be deferred till another NEC meeting. Today’s meeting was to consider the Ugwuanyi committee report and that was what he did.”

The Governor Bala Mohammed -led Committee on the review of the 2019 general elections recommended that the contest for the presidential ticket of the party should be thrown open to all eligible party members.

It was gathered that ahead of the Thursday’s meeting, the governors first held a meeting at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, late on Wednesday and later converged on the Rivers State Governors’ Lodge, in the early hours of Thursday.

A source privy to the meetings, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said, “The governors simply came together and agreed that it was in their interest to present a common front. It was then agreed that the issue of zoning with regard to the 2023 presidential ticket as well as other elective offices should be deferred till another date to reduce tension and allow the party focus on the NWC (National Working Committee) offices and the National Convention.

“The governors reached out to party leaders across the zones, especially in the north, that the decision to zone the position of national chairman does not have an effect on executive positions such as the Presidency and National Assembly positions.”

Let Nigerians decide who will govern them – Atiku

In his opening remarks during the NEC meeting earlier, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar appealed to party leaders to jettison zoning of the presidential ticket just as he appealed to them to uphold justice and fairness.

He said, “Where the President comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria neither will it be the solution. There is no such thing as a president from southern Nigeria, or a president from northern Nigeria. There is only one, a president from Nigeria, for Nigeria and for Nigerians.

“The Peoples Democratic Party has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed, the people of Nigeria have the right to determine who governs them.

“Those of us who served in the constitutional conference, which drafted the current constitution of Nigeria should remember that after we finished drafting the constitution, we all met as members of the constitutional conference and resolved to correct the injustice that was done to a particular part of this country.

“And we said, in whichever party you found yourself, your presidential candidate must come from the southwest, because Abiola had won the election, it was annulled. Not only was his election annulled, he was killed.”

He equally recalled how he rejected a plot by the party’s governors to deny the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo a second term.

Atiku said, “Distinguished members of NEC, in 2003, all the PDP governors met at the villa and said they were not going to support President Obasanjo for a second term, that I should run.

“I now referred them to the resolution of NEC, where NEC decided that power should remain in the South-West for eight years. How do you now want me to go against the resolution of NEC? And I turn it down. And we moved on.

“So, this country has a sense of fairness. This country has a sense of justice. This country has a sense of fairness. Therefore, this thing that is inbuilt in our party, we should be able to use it, to imbibe it to make sure today’s deliberations are in the best interest of our party.”

In his address of welcome the Acting National Chairman of the party, Yemi Akinwonmi, said, “Today is a day of making history in the life and survival of the party” adding that Nigerians were eagerly waiting for PDP to take them out of the challenges of socio political vices created by the political party in power, the APC.”

The Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal who also spoke in a similar vein, promised that he and his colleagues would continue to support the party in its effort to rescue Nigeria.

A group of peaceful protesters had earlier gathered at the entrance of the party Secretariat to protest. They held up placards some of which read: “What did the North do to the PDP? “Stop cheating the North”, “Wike brought Sheriff? Wike brought Secondus” “PDP, give North their rights”, and” Two years of North vs 13 years of South “

The media office of the suspended National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus released a statement shortly after the NEC meeting. The statement titled, “The blackmail mission to hijack and destroy PDP….And why Secondus is in Court,” was signed by his Media Adviser, Ike Abonyi. It read in part, “What is Secondus’ real offence? He blatantly refused to be swayed by individual ambition of a Governor that wants him to be a good boy by circumventing the rules of the party.”



BREAKING: Tinubu To Meet VP Yemi Osinbajo Over 2023 Presidential Ambition




APC Chieftain Bola Tinubu will meet VP Yemi Osinbajo over the 2023 Presidential ambition gameplay, a new report has suggested.

JomogNews Nigeria reports that there are strong indications that the All Progressives Congress may adopt consensus gameplay to pick its presidential candidate in 2023.

This online news platform understands that top chieftains of the APC, who confided in The PUNCH on Tuesday, said stalwarts of the party had started reaching out to members nursing presidential ambition on the need to close ranks.

According to them, the party fears that “a crowded presidential primary may breed bad blood and threaten the chances of the party in 2023.”

It was gathered that the APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, would soon meet as part of the arrangement.

One of the sources stated, “Both Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will soon meet to discuss issues relating to the 2023 election.”

One of the sources stated, “Leaders of the party are working on adopting a consensus presidential candidate, which has received presidential endorsement.”

The source added that despite the fact that the Vice-President did not visit the former Lagos State Governor when he was undergoing medical treatment in London, both of them were in touch.

The Presidential Political Adviser, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, had recently denied reports that there was a crisis between the two leaders.

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Kwara: Lai Mohammed Only Good With Making Noise On Social Media – Gov AbdulRazaq




The Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, says Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has no political influence in his ward.

The minister and the governor have been at loggerheads in recent months, resulting in a division in Kwara APC.

In July, the information minister, during the inauguration of a new state secretariat in Ilorin, said the party entered “one chance” by supporting the candidacy of Abdulrazaq.

Mohammed said he raised a major part of the funds for the 2019 elections in the state, which the APC won by a landslide.

Reacting to the minister’s comment, the Kwara governor, in an interview with THISDAY, said Mohammed did not fund his campaign and that he planned the campaign himself with donations from friends.

The Kwara governor accused the minister of “hijacking” the donations made for his campaign in 2019, adding that the minister stayed in Abuja and did not know how the election went in Kwara.

“Everything that was donated, Lai Mohammed did not declare to the party, or to me. Some were direct donations to me,” he said.

“Some were sent to Kwara APC but there’s no governor, no minister. He was sitting there in Abuja, he did not know how we held the election.

“He did not know how we campaigned. He was in Abuja. Ask Minister Lai Mohammed, how many times he comes to Kwara? Our two ministers don’t come to Kwara. They are in Abuja. Both of them. Lai goes to Lagos. That’s his home.

“That’s where his son is a member of the Lagos state house of assembly. That’s where his family is. He has no house here. He doesn’t come here. As our minister, he doesn’t come home. Same with Gbemi Saraki. She doesn’t come. So it’s like we don’t have a minister.

“That’s why the pressure is on the governor. In other states, you have ministers relieving that pressure. Everything coming to the state, they stay in Abuja and hijack it. They are running from one ministry to the other to try and hijack things from Abuja. In terms of resources, they just took everything.”

The governor said the minister is only good with making “noise” on social media, adding that he cannot win an election in his ward.

Abdulrazaq boasted that his faction has all the members of the state house of assembly, except one who is in the minister’s camp.

He said: “They’re noisy in the media, not on ground. Lai cannot win an election in his ward. They’re good with social media noise. That’s all they do. But nobody’s asking how each member of the state assembly emerged. How did they manipulate their way to win their seats?

“There was no godfather, putting people in place, everybody struggled to emerge. We would network and work with each other. No godfather. Everybody struggled in their own way. Yes, I gave money, and they also sourced money for themselves.

“So everybody struggled to win this thing. But some people will sit down and say that it is their party. It is this or that, that I don’t have anybody. If I don’t have anybody, I have all the legislators with me. Is that not something? Let them tell me, they have people.

“How many legislators do they have both in the state and national assembly on their side? It’s just a whole lot of media hype. Lai came a few months ago to make noise that he sponsored the campaign, did this and that. He made a lot of noise and pushed it to NTA.”


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Twenty years in the life of a nation may be a short period of time. But when such a span of time embodies something meaningful and impactful, it is extremely noteworthy.

And so Nigeria at present is celebrating two decades of uninterrupted democracy since the democratic restoration of 1999.

Considering where the country is coming from- a long period of coups and counter coups, 30 months civil war, three previous short-lived attempts at democratic rule, military dictatorship of the worst form occasioning all kinds of experiments and fraudulent political engineering including an annulment of a free and fair election and then a brutal dictatorship during which many were either killed or maimed- having another democratic resurgence lasting 21 years, and still counting, is indeed significant.

Operating a democracy, the best form of government mankind has evolved, has never been easy anywhere, talk less in Nigeria. For our democracy to have endured all of 20 years means Nigerians have invested heavily in its success.

We all deserve special congratulations for working to entrench democracy in the land. These investments have come at great costs, which, however, have not been borne in equal measure.

Some Nigerians sacrificed so much for it, including paying the supreme price like business mogul Bashorun MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12 election, his wife, Kudirat and journalist, Bagauda Kalto, among others. Many were incarcerated.

Thousands who suffered immense pain in diverse manners remain nameless and faceless. Some were forced on exile for a long period.

One of those who had to flee into exile to escape the death squads of the Abacha military junta over the agitation for the de-annulment of the June 12 election from where he played a leading role in continuing the struggle is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress National Leader.

In exile, Asiwaju became a critical rallying point for the opposition, making things uncomfortable for the Abacha junta back home until that regime collapsed.

Following the promise of the succeeding General Abdulsalam Abubakar regime to hand over power, Asiwaju Tinubu returned to the country from exile in 1998.

In no time at all, he became one of the leading lights who formed the Alliance for Democracy, one of the three main political parties of the time.

Persuaded by his close associates and friends, Asiwaju threw his hat into the ring for the governorship of Lagos. Against the remonstrations of those who wanted to impose a candidate on the AD, he and his associates insisted on open primaries buoyed by support from some temperate leaders of that party.

With open primaries, he emerged the governorship candidate of the party, contested for the 1999 governorship election and was elected.

If his contributions to the return of democratic rule again in 1999 after almost 16 years of military rule was remarkable, his role in nurturing and deepening democracy in the land from that period onward is even more worthy of chronicling.

Saying Asiwaju is a major pillar of the nation’s democracy that seized every opportunity to deepen the practice of transparent, responsive and accountable governance, federalism and the rule of law in Nigeria both in words and deeds is stating the obvious.

As governor, he put together a team of tested technocrats and experienced managers, unrivalled in Nigeria’s history, to help him actualize his vision for the state.

It is not surprising that many of them are still holding top leadership positions at different levels in the country today.

Tinubu and his team laid the foundation for a modern Lagos, fashioned out a master plan and engineered most of the innovations that spurred the unprecedented ongoing development and prosperity witnessed in Lagos today.

As he brought radical changes to both the economic and political landscapes of Lagos, enhancing the state’s fortunes in the process, he also made significant contributions to fiscal federalism and constitutionalism.

Under his watch, Lagos challenged the Federal Government on many constitutional issues. His government filed as many as 14 cases at the Supreme Court and won all.

One of such landmark cases was the one in respect of creation of additional local councils in the state, with the Supreme Court upholding the validity of the new councils but stating that they remained inchoate until the National Assembly had done its part by listing those councils in the constitution.

Nevertheless, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) are alive and well today. They constitute the basis for accelerated rural development in Lagos State thanks to Tinubu’s vision and courage.

At the inception of this democratic dispensation in 1999, for instance, the Federal Government routinely deducted funds as a first line charge from the Federation Account for what it called “Special Funds”.

These included funding of the Joint Venture Contracts and NNPC priority projects, servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, funding of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and funding of the judiciary and other federal responsibilities.

It was after the deduction of these monies that whatever was remaining was shared among the states and Local Government Councils. The robust legal challenge by Lagos State at the Supreme Court put a stop to this practice to the advantage of the states and local governments.

Again, it was the crusading legal action by Lagos State under Tinubu’s leadership that led the Supreme Court to declare that planning within the territorial jurisdiction of any state was a residual matter over which the states and not the Federal Government could exercise control.

In the words of Tinubu’s Attorney General at the time, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), “The Supreme Court by a majority of four out of seven justices in a full constitutional court held that urban and regional planning as well as physical development were residual matters within the exclusive legislative and executive competence of states and that grant of approvals, permits and licences for building and physical development in Lagos State including under bridges, loops and highways set-back are the residual responsibility of the state government”.

When former President Obasanjo withheld revenue allocations to Lagos on account of the creation of those additional councils, Asiwaju was forced to look inward, devising ingenious means of funding the new councils and running the state.

Such resourcefulness birthed the innovations that moved the state IGR from about N600 million monthly in 1999 to around N25billion and over N30billion monthly today. So significant was what Asiwaju and his team did in eight years that many continue to acknowledge his ingenuity.

In a tribute to the APC leader during his 67th birthday in March this year, President Muhammadu Buhari described Tinubu as one of the strong pillars of Nigeria’s democracy while also praising him for his selflessness in serving the country and contributing his quota towards making life better for our teeming people.

“Asiwaju’s uncompromising posture in the face of injustice and refusal to follow the path of least resistance for personal gains stand him out today as a rare breed and one of the cornerstones of Nigeria’s democracy, especially with his track record of persistence, consistency and effective leadership,” the President said.

“As the father of modern Lagos State,” Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina quoted the President as commending “the visionary and inclusive leadership style that the Asiwaju provided for the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria for eight years, laying the foundation for a modern and technologically-driven city, and ensuring that every successive leader in the state sticks with the master plan of a greater Lagos.”

From the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Asiwaju and his associates moved to form first, the Action Congress (AC) and then the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when the AD became polarised in the aftermath of the choice of that party’s presidential candidate for the 1999 poll among other contentious issues.

In the 2003 election, Asiwaju became the only AD governor who survived the virulent onslaught of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which contrived to win the election at all cost in the South-west and credit Obasanjo with home-base support.

It was to Asiwaju’s credit that he led the struggle in winning back, one by one, those South-west states illegally captured by the PDP through the courts, which upheld the cause of justice.

With the ACN now in firm control of the South-west, Asiwaju’s ACN began alliance talks towards the 2011 election with the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by then General Muhammadu Buhari, but that alliance fell through.

It is instructive that that merger of the South-west and North-West progressives and other like minds, once predicted by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and which fell through in 2011, was eventually successfully and consummated in the build-up to the 2015 election, thus giving birth to the APC.

For the first time in Nigeria’s political history, that rainbow coalition that is APC, unseated an incumbent president and formed government at the centre.

Since then, in a bid to get the party to wax stronger, Asiwaju and his cohorts have had to battle some undemocratic forces within the party and their underhand tactics.

For instance, after the initial bright successes of the APC during which elective convention was the order of the day, some members wanted to foist dictatorship and automatic extension of tenure on the party.

Asiwaju and other democrats successfully wrestled this move to the ground. Tinubu spearheaded the struggle for the adoption by APC of direct primaries as a method of picking the party’s candidates for elections, involving the generality of the party members as opposed to some small coterie of delegates.

That agitation culminated in the election last year of a consummate labour activist and former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as APC chairman. Oshiomhole has been changing the narrative in APC to the admiration of many and discomfiture of others.

Asiwaju did much more. Which of those other onerous contributions should one highlight? Is it the crucial role he played in persuading the Federal Government to give June 12 the honour it deserved, thus bringing the matter of the annulled election to a proper close or the leadership he provided, as Co-chair of the APC presidential campaigns, in galvanising the party’s rank and file to work assiduously for the president’s re-election in March this year, knowing full well that President Buhari is a honest and patriotic leader who, in his first term, had taken concrete steps towards laying a firm foundation for a greater Nigeria?

Tinubu’s role as a leading advocate of the legitimation of June 12 has borne ample fruit with President Buhari conferring on the hero of June 12, late MKO Abiola, a post-humous Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) award while MKO’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, received the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger award.

The icing on the cake was the pronouncing of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Buhari. Now, the National Assembly has passed the bill making June 12 a public holiday and Nigeria’s Democracy Day. In the 2019 election, President Buhari posted a resounding victory, roundly defeating the PDP, and its candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to win a second term which he began a few days ago.

In their book-“Statesmanship and Political Leadership: Analyses of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic-A Festschrift in Honour of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, the authors of the book, edited by Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN) and Adewale Aderemi, PhD, who interrogated Asiwaju’s role in Nigeria’s democracy, said of the APC leader:

“At critical junctures since his emergence as a public figure in the early 1990s, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been a pivotal figure in the equation, by a dint of political doggedness as the last line of resistance to the ruling party, which historically never ruled the South-west, not only weathered incredible political turmoil but also nurtured the dominant political platform of the region from the brink of disintegration to becoming the nucleus of the new ruling party, ousting the sixteen-year incumbency of the PDP in the process.”

Any need to add more. All that Asiwaju has accomplished hasn’t come easy. As common in the trajectories of great men like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and many other leaders, Asiwaju has had his own fair share of treachery, deceit and campaigns of calumny, even by some of those he trusted.

He has, however, weathered the storms. He is carrying on and waxing stronger. One of the tasks he has taken upon himself at present is safeguarding and strengthening party supremacy within the governing party and ensuring adherence to the party’s position in respect of emergence of the National Assembly’s presiding officers.

Asiwaju has a lot more to offer. Surely, in the fullness of time and with the gift of life and continued good health, the fullness of his robust intellect, competence, and capability will be released in the service of our country.

First Published In May, 2019 by Tunde Rahman

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