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Atiku is a spent force, no threat to Buhari – Ajomale

Atiku no threat to Buhari–Ajomale

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been advised not to hope for taking over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. Giving the advice in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, the Chairman, Conference of APC States’ Chairmen, and Lagos State APC Chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, said the PDP leaders are only day dreaming if they ever think that the party can bounce back into reckoning at the national level.

Ajomale also spoke on some other national issues including the recent defection of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP, Tinubu’s visit to Afenifere leader in Akure, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s defection from PDP to APC.

As the Chairman of the Conference of APC States Chairmen, what is your reaction to the defection of the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP?

Atiku is a political chameleon, he is ever unpredictable. It becomes a tradition for him to be jumping from one political party to another. Atiku is not a principled politician. Nobody should take Atiku’s defection serious. It is good riddance to bad rubbish. This is about the third time Atiku would be leaving PDP and going back again to the party. He is not a serious politician.

Atiku should not be deceived by political hangers-on; he must have realised the bitter truth, and the truth is that, he is politically finished. Even in his home state of Adamawa, Atiku has become a laughing stock. His defection to PDP, to us in APC, is good riddance to bad rubbish. Atiku has no political value again. He has nothing to offer again. I even pity Atiku for going back to PDP, because PDP as of today has become a divided house. By going back to PDP, Atiku is going to cause more crisis for the party. PDP is going to become more polarised with Atiku’s return to the party. Atiku has become a spent-force. I don’t think he has anything to offer anymore.

Some people have accused the former VP of not being a principled politician …

Of course, yes. To be saying that, they are absolutely correct. Atiku from all intents now is being driven by personal political ambition. His being in politics from all indications and his own personal actions have shown that what is paramount to him is how to realise his personal political ambition; he has shown that he is not keen on or being driven by the urge to serve the nation, but rather it is the realisation of his own personal interests that matters to him.

But the danger about the way he is playing his politics is that nobody would trust and believe him again. By going back to the PDP, Atiku has simply returned to eat his vomit. For us in APC, we don’t miss anything by Atiku’s defection to PDP. APC doesn’t feel threatened at all, it is Atiku that has become a threat only to himself. APC is not losing any sleep over Atiku’s action. We wish him good luck back in his former political party to which he has now returned.

But some people have described the former VP as a political heavyweight whose departure from the APC is going to be felt, what’s your take on that?

Atiku as a political heavyweight? May be before, but to describe him as a political heavyweight today is to dress Atiku in borrowed robes. Maybe around 1999 and the following years, he was a political asset, but the reality today is that Atiku has become a spent force. He is gradually going into political oblivion.

With a man like President Muhammadu Buhari in the saddle, there is no way Atiku can have political relevance again. To me, Atiku is a political chameleon, he is so desperate for political power; you must be wary of such a man. I will support what former President Goodluck Jonathan said recently that if Atiku wants to realise or secure presidential ticket of PDP, that he should go and beg Obasanjo. However Obasanjo is not the only obstacle to Atiku’s ambition; if Atiku knows that his hands are clean, let him undertake a trip to the United States of America like Obasanjo has been challenging him. Atiku so far has not been able to take up the challenge. So far, so good, Buhari has been performing up to expectation, and not only that, being a man of integrity who is incorruptible, Buhari’s image and personality has been rubbing off positively on Nigeria. How can anybody think of Atiku being Nigeria’s president, a man with so many political baggages? If Atiku wants to prove to us that he is a clean man worthy of leading this nation, let him today undertake a trip to the United States.

This challenge has been thrown at him on several occasions, but since he has skeletons in his cupboard, Atiku has not been able to take up the challenge.

There have been fears of mass defection hitting APC following Atiku’s departure from the party …

Which mass defection? Which mass defection have you seen so far? It is unfortunate that Atiku is being overrated, but sincerely speaking, I hope Atiku should know his own limits. Atiku is already politically finished; nobody is going to follow him into PDP, maybe a handful of supporters if anything at all. Do you know what is referred to as mass defection?

However, let me state this clearly, because Atiku has money and what he usually does is to rent crowd, and most of these people will pretend to be his supporters after collecting money from him. Atiku has so much money that he doesn’t even know what to do with the money, and so what he usually does is this, he rents crowd to give impression that these people are his supporters, but Atiku can’t deceive anybody again, except only himself. Don’t ever judge the crowd you see with Atiku with his political popularity; the crowd you see with him are rented.

By going back to PDP, some Nigerians have described Atiku as being confused, and also lacking political discipline, do you agree with that?

Those saying that are absolutely correct. They are right. There was a time Atiku was quoted as saying that APC would be his last political bus stop, but what happened now? Atiku has proved that he is not a man of his words. That time he condemned the PDP, and there was no name he didn’t give PDP, but has he not eaten his own words by going back to the PDP. Honestly, I don’t understand such a man. For a man like that, I don’t have respect for him again. There was a time, that was sometime in 2011, Atiku was talking with the ACN led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the CPC led then by General Muhammadu Buhari. The basis of these parties and their leaders talking was to form an alliance in order to face the PDP during the 2011 general elections, but to our shock, Atiku abandoned that alliance talks and returned to the PDP where he boasted to match former President Jonathan money for money in order to clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP, but in the end, Jonathan defeated him.

Some people who have sympathy for Atiku have said the former VP should not be blamed for taking that decision, especially having a feeling that this may be his last time to have the opportunity to contest the presidential election. The argument is that age is not on his side anymore, what’s your take on that?

Does Atiku feel he can beat Buhari if Buhari decides to seek re-election? That would be a mere wishful thinking. But let Buhari declare his intention first. If Buhari wants to seek a second term, how can Atiku of all people think of defeating Buhari? That is nothing but day-dreaming. Atiku would be committing political suicide if he ever thinks of running against Buhari.

All over the world, Buhari is widely respected. But can you say that about Atiku? Buhari can travel to any part of the world, but can Atiku do same?

Nigeria is making steady progress, and also being viewed with respect in the comity of nations. But to have somebody like Atiku to be in charge of the leadership of this country will be a great setback for Nigeria. Atiku’s political coffin will be nailed if he ever tries to run against Buhari.

The recent visit of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure has been eliciting mixed reactions. As a close associate of Tinubu, why did the APC leader embark on that trip, because the general impression everybody has is that the relationship between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders has not been cordial. Is this trip the beginning of a good rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Tinubu has no problem with Afenifere leaders. He regards them as his fathers. He respects them a lot. There was a time Baba Ayo Adebanjo, late Baba Olaniwun Ajayi also visited Tinubu. Tinubu is showing respect as somebody who believes in the Yoruba tradition by showing respect for leaders. Pa Fasoranti is a highly respected Yoruba leader. People should not insinuate anything extraordinary or unusual to Tinubu’s visit. It is like a son paying visit to his father.

I saw Tinubu and others off at the airport when they were going, and we all collectively agreed that Tinubu should embark on the trip, which we also believe will strengthen unity among the Yoruba.

With Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti, should the Yoruba now expect closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Afenifere leaders are getting old, and it is obvious that they will need to groom some younger elements that will take over the baton from them. Nobody is contesting the leadership of the Yoruba with them, but they need to groom a natural leader of Tinubu’s caliber to step into their shoes, so that there won’t be a vacuum.

I believe that it is time for Afenifere leaders to bring Asiwaju Tinubu close to them. The Yoruba should not experience leadership vacuum, and that’s why it is very important for Tinubu and Afenifere leaders to work closely together.

Tinubu is a younger man who the Afenifere leaders need to be very close to them in order to learn from them what the future holds in stock for the Yoruba race. A closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere will be the interest of Yoruba race.

Asiwaju Tinubu perfectly fits into the shoes of a Yoruba leader who will continue to fight for the Yoruba interests within the larger Nigeria.

Who initiated the visit, Tinubu or Afenifere leaders?

There is nothing like who took the initiative or not; if Asiwaju Tinubu decides to visit his fathers, is there anything wrong with that? No. There was a time we all used to converge at Owo, the birthplace of late Papa Adekunle Ajasin. Our convergence there didn’t have any political coloration as what we usually discussed had to do with the Yoruba interests. Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti is a sign of good things to come for the Yoruba nation. Tinubu is still going to visit other prominent Yoruba leaders including traditional rulers.

What’s your reaction to the recent formal defection of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro back to theAPC?

Obanikoro has always been one of us until he took that decision to join the PDP. But all along, I knew that Obanikoro is a prodigal son who will one day return to the fold.

We started AD together. We were also together in the cabinet of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He was also elected into the Senate on the platform of AD. With Obanikoro’s defection, the PDP is finally dead in Lagos. Nobody is going to hear anything about PDP again in Lagos.

My good friend that I’m now waiting to receive in APC is Chief Bode George. I’m very optimistic that George will soon be part of us in APC. PDP has nothing to offer Bode George. By now, Bode George ,with the way PDP is treating him, should have realised that the PDP is not a party he can trust.

See how the PDP members are sabotaging his efforts to become the party’s new national chairman.

PDP is a party you can’t trust and that’s why we thank God that APC was able to bring to an end the PDP’s 16 years of bad leadership at the national level.

Initially, PDP ceded the position of national chairman to the Southwest, but suddenly they have changed the rule, and what the party is now saying is that the position has been zoned to the entire South. But the game plan by some leaders of PDP was to ensure that Uche Secondus emerged as the new national chairman of the party. I’m very sure that Bode George’s eyes would have been opened now. My advice to him is that being a Lagosian, he should join APC, he should team up with us in APC so that he can also be part of the success story that APC has been in Lagos State. I’m waiting to hand over APC flag to Bode George. There is nothing again in PDP for him. PDP is a party of manipulators and deceitful men. Bode George has been betrayed by the PDP. If he continues to remain as a PDP member, he will become politically irrelevant.

How would you react to the claims by some Nigerians that APC and PDP are the same, that you can hardly differentiate between the two?

That’s an insult. A very big insult. How can you compare APC with PDP. It is like comparing light with darkness. APC is light while PDP is darkness, and that’s why Nigerians use their voting power to get rid of the party in 2015.

By the time PDP was voted out of office, the party has become a big burden on Nigerians. In actual fact, Nigeria would have become a failed state under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Now look at the transformations that have been steadily taking place under the APC leadership. It is no longer business as usual. The era of impunity, which was one of the hallmarks of PDP’s government is also over.

Unlike the ‘ungolden’ era of PDP when looters were having a field day, now it is no longer business as usual. Although some may be complaining about some hardship, APC is trying its best to overcome this challenge. Some of the steps being taken may be gradual, but surely the positive impacts of APC government is being felt all over the place. PDP has gone into political oblivion. The party will never rise again. PDP brought pains, misery and poverty upon Nigerians but, APC is taking steps to ensure that things are getting better as soon as possible. As for 2019 general elections, I have been reading some PDP chieftains boasting that PDP will bounce back into power. What a dream. What wishful thinking. These PDP leaders are suffering from political hallucination. Nigerians will never vote PDP into office again.

On the issue of President Muhammadu Buhari seeking reelection in 2019, the issue has become controversial …

I don’t see any reason for any controversy. So far, Mr President has not come out to make a categorical statement on the issue. The ball is in Buhari’s court, let’s wait for the President to speak on the issue. If Buhari decides to seek reelection, it is his constitutional right to do so, but like I said earlier, let Buhari make his intention known first instead of people speculating.

Source: The Sun

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Abdullahi’s Inside Story On Jonathan

Abdullahi’s Inside Story On Jonathan

Azu Ishiekwene

Of the three presidents who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan appears, so far, to have been the subject of more controversial books than his two predecessors.

Five notable books about or significantly touching on former President Obasanjo’s tenure are his memoir, My Watch; Olusegun Obasanjo: The Presidential Legacy (Vols. I & II) 1999-2007, by Ladipo Akinkugbe et al; Obasanjo, Nigeria And The World, by John Illiffe; and Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Accidental Public Servant.

Segun Adeniyi’s Power, Politics and Death, is perhaps the most definitive book yet on late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure.

Within two and a half years of Jonathan’s exit from power, however, five books on his tenure have, so far, been published, three of the most notable of which are – Against the Run of Play, by Segun Adeniyi; Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, by Reno Omokri; and now, On a Platter of Gold, by Bolaji Abdullahi.

Adeniyi was an insider in a different era, but even though the other two – Omokri and Abdullahi – served in the same government at different levels, their views are strikingly, but unsurprisingly, different.

Abdullahi’s 397-page 12-chapter book is an X-ray of Jonathan’s five-year rule, the forces that made him a democratic president and how Jonathan’s apparent inability to manage some of those forces eventually brought down his government.

When the author said from the title of the book that Jonathan was handed the Presidency on a platter of gold, I don’t think it was to suggest that Jonathan was unworthy of the bequest.

The trope was in the context of other political heavyweights who had given everything for the office but still failed to get it. And Abdullahi named them in the introductory chapter of his book.

But there was more to Jonathan’s golden chance than the list of those who tried but failed to become president. The economy, for example, was on a better footing with the external reserve at $43 billion (oil price at $84 pbd); the amnesty programme started under Yar’Adua was bearing fruit and calm was returning to the Niger Delta; the country had substantially regained its goodwill and respect abroad. And on top of all this, by 2011, the ruling PDP had swallowed its own vomit by setting aside zoning to back Jonathan.

With party and country rooting for him and the tailwinds behind the economy, the President could not have wished for more auspicious circumstances.

From Abdullahi’s account, three things defined Jonathan’s Presidency – discontent within the relatively weakened party he inherited; the handling of Boko Haram, which pre-dated him; and the attitude of Jonathan’s government to corruption.

President Jonathan has, of course, added two other reasons why he lost: he has blamed the Northern elite, especially the leadership of the party (which has in turn blamed Jonathan for recruiting outsiders who used vile language during the campaign); and he has also blamed foreign powers, specifically the US, France and the UK.

Until he stops threatening to write and actually writes his own memoir, however, we’ll have to wait and see if the man in the mirror will ultimately take responsibility.

Outsiders were probably familiar with the episodes summarised above, but perhaps not with the intricate, riveting details of who did what, when and how.

The author takes the reader by hand through the corridors of power in Aso Rock into the Glass House, the chambers of council meetings, and other such sanctum sanctorum where decisions are taken in the name of the country but which often bear the disgusting imprint of narrow personal and group interests.

Who could have known that two women in the presidential godhead – Diezani Allison-Madueke and Stella Oduah – while presenting a façade of a public interest, still managed to corner the President behind each other’s backs, with long knives? And that if Diezani did not whisper into Jonathan’s ear, he might have spared Oduah even after a presidential panel had indicted her in the N250 million bulletproof car saga?

In hindsight, though, it is quite interesting to see that Diezani, of all people, was Jonathan’s closet lecturer on how to tackle corruption!

Who could have thought that Dame Patience Jonathan, apart from her famous gift for drama, could also summon the presence of mind in her post-election moment of distress to remind the Attorney General of the Federation of some fine points of history after accusing him of betrayal?

Or that Minister Adewunmi Adesina, in spite of being President Jonathan’s poster boy, would be among the first to jump ship, openly courting the opposition, after Jonathan’s defeat? But it’s all there in the book, in details not previously known and in words that will make you cry and laugh. Or think.

The author appears to suggest that on his own, Jonathan was a very nice man, a happy-go-lucky fellow who will not offend anyone. I think most people would agree.

But that was, also, part of the problem. A leader who does not want to offend anyone, who does not want to break eggs, cannot expect to make omelet. A leader who will say one thing in the morning and another in the afternoon just to please the last listener, may not be motivated by vicious incompetence, but incompetence is incompetence. There’s no need for an adjective.

Yet, we also see from the book that power can be a very, very lonely place.

When it came to the decisions that unmade Jonathan’s presidency – whether it was about what to do with the fuel subsidy scam or how to respond to Boko Haram, which covered one quarter of the book; how to handle the Chibok girls or how to respond to the rebellion in his party and the momentous exit of five governors; whether to accept defeat after the election or charge his party to appeal – the man was utterly alone.

Would the trajectory have been different if Jonathan had a different temperament? Had he grown so used to being number two that he could not adjust to the nation’s top job? Or was Jonathan, well, just Jonathan?

We now know a little more from an insider. Jonathan meant well. He promised a free and fair election and he delivered it. He said his election was not worth the blood of a single Nigerian and conceded defeat even before the final results were in.

As to why he failed reelection, the single most telling revelation from the author is that all said and done, the job was beyond him, a point on which two of the three notable post-Jonathan era books agree.

In the last chapter of his book, Abdullahi, who was Sports Minister, narrated how Jonathan executed nine ministers in one day of cabinet shuffle. He said he was penciled in but was later “saved for another day.”

Well, that day came to pass but the story is missing in his book! That’s probably a story for his next book.

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network.

Buhari not thinking of 2019 elections yet

PMB Not Thinking Of 2019 At The Moment – Lai Moh’d

By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah and Tunde Oguntola, Abuja –

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari is ardently concerned about delivering on his key campaign promises than re-contesting the presidency in 2019.

The issue of whether Buhari will run for the 2019 presidency had been a subject of debate in the public, with political analysts insisting that his body language is in the affirmative, especially now that the president’s support groups are drumming support for him.

But speaking during a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of LEADERSHIP Group Ltd in Abuja yesterday, the minister dispelled insinuations about the president warming up for 2019.

He maintained that Buhari is more focused on fulfilling his campaign promises of fighting corruption, dealing with insecurity as well as boosting the nation’s economy and would not want to be distracted with politics.

“Mr President is much more concerned about delivering the campaign promises of the current administration, and don’t want to be distracted. As government, our major concern is delivering the promises of the current administration. At the end of the day what we will campaign with is our achievements’’, Mohammed said.

He also reiterated that recovering looted funds from looters and cleansing the country from corruption, among others remains one of the cardinal points of the current administration.

The minister noted that unlike in previous administrations when recovered loot were being diverted, all recovered stolen funds in the current administration will be accounted for.

He recalled that President Buhari had on Wednesday inaugurated a three -member committee to audit all assets recovered by relevant government agencies.

The committee, he noted, is mandated to audit all remittances into the accounts in which the recovered assets were lodged up till April 2017 to ensure that reports submitted to him were accurate.

The minister said cash recovered in the current administration to date include N78, 325,354,631.82 (seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo).

He also listed varying sums in other currencies to include $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros), all totaling about N144.9 billion.

He added that apart from this, recoveries under interim forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period include N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo).

Other amounts in other currencies are $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents); 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents), summing up to about N3.3 trillion.

On the whistleblower who went to court over his unpaid commission for the funds recovered from a mansion in Ikoyi, the minister recalled that when he made the announcement of the compensation for whistleblowers, he made it clear that whistle blowers will get between 5 to 2.5 per cent of the recovered funds.

He said the higher the quantum of money recovered, the lower the percentage, just as he explained that anything below a billion naira will get five per cent, while recovered loot above one billion will get less than five per cent.

Besides, he noted that fears of revealing the identity of whistleblowers have now being allayed, as the original whistleblower of the Ikoyigate has headed to court to seek redress.

On the recent alleged feud between operational staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Directorate of State Security (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) over the abrupt halting of EFCC’s attempt to arrest former directors-general of DSS, Ita Ekpeyong and NIA, Ayodele Oke, the minister said it is not unusual for government agencies to clash over operational issues.

“When the chips are down the president will surely ensure that things are done right. It is not abnormal to have issues or conflict among government agencies’’, he said.

On the president’s directive that state governors should pay all staff salaries before Christmas, the minister stressed the need for state governors to heed to the president’s call.

“The federal government has intervened four times and I hope they (governors) will heed to the president’s request this time to pay up all workers owed their remunerations’’, he said.

On efforts by the federal government to ensure that the nation is free from all forms of insecurity and activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, he said the current administration is proud to say peace and security are steadily restoring in the Northeast, which was in the grip of the terrorists when Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.

‘’We have put Boko Haram on the run. Occasionally, they attack soft targets, but even that is being tackled with intelligence-driven measures. We are tackling insecurity comprehensively, whether it is Farmers/Herders clash, cattle rustling or kidnapping. Only this morning, the federal government launched the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’’, he noted.

Mohammed said the current administration is also revamping the nation’s economy as can be seen in the various economic indices.

He continued: “The Naira is largely stable; we have raised foreign reserves from N23 billion to N35 billion within a year and we have pulled the nation out of recession. Our economy is on a growth trajectory once again, after contracting for five consecutive quarters. We have been named among the top 10 reforming economies in the world.

“We have leapfrogged 24 places in the ease of doing business rankings. We are taming inflation, which has fallen for eight consecutive months. We are building infrastructure and we are creating jobs. Also, I am glad to inform you that capital importation into Nigeria in Q3 2017 recorded a substantial increase, compared to the past few quarters, as the economy continued to recover from recession.

“The total capital imported in the third quarter was recorded at $4,145.1 million, more than double the inflow in the second quarter of this year, representing an increased value of 147.5% on a year-on-year basis’’.

On his part, the Chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, described Lai Mohammed as an astute politician and one of the most serious ministers in the current administration.

The media mogul however assured the minister of adequate support and coverage by the organization.

We Must Address Root Causes Of Violent Extremism- FG

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed yesterday that his administration will address the root causes of violent extremism and hate in the country.

He spoke yesterday at the launch of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Expressing the determination and commitment of his government to tackle violent extremism, Buhari recalled that Nigeria was before now, a free, peaceful and enterprising nation.

He called on state and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism at the grassroots.

The president said he had directed all ministries, departments and agencies to institutionalise mainstream measures to address the root causes of violent extremism, while implementing programmes that would build the resilience of Nigerians to recover from the consequences of violence.

His words: “We must now, while working together, focus on rooting out hate, misrepresentation of religion and violence in our society.

“I also call on states and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism sat the grassroots”.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Babagana Mongonu (rtd), said Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that has developed the policy framework, which the country showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He recalled that in 2015, President Buhari directed the review of Nigeria’s countering violent extremism programme.

According to The NSA, the review showed the need for a complementary soft approach to the kinetic effort in dealing with terrorism based on principles of whole-of-government and whole-of-the society approach.

He said, “We also recognised that in line with our focus on transparency, accountability and the rule of law, we needed to build a policy framework that ensures the institutionalisation and mainstreaming on countering violent extremism across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.

“While we were taking this step, the then United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Banki Moon in December of 2015, issued a call to member states to develop national plans to prevent violent extremism.

“It is in this context that l wish to thank His Excellency, Mr. President for endorsing the presidential directive on implementing Nigeria’s framework and national action plan for preventing and countering violent terrorism on the 24th or August, 2017.

“I wish also to inform Mr. President that Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that have developed the policy framework which we showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly held in September 2017 in New York”.

Ten years after defecting to PDP, Obanikoro formally back to APC

After 10 Years in PDP, Obanikoro Returns to Tinubu’s Camp

Musiliu Obanikoro

Gboyega Akinsanmi and Jonathan Eze

Former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro saturday returned to the arm of his political godfather and the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu after spending more than ten years of his political career in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Obanikoro, who held different strategic positions under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, defected to the APC alongside other prominent chieftains of the PDP in Lagos State, a situation that has further depleted the rank of the opposition party in the state.

The PDP chieftains, who defected to the APC alongside Obanikoro, comprised Prince Kola Balogun, Mrs. Modupe Shasore, Hon. Wasiu Ogunlana, Hon. Kamal Olorunoje, Mr. Jide Damazio, Mr. Kayode Bawa-Allah, among others; a development that reinforced Tinubu’s grip on Lagos.

At his defection that took place at Campos Square, Lagos Island yesterday, Obanikoro was received by Tinubu, who was represented by the APC National Vice Chairman (South West), Chief Pius Akinyelure and the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem.

His defection, previously speculated statewide, was witnessed by the Chairman of Lagos APC, Chief Oladele Ajomale, an APC chieftain, Alhaji Kashim Imam, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, former Lagos State Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, Mr. Olawale Edun, the State Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal among others.

Other APC leaders, who witnessed the defection include Hon. James Faleke (Ikeja constituency), Hon. Ayo Joseph, former Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Chairman, Comrade Ayo Adewale, Hon. Moji -Ojora Meranda (Apapa constituency), Otunba Tayo Oyemade, Dr. Abayomi Finninh, Prince Adewale Ojora and other party faithful.

In an address he delivered after he was presented the flag of the APC, Obanikoro specifically appreciated Tinubu, his political godfather, Governor Ambode, Ajomale and other party chieftains that facilitated his defection to the APC after he abandoned Tinubu’s political camp over 10 years ago.

He, therefore, pledged to work for the growth of the party in Lagos and Nigeria, noting that his return to the political family of Tinubu and defection to the APC would mark a new beginning.

Obanikoro’s defection had stirred insinuation that he might contest elective positions in the 2019 general election, though it was not yet clear the political office the former minister might contest.

An APC chieftain disclosed that Obanikoro had made up his mind not to dabble into the governorship race, noting that his plan was to team up with Tinubu and Ambode to further strengthen the APC, not only in Lagos State and South West, but equally across 36 states of the federation.

He added that Obanikoro might want to contest senatorial election either in Lagos East Senatorial District currently being represented by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa or Lagos West Senatorial District, which Sen. Adeola Olamilekan-Solomon is currently representing at the Senate.

He noted that Obanikoro’s defection had already thrown the APC chieftains in the two senatorial districts into confusion, especially those from 6 LCDAs/LGAs in Alimosho and 4 LCDAs/LCDAs in Kosofe and Somolu, citing their refusal to accept the party’s proposal to accommodate all interests in the constitution of the LCDA/LGA Executive Councils across the state.

Source: ThisDay

At last, Atiku dumps APC

Atiku leaves APC 


Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar

Niyi Odebode, Abuja

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has defected from the All Progressives Congress.

Atiku, in a statement he personally signed on Friday, recalled how he joined the ruling party in 2013.



Below is the statement:

“On the 19th of December, 2013, I received members of the All Progressives Congress at my house in Abuja. They had come to appeal to me to join their party after my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had become factionalized as a result of the special convention of August 31, 2013.

“The fractionalization of the Peoples Democratic Party on August 31, 2013 had left me in a situation where I was, with several other loyal party members, in limbo, not knowing which of the parallel executives of the party was the legitimate leadership.

“It was under this cloud that members of the APC made the appeal to me to join their party, with the promise that the injustices and failure to abide by its own constitution which had dogged the then PDP, would not be replicated in the APC and with the assurance that the vision other founding fathers and I had for the PDP could be actualized through the All Progressives Congress.

“It was on the basis of this invitation and the assurances made to me that I, being party-less at that time, due to the fractionalization of my party, accepted on February 2, 2014, the hand of fellowship given to me by the All Progressives Congress.

“On that day, I said ‘it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision” to accept the invitation to join the All Progressives Congress.

“Like you, I said that because I believed that we had finally seen the beginnings of the rebirth of the new Nigeria of our dreams which would work for all of us, old and young.

“However, events of the intervening years have shown that like any other human and like many other Nigerians, I was fallible.



“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced.

“Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo,  he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had ‘not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance’.

“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr. President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties.’

“Since that memorandum was written up until today, nothing has been done to reverse the treatment meted out to those of us invited to join the All Progressives Congress on the strength of a promise that has proven to be false. If anything, those behaviours have actually worsened.

“But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?”

He stated, “After due consultation with my God, my family, my supporters and the Nigerian people whom I meet in all walks of life Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa” has resigned from the APC.

Source: The Punch

Ghost of PDP is haunting Buhari’s government

Ghost of PDP is haunting Buhari’s government

By Farooq Kperogi

Karl Marx famously started the Communist Manifesto with the following ominous words: “A spectre [i.e., a ghost] is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism.” When I think about the Buhari government’s enduringly monomaniacal obsession with PDP, I can’t help recalling Marx and saying, “A spectre is haunting Buhari’s government-the spectre of PDP.” Only that it’s a PDP it defeated in an unprecedented electoral upset in 2015.
Right from its inception to now, the Buhari government has spent its every waking moment quaking in its boots in debilitating dread of the ghost of PDP. The last few weeks have seen a particularly unexampled uptick in the evocation of PDP to explain away government’s incompetence and dishonesty. Let’s recapture a few of them.

On October 25, 2017, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Malam Garba Shehu said, in spite of irrefutable evidence to the contrary, that PDP was responsible for reinstating and promoting alleged pension fraudster Abdulrasheed Maina. “[S]ome influential officials loyal to the previous government may have been the invisible hand in the latest scandal that saw the return of Maina to the public service, despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list,” he said in press statement.
Well, now that a leaked memo from the Head of Service of the Federation, which hasn’t been disclaimed, has revealed that President Buhari was aware of, and actually signed off on, Maina’s recall and promotion, who might these “influential officials loyal to the previous government” whose “invisible hand” actuated the Maina scandal be? Perhaps, Malami, Dambazzau, or even Buhari himself?
On October 28, 2017, Colonel Hameed Ali, a Buhari confidant and Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs service, said, “Today, with all sense of responsibility, I want to say that we have 50 per cent of PDP in our government. How can we move forward with this load?…Today, we have members of the PDP calling the shots.”
On October 31, 2017, Personal Assistant to the President on Social Media by the name of Lauretta Onochie said PDP isn’t just 50 percent of the present government; it’s actually omnipresent and omnipotent. “That brings me to those in this government who are here to serve themselves [that] colonel Hameed Ali… called PDP. They said that there is about 50 percent of them in this government, but I say no they are more than 50 percent. They are everywhere; they are in the presidency, they are in the National Assembly, you can find them in the judiciary, they are in the law enforcement agencies…”
On November 2, 2017, Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha, who is the sole APC governor in the southeast, said, “It is not that 50 per cent of PDP are running this government alone, but that PDP members are holding major plum jobs in the country which, if it were PDP government, they won’t have allowed. They are getting fattened as a result and ready to fight us.”
And on November 3, 2017, Femi Adesina, the president’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, implied that PDP is the reason Buhari goes to London for medical treatment. “The question is, ‘What did they do with that money? Why didn’t they fix our hospitals in all those years that we had boom?’” he said during an appearance on an AIT news show called “Focus Nigeria.”
It makes you wonder if PDP is also responsible for the Buhari administration’s inability or unwillingness to equip Aso Rock clinic with basic medical equipment more than two years after being in power and after budgeting billions of naira for it.
On October 9, Mrs. Buhari had cause to lament the appalling state of Aso Rock Clinic. “Few weeks ago I was sick as well,” she said. “They advised me to take a first flight to London. I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us. If the budget was N100 million, we need to know the way the budget is spent…. There are lots of constructions going on in that clinic but there is no single syringe there.”
Mrs. Buhari’s fulmination came in the wake of her daughter’s Twitter outrage a week earlier. Why didn’t anyone tell them that they were barking up the wrong tree? They should have been told to complain to the ghost of PDP, which is apparently still dictating the direction of the current government.
As the reader can see, the opinions of key players in this government appear to coalesce around the consensus that PDP is still in power and is responsible for all the actions and inactions of the current government.
It is entirely in the realm of plausibility that the Buhari government spokespeople and officials will find a way to spin the latest $1.4 million military contract scam involving, according to TheCable of November 8, “Mansur Dan-Ali,… minister of defence, Danjuma Nanfo, the immediate past permanent secretary in the ministry, and LYM Hassan, a brigadier-general and coordinator of peacekeeping” and link it to the PDP.
At this rate, PDP may even be accused of metaphysically inhabiting in Buhari’s very body since he is, in many cases, directly or indirectly involved in several of the scandals PDP is blamed for!
None of what I’ve written is intended to make light of PDP’s disastrous 16-year rule. PDP was unquestionably a monster of depravity when it held sway, but APC is not any better. Plus, it’s in power now and has all the legal instruments it needs to summarily dislodge, if it so desires, the faintest vestige of PDP wherever it exists.
In fact, even the PDP itself expected to be dislocated, isolated, and contained as soon as it lost power. Senator Silas Zwingina notably said in the run-up to presidential election in 2015 that it was imperative to stop Buhari from winning because he would send crooked PDP politicians like him to jail. “As you know, there is no way you will hold office in Nigeria and go scot free if the authorities want to get you,” he said. “Buhari is determined to send people to jail and even APC governors are not comfortable with him, and that’s why many of them are not following his campaign team.”
More than two years on, Buhari hasn’t only embraced the very people who dreaded him, his officials now say those same people are the engine of his government. What stops the government from removing all the PDP members it says still constitute the bulk of its personnel and are responsible for its underachievement? Of course, everyone knows the answer: “PDP” is merely a bogeyman, a deceptive rhetorical crutch that functions to deflect attention from the government’s failures, incompetence, and unpreparedness to govern.
An English proverb says a bad workman blames his tools. We can rephrase that to: an incompetent, unprepared government blames the ghosts of the opponents it has vanquished.

Source: Daily Trust

2019: APC governors fail in bid to secure automatic endorsement of Buhari’s second term

APC NEC meeting: Govs’ bid to get automatic 2019 ticket for Buhari fails

President Muhammadu Buhari


• President to appoint more ministers, heads of agencies
John Alechenu, Abuja

A move by some governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress to use the platform of the National Executive Council of the party to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term failed on Tuesday.

The APC NEC is the second highest decision-making body of the party after the national convention.

Signs of what was in the offing became apparent early in the day as some governors known to be close allies of the President extended a campaign they began at an event organised by the Buhari Support Organisation in Abuja on Saturday.

In separate interviews with reporters at the APC National Secretariat, the venue of Tuesday’s NEC meeting, the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha; his  Plateau and Kebbi counterparts, Simon Lalong and Atiku Bagudu, respectively said only Buhari had what it would take to fly the party’s flag in 2019.

The governors spoke before the commencement of the NEC meeting. Lalong said all the governors had agreed to work towards the President’s re-election in 2019.

He said, “Concerning the issue of sole ticket for Mr. President, I want to say that if Mr. President is performing, well-respected and carrying everybody along, all of us have resolved that we will work for him.”

He then asked a rhetorical question, “Do we have any other person that will challenge the President again? Whatever you call it, as far as we are concerned, we have one President and that is the ticket we will fly.

“I want to assure you that you won’t see a wrangling party after the meeting. From now onwards, it will be focused governance from Mr. President and all the governors from the states. We have all resolved to support Mr. President.”

His Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, who was also responding to a question on whether the governors had resolved to give the President an automatic ticket, said, “The performance of the President in the last two and half years suggests that if he wants to contest, l will certainly support him and l know that our party members feel the same about him.”

However, the governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, expressed a slightly different opinion.

While responding to a similar question, he said, “For anybody to preempt the consensus opinion of the people is to say the least not fair to the vision of our party.

“I can tell you if there is anything that is clandestine, the President will not honour it. So, let’s wait and see as we embark on these meetings.

“I believe the consensus and the preponderance of opinion of all party members will be what is good for this country and we have already known the will of this country, the future of this country as we are now as a country is associated with one person, who is impeccable, who has the greatest amount of integrity that you can find in any human being around; so, your guess is as good as mine.”

Also speaking on the issue, Okorocha, who is also Imo State governor, said only a decision by President Buhari to contest the 2019 election could make him drop his personal presidential ambition.

He said, “If Mr. President wants to run for election, he will follow all the processes and if he is the person, we will all support him. In APC, there is no imposition of candidate.

“If Buhari is running, I will allow that man to continue but if he is not running, I won’t sacrifice my Presidential ambition. Mr. President is showing the right leadership and taking the very right steps and there is reconciliation going on even with nobody talking about it. There is the spirit of reconciliation and people understand their role.

“Our role is to make this party great and we are all trying to do that; but importantly, the governors have remained the pivot upon which this wheel of change has rotated so far. We have kept this party working and after this meeting, our congresses and convention will commence in the early part of next year and all party organs will be strengthened. We are in good mood and high spirits.”

During the meeting proper, one of the party members moved a motion asking that a vote of confidence be passed in the President and that he should be endorsed as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.

This however failed to sail through. The party members felt that considering the fact that aggrieved members had yet to be pacified, doing so would escalate tension in the party and adversely affect its chances.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, confirmed this while speaking to newsmen after the NEC meeting.

He explained that the Tuesday’s NEC meeting was not about the 2019 elections but that there was a motion asking that first, a vote of confidence be passed in the President and then he should be endorsed as the party’s candidate for the 2019 election.

Dogara said, “Today’s meeting was not about 2019 elections. When we talk about 2019 in the context of the agenda you saw, we are talking about membership registration, the drive for membership and others. We are not talking about elections.

“Even though there was a motion on the floor that called for a vote of confidence in the President, some of us felt it was not necessary because there is nowhere that his confidence is shaking.

“But the motion was taken and passed. But there was a second leg to that motion which calls for the adoption of the candidature of the President, but it was deferred for now and no decision was taken because that is not the major reason why we are here.”

He further explained that the party had yet to agree on a date for its inaugural bi-annual national convention because details were still being worked out.

The Speaker noted that some of the grievances expressed by party members were normal in every family.

He stressed that there was no family without its internal squabbles; and noted the challenges were being handled and would soon be resolved.

Similarly, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, explained that a member of the party’s NEC made a move for a confidence vote in the President after a briefing by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, about the activities of his ministry.

Abdullahi said, “One of the NEC members said we should move a motion passing a vote of confidence in Mr. President. There was no formal motion moved on the issue of second term for Mr. President.

“Somebody in the crowd shouted that we should move a motion and we don’t even know that member. But the motion that was formally moved was that NEC should pass a vote of confidence in Mr. President and that was after the brief given by the Minister of Agriculture, especially when he said that by 2018, Nigeria would have no need to import a single grain of rice. That is the context and I need you to understand that very well.”

He added, “The only discussion or conversation on 2019 was the activity of the party in 2018, especially the issue of convention. It was agreed that since we have all these activities lined up, including the mini-convention, congresses and elective convention, a small team be set up to put dates to these party activities up to 2018.

“There was no discussion about election of 2019 or who will be the party flag bearer. The committee will decide when all these activities will take place.”

Abdullahi also said a vote of confidence was passed in the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun National Working Committee of the party.

Buhari confirms plan to reshuffle cabinet, reconstitute boards
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed speculations about an impending cabinet reshuffle and the reconstitution of the boards of federal agencies.

Buhari made his plans public in an address to party leaders during the NEC meeting.

While admitting that the reconstitution of boards had been long in coming, the President explained that the need to ensure the right balance was largely responsible for the delay.

This is coming two years after he took office in 2015. Those familiar with the President’s plan, indicate that the planned cabinet reshuffle is likely to lead to a split of the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Works, Power and Housing.

Observers are of the view that the President’s latest move is aimed at dousing growing tension within the party.

He said, “I am keenly aware that our supporters are very eager for these appointments to be announced. By the Grace of God, these appointments will be announced soon, especially now that the economy is improving; we will have the resources to cater for the appointees.

“By the same token, the compressed Federal Executive Council will be expanded to bring in more supporters at federal level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government.

“Some of us in this meeting may know I had given instructions since October 2015 for this exercise to start. But there have been inordinate delays through several committees in an attempt to get the balance right and to make sure all parts of the country are equitably represented.”

Buhari claimed his administration had delivered on most of its campaign promises within the last two years.

He said, “We can be proud of our achievements in the last two years: Boko Haram, Niger Delta, regular fuel, improved power, TSA, agriculture and fertiliser; above all, the knowledge that corruption will not be tolerated in this government. We all know there is change.

“In my remarks to the caucus meeting yesterday, I enumerated the progress that our government has made in the implementation of the programmes of government and the party manifesto.

“Nigeria’s prestige has gone up, Nigeria is now creditworthy, a clear testimony of which was the over-subscription of the Euro-Bond by four times. Nevertheless, we are not resting on our achievements; I am quite aware of the challenges before us.”

Although almost all notable party leaders attended the event, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was absent.

Source : The Punch