Tag Archives: Nigerian politics

You can’t stop Tinubu’s presidential ambition, Ajomale blasts Miyetti Allah’s leader, others

You can’t stop Tinubu’s presidential ambition, Ajomale blasts Miyetti Allah’s leader, others

No group can stop Tinubu’s presidential ambition –Ajomale

Bola Tinubu

Former Chairman, Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Henry Ajomale has said that no group can stop the presidential ambition of the national leader of the ruling party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, Ajomale spoke on various issues.

How would you react to the declaration by the National President, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo that the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not be President of Nigeria in 2023?

Who is Bodejo? Is Bodejo God that he should be making that kind of declaration? Only God knows tomorrow. Bodejo is going too far by trying to play God. What Bodejo should realize is that if God has destined it that Tinubu will be President of Nigeria in 2023, one million Bodejos of this world can’t stop it. Who even knows what will happen between now and 2023; it is only God. Bodejo’s statement is not only reckless but also very unfortunate.

The Miyetti Allah leader further claimed that Tinubu is an old man, and that he may be older than President Buhari. He further said that Tinubu is not a Yoruba leader.

Why is Bodejo so obsessed with Tinubu? Why is he talking about the man like that? I believe Bodejo perhaps has a hidden agenda against Tinubu, if not, he would not have become or speaking so bitterly about Tinubu.

But like I said earlier, Bodejo is not God, and he can’t act God. What Bodejo should realize is that it is Tinubu’s constitutional right to aspire for any political office in the country including the Presidency. It is now left for Bodejo to vote or not to vote for him. Bodejo has only one vote. It is Nigerians that will determine Tinubu’s fate if he has such an agenda.

But Tinubu has even declared recently that his pre-occupation for now is to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its plan to take Nigeria to the Next Level. Tinubu said that 2023 is not on his agenda for now, so why is Bodejo so concerned about Tinubu? Bodejo is a busy-body, he is crying more than the bereaved.

Rather than worrying himself and having sleepless nights over Tinubu, Bodejo’s headache should be how to stop the senseless killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen. Bodejo should first put his own house in order before he starts dabbling into other people’s affairs. I expect Bodejo as the national president of Miyetti Allah to be sober and apologetic to Nigerians for the havoc being wreaked by the herdsmen instead of talking on politics, and attacking individuals. I implore Nigerians to ignore Bodejo and his rantings on Tinubu. Tinubu will not be distracted by his vituperations as Tinubu is focused and determined to continue giving his support to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

On the issue of his claim that Tinubu is not a Yoruba leader, what’s your take on that?

That’s his own view, but there is no controversy about it, and the fact still remains that today as we are speaking, Tinubu is our leader, not only that, he is also a Yoruba leader, and his leadership is recognised and acceptable to the Yoruba.

On whether he was able to get only 50 percent of Yoruba votes for Buhari during the last general elections, that’s not the issue, the fact remains that he delivered Southwest for President Muhammadu Buhari, and the APC.

In a recent interview, former Minister for Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe claimed that APC has been winning elections in Lagos State since 1999 through manipulations, rigging and that Asiwaju Tinubu has moles within PDP who are on his pay roll, what’s your reaction to that?

Ogunlewe is a failed politician, and he is very bitter that Tinubu has been flooring him and other PDP leaders like Bode George and Kofo Bucknor-Akerele.

I have been with Tinubu since 1999, and not only that, I have also been part of the system and took active part in every election in the state since that time. Tinubu is a democrat who detests rigging. He believes in selling the party’s manifesto to Lagosians starting from the days of Alliance for Democracy, AD through the period when the party metamorphosed into ACN and now APC.

Lagosians love Tinubu and the parties namely AD, ACN and APC and that’s why they have always been voting for the party.

Ogunlewe was once with us in AD, and it was during that time that he was elected as a senator on the party’s platform. But when he crossed over to PDP, his political career diminished and since that time, he had never won any election in Lagos State. Since Ogunlewe joined PDP, he has become politically irrelevant to the extent that he can’t even win his own polling unit, not to talk of his ward. Ogunlewe has even become a liability to PDP in Lagos State. He has no electoral value again. If it is true that Tinubu and APC are rigging elections in Lagos State, then why has Ogunlewe been unable to win any election since he joined PDP? Since he was one of us before, the assumption is that he would have mastered the art of rigging from Tinubu and AD. Ogunlewe should not be taken serious.

By attacking Tinubu, Ogunlewe is biting the hands that fed him. It was through the grace of Tinubu that he was elected a senator, and since he left AD, Ogunlewe has become a spent force in politics,

How can he compare himself with Tinubu? There is no basis for comparison, even in Ogunlewe’s ward, he can’t get 10 people to follow him whereas millions of Lagosians will troop out to follow Tinubu if the two of them are to engage in a test of popularity on Lagos road.

Ogunlewe should face reality; PDP is dead in Lagos State. Lagosians love APC and the party’s programmes. Lagosians like how APC has turned Lagos State into Centre of Excellence, and that’s why Lagosians have been voting for the party and Tinubu since 1999.

On his allegations that Tinubu’s private company, Alpha Beta is siphoning funds from Lagos State government through the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR that it collects for the state government, what’s your take on that?

Tinubu should be commended for boosting the IGR in Lagos State when he was the governor of the state between 1999 – 2007. Before then, the state’s IGR was very poor. But through his political brilliance, sagacity, and ingenuity, Tinubu boosted the IGR, and other governors that followed him sustained it, and that is why Lagos State has been able to have the money to embark on many monumental projects that have transformed the state. This is why many people have continued to refer to Tinubu as the builder of modern Lagos State. Tinubu laid a solid foundation which others have been building upon till today. But what can Ogunlewe point at as his achievements or contributions to the development of Lagos State? Nothing. I’m publicly challenging him to mention anything he achieved for Lagos. When Ogunlewe was Minister for Works when he was supposed to be attracting projects to Lagos State, he didn’t do so. Rather, he was blocking projects that were supposed to be allocated to Lagos State. Not only that, many would remember that it was during the period when he was Minister for Works that he brought hoodlums and thugs to be disrupting free flow of traffic on Lagos roads. He was actively involved in this show of shame. To me and many others, Ogunlewe was a disgrace to Lagos State when he was a minister because Lagos State didn’t benefit anything from his tenure as a minister.

Ogunlewe should stop linking Tinubu with woes in PDP in Lagos State. PDP in Lagos State has always been a house divided against itself. PDP in Lagos State has always been like a flock without a shepherd. Even on the eve of the recent general elections, the former Lagos State PDP chairman, Moshood Salvador with his exco members defected en masse to APC, and you refer to PDP in the state as a party. There is no PDP in Lagos State, but just a group of confused elements parading themselves as politicians.

What’s your assessment of the recent general elections?

The election was okay, and I believe we should commend INEC and even President Muhammadu Buhari.

Unlike what happened when PDP was in power when rigging and manipulations were the order of the day, the ruling party APC lost some states. If it were to be before, this would have been unthinkable. This is why I believe President Buhari should be commended. We all knew what happened when the apostles of do-or-die politics in PDP were in power.

The deployment of the military for the polls has been condemned by some people …….

The deployment of the military was to forestall breakdown of law and order. It was aimed at protecting lives and properties. We could see how hoodlums and thugs unleashed violence in some places. If not for the military, the situation could have degenerated.

Election is supposed to be a civil affair, but the way some people take it as a matter of life and death, they are so desperate to win at all costs and in order to actualise their ambition, they hire thugs and hoodlums not only to disrupt the voting exercise but also to attack their opponents, but government can’t allow anarchists to hold the nation to ransom, and this is why military is there to keep peace.

President Buhari was declared the winner of the presidential election, by the INEC but his main challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP has gone to court to challenge his victory, what’s your reaction to that?

Atiku is fighting a lost battle. Although it is his constitutional right to go to court, but I see nothing coming out of the case. Atiku is wasting his time. President Buhari beat him hands down. The margin was so wide. Let Atiku continue with his case while President Buhari forges ahead with his plan to take Nigeria to the Next Level.

One thing again is this, the court case Atiku brought against Buhari and APC is now leading to some issues unheard of before like the issue of Atiku’s country of origin. Although Atiku is claiming to be a Nigerian but what I know is that those who made the allegations that he is a Cameroonian wouldn’t have done so without having their facts. The onus is on Atiku to provide incontrovertible evidence that he is truly a Nigerian. Atiku will not be the first politician to be so accused of. In the 2nd Republic, Alhaji Abdurahman Shugaba, a politician from Borno State was deported to Chad after allegations were made against him that he was a Chadian but he denied the allegations and he was later brought back to Nigeria when he eventually showed proofs of his Nigerian citizenship. Let Atiku also provide concrete evidence that he is not a Cameroonian otherwise, many will continue to doubt his claims of being a Nigerian.

I implore President Buhari not to be distracted by Atiku’s case, he should continue with the good work he has been doing to transform Nigeria. It is easier for people to forget easily. Many Nigerians have short memory; if only they could remember the rot and the mess PDP put Nigeria into before Buhari took over in 2015.

President Buhari is doing his best. He is not a magician. It is not easy to transform Nigeria overnight especially after 16 years of PDP bad leadership. I enjoin Nigerians to continue supporting Buhari’s administration to enable him achieve his goals of restoring Nigeria’s lost glory.

Credit: The Sun

Court sacks APC senator — orders him to refund salaries, allowances within 14 days

NEWSJUST IN: Court sacks APC senator — orders him to refund salaries, allowances within 14 days

By Uchenna Inya

A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state has declared the seat of the senator representing Ebonyi South Senatorial zone in the National Assembly, Sonni Ogbuoji vacant for defecting from the party he was elected.

The court ordered him to vacate the seat immediately and ordered Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ogbuoji immediately and conduct a fresh election immediately to fill the seat.

The court also ordered the lawmaker to refund all monies be it salaries, allowances or any order form of payment he may have received as benefits from the position of Senator from the date of his defection to the coffers of government.

Ogbuoji was elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) but defected to All Progressives Congress(APC), a party he contested this year’s governorship election.

The Court in a 71 pages judgment delivered by Justice Akintola Aluko held that Ogbuoji by defecting from the party under whose platform he was elected to another party flouted section 68(1)g of the 1999 constitution.

The said section 68(1)g says that “a member of Senate or House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House if being a person whose election to the house was sponsored by another political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected. Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored”

In other words, any lawmaker who defects to another political party when the party under whose platform he was elected was not undergoing any form of crisis or was not part of a merger with two or more political parties shall vacate his seat.

The judgment was in respect of suit number FHC/AI/CS/44/2018 filed by Evo Ogbonnaya Anegu, Oti Ama Ude, Uche Richard Ajali, Una Sunday Okoro
and Simon Ajali Ogbadu for themselves and on behalf of the teaming members of the PDP in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.

They had sued Ogbuoji and the Independent National Electoral Commission (2nd Defendant) asking the court to declare the senator’s seat vacant for defecting to the APC when there was no crisis or division in the PDP.

They also prayed the court to order the 1st defendant (Ogbuoji) to refund all monies may have been paid to him since January 2018 when he defected from The PDP to the APC.

The plaintiffs in their postulations through their counsel, Barr Roy Umahi expressed worry that Ogbuoji’s conduct if not condemned and upturned would encourage political prostitution and legislative rascality and destroy the reasons for the laws made to regulate defections of National Assembly members by the constitution.

But Ogbuoji in his defence claimed that he resigned his membership of the PDP and defected to the APC on January 27, 2017 and not January 2018 as claimed by the Applicants.

He noted that the crisis in the party was finally resolved in July 2017 by the Supreme Court but that before then he had resigned his membership of the party via a letter of resignation he submitted to the PDP Secretary of his Ebunwana Ward, one Ukpo Regina Agwu in January 27, 2017.

But the Plaintiffs countered by providing evidence that the said Regina Ukpo was not the Secretary of the Ward at the time the said letter was allegedly given to her as she had already been by expelled by the party on 23 January 2017..

They also argued with incontrovertible evidence that Ogbuoji who claimed to have defected from the PDP to APC in January 2017 took active participation in the non elective and elective congresses of the PDP which held on August and December 2017 as a delegate.

The Court, in its findings said there were discrepancies in the evidences provided by Ogbuoji which rendered them unreliable and doubtful.

For example, the court noted that some of the documentary exhibits presented by the defence like signatures of Ukpo Regina Agwu, the erstwhile Ebunwana Ward Secretary, were found to be materially different in the various documents provided to the court .

“There is no basis to attach any probative or evidential value to the said exhibits

What that means is that the defendant’s claim of resignation ( on January 2017) is shrouded in inconsistency, contradiction and suspicion” , the judge said.

The Court agreed with the Plaintiff’s claims that most of the documents provided by the 1st Defendant were concocted for the purpose of the suit only.

The Court in conclusion said that it has been tremendously an sufficiently established by credible evidence that Ogbuoji defected to the APC in January 2018 and not January 2017 as he claimed in his defence.

It also said that at the time of his defection there was no division or faction in the PDP to warrant such defection as permitted by section 68 (1)g of the constitution.

“By the evidence before me, I find that the 1st defendant is guilty of unholy political flirtation and coquetry which the makers and drafters of the constitution resolved to outlaw by the enactment of section 68(1)g of the constitution”, Justice Aluko declared.

The Judge further held that having defected to another party when there was no crisis in his original party, Mr Ogbuoji ought to have vacated his seat.

Having failed to vacate his seat in the senate following his unconstitutional defection in a manner that suggests that he ate his cake and still wanted to have it, he is liable to be forced out and refund to the National Assembly all monies in form of salaries, allowances, or whatsoever paid to him by virtue of his unconstitutional holding on to the position as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria beginning from the date of his unconstitutional defection till date”.

“Consequently I hold that the case of the plaintiffs has merit and same hereby succeeds”, Justice Akintayo stated

The Judge further ordered INEC to withdraw Ogbuoji’s Certificate of Return and immediately conduct a fresh election to fill the vacant seat created by his unconstitutional defection.

The Court also awarded the sum of N500, 000 in favour of the plaintiff and against the 1st defendant.

Ogbuoji, it will be recalled contested the 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi state against the incumbent Governor, David Umahi.

He lost the election to the governor who was on Tuesday issued Certificate of Return and is expected to be sworn in on May 29 for a second term in office.

Credit: New Telegraph

I remain Osun Governor, Oyetola insists

I remain Osun governor, says Oyetola

Bola Bamigbola
Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, on Saturday, said he remained the duly elected governor of the state regardless of Friday’s judgement of the state Election Petitions Tribunal.
Oyetola enjoined the public to disregard the insinuations that he had been sacked, saying he was confident of retaining his mandate at the appellate court.
He spoke in Osogbo while inspecting some ongoing road and drainage projects in the state capital.
The governor said the outcome of the lower court did not, in any way, affect the validity of the votes freely and willingly given to him by the people of the state.
He said since the constitution allowed him to file an appeal against the judgement, he remained the legitimate governor of the state.
Oyetola said, “I am confident that our mandate will be reaffirmed at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. As you all know, it was a split judgement, telling us that it was not a unanimous decision. This is part of our strength at the appellate court.
“I must correct the impression that I have been removed from office. I remain the governor of Osun up until all the electoral litigation is finalised. My visit to this site is in furtherance of our commitment to ensuring a better life for all residents of the state and to demonstrate that governance brought about by our government continues.”
The governor, who had earlier received the leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress at the Government House, assured the supporters of the party that he would become victorious at the end of the litigation.
He called on the party loyalists to remain calm and expressed confidence in the judiciary to deliver justice.

Credit: The Punch

Shehu Shagari: A Good Man But Bad Leader

Shehu Shagari: A Good Man But Bad Leader

Former President Shehu Shagari, left, with President Muhammadu Buhari

By Jiti Ogunye

As we mourn the passing of President Shehu Shagari, in a country like ours where our cultures prescribe that we do not speak ill of the dead, and where our past and recent histories are often distorted or forgotten, we must truthfully state his poor leadership records, even as we recognise his warm, and genial personality.

Former President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari passed on yesterday at the age of 93. Our condolences go to his family, his people in Shagari Village in Sokoto State, Sokoto State and fellow Nigerians. Being a former president of this much raped and abused country, his loss should be mourned by all. May Allah, the merciful, the beneficent, grant him Aljannah Fridaus.

Before becoming president in October 1979, Alhaji Shagari served in many capacities at the Northern Region and federal government levels. He started his career as a school teacher before his foray into politics.

He was a federal parliamentarian and minister in the First Republic, under Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the prime minister between 1958 and 1966, before the first military coup aborted that Republic. After the end of the civil war, he returned to government in 1970 as a minister, a position he held until 1971, when he succeeded Chief Obafemi Awolowo as minister of finance, on the resignation of the latter from the Gowon government. Alhaji Shehu Shagari served in that capacity between 1971 and 1975, when the Gowon government was sacked in a military coup, paving way for the emergence of the Murtala/Obasanjo military regime.

Thus, when he became the first president of Nigeria in 1979, upon a switch of the country to the American presidential system of government (from the parliamentary or Westminster system), he was not new to politics, government and power. Although his emergence as president was controversial, it was expected that he would bring his experience and knowledge to bear on the running of the business and affairs of government.

Two controversies dogged his emergence as president. First, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was said not to be an overtly ambitious, power craving politician. He reportedly had initially expressed no interest to run for the office of president, indicating his preference of becoming a senator. He was, however, persuaded by the kingmakers in that era, principally and allegedly the “Kaduna Mafia”, a Northern Nigeria political power epicentre, to vie for the office of president. He was, therefore, an unwilling and (presumably) unprepared candidate. When his performance in office became lacklustre, his leadership failures were attributed to his being an unwilling president.

The second controversy was about the very contentious election that brought him to power. The Electoral Decree No 34 of 1977 that governed the presidential election of 1979 had provided, just as it is the case currently, that in order to be elected to office, a presidential candidate must have scored at least one quarter of the total votes cast in at least two-thirds of the states in Nigeria; and the highest number of the votes cast. The requirement addressed the need for spread, since the entire country was the electoral constituency of the president. Nigeria had nineteen states then. In the election, held on August 11, 1979, Alhaji Shehu Shagari scored the highest number of votes cast (5,688,657, as against that of the top contender, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s 4,916,651); and at least a quarter of the votes cast in twelve states. But that was not two-thirds of the nineteenth states, mathematically. In the thirteenth state (Kano), Alhaji Shehu Shagari failed to score the required one-quarter of the total votes cast. He secured 19.94 per cent of the votes cast in Kano State. Yet, he was declared winner of the election by the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) and proclaimed as president-elect. The outcome of the election was challenged by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the subsequent election tribunal, which dismissed the petition.

When an appeal of the tribunal’s verdict eventually got to the Supreme Court (in Awolowo v Shagari), before a full panel of seven justices, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), who eventually became the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, rehashed his arguments before the Election Tribunal, which had been accepted by the Tribunal. His contention was that in order to get one-quarter of the total votes cast in the thirteenth state, the reckoning must not be the total votes but two-thirds of the total votes; meaning that once a candidate satisfied the requirement of obtaining one-quarter of the total votes cast in twelve states and in two-thirds of the thirteenth state, then he should be accepted as having satisfied the requirement of scoring at least one-quarter of the total votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of the nineteen states of the federation.

The argument was rejected by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who counter-argued that one-quarter of the votes in the thirteenth state could not be determined on the basis of a split of the total votes cast in the thirteenth state into fractions. He pressed the Court to accept that one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of nineteen states must be one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least thirteen states of the federation.

The Supreme Court in a majority decision of 6-1 (Kayode Eso, JSC, dissenting) accepted the 12 2/3 argument and upheld the earlier dismissal of Awolowo’s petition. That decision did not rest the argument about the legitimacy of the Shagari government. Especially, given the fact that the election was held under the “anti-Awolowo disposition” of General Olusegun Obasanjo, the outgoing military ruler, who had declared before the election that the best candidate might not necessarily win the election.

Upon being sworn into office, President Shehu Shagari exhibited humility, geniality and generosity of spirit. He conferred the highest honorific title in Nigeria, the title of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), usually reserved for heads of state, on Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

When patriots began warning that poverty had become accentuated under his government, a garrulous and cynical member of his cabinet reportedly taunted Nigerians that no Nigerian had started eating from the refuse dump! The government boasted that the economy was strong, and when the bubble burst, President Shagari, faced with the grim situation of an unraveling economy introduced “austerity measures”.

Unfortunately, President Shehu Shagari was a genial leader who presided over a profligate and financially reckless government that squandered the opportunities for a post-thirteen years of military era development of Nigeria. With the hawks in his government like Senator Uba Ahmed (secretary general of the ruling National Party of Nigeria, NPN) Umaru Dikko (the transport minister), Meredith Adisa Akinloye (chairman of the NPN) and inspector general of Police, Sunday Adewusi, who he couldn’t rein in, a budding fascism was being implanted in Nigeria. Every patriotic admonition by the opposition, principally the Obafemi Awolowo-led UPN, that Nigeria was headed in the wrong political and economic direction was derided as a prophesy of doom from an ever-lamenting Jeremiah (a reference to Obafemi Awolowo, whose baptismal name was Jeremiah).

Most of the policies and programmes of the administration were incoherent and not well thought through. In the agricultural sector, for example, a meaningless Green Revolution programme, patterned after the previous Olusegun Obasanjo administration’s Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), was put in place, with millions of naira being voted for the importation of fertilisers to help farmers. Yet, evidently, the fertiliser importation frenzy was largely a scam to siphon money. So also was the rice and cement importation policies. The ports became congested, with task forces set up to clear them. It was an era of the unbridled importation of goods, including luxury goods, leading to the depletion or evaporation of Nigerian foreign reserves.

To the credit of the administration, however, there was an expansion of the country’s education system at the federal level; establishment of River Basin Authorities, irrigation schemes and dams across Nigeria; and the laying of the foundation of the steel development sector in the country.

In a departure from the pretentious “low profile” culture of the Obasanjo era, when the official car of members of the military executive (military governors and the head of state) was a Peugeot 504, for example, President Shehu Shagari brought a thoughtless flamboyance into government; a lifestyle that the economy could not support. Mercedes Benz saloon cars became the official vehicles of government officials (just like the Toyota SUVs of today). And Nigerians were quick in naming the car “Shagari Style”. His government bought a presidential jet, thereby starting the tradition of acquiring and maintaining a wasteful presidential fleet, a tradition that continues to rule our lives as a country till date.

When patriots began warning that poverty had become accentuated under his government, a garrulous and cynical member of his cabinet reportedly taunted Nigerians that no Nigerian had started eating from the refuse dump! The government boasted that the economy was strong, and when the bubble burst, President Shagari, faced with the grim situation of an unraveling economy introduced “austerity measures”. It was the hardship brought about by that gross mismanagement of the economy that the military used as a pretext to stage a come back coup, which unfurled a chain of unbroken military rule for another 16 years, until the death of General Sani Abacha led to a short transition to civil rule programme, which brought Olusegun Obasanjo, the retired military general, back to power.

Unfortunately also, President Shehu Shagari ran a political party (the National Party of Nigeria) and a government, which obviously did not exhibit the character of having learnt any lesson from the tragedy of the First Republic. That Republic collapsed, in part, because the politicians of the era, who were in control of the federal government, took democratic opposition as treason, and political dissent as insurrection. It’s war on the opposition and persecution of opposition politicians presaged the collapse of the First Republic. Alhaji Shehu Shagari was a participant in that era. He was a Northern People’s Congress (NPC) minister. He was in attendance at the meeting that the remnants of the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa government had with Major General Aguiyi Ironsi on January 15, 1966, following the abduction and killing of the prime minister, and also the assasination of the Northern Nigeria premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello; the Western Nigeria premier, Samuel Ladoke Akintola; finance minister, Okotie Eboh; and other military commanders. The meeting purportedly transferred powers to the military.

The historical significance and lessons of that meeting ought to have been etched in the memory of Alhaji Shehu Shagari for ever, such that when he had the privilege of taking over power back from the military, thirteen years after those unfortunate occurrences, he ought to have striven to run a government and played a politics that would avoid the mistakes of the First Republic’s civilian administration, in order to inoculate the Second Republic against self-inflicted destruction, and prevent it from coming to grief in the hands of ambitious soldiers, who had seen themselves as the military wing of the Nigerian ruling class and the alternative to a “fumbling” civilian administration.

That was not to be. In spite of President Shagari’s personal geniality, he lacked the requisite discipline in leadership. Just as the NPC had behaved earlier, intolerant of the opposition, the NPN government, under Shagari, began persecuting the opposition. In Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, the governor from the Aminu Kano-led Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) was impeached by an NPN-led House of Assembly. Bala Muhammed, the radical Marxist lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) was mobbed and burnt to death by political thugs. And, Shugaba Abdurrahman Darman, the house leader of the Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP)-controlled Borno State House of Assembly was deported from Nigeria to Chad, for purportedly not being Nigerian. The minister of internal affairs signed a deportation order in 1980 to ground the forced eviction. Darman’s ostensible offence was that of being a fierce critic of President Shehu Shagari. It took the UPN-inspired legal intervention of Chief GOK Ajayi (SAN) to restore Darman’s citizenship and bring him back into Nigeria. He won the legal battle in the High Court in Maiduguri, and the appeals that followed up to the Supreme Court. Not without drama though. At the High Court hearing, a woman who had been procured from Chad to claim that she was the real mother of Shugaba surfaced. She wailed all through, pleading that her son “who had run away from home in Chad should be returned to her.” But it was noted that in 1980, Shugaba, born in 1920, was a sixty year old man!

President Shehu Shagari certainly was not like many politicians of the Fourth Republic, who engaged in massive asset stripping of the Nigerian state in the name of privatisation. Nor did he recklessly loot the treasury of the country, as many of them have done. But, by his laissez faire approach to governance, his negligence of duty, his permissiveness and his lack of exhibition of a disciplined leadership, he created a basis for the collapse of the Second Republic.

Of course, the apogee of the political infamy of the Shagari administration was the massive rigging of the 1983 general elections. Political violence to terrorise the opposition ahead of the election was combined with actual police clampdown to spread terror before and during the elections. Ondo State resisted the political robbery of that perios with tragic consequences. And predictably, three months after being sworn into office for a second term of four years, the military struck and overthrew his administration.

Instructively, while he and the vice president, Alex Ekwueme, were detained following the coup, notable truculent members of his administration, whose actions contributed to the collapse of the Second Republic escaped into exile, including: Adisa Akinloye, Richard Akinjide, Umaru Diko, and Uba Ahmed.

President Shehu Shagari was not known to be a personally corrupt ruler, as some of the military rulers before and after him were known to be. He was flamboyant in his resplendent, well embroidered “Shagari Style” dress, with the tall cap to match. He enjoyed the pomp and pageantry of presidential power; and he enjoyed traveling the world. He liked paying state visits. In 1983, he left Nigeria on a scheduled trip to India on the sad day that the NITEL Building in Marina, the tallest structure in Nigeria, was consumed by an inferno. On that day, he visited the burning NITEL building on his way to the airport, left it burning, and embarked on his trip.

President Shehu Shagari certainly was not like many politicians of the Fourth Republic, who engaged in massive asset stripping of the Nigerian state in the name of privatisation. Nor did he recklessly loot the treasury of the country, as many of them have done. But, by his laissez faire approach to governance, his negligence of duty, his permissiveness and his lack of exhibition of a disciplined leadership, he created a basis for the collapse of the Second Republic.

It was sad that when the possibility of a military coup stared him in the face, he attempted to dissuade senior military officers from embarking on the coup by allegedly providing luxuries for them, including gifting Mercedes Benz cars to the upper echelon of the military. That did not stop the planned usurpation of power.

As we mourn the passing of President Shehu Shagari, in a country like ours where our cultures prescribe that we do not speak ill of the dead, and where our past and recent histories are often distorted or forgotten, we must truthfully state his poor leadership records, even as we recognise his warm, and genial personality.

This is the right thing to do. By so doing, history is not robbed. Facts are not distorted. And the current power welders, who are “good people” surrounded by some “bad people” may take heed in the realisation that personal character and integrity means nothing if they are not matched with transparent competence, and if it cannot be used to prevent bad people who find their ways into power from being the determiners of the direction of government, while the elected good people wring their fingers and do nothing.

Adieu President Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari.

Jiti Ogunye, lawyer, public interest attorney, legal commentator, author, and essayist, is the legal adviser to PREMIUM TIMES.

Why I backed APC in Osun rerun – Omisore

Why I didn’t support Adeleke during Osun gov rerun – Omisore

Omisore, middle, with APC leaders

Femi Makinde, Osogbo

The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has said that he opted to support the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, in the rerun election in the state because the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state said they did not need his support.

Omisore said this in Osogbo on Thursday during a meeting with members of the SDP from across the 30 local government areas of the state.

Omisore, who defected from the PDP to the SDP some months before the election, said that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar wanted to come and discuss with him before the rerun when he came to Osogbo but he (Atiku) was prevented from coming by the leadership of the PDP in the state.

A former Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr Yemi Farounbi, had said this while narrating why Omisore decided to work for the APC candidate in the rerun supplementary poll held on September 27.

Farounbi said the same thing and Omisore, while addressing the party members, said he adopted everything the former envoy had said.

He said the party opted to support the candidate of the party that was ready to implement the manifestos of the SDP because the party was for the best interest of the majority of the people.

Omisore said, “I want to adopt all what Dr Farounbi said. We gave them (APC and PDP) our manifesto. We dwelled on payment of arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities, on local content, employment for our youths and the reorganisation of the educational system, among others.

“We went to negotiation with a clear mind that Osun must be free and thank God our coalition has produced a new future for the state.

“In addition to what Dr Faroumbi said, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole, said clearly that our discussion was devoid of any financial commitment. He said they were ready to work.”

Speaking earlier, Farounbi had explained that the SDP leaders decided to support any political party that was ready to put the people of the state first, saying Omisore earned his respect more because he was selfless in arriving at who to support.

He said the issue of arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities which had impoverished workers and pensioners was given priority. The reorganisation of the education sector and local content were also prominent on their agenda.

Farounbi said, “Apart from these, we also said the state must return to 6-3-3-4. That contracts and services must be given to Osun indigenes; that infrastructural development and food security must be given priority because our people must not be hungry and they agreed.

“The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, was the first to come and he came from the airport to Ile-Ife with some senators and Dr Doyin Okupe. We gave him our manifesto and we waited for 24 hours but no response. We heard that they were saying that we wanted to reap where we did not sow. We heard that they said they would win without us and all that.

“Also, former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, who is the director general of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, called and said they were in Osogbo and they would come to see us. But they did not come.

“But former Vice President Atiku Abubakar called and expressed his regret for not being able to come. He said he wanted to come but the leadership of the PDP in Osun State said they should not come because they didn’t need us. That we should go and do anything we liked.”

Credit: The Punch

2019 Governorship: Ogboru, Dapo Abiodun, Cole make APC list of confirmed candidates

APC releases names of 24 approved governorship candidates (FULL LIST)

Lois Ugbede

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has released the list of 24 cleared candidates for the 2019 governorship elections.

The list was contained in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena.

This list according to the statement is a result of the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) held on Thursday.

“Following the Governorship Primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held across the country, the Party’s National Working Committee (NWC) at its meeting held on Thursday, 4th October, 2018 ratified the reports of the various Electoral Committees and adopts the under-listed as Governorship candidates of the APC for the forthcoming 2019 general elections,” Mr Nabena said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the APC held its primaries across states from September 30 spilling into October due to rescheduling of the exercise in some states and controversies in others.

The party did not name candidates in some states whose primaries are yet to be resolved. New electoral panels will be set up to conduct governorship primaries in Imo and Zamfara states, the APC said in an earlier statement. No candidate has been named yet for Adamawa.

Below is the full list of approved candidates

























Credit: Premium Times

Corruption: The US Senate report that finally nailed Atiku Abubakar

Corruption: The US Senate report that finally nailed Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Abubakar has for a long time been challenging Nigerians who accused him of being corrupt to come forward and prove it. So far nobody has come forward.

Well, PMNEWS has received a report on how Atiku was the subject of a probe ten years ago, by a United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin.

The report detailed how Atiku Abubakar while still the vice president of Nigeria between 2000 and 2008, used offshore companies to siphon millions of dollars to his fourth wife in the United States, Jennifer Douglas.

Specifically, the report said Jennifer Douglas, an American citizen, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts.

In 2004, the then President Bush barred Atiku and other corrupt politically exposed persons from being issued visa to the United States.

The US Senate probe was motivated by US government concern about corruption in the Third World and its corrosive effects on the development of honest government, democratic principles, and the rule of law.

“It is also blamed for distorting markets, deterring investment, deepening poverty, undermining international aid efforts, and fostering crime. Some have drawn connections between corruption, failed states, and terrorism. Corruption also continues to be a massive problem. The World Bank has estimated that $1 trillion in bribes alone exchange hands worldwide each year,” the committee noted in its bulky report.

Atiku was not the only foreign Politically Exposed Person(PEP) probed by the committee. He had company in Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, now the 48-year-old son of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea (EG), late President of Gabon, Omar Bongo and three Angolan PEP accounts, involving an Angolan arms dealer, an Angolan government official, and a small Angolan private bank.

The committee submitted its report on 4 February 2010, three years after Atiku left office.

The report unveiled violations of US laws by Atiku and his fourth wife, Jennifer Douglas. It also included revelations about Siemens bribe paid into one of the accounts, and it possibly provided the basis for Atiku being barred from entering the United States, since then.

This Report examines how politically powerful foreign officials, their relatives, and close associates – referred to in international agreements as Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) – have used the services of U.S. professionals and financial institutions to bring large amounts of suspect funds into the United States to advance their interests. Using four case histories, this Report shows how some PEPs have used U.S. lawyers, real estate and escrow agents, lobbyists, bankers, and even university officials, to circumvent U.S. anti-money laundering and anti- corruption safeguards. This Report also offers recommendations to stop the abuses.

Here is a summary of the report:

Atiku Case History.

From 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a U.S. citizen and the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and former candidate for President of Nigeria, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts.

In a 2008 civil complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ms. Douglas received over $2 million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002, from Siemens AG, a major German corporation.

While Ms. Douglas denies wrongdoing, Siemens has already pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges and settled civil charges related to bribery and told the Subcommittee that it sent the payments to one of her U.S. accounts.

In 2007, Mr. Atiku was the subject of corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund.

Of the $40 million in suspect funds, $25 million was wire transferred by offshore corporations into more than 30 U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas, primarily by Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., LetsGo Ltd. Inc., and Sima Holding Ltd.

The U.S. banks maintaining those accounts were, at times, unaware of her PEP status, and they allowed multiple, large offshore wire transfers into her accounts. As each bank began to question the offshore wire transfers, Ms. Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her money.

When one bank closed her account due to the offshore wire transfers, her lawyer helped convince other banks to provide a new account. In addition, two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five years to American University in Washington, D.C., to pay for consulting services related to the development of a Nigerian university founded by Mr. Atiku Abubakar.

American University accepted the wire transfers without asking about the identity of the offshore corporations or the source of their funds, because under current law, the University had no legal obligation to inquire.

Executive Summary

Combating corruption is a key U.S. value and goal, due to its corrosive effects on the rule of law, economic development, and democratic principles. In 2001, the Patriot Act made the acceptance of foreign corruption proceeds a U.S. money laundering offense for the first time, and required banks to apply enhanced scrutiny to private banking accounts opened for senior foreign political figures, their relatives, and close associates. In 2003, the United States supported the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, now ratified by over 140 countries. Also in 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formed an investigative group dedicated to combating foreign corruption by PEPs. In 2004, President Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 7750 denying U.S. visas to foreign officials involved with corruption, and Congress later enacted supporting legislation. A 2009 study sponsored by the World Bank analyzed PEP controls worldwide and recommended stronger measures to reduce corruption.

The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Subcommittee) initiated this investigation to learn how U.S. laws apply to PEPs utilizing the domestic financial system, and examine how foreign senior political figures, their relatives, and close associates may be circumventing or undermining anti-money laundering (AML) and PEP controls to bring funds that may be the product of foreign corruption into the United States. It is the latest in a series of Subcommittee hearings examining foreign corruption and its U.S. aiders and abettors.

During the course of its investigation, the Subcommittee staff conducted over 100 interviews, including interviews of lawyers, real estate agents, escrow agents, lobbyists, bankers, university professionals, and government officials. The Subcommittee issued over 50 subpoenas and reviewed millions of pages of documents, including bank records, correspondence, contracts, emails, property records, flight records, news articles, and court pleadings. In addition, the Subcommittee consulted with foreign officials, international organizations, financial regulators, and experts in anti-money laundering and anti-corruption efforts.

Credit: P.M. News