Tag Archives: PDP

Full text of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari 

Full text of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari 

Special Press Statement
​President Olusegun Obasanjo​
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Since we are still in the month of January, it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity.
The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today. With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.
Four years ago when my PDP card was torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit partisan politics for aye but my concern and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I have adhered strictly to that position. Since that time, I have devoted quality time to the issue of zero hunger as contained in Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We have set the target that Nigeria with the participating States in the Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier than the UN target date. I am involved in the issue of education in some States and generally in the issue of youth empowerment and employment. I am involved in all these domestically and altruistically to give hope and future to the seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I believe strongly that God has endowed Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian should be either in want or in despair.
I believe in team work and collaborative efforts. At the international level, we have worked with other world leaders to domicile the apparatus for monitoring and encouraging socio-economic progress in Africa in our Presidential Library. The purpose of Africa Progress Group, which is the new name assumed by Africa Progress Panel (APP), is to point out where, when and what works need to be done for the progress of Africa separately and collectively by African leaders and their development partners. I have also gladly accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to be a member of his eighteen-member High-Level Board of Advisers on Mediation. There are other assignments I take up in other fora for Africa and for the international community. For Africa to move forward, Nigeria must be one of the anchor countries, if not the leading anchor country. It means that Nigeria must be good at home to be good outside. No doubt, our situation in the last decade or so had shown that we are not good enough at home; hence we are invariably absent at the table that we should be abroad.
All these led me to take the unusual step of going against my own political Party, PDP, in the last general election to support the opposite side. I saw that action as the best option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed in the last three years or so, that decision and the subsequent collective decision of Nigerians to vote for a change was the right decision for the nation. For me, there was nothing personal, it was all in the best interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best interest of Africa and humanity at large. Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard. He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.
The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution. I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time. No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.
I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria. There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.
I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet uhuru!
The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.
But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation.  It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public? The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security.  The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game. Our Constitution is very clear, one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira forms an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation.
President Buhari’s illness called for the sympathy, understanding, prayer and patience from every sane Nigerian. It is part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed for him while he was away sick in London for over hundred days and he gave his Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his absence. We all thanked God for President Buhari for coming back reasonably hale and hearty and progressing well in his recovery. But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say. President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.
I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.
I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.
I believe the situation we are in today is akin to what and where we were in at the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999. The nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion. Most people were confused with lack of direction in the country. One of the factors that saved the situation was a near government of national unity that was put in place to navigate us through the dark cloud. We had almost all hands on deck. We used people at home and from the diaspora and we navigated through the dark cloud of those days. At that time, most people were hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw no choice, neither in the left nor in the right, and yet we were not bereft of people at home and from the diaspora that could come together to make Nigeria truly a land flowing with milk and honey. Where we are is a matter of choice but we can choose differently to make a necessary and desirable change, once again.
Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger. But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us.  They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. Einstein made it clear to us that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the height of folly. Already, Nigerians are committing suicide for the unbearable socio-economic situation they find themselves in. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.
What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youth and dignity and full participation to all our women. Our youth should be empowered to deploy their ability to learn, innovate and work energetically at ideas and concepts in which they can make their own original inputs. Youth must be part of the action today and not relegated to leadership of tomorrow which may never come. Change that will mean enhancement of living standard and progress for all. A situation where the elected will accountably govern and every Nigerian will have equal opportunity not based on kinship and friendship but based on free citizenship.
Democracy is sustained and measured not by leaders doing extra-ordinary things, (invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary things very well), but by citizens rising up to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well.  Our democracy, development and progress at this juncture require ordinary citizens of Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of changing the course and direction of our lackluster performance and development. If leadership fails, citizens must not fail and there lies the beauty and importance of democracy. We are challenged by the current situation; we must neither adopt spirit of cowardice nor timidity let alone impotence but must be sustained by courage, determination and commitment to say and do and to persist until we achieve upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and we believe that our venturing will not be in vain. God of Nigeria has endowed this country adequately and our non-performance cannot be blamed on God but on leadership. God, who has given us what we need and which is potentially there, will give us leadership enablement to actualize our potentiality.
The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations. Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward.
We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja.
This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair. Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.
The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.
Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less. And if we have the best, we will be contented whether where we live is described as palaces or huts by others and we will always give thanks to God.
I, therefore, will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. From now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will be new, green, transparent and must remain clean and always active, selflessly so. Members must be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and pay the price of being pioneers and good Nigerians for our country to play the God-assigned role for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-region of West Africa, for its continent and for humanity in general. For me, the strength and sustainable success of CN will derive largely from the strong commitment of a population that is constantly mobilized to the rallying platform of the fact that going forward together is our best option for building a nation that will occupy its deserved place in the global community. May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen.


Why PDP cannot ‘change the change’

Why PDP cannot ‘change the change’

Ayisha Osori

If you think there is only one way to run a successful, winning political party, let me save you time; this is not for you. This article is for those who dream of building a democracy that delivers to the majority or suspect that what we practise now can be greatly improved upon. By losing the Presidency in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party gained an opportunity to leave the old order of stage-managed democracy with undemocratic parties for a new order of better-organised, transparent political parties with liberal and democratic ideologies.

Instead, several things warn us that the PDP’s ‘change the change’ is merely a catchy, slightly menacing phrase telling us that the two major parties in Nigeria are really one coin with illusions of different sides. The first sign was that the party almost disintegrated from a supremacy tussle between the old guards. If the struggle were between the old guards and the PDP Reform Group, which was asking for accountability on party finances, reactivation of members’ dues collection and increasing the representation of women and youths, it would tell us that the PDP considered new ideas. But no, the struggle was confined to what winning party politics is always about: A platform for self-interests and the continued exploitation of Nigeria.

The second clue lies with financing. After the 2015 general elections, there were accusations and counter-accusations about how much the party raised and how much Ahmed Muazu, the then National Chairman, left behind when he resigned in May 2015. About N9bn was mentioned and denied and Ahmed Makarfi, interim chairman until last week, revealed that the party had undisclosed debts and access to less than N2m. The discord amongst party officials about the financial state of the PDP speaks volumes about how members and candidates will continue to mismanage public funds. In the aftermath of the 2015 elections, the PDP could have decided it wanted to register one million Nigerians across the country and ask them to pay N1,500 to register, N500 to process their ID cards and N1000 as their annual dues and they would raise at least N1bn. Instead, the party preferred the old way – to ask godfathers to donate and get governors to empty state coffers and continue the civil servant impoverishment scheme. Why? Because due paying members will ask questions, require more accountability and probably insist on the national convention and primaries being more democratic.

A third clue was the line-up of the contestants for the National Working Committee. All the contestants represented nothing new and a lot left to be desired and did little to inspire confidence that the PDP was ready to take governance and democracy in Nigeria seriously.

By the time the convention held on December 9, a few with knowledge of political party operations were expecting any pleasant surprises. We had the usual candidate denunciation less than 24 hours to the convention; allegations of underhand manipulations (including a favourite – hiding delegates in hotels); Unity, Citizens and Winning lists; and walkouts from the convention.

The PDP managed to throw in a few more indicators that they are serious about their devotion to business as usual.

The convention voted against an amendment to the PDP’s constitution to make it compulsory that one of two national deputy chair positions should go to a female member. The PDP was not done. Just in case 91 million female Nigerians missed the message, of the 19 positions on the NWC (excluding the two women leader positions), only one was won by a woman despite female members contesting most positions including deputy national chair (North), national secretary and national youth leader.

The PDP has advantages that one would like the only major opposition party in the country to have. National structures and outlook; educated members even at the ward level; and from their last eight years in power prior to the 2015 elections, when compared to the APC, the PDP is more willing to accommodate dissent. However, even the PDP’s messaging is off, with Goodluck Jonathan proclaiming last Saturday that “our party has done extremely well in managing the affairs of this country” when his government is considered one of the most corrupt. Recent revelations that $32bn were stolen during his six years as President highlight how unaware the PDP is of the role they have played in underdeveloping Nigeria.

The new NWC may set the party on a new, more disciplined path with better messaging aimed at amplifying the own goals the APC Presidency specialises in but a few would bet on that happening. Sadly, the APC is no different; there has not been a national membership drive and there is a strong sense of an abandoned, starving platform waiting for election season to trigger industry stakeholders. The APC convention, when members are brave enough to hold one, will be messy and contentious too.

The PDP cannot change the change for the same reason the APC cannot deliver change – both parties cannot give what they do not have. There may be a few within the parties who genuinely want things to improve but by using the current party structures, they compromise and disarm their vision for making the difference that will count.

Nigeria is ripe for a few political dark horses who can take advantage of the immense dissatisfaction with the state of things and the large number of registered and unregistered voters. Success will entail amongst other things organising across the country, refusing to use the playbook of the old order and using technology creatively. Many Nigerians are tired of the wolves and our experience makes it easier to spot those hiding in sheep’s clothing. Going forward winning elections is going to take a lot more than a lick of whitewash and the proverbial bowl of porridge that results in many selling their birth rights.

Ms Osori, author of Love Does Not Win Elections, lives in Abuja

Source: The Punch 

Trouble looms in PDP as Adedoja asks court to nullify Secondus’ election

Adedoja asks court to nullify Secondus’ election

Uche Secondus

By Gbade Ogunwale 

ONE of the candidates that contested for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking the nullification of the election of Prince Uche Secondus.

In the suit filed on his behalf by Rickey Tarfa & Co., Adedoja prayed the court to declare ?the election of Secondus as national chairman of PDP null and void.

The complainant also prayed the court to declare as null and void any documents submitted by the leadership of the PDP to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recognising Secondus as the party’s national chairman.

Adedoja also asked the court for the cancellation of the national chairmanship election held on Saturday December 09, 2017 at Eagle Square, Abuja, where Seconsus emerged as chairman.

He prayed the court to order the conduct of another elective national convention for the election of national chairman within 30 days ?of nullification of the December 9 convention.

Through his lawyers, Adedoja similarly asked the court to restrain the INEC from recognising Uche Secondus as national chairman of the PDP.

Adedoja said his name was unlawfully excluded from the ballot paper as one of the candidates vying for the position of chairman.

He averred that excluding his name from the ballot paper was a flagrant violation of the Electoral Act, the constitution of the PDP, the guidelines for the conduct of PDP national convention and the Constitution.

According to him, the organisers of the convention had substituted his name with “Prof Taoheed Oladoja” on the ballot paper, whereas all his nomination documents submitted to the leadership of the PDP bore the name of Prof. Taoheed Adedoja.

Adedoja also averred that he drew the attention of the chairman of the convention planning committee, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to the error.

But, according to him, his complaint was ignored by Okowa and other organisers of the convention, a situation which, he said, caused his loss at the election because those that wanted to vote for him could not find his name on the ballot paper.

Addressing reporters in Abuja yesterday, Adedoja said: “I have suffered psychological trauma as a result of the public ridicule the election result has caused me, my family members, friends and associates.

“My lawyers are demanding for appropriate compensation for damages, ridicule, embarrassment and disrepute brought to my name as a result of my willful exclusion from participating in the election resulting in zero score credited to my name, which is now in public domain.”

Listed as defendants in the suit are Okowa, Secondus, INEC and the PDP. No date has been fixed for the hearing.

Source: The Nation


PDP Convention: The Aftermath

PDP Convention: The Aftermath


The elective Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that took place at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Saturday, December 9, was a charade and an anti-climax. Everyone who had been a witness to the travails of the once-upon-a-time ruling party which lost power to the All Progressives Congress in 2015 – viz, the humiliation, the victimization of the party and its agents by the successor-government, the catastrophic seizure of the party by a certain Ali Modu Sheriff, the desertion of the party by opportunists seeking fresh foothold, protection, and relevance in the new ruling party, the pummeling of the party as a party of corruption by both the stupid and the knowledgeable- indeed nearly everyone who witnessed all this had expected that the party would use the opportunity of the Convention to renew itself and set the tone for a new beginning. The event of Saturday December 9 was truly meant to be the PDP’s new beginning but was it? No, it wasn’t. The election that took place was another night of the long knives. After the macheting, the ego slaying, the marching out, and the intrigues of Caesarian flavour, the PDP was left in a worse state than it had been. It was sad. It was disappointing. It was a big let down.

The All Progressives Congress has been gloating, trying to score a cheap point out of the melodrama of this PDP Convention, but it does not lie in the mouth of the APC to put down the PDP Convention. The tragedy of Nigerian politics right now is that we do not yet have, 18 years after our return to democracy, a political party that represents the closest ideals of democracy. There are 50 political parties or so on the list of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but they are all special purpose vehicles, designed to put ambitious men and women who go by the title of professional politicians in the corridors of power and more precisely, in close proximity to Nigeria’s resources.

These politicians are full of guile and bile; they would do whatever it takes to remain relevant, and once they gain power, they use it as they wish. More than two years after taking power, the APC has not been able to define what it had in mind when it campaigned on the platform of “change”. It has not been able to hold a Convention or form a Board of Trustees. Its leaders are divided, the government it has put in place is hobbled by inter-agency/intra-governmental rivalry and misunderstanding. It has proven to be no better, if not worse than the PDP it replaced. In the elections that have been held under the watch of the APC, be it in Ondo, Edo or Anambra, electoral integrity was a problem; whatever irregularities or chicanery may have been on display at the PDP convention are not alien to the APC or any other Nigerian political party. This is the big picture for informed consideration.

But we rightly complain about the PDP, because we had thought that given the humiliation it has suffered since its exit from power, given also, the winner-takes-it-all and vindictive posture of the ruling APC, and given, if we may add, the obvious failure and refusal of the APC to impress the people with quality governance, the leaders of the PDP would do everything to project their party unto a higher pedestal and regain the confidence of the Nigerian people.

On Saturday, December 9, they failed to do so. They ended up showing that they have learnt no lessons at all, and that they are perhaps incapable of learning. December 9 was the United Nations International Day Against Corruption. The label of corruption has been the worst stigma that the PDP has had to deal with in its short but eventful history. Rather than use the occasion of its Convention to market itself positively, the party delivered in broad daylight, a Convention that was a loud promotion of corruption, and a brazen mockery of the Buhari administration’s heavily conflicted campaign against corruption.

Long before the voting began, the news had been abroad that a certain Governor, namely Nyesom Wike of Rivers State had been going about insisting that his candidate, Uche Secondus must be the next Chairman of the party. Secondus, in his own right, a tested politician, and a man of great ability, had also been quoted saying it was the turn and the right of the South-South to produce the next Chairman of the PDP, regardless of an advertised agreement that the party’s Chairmanship should be zoned to the South West. The main story was that Wike is the new financier of the party and that at the critical moment when the party was drowning and seeking survival, it was Wike who came to the rescue with financial oxygen. The PDP went to the Convention of December 9 amidst loud whispers about how the party was about to be hijacked by highest bidders. Delegates were reportedly informed that if they voted in a certain manner, they would get a sum of N500, 000, an amount that reportedly went up to $10, 000 per delegate. Nobody controverted the story even as one of the founding fathers of the party protested that the Convention should not be sold to the highest bidder.

The suspicions and the whispers gained greater currency and verisimilitude, when just before the Convention, one of the Chairmanship aspirants, Chief Olabode George withdrew from the Chairmanship race. He accused Governor Wike of manipulating the process and of insulting the Yoruba race. Wike had reportedly appeared on television to tell the South West aspirants to forget their ambition because the Yoruba have never contributed much to the PDP. The witchcraft of ethnic marginalization and victimization is a convenient deus ex machina for aggrieved Nigerian politicians.

Bode George dragged it out and railed in purplish prose: “Everywhere you look, the Yoruba people are now being brazenly insulted…The Peoples Democratic Party has now mangled and distorted its soul and spirit…There is no sanity or any sense of enlightened civility.” Events moved quickly as other South West aspirants withdrew from the race and announced Professor Tunde Adeniran as their consensus candidate. The only other South West candidate who remained in the race, Professor Taoheed Adedoja got zero vote at the end of the day. He too must have been so incensed he probably refused to vote for himself in protest! It was an interesting day.

Still, before the voting began, a so-called Unity List showed up at the venue of the Convention. It was distributed to delegates and it soon found its way into social media. Envelopes of dollar notes were also allegedly distributed. When the voting began, all the names on the Unity List were listed first and strategically positioned and when the results were tallied, all the names on the Unity List won. Note this: before that announcement, Governor Ayo Fayose had appeared on AIT Television where he boasted arrogantly that whoever was not happy with the outcome of the elective Convention had no option but to accept the results. Other Governors also said they had reached a consensus to support Uche Secondus and the Unity List.

The question is: what was the purpose of the Convention then? If the new leaders of the party had been selected, the main business of the December 9 Convention should have been a ratification of the Unity List and not a so-called election. Uche Secondus and his Unity team may be capable men and women, but the process that has produced them is greatly flawed. It was to all intents and purposes a kangaroo process about which questions of legitimacy may be rightfully raised.

It is even more worrisome, that whereas there were 2, 115 registered delegates, the final vote count of 2, 297 exceeded that number. Were there ghosts at the Convention?
Professor Tunde Adeniran who walked out of the Convention in protest got merely 230 votes. Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi and Gbenga Daniel, also Chairmanship aspirants, have congratulated Uche Secondus, but the party is at the moment in the throes of a silence of the graveyard. It is not a comfortable place for a political party to be.

The Governors and their allies who have currently seized control of the PDP may have done greater damage to the PDP than the Ali Modu Sheriff faction that failed. In the days to come, nobody may defect from the PDP on account of this Convention, and no person may go to court to ask for the cancellation of its outcome but it is risky to alienate significant segments of the party as has been done. This omission and the triumph of a cash-for-position politics was one of the many factors that divided the party and robbed it of victory in the 2015 general elections.

Wike, Fayose and their co-travellers are said to be the new PDP panjandrums. Governor Wike, Governor Fayose and the new boys on the block who have taken control of the PDP should moderate their triumphalism. They should remember the words of the sage who said that those whose palm kernels have been cracked for them by benevolent spirits should learn to be humble. They should ask the elders of the party to tell them some stories about the past. Governor Gbenga Daniel who was frog-jumped out of the race, and who was not even allowed to add a candidate to the Unity List was once a powerful PDP decision-maker. The same is the case for Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke, Obong Victor Attah, Sir Peter Odili, Sanimu Turaki, Abdullahi Adamu, Ahmed Muazu, Achike Udenwa, James Ibori, Lucky Igbinedion… but where are they all today? Governor Olusegun Mimiko, most recently of Ondo state, and some other yesterday men did not even bother to attend the December 9 Convention.

Anyhow, my fear is that all the partners who contributed candidates to the Unity List and shared the positions among themselves are not working with any defined purpose other than their selfish interests. As they soon abandoned one another after endorsing the caretaker Chairmanship of Ali Modu Sheriff, they may again soon part ways when the differences in their motives swim to the surface. The victim will again be the party. This is indeed sad because the APC has performed so poorly in power there is no reason why it should beat the PDP in 2019.

But if the PDP does not quickly put its fallen house in order, it will fall into its own grave. Since it lost power at the centre, Nigerians had looked up to the PDP to provide a robust opposition to the new ruling party. The party continues to fail woefully in this regard. The opposition to the Buhari administration has been majorly self-inflicted; it is not because of any creativity on the part of the PDP or any other political party. The opposition has come mainly from a disappointed electorate that was promised change but got stasis, promised prosperity but received penury, offered hope but handed despair, motion instead of movement, opaqueness in place of transparency.

Bode George dismissed the PDP Convention as “brazen fraud and absolutely preconceived, monetized, mercantilist Convention”. Political party corruption is the stimulus for corruption in the larger society. The crisis of internal democracy within our political parties remains a major challenge in Nigerian democracy. If the PDP must survive, new Chairman Uche Secondus and his Unity team must address the crisis of legitimacy of their own becoming. They must ensure that the PDP does not go into the 2019 elections as a divided and incapacitated party. Secondus, now Nulli Secondus, should adopt a total approach by reaching out immediately to all aggrieved parties, and show that he is an independent umpire as the PDP begins the search for a Presidential standard bearer. He must disown the ethnic umbrella of his Chairmanship and project himself as an unbiased, open-minded party leader and as his own man.

Whatever may have happened at the Convention, he can still keep the party whole and together, since in any case, Nigerian politicians are always ever so circumspect and cowardly in a situation like this – nobody may take the principled position of going to court to challenge the irregularities at the Convention.
Source: ThisDay


PDP Convention: The Winners and Losers

PDP Convention: The Winners and Losers

PDP chairman, Uche Secondus

After every contest, winners and losers must emerge. Olawale Olaleye identifies those who won and lost at last Saturday’s National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party

Even when the standard expectation is that a winner and a loser must emerge in any contest, Nigeria’s politicians hardly go to an election, thinking the tide might swing against them. Everyone seeking an elective office in Nigeria always does so with one thing at the back of his mind: to win.

This is why every contest, is followed by barrage of litigations. Maybe at the party level, it might be minimal. But it is also evident from some of the pre-election developments that the outcome of last Saturday’s convention might have left the partly divided as some remain unhappy amidst the jubilation of others.

Whilst it is expected that the new leadership will kick-off by first taking up the assignment to reconcile the aggrieved parties, here are some of the winners and losers below:

The Winners…

Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan led the PDP to electoral defeat in 2015 after 16 years of holding down power at the centre. He had since lived with the guilt of causing his party and its members a terrible heartbreak, compounded by the leadership crisis that broke out shortly after.

But he had also made conscious effort to reconcile the party members amid differing interests. Thus, with this phase done and over with, 2019 is the next focus for Jonathan, who is now leading the campaign of against the APC. He is a winner.

Ahmed Makarfi

Leader of the National Caretaker Committee of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, assumed leadership position at a most difficult time, when the leadership crisis in the party was at its peak. He however weathered the storm and stood like the Rock of Gibraltar behind the party until his faction of the PDP won at the Supreme Court against Ali Modu Sheriff. He also led the party to a successful convention. He is a happy winner by all standards.

Nyesom Wike

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has remained a recurring decimal since the party lost in 2015. The idea of bringing Ali Modu Sheriff, who shook and unsettled the party for over a year, was his. And yet, either by accident or design, he has successfully installed the new chairman. He is a major winner, because he literally has PDP in his pocket now with Uche Secondus as national chairman.

Ayodele Fayose

Like Siamese twins, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose has consistently tagged along with Wike in the recent trajectory of the party. They both brought in Sheriff and they are both together on the Secondus assignment. Therefore, they are both winners. Fayose is though believed to have traded off the chances of the South-west because he looks forward to becoming a presidential running mate to whoever picks the party’s ticket; he is still a winner as his candidate has emerged.

Uche Secondus

The new National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus is the ultimate winner. Rising from being deputy national chairman of the party to becoming the acting national chair, who took over from Adamu Muazu, who was forced to resign, Secondus has waltzed his way to the very top of contemporary party politics in the PDP. He won in a landslide.

South-south, South-east

The South-east and the South-south regions, which gave-in to the Secondus chairmanship bid pressure at the last minute, are winners because their gamble has paid off. They had delayed which direction to go for some obvious intrigues that had heightened at the last minute. It was not a bad decision after all.

Atiku Abubakar

One of the latest entrants into the PDP and presidential hopeful, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is yet another winner at the PDP convention. Although there had been speculations that he was an ally of Professor Tunde Adeniran, one of the chairmanship hopefuls from South-west, the fact that Atiku is keen about the overall well-being of the PDP and the future of the country makes him an undisputed winner.

Old PDP Members

In all, the biggest winners at the PDP national convention are the old members, who believed in the ideals of the party, the dreams of the founding fathers and resolved to withstand the sufferings that came along with leadership crisis which lasted over a year. They are the real winners.

The Losers…

South-west and Its Candidates

The South-west geo-political zone lost big time in the just concluded PDP national convention as it failed to have the seat exclusively zoned to it. Whilst the party’s NWC had agreed to have the seat zoned to South, another decision was allegedly taken at the Southern level to zone it to the South-west, which immediately threw up the likes of Chief Bode George, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Taoheed Adedoja.

But that understanding was thwarted by the candidates from South-south, who didn’t think the South-west deserved it. This is why one after the other, they all either stepped down or withdrew from the race except Adeniran, who ran it through with Secondus and Chief Raymond Dopkesi. He too later walked out of the venue, alleging cheating. As it turned out, they all lost and the South-west lost big.

Raymond Dokpesi

Chairman of Daar Communications and chairmanship hopeful from the South-south, Chief Raymond Dokpesi is yet another loser. He was one of those who came out strongly for the chairmanship of the PDP and indeed, vehemently sold the idea that South-south was eligible. But he lost and had out of disappointment, dismissed the party as unlikely to make any impact in next election.

Ali Modu Sheriff

Former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who took over from Secondus as acting chairman is one of the biggest losers from yesterday’s exercise. Not only did he take the party through emotional trauma and political instability, he further wasted a lot of its time from planning and thinking ahead. The Supreme Court ruling which de-recognised his leadership paved the way for the peace that would later culminate in yesterday’s convention.

Buruji Kashamu

The Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu is another loser at the PDP convention. Kashamu was suspended last Wednesday by the Makarfi leadership for a month without any reason. But it was later gathered that the decision was informed by the ruling of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which struck out a suit by Kashamu, asking it to stop the party from taking any disciplinary action against him. Although he rejected the suspension, he was unable to stay at the convention let alone vote. He is a loser.
Source: ThisDay 


PDP convention: How Uche Secondus emerged new PDP chairman

PDP convention: How Uche Secondus won

Uche Secondus

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

Prince Uche Secondus was on Sunday morning declared as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He defeated two other contestants at the national convention of the party held in Abuja on Saturday.

The result of the keenly contested election was announced in the early hours of Sunday.

In the election, Secondus scored 2000 votes while Prof. Tunde Adeniran came distance second with 230 votes.

Dr. Raymond Dokpesi came third with 66 votes followed by Prof. Taoheed Adedoja who did not score any vote.

The number of invalid votes was put at 55.


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