No ‘Buga’ For PDP
Main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dropped every pretension that all is not well with the party, when the Board of Trustees (BOT) stepped into a trouble-shooting mode.
Although the Senator Walid Jibrin-led PDP BOT met behind closed doors, the lyrics of Jimmy Cliff’s iconic song, “You can’t be right and get wrong, no matter how hard you may try,” tended to be wafting from the enclosed venue.
The problem, which the BOT was determined to solve, was not limited to the fallout from the choice of its presidential running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta State. The trouble preceded the party’s Special Convention and presidential primary, where the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, emerged as its standard bearer.
From what transpired during the secret meeting of the stakeholders, it is obvious that PDP appears to be in a cul-de-sac: Where would it begin to solve the multi-dimensional challenges? While the major troubling irritation within PDP seems to revolve around the relationship between the presidential candidate, Atiku and the Governor General of South-South, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, the roots are deeper.
Prior to the party’s national convention, which was held in a hurry to terminate Prince Uche Secondus’s tenure, there was an understanding. The party leaders agreed that based on the consensus choice of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the fact that the presidential ticket was to be thrown open, Ayu should commit to instant resignation in the event that the presidential nominee emerges from the north.
That understanding staved off the contentious issue of zoning the presidential slot. But, having emerged as presidential contender, Atiku started another fanciful argument that it was too early in the day to remove the national chairman until the election was won and lost.
While the argument over the propriety of Ayu retaining his post raged, Wazirin Adamawa authorized the setting up of a committee to help select a fitting presidential running mate to complement his ticket.
At the end of the day, while most party faithful expected a replay of similar scenario in 1992, when he (Atiku) contested the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential ticket, where one of the runners-up was chosen, Atiku went outside the box of presidential aspirants to choose Okowa. Wike, the first choice and Udom Emmanuel, the second runner-up, were sidelined. And the second palaver started. Ever since, it does not seem that PDP would Buga as the election draws close.
Osho Baba Returns
THE governing All Progressives Congress (APC) unveiled its presidential campaign by unveiling the chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong as its Director General.
However, it seems the former APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, would support Lalong. The prospects of joining the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu presidential campaign has excited the former Edo State governor.
The spark on his face when he appeared on the Arise Television programme left many people wondering whether the inspiration and enthusiasm were coming from the promised inclusion in the campaign team or another substance.
Right from his days as Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Lalong is not known to be a chatterbox or intimidating character. APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, told State House correspondents, when the team leaders met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo was to serve as interim spokesman, while Mallama Hannatu Musawa is the deputy spokesperson.
According to Senator Adamu, “We are here to see Mr President to brief him and to get his approval of plans regarding our campaign outfit. And once we have his approval, we intend to make major disclosure. We’re on the same page with the presidential candidate and the individuals, who will play various roles in the campaign. The DG of the campaign is Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.”
From the APC national chairman’s disclosure, the party seems to be having problems with issue of balancing, particularly given that the same faith president ticket shared by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima is still roiling the governing party.
If Oshiomhole expects to be the substantive spokesman, his rehearsal on the Arise Television interview left the impression that the party would still search further to ensure that its campaign message does not contain more vitriol than persuasive delivery.
Rehashing the post-2015 lines of buck-passing and blame game, Oshiomhole stated: “Tinubu should not be blamed for Buhari’s performance, he never participated in governance at any level in the current federal administration.
“It would be unfair for anyone to hold Tinubu responsible for the performance, policies, and policy implementation of the current government. You can’t say someone who never in any way participated in government should be credited with the outcome of government policies or be blamed either way.”
The flipside of Oshiomhole’s activist outbursts makes more meaning than his intended motive.
Sleeping On Security
AMID the suspense in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, over the incessant security threats occasioned by terrorists, Senators led by Dr. Ahmad Lawan, met with the country’s Security chiefs.
The Senate President lamented at the frightening level of insecurity in the country, regretting that there was nothing to show for the huge investments in security.
The Senate leadership convened the meeting to address the recurrent attacks, which have left the impression that Nigeria’s national security has broken down.
Short of admitting that the federal government has been sleeping on duty, Lawan told the security chiefs: “The current situation is now frightening as there is now nowhere to go and nowhere to hide as the FCT, the seat of Government is now under siege. The security concerns have crippled the economy and key sectors, notably agriculture.
Bemoaning the situation as unfortunate, the Senate President said there was need for security agents to look into ungoverned spaces, even as he contended that Nigeria was no longer attractive to foreign direct investment on account of the ugly situation.
However, before retreating into a closed-door session with the lawmakers, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor said “a lot has happened, a lot is being done to improve the security situation of the country,” noting that issues of national security must be seen from a collective perspective.
AT a time that Nigerians were struggling with rising inflation and depreciation of the naira, citizens were surprised to hear that President Buhari approved N1.4billion for the purchase of 10 security vehicles for neighbouring Niger Republic.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who confirmed the report shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, stated: “Let me just say that overtime, Nigeria has had to support its neighbours, especially the immediate neighbours to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us. This is not the first time that Nigeria had assisted Niger Republic, Cameroon or Chad.
“The President makes an assessment as to what is required based on the request of their Presidents. Such requests are approved and interventions are provided. It is to enhance their capacity to protect their countries, as it relates to security and also to Nigeria.”
On whether the President has power to make such international donation without recourse to the National Assembly, Mrs. Ahmed noted that such disbursements were common.
“Nigerians have the right to ask questions, but also the president has the responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interest of the country and I cannot question the decision myself,” she added.
A Week Of Wotowoto
SIGNS that the coming campaign season would draw non-combatants into some fray emerged when Arise Television anchor, Reuben Abati tackled Governor Wike for faulting his interview session with Alhaji Atiku.
Wike had, on his return from a short vacation outside the country, lamented that the Arise crew led by Abati were shallow and patronizing in their questions, wondering where the essence of investigative reporting lies.
In his push back, Abati described the Rivers State governor literally as a spoil brat with entitlement mentality. Urging PDP to hand the governor some lollipop, Abati stated: “It’s a tragedy for the PDP that the party has been reduced to the level of tantrums and melodrama of one individual called Nyesom Wike, 59-year-old, who thinks that the party belongs to him.
“Governor Wike is not in a position to teach Reuben Abati journalism. He calls it investigative journalism. I put it to him that we asked all the right questions. Governor Wike does not have the capacity or intellect to teach me journalism.”
Before Abati and Wike’s exchanges could abate, Sam Omatseye descended on the Obidients, faulting the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi’s attendance at a Dunamis Church programme.
Just as the back page commentary by the Nation’s Chairman of Editorial Board sparked national outrage, the Obidients, the LP candidate’s supporters, descended on Omatseye, decrying his journalistic excess, lack of finesse and good faith.