Former and serving members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are divided over the legality of the N151 million housing allowance recently returned by current members of the NWC.
While some party chieftains insisted that the housing allowance was legitimate, others argued to the contrary.
A former Caretaker Chairman, North-West Zone of the party and former member of the current NWC, Dr. Aminu Taura, said: “As a former member of the current NWC, I know that this matter of housing allowance and even car allowance had been discussed severally.
“It was the National Chairman who had to put his foot down, insisting that there were bigger issues to be addressed first.
“I recall that some of the people returning money today were the most vociferous advocates for these payments to be made. I left the NWC about three months ago.”
Speaking in a similar vein, a former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, argued that some persons were simply trying to call a dog a bad name to hang it.
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He said: “There is no scandal as some detractors of our party are trying to make Nigerians believe, members of our NWC are not paid salaries. The housing allowance in question was what was discussed and agreed upon before it was released.”
However, another former member of NWC, Diran Odeyemi, disagreed.
he argued that apart from the fact that the funds were taken from money meant to help the party prosecute the 2023 elections campaigns, the payment as well as its timing was suspicious.
Odeyemi said: “I was the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party for four years. I never collected a dime either for transport or housing.
“So, where did this idea of housing allowance come from, why now? It will be in the best interest of our party if our National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, comes clean to clear his name.
“He should come out to clear his reputation because we all know the National Chairman has an approval limit and it’s certainly not this kind of humongous amount we are hearing now.”
Another party chieftain, who pleaded anonymity, expressed sadness that the whole affair was casting the party in a bad light.
He said: “It is disappointing that this is happening more so at this very critical time we are trying to sell our party and candidates to Nigerians.
“How can we convince the populace that our nation’s resources are safe with us if we treat our limited resources like this? They use to taunt us that we are PDP share the money, how do we respond now?’’
There are also indications that some of the aggrieved party members are contemplating writing petitions to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, if the party leadership does not come clean on the allegations.
A chieftain of the party, Mohammed Jamo, gave this hint when he featured on a Channels Television Political Programme, Politics Today, on Friday. He said he and others who shared his views may opt to involve independent assessors to look into the matter.
Why Oyetola, others took away official vehicles – Osun APC
The Osun State All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday, admitted that the immediate past governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola; former deputy governor, Benedict Alabi, and other appointees of the administration took away their official vehicles after getting approval from Oyetola.
The state’s APC Director of Operations, Sunday Akere, who affirmed this during a radio programme monitored by The Guardian in Osogbo, while reacting to the directive by Governor Ademola Adeleke that the past appointed officials should return government vehicles and property in their possession within 48 hours, said it had become a tradition in the state that governors and their appointees leave offices with their official vehicles.
In his revelation, the new Deputy Governor, Kola Adewusi, said that when he got to his official quarters, it was left empty by his predecessor, Benedict Alabi, as building fittings down to kitchen utensils were carted away.
Also, some documents obtained by The Guardian revealed that some principal officers of Osun State College of Education, Ila-Oragun, were given their official vehicles after N20,000 “depreciation value” was paid.
In the same vein, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs released some government vehicles to some local council officials after approval was got from Oyetola, according to a document.
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But Akere, who maintained that it had become a norm in the government circle for officials to take away their official vehicles in as much such gifts were approved by the state governor, said that it is the practice in Osun State and other states as well as to the National Assembly.
On the removal of building fittings and other items from government official residences, Akere contended that such action was also right because those building items were bought to the place, though with government money, but through personal names of their occupants.
He said that the official quarters were met empty when the administration of Oyetola took over power from Aregbesola, adding that it was justifiable for the immediate past occupants to have removed what they acquired in the buildings.
MEANWHILE, a group, Good Governance Globally, has asked Akere to tender apology to the state on his admittance that the former government officials made away with government property, adding that they should return all the assets back to government.
In a statement signed by its Convener, Goke Omigbodun, said: “Akere should in fact apologise for mentioning the government of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in which I served as Special Adviser. We all returned our official cars, and some of my colleagues were even hounded for what was not!
“I also served in Bisi Akande’s administration and returned all my official vehicles. It is almost certain that the official cars of the then Commissioner for Education, whom Chief Sunday Akere served as Personal Assistant, were also returned.
“This said tradition is new and confined to the APC administration. It is an unbearable tradition of “a heavy knee on the neck” of Osun State lean wallet.”
2023 Presidency: Dogara, Aggrieved APC Leaders Adopt Atiku
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and some aggrieved leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have adopted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
They said after a critical look at the prevailing situation in the country, the Northern Christian leaders decided to work with their Muslim counterparts in the North, to adopt one of the presidential candidates in a bid to defeat the same-faith presidential ticket of the APC next year.
Presenting the report of the committee put together to appraise the presidential candidates in Abuja on Friday night, former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, said Atiku was adopted after due consideration of the report of the technical criteria committee put together by the leaders.
Northern Leaders at the meeting included: Dogara, Former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, Former Minister for Water Resources, Barrister Mukhtar Shagari, among several others.
The report was signed by the chairman and secretary of the committee, former minority leader house of representatives, Mohammed Kumalia, and Barrister Mela Nunge.
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Achuba said candidates evaluated were Atiku, Bola Tinubu of APC, candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, (NNPP).
According to him, the leaders took consideration of existing structure of the party, capacity of the candidates, evidence of national penetration, religious and ethnic balance, among others to arrive at the decision.
He said it was observed that the APC and PDP are almost at par in terms of political structure, but the compounding albatross on the neck of APC is the “unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria.”
He explained that while the duo NNPP and LP may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.
Achuba said: “The seven and a half years of the APC government has engendered wide spread national perception of its inability to tackle security challenges and turn around the national economy.
“A further compounding albatross on its neck is the unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria, a decision that has been kicked against by a huge population of Nigerians.
“The perception that the APC Presidential candidate has some health challenges makes people very uncomfortable. There is the fear that it may precipitate a situation where unelected surrogates will be running the government while the president left attending to his health.
“From the existing Structure of the Labour Party and even from the records of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as it stands for 2023 elections, even if all their candidates win in the 2023 elections, can the party still produce the President? Very unlikely indeed.”
On the NNPP, he said,” The NNPP on the other hand has similar characteristics with the LP and there is no need repeating same except that ~ NNPP appears to be building a party for the future with – little or no impact in the 2023 elections.
The leaders, therefore said PDP, from all indications seems to be above board in every criterion as postulated.
The leaders also said the PDP ” is nationalistic in spread even though not free from internal crisis like each of the other political parties. if the momentum is aggressively sustained, it will be the party to reckon with.
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“From the above evaluation and analysis, it is evident that the APC is heading for implosion and extinction; hence it cannot be the party for now and in the future because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse Country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party.
“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.
“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this Country is facing. Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, which is mindful of the Federal Character principles with sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity.
“After a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we hereby recommend for the adoption of the PDP, to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria, for the 2023 presidential election.
“However, this should be subject to getting the necessary assurance from the party to run an all-inclusive government, details of which shall discussed with the leadership of the party in the nearest future.
Earlier, Dogara said: “This is a difficult moment for Nigeria. I know that some of us may not even find it easy. By the time we have taken this decision.
“But if you are a student of history, you will know what division has has done. I challenge us if there is anyone here, whether it is a professor or teacher, Beholder that can point to any human civilization ever attempt by divided people.”
I will turn Bayelsa into an industrial hub – Tinubu
Bayelsa State residents yesterday defied the heavy downpour to receive the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential campaign train, led by its candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, in Yenagoa, the state capital.
He said Bayelsa will attain its potential as one of the country’s largest producers of oil. Tinubu said Bayelsa would not be what it is today, if oil was not first discovered in the state.
Tinubu commended former President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from Bayelsa, for ensuring a smooth transition of power in 2015 after the APC won the presidential election.
He said: “On behalf of the entire nation, may I say thank you Bayelsa for all that you have done for Nigeria.
“You have played a critical and leading role in the development of our national economy.
“Now, I am a man of fairplay. I believe a person, a state and even a nation should be repaid for the good and positive things they have done.
“It is high time that Bayelsa was duly acknowledged for its role in national development and even more fairly paid back in kind for that positive role.
“The entire world knows that Bayelsa is rich in oil and is among Nigeria’s largest producing states. The revenue from these things has been the backbone of government income and foreign exchange earnings.
“But what the world often forgets is that Bayelsa is more than just pipelines and oil installations. It is a community of decent and good people, proud of the culture and traditions, yet hopeful of what the future holds.
“You are fishermen and boat operators of great skill and reputation. You are farmers, businessmen, market women, teachers, students and professionals in all fields.
“If you vote for me and my team, that unfair day will surely end. We will reconstruct and maintain vital federal roadways such as the Mbiama-Yenagoa-Nembe-Brass highway. We will work with willing and capable private sector partners to build a comprehensive network of swamp bridges that connect swamp settlements with upland areas and the wider world.”
Tinubu said his government would make the safety and security of the people of the state its priority.
He said he would take the necessary measures to address security challenges on the waterways by winning the fight against kidnapping, oil theft and piracy in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said Tinubu would sweep the state.
He described Tinubu as a great personality, who has a good track record of achievement that nobody could beat.
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Sylva, who is the leader of the party in the state, added: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a track record that nobody can beat. And today when they ask me why I am so sure that Tinubu will win and is going to be the next president, I ask them, who is contesting with him because I don’t know anybody that is contesting with him.
“And then they say it is Peter Obi that is contesting with him. I say ehh, and then they say there is an Atiku that is contesting with him, and I say it is very clear that those people are no match for our candidate because we have to look at the record of a candidate.
“What did Obi do in Anambra State? Anambra State is a great state, a technological miracle waiting to happen. Obi was there for eight years and Anambra State is in no way an extraordinary state. But we can say after eight years of our presidential candidate in Lagos State, we have Lagos that is extraordinary.
“Obi prides himself as a frugal man who saves money, that he doesn’t spend money; he prides himself that he is a stingy man. But governance is not about stinginess, it is also not only about prudence. It is about creating the opportunity for you the youths.
“Today, Nigeria has a youth population that is largely unemployed. Who is going to produce those opportunities? Who is going to expand the economy to be able to accommodate these people that we are producing everyday?
“Today, our population is about over 200 million. In 2025, our population is going to be about 250 million people and in 2050, the projection is that our population is going to be about 400 million people. It is not only about prudence, it is about creating opportunities. And if you read the Bible very well, it is very clear about creating opportunities and also about prudence. In the parable of the Talents, it said 10 talents were given to one; five were given to another and one talent was given to another.
“The man that was given the five talent increased the opportunity, invested it and created more opportunities and doubled the talents, so, when the master came back, the master was very happy with him that he had doubled the opportunity.
“The second man also doubled the opportunity and the master was also happy with him and the third man called Obi, buried his own talent and said he was a very prudent man and that he buried it because he did not want to lose it. He brought it out and gave to the master and the master said you are a very wicked man. You can see that it goes beyond prudence; it goes beyond not spending shishi.
“As for Atiku, his only mission, according to him, is that he wants to sell NNPC. He sold others before and he discovered he did not sell the NNPC. So, all he wants is to sell the NNPC. That is why he is saying doesn’t even want more than one tenure. So, why are we going to vote for people like that?
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“We must vote for the man that will create opportunities for our youths, we must vote for the man that will create work for you, we must vote for the man that knows the way.”
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong and Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council, said Tinubu will rescue the country.
He said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the only way. Tinubu understands the problem of Nigeria. All we are saying is that with Tinubu, we have a renewed hope in Nigeria. Everywhere we go, the song is that Tinubu is a winner and he will win.”
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Tinubu is a tested and trusted man who deserved to be President of Nigeria.
He said: “Tinubu has religious tolerance. He has developed men and women of consequence and deserves our votes. No other man deserves our votes. He is a man to vote for. The cap fits him and he should be the one to wear it.
“I am suggesting that those who we running should run on their records unless of course they have no record to run on. This is a consequential time in Nigeria and we need somebody who has a good track record of achievement and that person is Tinubu.”
Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, said: “Our Presidential candidate will be the next president and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces. Let me appreciate his running mate, a man who in the face of all challenges still brought hope to the great people of Borneo State.
“This election is particularly crucial to the people of Bayelsa State. I have hope and I know it to be the truth because when I was the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, I came to Bayelsa and saw how farmers’ farms were destroyed, how fisherman can no longer fish, how you dry your clothes outside and because of pollution, it changes colour.
“For you the people of Bayelsa, the issue of restructuring is important for you? Let it not be said that you are the proverbial fish who is in the river, but cannot drink the water because the river is polluted and poisonous.
“Our presidential candidate has the capacity and potential to deliver the country. Tinubu is insisting that Nigeria should not be run like a unitary system of government. He has courage to insist that in a true federal system, states, not Federal Government should be responsible for the creation of local governments. He didn’t just say it, he went ahead and created new local government areas in Lagos State. And what happened, he was punished by the PDP.”
On arrival in Yenagoa, Tinubu and his entourage paid a courtesy call on the Ibenanaowei of Ikpetiama Kingdom and Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in the state, King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada 1V.
The traditional ruler reeled out a lot of demands, including the construction of major roads linking the state capital, revamping of Peeremabiri Rice Farm, of Aggeii Deep Sea Port and Brass LNG.
The APC presidential candidate promised to uplift the state as a major oil producer.
But he told the royal fathers to urge their people to vote APC. Alluding to a Yoruba proverb, Tinubu said: “a woman that has not experienced a second husband will not know the difference between the two.”
The Wife of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and chairman of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign Team, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has said that the former governor of Lagos State will promise the welfare of Nigeria if elected in next year’s elections.
She urged eligible voters, especially women and youths, to vote for APC candidates.
Senator Tinubu gave the assurance at the flag off of the North-West rally of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign, at the People’s Square, Katsina, Katsina State capital.
A statement by the Media Office of the Campaign Team in Abuja said the rally was attended by Hajiya Nana Shettima, the Minister, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Governor and North-West Coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Campaign Team; the first ladies of Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Zamfara and Lagos states.
Also at the rally were Asabe Vilita Bashir, national coordinator of the APC Women Campaign Team and her deputy, Lauretta Onochie, who has recently been nominated as chairman of the board of the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Also present were Zahra Buhari-Indimi and Hanan Buhari, daughters of the First Lady and grand patron of the APC Women Campaign Team, Dr Aisha Buhari.
On arrival in Katsina, the delegation paid a courtesy call to the Emir of Katsina, and the Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
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