By Gboyega Adeoye
Come Saturday, January 22, 2022, the battle for the destiny of Ekiti State, also known as the “Fountain of Knowledge”, will kick off with the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress.
The primary election will decide who picks the flag of the ruling party for the governorship election which has been fixed for June 18, 2022 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Already, political activities in Ekiti are gaining audible volume as some aspirants in the ruling party have been signifying intention to contest the Ekiti number one seat. And because Ekiti has been a state where succession has always been a hard nut to crack, a lot is expected from the aspirant that will break the jinx of inconsistency in governance to ensure continuity this time.
Investigation has revealed that the ruling APC is divided into two major factions in Ekiti State, with a fraction loyal to the incumbent governor, christened “Tokantokan” holding sway for the moment while the other, which seem to be in the majority are venting their anger under the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA). The SWAGA group are uniting to present a single candidate they plan to rally round to win the January primary and so take away power from the Tokantokan group, which they view to be vicious and vindictive. The SWAGA says it wants to restore order for the party to stand.
Also, in preparation for the battle ahead, different parties are already gearing up for the primaries which will eventually throw up their party flag bearers. Even though PDP has been out of power in Ekiti State, the State remains a strong PDP State and dominant too, with several frontline and influential politicians.
The air of zoning is also blowing ferociously across major parties, PDP inclusive. Major personalities in the party like Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Dr Oluwole Oluyede, Senator Tony Adeniyi, Abiodun Aluko from the South, are rooting for a shift of power to the southern part of the state in the coming election. Several other notable politicians as well as influential party leaders are receptive to this idea and have also alluded to this fact in their recent comments. Hence, in the interest of justice, equity, inclusiveness and popular demand, both APC and PDP will much likely uphold zoning as a factor and go south.
It therefore follows that Sen. Dayo Adeyeye, Dr Oluwole Oluyede, Congressman Olufemi Bamisile, are top among contenders coming from the southern Ekiti which has not produced a governor since 1999. They will slug it out with Biodun Oyebanji, (Central), the taunted favourite of the incumbent government. The three major contenders are from the south by birth, with requisite qualifications and achievements.
However, politics is nothing without principles. Politics is about integrity and fairness. Therefore, on the part of the party, politics should reflect inclusion and balance. It is an art of compromise in a bid to aggregate all interests. Nobody takes it all.
Ekiti APC has been haunted by a division in the party, in the lingering winner takes all game that is walking tall and on four legs, This is made worse by the inability of the leadership to harmonize all interests and harness them properly for coming elections. As it stands, stakeholders who are aggrieved with the process leading to the primaries may work against the party in the election proper, hence the need for the party to get its acts together, so that the current victory will not go the way of the past.
Among the four major contenders for the Oke-Ayoba Government House in the coming polls, only Femi Bamisile has come out boldly to declare his interest. Both Senator Dayo Adeyeye and Dr Oluwole Oluyede seem to be waiting for the verdict of SWAGA, their constituency, on who to bear the flag for the contest. Biodun Oyebanji, seems to be the favoured candidate of the Tokantokan group, loyal to the incumbent governor and may be the adopted aspirant from the government circle.
How they stand:
Dr Oluwole Oluyede
He is a politician from Ikere Ekiti and a Medical Doctor with interest in Emergency Medicine, Rural and Remote Medicine. He runs the Gnowangerup Shire Medical Practice in Gnowangerup W/A Australia and he is Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioner (RACGP). Dr Oluyede appears to be the beautiful pride of APC, with a lot of popular appeal and an electrifying personality that warms up a room by his sheer presence. He is for a fact, the most experienced in public service among all the aspirants. In terms of international contacts and network, he is well positioned and ranks high. He is arguably the only candidate coming in to the contention on the strength of his achievements for his people with his personal resources.
And when he set out to transform his rural rustic community and make it a city shinning on the hill, politics was not even in his mind. It was sheer selfless love. Oluyede invested vastly in agriculture in his hometown and is also venturing into hospitality and education sector with landmark touch. Though not too long in the political arena, he has already acquainted himself with the pros and cons of Ekiti political process, building bridges with power players and making them buy into his vision for the party and for the State. Ekiti has many political philanthropists, people who indulge in the act of giving because they curry for votes. But Dr Oluyede is an example of a philanthropist in the true sense of the word, sparing no cost in his avowed mission of developing his community and empowering its human capital with his personal funds, while expecting nothing in return. He also appears to be the joker of Ekiti abroad, who find in him the right person to prove the capacity and competence of Ekiti in diaspora. Furthermore, the fact that he remains untainted by the murky waters of the Nigerian politics is a plus to his candidacy. He comes without any baggage, unfettered and free from any soiled past. Aside the fact that he is a self-made man; he has no Godfather and is self-financed, and therefore has no strings that will impede his ability to deliver on the job and affect his mission. Since joining the SWAGA, Dr Oluyede has been one of the biggest financiers of the group.
Because of his independent mind, he evokes fear among other contenders in other political parties because he is at home with the masses at the grassroots, the Ekiti religious class and the elites. His ideology hinges richly on hard work, which to him is the spirit the Ekiti people need to adopt to lift them out of perpetual bondage of poverty and lack. He looks forward to entering the State House and change the current orientation of the people and lift them from present state of peasantry to a position of honour where dignity and self-worth count.
If SWAGA decides to present a consensus candidate for the primary election, Dr Oluyede’s chances are very high because he is largely seen as a neutral candidate without ties to any party bloc, and with the force, the means, the energy and the capacity to turn around the fortunes of the party and the people at the elections and emerge victorious.
Senator Dayo Adeyeye
He is a fine gentleman, a lawyer and journalist who understands and embodies the principle of grassroots politics. Of the four, he is the most experienced politician. Adeyeye’s political journey began as a pro-democracy activist at National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which was a frontline campaign against military rule during the dark days of military interregnum.
He was earlier Director of Publicity for Falae for President Campaign Organisation in 1992 and later became an Adviser on Policy and Press Matters, MKO Abiola for President Campaign Organisation in 1993.
Sequel to these, he was the National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Yoruba Soco-political group, Afenifere, in 2001, and then became the Publicity Secretary for Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 2004. In 2006, he wanted to be governor of Ekiti State and was an aspirant in the AD for the governorship ticket. The party became the Action Congress of Nigeria, but he was beaten to the second place by current governor of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi, in controversial and disagreeable primaries.
Sen. Adeyeye and 12 other members of the ACN defected to the PDP after their grievances were unresolved. Thus, began his sojourn in the PDP.
As a member of the PDP, he was appointed Minister of State for Works by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. He served in the administration until its expiration in 2015.
It was the view of the PDP leaders in Ekiti that his departure from the party over his ambition to be governor in 2018, was both wrong and unfair, given that he had benefited so much from the party, even more than he could have benefited from the other parties.
His crossing to the APC was compensated with a Senatorial reward. But the court later declared his opponent in the last Ekiti South Senatorial election, Biodun Olujimi, as the validly elected senator for the district.
Adeyeye stood tall as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some party members are of the opinion that he would be more suiting for the Senate, come 2023. He only joined the party in 2018 when his governorship ambition was aborted by the maverick governor, Ayo Fayose, who was hell bent on fielding his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, as the PDP flagbearer for the 2018 governorship election and so is not trusted by a section of the party, enough to be voted the flagbearer of the party.
Sen. Adeyeye, in spite of the pleas and promises made by the leaders of PDP, led by no less a person than the former Senate President, David Mark, had walked away from the party to pitch his tent with the APC, in a bid to have his pound of flesh, so many believed. He was willing to forego his governorship ambition, provided he could stop the PDP from winning the governorship election. That was his perceived mission to the APC.
As it is with politics in Nigeria and with Nigerian politicians, it is about personal interest. The party is a vehicle to accomplish and advance that interest. Once the party appears to have a flat tyre, it is abandoned for another vehicle that would take you to your desired destination. The Ise Ekiti born Senator had been a PDP man. At a time, he was its spokesman, serving as the National Publicity Secretary for the Ahmed Makarfi group of the PDP during its crisis. For him to have the trust of the majority of APC members would be difficult
Adeyeye’s plight is not altogether strange. He will take a cue from a few of his colleagues who had suffered the same fate. And as a loyal member of the APC, he might be considered for other appointments.
The Ekiti people are the ones in need. Whether Oluyede or Adeyeye, their interest remains the most important and that is what should be served by SWAGA.
Hon Richard Olufemi Bamisile
Olufemi Bamisile (BAFEM) is currently a member of the Federal House of Representatives for the Ekiti South 2 and the first aspirant to come out to declare his interest for the Ekiti number one seat among APC contestants. He is a former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly in the third parliament as member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was also among the candidates for the All Progressives Congress at the Ekiti gubernatorial election for 2018.
Ever since he declared his interest, Bamisile has not hidden the fact that he was coming to power to consolidate on the legacy of the incumbent Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Bamisile, who is a former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, vied for the APC gubernational primary held in April 5, 2018 and came fourth out of 33 contestants.
He is also an experienced politician, who contested the House of Representatives seat in 2004 and lost to Mrs Biodun Olujimi. He later contested for the House of Assembly seat to represent Ekiti East Constituency 1 in 2007 on the platform of the PDP and won.
He became the Speaker of the House between June 6, 2007 and 2009 before he resigned during a protracted crisis with his colleagues.
Coming this time, Bamisile said his mission is to fast-track development in Ekiti, by expanding the scope of policy thrust initiated by Governor Fayemi, centred around good governance, agriculture and food security, education and Human capital development, health and human services, among others. Bamisile maintained that though, he was not an advocate of zoning, the idea of allowing the Southern part of the state to assume the governorship seat in 2022 after 23 years of unbroken democratic rule, was apt and equitable.
In spite of his experience, the federal lawmaker may not make meaningful impact in coming primary for his dual partisanship and political baggage incurred in past political undertakings.
Abiodun Oyebanji is the incumbent secretary to the state government (SSG). He is a former university lecturer and had previously served as chief of staff during the administration of Niyi Adebayo. He was also the commissioner for budget and economic planning during Fayemi’s first term. To many politicians in Ekiti State, Oyebanji is seen as a political interloper, who has in all his political life been leaning on godfather to float. As an ardent “Adeniyi Boy”, it came as a surprise when news first filtered out that he is being considered to fly the kite for the Tokantokan group. It is believed that supporting Oyebanji would mean Governor Fayemi is ceding the control of state power to former governor Adeniyi, who has been the political life-support for Oyebanji, a la carte. But recent revelations have confirmed that there are more to his selection than meet the ordinary eyes.
There are some undercurrents, suggesting that the wife of the Ekiti State governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, deliberately set up the machinery to displace her husband in the political power game in the State by tipping Oyebanji for the number one job.
The move, which is already tearing the Tokantokan group apart, has pitched a majority of the caucus against the governor, who has been found to have ceded the leadership of the party affairs to his wife, as a result of inadequate attention to governance.
This has further polarized the Ekiti APC and decimated it to the Erelu Bisi Fayemi block supporting Oyebanji, the SWAGA block led by former minister of State for Works, Sen Dayo Adeyeye, the Kayode Fayemi block, which is yet to endorse any aspirant and a floating block known as ‘Kogba group’, expecting a yet to be identified credible aspirant to support.
Oyebanji’s emergence removed the veil on who has been the de facto ruler of Ekiti State, all along. Erelu has been found to be more politically on ground than the husband and she is taking full advantage of that. It is believed that Erelu is nursing a Senatorial ambition to represent Ekiti North Senatorial district come 2023. She is very ambitious, aggressive, and determined to unseat Sen Olubunmi Adetunbi from the senate, a seat most political observers believe should be reserved for Dr. Kayode Fayemi if his planned President ambition does not sail through.
The South is not still relenting on becoming the next governor of the state. They have other political gladiators like Hon Yemi Adaramodu, former Chief of Staff to Dr. Kayode Fayemi and now Member House of Representatives, Hon Engr Bamidele Faparusi – Fappy, Fmr Member House of Representatives and presently serving under Dr. Fayemi as the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Hon Funminiyi Afuye Former Commissioner and presently Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, also waiting in the wings.
Analysts believed that the political future of Dr Fayemi is bleak because the scheme of the wife, Erelu Fayemi, may rob APC the governorship seat of Ekiti State. Erelu’s move to dictate who becomes the next governor of Ekiti State after her husband will be frustrated. Endorsement from Governor Fayemi will also be a hard sell
This is indeed a trying time for the Ekiti APC. The party in power has obviously lost focus. The people are disenchanted. It is hoped that the cloudy weather settling on APC will not make PDP step in again and salvage the situation.
But the winning starts from the primaries. If APC hearkens to the voice of reason and present a candidate based on the permutations stated above, the top seat is theirs for take.
Ikoyi Building Collapse: Archbishop Martins Commiserates with Sanwo-Olu, Affected Families
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins has commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the wake of the recent collapse of the 21-storey building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
In a release signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Martins also sympathized with all those who sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of the collapsed building. He said such an unfortunate incident and similar cases could have been prevented with proper regulation and strict monitoring by the relevant supervisory authorities.
The Archbishop described the several incidents of collapsed buildings in Lagos State in recent times and other parts of the country as alarming and called for closer monitoring of those involved in the construction industry so as to curb the use of inferior materials and other unprofessional practices often associated with the industry practitioners.
He called on regulatory agencies to reject the culture of compromise on standards which ultimately undermines the integrity of buildings and result in avoidable death and injury.
The Prelate welcomed the idea of a three-day mourning period and hoped that it would make us reflect on the value of human life so that no one would engage in practices and activities that would jeopardise human life and dignity anymore.
He expressed delight that the government set up an independent Panel of inquiry made up of professionals from outside of government circle as that would inspire the sort of confidence that the result of their inquiry may throw up.
He said: “We hope that as the panel unravels the immediate and remote causes of the collapse, it would also identify ways of ensuring that we do not experience such disasters again while those culpable for this one would be brought to book.”
The Archbishop prayed for the happy repose of the souls of the dead, quick recovery for the injured and consolation for the families and friends who are in mourning at this time.
The sad occurrence of the collapse of a 21 storey building in Lagos was a monumental disaster. Certainly the loss of more than 20 lives up to-date is a painful human tragedy.
All attention must be focussed on what happened, why it happened and how can future occurrences be prevented all together!.
Governor Babajide Sanwoolu, as usual of him, immediately rose to the occasion. Cut short his schedule official engagement in Rome and went to the venue straight from the airport.
Even before his arrival the General Manager in charge was immediately sent on compulsory leave. Within 24hrs the governor has visited the site and the surviving victims about twice and a technical enquiry committee of capable and highly credible professionals has been put in place to unravel whatever happened and to advice government appropriately on issues including that of culpability, negligence and possible acts of criminality.
It is widely reported that the number of floors constructed was far in excess of the actual approval.
It is mischievous if not evil for anyone to distract the public and begin to manufacture unverifiable fables not supported by reason or facts. Just confabulations tainted with politics with no other intentions but to tarnish the image and reputation of people who have dedicated their lives to the service of their people and the nation.
We sympathise with those who have lost their loved ones and those whose relations are yet to be seen or rescued.
We will enjoin the governor of Lagos state and his hard working officials not to be deterred but rather to continue doing the good works this government has become known and severally commended for.
Spokesperson Advocate for Good Governance
PDP: Wike, Fintiri, Saraki, Okowa, Bala Emerge Power Brokers
The constitution of the incoming National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be a test of strength by governors and elders of the party, according to indications in Abuja last night.
The NWC will emerge at the National Convention which gets underway later today in the federal capital after the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday gave the green light for the meeting to proceed.
It turned down an application by the suspended National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus to stop the convention.
Party members, including Secondus’ estranged chief supporter, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the Southwest zonal hierarchy of the PDP hailed the party’s victory at the court and assailed the suspended chairman for the litigation.
“Anybody who crosses our way to stop this rescue of Nigeria, the person is an enemy of this country,” Wike said in Port Harcourt moments after the court ruling, adding that Secondus’ action was aimed at sabotaging the party.
The Southwest PDP wondered why “a man who has benefited so much from the party seeks to destroy it.”
Secondus was dissatisfied with the ruling and vowed to take his grievances to the Supreme Court “as no abuse of the constitution of our dear party should be allowed to stand.”
Investigation by The Nation revealed that governors and elders of the party are locked in a battle of wits to put their loyalists in the new National Working Committee (NWC).
Horse-trading in the last few days shows that old forces in the party are losing grounds to new ones.
The emerging power brokers are governors, especially Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Ifeanyi Uguwanyi (Enugu) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta).
Some of the old forces still pulling some weight are a former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and a former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri.
The governors and other stakeholders launched into a crucial meeting last night in Abuja on the fate of ex-Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a trusted ally of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, and Inna Ciroma (the wife of a founding father of PDP, the late Adamu Ciroma).
It was gathered that Inna Ciroma has been under intense pressure in the last 48 hours to step down.
Oyinlola who is seeking to be the Deputy National Chairman (South) is locked in a battle with Taofeek Arapaja, who is the anointed candidate of Governor Seyi Makinde.
The meeting was meant to find a common ground on who between Oyinlola and Arapaja should get the position.
Those at the enlarged stakeholders meeting held at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, included the 13 governors elected on the platform of the party.
Others were NEC members, Board of Trustees (BoT) members, National Working Committee members, National Assembly members, former governors and former cabinet ministers, among others.
At the meeting were the immediate past Vice President, Namadi Sambo, who was attending the party’s function for the first time since he left office in 2015; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate Presidents David Mark, Adolphus Wabara and Pius Anyim; and former PDP national chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo.
Also present were former Governors Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Peter Obi (Anambra); and Emeka Ihedioha (Imo).
Efforts by party leaders to pick one of the contestants as a consensus candidate have failed to yield positive results.
Governor Makinde of Oyo State, backing Arapaja for the position, is said to have secured the buy-in of his 12 other colleagues on the choice.
But some elders and leaders are rooting for Oyinlola. Their position is premised on the need for the party to beef up its support base in states where the PDP does not have a sitting governor. They claim that while Makinde is on ground in Oyo to lead the party’s mobilisation drive toward the 2023 general elections, Oyinlola should be empowered to strengthen the party structure in Osun and be a rallying point for the party.
It was on the basis of this calculation that the PDP deliberately zoned its critical elective positions in the National Working Committee (NWC) to states where the party does not have governors.
A source said: “It was for this reason that the National Secretary was micro-zoned to Imo State and the Deputy National Chairman (North) micro-zoned to Yobe State where the PDP does not have sitting governors.
“The argument of some of our leaders who expressed a presence for Arapaja was that Oyinlola defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
“These leaders have chosen to forget that Arapaja also defected to the APC about the same time. What about some of our high ranking chieftains who defected to the APC in 2014 and who worked hard to ensure that the PDP lost the 2015 presidential elections.
“Some of these leaders are occupying prominent elective positions in government on the platform of the PDP today with some of them aspiring to get the party’s presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
“To some of us, this is double standard which may not help the party in the long run.”
The meeting was also expected to take a final position on the Deputy National Chairman (North), which is being contested by Alhaji Umar Damagum and Mrs. Inna Ciroma. The party had yet to take a final position on who to consider for the position between the two contestants from Yobe State.
Answering a question on the party’s position on the matter, the chairman of the Convention Organising Committee, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, said during a briefing earlier yesterday that the matter was still being resolved.
Fintiri said: “We are still deliberating on who to go for the office between the two contestants. But we have resolved that the two will not contest at the convention. One of them must step down for the other.”
Meanwhile, last minute preparations for the convention continued in earnest up to yesterday’s judgment.
There was a flurry of activities at the expansive Eagle Square, Abuja, designated venue for the convention as party members and hired hands were observed performing one task or the other.
Canopies have been erected and the main podium and brightly decorated in the red, green, white signature colours of the PDP.
Also, posters of contestants in varying sizes adorned strategic locations at the venue.
Investigation revealed that all the key actors have been trying to outwit each other in their battle for the soul of PDP.
About 27 aspirants have got the clearance to contest for 21 offices at the National Convention. The offices are National Chairman, National Deputy Chairman (North), Deputy National Chairman (South), National Secretary, Deputy National Secretary, National Treasurer, Deputy National Treasurer, National Financial Secretary, Deputy National Financial Secretary, National Organising Secretary and Deputy National Organising Secretary.
The remaining posts are those of National Publicity Secretary, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, National Legal Adviser, Deputy National Legal Adviser, National Auditor, Deputy National Auditor, National Women’s Leader and Deputy National Leader and National Youth Leader and Deputy National Youth Leader.
Investigation shows that while the Wike-Ortom/governors alliance is producing the new National Chairman of PDP, Iyorchia Ayu (who will be adopted today), the deal with the governors led to the ceding of the office of the National Secretary to Wike.
It was learnt that to the discomfiture of all the stakeholders in the Southeast, Wike has succeeded in anointing Senator Samuel Anyanwu as the National Secretary of PDP.
“In the power-sharing arrangement, all the PDP governors have been accommodated in one way or the other under the Consensus Option which was adopted by them,” a well placed party source said.
“They also agreed that where some aspirants have chosen to defy consensus to contest, all the governors will direct their delegates to vote for the mutually agreed ones.
“So far, the pact by the governors has led to Wike, Ortom, Fintiri, Okowa, Bala, Saraki, Tambuwal Makinde, Ugwuanyi, Ikpeazu leading the new generation of power brokers in PDP.
“It was a smart and strategic move by Saraki which made his camp to secure the post of National Legal Adviser, which is the soul of the party.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “I think the offices yet to be resolved through consensus are Deputy National Chairman (North), Deputy National Chairman (South) and National Auditor.
“Governors and party leaders have been trying to prevail on Inna Ciroma to withdraw for Iliya Damagum, who has been adopted as the consensus candidate for the office of Deputy National Chairman (North). But she is yet to do so.
“For the Deputy National Chairman (South), Governor Seyi Makinde has insisted on Taofeek Arapaja but ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is adamant that he will slug it out at the convention. We expect a royal battle at the convention ground.
“The founding fathers of PDP and the military elements in the party have decided to rally round Oyinlola.
“Concerning the office of National Auditor, the governors have mutually conceded the slot to Sir Obi Okechukwu from Anambra State, but Sam Ben Nwosu, a close associate of a former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, said he will contest.”
I am heading for Supreme Court, says Secondus
Dissatisfied with yesterday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal which gave the green light for the holding of the PDP National Convention, Prince Uche Secondus said he is heading for the Supreme Court.
He said no abuse of the constitution of PDP should be allowed to stand.
He said the case in court was not about himself but about the sanctity of PDP’s constitution and core democratic principles of justice and rule of law.
He said he did not at any time take PDP to court and would not have done that.
Secondus made the clarifications in a statement through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Ike Abonyi.
He said: “I have just been briefed of the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt dismissing my motion to halt the National Convention of the party. I respect the position of the court even though I disagree totally with it.
“Even as the substantive case is still pending at the Court of Appeal I have instructed my lawyers to study the ruling with a view to appealing it immediately as no abuse of the constitution of our dear party should be allowed to stand.
“The issue is not about Prince Uche Secondus but about the sanctity of our party constitution and core democratic principles of justice and rule of law not only in PDP but in our democracy. No impunity must be condoned.”
Secondus said he did not at any time sue the PDP because of the harm litigations had done to the party in the past.
He added: “I will therefore wish to emphasise the fact that I did not take the party to court and would not have done that.
“As a foundation member of this party, who has served at various levels, State Chairman, Chairman of state Chairmen, National Organizing Secretary, Deputy National Chairman, Acting National Chairman and now National Chairman, I am very much abreast with the workings of the party.
“I have been a witness to how much harm litigations have done to our party in the past and as a result I have been a strong advocate against settling issues in courts.
“This was why I resisted and rejected entreaties of those who wanted me to go to court to halt these forces when it was obvious that they were determined to disrupt my leadership and truncate my tenure in office with the sole objective of hijacking the party for their selfish ulterior motives.
“To allow this travesty to stand is to reduce our beloved party to a level where anybody can wake up overnight and remove officers against the proscribed constitutional process and the National Chairman for that matter, and purporting to use the judiciary through an ex parte order to legitimize same.
“As a major practitioner in our democracy, I am duty bound to protect and defend the sanctity of the provisions of our constitution of which I’m the custodian.”
He said the PDP descended to this level because those who orchestrated the crisis ignored party elders’ calls to withdraw the case.
He said: “I wish to therefore at this juncture thank and appreciate leaders and other stakeholders of our party who have called in to express their concerns on this matter and appeal for the understanding of all.
“If those who orchestrated and fostered this avoidable crisis had listened to wise counsel of party leaders and elders who advised the withdrawal of cases, this situation would have been avoidable. I wish the party well as always.”
Secondus’ action meant to sabotage PDP, says Wike
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State hailed the court’s decision and declared that no individual, including Secondus, would be allowed to derail the party’s mission to rescue Nigeria.
“Anybody who crosses our way to stop this rescue of Nigeria, the person is an enemy of to this country”, he said in Port Harcourt while reacting to the Court of Appeal dismissal of Secondus’ application that sought to stop the PDP convention.
He said: “What Secondus is doing is to sabotage the efforts of Nigerians, the efforts of PDP from rescuing this country from the hand of the party that has failed the country. And it is not fair.
“This is a party that has given you everything and there’s nothing wrong in making sacrifice. Even if, assuming though not conceding, that anything was wrong, we expected that having achieved what you have achieved in your life from this party, there is nothing wrong in making sacrifice.
“If you make sacrifice for the party, you’re making sacrifice for Nigerians. If PDP is not there, which other party is ready to rescue Nigeria?”
Wike clarified that the Court of Appeal did not only dismiss the application of Secondus, but it also ordered that the PDP national convention be conducted unrestrained.
He said: “Our constitution provides that if a national chairman is removed, the deputy national chairman from that zone will immediately be the chairman or acting chairman as the case may be.
“And so, when Secondus was removed, he handed over to the acting national chairman now. So, the act has already been done, completed. So, what will the court say when someone is already acting and supervising that office?”
Wike said the PDP convention on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st October 2021 would be one of the best that had ever been conducted, adding that Nigerians were expecting PDP to come out of the convention more united.
Wike said the party, particularly the PDP governors, were more united because they had realised that Nigeria was in problem and only a united PDP could wrest power from the APC.
He said: “Nigeria is in problem and we cannot do it alone. We require everybody to work with us collectively and see how this country can be rescued.
“Nigerians are not happy with the ruling party, the way Nigerians are being treated. Like I’ve told everybody that there is nothing better than making sacrifice for the interest of the country. PDP is the only platform, and which it is today as the only opposition party that will rescue Nigeria.”
Southwest PDP: ‘We shall weed out all usurpers’
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Southwest PDP.
Secretary of the zone, Chief Rahman Owokoniran said: “This is not just victory for PDP, it is victory for Nigerians and Nigeria’s democracy as we match towards 2023 general elections.
“Justice will always prevail. How can a man who has benefited so much from the party seek to destroy it?
“PDP believes greatly in democracy and we only welcome those that are ready to help repair Nigeria, not sink it further.
“Today marks another victory for PDP and Nigeria. We shall weed out all the usurpers in our great party.”
Ayu, others assume duties Dec 9
The National Chairman designate of the PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and other national party officers to be elected at the national convention later today will assume duties on December 9, chairman of the Convention Organising Committee, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, announced yesterday in Abuja.
By implication, the present national officers will remain in office till December 8 when their four-year tenure expires.
Speaking on what to expect at the convention, Fintiri said that of the 21 available party offices, only three will be contested for.
He listed the three as the Deputy National Chairman (South) with Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja vying for the position.
Also in contention is the position of National Auditor, with three candidates slugging it out. The contestants are Okechukwu Obiechina Daniel, Ikechukwu Samben Nwosu and Mrs Chibuogwu Benson-Oraelosi.
Similarly, Muhammed Kadade Suleiman and Usman Elkudan will be vying for the position of National Youth Leader.
Governor Fintiri also said that the party’s Screening Appeal Panel had affirmed the disqualification of all the aspirants who were barred for contesting for positions at the convention by the Screening Committee.
He added that the Appeal Committee threw out the petitions filed against Arapaja and Samuel Anyanwu who are candidates for Deputy National Chairman (South) and National Secretary respectively.
No fewer than 3600 delegates are expected to vote at the convention.
Court restrains Edo bigwigs Orbih, 10 others from participating in convention
An Edo State High Court sitting in Benin yesterday granted an order restraining the National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Dan Orbih, and the State Secretary of the party, Hilary Otsu, from participating in the PDP convention.
Also restrained by Justice Joy Okeaya-Inneh are Hon. Samuel Saiki, Vincent Ekpomhoriri Umoru, Leslie Ebozoje, David Okoh Aigbodion (also known as Arizona), Abdulkareem Kassim, Kayode Ogunubi, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide Ihama (House of Representatives member representing Oredo Federal Constituency), Mr Oduwa Igbinosun and Mr Friday Enaruna.
The court restrained the Defendants from attending, participating or voting at the National Convention of the 12th Defendant herein to elect members of its National Working Committee, NWC or another Governing body, which Convention is fixed for the 30th and 31st of October 2021 or fixed for any other date, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion ex-parte filed by Chief Idehen Manfred Ekundayo, Mr Stanley Iduoze and Odior Omadimhe.
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