AYODELE FAYOSE AT AKEREDOLU'S SWEARING IN
Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State said on Friday that he attended the inauguration of Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo to promote unity in Yoruba land.

Fayose, a prominent member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, in Ado-Ekiti.

He said that he could not have done otherwise because the unity of Yoruba people was too important for anybody to play politics with.

“I see nothing wrong in attending the inauguration of an APC person in neighbouring Ondo State.


“Being a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should not stop me from attending the inauguration of an All Progressives Congress (APC) governor.”

According to him, such an occasion is a national one that well-meaning people should identify with.

“This is a Nigerian affair; when a governor is sworn in, we have to support him; we are talking of regional integration and unity here; Akeredolu is already one of us by virtue of his new position.
“We have to support him since electioneering has come and gone and a winner has emerged, and we have to work together in the spirit of the people of our region.

“We cannot play politics with the welfare of the people of our region; we have to support Akeredolu to make the difference.

“This is a matter of the Yoruba nation and after Nigeria, Yoruba nation comes first‎; we don’t need to play politics with the welfare of Yoruba people.”

He advised that his actions in recent times should not be mistaken for an attempt by him to dump his party, the PDP, insisting that nothing of such was in the offing.

“How can I join the APC? As you already know, I am the main issue of the APC.

“They don’t have my size. They are wearing `babaringa’ but they don’t have the size of my cloth,” he said.

Daily Trust

Written By Goke Butikakuro

Salaam Najeem
Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Najeem  Salaam has said that with good legislation and proper oversight functions, lawmaking stands to be a veritable tools for economic development.

Delivering a paper at the special lecture organized by Equity and Justice Chamber of the law faculty, Osun State University, Speaker Salaam represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Goke Butika, asserted that any state that witnesses development is as a result of progressive parliament of the state; noting that where lawmakers are cutting with actors of other branches and arms of government, the development through budgetary provisions and execution of physical structure would be the casualties.


Lauding the lawmakers in Osun, Speaker Salaam said the parliament under his watch in the last six years has placed premium on the development of the state, making it repealing some laws that constituted barriers and replacing them with laws that guarantee accountability and ease of doing business in the state.

He disclosed, "I recall when I took the mantle of leadership of the House in this state, I was under pressure to outdo my predecessors in terms of laws to be passed, but I took to a caveat that only laws that would engender development must pass; with God on our side, my colleagues were brought into the loop, they saw reason with me and we jointly made up our mind that we would use the legislative instrument with difference. Lo and behold, our effort has brought unprecedented development to the state in terms of infrastructure- on roads, bridges, school buildings and so on".

Speaking on how the people should hold their lawmakers responsible for their actions and inaction, Speaker Salaam stressed that people should put pressure on their representatives to stand before them at town-hall meetings with a view to explaining his effort to better their lots, instead of waiting until such a representative comes around to distribute gift items, which is not part of his core functions.

He further urged the people not to sleep on their rights to know how they are being governed, reiterating that the retrogressive culture of waiting for the politicians to bring money or any form of inducement before they vote for him or her would reduce the significance of their franchise to common denominator.

Speaker then urged student bodies and youth groups against honoring the money bags with reactionary tendencies, saying the way and manner people of questionable characters and non-performing politicians were being celebrated with frivolous awards would further emboldened them to further deprived the society services expected of them to rendered.

I urge you to participate in how your affair is being conducted by the politicians through community organizing and Voter's education. Be part of the people who would knock the door to educate people on how to interrogate issues with politicians instead of demanding money. Also, retrace  your step from dishing frivolous awards to politicians who have no merit to be honoured, and learn how to apply your studies to economic independence.

Signed:

Goke Butika
Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker
State of Osun House of Assembly.

YEMI OSINBAJO
By New Telegraph

Indications have emerged that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is facing pressure with loaded activities resulting from the continued absence of President Muhammadu Buhari. President Buhari left Nigeria over a month ago for the United Kingdom (UK) where he is currently receiving medical attention.

Buhari had in separate letters to the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives, transmitted power to Osinbajo to perform the duties of the President in acting capacity until he returns.

The President on February 6, dispatched another letter expressing his desire to extend the vacation in order to undergo a series of medical tests as recommended by London doctors.


Saturday Telegraph gathered that since President Buhari’s departure, the traffic of activities in Aso Rock has shifted to the Vice- President’s office wing with a series of events and meetings engaging the acting President attention.

Osinbajo, who heads the President’s Economic Management Team (EMT), also presides over the National Economic Council (NEC).

This comprises the governors of the 36 states of the federation, governor of the Central Bank if Nigeria (CBN) and other top government officials. With the absence of President Buhari, the acting President has also been presiding over the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Investigations of his weekly schedule show that the Acting President holds about 15 meetings ranging from security, economic to political issues.

A senior aide to the Acting President, who spoke to our correspondent yesterday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to do so, confirmed that the absence of President Buhari was telling on Osinbajo. “It’s really tough for the acting President.

Everyone with a problem, from the ministers, the state governors, the leadership of the National Assembly, the diplomatic community, security agencies and many others, want his attention.

“He has to attend to these officials and other consultations from the private sector as well as other organised sectors. You can understand the pressure this is exerting on the acting President unlike when both leaders were around,” the source noted.

Our correspondent also gathered that following the official transfer of power to the Vice President, the atmosphere in Aso Rock is not tense as compared to the crisis created during the days of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

“Every government official including the President’s men are loyal to the Acting President who is performing all functions of the President.

“You can see that both the Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu who are the three closest aides to Buhari here have been coming to work. It’s one presidency,” another aide to the Acting President noted yesterday.

This week, Osinbajo met with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the Presidential Task Force on Wheat and Rice Production and the management of South African Telecommunication firm, MTN. Osinbajo was also in Lagos on Thursday where he flagged off the GreenBond as well as inspect facilities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. He also visited The Gambia.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Acting President, Mr. Laolu Akande, who confirmed that work load for his principal had increased, however, said he was equal to the task. Akande in an interview with our correspondent said “The Acting President is doing very well.

Even before the transmission of power to him through the letter to the National Assembly, he had been hardworking.

“Let me tell you that the acting President became a law teacher at 23, a Professor at 33. Not many people become professors so quick, that’s a sign of hard work.

“He coordinated a lot of work as Commissioner of Justice in Lagos State and did that job with all seriousness and a great sense of commitment.

“He has always been hardworking. Hard work for him is an important value and that is why he works round the clock. In fact, the Acting President has told me that Mr. President inspires him a great deal,” Akande noted.

Yemi Osinbajo and Diezani Alison-Madueke
The embattled former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison Madueke has reportedly opted for a plea bargain and currently, in SECRET talks with the Federal Government on how to make a refund of billions of looted funds in her custody, report according to Saturday Sun suggests.

A 'whistleblower', the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, now the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi had alleged that a huge sum of $50 billion NNPC money was missing. He later affirmed that it was actually $20 billion. Diezani's problem started from the whistleblowing, News Punch understands

Alison-Madueke has since then been battling cancer and fraud investigations by detectives at the International Corruption Unit, ICU, of the United Kingdom National Crime Agency, UK NCA, which in 2015 arrested her. To fast track the process of his extradition, the Federal Government recently filed a $1.1billion criminal charge against Adoke and others in Abuja. 


While the EFCC continues the search for hidden assets of Diezani, Saturday Sun recently reported exclusively that photographs and visuals of the estates linked to Diezani in parts of Nigeria were compiled for the acting Chairman of the commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to take to London, where he had meetings with UK NCA officials with a view to tightening the noose on the former oil minister.

But beyond the extradition processes, there are strong indications that Mrs. Alison-Madueke may have succumbed to multilateral pressures from security agencies and entered into secret talks with the Federal Government on how to return some billions allegedly linked to her. Just recently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had through a federal high court forfeiture order obtained in Lagos confiscated about N35billion cash from some proxy bank accounts linked to the former oil minister. She has, however, denied ownership of the huge fund.

Plea bargain deal?

With her shield crashing from all sides, Saturday Sun gathered that Diezani through a legal team may have begun the process of surrendering huge funds allegedly in her care in exchange for some respite. The details of the deal, however, still remain sketchy and shrouded in secrecy as at the time of filing this report. Though efforts to reach her directly for confirmation did not sail through, sources close to her said they were not aware of the development.

Prosecution or persecution?

Though the former Minister of Petroleum could not be reached for comments, a source close to her who is not authorised to speak to the press said: “It will not be a surprise if the government is still bent on pursuing vendetta and  the mindless persecution of the former minister, after all it was the same people that conspired with the British authorities to arrest her from her hospital bed, knowing she is a recuperating cancer patient. Sadly for all of us karma is a bitch with everyone’s address.”

Added the source: “It is unfortunate that no one is interested in the truth and no one is interested in playing by the rule when it comes to the persecution and demonisation of Mrs. Madueke.

“The EFCC has been in the fore front in promoting the growing industry of lies against her. All she is suffering started with the allegation of a missing $50 billion. The whistle blower then was the former CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi, now Emir of Kano. When confronted to substantiate his outlandish claim, he backed down on the allegation, though the damage has been done. An audit review instituted by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and conducted by Price Water Cooppers Accounting firm to audit the account of NNPC  exonerated Mrs. Madueke, as there was no iota of truth in the allegation of missing $50 billion. The Senate Committee led by Senator Markarfi also found no truth in the allegation. Yet no one is interested in the truth

Sometime, last year, Al Jazeera Television Network released a video documentary, where it claimed the anti graft agency, EFCC, seized a house worth $18 million, which, it claimed, allegedly belonged to Diezani Madueke. The EFCC also claimed jewelries worth $2 million were recovered  from the same house.

“Investigation and inquiry into the claims by the EFCC showed that the house in question was not owned by Diezani. EFCC characteristically never bothered to substantiate the claim. Is the EFCC ignorant of the real owner of the property? Of course, they know who owns the property, but must drag Diezani’s name into it to grab media attention and serve an agenda.

“Similar to the above was another claim by EFCC, where it said it uncovered Mrs. Madueke’s hidden estate in Bayelsa State and Banana Island, Lagos. There was nothing hidden about the estate in Bayelsa which was a family house to the Maduekes in her native Bayelsa State. As a serving minister, she publicly declared the property as required by law, as part of her assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau. The question is: can an asset declared by a public officer before a government agency turn around to become a hidden asset?

“In another related development, the EFCC claimed it recovered a whopping $700m from the private home of Mrs. Madueke.

“By every stretch of imagination $700m is a lot of money. For an agency that love to hug the media spotlight like the ant hugs sugar, would it not have made good viewing to put videos or pictures of the alleged $700m for the world to see, just as in the recent cases of the INEC officials and the former group MD of the NNPC? Where is the $700m? Why is the CBN which rightly should be holding custody of such an amount of money not saying anything to collaborate EFCC claims?

“It is obvious Mrs. Madueke is a victim of political persecution as there are forces, individuals and groups who are not happy at the firmness with which she handled the affairs of the NNPC as it wasn’t favorable to their interest.

“Perhaps, her biggest crime was implementing the Nigerian Local  Content Act which provided opportunity for other Nigerians to become key players in the oil sector. Before her time as Oil Minister, 85 per cent or more of the people that transact oil business either as product importers or crude oil sales and lifting  are either foreigners or people from a particular section of the country. She became a product of hate by this group, not because she was incompetent or a thief looting Nigeria, but because to them, it’s no longer business as usual.

“Almost everything being said about this lady are lies, lies and lies. Sooner than later Nigerians will know the truth.”

FG reacts

When also contacted, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed neither confirmed nor denied the process.

According to him, “I think the Attorney General is working very hard on the efforts to recoup some of our looted funds; all of them. And I think sometimes too negotiations might not be out of place. In a situation where you have hundreds of millions of dollars locked down, (because people who have looted the funds have admitted the funds are looted, but are joining hands with the host country where they are hiding to say that ‘yes we looted the funds but unless you agree to give us part of it, we would continue to block the repatriation of such funds.’ in such a situation composite agreements and negotiations might be the option and I think the office of the Attorney General is busy doing something. You see because at the end of the day, for us, the primary thing is to get this money back into the country.”

When asked if recovery of the loot drive would make the Federal Government abandon the extradition processes already initiated against the ex-officials on the run, the minister said: “I don’t think the government would give up any of the options. No, no, no, no, even when you have been declared wanted, there are protocols and procedures. Some of which are not something you can discuss every day. But I can assure that between the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we would do everything possible to bring all these matters to logical conclusions. But, I think we are also not ruling out the option of negotiation if that would bring our money back faster, because in many parts of the world too, you do exactly that option. You know what I’m saying is okay; some people are abroad and where they are, there is even no extradition agreement between us and that country and they are holding our money. And they now say ‘okay we are ready to come home. We are ready to surrender to you, but these are the conditions. We are ready to give back this money, but you would give back to us 10 per cent. Or okay,  let’s be more precise, they say ‘look, we know this money is looted money, and it is 100 million dollars, we would continue to block the repatriation of this money, unless you agree that out of this 100 million we can keep 20 million there.’

“What do you do in that kind of situation? So, the government would have to look at such options and weigh and say ‘look we are in a recession. Do we need the money more than we need the man?’ and we can say ‘okay, we can always prosecute this man anytime, so let the money come first’. So, it’s not as straight forward as it looks.”

When asked to reconfirm if indeed such talks are ongoing, the minister said: “It is because I know; frankly speaking, it is because I know that such talks are ongoing, but I won’t be free to tell you with who and who.

“But I can tell you that we have a lot of funds held up today because some foreign countries have joined these people. I know at least five, six cases today where one particular lawyer, one lawyer, the same lawyer, he’s the one who’s insisting that unless he takes 40 per cent of the recovered money, he would continue to block it in the country.”

Asked to put a figure to the money government was making efforts to recover from these former officials, Alhaji Mohammed sounded evasive. “In some cases as much as 100milion dollars, 300 million dollars, in some cases as much as 80 million dollars,” he stated, adding that part of the money was stolen by people who were not members of the Jonathan administration

Report excerpted from Saturday Sun Newspaper

As Muna town heaved a sigh of relief, tragedy struck again as the three teenage girls, who had successfully snuck into town, detonated their explosives. The first girl struck around 11:30 pm, Thursday, February 17, at Muna motor park while the other attack occurred in Muna Dalti around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 18.

The Muna bombers apparently succeeded where insurgent mates, Zainab and Amina, failed. Amina, 18, was intercepted while her co-bomber, 15-year-old Zainab, was killed as she tried to ram into motorists queuing to buy fuel and detonate a bomb at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega station along Damboa road in Maiduguri, on Tuesday, February 7.

The girls were intercepted by men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps(NSCDC), soon after they arrived in Maiduguri on orders from Boko Haram.


My story, by bomber

As she recounted her experience, Amina’s eyes glistened with hope and gratification. She spoke in a crisp, clear tenor, caressing the strands of a severed ribbon from her veil. She fingered the thread and slipped it through her lips with gratifying immersion, all the piteous miseries of her life seemingly summoned in her wiry hands.

Her face, hard and weary from  strife, provided a soiled, pale background to her gaunt eyes. Her eyes, twitching open and close in rhythm with the groove where her lips met with the frayed strands seemed in search of something; comfort perhaps.

Occasionally, she removed the threads from her mouth to answer questions, the words leaping from her lips as if she meant to exhale in one breath, the agony interred in her buried narratives. With submissive firmness, she revealed that she and Zainab were on a mission from Gobarawa, a Boko Haram enclave along Borno’s Alagarno axis, to kill people. She said she was abducted by the terrorists in 2015 in Madagali, Adamawa. From there, she was taken to Sambisa where she was held hostage for a while before being transferred to Gobarawa.

Life in Gobarawa

“My younger brother and sisters Umar, Fatima, fauziya, Abbas, Maryam and Faiza, were all held hostage and married off to Boko Haram men in Gambarawa. But my father and mother were all killed when they tried to escape with us from the camp where we were held hostage in Gobarawa.

“All the people in Gobarawa are Boko Haram. They are many and they all had sophisticated weapons, motorcycles and vehicles which they use to operate,” said Amina. The teenager revealed that when life became too hard in Gobarawa, her captors resorted to drastic measures.

“They usually go out to snatch food from locals and bring us food. We don’t have grinders but we relied on stone to grind sorghum. We pounded sorghum with stone to make food,” she said.

In Gobarawa, Amina, like several child hostages, was married off to a member of the sect. “I am also married to a Boko Haram Commander, an Amir, who has killed more than 100 people, including his mother and father,” she said.

t took Amina and Zainab three days to get to Maiduguri, travelling on a motorcycle. She said: “We were directed by the sect members to detonate our explosives any where we saw any form of gathering…They said if we press the button, the bomb would explode and we will automatically go to heaven. I was scared, so, I told them that I could not detonate any explosive. But Zainab said she would do it. So, they said if Zainab detonated her own, it would serve the purpose.”

However, things didn’t go according to plan in Maiduguri. At 6.45 a.m., Amina and Zainab were accosted in the city, after a bean-cake seller alerted NSCDC operatives about their suspicious moves. But while Amina balked from the mission, Zainab decided to go ahead with it. She ignored Amina’s counsel that they flee into the city and seek help.

“I demobilised my own explosive right from when we were about to sleep in a nearby town en route Maiduguri. I had only N200 with me. I told Zainab to come along with me to town instead of blowing the explosive and killing herself for the sake of nothing. I told her that with the N200 they gave us, we can go to town to meet somebody I know.”

But Zainab rejected Amina’s counsel and proceeded with the mission. Initially, she attempted to detonate it at the bean-cake seller’s roadside stall but she later decided to attack the NNPC mega station in the area because it contained a greater crowd and the promise of greater casualties.

Fortunately, the bean-cake seller noticed their suspicious moves and male accomplices and she alerted NSCDC officers in the vicinity. Promptly, the latter marched up to the girls to interrogate them. But no sooner did they accost them than their male handlers disappear. Instantly, Amina revealed that she was strapped to a bomb. The security operatives scurried backwards and cocked their rifles to shoot. In the scuffle, Amina unstrapped her bomb and tossed it away.

“I already told them that I will not detonate my bomb; that was why I threw it away and handed myself over to the security. Zainab insisted on detonating her explosive. I don’t know why. I couldn’t say whether she was in her right senses,” said Amina.

Zainab ignored the NSCDC’s sharp orders that she stood down and proceeded to detonate the bomb. This attracted a warning shot from the NSCDC to her limbs. The shot was meant to demobilise her. But even while she writhed in a blood pool from her bleeding leg, the teenager stubbornly sought to detonate the bomb. This earned her a ‘kill-shot,’ this time around, from a soldier’s rifle. It was either Zainab’s life or the lives of several innocent folk citizens.

Excerpted From The Nation Newspaper Read More Here


Goodluck Jonathan and Ahmed Makarfi
The leadership crisis tearing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apart is now being linked to the failure of the party to field a Northerner as its presidential flag bearer in the 2015 elections.

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYC), factional leader of the PDP, Senator  Ahmed Makarfi, former national chairman, Dr. Mohammed Haliru and several other party chieftains believe the story would have been different today for the PDP if it had given its ticket to a Northerner in that election.


Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the Southsouth who completed the  first term of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and went on to win re-election in 2011 was the party’s candidate in 2015 but lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner.

The party has not known peace since then with Makarfi and former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff locked in a fierce battle for the chairmanship.

Reviewing the situation in an interview yesterday, Makarfi was confident that the party would have won the 2015 presidential election had it fielded a northern candidate.

Makarfi opined that the ‘gang up’ against the PDP in the North would not have arisen if the party had presented a northern candidate.

He said, the party also became too comfortable that it no longer communicated well with the people to know what they wanted, which he said made it easier for propaganda to be used against it.

The PDP, he said, “ would have won the 2015 presidential election straight away with a northern candidate.

“The reason is that, it would have been impossible to make an issue out of this North, South thing. We would have broken the North’s gang up, so to say, against the PDP.

“Again, we became too comfortable. A little bit of arrogance sometimes. We were not communicating well with the people. Because we were not communicating well, we failed to get what the people were saying, and of course, that made it easier for propaganda to be used against us. And that propaganda went deep that we couldn’t do anything again.”

A former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Mohammed Haliru is of the same view, insisting the party would have won had it fielded a northerner.

He said the party lost because it abandoned its zoning arrangement and adopted the then incumbent Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan himself said last week that the PDP is now poised to retake power in 2019.

“Yes, we lost the presidential election but that doesn’t diminish us. Every other party still knows that PDP is a leading party,” Jonathan told party leaders who went to present him with the report of the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee of the PDP.

“Losing the presidency is something temporary. We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our acts together. I am happy that you people are working towards that,” he said.

However, Haliru  told The Nation that the North felt shortchanged in 2015 when the party put Jonathan forward as its candidate for the election.

Haliru said that the unfinished first term of the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua was rightly completed by Dr. Jonathan, as specified by the 1999 Constitution, “but since the two terms were meant for the North, the party ought to have fielded a northern candidate to complete the second term (from 2011-2015).”

He said:”Yar’ Adua was not there to contest for second term, so you cannot say the second term was a Yar’ Adua/Jonathan ticket. It was only the first term that was Yar’Adua/ Jonathan, which the constitution provided for.

“But the election of 2011, which Jonathan contested and won, should have been contested by another candidate from the north”.

“We lost because we left the people behind on zoning and rotation. We said regardless of which part of the country you come from, you should know that you have the chance to contest for the presidency.

“Out of arrogance, the leadership abandoned principles and the people feeling abandoned, reacted the way they reacted. So, I am not surprised. It was the abandonment of the principle of zoning that led the people to abandon the party”.

The ex-party chair, who also served as Defence Minister under Jonathan, admitted that part of the contributing factors to Jonathan’s defeat was nostalgia among majority of Nigerians for what they viewed as the performance of the Buhari military government of 1984.

His words: “We cannot deny the fact that because President Buhari’s military government of 1984 was interrupted after a short period of 20 months, people were nostalgic that may be if Buahri was allowed to continue, he would have done better.

“But they forgot that the times were not the same. The problems of Nigeria in 1984 have not remained static and the people that Buhari is working with have not remained static.

“For instance, Gen. Tunde Idiagbon is no longer here. He was the backbone of that government and a number of other people that served in that government are either dead or now too old to serve.

“The nostalgia was for that government of 1984 headed by Buhari but also assisted by others, including Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who had clouts then.

“It was a period where the Head of State was the Alpha and Omega. Even if Gen. Idiagbon were to be alive and serving in this government, he may not have the same influence he had back then because the powers of the leader of government under the military were different from the powers enjoyed by a president under an elected government.

“So all these are factors we cannot forget. They felt that if Buhari could come back in 2015, he would correct everything. But the unfortunate thing is that people did not pray aright.

“Instead of praying to God to right the wrongs, they were saying let Buhari come and right the wrongs. If you take the position of God and give it to a person, God will test that person to make sure that nobody is omnipotent but God Himself”.

Reminded that he was the one that moved a motion at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting shortly before the election,that paved the way for Jonathan to contest the 2015 presidential election, Dr. Haliru clarified his position.

According to him, the motion he moved was to allow Jonathan contest the election, but not to make him the sole candidate for the election, as decided by the party leadership at the time.

“That motion was not my motion. I saw the motion on the floor of the house. What people were saying was that Jonathan could not contest. It was not a convention.

“It was a NEC meeting and we realized that if you rule out a sitting president, it could damage the party. But if you allow him to contest, you could defeat him at the convention.

“So I moved the motion that he should be allowed to contest, but not as sole candidate. Sule Lamido (immediate past Jigawa State Governor) seconded the motion.

“If you see the content of that motion, you won’t see anything like sole candidate there. Even though I saw the motion on the floor and I was asked to move it.

“If I had seen sole candidate in it, I would not move the motion. Jonathan was allowed to contest as an aspirant. The people did not deny anyone of the right to contest.

“There were other people that wanted to contest but the then National Working Committee of the party restricted sale of forms to other aspirants.

“I was not one of the people who felt that Jonathan should not contest. I did not move the motion for a sole candidate because there is no provision for sole candidate in the PDP constitution.

“Even when it is zoned to the south, northerners are allowed to contest. Even when zoned to the north, southerners are allowed to contest.

“Remember our first convention when the presidential ticket was zoned to the south in which Chief Olusegun Obasanjo emerged, the late Abubakar Rimi also contested and he was allowed. The following one, which was also zoned to the south for Obasanjo’s second term, Rimi and some other people still contested. So PDP has no provision for sole candidate”.

Dr. Haliru however, restated Jonathan’s position that the PDP could win the 2019 presidential election if the party could put its acts together.

He said that many PDP members that defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) shortly before the 2015 election are now disappointed by the poor performance of the ruling party in government.

The Kebbi State born party chief hinted that majority of the high profile defectors have already been discussing with the PDP, seeking to return to the PDP.

He continued: “The same people that defected from the PDP and voted for the APC in 2015 to make them win, are now thoroughly disappointed. They have been coming to us.

“They are not likely to vote for the APC ticket again. And then if you look at the election figures, if you remove the five PDP states where their governors defected to the APC, you find that the APC would not have been anywhere near winning the election.

“If you remove the two million votes that Buhari got from Kano. He only defeated Jonathan with about two million votes. So remove votes from Kano, Sokoto, Kwara and Adamawa which used to be PDP states from the votes given to Buhari.

“But now they are all disappointed by the APC. So you can say that it’s PDP that made Buhari win in 2015 because we alienated our people. Now we are reorganising and we are inviting our people back.

“Even the claim that APC won because of merger is not true. If you look at the Southwest, it was 50/50 for the PDP and the APC. Jonathan was almost 50/50 with Buhari in the Southwest.

“And PDP owns the Southsouth and the Southeast. So looking at these figures, one can predict that we will come back to power in 2019.

“The only thing is that if a third party merges, as some people are talking about a mega party. But we will do our best to ensure that PDP is repositioned to offer credible alternative, rather than forcing people to go for a third party.

In a separate interview, Senator Grace Bent, who represented Adamawa South in the Sixth Senate, said: “In all fairness, Jonathan should not have had the ticket, especially when you see the need to go by our zoning policy,” she said.

“With adherence to our zoning formula, we would have been able to look around for a credible candidate from the northern part of the county, to contest for that office.”

Bent said: “With the way things are going in the party now, I am afraid that the issue of zoning is going to be rubbished. Everybody now wants to give it a shot; Igbos are beginning to agitate for it, the North is insisting that they must do their own second term and there is so much agitation.

“For executive office, believe me, I am completely for zoning; it is a must that zoning or rotation must be practiced for executive office.

“For executive office, it is compulsory that we must maintain zoning policy and adhere strictly to it, especially when we consider the complexity of our mosaic nature – our multi-ethnic, multi-religious setting. With such, we do not have a choice.

“That was one of the reasons why president Obasanjo insisted that a South-South person should have a shot at the presidency and that is why he and other party people supported Goodluck Jonathan so that the Ijaws could feel a sense of belonging.

“The country belongs to all of us and no  particular group  can  claim  its  leadership  as  an  exclusive  right.   No!   We   must   stand   by zoning policy always, otherwise, we are going to create unnecessary chaos in the country”.

The national leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYC) Comrade Shetima Yerima, also  blamed ex-President Jonathan for the present crisis rocking PDP.

Speaking by phone Shetima said:  “The party wouldn’t have been in the crisis it is currently enmeshed in if Jonathan had allowed a northerner to run in 2015.

“On moral ground, Jonathan should have stepped down and allowed a northern to run based on agreement within the party and other stakeholders. He should have allowed a northerner to contest to respect the agreement. But on constitutional ground that supersedes every other interest, he had the right to contest.

“What is happening in the party shows that they don’t have the love of the people and the country at heart. They are only trying to satisfy some interests in the party. This is what brought us to the state we are today.  For me, it is destined that Buhari must be the president of Nigeria. it was destined that Jonathan must disappoint people and go ahead to contest, it was destined that the PDP must make that blunder for Buhari to come in.”

Mr. Austine Medaiyedu, Special adviser to former Governor Idris Wada of Kogi state said :”The truth of the matter is that GEJ was no longer sellable for the Presidential election in 2015.

“He surrounded himself with sycophants who could not tell him the truth. Don’t forget also the accusations of the purported single term  agreement he signed and vowed not to run again.

“More importantly, the parallel campaign organisation floated by his wife was one of his undoings. The climax of his failure was the unresolved internal crisis in PDP. Five sitting governors defected to APC and we went into the election without considering the implications. Zoning was another factor for his failure. The PDP refused to zone presidency to the North as widely requested for.”

A chieftain of the party in Ondo State and former media aide to Governor Olusegun Mimiko,Mr Sunday Menukuro maintained that former President Goodluck Jonathan committed a blunder by contesting the 2015 presidential election.

He noted that the people had been fed up with his administration and should have allowed a Northerner to run for the office.

“He  should have allowed natural justice to take place by not re-contesting the election. It was out of picking the better devil out of two that the eminent academic, Prof Wole Soyinka supported the incumbent President,Muhammadu Buhari because the people had no choice,” Menukuro said.

Menukuro however expressed optimism that the PDP crisis would soon be over and would get back to power in 2019.

Factional chairman of the party in Kwara state Prince Sunday Fagbemi said the Jonathan candidacy in the 2015 election was responsible for the defeat of the party.

Prince Fagbemi who is loyal to Ahmed Makarfi PDP said: “Candidly speaking the fortune of PDP would have been enhanced if Dr Goodluck Jonathan had not contested the last presidential elections.

“If PDP had fielded a northern candidate all retired military officers would have voted against Buhari because many of them know his background.

“The outcome of the elections showed that many northern PDP members, even in states that we had super ministers mobilised for APC or were unconcerned.”

A former youth leader and state chairmanship aspirant of the PDP in Enugu State, Sir Tony Nwachukwu said the failure of PDP in the 2015 presidential election was caused by making Jonathan the flagbearer.

His words: “ýFormer President Goodluck Jonathan should not have featured as PDP Presidential Candidate in 2015.

 “His resolve to contest destabilized PDP and the divide sustains to date. It is unfortunate and regrettable.”

 Ntufam John Okon, immediate past chairman, PDP, Cross River State, said: “Those things are past issues, but we felt that we should give him (Jonathan) an opportunity to run, but like you noticed he was not acceptable to  the nation and that is why he lost the election.

“So it is already a gone matter. I was part of his delegates, to give him opportunity to rule. I believe we would have done better if Jonathan had nominated somebody from the north.

“But then, what if a candidate came from the North and Jonathan did not support him? It wouldn’t have been better too because he was the sitting president. And normally in our experience you give the president a second term to be able to do it. Just like I said, he was not well received by the nation and that is why we lost the election. So we have learnt.”

However, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the 2015 Presidential election because the party’s decisions at the state levels were unpopular and selfish.

The foremost Ijaw group said the party breached the principles of internal democracy during their various primaries in states.

The President of IYC, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, said the party imposed candidates at various electoral positions in the state including the governorship level compelling its members to vote against the party at the general elections.

He insisted that former President Goodluck Jonathan despite his popularity was a victim of protest votes caused by the greed and insensitivity of PDP cabals.

He said: “The PDP was busy imposing candidates while the opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was getting stronger. When you see that the opposition was getting stronger as a party you should have come up with a strategy of making sure that the will of the people in your primaries prevailed.

“But almost all their primaries had issues and APC was clever to wait for them. Anywhere the PDP failed, the APC took advantage and that was what happened.

“If Jonathan breached the party’s zoning principle, how come he got over 12 million votes? Jonathan lost narrowly because the party failed to allow internal democracy prevailed when they were carrying out primaries.

“They were imposing unpopular candidates. In a lot of places the APC won, the candidates didn’t even spend money. They benefitted from protest votes”.

The party’s publicity secretary in Bayelsa State,Jonathan’s home state, Mr. Osom Macbere,is also of the view that the PDP  lost the election because its members especially from the North betrayed Jonathan.

Macbere, a lawyer, insisted that it would be foolhardy to blame Jonathan for PDP’s misfortunes, when it was an open secret that almost all the structures of the party in the north supported President Muhammadu Buhari because of their tribal loyalty.

He described the current crisis rocking the party as the Karma resulting from the betrayal against Jonathan and advised the party to deal with its self-inflicted injuries instead trading blames.

He said: “Overtime, the people of the north have been known to be lacking in real party loyalty. They are only loyal to their tribe and during that period, their loyalty swayed from Jonathan to Buhari because they wanted to support their kith and kin.

“Their actions were guided by ethnicity and tribalism because Jonathan was not their own. How would they have though that any President would not have to run in an election where he was the first candidate.

“The man was a sitting President and wouldn’t it have been abnormality for a sitting President to have chickened out running to protect his office simply because of any consideration other than his qualification?

“So, they were just being ethnic, parochial and tribalistic in their thinking that he ought not to have run. If Jonathan were a northerner, that line of reasoning wouldn’t have been pertinent.

“Jonathan was not a northerner of their own extraction that was why they betrayed him. They wanted him to concede his right to run to one of their own and because he didn’t do that he was betrayed.

“So, Jonathan didn’t lose because Jonathan was not a popular candidate. He lost by dint of high level betrayal from his own party men and women from the north.

“The crisis is PDP is still the crisis of the betrayal that they had done to Jonathan and the karma that follows every situation where propriety is never the order of the day.

“Had they not betrayed Jonathan, all that we are enmeshed in now wouldn’t have been there. So, the betrayal, the treachery and the tribalistic and ethnic thinking of the northern cabal was the reason Jonathan failed and remains the reason the party has been in crisis up till now.

“Their primordial thinking that everything that has to do with political power is the exclusive reserve of the north has not been helping matters in our polity.”
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