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How 2023 presidency, bad temper ruined Oshiomhole –Oyegun [Sun]

Following the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the former chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the quest for 2023 presidency and temper, ruined the ousted chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.

The former Governor of Edo State who spoke exclusively with Saturday Sun in Abuja yesterday, however said the party should beam its searchlight for a person with the necessary charisma, level-headedness, and ability to arbitrate between differing interests within a party as its new leader. Amongst other issues, Oyegun said the issue of zoning should be foreclosed in order to get the right presidential candidate to pilot the country out of its current economic realities. He spoke with AIDOGHIE PAULINUS in Abuja.

How would you describe the latest development in your party, the APC?

One word, fantastic! Overdue!

Fantastic in what sense?

You know the APC had become a spectacle to the entire nation, a joke. But in one fell swoop, the minute the president decided to act, I think everything is now back on course. The whole argument has set us back quite a bit because we wasted precious time and until we have our convention now, we really have only an interim body. So, energising the party is still something that will come in future. But thank God at least, we have sorted that. We had a cancer and a major operation has been performed and the patient, meaning the APC, is recovering very well.

The APC NEC dissolved the NWC. Specifically, what is your view?

That is what I expected. In fact, that was what I also advised. If you remember, a few days before that, I issued a statement that advised what specifically happened. That was the only way because the NWC was already fractured. Everybody was claiming to be chairman and what was very annoying was that one of the factions was using the name of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of blessed memory. And they knew the man’s condition and they were pushing him forward to say Ajimobi’s faction and the other faction, whereas the poor man was in the hospital, fighting for his life. I thought that was really, really base, very mean.

Is this move like a vindication that you were pushed out of office?

Let us get this clear: I was not pushed out of office. I have read about these things so many times and I just said why bother about it. But since you are here physically, I completed four years. Point number one! Point number two: I did not ask for a second term. But the party in its wisdom thought that it was unhealthy for any party to hold party leadership elections and also primaries in the same year, just a few months from each other. They say this election process always breed some degree of discord. And then, there was a national election a few months later. The party thought I should continue until after the national elections. So, that was why they went into all that thing about extension. They never said second term, but extension. So, it is good to make that very clear. I served four complete years. That was a proper convention where my successor was elected and I handed over formally to my successor. I was not pushed out of office.

Is this development like the law of karma catching up?

No. I don’t look at things that way. I think it is just different personalities and one didn’t go well with the people. That is all.

Did you ever see the president stepping in this way as he has done?

Naturally! There are two leaders we have. The president is the leader of an APC government. The national chairman is the leader of an APC governing party. So, there is only one. The only man whose status is highest in the whole hierarchy is Mr President. And the constitution recognises Mr President as the leader of the party. So, there was no other. When the national chairman becomes part of the dispute, the only way, the only person who can intervene, who is beyond him, is the president.

But the pro-Oshiomhole group said there were some infractions and that they are heading to court. What is your take on this?

I don’t really like talking about a bad past because if you want to talk of all the nearly criminal things that they did, first using poor Ajimobi’s name. Ajimobi, of course, couldn’t be there physically. So, they appointed a stand-in person for Ajimobi. And where is all of that in the constitution of the party when there are other people such as the Deputy Secretary who was mandated by court or even the Deputy National Chairman, North, who was also there to lead the party? So, let’s forget all that. If they want, they can go to court. That will be for lawyers and the judicial system to sort out.

Do you agree with the thinking of many out there that the struggle to control the party by some leaders ahead of 2023 led it to this point?

Yes, partially, that is so. Partially that and partially, the temperament and nature of both the former chairman and even the NWC.

In the whole circumstance, what do you advise Oshiomhole to do?

Go and ask him. I don’t advise him to do anything.

You are an elder statesman; you are his elder brother…

Well, all I will say if he was my brother, let wisdom and a cool head finally prevail.

What kind of leadership should the party have now to be in good standing for the 2023 elections?

We have a little bit of time now to put out the searchlight for the person with the necessary charisma, necessary level-headedness, and necessary ability to arbitrate between differing interests within a party. We will hunt for somebody like that and by the time we have our convention, I am sure we will be ready for a beautiful slate of leaders.

How would you want the gubernatorial contest in Edo resolved now?

It has been resolved. APC has a candidate, PDP has a candidate. End of story!

Would this crisis be resolved in favour of a southern or northern presidency in 2023?

Given the way we were proceeding, it is the turn of the south to produce a candidate. Given the way the country has been, it would naturally have been the turn of the southeast to produce a candidate. But the southeast haven’t been strong supporters of the APC. So, as far as I am concerned, we are in such dire straits today economically, plus COVID-19 and a world that is upside down, that we should head-hunt for the best possible candidate within the APC wherever we can find him. The country needs the best possible head wherever he comes from. We should think more of the country and its survival than any other interest.

COVID-19: Okowa, wife on self-isolation after daughter tests positive [Sun]

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and his wife, Edith, on Friday morning proceeded on self-isolation after one of their daughters tested positive for COVID-19. The governor’s daughter’s COVID-19 status was released earlier by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which had released a figure of 106 positive cases for Delta on Thursday night. Among the 106 new cases is a Warri based journalist and Managing Editor of Niger Delta Today, an online platform, Mr. Theophilus Onojeghen. With the latest figure, Delta State now has 715 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as at the time of filing this report. The breakdown of the figure could not be ascertained immediately.

Governor Okowa took to his twitter handle to announce the status of his daughter. He wrote: “Earlier today, Edith and I received the news that one of our daughters has tested positive for #COVID-19. Hence, in line with the laid out procedure, we are both going into isolation for the next 14 days.” Also, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika in a statement, buttressed that the first family has commenced self-isolation for 14 days.

Edo guber: PDP govs task INEC, security agencies on free, fair poll [Sun]

Reps minority caucus drums support for Obaseki

Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Governors’ Forum, has admonished the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure that the poll is free and fair.

The PDP Governors Forum, in a statement,  by its Director General,  CID Maduabum, on Friday,  charged Nigerians and the civil society to be vigilant, so as to ensure that votes count in the Edo gubernatorial contest.

The opposition governors,  while congratulating Obaseki for clinching the PDP gubernatorial ticket,  noted  that his emergence as the flagbearer of the party is a testament to his leadership skills.

“This victory should be a humbling one as it has been achieved on the backdrop of a grave injustice done to him by his former political party, the APC, and a demonstration of the role of God in the affairs of men. It is indeed a call to continue faithfully serving the good people of Edo State.

“This victory is even more remarkable as His Excellency joined the PDP just a few weeks ago, and it is a testament to his leadership skills that he successfully got all other aspirants who started the race before him in PDP to step down for him and join him in salvaging the state without rancour or bitterness.

“We hope that he will continue to deploy this management skill in uniting the PDP and Edo people in the great task of  enthroning good governance and accountability in Edo State.

“He should ensure that there are truly no victors or vanquished in this struggle for the soul of Edo State.” Similarly,  the minority leader,  House of Representatives,  Ndudi Elumelu,  has urged the people of Edo State to rally round Governor Godwin Obaseki in the September 19 governorship  poll.

Elumelu,  in a statement,  on Friday,  urged the people to use the opportunity of the forthcoming governorship poll to free the state from the shackles of greedy godfathers,  which they have allegedly  witnessed under the All Progressives Congress (APC). The minority leader, while congratulating Obaseki for his emergence as the PDP governorship candidate,  assured him of total support in his reelection bid. He commended all the other PDP governorship aspirants, members and leaders of the party in the state for “exhibiting high level of maturity, transparency, understanding, sacrifice and adherence to rules to make Governor Obaseki’s emergence smooth and rancour free”.

“As a democrat and development- oriented leader, Governor Obaseki found himself among strange bed-fellows in the All Progressives Congress (APC) where he was constantly resisting the greed and impunity of power-mongering political godfathers, which came at a huge cost to governance in Edo state.

“It is therefore heartwarming that Governor Obaseki is now in the home where he rightly belong, and which is devoid of chaos and comedy of errors in the APC which took a toll on governance in Edo state.

“There is no doubt now that in a party like the PDP, better days lies ahead for Edo state in Governor Obaseki’s second term as the sanity and peace he would enjoy in the PDP would engender the right atmosphere for good governance for the benefit of the people of Edo state,” Elumelu stated.

Post-PMB Intervention: APC Govs Move To Fortify Party Structure Against Crack [Leadership]

Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have commenced moves to patch cracks and strengthen the party’s structure after a resolution of the wrangling within the party.

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention that quelled the leadership crisis in the APC, the National Executive Committee (NEC) had, at an emergency meeting on Thursday, adopted all the recommendations by the president, dissolved the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and appointed Yobe State governor, Mallam Mai Buni, as caretaker national chairman of the APC.

LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that in a bid to mend political fences and realign ahead of the party’s national convention, the APC governors under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) yesterday met behind closed doors with President Buhari at the presidential villa.

But chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, told State House correspondents that they were in Aso Rock to pay a thank-you-visit to the president for resolving the lingering crisis in the party. He noted that in the aftermath of the last APC NEC meeting which resolved the crisis, President Buhari now has less distraction in his bid to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

FG Under Pressure To Pay N150bn Judgment Debts [Leadership]

Pressure has continued to mount on the federal government to pay judgement debts of a whopping sum of N150 billion arising from litigations within and outside the country.

Apart from the $9 billion judgement debt obtained against it last year by Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) by the United Kingdom Commercial Court which is still a subject of litigation, the Nigerian government is still grappling to other contractual judgements debts against it by local and foreign courts.

Judgement debt is damage or other monetary award pronounced upon by a court of competent jurisdiction. According to the law, there are two parties in the enforcement of a judgment: the judgment creditor (any person/group/government for the time being entitled to enforce a judgment) and the judgement debtor (a person/group/government liable under a judgment).

Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) had in October last year lamented that Nigeria was currently in judgement debt to the tune of N150 billion.

APC Crisis And Matters Arising [Leadership]

The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) was recently enmeshed in a messy leadership crisis that pushed the party to the brink of an implosion. The crisis stemmed from the power tussle between the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the former chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole. The show of strength reached its zenith when the party disqualified its serving governor, Obaseki, from contesting the primaries on the platform of the APC which eventually forced him to defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pursue his gubernatorial ambition. At the peak of it all, the Appeal Court reaffirmed the suspension of Oshiomhole by his ward in Edo State, thereby worsening the already tensed situation in the ruling party.

Regrettably, the suspension of Oshiomhole led to a comedy of errors as the party produced three chairmen of the party within 24 hours. The three claimants to the acting chairmanship position were Deputy National Chairman, South, the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi who died on Thursday, Deputy National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, and National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta.

Relying on Section 14(2)(iii) of the APC Constitution 2014 (as amended) the National Working Committee, NWC, had named  Ajimobi as acting national chairman . Section 14(2) of the APC Constitution (2014 as amended) stipulates the duties of a Deputy National Chairman of the party, among which is to assist the National Chairman in the discharge of his duties.

Section 14(2)(iii) of the constitution also states that the “Deputy National Chairman shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone.” Barely an hour later, Deputy National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, announced his take-over of party affairs. He premised his action on the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

Also, 16 of the 21 members of the NWC  had met and  announced the National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, as acting national chairman. The NWC said it met to take the decision to ask Eta to act on behalf of Senator Ajimobi, who was reportedly indisposed.

However, in the midst of the drama, Gaidom called for a NEC meeting of the party which the Eta led NWC disowned. But to the surprise of many, President Muhammadu Buhari endorsed the NEC meeting called by Gaidom on the grounds that the law was on his side to act as the national chairman of the ruling party.

Expectedly, President Buhari doused the tension in the emergency NEC meeting by advising members of the party, to withdraw all pending litigations against one another, and settle for internal conciliation, warning that the mutating disagreements could lead to self-destruction with dire consequences. He also warned that the gains of the party could be reversed as conflicts overshadowed the primary objective of service to the people, urging members to refocus on the larger picture and place more emphasis on uniting the party.

Consequently, the NEC dissolved the NWC and in its a place, Yobe Governor, Mai-Mala Buni, was named Chairman caretaker/extra-ordinary convention committee. NEC also approved the immediate   discontinuation   of   all   pending litigations involving the party and its members and ratified the party primary election conducted in Edo State.

This Newspaper commends the intervention of the President to save the party from implosion. In our considered opinion, the president as the leader of the party owes the party, on which platform he rode to power in 2015, a duty to steer the ship to safety.

Indeed, we have no doubt that the crisis in the APC has everything to do with who controls the party machineries with 2023 general elections in mind. However, with the myriads of challenges facing the country ranging from the increasing activities of bandits in the North West and north central and impending recession, the last distractions the president needs are infighting and power play in his own political party.

What should preoccupy the mind of political leaders should be how to build critical sectors like health, economy, and education in a post COVID -19 era. We recall the gloomy report by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which projected that unemployment in Nigeria may rise to 39.4 million or 33.6 per cent in December.

It is, however, gratifying to note that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting has approved N2.3 trillion stimulus plan to support the Nigerian economy in the face of the disruptions and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the time to work with a single mind and avoid unnecessary distractions. We, therefore, call on the political leaders to let politicking take the back seat as conscious efforts are made to change the narrative of governance in the country. That line of thinking should be uppermost in the minds of our political leaders.

APC crisis: Oshiomhole, others risk expulsion over planned court action [Punch]

  • Expel sacked exco if they sue party, PGF DG tells NEC
  • Buhari, govs to decide new party chairman, others
  • We did no wrong, APC govs tell sacked NWC members
  • Convention may hold after Ondo election

Members of the dissolved Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress risk being expelled from the party should they go ahead with their threat to consider a legal action against the party on account of their removal from office on Thursday.

Saturday PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Friday that the provisions of Article 21(v) of the party’s constitution were being considered for activation.

The National Executive Committee of the party had at a meeting presided over by the President, Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday dissolved the NWC. The meeting was also attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, many state governors elected on the platform of the party and other key stakeholders.

The meeting, held inside the Council Chambers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja replaced the NWC with a Caretaker/Special Convention Committee, chaired by the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, who was sworn in by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

But after the dissolution of the NWC, 18 members of the NWC loyal to the party’s sacked national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, a few hours after their dissolution, issued a statement, insisting that the APC NEC meeting attended by Buhari was illegal.

But in the statement signed by the acting National Chairman, Hilliard Eta and acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, the group made it clear that they were consulting other stakeholders and their lawyers on the dissolution as well as other decisions taken by the NEC.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking party source who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being reprimanded, said, “Consultations are ongoing. You know the powers of a President in the kind of system we practise in this part of the world. To dare the President especially if you belong to the party will definitely have dire consequences.

“When the President said at the meeting that those who dare the party’s resolve to halt the descent into anarchy should be prepared to face the consequences, he meant it. I’m aware that some of them have consulted their governors and have been advised to resist the temptation of going to court. This is a political problem which requires a political solution.”

Expel sacked exco if they sue party, PGF DG tells NEC

One of those against Oshiomhole’s rule, Salihu Lukeman, who is the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, advised the committee not to hesitate to activate the expulsion clause in the APC constitution if the sacked NWC members went to court.

In a statement in Abuja, Lukeman stated that although the crisis in the party could not be said to be over, the dissolution was the right step.

He added, “We have a Convention Planning Committee that will manage the party for a period of six months and organise a National Convention to elect a new leadership.

“Given that a section of the dissolved NWC is threatening legal action against the decision of the NEC, it simply means a section of the dissolved NWC is working against the party.

“Perhaps the Convention Planning Committee should consider invoking provisions of Article 21: Discipline of Party Members of the APC constitution.

“Based on that, those members of the dissolved NWC who attempt to institute legal actions against the decisions of NEC should be appropriately sanctioned.”

Article 21 V of the APC Constitution 2014 (As amended) reads: “Any member who files an action in court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matter or matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the party without first exhausting the avenues for redress provided for in this constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from court by the member.”

Lukeman further said, “We should on no account tolerate conduct of any leader of the party, which makes them more associated with activities of bandits who don’t respect any rule or any leader.”

It was learnt that governors in APC-controlled states, who are on good terms with some of the affected NWC members, have waded in the matter and an announcement accepting the new reality could be made within days.

Already, some of the NWC members, who met and issued a statement, are said to be having a rethink and started pledging allegiance to the committee.

One of the affected NWC members, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, who until the dissolution was the National Publicity Secretary of the party, in a statement on Friday pledged allegiance to the President and the newly constituted committee. He is said to be close to his state (Kwara) governor as well as the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

In the statement, Issa-Onilu said, “I was not just a proud member of that organ (NWC), I was also the spokesperson for the party.

“However, by this statement, I’m speaking in my personal capacity. I have reflected on the events of the past few days and the outcome of Thursday’s NEC meeting and as a party man, I declare my support for the actions taken by Mr President.

“Like the President said, the party was ominously hanging on a cliff, and as expected, something had to give way because the APC could not have continued along that obvious path of destruction.”

He called on party members to rally round the committee, which he described as comprising compatriots.

Speaking with one of our correspondents, he added,   “I cannot go against the President. The interest of the party supersedes that of any other person.”

Asked if there were others in the dissolved NWC that embraced the dissolution, he said he did not know.

Meanwhile, another member of the defunct NWC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the situation in the party was still fluid and he had to be careful not to be on the wrong side.

Citing Articles 21A (ii, vi and vi), he said, “I understand some of our opponents are already calling for our heads alleging that even with the statement we issued yesterday (Thursday), we breached the party code, I really don’t understand. All we said was you cannot right a wrong using the instrumentality of illegality.”

Attempts to get some other members of the dissolved NWC to speak were futile. Calls made to the former National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala, were neither answered nor returned. A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of 11.10pm. Similar calls made to mobile of the former National Vice Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, were also neither picked nor returned. he had also yet to respond to text messages as at 8.42pm.

Buhari, govs to decide new party chairman, others

The President and APC governors are major stakeholders that will determine the party’s new national chairman, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

Sources close to party stakeholders said the governors had agreed to work together and reach a consensus on who would pilot the affairs of the party.

One of the governors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “It was a tough decision to sack the NWC led by Oshiomhole. Some governors owe their coming to office to him but some of us believe that we had to take over the party and exert our authority before the party would be finally hijacked by an individual.

“We couldn’t sit by and allow the ambition of a few persons to destabilise the party we all suffered to build. The chairman was unilaterally taking decisions on sensitive issues with a few individuals, even without carrying the President along.

“We could not wait till 2023 before taking a decision. Waiting for long would spell doom for us and the party.”

The source added that the caretaker committee members had been saddled with the responsibility of taking a decision on the zoning formula to be adopted in allocating offices among the six geo-political zones, including whether the next national chairman would still come from the South-South.

Our correspondents learnt that while some members of the party would prefer the continuation of the old zoning formula, others had been advocating adjustment.

The source added, “When Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was removed as the national chairman, they brought Oshiomhole from Edo State. But when Otunba Niyi Adebayo from Ekiti State was appointed as a minister, those who want to control the party by force argued that the position of the National Vice Chairman, South, was zoned to the entire South-West and unilaterally appointed the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi from Oyo State. Is that fair? They think we don’t know what we are doing?”

Convention may hold after Ondo election

While the committee is also said to be taking its time before coming up with its plans, some party leaders have insisted that the convention should not hold until after the Ondo State governorship election on October 10.

The plan, it was gathered, was to enable the party prepare for the governorship election in Ondo State.

Caretaker committee for inauguration Monday

Findings have also shown that the committee will be inaugurated on Monday.

A member of the committee told one of our correspondents that the inauguration would take place at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

The member did not give details of the event but said the first inaugural meeting would hold immediately.

We did no wrong, APC govs tell sacked NWC members

The Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu, on Friday said the party’s NEC did no wrong by dissolving the NWC and installing a caretaker committee.

He said the President as the leader of the party would never do anything contrary to the party’s constitution.

After leading APC governors on a “thank you” visit to Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Friday, Bagudu insisted that the President received “due legal advice” before he took a position on the party’s crisis.

“Mr President will never do anything against the party’s constitutional provisions, let alone the country’s constitution,” he added.

Bagudu said he was at the Villa with Buni; the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; a member of the committee representing the North-Central and Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello; and the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, to thank Buhari for all he had been doing for the party and the country.

But, in spite of the nationwide concerns over the security challenges across the country, Bagudu said he was hearing of “security gains” daily across the country.

Bagudu added that the delegation thanked Buhari on behalf of the PGF for including three governors in the committee.

He said the President was happy that the leadership crisis in the party had been resolved.

APC state chairmen back Giadom-led NEC meeting

A cross-section of state chairmen of the party, who spoke with our correspondents, also said they agreed with the outcome of the NEC meeting.

The state chairmen, including those of Imo, Bayelsa, Kano, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ekiti and Gombe states, said the action was needed to resolve the crises rocking the party.

The APC Chairman, Sokoto State, Isa Acida, said, “We have no doubt that the action will bring about sanity in the party and weed out bad eggs who have been more of stumbling blocks than the assets that they are supposed to be.”

The Bayelsa State chapter of the APC said it had no choice but to support the dissolution, while the Ebonyi State chapter said the party remained a united family despite the dissolution.

The APC Chairman, Yobe State, Alhaji Adamu Chilariye, said the chairmen had decided to pay a “courtesy and congratulatory visit on the caretaker committee” led by Mala-Buni.

The APC Chairman in Imo State, Daniel Nwagor, said the state would support the caretaker committee towards ensuring that the APC returned to its winning ways.

Also, the APC Chairman in Gombe State, Mr Nitte Amangal, said, “The position of the state is not more than what the national has decided. We are in support.”

Meanwhile, in Kaduna State, an APC chieftain, Senator Abubakar Girei, described the dissolution of the NWC as rancorous.

In Ekiti State, the APC Deputy Chairman, Sola Elesin, expressed support for the decision of NEC to dissolve the party’s NWC. The Enugu State APC chapter also said it was in support of the dissolution.

The Kano State APC chapter said the dissolution was a welcome development, adding that those threatening to take legal action against what happened would before next Monday change their minds if they had good advisers.

Lawyers react on possible expulsion

Meanwhile, a former National Legal Adviser of the APC, Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), said the issue of exhausting the party’s internal conflict resolution mechanism before going to court was a matter that could be debated, noting however that it was within the right of aggrieved persons to go to court.

He said, “It is neither here nor there in law. There is a provision in the constitution of the party, which I’m aware of, but the court has decided in about two cases that you don’t need to exhaust the internal mechanism because that provision is against Section 6c of the constitution of Nigeria. It gave an unfettered right to a litigant to go to court. So, it’s their right to go to court.”

Notably, the party’s screening committee for the governorship election in Edo State had said part of the reasons it disqualified Governor Godwin Obaseki was because he sued the party.

Also speaking, a former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Monday Ubani, said when people joined a political party, there are rules and regulations. He said the moment people subscribe to such a group, they are bound to comply. “And if you don’t, there are penal measures that are also put in place, including expulsion,” he added.

Ubani stated, “When the President said they would be dealt with if they don’t abide, what he meant was that the penal measures that are prescribed by the party constitution for any erring member would be invoked.

“I think every political party should try as much as possible to abide by their own terms and conditions for peaceful resolution of issues. They say the party is supreme, so if you go contrary to them, they can suspend, expel or deny you of some privileges.”

I helped remove kidnap kingpin, Wadume’s handcuffs with spoon — Capt Balarabe [Punch]

Embattled Capt Tijjani Balarabe who was indicted for facilitating the escape of a suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala (Wadume), said he assisted in removing the handcuffs from Wadume’s hands.

The officer told the Joint Investigation Panel that he used a spoon to open the handcuffs.

Balarabe said this in his statement to the JIP which probed the killing of three police officers and their two civilian assistants on Ibbi-Takum Road, in Taraba State, on August 6, 2019.

The men were attacked and killed by soldiers attached to Battalion 93 commanded by Balarabe.

The soldiers had in their statements detailed the various roles they played in the murder of the operatives of the Intelligence Response Team who were deployed in Ibbi town, Taraba, to arrest Wadume for abducting one Usman Garba.

Wadume had received N106.3m ransom and still went ahead to kill his victim because his family failed to provide the additional N20m he demanded.

After the vehicle conveying the policemen and Wadume crashed when a soldier, Sgt. Ibrahim Muhammed, shot the tyres, Balarabe said he interviewed one of the survivors who identified himself as a police officer from Abuja.

Balarabe stated that Wadume was taken to the army camp where his handcuffs were removed.

The captain said, “The guard commander of Gidan Waya told me that the locals arrested one of the suspects and he was with him at the checkpoint and he was having a police ID card; the suspect said he was a policeman from Abuja.

“Lt Yushau Saad brought him from Gidan Waya with the ID card. I interviewed him and he said they were sent from Abuja to arrest the Alhaji (Wadume). We moved the injured (policemen) to the hospital and the DCO Wukari (ASP Aondona Iorbee) confirmed that they are policemen.

“When I arrived at the camp, my soldiers and ASP Iorbee and a civilian were removing handcuffs from the Alhaji (Wadume). I entered my kitchen and picked a spoon to join them in removing the handcuffs.”

After removing the handcuffs, the captain stated that he left Wadume and his two sisters in his living room, while he went to Ibbi town with Lt. Saad to retrieve some rifles belonging to the IRT policemen.

On returning, he said Wadume had disappeared, and when contacted on phone, he claimed he was receiving treatment at an undisclosed clinic.

“Before I left for town, Hamisu and his two sisters were in our parlour; I came back to the camp and could not find Hamisu. I asked my CSM as the next person (officer) to me in the camp, he said he didn’t know when he went out.

“I called Alhaji (Hamisu) and he said he was on a drip at a clinic. I went to the clinic, he was not there. I called him again but he had switched off his phone. All efforts to trace Alhaji proved abortive,” Balarabe narrated.

Speaking on the suspected kidnapper’s relationship with officials in Taraba State, the military officer said he got the number of the state Commissioner of Police from Wadume, stressing that the two men were good friends.

He noted, “I got the number of the commissioner of police from Hamisu because they are good friends. He called the CP before he asked me to call him in respect of a case of Fulani and Jukun.”

The captain admitted that he asked Iorbee to switch off his phone “so that the military police can’t get him on the phone.”

Wadume had identified Balarabe and nine other soldiers as his accomplices. They are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra;  Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.

But the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the military authorities have been shielding them from criminal prosecution.

No state is safe, secure anymore, says Obasanjo [Punch]

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has said insecurity is one issue common to Nigerians, regardless of tribe, language, religion, location, gender, age or social position.

He noted that without reforming the federating units, Nigeria would remain insecure, unstable, unprogressive, stagnated and, at worst, disintegrate.

Obasanjo spoke on Friday at this year’s edition of the Sobo Sowemimo Annual Lecture organised by Abeokuta Club. The event was titled, “COVID-19 and the Nigeria security issues: The way forward.”

He added, “Let me lay more emphasis on the issue of security, which in itself is serious enough to make restructuring imperative. The South-West governors cried out and devised Amotekun as a solution or part-solution.  We have yet to see how successfully that will be operated. Other zones are clamouring for a solution because in no state and in no geopolitical zone is life and property safe and secure.

“Criminality is the order of the day.  And it cuts across the entire nation.  Insecurity is one issue of commonality among Nigerians, no matter their tribe, language, religion, geographical location, gender, age or social position.’’

He recalled that the Northern Elders’ Forum, through its spokesperson, Akeem Baba Ahmed, had declared President Buhari a failure on account of persistent insecurity within the nation.

The former president stated, “I leave out economy which is in the doldrums and fighting corruption where you see more heat than light and which is festering like a bad sore. That, to me, is what reform of federating units and restructuring is all about and not about break-up or disintegration. Insecurity brought about by widespread criminality of Boko Haram, insurgents, herdsmen/farmers conflict, terrorists, bandits, armed robbers, militants, kidnappers, abductors and human traffickers is a new phenomenon that is ravaging the entire country.’’

According to Obasanjo, it is evident that no ethnic group or geopolitical zone and even the Fulanis in Nigeria are collectively satisfied with the present situation in spite of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), being a Fulani man.

“I am, of course, discounting invidious and irredeemable Fulani fundamentalists and hegemonists. Federal security architecture, as organised and operated by the present government, cannot give any individual or group hope, let alone assurance of security within Nigeria,’’ Obasanjo noted.

He further said that from the beginning of June, there had been agitations and protests of a revolutionary nature in Mali.

Obasanjo stated, “Not that I am afraid of revolution, no, not at all, but I love and cherish peace and, of course, not peace of the graveyard.  If I am concerned about security issues in Mali because of possibility of flow-over to other parts of West Africa, I should be more concerned about security in any part of Nigeria. I have not lived for the demise of Nigeria nor for its destruction or incapacitation in any form.  Rather, I have lived to make and see a great and united country.’’

The former president noted that there was a time when kidnappers, militants, and human traffickers ravaged the East and the South-South and the North was relatively unaffected.

He added, “Now, no part of the country can claim to be safe from the menace and insecurity caused by terrorists, armed robbers, human traffickers, kidnappers of all sorts, cattle rustlers, insurgents, bandits and herders/farmers conflicts.

“We are all challenged to put our thinking caps on, join hands and seek solutions together, otherwise, we will be destroyed piecemeal.’’

He said the country was not out of the woods yet regarding COVID-19, adding that awareness must continue to disabuse the minds of the ordinary people being made to believe that COVID-19 was unreal or that the disease belonged to the rich.

How I nearly quit reelection battle — Obaseki [Nation]

EDO State governor, Godwin Obaseki, revealed on Friday that he contemplated quitting the battle for his re-election bid but support from his family, friends and colleague governors gave him the courage to fight on.

He also declared that he would be governor again for another four years by defeating on September 19, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Obaseki made these declarations in his acceptance speech at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin in the early hours of Friday, after emerging victorious in the indirect governorship primary election involving delegates from the 192 wards across the 18 local government areas of Edo State.

The Edo State governor, who cast his vote at 9:06 pm on Thursday, rounded off his acceptance speech at 12:29 am yesterday, noting that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) provided him a shelter with its large umbrella when he was drenched by heavy rain.

Sacked APC NWC makes U-turn, won’t challenge dissolution [Nation]

  • Leaders ambitions triggered crisis, says Bulana
  • Buni begins moves to pacify aggrieved members
  • Threats of court action mere media creation – Bagudu
  • PDP carpets president, Malami, Buni over NWC sack

THE Thursday dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may no longer be challenged in court by aggrieved members after all.

The former NWC members have jettisoned their initial threat to go to court and have now resolved to work for the rebuilding of the party, the immediate past National Secretary of the party, Mallam Waziri Bulama, said yesterday.

He attributed the crisis to the ambitions of some leaders.

He also said the failure of all organs of the party to function effectively affected the party.

But he was optimistic that the  APC would not break up despite the crisis at hand.

THE KLOPP KING: How Jurgen Klopp conquered Germany before leading Liverpool to glory [Nation]

Those who only give me 99 per cent in training will have huge problems. The team will have to work and push like it never has before.”

A snapshot of Jurgen Klopp, but not from when he arrived at Liverpool. Not after he had broken the dominance of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, not before the Champions League finals of 2013, 2018 or even 2019 – but on his first day at Borussia Dortmund.

Those who expected the journey in Dortmund to be a ride like a season before were about to be given the rudest awakening after the departure of Thomas Doll.

“It doesn’t make it any easier to run your heart out when you’ve just woken up in a five-star hotel. Too much comfort makes you comfortable.” With quotes like these, you begin to see what spins the thoughts of Klopp.

As a head coach and manager, he is lauded as one of the world’s best – but as a player, he certainly wasn’t in that bracket, by his own admission.

“I went to a trial at Eintracht Frankfurt and looked around. ‘Oh, they’re good’. I saw Andy Moller. Same age as me at the time, 19-years-old.

I thought, ‘if that’s football, I’m playing a completely different game’. He was world-class. I was… not even class,” he told Raphael Honigstein in 2015.

A modest assessment and one perhaps knows that Klopp the player could not play under Klopp the manager, but despite downplaying his own abilities, the striker come defender still sits as FSV Mainz 05’s third record goal scorer of all time, retiring on 56 goals across 340 matches.

It was at Mainz (more famous for its picturesque buildings and Rhine riverside location than it is for its football team) that captain turned into coach, overnight.

All journeys start with tales of chance and this is no different, with no experience Klopp went from a player in a relegation-threatened side to overseeing promotion to the Bundesliga, in three seasons.

His first thought was that he believed his players could avoid relegation, his first action was to make them buy into his feelings—the Klopp way was born.

Match one at Mainz in the dugout ended in victory, a well-earned 1-0 win over pre-match favourites MSV Duisburg, and it wasn’t to end there.

Picking up 24 points from the remaining 36 on offer, the Stuttgart born coach had taken his side from automatic relegation to survival, with the comfort of a three-point cushion.

At Mainz, he not only tasted the champagne of promotion, but also the tears of narrowly missing out, twice.

Christian Heidel, the Mainz sporting director who entrusted the club into the coaching hands of Klopp, spoke before the 2019 Champions League Final on just how he transformed the city from one who cared little for football to one who began to dream of the big time.

Jurgen electrified a whole city, he blew away the depression with his speeches,” Heidel said, something Liverpool supporters would experience through Klopp’s first words at the club: “We have to change from doubters to believers. Now.”

With seven years as Mainz coach, and a further 11 as a player, the now-Liverpool boss is fondly remembered in the city.

Amassed in the bars and pubs prior to the club’s fixture against Paderborn, the locals recalled their memories of him to the Sporting Life:

Kloppo, he knows football, we could see that here from day one” an enthusiastic supporter explains, “Germany has a lot to thank us for, a derailing of Bayern started here” another pipes in.

It was this derailing of Bayern – albeit temporary, that catapulted Klopp from rising star to one of the most hotly chased coaches in world football.

After finishing 13th under Doll – surrounded by names such as Energie Cottbus and VfL Bochum – a top-six finish awaited the new Dortmund head coach, narrowly missing out on qualification for the newly named UEFA Europa League by two points.

The first season had shown the achievements at Mainz were by no means down to luck, and Klopp instilled that desire to leave it all on the pitch from the moment he arrived.

Faced with a squad one shy of 40, the newly appointed boss said: “I don’t want a 30-man roster. Everyone must know he will have to give 100 per cent performance to be here.”

It was twice within his opening hours that Klopp had mentioned all or nothing, 17 players departed over the 2008/09 season, swiftly followed by another seven the season after, and by his third season, Dortmund had said goodbye to 38 players.

This clear-out heralded the Schwarzgelben’s first Bundesliga title for nine seasons, the emergence of youth prospect Mario Gotze was supplemented by the addition of Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish forward netted 74 Bundesliga goals while under the stewardship of Klopp, winning back-to-back Meisterschale over the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons.

It was the breaking of a Bayern dominance that had scooped up seven of the 10 titles available after the turn of the century.

“I think what I learned from him is the belief I could play at the highest level, he had this influence and it helped me take the next step.

“He made me realise that I had more potential than even I had imagined. He could see something in me that I couldn’t see.” Lewandowski reminisced in May of 2019.

Time and time again, club directors, players and fans all mentioned a belief that Klopp had stirred in them, it was something that could not only be believed in, but also acted upon, and then translated into success.

By the October of 2015, belief was something that was severely lacking at Liverpool. Beaten  to the title by two points in the May of 2014, the following season saw the Reds crash out of the Champions League at the group stage and finish sixth in the Premier League 12 months later.

Star players had left, others wanted out. Brendan Rodgers had taken the Merseyside club to his glass ceiling, something different was needed.

When the Reds’ owners heard that Klopp was ready to return to work after leaving Dortmund, they acted fast. Rodgers was shown the door 24 hours after press reports in Serbia announced Klopp (and his then assistant, Zeljko Buvac) were Merseyside bound.

“I felt a real positive energy when he walked through the door and I will always remember him saying he wants to turn doubters into believers – players, fans and everyone at the club.

He just had a real aura about him, and that transacted into the players and performances.” the words of Jordan Henderson, Klopp’s Liverpool captain, when asked what changes the German brought in on arrival.

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