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Under Odigie-Oyegun as Chairman, some members were superior to the party – APC

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In the aftermath of the recently-conducted 2019 General Elections, the governing All Progressives Congress has witnessed disputations among some party leaders on account of post-primary issues and some losses recorded in some states – through the ballots or courts.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in an interview with journalists said if Oyo, Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa, and Zamfara States were taken one by one, it will be discovered that there were peculiar issues in the respective states that accounted for how the APC lost them rather than the voters preferring the Peoples Democratic Party.

“I would put the painful outcomes broadly under two reasons. One is indiscipline on the part of some members of our party in most of the states. The second reason is that the party leadership did not do much between 2015 and 2018 to move the party from being an amalgam of different political parties to become a truly blended progressive political party,” Issa-Onilu stated.

He said the next three years are very important as the APC under the leadership of the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, will continue to strengthen compliance with the rules, build support structures for democracy, ensures discipline across board, and deliver good governance for the benefits of all Nigerians.
“We expect members who have different agenda to join their kind in PDP. We will welcome with open arms, those who share our progressive ideals, so that by 2022, we will have a party whose members are truly progressives,” the APC spokesman said.

The APC spokesperson said the immediate-past National Working Committee, led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as National Chairman, lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.
The resultant effect, he said, was widespread indiscipline across party ranks, lack of respect for party supremacy as witnessed in the 8th National Assembly leadership and its overall inability to align the varying interests of the legacy parties that came together to form the APC in 2014.

Issa-Onilu said: “Let me agree that the NWC that led the party into the 2015 elections and continued till June 2018 did nothing different from what you would find in PDP. It was a period the party was seen as a mere vehicle to attain political office. The system accommodated impunity as certain members appeared to be superior to the party. Their interests were far more important than the collective interests of the APC, even when most times such interests are at variance with the ideals the party stand for.
“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC called the bluff of the party by imposing themselves on the National Assembly as leaders contrary to the position of the party. Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened? It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy cost APC over that period. The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable. We all saw the consequences on governance as the National assembly practically held our government to ransom. The impunity, which President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly described as lack of patriotism, constituted an unfortunate hindrance to the smooth running of government.

“The leadership under Chief Oyegun, with due respect to him, condoned all sorts of acts of indiscipline from certain members. It is not surprising that the current National Working Committee inherited such a huge mess, where the party was struggling to differentiate itself from the delinquent PDP. We all know that PDP was practically dead following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back not because the party has changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.
“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later. We should not be ashamed to say that our party’s leadership under Chief Oyegun lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.”
The APC spokesperson said Senator Lawal Shuaib assertions in the letter to the National Chairman portrayed the NWC as a bunch of cowards looking for a scapegoat to pass on the blame following undesired results in his home Zamfara State.
Issa-Onilu said: “When he (Senator Lawal Shuaib) alleged that the National Chairman is running the party like a sole administrator, does that mean the rest of us are incompetent? I doubt if he would have many members of the NWC supporting him in this. The ability to face up to the challenges and to take responsibility for mistakes are important qualities of a leader. If the NWC had taken any action that did not produce the desired result, it would be plain cowardice to look for a scapegoat or pass on the blame to another person.
“Since the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC came to office, we have been doing our best to institutionalise the best ideals of progressive politics. We understand that we must bring everyone under the fold of the party, where all of us would be subject to our party’s rules and conventions. We understand that impunity can provide temporary advantage and even successes. But ultimately, those successes would be short-lived. PDP is a living example of the inherent calamity of impunity. The PDP era brought calamity to the country and ultimately led to the loss of power. What I read from that letter is a call to continue along that trend. With due respect, that is not what APC stands for.”
Despite some 2019 election losses recorded in some states, Issa-onilu affirmed that the APC has improved significantly on the result of 2015 under the leadership of Oshiomhole.
He said the National Chairman cannot be blamed for the avoidable losses recorded in some states as some stakeholders failed to follow the party’s directives and ensure internal democracy.
Issa-Onilu said: “Since we are comparing 2015 to what has happened now, we should remember that our President was elected in 2015 with over 15 million votes as against the PDPs 13 million plus. There was about 2.5 million votes difference. Under Oshiomhole, we have over 15 million votes as against PDPs 11 million plus. There you have nearly four million votes difference. So for the Presidential election, our party has improved significantly on the result of 2015.
“The situation was expectedly different at the state level. The state players have the foremost responsibility to win elections in their states. What we can do at the national level is to provide the necessary support. The support starts from conducting transparent primaries that ensure the party produces popular candidates. Of course, certain state players in our party expected business as usual where other players are subjugated for them so that their wishes are imposed on other APC members in their states. This we could not do and I dont think we need to apologise for doing the right thing. By now, the states that failed to follow the partys directives are the ones that may be regretting.
“We have examples of Governors who are true progressives who worked with the NWC to ensure things were done right. Look at Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Kano, Nasarawa, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, etc. The Governors and leaders of APC in these states worked according to the rules in conjunction with the NWC and we all can see that the sweetest victory is the one achieved under a free and fair engagement with the opposition.
“This is what our party wants to showcase. This is the example President Buhari has shown by ensuring that we had a presidential election in this country without seeking to award himself any advantage over his opponents. The President has the instruments to use under him, but he rather subjected himself to the rules of the contest. If the President did not expect the party to manipulate his own election, why should anyone else expect that from the party?
“These people who are looking for who to blame are not talking about Kwara and Gombe. These were PDP states that we won landslide. We won in these two states because the local players adjusted to the change agenda of the party. I am from Kwara, we won 100 percent in such a transparent manner that the PDP had nothing to complain about. Do not forget that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki is from Kwara. Kwara presented us the evidence that if we shun impunity and play by the rules, Nigerians would reward us with votes. The same is the situation in Gombe. Do these people want to give Oshiomhole credit for our victories in Kwara and Gombe states? Or they just believe APC must win by all means everywhere?”

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POLITICS

Ogun: You are frivolous, A’Court tells Labour Party …as Gov Abiodun wins again

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Abiodun

The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan yesterday (Friday) dismissed the appeal by the Labour Party against the election of Prince Dapo Abiodun as Governor of Ogun State.

The Court came described the Labour Party’s repeated challenge of the Ogun State Governor as lacking merit and outrightly frivolous.

Court upheld the submission of Abiodun and All Progressives Congress (APC) counsel, Barrister Wale Abeeb Ajayi that the Governor was duly elected and calling for the invalidation of the poll that returned him could not stand legal requirements for nullification of elections.

The LP went on appeal after losing at the Tribunal for the third time in its quest to use the Court to cancel the March 9 gubernatorial election in Ogun State.

On July 13 when the LP went to challenge the outcome of the polls, the Tribunal in Abeokuta led by Justice Ali Halilu dismissed the case on the ground that the tribunal had dismissed the Petition pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 46(3) of the Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.

The Appeal was filed by Mrs Modupe Sanyaolu and Labour Party against the Governor, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking the leave of the Tribunal to reverse itself by re-listing the Petition.

Wale Habeeb Ajayi, counsel to Governor Dapo Abiodun, described the verdict yesterday as “victory for democracy. The Appeal like the petition was bound to fail. It was dead on arrival”.

The labour Party, Ajayi added, “did not submit the details of the Deputy Governorship candidate to INEC; failed to raise any complaint before the election and failed to sue INEC before election. How can they now bring up a pre-election matter for adjudication when the election had been won and lost? , he stated rhetorically.

He said further, “They also failed to appear at the tribunal on the date fixed for hearing of the frivolous petition on unfounded excuses. The tribunal has done the needful by dismissing the Petition in the first instance. Consequently, the application to relist lacks merits and tribunal rightly refused same.”

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Delta South senate: Tribunal set to determine Senator Manager’s fate

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The election Petition Tribunal Panel II, presided over by Justice C. O Onyeabo has reserved judgement in the Petition filed by the Delta south senatorial candidate under the auspices of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, in the 2019 National Assembly (NASS), election against Senator James Manager, of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Dr Uduaghan, the APC candidate Petitioned through his counsel Tomson Okpoko, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) had complained before the tribunal that the election was marred by irregularities and urged the tribunal to do justice to the Petition.

The contention of the Petitioner, are among other things, that the first Respondent PDP, the second Respondent, INEC and third Respondent James Manager connived with each other to allegedly perpetrate electoral malpractices and the tribunal should cancel the election.

Dr Uduaghan, called a number of witnesses to testify on his behalf to support his claims even as the set of respondents did say.

At the adoption of the written addresses, Febude Zimugehan counsel to PDP first Respondent submitted before the tribunal that the Petitioner has not been able to substantiate his claims and that it is unmeritorouse, adding that the Petitioners have not been able to discharge the burden of proof placed on them and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.

The third respondent, Senator Manager, represented by Larry Selekeowei equally aligned himself with the position of the first and second Respondents and urged the tribunal to quash the Petition.

Dr Uduaghan’s counsel told the tribunal that the Petitioners have been able to prove their case and urged the tribunal to cancel the senatorial election which declared James Manager the winner.

Justice C. O Onyeabo stated that the parties would be communicated on the date of judgement.

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Lagos speaker, Obasa, sets up 16 man committee to screen Sanwo-Olu’s commissioner-nominees

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Speaker Mudashiru Obasa of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday constituted a 16-man ad-hoc committee to screen Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet nominees.

Obasa, who read the list of the ad-hoc committee members, said it would be headed by Hon Rotimi Abiru, a fourth-term lawmaker, representing Somolu Constituency II.

According to Obasa, members of the screening committee are: Hon. Jimi Mohammed (Ikeja I), Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege II), Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe I), Setonji David (Badagry II), Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo I) and Hon. Mosunmola Sangodara (Surulere II).

Others are: Hon. Mojisola Alli-Macaulay (Amuwo-Odofin I), Hon. Rasheed Makinde (Ifako-Ijaiye II), Hon. Lanre Afinni (Lagos Island II), Hon. Noheem Adams (Eti-Osa II), and Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu (Ikeja II)

The rest are: Hon. Suraju Tijani (Ojo II), Hon. Olusola Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo I), Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh (Apapa II) and Hon. Abdulsobur Olawale (Mushin II).

The speaker directed the ad hoc committee to report back to the House in a week.

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