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Friday, 30 September 2022 06:58

2023: Bribery Scandal divides PDP NWC members

...Some members return N122.4 million 

 

About four members of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have returned a total of N122.4 million paid to them by the Party’s Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.

This development is coming after reports emerged that the PDP’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, allegedly paid over N100m to the NWC members after the party’s primaries.

 

The sum was said to be part of over N10 billion realised from nomination fees paid by aspirants.

POLITICS NIGERIA learned that the NWC members that refunded the money include the  National Vice Chairman (South-West) Olasoji Adagunodo, the Deputy National Chairman (South) Taofeek Arapaja; National Vice Chairman (South), Chief Dan Orbih and National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Affah-Attoe.

While Arapaja got N36 million, Adagunodo, Orbih and Effah-Attoe got N28.8 million each.

Below is a letter by Orbih explaining his role in the entire matter. The letter read;

“My attention has been drawn to a damaging trending story reported in THE NATION Newspaper by Yusuf Alli on September 26, 2022 titled “Disquiet in PDP NW over N10 billion nomination fees.” Amongst several other allegations, he alleged that members of the NWC were offered N28 million to gloss over scandalous financial misappropriation.”

“To my shock and surprise, it has been confirmed to me by my bank that the sum of N28, 800,000. (Twenty eight million eight hundred thousand Naira) has been credited to my account by the party. I hereby notify you of my decision to pay back the money to the party’s account.”

“Kindly confirm receipt of Zenith Bank Manager’s cheques of: N10,000,000, N10,000,000, N8,800,000 TOTAL = N28,800,000 to the Party’s account. A/C: 1000095003, Globus Bank PLC.”

The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is planning to include an additional 2,000 members in the newly constituted Presidential Campaign Council of the party.

This, The PUNCH gathered, was to pacify APC National Working Committee members and state governors who were dissatisfied with the 422-member campaign council.

The development came against the backdrop of a letter purportedly written by the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, accusing Tinubu of running a one-man show over the selection of members of the PCC, among others.

Tinubu had last Friday unveiled a 422-man committee comprising political heavyweights and other notable members to pilot the various sub-committees of the campaign council. 


The list of members released by Secretary of the Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke, in Abuja, followed a series of postponements and conjectures about those who would be saddled with the task of leading the ruling party’s bid to retain power at the federal level.


The campaign council chaired by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has Tinubu and the APC national chairman, Adamu, as co-deputy chairman.

Also on the PCC are APC governors, ministers, lawmakers, ambassadors as well as serving and past public office holders.

Zonal and state coordinators, advisers, campaign patrons, directors, deputy directors and secretaries of directorates were also named.

The sub-committees include media and publicity; support group coordination; national youth mobilisation; parliamentarian; trade and economic; agriculturists/commodities; campaign planning; civil societies; Diaspora directorate; election planning and monitoring; finance; fundraising; and humanitarian/social.

Others on the list are ICT/data management; intelligence and security; labour; logistics and support service; medicals; policy research and strategy; protocol and events, and others.


However, the composition of the PCC did not reportedly go down well with some APC governors, especially Governors Ben Ayade of Cross River and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State.

The governors were said to have expressed shock over the exclusion of their nominees after the painstaking efforts they took to identify potential candidates who could mobilise support and deliver votes for the party in the 2023 polls.

They were said to have tabled their grievances with the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu and the national chairman of the APC, Adamu.

Members of the NWC also disowned the PCC list, saying the presidential candidate did not allow them to properly vet the names before he made the premature announcement.

While arguing that the composition of a presidential campaign council is something that ought to be done jointly by the candidate and the party, the aggrieved NWC members maintained that the list contains certain names that shouldn’t have been added because they have little or no electoral value.


New appointees underway


When contacted on steps the party and its candidate are taking to address the grievances, the spokesperson for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, confirmed that the list released on Friday was inconclusive.

Keyamo disclosed that the earlier published list contained names of leaders in each directorate, adding that a supplementary list of over 2,000 ‘membership cadre’ is on the way.

He said, “All their nominees will be included. The list was released in two parts. The one we released was the first one. In the coming days, more than 2,000 additional names will be released.”

On the difference between the membership cadre and the first, he said the first list contained the heads of each directorate.

He stated, “For instance, in my directorate which is ‘public affairs’, you will see only three names. And, of course, you know only three persons cannot run my department for the whole country.


“Even under Bayo Onanuga in media and publicity, there are only three or four names there. That also cannot run a whole campaign.

“Now, what we are saying is that with the release of the membership cadre, we will now have more than 100 people under each directorate, including mine.

“That’s why I said there is absolutely nothing to fear. The 422-member list is not all the people nominated for our campaign. You know we are more organised than those other people who are falling every day. So, don’t worry.’’

On concerns raised by the APC NWC members that they were not permitted to properly vet the list before it was unveiled to the public, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that there was no iota of truth in the report.

Keyamo added, “They were allowed to scrutinise it. There was a proper synergy between the candidate and the NWC. Beyond the second batch, we still have the governors and governorship candidates who will attend to their state campaign councils.’’


“We are to further review their names to be on the nominees’ list. I am talking about the campaign council members at the state level. That one is still coming. Here, we will have chairman, deputy chairman, media publicity for different states. You can see the first list is nothing compared to the remaining ones we have compiled. I am sure by the time we unveil all the membership lists, the other political parties will run away,” he noted.

Adamu accuses Tinubu
Meanwhile, a leaked letter allegedly written by the APC national chairman accusing Tinubu, who is still on vacation in London, of running a one-man show on Thursday caused a stir as party officials scrambled to douse the tension created by the allegations levelled against the party’s flag bearer.

Adamu in the letter alleged that Tinubu deliberately sidelined the NWC in the composition of his presidential campaign council.

The viral letter stated that the newly constituted council membership list was not a true representation of the three-man committee set up to harmonise it.

The three-member committee comprised the National Organising Secretary, National Legal Adviser and Deputy Women Leader of the party.


The letter read in part, “On behalf of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, I present my compliments to Your Excellency, and have the honour to convey to you, in truth and respect, the committee’s opinion and position, regarding the above-mentioned subject matter, with a view to having a clear understanding about the respective roles and responsibilities of the principal organs of the party charged with the duties of conducting the campaigns in the forth-coming general elections.

“This correspondence has become necessary in view of developments that took place over the last few days around the purported appointments into the Presidential Campaign Council that was announced precipitately by officials of the council, without making recourse to the NWC for approval.’’


Continuing, it further said, ‘’All along, the NWC had been disposed towards the campaign in a cooperative spirit that is driven by the overall interest of the party and the singular desire of victory for our candidates, in the persons of your esteemed self and your running mate.

“It is against this background that the NWC received with astonishment and regret, the press release by the PCC on 23rd September 2022, in which a purported list of appointees was announced, which effectively served as the approved roster of participants in the party’s Presidential Campaign Council.

“The purported list not only came as a complete surprise to the NWC and the party’s leadership, but also contravened the principles and purposes of the arrangements that you and I had led towards the adoption of the organogram of the PCC, and its principal officials.


“Perhaps, it has become necessary owing to the passage of time, that I should draw Your Excellency’s attention to the agreements that we reached in principle around the final adoption of the PCC list, based on the understanding that it was a work in progress, until such a time that the Joint NWC/PCC Committee that was established to formalise the structure and populate the list, submits its report.

“Your Excellency will no doubt recall our meetings in my office and also at the NWC conference room at the party’s National Secretariat, on Wednesday, 7th September 2022, during which we discussed the details of the organogram of the PCC and its composition, as a collaborative project between the two entities.

‘’Our recollection of those meetings clearly leaves us in no doubt that a breach of agreement has occurred, and that a return to the principles of cooperation and respect for each other is required.’’

APC denies letter


Hours after it went viral, the party distanced itself from the scathing letter.

A statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, stated that the letter did not emanate from the party.


The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to a “Draft” letter in circulation purportedly written by His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman of our great Party, addressed to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of our great party, expressing dissatisfaction over the recently released list of the Presidential Campaign Council.

“To be clear, the “Draft” letter did not emanate from the party. An unsigned letter that marks itself as a ‘DRAFT’ cannot and should not be attributed to its purported author.

“The National Chairman of our Party and our Presidential Candidate maintain cordial and effective communication channels, and enjoy full liberty of open and frank conversations on matters of interest to the party and our Presidential Campaign. As such, an unsigned “DRAFT” letter of the kind in circulation is patently unnecessary and of no qualitative value to engagement between the Party and the PCC.

“We will not be distracted by the wishes and actions of detractors that wait gleefully, but in vain for some kind of crisis to erupt between the party and the PCC.

“We stand united, as a party, in our resolve and commitment to execute a focused and issue-driven campaign to persuade Nigerians to renew our mandate in next year’s general election.”


When asked for reaction on Thursday, Director of Media and Communications for Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, stated that there was nothing to discuss since the party has dismissed it.

He said, “Number one, it is a draft. Two, it is not signed or dated. Besides, it is supposed to be a private letter from the party to the candidate.

“As far as I am concerned, that letter doesn’t exist. Anybody could have written that letter. After all, it is not signed.”

When reminded that the tone and context of the letter has further exposed the crack in the party over Tinubu’s handling of his campaign, Onanuga disagreed.

“As far as the APC is concerned, there is no rancour between the candidate and the party. The concerns that the NWC raised has been taken care of.


“That’s why the PCC list has been taken back to the drawing board to harmonise it to accommodate everybody. It is going to be a bulky list. But the truth remains that not everybody can be a member of the PCC,” he said.

Onanuga however disclosed that the October 8 earlier slated for the campaign inauguration was no longer feasible.

According to the PCC media director, all things have been put on hold until the presidential candidate returns from his vacation either on Sunday or Monday.

Tinubu to return


As the PCC list continues to raise dust, a source at the secretariat confirmed that until the presidential candidate gives the nod, the additional fresh nominations for the campaign council cannot be released.

Tinubu is expected to return from his vacation in London, United Kingdom, on October 3.


The source also fingered Adamu and another NWC member as the brain behind the aborted letter.

The official stated, “That draft or whatever name they call it was not the position of the entire NWC. Those who know Adamu well enough will confirm that the tone of that letter reflects his expression; always wanting to be in control of everything.

“Whether the APC denied the letter or not, Adamu has achieved his aim by indirectly using the media to pass his message. It is quite clear. Tinubu may however accept to dance to the new tune or call their bluff.’’

Shittu defend Tinubu


But the Director-General of Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance, Adebayo Shittu, believed the matter is an internal issue that would soon be resolved by the candidate and relevant stakeholders in the party.

“I am confident that the issue will be sorted out. As I used to say, political parties are an association of free joiners and free leavers. To me, I don’t see it as a big deal. It will be sorted,” he said.


PCC membership alluring


The APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, averred that it is no secret that many party members are asking to be included in the campaign council.

Morka made the clarification when he appeared on ‘Politics Today’, a programme on Channels television on Thursday night.

The party’s image-maker noted that, unlike the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the APC is striving to manage and keep the numbers within a good limit.

He said, “As for the presidential campaign council, we have a good problem which is that many of our members are eager to sell on the campaign council and they are asking to be included.”

Six members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have accused National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu of bribing members for their support over allegations of misappropriation against him. 

The six members, from the South, were said to have returned to the coffers of the party, the “bribe” ranging from N28m to N36m.

 

Ayu, who has been having a running battle with the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his group in the PDP is in Europe. 

The six NWC members, in a letter sighted by Daily Trust, alleged that the money was given to them as two-year house rent.

 

They included Dan Orbih, National Vice Chairman South-South; Stella Effah- Attoe, National Women Leader; Taofeek Arapaja, Deputy National Chairman, South; Olasoji Adagunodo, National Vice Chairman South West. 

Orbih confirmed that he signed his own letter, saying the six of them had returned the money.

In her own letter to Ayu, Attoe said: “If you may recall, the sum of N28,800,000.00 only was paid into my UBA Account Number 2053101024 on the 14th of September, 2022. 

“When I enquired from your office, I was told that the said sum is for 2 years house rent for me as a member of the National Working Committee. 

“Since after the lodgment of the money into my Bank Account, I have been inundated with many phone calls from party members, friends, family members and the general public, insinuating that the said money has been given as a bribe to bring me and other NWC members on the side of the national chairman following the crisis between him and the Governor of Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike/ Wike’s group. 

 

“In addition, some national newspapers/social media platforms have also carried stories accusing the NWC members of being placated with bribe of N28,800,000.00. 

“This development has made me very uncomfortable. Having found myself in such an embarrassing situation, I am hereby refunding to the Bank Account of our great party at the PDP National Secretariat, Globus Bank, Account number: 1000095003, the sum of N28,800,000.00 only earlier paid into my bank account 

“At an appropriate time when things normalize, whatever is due to me as my house rent could be paid to me.” 

Allegations not true — PDP

 The NWC of the PDP last night debunked allegations of wrong doing in paying housing allowance to officials.

 

 A statement signed by Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, said “The NWC has noted that this misleading report stemmed from an unfounded publication by a particular media outlet which suggested that the housing allowance, an entitlement duly approved and paid to national officials and staff of the party amounted to bribery.

 “For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP states in an unequivocal term that no funds were paid into the account of any member of the NWC as bribe for any purpose whatsoever for that matter.

 “To set the record straight, the housing allowance being referred to went through the due process of the party in line with the conditions of service and entitlement of the staff and principal officers of the party.

 “If any individual, for any reason decides to return money duly approved and paid, such does not in any way suggest that the money was paid as bribe or indicate that it was illegitimate or unlawfully paid.”

[DailyTrust]

A middle aged man, Onyedinka Esiala, caught using children suffering from fake stomach tumour to beg for alms claimed that his alleged boss, Uche, initiated the scam and gives the children unknown drugs to make their stomachs swell.

Esiala was exposed by a passerby identified as Benefit, at Mile 2 area of Lagos State on Wednesday, September 28, 2022.


While speaking with Vanguard, the suspect alleged that Uche brings kids to Lagos every year he travels to the Eastern part of the country.

He said, “My name is Onyedinka and I am from Enugu State. My oga is Uche. When I came from the village, I did not get any work to do; then he told me to be helping him to be taking these children out for begging.” he said.

“Whenever I am about to take the kids from Orile to Mile 2 pedestrian bridge, my Oga will give them drugs though I don’t know the name of the medicines which will make their stomach get swollen for some hours, and the kids’ mothers are aware of the business. Their mothers stay in the village,”

 


The children were staying with them in the village before they gave them to my Oga to come to Lagos. The girls are not my sisters, but their mother often brings them to my Oga. Some kids stay a year with us, and half of the money made from begging is sent to their mothers in the village. My Oga does give them black drugs. I don’t know the name of the drugs. My Oga did not tell me the name but it’s a black drug.

“My Oga brought one of the kids last year December while the other girl has spent three months with us. There is a boy among them but did not come today because he is not feeling too well.

“We do not come every day. We sometimes come three times in a week. My oga’s name is Uche and we have another set of people that stay at Ajagbadi, but I don’t know the exact place. The person that handles that of Ajagbadi is different from the one handling us in Mile 2. The name is Goodluck, but he is currently not in Lagos, he travelled, and his younger brother is in charge,” he added

After thorough questioning, Oyedinka was taken to the Nigeria Police Station Area E, Festac and handed over to the police for further interrogation.

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday evening ordered the immediate suspension of all activities of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state.

Sanwo-Olu’s Special Adviser on Transportation, Sola Giwa, who announced this said the sanction has become necessary following violence recorded in Iyana-Iba, Ojo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State; and Lagos Island on Wednesday.


According to the governor’s aide, a 35-man Caretaker Committee has been constituted to take over activities of the union tentatively.

“In a bid to fulfill one of the cardinal objectives of the T.H.E.M.E.S developmental agenda of the present administration in Lagos State as it relates to Security and Good Governance, under Traffic Management and Transportation, the Lagos State Government has suspended all activities of RTEAN with immediate effect, “ Giwa said.

This newspaper had reported on Wednesday that two persons were killed and many injured in a fracas between members of RTEAN in Ojo.

The melee was due to the control of a newly created park by RTEAN members. The park is tagged Under Bridge at Iyana-Iba in Ojo.

Vehicles and other properties were destroyed by the warring factions.

In a video sighted by this news medium, a man was assaulted till he apparently became unconscious. In the same clip, personnel of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) stood and watched on casually.

The Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has recovered 21,600 litres of Premium Motor Spirit otherwise known as petrol from suspected oil vandals in the Badagry area of the state.

Our correspondent gathered that the anti-vandal and marine team of the Badagry division was on a surveillance patrol on Tuesday around 11pm when it intercepted 720 kegs containing 30 litres of petrol each.

PUNCH gathered that the interception happened around Yafin creek, as the suspected vandals were about to smuggle the fuel to Benin Republic.

Sources said the vandals, who had operated in the area for a while, took to their heels after men of the NSCDC stormed their hideout on Tuesday.


The Badagry Divisional Officer, NSCDC, Chief Superintendent Akinyemi Ayodeji, said the value of the recovered petrol was N4m.


He added that the exhibits would be transferred to the command’s headquarters at Alausa for further investigations.

The NSCDC Commandant, Lagos State, Eweka Okoro, confirmed the incident in a statement by the command’s Public Relations officer, Olumide Abolurin, on Thursday.

Okoro said arrests would soon be made, adding that the vandals had been identified.

Responding to the raid on his homestead the other day, I was quite taken aback at the extent to which the vocabulary of terrorist kingpin Belo Turji sought to normalise and legitimise his criminal enterprise. Quite astounding was the assumption of diplomatic equivalence he drew between his empire and the Nigerian government. He contended “There have not been any attacks in the last five months since we reached a truce with the government but now that the military has attacked our home, we feel betrayed especially after the death of vulnerable people in the airstrikes..For the past five months, we didn’t attack or kill anyone around Shinkafi. As a result, farming and other business activities were flourishing without any hitches..I feel embarrassed when my name is mentioned after attacks by other bandits and terrorists. Apart from my house that they destroyed, many other buildings belonging to innocent citizens in the forest, were also affected. Peace is priceless and I am ready to be a peace advocate unless the government wants him to be a warmonger. I am ready for either peace or war. Whatever the government wants, we can give them a multitude.”. 

Exasperated at being serially teased with the assessment that he lacks the national political infrastructural network commensurate with his escalating political profile, Peter Obi responded with the counter punch that he would rather have nothing to do with those kind of structures. “those structures are the structures of criminality and we want them dismantled now. We want to ensure that the next election is based on character, capacity, competence,

 

commitment to do the right thing. Nigeria is, not just in a fiscal mess, it is at the last stage to collapse”. 

What is generally understood as constituting these structures in which Obi is found lacking can be extrapolated from those contenders to whom such lack is not ascribable. The identification of this lack in Obi (within the context of Nigerian politics) is relative to the capacity of other contenders to possess this ‘asset’ in abundance. Beyond this anecdotal citation, there remains the question of how to adequately characterise the definition of Nigeria as a structure of political criminality and dysfunction. The ascription of the criminal enterprise of Bello Turji as a structure of criminality is obvious enough. Not so similarly obvious are its institutional parallels that have self-legitimised as the organising principles of the Nigerian state. This is why Nigeria merits being cited a rogue state. 

This structure and infrastructure of political dysfunction and criminality consists of mutually reinforcing layers. First (proceeding from the premise that politics is a game of numbers) is the rigged population figure of the country at the level of general inflation of the census figures across the country with emphasis on the purpose of attributing to the North whatever figures it takes to perpetuate its political dominance. This is the precursor to the subsequent layer of voter registration figures which is little more than a mere extrapolation from the fraudulent population census.

 

The history of census in Nigeria is summed up in the following excerpt: ‘Attempts to conduct a reliable post-independence census have been mired in controversy, and only one was officially accepted. The first attempt, in mid-1962, was cancelled after much controversy and allegations of over-counting in many areas. A second attempt in 1963, which was officially accepted, also was encumbered with charges of inaccuracy and manipulation for regional and local political purposes. Indeed, the official 1963 figure of 55.6 million as total national population is inconsistent with the census of a decade earlier because it implies a virtually impossible annual growth rate of 5.8 per cent. After the civil war of 1967-70, an attempt was made to hold a census in 1973, but the results were cancelled in the face of repeated controversy. No subsequent nationwide census had been held as of 1990, although there have been various attempts to derive population estimates at a state or local level. Most official national population estimates are based on projections from the 1963 Census’

 

In order to sustain an original lie, you will need to keep telling subsequent lies in a manner that is consistent with the logic of the first lie. Hence, according to the London guardian newspaper “About 10 million new voters signed up between January 2018 and early 2019 – according to data released by the Independent National Electoral Commission– twice the number that signed up in the first nine months of registration, between April 2017 and January 2018. But analysis of the data for each of the country’s 36 states and its capital shows that INEC has increased the number of new registered voters by almost exactly the same percentage across all states. The correlation is a “statistical impossibility” and does not reflect Nigeria’s demographic changes, according to data analysts working with The Guardian. Additional data seen by The Guardian also shows irregularities in registration for the 2015 election, until now considered to have been free and fair.On average, voter registration in each state increased by 2.2% between April 2017 and January 2018, and by 7.7 per cent for the whole registration period ahead of Saturday’s election. Plotted on a scatter line graph, there is a 0.99 correlation across all the states, without a single outlier. According to three separate data analysts, the parity cannot be a coincidence. “Only God works that closely,” one analyst said

The other proximate layer of this reality is the party membership register and the attribution of membership figures that borders on the delusional. To give you an idea of the absurdity we are talking about, the governor of Yobe state who doubled as the caretaker chairman of the APC, Mala Mai Buni way back in January bore the testimony that “Today, APC parades over 41 million registered members, asserting our position as Africa’s largest political party and of course, Nigeria’s leading political party”. This is against the background that the total number of votes secured by the APC in the 2019 presidential election was 15m. If we accept but not concede that this number is authentic, the implication of Buni’s figure of 41m is that in the interim between 2019 and January 2022, 26m Nigerians have joined the ranks of the APC. We should be able to do a reality check and ascertain this improbable accretion when the results of the 2023 general elections are collated.

 

To the previously identified layers can be added the generation of slush funds for party activities and operations especially the general elections. I shall resist the temptation to employ contemporary presidential contenders as a most appropriate illustration of what we now call the subversive monetization of Nigerian politics. Nonetheless (and this is not coming from me)-to the question he raised of where will the Tinubu, Atiku and Obi’s multi billion naira campaign funds come from? Festus Adedayo provided this response “It is however alleged that the bulk of his (Atiku) campaign funds will come from government money, given to him by his loyalist PDP state governors, as well as former and present occupiers of government positions. The same goes for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu. On Friday, the Atiku Campaign Office attacked Tinubu by calling him a billionaire without a known business. This is a description similar to what Americans mean when they say, ‘we have seen the bucks, where is the shop?’ What is being alluded to is theft of the public patrimony. Till date, although the humongous wealth of Tinubu has kept tongues wagging, no one can say precisely what its source is. Like Atiku, it is said that the bulk of his campaign funds will come from state governors in charge of public money in Nigeria, especially those in his APC, and individuals who hold cash cow positions in federal and state-owned agencies and corporations. Drug monies, laundered funds and all manner of illicit funds easily find their way into election funding”. 

Dr Chidi Odinkalu recently brought to the fore a little discussed dimension to the wherewithal of such slush funds. The surprise is that the revelation has not precipitated a commensurate controversy and has become captive to a conspiracy of silence. Wrote Odinkalu “Three days before Nigeria voted in the presidential election in 2019, on Wednesday, 20 February, a little known official from Saudi Arabia dropped into Abuja to visit Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, who was running for re-election. His name was Ahmed Qattan, described as the “Minister of State for African Affairs” in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His arrival was as unheralded as it was suspicious. He lingered long enough for the bowels of his corpulent aircraft to be emptied.The day after he received Sheikh Oattan, President Buhari “expressed astonishment at the huge amount of foreign currency flooding the country intended to influence the outcome of the general elections beginning on Saturday.. Yet, faced with what he acknowledged was evidence of a peril to that sovereignty in the form of possible foreign money to influence the destination of Nigeria’s presidency, General Buhari chose to become an advocacy NGO rather than live up to his oath of office. The suggestive visit of Sheikh Qattan on the eve of Nigeria’s 2019 elections touches upon the greyest of grey zones in the governance of Nigeria’s elections – the role of foreign money”.

 

Another layer is the mobilisation of the powers of coercion comprising the legitimate weilders (the national security forces) and its illegitimate counterpart consisting of sundry thugs, notorious crime syndicates, sorcerers and freelance muscle men. Next is the aspirational control over the media and the propaganda industry; and the emergent culture of subverting the judiciary. 

You cannot build something on nothing is a popular aphorism and you cannot equally predicate truth on falsehood. The story of Nigeria is increasingly looking like the contemporary culture of collapsed multi storey buildings whose fate was foretold by flawed and faulty foundations. To break the vicious cycle within which Nigeria is ensnared requires nothing less than a disruptor, a positive shock therapy. If Peter Obi wins he would most probably serve this utility. His rivals in the APC and PDP are the candidates of the status-quo whose presidential tickets are an advertisement of all that has gone wrong with Nigeria. It is worse. With the imperative of national unity and integration in view, these tickets are provocatively and incurably defective. 

The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has reiterated the commitment of the force to creation of community policing.

Speaking at the 11th edition of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) forum in Abuja, on Thursday, Baba said the community policing system arrangements already put in place to checkmate various crimes at local levels will not be shelved.


Baba also disclosed that the force had upgraded its Police Training curriculum to cater for knowledge that will be practically used in carrying out responsibilities in line with the principle of Community-oriented policing.

“Over the years, crimes and criminality have adopted a fluid nature. There was a time when society and members of the community, on their own volition, would arrest criminals in their locales and hand them over to the Police for onward prosecution and sanctions.”

“However, with time, society became more and more complicit in covering up criminals amongst them and even offering protection for them against the law enforcers.

“This reality created an urgent need to domesticate the principles of modern policing as advocated for by the revered Sir Robert Peel as early as 1829,” the IGP, represented by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigation Department, DIG Johnson Kokumo, said.

He reiterated that the force would make active various platforms such as the Public Complaint Bureau (PCB), the Complaint Response Unit (CRU) which has the capacity to receive complaints online via social media platforms that can be used for complaints, among others.

According to him, these actions are aimed at building police/citizen trust which is a fundamental basis for effective Community Policing.

Sixty two lawyers who have shown outstanding and commendable brilliance in their profession have been conferred with the prestigious rank of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).

They were honoured with the rank by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) under the chairmanship of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.


Among those whom the coveted rank is bestowed on are nine law professors and three major lawyers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A statement released on Thursday evening by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hajo Sarki Bello, indicated that the LPPC conferred the rank on the lawyers at its 154th plenary session held on 29th September, 2022.

The law professors are Kathleen Ebelechukwu Okafor, Muhammed Taofeeq Abdulrasaq, Amokaye Oludayo Gabriel, Ismail Adeniyi Olatunbosun, Abdullahi Sheu Zuru, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Theodore Bala Maiyaki,

Friday, 30 September 2022 06:41

Strike: FG begs ASUU to accept IPPIS

The federal government has begged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to accept the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS) with the promise of improving the payment platform to fit the needs of the lecturers.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Sylvia Okolieaboh, made the plea on Thursday during the meeting between the union and the federal government at the House of Representatives.


Recall that the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila had last week called for an extended meeting of all stakeholders in the education sector to resolve the over seven months strike.

The Accountant General said the government will accommodate the union on the issue of salaries in a bid to end the strike.


He insisted that the government is concerned over the ripple effect of allowing ASUU to have a separate payment platform from others.


“If there are peculiarities in the university salaries system, what we need to do is to sit down with ASUU and identify them and address them in IPPIS. We are willing to accept.”

This is the third meeting brokered by the House of Representatives, like many others, the meeting did not yield any agreement.

Others at the meeting included the head of service, Folashade Esan, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke.

In his closing remarks, Mr Gbajabiamila said will compile all recommendations and submit them to President Muhammadu Buhari as a single report.

He stated that “We are appealing to you, the Judiciary has spoken, the Executive has spoken, the Legislature is about to speak together with the Executive; everybody cannot be wrong and only one person is right. For me I’m happy with the solution on UTAS, no victor, no vanquished, everybody is being carried along.

“For the sake of emphasis, the House is pleading with you, let’s put all interest aside and look at the interest of our children.”

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