The former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, has accused the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorchia Ayu, of helping Atiku Abubakar emerge as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election at the expense of his opponents including Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State during the primary election.

Jang stated this when he spoke on Wednesday following a meeting of some PDP members who are on the side of Governor Wike in Port Harcourt.

He likened Ayu to a “referee” who helped one of the sides to score a goal and blew the whistle that a goal had been scored.

The ex-Plateau governor alleged that Ayu had a “private arrangement” with the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, to shortchange Governor Nyesom Wike and other aspirants at the party presidential primary.

At the party’s presidential primary, Tambuwal, who was one of the leading candidates, made a last-minute decision to step down and asked his supporters to cast their votes for Atiku.

With Tambuwal’s support, Atiku was able to defeat Governor Wike and other aspirants to emerge as the party presidential candidate.

Jang recalled Ayu’s visit to Tambuwal’s Abuja residence hours after the primary apparently to thank him for the gesture of stepping down for Atiku and said it proved there was a private arrangement between both men.

“Thank you, thank you. You are the hero of the convention,” Ayu was seen telling his host in a video clip that captured his arrival at Tabuwal’s residence.

Speaking after the meeting of the Wike-led group in Port Harcourt, Jang said, “For the National Chairman, Ayu, to go and embrace Aminu Tambuwal, calling him the hero of the convention which means there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to shortchange other contestants, including Governor Nyesom Wike.

“Here was a referee who now helped one of the sides to score a goal and then blew a whistle that a goal had been scored. This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians and therefore we unequivocally ask that Ayu has to step down.”

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has said that the military should be held responsible for the high rate of crude oil theft in the country.

This was made known at the Senate’s investigation into oil lifting and theft on Wednesday, which was chaired by Senator Akpan Bassey.

The National President of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, said oil theft was a collaborative crime between military personnel assigned to protect oil installations and the locals running illegal refineries.

He alleged that the military and other security agencies were aiding and abetting criminals to steal the crude with the active connivance of the regulatory agencies in charge of the nation’s petroleum industry.

Osifo, therefore, challenged the regulatory agencies and various security outfits to be alive to their responsibilities in order to solve the problems.

He specifically alleged that men of the Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt and their counterparts in the Navy, in connivance with superior officers at different times, joined the locals in the theft.

Osifo alleged, “One of the greatest problems we have, which nobody has highlighted, is that there is strong connivance of our security forces in the crime. There is no doubt about this. From our Army to our Navy officers, we have information that they pay their superiors to post them to some areas in the Niger Delta.

“I can authoritatively inform this committee that men of the Nigerian Army and the Navy pay their superiors to be posted to Niger Delta. Even when the former Commander of the Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt was removed, many of the men in the command resisted being posted out due to the ‘lucrativeness’ of their operational areas.

“I think the people who have a solution to this problem are not even the ones sitting here. They are the ones you will invite behind the camera”.

Also, the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services and Administration in Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Mr Jide Adeola, said about 600,000 barrels of crude oil were stolen per day.

He said, “As of today, Nigeria produces 1.23million barrels of crude oil per day as against 1.8million barrels targeted, leading to total revenue loss, as of today, of $2.1billion or N877billion.”

Worried by the submissions, the Chairman of the Committee, Akpan Bassey, said he had never seen “economic sabotage of this magnitude and it must be stopped.”

“The required political will through the instrumentality of legislative intervention shall surely be done after meeting other critical stakeholders like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, the Military, etc,” he noted.

The Senate also lamented that the country was losing over 900,000 barrels per day to oil thieves, stressing that the massive oil theft would crumble the economy.

Bassey said if the ongoing theft was not immediately stopped, it would also frustrate the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act passed into law last year by the National Assembly.

Speaking at the investigative hearing on the experience of the committee during its oversight visit to major platforms in the Niger Delta, the senator expressed shock over the humongous loss of national oil revenues due to oil theft and sabotage.

Bassey stated that the committee discovered that pipelines carrying crude oil could not be identified because they were covered with no right of way, making it difficult to monitor these pipelines.

He told the stakeholders that the shortfall in the country’s oil revenues was not caused by oil theft alone but also by the inability to have evacuation access, effective metering and monitoring by operators as well as the unwillingness of security agencies to checkmate the incidents.

He lamented that the Bonny Terminal, which hitherto produces 60,000 barrels per day, had not produced a single barrel for the past seven months.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who had declared the investigative hearing open, said it was the view of the Senate that oil theft impacted negatively on the country’s oil production and revenues, hence its decision to set up the committee to come up with a workable template to arrest the situation.

Lawan, who was represented at the occasion, also charged stakeholders to come up with a plan to end this national challenge.

He said, “It is regrettable that the criminals are perpetrating the unfortunate crime with the active connivance of stakeholders, including security personnel.

“The Senate will stop at nothing to unveil the criminals behind the crime and that is why we set an ad hoc committee to unravel the thieves and come up with workable solutions to end the menace, before December this year.”

A member of the committee, the senator representing Kano South senatorial district, Senator Kabir Kaya, noted that while Nigeria’s OPEC quota was 1.8 million BPD, the country currently produces 1,2 million BPD, showing a shortfall of 600,000 BPD. He challenged the stakeholders and the operators to find a solution to this problem.

Veteran journalist and Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Dele Momodu, on Thursday, shared his opinion on the crisis rocking the main opposition’s party, Governor Nyesom Wike’s team was unnecessarily pressurising the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

He said those calling on Atiku to unilaterally axe the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, were being unfair to the former Vice President.

Momodu, who is the publisher of Ovation Magazine, made this known on Thursday while featuring on Arise Television’s The Morning Show.

The PUNCH reports that Wike, who lost the presidential ticket to Atiku in the May primaries, has so far refused to be swayed by entreaties to work with Ayu.

The PUNCH had reported that the Wike camp announced their plan not to participate in the party’s campaign council which was scheduled for inauguration next Wednesday after a meeting at Wike’s private residence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday morning.

They hinged their decision on the failure of the party’s Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office, insisting that the position must come to the South for balance, justice, and equity.

Reacting to the withdrawal from his campaign council on Wednesday, Atiku in a statement he personally signed reiterated his decision not to interfere in the demands for Ayu’s removal.

But speaking on Thursday, Momodu explained that those calling on Atiku to facilitate Ayu’s removal from office know that the party’s flagbearer cannot unilaterally remove Ayu from his position.

He said it was time for those in Wike’s camp to forgive the perceived injustice and work in unison in ensuring the victory of the party.

“It (forgiveness) is nothing new. It is recognised in every religion that when people offend you and come to you – which I think Atiku has done – the rest is within the party and the aggrieved members.

“My own worry is that we seem to the putting so much pressure on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar like he can unilaterally remove the chairman of the party. Even If he (Atiku) should do that, a lot of us will feel vilified. He cannot do it (remove Ayu) and all he can do is speak with Dr. Ayu and we don’t know what is going on between all of them.

“I know nobody will want to be seen in that light. Like anytime Governor Wike says you must go, you must go. It is a psychological thing as well for the party. It doesn’t work that way. Some of these things we have discussed privately with some of our party members and we believe that nobody should attempt to make our candidate look so weak or like someone that just can be pushed around.

“I mean, can I go to Governors Wike’s state and just tell him to go and sack the state’s party chairman? He doesn’t have the power to do so. It can’t happen. So, that is my position.”

Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi, has revealed that he will ensure lasting peace by unifying the country and rebuilding its social cohesion and mutual trust among the people.

Obi made the revelation at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation Peace Conference, in Abuja, where he was represented by his Principal Adviser, Mr. Oseloka Obaze.

Addressing journalists after the event, Obi restated his readiness to build a new Nigeria where the different parts of the country co-exist peacefully with one another, while working together to achieve integrated development of the nation.

He stated that one of the main tasks ahead of the new leadership, that will come into power, is uniting the country and restoring faith in our nationhood. “We are so badly polarised in our country. We have become more sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines that we all live in mutual distrust of one another, and true peace continues to elude us,” Obi lamented.

Obi further stated that he looks forward to a new Nigeria where the people will live and thrive in any part of the country and be free to fully maximize their potentials. He said that his government, when elected, will commit to justice, fairness and equity which, he said, are the bed rock of peace.

a rethink and give peace a chance. He regretted that numerous precious lives have been lost to violence in form of banditry, terrorism, tribal agitations, political uprisings etc. He expressed hope that by the day’s celebration of peace, such purveyors of violence will open their hearts to peace.

Barr. Ogochukwu Onyema, an Enugu-based lawyer, has petitioned the Federal High Court in Enugu to declare the Enugu West Senatorial seat vacant.

Recall that the seat is currently being occupied by a former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

The lawmaker is presently being held in detention in the United Kingdom on suspicion of charges related to alleged organ trafficking.

Onyema claimed that the seat cannot continue to be vacant owing to Ekweremadu’s absence.

Onyema is also requesting that the Federal High Court in Enugu issue an order “commanding and mandating” the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, and the PDP to “select, nominate, and forward” his name to the National Assembly “as a replacement” for Senator Ekweremadu in the lawsuit with the file number FHC/EN/CS/7/2022.

He further prayed the court to command and mandate the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and INEC to “withdraw or revoke, as the case may be, the Certificate of Return earlier issued to the 3rd defendant (Ekweremadu) and issue a fresh Certificate of Return” to him.

Ekweremadu had at the PDP senatorial primary election, which took place at Awgu, Enugu State, on 2nd October 2018, polled 690 votes to emerge winner, defeating his closest rivals, Mr. Isaac Okah, who polled 84 votes and Chief Onyema polled a distant 61 votes to place third.

But in an Originating Summons, Onyema wants the court to determine, among others: “Whether it is the intendment and contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended 2018; the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended; and the Senate Legislative Calendar 2022, that the seat of Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate will be declared vacant by default, if the Senator representing, without just cause absent from sittings of the Senate for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-thirds of the total number of days during which the Senate meets in any one year, which is one-thirds of 181.

“Whether by virtue of the continuous absence of the 3rd defendant (Ekweremadu) from the Senate since 22nd day of June 2022 or days prior (when he last attended the sitting of the Senate), up till the date of adaptation of this Summons, or any other date thereafter, it could be said that the 3rd defendant is still validly representing the plaintiff (Chief Onyema) and Enugu West Senatorial District, as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, in Nigeria Senate.

“Whether going by the heinous allegations levelled against the 3rd defendant and his incarceration at the United Kingdom, Wandsworth Prison, since around 22nd day of June 2022 up till the date of adoption of this Summons, the 3rd defendant can be said to have defaulted and be away from representing the plaintiff and Enugu West Senatorial District in the House of Senate, for no just cause, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended in 2018.

“Whether by virtue of the 3rd defendant’s travails, which was not caused by the plaintiff or any of his constituents, and going by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, it is wise and best, for the 3rd defendant to honourably agree that he has defaulted in representation, withdraw from his position, and mandating the 1st and second defendants (the Senate President and the Senate) to declare his position vacant by default, and instantly communicate same to 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th defendants (Clark to the National Assembly, Dr. Ayu, PDP, Prof. Yakubu, and INEC) for appropriate and timeous actions, of his replacement with the plaintiff, by the 5th and 6th defendants. And Certificate of Return to be issued to the Plaintiff by the 7th and 8th defendants”.

Thursday, 22 September 2022 10:57

PDP crisis: ‘Ayu to become hero if resigns’

The South-West Forum of PDP Stakeholders for Justice says Dr Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s National Chairman will become a hero if he voluntarily resigns in the interest of peace and electoral victory for the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the PDP was hit by crisis after Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerged the party’s Presidential Candidate for the 2023 general elections.

Some PDP governors and leaders, particularly from southern Nigeria were insistent that for fairness, northern Nigeria should not hold both the party’s presidential ticket and national chairmanship position.

Leading in the struggle for resignation of Ayu, who is from the North Central, is Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers and other leaders of the party from southern Nigeria.

Also, Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and some South West PDP leaders on Sept. 17, called for Ayu’s resignation at the zone’s stakeholders’ meeting with Abubakar.

In a statement jointly signed by the Coordinators of the forum, Messrs Banji Okunomo and Gani Taofik in Lagos on Thursday, the group threw its weight behind the calls for the resignation of the party chairman.

According to it, the resignation of the chairman is the only panacea for peace in the party.

“We, the above-named forum of the PDP, wishes to affirm our support for the position being canvassed by Makinde, corroborated by the doggedness of the ‘Wikes’ and the wisdom of the ‘Bode Georges’, as a lasting panacea for peace and eventual victory of our party at the 2023 presidential election,” the group said.

The forum said that Ayu should be able to sacrifice for Atiku to win the next election.

“It is our take, that Ayu should indeed go further to logically and wisely conclude the process that will guarantee the emergence of Abubakar as the next president of Nigeria, by making other possible sacrifices necessary to achieve that goal.

“Indeed, this is why and when Ayu himself will be more celebrated as PDP’s hero of democracy rather than clogging the party’s wheel of progress and creating avoidable crisis for the party,” the group said.

It urged Abubakar to be wary of the ill and reactionary advice of some moles in the party.

It said that the moles were insistent on offering opinions capable of jeopardising the chance that God had opened for the PDP in the emerging dispensation.

“Nigerians are indeed awaiting the PDP as the actual potent alternative government, and God forbids, if this opportunity skips us, Nigerians may never again associate with the PDP.

“We call for immediate restoration of sanity,confidence, inclusiveness and oneness in the Party as a stitch in time saves nine,” it said.

NAN recalls that the crisis got deeper on Wednesday, when loyalists to Wike’s caucus pulled out of the Abubakar presidential campaign council after a meeting in Portharcourt, Rivers.

The group said they would not participate in Atiku’s campaign activities unless the party’s national chairman vacated his seat for a southerner to allow ‘balance’ in the party. (NAN)

Former senior official Fu Zhenghua on Thursday was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking bribes worth more than 117 million yuan (16.76 million U.S. dollars) and bending the law for personal gains.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Changchun in northeast China’s Jilin Province established that Fu, took bribes by abusing power in various positions he held between 2005 and 2021.

Fu, was a former deputy head of the Committee on Social and Legal Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference

The court also found that Fu, when working as head of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau from 2014 to 2015, shielded his younger brother who was suspected of serious crimes from investigation and prosecution.

Fu was deprived of his political rights for life, and all his personal assets were confiscated, the court said.

However, the sum of bribes Fu had taken was massive, and his crimes caused a heavy loss to the interests of the state and people, said the court.

Meanwhile, a lenient sentence was granted, considering that Fu had confessed to his crimes and showed repentance and had been cooperative in returning his illegal gains.

After the two-year reprieve for his death sentence, Fu’s sentence can be commuted to life in prison in accordance with the law, but no further reduction or parole shall be given to him, the court said.(Xinhua/NAN)

Northern leaders have revealed the kind of presidential candidate it will be rooting for ahead of the 2023 general election.

The leaders said they will support a presidential candidate that has the tact and capacity to tackle the security and other challenges confronting the region.

The northern leaders, from the 19 states and the FCT, at a 2-day conference in Abuja, organised by a pro-northern group, Arewa New Agenda (ANA), said insecurity, disunity, backwardness and other social issues were militating against the development of the region.

They also bemoaned the inability of the region’s leaders to set in motion steps towards addressing the problems facing it.

The Secretary-General, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Murtala Aliyu, noted that the region must “reinforce its confidence and negotiate with the country’s political leadership to ensure its speedy development.”

His position was corroborated by the Director of Arewa House, Dr Shuaibu Aliyu, who, in his submission, observed that the region remains the force unifying the country.

Senator Ahmad Moallahyidi, the convener of the conference, explained that with a land mass of 98.3 million hectares, of which 82 million is arable, the region can feed not just Nigeria, but the entire West African subregion, adding that its challenges must be tackled.

If Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, becomes president next year, it is not only his exclusionist Muslim-Muslin presidency that would unsettle Nigeria, but also his would-be deputy, Alhaji Kashim Shettima. With Shettima’s inherent tetchiness and truculence, he would be gratuitously provocative. And with his uncouthness and indiscretion, he would be utterly divisive and toxifying. Truth is, a Vice-President Shettima would be unlike any civilian vice-president in Nigeria’s history.

But that proposition stands on another critical one that we must discuss first, namely: no previous presidential candidate in Nigeria did what Tinubu has done. I’m not referring to the devilry of his Muslim-Muslim ticket. Rather, I’m talking about his deliberate decision to pick a long-standing political ally and close associate as his running-mate. None of the past leading presidential candidates behaved in that manner.

Consider the evidence. Shehu Shagari barely personally knew Alex Ekwueme before making him his running-mate; MKO Abiola had no prior close political or personal relationship with Baba Gana Kingibe; Olusegun Obasanjo was not Atiku Abubakar’s buddy; Umaru Musa Yar’Adua hardly personally knew Goodluck Jonathan; Jonathan himself had no prior long-standing political or personal relationship with Namadi Sambo; and Muhammadu Buhari wouldn’t, prior to 2015, regard Osinbajo as a political soulmate.

But Tinubu puts personal friendship and loyalty above all else. As Lagos State governor, Tinubu had three deputy governors within eight years, having triggered the impeachments of two of them. So, a plausible interpretation is that he doesn’t want to work with a vice-president with whom he has no cosy, bonded relationship. Thus, he picked as running-mate a long-standing political ally, who ran his presidential primary campaign and was neck-deep in the shenanigans that secured him victory.

Given Tinubu’s style of politics, this is potentially dangerous. His feudalisation of Lagos State politics and government is based on treating the state as a personal fiefdom, whereby he, the feudal lord, is surrounded by ultra-loyal serfs, who all seem to have sworn to an oath of secrecy. There must be real fear that a President Tinubu and a Vice-President Shettima would put their personal loyalty above open government; that their cosiness would trump good governance. Sadly, the omens are bad!

Recently, Shettima audaciously carved out functions between himself and Tinubu. He said that if they won next year, he would be “in charge of” security while Tinubu would handle the economy. Essentially, Shettima was reversing the traditional and constitutional roles of president and vice-president. Traditionally and constitutionally, the vice-president, as chairman of the National Economic Council and head of the Economic Management Committee, leads on the economy, albeit reporting to the president. But the president, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is undisputedly in charge of national security. For a vice-president to be “in charge of” security, he must have control over the security chiefs, who are usually answerable to the Commander-in-Chief. A feasible proposition? No, it’s a recipe for utter dysfunctionality!

Indeed, come to think of it. Why would someone who, as state governor, ignored intelligence warnings about the abduction of the 276 Chibok girls in 2014, some of whom still remain in captivity, be so arrogant and insensitive as to say he would be “in charge of” security if he became vice president? And why would a presidential candidate that prioritises the national interest agree to such a warped idea from his running-mate? No previous vice-presidential candidate displayed such a muscular and ambitious tendency.

But, in truth, there are worrying parallels between Tinubu and Shettima. Last week, Shettima listed Tinubu’s attributes that he admires. Speaking at the 96th anniversary celebration of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Ikoyi, Lagos, on September 15, Shettima said, among other things, that Tinubu has General Ibrahim Babangida’s “situational pragmatism and Maradonic skills” and General Sani Abacha’s “taciturnity and ruthlessness”.

Of course, considering how Tinubu manoeuvred his party’s leadership, delegates, and fellow aspirants to secure the presidential ticket, none would doubt his Maradonic or Machiavellian skills. And seeing how he turned Lagos State into a captive fiefdom, his ruthlessness can never be questioned. Taciturnity? Well, try and ask Tinubu about his past. These are the qualities Shettima praised to high heaven, but they are not the attributes Nigerians need in their leader.

Which brings us to Shettima himself. What are his unique attributes? And are they fit for purpose? Well, first, there’s a consensus that the former Borno State governor, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics, is well read and eloquent, with a fondness for quoting great authors. But as Isaiah Berlin says in his great essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’, knowledge is not wisdom. Knowledge is having considerable information; wisdom is using it in a way that shows good judgement.

Unfortunately, Shettima often doesn’t exercise wisdom in his words and actions. He showed this character flaw during his aggressive management of Tinubu’s presidential primary campaign when he insulted virtually every opponent, including saying that “nice men” like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo “should be selling popcorn and ice-cream”. He showed it when he wore sneakers to the annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, later boasting that he did so “deliberately” to “mock” his detractors. Hardly vice-presidential!

But if those examples are trivial, consider this. The only defining issue in Nigeria today is restructuring. But what did Shettima say about it? In a viral video, he said: “Restructuring my foot.” Really? Dismissing such a critical national issue so uncouthly?

All this matters because, truth be told, if Tinubu wins next year, Nigeria would be more turbulent and divided than it has been under President Buhari. In such circumstances, a belligerent vice-president with a tendency for tetchiness would exacerbate the situation. Nigeria is inherently volatile and prone to crisis. It needs a calm and thoughtful vice-president who can help douse tension, not one that will inflame it through reckless and provocative comments. Shettima simply doesn’t fit the bill!

A pastor, Peter Michonza, of New Jerusalem Deliverance Ministry, Okene, Kogi State, has been arrested by security agents for selling ‘bullet proof water.’

According to Daily Trust, a resident of Ageva said Peter Michonza was a popular musician in the suburb, but that he suddenly started a gospel ministry; admitting people for deliverance.

Pastor Michonza’s church, located in the Ageva area of Okene, is also alleged to be running a labour ward for pregnant women.

The media aide of Okene LGA Chairman, Abdulmumin Abubakar, who confirmed his arrest to newsmen on Wednesday, said the Chairman, Hon Abduraraq Muhammad, was the one who ordered the security agents to arrest and investigate his activities.

The arrest of Pastor Michonza may not be unconnected with a video clip on the social media where the clergyman is seen selling “bullet proof water”.

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