Despite several entreaties and bargains to ensure their membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two state governors elected on the opposition party’s platform are bent on quitting the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next four weeks, New Telegraph can report.
It was learnt that the two governors – one, a second term governor from the South-South, and the other, a first term governor from the North, are working to effect their defections on or before May 29, which is their sixth and second anniversary in office respectively.
Currently, the APC has 19 states, while PDP controls 16 states. But in a bid to halt the exodus from the party, the PDP launched several efforts to prevent their members, especially the remaining 16 governors, from leaving the party under any guises.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, led other members of the National Working Committee ((NWC) of the party to some of the concerned governors. Recently, PDP governors, led by their Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, were in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, to persuade Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Bello Matawalle, not to defect to the APC. Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike had, after the defection of Umahi, disclosed that another governor,, elected on the platform of the party is set to leave for the APC, adding that, “I can tell you there is one PDP governor that will leave. He is not leaving because of anything, but he will come up with an excuse.” Our correspondent gathered that the South-South governor had already briefed some of his aides on the defection and they have declared it as ‘total explosion’ for the party in the state as members of the legislature in the state are expected to follow suit.
A member of the party, who disclosed the plans under the condition of anonymity, said the defection of the South-South governor was long overdue because he had been pondering over it, but some leaders in the party had been prevailing on him to hold on.
“The governor has weighed his options and he is set to move with his cabinet and members of the legislature, including those in Abuja. He is totally fed up with the way things are run in the party and he has his eyes on federal positions after his tenure. For him, the idea is, the earlier the better.
He hasn’t enjoyed the inclusiveness he wanted in the ranks of the PDP and he feels he deserves more.” Speaking on the imminent move of the northern governor, the source said: “The pressure and fear of a second term victory are at the heart of his exit from the PDP. He needs more than the PDP to secure a second term in his state and that is where APC comes in handy. But it’s possible that he may return to the PDP after the 2023 election.” Aside from the secondterm calculations, it was also learnt that the governor is being projected to checkmate a power game in his state.
But speaking with New Telegraph, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party is not aware of any defection move of any of its governors, adding that the party’s leadership met and secured the promise of some rumoured governors that they won’t leave the party. Asked about the outcome of the meeting of the NWC members with Governor Matawalle over his purported exit from the party, he said: “They met with the Zamfara Governor and he assured that he won’t go anywhere.”
On whether the party is aware of the pending exit of two governors from the PDP, he said, “We are not aware until they decide. We don’t believe that any governor that is worth the membership of the PDP will leave the party.” Last week, the APC Progressives Governors’ Forum, sent a high-powered delegation to Governor Matawalle to commiserate with him and the people of the state over the recent fire outbreak in Tudun Wada Gusau Market. The delegation, led by the Forum Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, comprised the Governor of Yobe State and the Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai-Mala Buni, and Governor Muhammad Badaru-Abubakar of Jigawa State. The forum donated the sum of N50 million to the state government.
Recall that the rising number of defections from the party in the last few months has expectedly raised concerns over its fortunes ahead of the 2023 elections. Meanwhile, the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has said that the opposition party is not in crisis, adding that the “PDP is in good a shape” Speaking yesterday on a Channels TV programme, Politics Today, the governor said he is not in support of the move by a member of the party to drag the National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party to anti-graft bodies. He noted that the party has mechanisms of resolving issues in the states, adding that a member’s petition cannot presuppose that the party is in crisis.
With Ukeje’s Return, PDP will Bounce Back in Bende – Ikpeazu
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has commended the people of Bende Local Government Area for honouring their daughter and former Member representing Bende Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon.
The Governor made the remark today during a civic reception organised in her honour at the Bende LGA headquarters. He said the reception would serve as a tonic to propel her to do more in uplifting the polity of Bende in particular, Abia and Nigeria in general.
Governor Ikpeazu said hosting the former federal lawmaker showed that the people of Bende were knowledgeable and strategic, and urged them to rally round her.
The Governor used the opportunity to reiterate that he would sustain his membership of the PDP as it is the party that has favoured Ndị Igbo greatly, pointing out that it was the PDP that gave the South East the Senate Presidency, made an Igbo man the Chief of Army Staff, Inspector General of Police, among others unlike the APC that has created little or no space for the Igbo man, saying the event had many significant importance including the fact that Bende LGA is the gateway to Abia North and that it proves that Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje places Abia State above her personal interests.
The State Chief Executive saluted the youths of Bende Local Government Area for recognizing the good works Hon Nnenna Ukeje whom he described as “a priceless Jewel of Abia politics.
Also, the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu stated that the absence of Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje in the party has affected the party but by her coming back, the PDP in Bende looks good to reclaim its place of pride. He said if Bende was strong again, Abia North would be stronger.
Contributing, the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji urged the Governor to rebuild Bende PDP around Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, saying that she has the capacity to regain the confidence of the party in the LGA. He maintained that Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje was duty-bound to rebuild the PDP in Bende.
In their various speeches, some stakeholders in Bende LGA including Hon. Emmanuel Ndubuisi of the State House of Assembly, Barr. James Okpara, Chief Gabriel Okereke Elendu and Chief B. A Meregini
appreciated the Governor’s efforts in fixing Abia State. They said Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje is an exceptional politician, who did her best and gave the Bende people a humble service and deserves to be rewarded.
They thanked the youths for organising the event and said that her home coming would help in rebuilding PDP in Bende LGA
In an address, the Chairman Organizing Committee and Deputy Chairman, Bende LGA, Hon. Promise Uzoma Okoro said the youths of Bende in conjunction with Abia Democratic Initiative considered it imperative to celebrate Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje for her contributions in Bende Federal Constituency. He described her as the Commander of the First Eleven in Bende politics and assured that the youths would continue to support her to bring about the needed greater development.
Responding, the celebrant, Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje said she was overwhelmed by the honour done her by both the Governor and the people of Bende. She said PDP was back in Bende and that she, in collaboration with the people, have the responsibility of building back Bende, assuring that she was committed to ensuring that PDP bounces back in the Local Government Area. She thanked the people for their kind words and gestures, and described Bende as the gateway to success in Abia North.
The event featured conferment of a chieftaincy title of ADA UKWU BENDE by the Bende Council of Traditional Rulers led by Eze Uwakwe Ukaegbu.
2023: We don’t Want Christian President Again MURIC tells Obasanjo
The Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC, has opposed the rumored drafting of the current president of the African Development Bank, ADB, Akinwunmi Adesina, for the 2023 presidential race by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, made this known in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Mr Akintola stressed that whereas three Yoruba Christians had occupied Aso Rock villa, no single Yoruba Muslim has held the post of president or vice president since independence.
The Statement reads: “Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is reportedly making attempts to draft the current president of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, into the 2023 presidential race.
“We remind the former president that as a Yoruba Christian, he has led Nigeria twice.
Two other Yoruba Christians have also occupied Aso Rock. Chief Earnest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan was the interim head of state from 26th August 1993 to 17th November, 1993.
“The current vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is also a Yoruba Christian.
“Obasanjo’s attempt to drag Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina who is also a Yoruba Christian into the presidential race negates the principles of fairness, justice and equity.
“It is an attempt to rob Yoruba Muslims of the presidential slot and it violates a cardinal principle of democracy, namely, inclusiveness.
“It is an open secret that Yoruba Muslims who form the majority of the population in the South West are being denied their Allah-given fundamental human rights.
“This has led to complaints and court cases initiated by Muslims across Yorubaland over political and religious persecution. Yoruba Muslims are at the receiving end of deprivation of civil liberties.
“It is our contention that another Yoruba Christian presidency will usher in another opportunity for Christian hegemony and the marginalisation, stigmatisation, repression and persecution of Yoruba Muslims.
“Let Obasanjo tell us how many Yoruba Muslims were ministers in his administration. Even in Kwara State which is also a predominantly Muslim territory, Obasanjo picked two Christians as ministers (C. O. Adebayo and Funke Doyin). But he could not extend such ‘luxury’ to Yoruba Muslims in the South West.
“MURIC rejects this grand design to keep Muslims in Yorubaland in perpetual bondage. There are many Yoruba Muslims who are eminently qualified for the post of president.
“We also believe that the interest of the Yoruba people will be best served if they will channel their grievances towards ensuring that a Yoruba man emerges president instead of pursuing a separatist agenda that may lead them nowhere.
“We advise ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to relax his grip on the Nigerian jugular vein. He should stop pushing Yoruba Muslims to the background. Christians are not the only human beings in Yorubaland.
It’s All About El’rufai 2023: Bala Usman, Embattled NPA Boss’s Travails To Gov. El Rufai’s Ambition
Those close to Hadiza Bala Usman, suspended MD, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, believe that her current travails is linked to his closeness to Nasir El Rufai’, Governor, Kaduna State, believed to be nursing presidential ambition ahead 2023.
Usman and El Rufai’s closeness is well documented in the public domain with some speculating familial ties.
The speculations took a life of its own during 2015 general election and political activism for which Usman was a key player.
Some traducers of El Rufai’ are just bent on destroying Hardiza because they feel that she is helping the governor amass money for his 2023 presidential ambition,” explained a close source to the embattled NPA boss who asked not to be mentioned in name because of the political volatility of the matter.
The source, however, insists that he enjoys closeness to Usman, enough to know that there is more to the probe of the suspended NPA boss.
Usman was placed on suspension over alleged looting of N156.3bn under her watch at the NPA.
Summarising the allegation against Usman, the House of Reps minority caucus said that apart from the unremitted N165 billion cited by the supervisory Ministry, other documents and reports from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had also uncovered several sleaze, including unremitted deduction to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) amounting to N3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.
The legislative caucus said the summary is also in addition to audit query of N15.18 billion allegedly stolen through inflated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects/programmes under the watch of the suspended NPA Managing Director.
“The real issue here is that some political players believe that Usman has been using the NPA to warehouse money for El Rufai’ to prosecute a presidential ambition,” explained ElombahNews informer.
Before 2015, Usman was keenly involved in the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, campaign which many saw as political tool to uppend former administration under People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Not a few political players insist that the BBOG movement had the imprematurs of El Rufai’ at the time.
But El Rufai’ has always contended that the choice of the next president after President Mohammed Buhari should come from the south of the country which in effect excludes him, a Northerner, from contesting the presidential election in 2023.
These, for some pundits, is El Rufai’s scheme of campaigning for the slot of vice presidency under a Southern President.
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