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PDP: It’s time for Secondus to go –Afegbua

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Former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, Prince Kassim Afegbua, is angry over the failure of his party, the PDP to play the role of a viable opposition.

He speaks on that and more in this interview

You have been raising concerns about Prince Secondus-led NWC of the PDP. What exactly are you talking about?

Just like the name suggests, a Secondus can only score 2nd in election situations, not first. That also explains why the party came second in the last 2019 election. But talking seriously, I am saying that if the PDP as a party is truly serious about 2023, then we need to inject new blood into the present leadership of the party that is presently in a state of inertia.

We need capable hands to rally round persons and groups and make the party formidable in preparation for 2023. I am actually not impressed with the state of abandonment which the party is presently. If you see the audit report of the party, which they are trying to sweep under the carpet, you will marvel. In fact, I am going to take a step further to petition the EFCC and ICPC on the need to probe the leadership of Prince Uche Secondus. Too many lapses and financial malfeasance which deserve very transparent explanation. As an opposition party, we need to live above board in the way and manner we handle our finances so that others will copy from us. But it is unfortunate that this leadership has crippled the party and making it look helpless, even when elections are fast approaching.

Are there issues you want to share with us on the finances of the party vis-a-vis the report of the auditors?

 

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The question you need to ask yourself is, what exactly is the function of the NWC of the party in-between elections? Where does the party apply its resources? What is the role and function of the audit department? Why do they owe staff salaries? Why has it become difficult to run a transparent financial system? What are the balances in the bank statements of the party? Whose bank accounts are you using to run your finances? Why make the party look like it has been privatised? Is it the personal property of the leadership, or what? A lot of people are even unaware that I was a foundation member of the PDP and did work at the national headquarters from the beginning in 1998 till 2001 before I left. My joining in 2018 again was some kind of home-coming for me.

Yeah, talking about the finances, why is it difficult for the auditors to publish the report?

Why did the leadership side-track the national auditor in the entire gamut of the party’s finances? What have they done about the garnishee order on the party’s account? What have they done to vacate those garnishees to prepare for proper accountability and transparency? I challenge the NWC to publish the outcome of the audit it carried out and account for the over N10billion accrued to it since 2017 or so. They spend party’s monies without approvals. They lavish money on frivolous expenses. When last have they given its statement of account to INEC as required by law? In fact, my next move is to call in ICPC and EFCC to look into the Secondus-led leadership in terms of party finances. I am going to send a petition to the anti-graft agencies to look into those financial abuses. If you want to build democracy, you must come out clean on transparency and accountability. We must collectively recover PDP from those who are holding it by the jugular and using it as their meal ticket.   

You are apparently raising a lot of allegations, can you give further insight?

These are not just allegations, they are the realities that presently dominate the party at Wadata Plaza for which a lot of members are not happy. I am worried that the PDP is failing in its responsibility to play the role of a viable opposition. Secondus, the party’s chairman, likes to travel outside the country than going to visit states and see the progress of the party especially in states where the party has no governor. Imagine over four APC governors reportedly went to Zamfara to woo the state governor Mutawalle to join its fold. Where is the PDP leadership in all of this? Why can’t they persuade the Zamfara governor and respond to whatever worries he has. By the time he defects, he will be swelling the rank of a party that has grounded Nigeria to this level of monumental decay. Then, where do you go from there? How can a party that has ran aground Nigeria like the APC  has done, be the one getting stronger everyday? Please, tell Prince Uche Secondus and his co-travellers to bow out by simply resigning, so that the PDP can immediately commence the process of strengthening its structures and role for a viable contest in 2023. If we continue with this present leadership, PDP will slump deeper. 

Are you calling for a total overhaul or just concerned about the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus?

I am calling for a deliberate, conscious and sustained effort to reposition the party for a more holistic intervention in critical sectors of the economy by way of providing alternative voice. The party has its machinery to retool a system that is no longer productive, a system that is more of an inertia than being awake to its responsibility. A committee can be set up to look into the weaknesses and strengths of the party, generate ideas that would stimulate more audience participation and set agenda for it, in the interest of future engagements. If we remain silent because we do not want to hurt the sensibilities of certain persons, the party would be greatly injured when elections come.

But you worked against the party in the Edo gubernatorial election. Was that not also a way to decimate the party?

The reason I did that was the way and manner the PDP leadership imposed the governor on all of us without considering the fact that persons were on ground before Godwin Obaseki entered its fray. There were aspirants, congresses had been concluded and all of a sudden, the convention was postponed by sheer fiat without qualms. I felt that was not a proper thing to do. If Governor Obaseki felt he was popular, he should have joined another party and allow the PDP process to go on. But the leadership likes the aroma of money. And events took a 360 degree turn. I have no regret for my role. Given the same scenario, I will still act in similar fashion. 

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It’s All About El’rufai 2023: Bala Usman, Embattled NPA Boss’s Travails To Gov. El Rufai’s Ambition

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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.

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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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Okene Bridge Collapse, Govenor Yahaya Bello should see me as a friend from the other side

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I will never exonerate His Excellency,Govenor Yahaya Bello from the collapse Okengwe street in okene local government instead he should see me as a friend who likes to tell him the truth, in this life, we have so many friends, some foes also dressed up as a friend they will tell you what pleases you , massaging your ego to take what they needs, I don’t do such , I am a friend who’ll tell him the needed true, he has failed and that is obvious everywhere but, I will not join those mocking him secret, he should read me and possible adjust.

Over the night, I received so many opinions trying to blame the contractor instead of the governor, as is the usual case in Nigeria. To some the governor should be praised for even awarding the contract.

Well, this line of argument makes some sense only if the money used for the contract is the governor’s personal money.

I agree with some of them to some extent. Yes, I do out of pity for those who do not know their own rights and the duties of public officials.

Okengwe street in okene local government of Kogi state

Come to think of it, can the Kogi state government under Governor Yahaya Bello tell Kogites that they do not have any interest in the said contract?

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I would be ready to tender a sincere apology to my Governor if the following questions are validly answered.

What is the identity of the contractor that handled this collapsed and good for nothing project ?
What is the name of the company ?
What is the value of the awarded road?
Who are the government engineers that supervised the construction of Okene Bridge ?
Which ministry supervised the projects ?
What is the time limit ?
Was the total money that budgeted for this job released to the contractor ?
If I get this details then I will tender an open apology.

 

Usman Okai Austin CNA

 

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Incase You Missed It: Hadiza Bala Usman, singlehandedly gave $2 Million to Adams Oshiomhole in Excange for Shehu Sani ticket.

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According to the source, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, singlehandedly gave the money to Farouk Adamu.

He said Adamu collected the cash in Abuja on behalf of Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Details have emerged of how the Kaduna Central Senatorial District ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was sold for $2million to Uba Sani, Political Adviser to Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State.

A source privy to the deal spoke exclusively to SaharaReporters in Abuja on Friday.

According to the source, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, singlehandedly gave the money to Farouk Adamu. He said Adamu collected the cash in Abuja on behalf of Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He revealed that the sum of N50million was offered to the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, by Uba Sani, which he turned down. The source also noted that Nabena had issued several press statements that Shehu Sani remained the only candidate cleared for the zone, and Nabena had insisted he would only do what the National Working Committee (NWC) asked him to do, as he had no power to upturn their decision.

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Hadiza, however, threatened to do everything possible to stop Shehu Sani from getting the automatic ticket, whether the NWC liked it or not.

SaharaReporters gathered that after the failure of a series of attempts by the proxies to get Nabena’s cooperation, Hadiza decided to channel it through Farouk, who collected the cash.

The source also narrated how the Governor El-Rufai slept in the National Chairman’s office, and threatened to pitch tent with Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), if Shehu Sani’s name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the APC candidate for Kaduna Central Senatorial District.

Farouk, who headed a presidential committee on the APC primaries, collected the money without the knowledge of other members. Members of the committee include Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

“He ignored the report of the committee and took charge of making phone calls to senators to inform them who made the list and who did not. Why is it that those who got the tickets have not come out to defend Oshiomhole against the myriad of allegations of bribery levelled against him?” the source queried.

Investigations revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Sani Mustapha, the senator representing Niger South Senatorial District, to return to the party.

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Mustapha had announced his resignation from the party on October 22, 2018, stating that his decision to leave the party was due to the injustice done to him by the substitution of his name with that of Bima Mohammed, who was not cleared by the panel.

According to information obtained by SaharaReporters, the president has asked him to go to court to challenge the injustice, and promised that he would get his (president’s) support.

“As I am talking to you now, Senator Sani Mustapha has returned to APC and gone to court to challenge the manipulation of the results of the primaries,” the source revealed.

The backlash that followed the bribery allegations levelled against Oshiomhole compelled his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, to issue a statement on Thursday, in which Oshiomhole threatened to take legal action against further allegations.

However, Nabena has asked Ebegbulem to stop the media propaganda and face the reality on ground, as it had affected the party negatively.

He stated this while reacting to a statement on the Whatsapp group platform of APC Press Corps.

“Simon, please stop all this media propaganda and face the reality on ground; the damages affecting the party,” he wrote.

Some members of the National Working Committee are said to be pleased with the fact that the amount allegedly paid by the candidates to Oshiomhole is in public domain. A member, who preferred not to be named, said many of the committee members were oblivious of those deals, as they were sidelined from the beginning of the entire process.

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