2019: Buhari asks APC governors to give him more time to decide

Chidi Samuel || President Muhammadu Buhari has asked APC governors who met with him behind closed doors at Aso Rock on Thursday to give him more time to decide whether to re-contest for the Presidency in the 2019 Presidential election.

Imo State governor and chairman of the APC governors forum, Rochas Okorocha, said as much in a brief chat with newsmen at the end of their meeting with the President.

Okorocha who confirmed that they were in the Villa to ask Mr. Buhari to seek a second term in office, however, said the President will address the nation soon on the matter.

He said, “We discussed so many issues that affect the nation, our party and Mr. President’s ambition to run for 2019 elections.”

“It is the desire of the governors that Mr. President should run for this exalted office given his performance in the last two years. We believe that if he continues Nigeria will be better for it.”

He also said Mr. Buhari “in his usual manner” has requested that the governors “give him time and that he will address the nation and the caucus of the party very soon”

“So we should be full of expectations that Mr. President will make officially known to Nigerians his intentions but we hope that his response will be in line with what the governors are thinking,” he said.

Kaduna State governor, Nasir el Rufai along with other APC governors have been putting pressure on President Buhari to seek re-election.

They met with him last week in his home town, Daura, on the same issue.

However, former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a widely circulated letter earlier this month called on the President to ‘dismantle the horse’ and not seek reelection.

National Assembly can’t alter election sequence- Jega

Chidi Samuel || Prof. Attahiru Jega, the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Thursday questioned the power of the National Assembly to alter the sequence of the 2019 elections.

The former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities and immediate past chairman of INEC made the assertion at an event organised by the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Development in Abuja.

Jega who spoke on the theme, ‘Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?’ said the National Assembly’s action undermined the independence of INEC.

Citing several sections of the 1999 Constitution, he stated that the power to organise and set the date for elections clearly remain the exclusive preserve of INEC.

According to the respected professor, another drawback for the amendment is the fact that the cost of election would be higher if the election sequence is altered.

Fayose in face-to-face meeting with Buhari

Ebun Francis || Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state and fierce critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, met face-to-face with the president at the villa on Thursday.

The controversial opposition governor was at the Villa to attend the Council of State meeting.

President Buhari summoned a meeting of the Council of State to deliberate on key national issues.

In attendance were former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, former military leaders Yakubu and retired General Abdusalam Abubakar attended the meeting.

The meeting, which started at 11 a.m, also had in attendance, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, four former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Senate President Bukola Saraki and state governors.

Ignore ‘empty barrel’ elite and run in 2019, Lamido of Adamawa urges Buhari

Chidi Samuel || The lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo, on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to listen to some people he described as, “empty barrel Nigerian elite” who are opposing his bid to seek reelection in 2019.

The respected royal father made the remark in his palace while hosting the President who was on a one day visit to Adamawa State.

According to him, President Buhari has achieved a lot and should seek a second term.

The Lamido said, “I am calling you to remain focus, stand firm and don’t listen to the empty barrel Nigerian elite who are calling you not to contest 2019 presidential election.”

“They are burying their heads in shame and telling people that Buhari’s led government has done nothing.”

He stated that the Nigerian elites had forgotten that Buhari implemented the treasury single account which has helped save trillions of naira.

Other visible achievements of Buhari, the Monarch said, includes security, economic growth and fight against corruption.

The Lamido subsequently appealed to the President to look into the Chochi water and rice irrigation project which had been abandoned for over 20 years.

He also called on the president to intervene and reconsider the upgrading of Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola into full pledge conventional university with schools of management, information technology, health.

I’ll commit suicide if there’s no hope for Nigeria- Obasanjo

Chidi Samuel || Elder statesman and Nigeria’s two-time leader, Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said he will commit suicide if he discovers that there is no hope for the Country.

Obasanjo who is in Bayelsa State on the invitation of Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson to commission some projects, made the statement while speaking at the Ijaw National Academy (INA), Kaiama, Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa state.

The former President urged the pupils not to give up on Nigeria.

Obasanjo said, “If I believe that Nigeria has no hope, I will find a way of committing suicide immediately. Then what am I living for? I am an incurable optimist about Nigeria. Nigeria has hope.”

“There are many things that we should have done that we have not done as we should have done them. There is no doubt about that. But that doesn’t mean that Nigeria has no hope. Hope is what drives human beings.

“If you are a person without hope, you are a person without life. How can I, therefore, say Nigeria has no hope? Nigeria has hope. And you are part of the hope of Nigeria. The question you have asked me is a very sensible question and that means with you asking me that type of question it heightens my own conviction that Nigeria has hope.

“My generation or the generation before me gave us independence. It doesn’t matter what you think about them. My generation fought for the unity of this country and laid the foundation of democracy.

“Then people of governor Dickson generation should be able to say they built on our foundation. That is how a nation continues to make progress. The governor is doing wonderfully well. Anybody coming after him will do something else. The person will not start building the INA from the scratch. The academy has already been established.

2019: Obasanjo in suprise visit to ex-president Jonathan in Otueke

Chidi Samuel || Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday evening visited former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at his country home in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, South-South, Nigeria.

Obasanjo is in Bayelsa for a three-day visit at the invitation of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson who was marking his six years anniversary as governor of the oil-rich state.

The elder statesman in the company Governor Dickson was received by Jonathan and his wife, Patience.

Obasanjo was Jonathan’s nemesis in the 2015 presidential election following a fallout between a ”godfather and his godson.

Many political watchers believe that the visit is an attempt at re-alignment of forces by political gladiators for the fight to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 elections.

It will be recalled that in his widely circulated letter calling on Buhari not to run for a second term, Obasanjo had praised Jonathan, describing him as a ”born again” politician and partner who has a role to play in the effort to move Nigeria forward.

Obasanjo wrote, “Even the horse rider then (Jonathan), with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today, has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard.

“He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.”

The coming months will show whether Jonathan will be a willing partner in Obasanjo’s new coalition.

Why we met with Buhari in Daura- APC Governors

State Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday said their mission to Daura, Katsina State, was to condole with President Muhammadu Buhari over the loss of two members of his extended family.

The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, stated this when he fielded questions from journalists after a closed-door meeting with President Buhari at his private residence in Daura, on Friday.

He dismissed media reports that their mission to Daura was aimed at convincing the president to seek re-election in the forthcoming presidential election in 2019.

He said the governors also used the opportunity to commend the president for appointing former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, as APC chief mediator.

The president had last week appointed Mr. Tinubu to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.

“We are yet to discuss that. That would be in next the meeting where we will discuss whether we want to support him to run or not,” Mr. Okorocha said regarding 2019 election.

Mr. Buhari has not publicly said he will seek re-election, but it is all but clear the president will.

“But for now we came on the issue of the death of his two relatives and to commend him for action taken on Tinubu as a conciliator,’’ he said.

Also speaking on the outcome of the meeting, Gov. Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa, said they were in Daura to also sympathise with the president over the involvement of his son, Yusuf, in an auto-accident and the death of his two relatives.

He described the appointment of Mr. Tinubu as APC chief mediator as a wonderful initiative by the President.

“After the condolences, we had some very intimate discussion that further bound our relationships and affinity together and I believe this is a continuation of our closed association and support, loyalty and commitment to Mr. President’s cause and Nigeria’s cause,’’ he said.

The governors who met with the president are the chairman of Governors’ Forum and Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari; Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Abubakar Muhammed (Bauchi); Kashim Shettima (Borno); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Malam Nasir El-Rufa’I of Kaduna State.

Others are Gov. Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa, Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Godwin Obaseki of Edo; Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Abubakar Sani-Bello (Niger) and Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, while the governors of Benue, Osun, and Ogun were represented by their deputies.

The governors of Yobe and Plateau were also represented at the meeting.

(NAN)

Jonathan throws weight behind re-ordering of 2019 elections

Chidi Samuel || A former president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday threw his weight behind the recent re-ordering of the 2019 general elections as contained in an amendment to the Electoral Act by the National Assembly.

Ike Abonyi, the special adviser to the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus, in a statement said the former President voiced his support for the amendment while receiving the PDP chairman, who led members of the National Working Committee, NWC, on a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Jonathan Foundation in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The former President was quoted to have said, “what the National Assembly did would help in the election of quality persons into various positions.”

“Holding presidential election first will affect the quality of persons that will emerge in other polls because of the bandwagon effect.

“The ruling party, the APC should see it from national and patriotic interests since laws are not meant for persons in power at a particular time,” Mr. Jonathan reportedly said.

He, therefore, urged the PDP, to support the National Assembly for the patriotic act as he added that he envisaged a time “when the presidential election will be conducted differently from the others.”

Former President Jonathan also commended the Secondus led NWC of the PDP for bringing back confidence in the party pointing out that those who left will soon return.

“I believe that PDP will return to power in 2019 if we continue to build confidence especially as the ruling party has failed to meet up their promises and give hope to the people.

“Propaganda may help you win an election but can’t help you govern and that is what APC has seen in the last 32 months,” the ex-president reportedly said.

INEC raises panel to probe underage voting in Kano

Ebun Francis || The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has constituted an investigative panel to probe the recent cases of possible underage voting in Kano State.

Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC stated this in Lagos at the election preparation workshop at the Intercontinental Hotel.

According to him, the investigative panel will start work next week.

The constitution of the panel followed the release of Footages of some underaged voters participating in last weekend’s  local council elections conducted across Kano Stat.

INEC initially said it should not be held responsible for the violation of the of electoral law because it didn’t conduct the Kano council elections but the outrage that has trailed the development and the fear of irregularities in the coming general elections has forced the electoral umpire to have a re-think.

The electoral law states that a voter must be at least 18 years of age to be able to vote.

There is corruption in Buhari’s govt but not like the looting under Jonathan-Amaechi

Ebun Francis || Nigeria’s minister of transport and former governor of oil-rich Rivers State on Thursday admitted that there is corruption in President Buhari’s government but, however, said that the level pales into insignificant when compared with the looting that took place during the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Amaechi said, “I will nearly be a foolish man to say that there is no corruption in this government, but compare the magnitude if there is any,” he said.

“Before it was with impunity. Now there are consequences for stealing.

“For any reason, we lose the election, you the young ones are taking yourselves and Nigeria 10 steps backwards because the elites who left through PDP are waiting in the wind.”

The transport minister made the remark in a chat with newsmen at his office in Abuja.

He also warned that corruption will return to the country “automatically” if Nigerians vote out President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

“Let me tell you, if we don’t win, corruption will come back automatically,” he said. “Nobody will beg it.”

He said members of his former party, which is now the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, have been “hungry” for four years because they are out of power.

“They have been out for four years and they have never been out of government before; PDP never left government, so now they are hungry. Not hungry for power, in fact, if you tell them that I want to keep power and I will give you money, they will say take power and give us the money,” he said.

The minister and members of President Buhari’s inner circle are bracing themselves for a tough reelection campaign if Buhari decides to contest because of the perception of Nigerians that the president had failed to meet the high expectations of Nigerians.

“It was not easy last time but it will be more difficult now. Why it would be difficult, more difficult? Expectations were too high, and a lot of people felt that we did not meet those expectations but they are not looking at what it takes to meet those expectations,” he said.