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Buhari Backs Giadom in Fight for APC’s Leadership By Chubi Eze

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In a surprise move, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has announced that he will attend a meeting to be convened tomorrow by Victor Giadom, one of the two men laying claim to the leadership of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), which controls the presidency and both houses of parliament.

In a series of Tweets, the president’s spokesperson Garba Shehu said that: “The president has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as Acting National Chairman. And because he will always act in accordance with the law, the President will be attending the virtual meeting called for tomorrow afternoon.

“We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and to not give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter.

“In addition to the president, the Giadom meeting will hopefully, be attended by our governors and leaders of the National Assembly.”

A former Commissioner of Works in the Southern oil-rich state of Rivers, Mr Giadom is a political disciple of the Minister of Transport Chibuike Amaechi, himself a former two-time governor famed for being a vocal maverick.

There has been a growing rift between the factions within the All Progressives Congress (APC) since a Court of Appeal announced the suspension of the APC’s erstwhile chairman Adams Oshiomhole, a combative ex-unionist and former governor of Edo, who has presided over a tumultuous state of affairs at the party.

Mr Oshiomhole, perceived by critics to be a pugilistic politician who shuns consensus-building, has been locked in a fierce battle with a group of governors, who oppose his style and are perceived to be hell bent on neutralizing him.

Mr Oshiomhole’s opponents say that he has repeatedly flouted the party’s guidelines by refusing to convene meetings of the party’s National Executive Committee, paying bloated salaries to members of the National Working Committee, and appointing unelected officers into the party’s National Working Committee. Party insiders say that the president’s surprising show of support for Mr Giadom means that Oshiomhole is almost certainly going to be expelled from the party’s National Working Committee.

After Mr Oshiomhole’s shock ouster by a Federal Appeal court a few weeks ago, the party’s National Working Committee NWC endorsed the appointment of a former Oyo governor Mr Abiola Ajimobi to act in his stead. This was resisted by Mr Giadom who relied on an earlier court judgement to declare himself the party’s acting National Chairman.

Mr Ajimobi is gravely ill and while most observers saw the NWC’s coronation of Ajimobi as an attempt by Oshiomhole and his allies to run the party by proxy, Giadom’s aggressive push to take over the party jolted the party’s hierarchy who tried, albeit unsuccessfully to expel him from the party through court judgements in his home state of Rivers.

The impasse effectively led to a schism, and a proxy battle between the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum Kayode Fayemi, transport minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, aviation minister Hadi Sirika, Kaduna’s governor Nasir el-Rufai and the Tinubu/Oshiomhole faction of the party. A scrum of governors, upset at the manner in which one of their colleagues the governor of Edo state Godwin Obaseki was humiliated out of the party by his predecessor Mr Oshiomhole, his estranged predecessor, also joined the anti-Oshiomhole camp.

Since Ajimobi was critically ill, after reportedly contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus the party’s executive committee settled on Hilliard Eta, a little known Cross River politician, who is believed to owe fealty to Mr Oshiomhole. However, Mr Giadom refused to budge, using the courts and the law enforcement authorities to continue in his disputed role as the APC’s acting National Chairman. And while acknowledging that this was a temporary position, Mr Giadom has repeatedly said that he will only accept decisions taken by the party’s larger decision-making organ, the National Executive Committee. Only one member of the party’s NWC, Salisu Mohammed, the APC’s National Vice-Chairman (North-East), himself an avowed critic of Mr Oshiomhole, had supported Mr Giadom.

Mr Buhari’s public declaration of support for Mr Giadom has suddenly changed the APC’s internal dynamics. While the president is perceived as not being a natural politician, no party member would want to publicly challenge the president or oppose his choice of party chief.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, an APC leader in Rivers and a supporter of Mr Giadom praised the president for taking a position on the contentious leadership tussle. He said that the APC’s NEC should confirm Giadom as the National Chairman while it works towards organising a new executive for the party. He asked party members to sheathe their swords and coalesce around Mr Giadom to strengthen the party.
Giadom’s ascendancy also poses a problem to the APC’s governorship candidate in Edo state Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Mr Iyamu is backed by Mr Oshiomhole who had ensured that his former enemy-turned protege had a clear path to the party’s nomination in Edo. Mr Ize-Iyamu now finds himself in a bit of a quandary since Giadom had publicly rejected the party primaries that led to Mr Ize-Iyamu’s coronation, raising questions about their legality.

Analysts believe that Ekiti’s Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi, the cerebral head of the Nigerian Governorship Forum and Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, one of the president’s most vociferous supporters are the arrowheads of a larger group of powerful governors that counts Jigawa’s Badaru, Kebbi’s Bagudu and Ondo’s Akeredolu as members. The group, which includes other less-visible members, is said to be wary of Mr Oshiomhole’s combative style and his unwavering loyalty to the party’s “National Leader” Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos, who is one of Nigeria’s most polarizing svengalis.

Mr Tinubu, one of the most powerful men in Nigerian politics, is widely believed to be eyeing the presidency in 2023 and a formidable coalition of politicians and intellectuals has been trying to stop him. The word in political circles is that powerful Northern dynasts do not want a Tinubu presidency.

President Buhari’s decision to back the faction of the party opposed to former Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and his benefactor Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has effectively altered the balance of power within the APC and suggests that a clearer picture is emerging in the battle for the presidency in 2023.

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Pondei-led NDDC IMC transparent, accountable, says Group

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As Nigerians await outcome of the 2-day investigative hearing carried out by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee last week Thursday and Friday on alleged financial recklessness by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a group has debunked the claim of N40 billion scam levelled against the Commission.

The group which projects itself as Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative (CQTI) said as a non- governmental organization, concerned with development of the Niger Delta region through close monitoring of activities of intervention bodies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) , the current Interim Management Committee ( IMC) of the commission is far more transparent in its operations, contrary to the accusation of squandering N40 billion.

President of the group, Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe,  at a media briefing in Abuja Saturday said the Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei-led IMC is not corrupt as being painted by those  who, according to her, “want the operations of the commission to be business as usual.”

“The Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative under my leadership has been monitoring the operational activities of the NDDC over the years as regards the core mandate given to the commission.

“I make bold to declare here that of all the management teams we have interacted with so far and assessed their activities on the field, the current IMC stands out in terms of accessibility to the people and communities in the area as well as transparency in contracts awards and executions.

“All the hues and cries being made by some vested groups against the current IMC are driven by nothing but fear of being cut off from their yearly loot.

“Rather than trying to pull down the incumbent management of the commission, they should by now be running from pillar to post on how to escape from shame awaiting them from reports of the ongoing forensic auditing ordered by President Muhamnadu Buhari,” she said.

She added that it was a lie from the pit of hell for anybody to allege that the Pondei-led IMC is working for the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and not the people of Niger Delta region.

She said: “During the 2- day investigative hearing, none of the accusers and their cronies could substantiate any allegations to that effect.

“In fact, the public hearing exposed the hollow in all allegations levelled against Akpabio and the Pondei-led IMC and it is expected that they will allow peace to reign now in the commission for the desired development to start taking place in the Niger Delta region.”

 

Credit: Taiye Odewale

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COLUMNISTS

Lawyer raises alarm over N15 billion NDDC payments

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A legal practitioner, Mr. Godwin Ojeh, has lamented what he called corruption of self-enrichment in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Nigerian Senate , Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila to stop the payment of N15 billion to contractors.

‘’The Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission has thrown caution to the winds. It is about to pay for jobs not done. The committee is processing the payment of a whooping amount of N15billion on spurious contracts in the name of ‘’Desilting of Waterways’’.

He particularly decried the misappropriation in the management of the funds of the commission.

‘Is the 2020 budget of the commission ready? Where are they spending from? ’Recently, the Senate set up an ad hoc committee to probe the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged mismanagement of N40billion. The Senate also requested for 2019 budgetary performance. The commission doesn’t have power to expend public money. There is no budgetary provision’’.

In a tone suggestive of his hatred for corruption, the Benin based lawyer asked the National Assembly and the executive arm of the government to stop the commission from wasting the country’s resources.

In a statement in Benin, Ojeh described the intention of the NDDC Interim Management Committee as ‘’a move that will endanger development of the region

‘’There is no greater danger to the development of the Niger Delta region than the payments for fictitious contracts’’ the statement said.

He also harped on the need for transparency in government organizations, saying ‘’it is necessary for the National Assembly and the executive arm of government to adopt a collective position on the allegation of corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)’’.

 

Credit: Ebireri Henry Ovie

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NEWS

HON. BURAIMOH: THE ELEGANT ORATOR…..Agunbiade

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So sudden was your death; so painful was your transition.

This is one death too many after we recently commited the prophetic Adebayo Oshinowo (Pepperito) to mother earth.
I never knew you were on your way out of this world when so unusually, my repeated messages to your phone were never responded to and calls not picked for days.

I did not know that the elegant Tunde was lying helpless somewhere against his wish.
Now, the ever bubbling and lively soul has been hooked by the angel of death and forced through the mill of no return while a lot of us, your admirers, were wondering of your whereabout.

Where is the very active and versatile brain of Tunde Buraimoh? Where is your very peaceful mien and stylish smiles of all times? The big Daddy with big, dramatic and oratory expressions has finally dropped the linguistic garb and that legislative lion has ceased to roar in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

We are going to miss your elegant dressing Tunde. Your charismatic assertions shall elude us till eternity. The beneficiaries of your regular philanthropic gestures will have to look elsewhere for succour hence forth. Dear Tunde, tread graciously to your final abode of no pains and no regrets. We shall hold forth for you where our paths have crossed with good memories.

Our prayers shall forever be for you in the lonely castle of your permanent rest.
I pray we would not have to give this kind of dirge so soon again. Tunde, sun re ooo. Adieu

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