Sunday, 17 December 2017

ARTS AND CULTURE

Headliners

Headliners (1817)

The Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator David Umaru has tackle the Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sanitation Bello over his frequent trips abroad while the economy and security of the state is deteriorating.

He described the reasons given by the governor for his trips as unreasonable saying he is always in pursuit of ‘phantom agreements and MOUs’. 

In a press statement titled, “When Silence is No Longer Golden… A Must Read for All APC Wailers”, the Senator asked, ‘Why Should I Keep Quiet? ‘

He said that he have been told to shut up but he cannot keep quiet as the past and recent developments in the state do not seem pleasant enough to afford the luxury of such passive disposition.

He alledged that billions of naira accrue to the state monthly is being squandered with reckless profligacy stating that the leadership has demonstrated its incapacity to use the resources to bring relief to the suffering of the people.

Umaru also said that the APC administration in the state has virtually nothing tangible to show for the billions of bailout funds, budget support funds and Paris club refunds that had accrued to the stat stating there has not been any visible development projects in the state tied to the funds collected.

“Why should I keep quiet when the state of affairs in Niger State has in recent times become worrisome to the extent that some of us involved directly or indirectly in governance under the ruling APC can no longer pretend that all is well. My concern over the plummeting political and socio-economic condition in the state has become more desperate for the obvious fact that I had played a leading role in the campaign that gave power to our party in the 2015 election.

“How can I keep quiet when it is a known fact that I went to every nook and cranny, particularly in Niger East Senatorial District, soliciting for votes based on the conviction that if voted into office our government would bring succour to our suffering people in line with its slogan of change but unfortunately, two years after our victory, that conviction is fast fading and becoming a mirage as our people continue to wallow in hardship occasioned by lack of basic and essential amenities as a result of the administration’s failure to direct available huge financial resources to the benefit and development of the state.

“Why should I keep quiet when as much as one would have wanted to stay aloof and maintain “dignified” silence, past and recent developments in our beloved state do not seem pleasant enough to afford the luxury of such passive disposition. Available records have shown that billions of naira accrue to the state monthly but same is squandered with reckless profligacy. The Leadership has demonstrated its incapacity to use our resources to bring relief to our suffering people.

“The Leadership continues to exhibit serious inadequacy, lack of honesty, lack of accountability, lack of transparency and prudence in the management of the huge amounts coming from federal allocations and special interventions by the Presidency to the state over the years. In essence, this APC administration has virtually nothing tangible to show for the billions of bailout funds, budget support funds and Paris club refunds that had accrued to the state. I am also aware that Mr. Governor has within the year or so approached the state House of Assembly twice or thereabout for legislative approvals to access more funds running into billions of naira but there has not been any visible development project(s) in the state tied to these funds.

“I am told to shut up but I cannot keep quiet while under our watch billions of naira meant for payment of pensioners is alleged to be heartlessly diverted? Why should I not speak out when the government I campaigned to install has continued to be insensitive to the plight of our pensioners through dubious manipulation of pension reform matters thereby jeopardising the already impoverished state of our retirees.”

Senator Umaru further stated that that the inattention of the governor to security have led to the increase in crimes in local government areas across the state.

“Again, why should I keep quiet when the security situation in the state has degenerated to the level that several villages have been sacked by criminals and kidnappers while the government remains clueless and insensitive to the plight of the affected communities in complete abdication of it’s constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of its citizens.

“As I speak to you Tsohon Kabulu, Bakin Nyanyi, Rigogo, Fwapeyi among other Communities in Munya LGA have been dislodged by the criminals who have killed 4 persons and kidnapped 10 others. Why shouldn’t I speak out when the Governor is preoccupied with undertaking trips abroad in pursuit of phantom agreements, MOUs rather than being around to attend to the serious security challenges rocking the state.

“There are several other similar security issues on which the government inaction is evident and they include the Fulani herders/farmers clashes in many parts of the state where scores of people are being killed; The Ebota village incident in Mokwa LGA where over 23 villagers were mercilessly massacred by Fulani assailants and this is still fresh in our memories; the wanton and senseless murder of a woman in Pandogari, Rafi LGA; the Lambata/Izom cattle market clashes and serious kidnappings, armed robbery and rape incidents in Gurara LGA; the Kaffin-Koro communal clashes, and the Kidnappings, rape, armed robbery in Ishau, Paikoro LGA, the Suleja church attacks etc. All these are begging for government attention.

“In the light of the security challenges confronting us, I cannot keep quiet. I urge the State Government to deploy the huge security votes at its disposal to provide logistics and support to the security agencies in the state to enhance the performance of their duties.

“Finally, let it be known that I speak out because the resources accruing to our State is our commonwealth and does not belong to any one family and their friends. I will not keep quiet for the sake of our suffering jobless young people, women and children and our future generation. “

Posted On Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:18 Written by

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed Senate President Bukola Saraki’s acquittal of false assets declaration charges.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel, led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe Wilson, ordered Saraki to return to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the continuation of his trial.

The court held that the prosecution led direct and credible evidence to establish a prima facie case against Saraki in three of the 18 counts contained in the charge for which he was tried.

The counts on which Saraki is to enter defence are 4, 5 and 6 in relation to his alleged failure to declare some houses he acquired in Ikoyi, Lagos.

In Count 4, Saraki is alleged to have falsified his Assets Declaration at the end of his tenure as Kwara State Governor in 2011 and on assumption of office as a senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared that he had acquired No 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi on 6th September 2006 from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.

In Count 5, he is also alleged to have falsified his Assets Declaration at the end of his tenure as Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17B, McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos.

The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared to have acquired No. 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi on 6th September 2006 from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.

In Count 6, Saraki is accused of making a false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form at the end of tenure as governor in 2007 and on assumption of office as executive governor in 2007 when he failed to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315,054,355.92 out of the loan of N380,000,000 obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

The CCT  on June 14, upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, discharged and acquitted him, a decision the Federal Government appealed.

The Appeal Court, in its judgment yesterday, resolved four out of the five issues identified for determination in favour of the appellant.

The court said the tribunal was wrong to have held that Saraki was not invited to make a statement in the course of investigating the allegations against him.

It said the Senate President made a statement in the course of investigation, which was tendered and admitted by the tribunal as Exhibit 46.

The appellate court also faulted the CCT’s decision that the joint investigation team constituted by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the allegations against Saraki was unknown to law.

It said there was no law forbidding the CCB from collaborating with other investigating agencies of government to effectively discharge its mandate.

The court also faulted the tribunal for holding that the prosecution failed to prove its case by not tendering the original copies of Saraki’s assets declaration forms and his statement.

It said the certified true copies (CTC) of the forms and statement were sufficient under the law to be admitted as exhibits in favour of the prosecution.

On whether the tribunal was right to have upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, the appellate court resolved the issue against Saraki.

After a thorough analysis of the evidence led by the prosecution, the appellate court said the prosecution led credible and direct evidence in respect of three counts – 4, 5 and 6 – of the 18-count amended charge, to warrant his being called upon to enter his defence.

The court said the prosecution was unable to discharge the burden of proof placed on him by the law in relation to counts 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.

It said some of the prosecution’s witnesses gave both oral and documentary hearsay evidence that are inadmissible in law. It also said the prosecution failed to call witnesses in relation to the 15 counts.

For instance, the court noted that the prosecution, though accused Saraki of earning double salaries from the Kwara State Government and as a senator, it failed to call witnesses from the Kwara State Government and the National Assembly in support of the allegation.

The court ordered that the case be remitted back to CCT for Saraki to enter his defence.

Other members of the panel – Justices Tenimu Y. Hassan and M. Mustapha – agreed with the lead judgment by Justice Akomlafe-Wilson.

A two-man panel of the CCT, headed by Danladi Umar, on June 14, 2017, upheld the no-case submission filed by Saraki after the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), closed its case after calling four witnesses and tendering 48 documentary exhibits.

In upholding the no-case submission, the tribunal dismissed the amended 18 counts preferred against Saraki on the grounds that the prosecution, was unable to establish any prima facie case against the Senate President.

Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki, holding that failure of the prosecution to obtain his  statement and make it part of the proof of evidence was fatal to the case.

He adjudged as “absurd” that neither Saraki’s statement nor the report of the investigation said to have been carried out was produced before the tribunal.

He agreed with the defence team, led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN),  that the prosecution’s evidence had been manifestly discredited during cross-examination by the defence.

He added that the evidence adduced by the prosecution, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was “so unreliable that no reasonable tribunal could convict” based on it.

The tribunal chairman specifically noted that the third prosecution witness, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, who is Head, Intelligence Unit of the Code of Conduct Bureau, only gave hearsay evidence on the information the witness purportedly received from the EFCC.

But the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, through  Jacobs, on June 20, filed a 17-ground notice of appeal against the CCT’s judgment.

The Federal Government faulted all the grounds on which the CCT predicated Saraki’s acquittal, describing the entire judgment as unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Jacobs subsequently filed an appellant’s brief on July 28, formulating five issues for determination.

Saraki, through his lead counsel Agabi, also filed his respondent’s brief on August 22.

While adopting his appellant’s brief on November 22, Jacobs urged the court to grant the Federal Government’s appeal and hold that the judgment of the CCT was perverse. He also reiterated that the CCT erred by adjudging the oral evidence of the prosecution’s third witness, Madojemu, the Head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB, as hearsay.

I’ve been vindicated, says Senate President 

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday described the Court of Appeal verdict as a vindication for him.

In a statement by his media adviser Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki expressed the belief that upholding a no-case-submission with regards to 15 of the 18-count charge confirmed his innocence.

“At least, today’s judgment has confirmed the position of the Tribunal that the prosecution’s case was entirely based on hearsay, not on any concrete evidence.

“The verdict of the Court of Appeal, just like that of the Tribunal before it, aligned with our position that the preposterous claims made during trial by the prosecution concerning operation of foreign accounts, making anticipatory declarations, collecting double salaries, owning assets beyond his income and failure to declare assets owned by companies in which the Senate President owns interests, among others, have fallen like a pack of cards and lack any basis.

“On the remaining three counts, which really touch on two issues, referred back to the Tribunal for the Senate President’s defence, it should be noted that the Appellate Court only gave a summary of its decision today promising to provide the parties with Certified True Copies of the judgment soon. As soon as it makes the details of the judgment available, our lawyers will review the grounds of the decision and take appropriate action.

“We remain convinced about the innocence of the Senate President on the three ( or two) counts because we believe the decision of the Court of Appeal is not consistent with the submissions made by both parties at the Tribunal. Thus, it is our view that that aspect of the judgment will not stand”.

Saraki added that his confidence and faith in the nation’s judiciary and its ability to dispense justice to all manners of people remained unshaken.

Posted On Wednesday, 13 December 2017 03:30 Written by

PDP governors-backed Uche Secundus has emerged the new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) following an overwhelming defeat of two other opponents at the Eagle Square venue of the party’s convention on Saturday.

The former deputy national chairman of the party garnered 2000 votes, with a former Minister of Education, Prof. Adeniran coming a distant second with 230, while media mogul Raymond Dokpesi brought up the rear, with a miserly 66 votes.

Secondus, in the early hours of Sunday, was declared the new chairman with an overwhelming defeat of Prof. Tunde Adeniran and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Intense scheming and horse trading characterized the weekend’s event, as nine aspirants earlier cleared for the election, withdrew before the commencement of voting. These include; Chief Olabode George, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Jimi Agbaje and Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Chairman of the Electoral Sub-Committee of the convention and former Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswan, announced the results and said that the election for chairmanship position was keenly contested by four candidates.

“In this contest, nine gentlemen indicated their interests to contest, but here, four of them sent letters of withdrawal and so four were left.

“The other ones we were told have withdrawn but there was no letter to that effect.

“The four gentlemen that contested were Uche Secondus, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Founder of Daar Communications; Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Education Minister and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties.

“Secondus scored 2,000 votes; Dokpesi, 66; Adeniran, 230 while Adedoja scored no vote,” Suswan said.

Other elected officers were Sen. Babayo Garmawa, Deputy National Chairman (North); Mr Yemi Akinwunmi, Deputy National Chairman (South); Sen. Umar Tsauri, National Secretary and Mr Agbo Emmanuel, Deputy National Secretary.

Retired Col. Austin Akinbundu is new National Organising Secretary, Yakubu Hassan, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary.

Mr Abdullahi Maibasira emerged National Financial Secretary, Irona Gerald, Deputy National Financial Secretary; Aribisala Adewale, National Treasurer; Wada Masu, Deputy National Treasurer; Adamu Mustapha, National Auditor and Arong Divine, Deputy National Auditor.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mariya Umar was elected National Women Leader, Umoru Hadiza, Deputy National Women Leader, and Emmanuel Enoidem, National Youth Leader.

The Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, commended the Election Sub-Committee for “job well done”.

He also commended all the candidates and delegates who participated in elections and party leaders and members for cooperation that ensured the success of the convention.

Posted On Sunday, 10 December 2017 16:18 Written by
The 2019 Presidential election is only 423 days away, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Friday.

According to the time table released by the commission, Nigerians are expected to elect the president on February 16, 2019.

Also scheduled for the same day is the election into the Senate and the House of Representatives.

News of the election dates was broken by INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at an induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory will follow on 2nd March 2019,” Yakubu said.

The implementation of the 2019 Election Project Plan is to begin on   January 1, 2018.

He said an additional 3,630,529 voters were registered in the recent continuous registration.

“This is an important development in our efforts to ensure that electoral services offered to Nigerians are better, more frequent and easier to access than ever before,” he said.

This exercise will continue until 60 days to the 2019 General Elections, as a provided by the Electoral act.

The INEC Chairman said the commission was “working assiduously to ensure 100% performance of the Card Readers. That is why there is an ongoing pilot to upgrade it by enhancing its features including new superior processors.”

He added: “At the same time, the Commission is exploring ways of improving the integrity of the collation and results transmission processes and has begun to deploy the electronic result collation and transmission platform on a pilot basis.

“Our ultimate aim, learning from the pilot and consequential improvement of the supporting infrastructure, is to deploy the system for all forthcoming off-season elections and, ultimately, the 2019 General Elections. The Commission is working to ensure that this goal is achieved.”

The commission said it has conducted 175 elections across the country in the last two years.

These include 79 Court-ordered re-run elections, 73 end of tenure elections and 23 bye-elections.

Yakubu said that even where electoral tribunals overturned two of the elections conducted, the commission was never asked to do a fresh election.

He also noted that to the credit of the commission, outcomes of most recent elections were not challenged in court.

Posted On Saturday, 09 December 2017 00:47 Written by
THE National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday announced the compulsory retirement of two judges of the Federal High Court – Justices Ademola F. A. Ademola and O. O. Tokode.

Justice Ademola last sat at the court’s Abuja Division and Justice Tokode was with the Benin division of the court before their compulsory retirement.

The NJC took the decision at its 84th meeting held on December 6, 2017, during which it also issued strong warning to four judges and dismissed petitions against some judges.

The decision by the NJC was contained in a statement issued late yesterday by its Director of Information, Soji Oye.

The NJC’s decision is coming a day after Justice Ademola submitted a letter of voluntary retirement to the NJC through the office of the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Kafarati.

Part of the statement issued yesterday by Oye reads: “Hon. Mr. Justice A. F. A. Ademola, who had forwarded his notice of retirement on 10th October, 2017 to the council against 9th April, 2018, when he will attain the mandatory retirement age of 65 years, was recommended for compulsory retirement from office to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, pursuant to the findings by the council on the allegation contained in the petition written against His Lordship by a group of 8 persons under the name of Committee of Anambra State PDP House of Representatives members-elect…

“The public is hereby informed to disregard news circulating on some news media that Hon. Mr. Justice Ademola has voluntarily retired. The purported voluntary retirement is clearly an afterthought as council had taken action before his decision to forward any voluntary retirement letter.”

As it relates to Justice Tokode, the statement said: “Justice O. O. Tokode of the same Federal High Court was also recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for compulsory retirement from office with immediate effect sequel to the findings of council on the allegation contained in petitions forwarded by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Miss Abimbola Awogboro.

“The petitioners accused the Hon. Judge of misleading the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council, by submitting six judgments he claimed to have personally conducted while practising as a lawyer; a pre-requisite for his application for appointment as a judicial officer, and was so appointed.

“The Investigation Committee of Council, however, found that the Hon. Judge personally conducted only one of the six cases submitted. Therefore, council decided to recommend his compulsory retirement and the refund of all salaries and allowances he earned since his purported appointment to the position of a judge to the coffers of the judiciary.”

The NJC stated that, in the interim and in exercise of its power under paragraph 21 sub-paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, it suspended Justices Ademola and Tokode from office with immediate effect.

It added: “The council also issued serious warning to Hon. Mr. Justice A. N. Ubaka of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for failure to deliver ruling in suit No. NICN/BEN/51/2014 within the time specified by law.

“The Council did not accept the reasons given for failure to deliver the ruling within time.

“The Hon. Judge has also been placed on watch-list of the Council for the next one year.

“Council also gave a warning letter to Hon. Mr. Justice Zainab Aliyu Sadat of the High Court of Niger State and placed her on the watch-list for three years for claiming that the defendant in suit No: NHSC/MN/46/2016 failed to make available authority cited by them after submission of the argument to her.

“Council at the meeting also decided to dismiss the petition written by Senator Alimodu Sheriff alleging Hon. Mr. Justice A. Liman of the Federal High Court of corruption for his failure to honour the invitation of the Investigation committee on the three occasions that he sat to investigate the matter.

“Council exonerated Hon. Mr. Justice Simon Akpah Amogeda of the Federal High Court from corruption allegation by Ernest J. Henry, who could not substantiate his allegation.

“The Council decided to write the petitioner a warning letter for maligning the name of the Hon. Judge.

“In addition, Council exonerated Hon. Mr. Justice F. I. Kola-Olalere of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria from any misconduct in the petition written against him by Samuel Atotuomah. Hon. Mr. Justice B. B. Kanyip of the same court was also exonerated of allegation of corruption written against him by Adebayo Jegede, Esq, who did not attend the Investigation Committee Panel to defend his allegation.”

Posted On Friday, 08 December 2017 03:08 Written by

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja has lifted an order made on May 30, freezing 16 bank accounts linked to wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.

Justice Nyako in a ruling yesterday ordered the lifting of the freezing order that barred Mrs. Jonathan and 10 organizations linked to her from accessing the accounts containing aggregate sums of $5.8million and N3.5billion.

Yesterday’s ruling was on an application that Mrs. Jonathan and the 10 companies filed to challenge an ex-parte interim freezing order earlier obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Listed as applicants with Mrs. Jonathan, in the application, are the Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Flinchley Top Homes Limited, Incorporated Trustees of Women for Change and Development Initiative Nigeria, Transocean Property and Investment Ltd, Seagate Property Development Investment Company, Globus Integrated Services and Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.

Justice Nyako upheld the applicants that the interim forfeiture order had elapsed and could not be renewed by the EFCC.

Five of the accounts are domiciled in Skye Bank Plc, seven are in Diamond Bank Plc, while the remaining accounts are with Union Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Ecobank and Zenith Bank Plc.

The applicants had insisted before the court that the anti-graft agency obtained the forfeiture order by an improper use of the judicial process.

They told the court that the said interim forfeiture order, including a subsequent one that was issued on October 18, had since expired, with the EFCC, failing to establish a nexus between the applicants and any act of illegality.

In a six -paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Chinedu Maduba, Mrs. Jonathan and the firms admitted their ownership of the 16 bank accounts.

The applicants told the court that EFCC had before May 30 when it secured the forfeiture order, also filed a similar application that affected most of the parties, before Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in suit number FHC/L/CS/1342/2016 with same granted on October 10.

They alleged that EFCC suppressed the fact that it had earlier approached the Lagos Division of court for the same relief it applied for and secured from the court in Abuja.

“That by reason of these orders, the Applicants have been unable to operate their accounts as the banks who are in custody of their accounts have refused to honour any of the applicants’ instructions ostensibly because of the order of this honourable court”, the affidavit said.

Posted On Wednesday, 06 December 2017 06:05 Written by
Four governors may dump Secondus 

Battle for 2019 deepens crisis

There are moves to checkmate some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors pushing to install the party’s chairman at Saturday’s convention, sources said at the weekend.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike is leading the plan to put former Interim Chairman Uche Secondus on the much coveted seat.

But former military President Ibrahim Babangida, some PDP  founding fathers, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) may have teamed up to block the governors whose ranks may have been broken.

Four governors, including two from the Southeast,  may jettison the plan to make a former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the chairman, it was learnt at the weekend.

A party source said: “We are set for a make or break convention between the old brigades, led by Gen. Babangida and Jonathan, and the governors.”

With Gen. Babangida are founding fathers, like former Minister of Information  Prof. Jerry Gana, ex-PDP national chairmen, including Sen. Ahmadu Ali, members of the BoT, ex-ministers, ex-governors and former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu.

The new brigade includes Wike, Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and state party chairmen “who want to put an end to godfatherism and hijack the structure of the party”.

The source, who pleaded not to be named, went on: “The hidden plan of the two groups is the battle for the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP. So far, it is apparent that the founding fathers and Jonathan are beholding to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, to whom they want to give the ticket

“The governors seem to have a focus on another candidate either an ex-governor or a defector into the party. The game is tough because whoever controls the structure of the party may produce the PDP flagbearer for the 2019 presidential poll.

“As it is now, the governors are in control of more delegates than the founding fathers who are scavenging for delegates. Even ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is not sure of the 50 per dent control of delegates from Bayelsa State.”

A former member of the NWC said: “Gen. Babangida, Jonathan and others are determined to tame the governors. They have succeeded in breaking their ranks because four of the PDP governors may back out of their colleagues plans to install Secondus as the next chairman.

“The governors have decided to abandon their colleagues following plea from Babangida and Jonathan.

“But the governors have the resources to make it a battle to the finish. The old brigades depend on goodwill whereas delegates need lifeline because the party had been out of power for two and a half years.”

“Babangida is crying out now because he has seen the handwriting on the wall that these governors are in charge. The founding fathers are banking on votes from the North to stop the governors from hijacking the party.

The source said: “The situation is dicey. The party may end up in a deeper crisis because the chairman that will emerge might cause a split. Once we are in a crisis, 2019 presidential poll will be an easy ride for APC.”

It was learnt that a former National Security Adviser Gen. Aliyu Gusau, has been the arrowhead of the outreach by PDP founding fathers to the governors to allow the chairman to come from Southwest. They are working for Prof. Tunde Adeniran.

“Gen. Gusau has been trying to restore the ideals of PDP as espoused by Gen. Babangida and other founding fathers. But the governors may fight the old brigades to a standstill.”

Posted On Monday, 04 December 2017 02:31 Written by

Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has replaced two ministers, two days after announcing his cabinet.

Critics said the original line-up showed Mr Mnangagwa had no plans to bring real change to the country despite hailing a "new democracy".

The education and labour ministers have now been replaced, ostensibly to comply with a constitutional provision.

But military chiefs remain in charge of the foreign affairs and land portfolios.

Ten days ago Mr Mnangagwa returned from exile following the military coup against Robert Mugabe, promising to serve all citizens equally.

There was uproar when instead of creating a cabinet that included opposition figures, he appeared to reward the military for its role in bringing him to power.

On Saturday, the government announced that two positions were being replaced to "ensure compliance with the constitution and considerations of gender, demography and special needs".

Reports suggest the initial list did not comply with a constitutional provision which limits the number of ministers who are not members of parliament.

Some opposition supporters celebrated the most high profile decision - the removal of the education minister Lazarus Dokora - arguing that he was responsible for the decline in educational standards over the last few years.

He is being replaced by his own deputy, Paul Mavima.

Meanwhile Zanu-PF deputy Petronella Kagonye becomes labour and social welfare minister in place of Clever Nyathi, who becomes a special adviser to the president on national peace and reconciliation.

Following the news, Zimbabwean media mogul and commentator Trevor Ncube tweeted that the quick change meant the president was either "listening to the public" or "he rushed through this important task".

Mr Mnangagwa's most controversial appointments on Friday included Sibusiso Moyo, the general who played a prominent role in the recent military takeover. He was given the role of foreign minister.

The head of Zimbabwe's air force, Perence Shiri, was named minister of agriculture and land affairs despite his notoriety in having led a military operation against opponents of Robert Mugabe in the early 1980s.

Opposition leader Tendai Biti said that until then, Zimbabweans had "given the putsch the benefit of the doubt.

"We did so in the genuine, perhaps naive view that the country could actually move forward," he tweeted.

"We craved change, peace & stability in our country. How wrong we were".

 
Posted On Saturday, 02 December 2017 22:15 Written by

When the case was mentioned on Thursday, a lawyer M. Bamidele from the law firm of Ricky Tarfa who represented the defendant told the court that his chamber was served with hearing notice six days ago, but that the time was too short for Nnamani to be in court as the defendant was not in the country and that they have not been able to get in touch with him.

The prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie was also not in court, but wrote a letter to the court asking for adjournment; consequently the court adjourned till 4th of December, 2017, when the former governor would be arraigned.

However, the defense counsel Bamidele, objected to the date, on the ground that it might be difficult to get in touch with the defendant before that day but the Presiding Judge, Prof. Chuka Obizor frowned at his objection, as he observed that this might be a ploy to delay the trial, as he claimed that the case has just been assigned to him, therefore the counsel should take steps to make sure that his client come back to face trial.

thereafter Justice Obiozor adjourned till 4th and 14th of December, 2017 for arraignment and trial.

This fresh arraignment is coming ten years after the ex-governor and others were first arraigned before the court in connection with the alleged offence.

Nnamani was earlier arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar and re-arraigned before Justice Charles Archibong when Tijani Abubakar was elevated to court of appeal and later re-arraigned before Mohammed Yinusa when Justice Archibong retired.

The former governor was re -arraigned on a 105-count charge of money laundering and economic crime to the tune of N4.5 billion.

The case has just been reassigned to Obiozor to start afresh.

The ex-governor was arraigned before the court alongside his ex-aide, Sunday Anyaogu and six firms linked to them.

They are: Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

Mr Bamidele told the court that as of today, only Nnamani was the only defendant in the charge as the companies have been convicted.

The financial impropriety was alleged to have been committed while Nnamani held sway as governor of Enugu state between 1999 and 2007.

Nnamani, according to the charge, was alleged to have conspired with other accused persons to launder various statutory allocations of some local government areas of Enugu State.

The local governments are: Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor.

In count nine, Nnamani was alleged to have stolen N1.4 billion from the Excess Crude Oil Funds allocated to the local governments in the state.

Besides, the former governor, through the help of one Chinero Nwigwe, who is now at large, was alleged to have fraudulently transferred millions of dollars of Enugu State funds to his personal accounts in the United States of America.

Posted On Friday, 01 December 2017 01:21 Written by

The Federal Government on Wednesday suspended the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir  Gwarzo.

A statement signed by Patricia Deworitshe, Deputy Director, Press, Ministry of Finance, said Gwarzo’s suspension is to allow for unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety against the SEC chief.

According to the statement, the suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.

The Head of Media in SEC, Mr. Abdulsalam Naif Habu, and the Head of Legal Department, Mrs. Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, have also been suspended over alleged financial impropriety.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of Gwarzo in the matter and has directed the suspended DG to immediately handover to the most senior officer at the Commission pending the conclusion of investigation.

Posted On Wednesday, 29 November 2017 17:44 Written by
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