Friday, 19 January 2018

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee on Friday cleared all the nine national chairmanship aspirants to participate in the party’s national convention holding on Saturday.

The aspirants are – Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Prince Uche Secondus, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Mr. Aderemi Olusegun, Prof.Taoheed Adedoja and Chief Olabode George.

The committee chairman, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, presented certificates to the aspirants at the party’s National secretariat in Abuja.

According to Ize-Iyamu, the list of other aspirants cleared for other positions would be displayed at the party secretariat before the national convention.

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.”

The Swiss government has announced that it will return $320m (£240m) of the money allegedly stolen by Nigeria's late military ruler Sani Abacha.

The money was frozen in 2014 by a Swiss court after a legal procedure against his son, Abba Abacha.

Originally deposited in Luxembourg, it is a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly looted during his rule from 1993 to 1998.

Recovering the "Abacha loot" has been a major priority for Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the recovery of stolen assets a major part of his 2015 election campaign and this will be the largest yet.

Although an agreement to repatriate the money was signed in March, the Nigerian Ministry of Justice, the World Bank and Switzerland have been grappling with legal complications surrounding the return of the money, says the BBC's Stephanie Hegarty in Abuja.

However an agreement setting out how the money would be repaid was signed on Monday by the three parties at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery GFAR in Washington, which means the funds will finally be sent back to Nigeria.

How much 'Abacha loot' is outstanding?

The Swiss government has paid $700m of the "Abacha loot" to the Nigerian government in the last 10 years and the outstanding $320m is the last of the money on Swiss soil and will be remitted in the next two to three years, ambassador Roberto Balzaretti, head of the Swiss delegation to GFAR told BBC's Gbolahan Macjob in a telephone interview.

"The money will be transferred to the Bank for International Settlements in Basel into the Nigerian government account," he said.

"It will be used to finance projects that will strengthen social security for the poorest sections of the Nigerian population."

What are the conditions of the agreement?

The money will be paid in instalments and in small amounts, specifically to finance the National Social Safety Net projects, which would be agreed with the Nigerian government under the supervision of the World Bank with regular audits.

If the first instalment is not properly accounted for, subsequent payment will be halted. This is to prevent the funds from being stolen again, Mr Balzaretti said.

"It is the first time we are having this sort of trilateral agreement and we feel confident that it will work, plus we signed it in the spirit of trust that the money will be put to good use," he said.

Switzerland said the agreement was in line with its policy on returning illegally acquired assets and would set a good example for future cases, according to a statement from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

"The fight against corruption is one of Switzerland's priorities" Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said, adding that the move should "strengthen social security for the poorest Nigerians", AFP reports.

 
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 06:05

Court unfrezees Patience Jonathan’s 16 accounts

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.

Monday, 04 December 2017 03:20

Atiku Abubakar rejoins PDP

Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar has returned to the country’s former ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party, less than two weeks after he resigned from the ruling All Progressives Congress.

“Today, I want to let you know that I’m returning home to PDP as the issues that led to me leave it have now been resolved,” he said in an announcement on Sunday on Facebook Live.

He is expected to run for the Nigerian presidency on the platform of the PDP, where he was the VP to President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.

Atiku has defected from the party twice to contest for Nigeria’s top job in the then oppositions parties.

On December 20, 2006, he emerged the presidential candidate of now-defunct Action Congress after falling out with the leadership of the PDP.

He, however, failed to garner popular support as he came third in the 2007 general election behind eventual PDP’s candidate Umaru Yar’Adua and All Nigerian People’s Party’s Muhammadu Buhari.

He returned to the PDP after the 2007 misadventure. There, he vied again for the top job but lost the primaries to President Goodluck Jonathan who succeeded President Yar’Adua.

In February 2014, he, again, defected to the then newly formed All Progressives Congress which comprised major leaders of the defunct Action Congress, a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Congress for Progressive Change.

In APC, he failed again to realise his presidential ambition as he was defeated in the primaries by Muhammadu Buhari who went on to win the 2015 presidential election.

Not minding his few defections, Atiku doubled down on his criticism of the APC, blaming the party for the bad state of the economy and for its failure to deliver on its campaign promises.

“It is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, especially our young people, down.”

In a statement shortly after he announced his resignation from APC on November 24, Atiku alleged that the APC had derailed from the principles that made him join the party on February 2, 2015.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced,” Atiku said in a statement.

He also, tacitly, acknowledged the existence of a frosty relationship with the leadership of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari, using a controversial leaked memo sent to Buhari by the governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai as a reference.

“Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo, he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had “not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance”.

“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties’.”

Atiku insisted that since the memo was leaked, neither President Buhari nor the leadership of the APC had made moves to attend to all the points raised by El-Rufai.

He said the party has derailed, failed to deliver on its electoral promises, and has stifled youth participation in its government.

“But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth?

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?”

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.”

The 44-year-old mum of nine who left her husband and kids for her new man, who is 12 years her junior, has said that the love she has for her lover was stronger than any considerations.

Heidi had met Gambian lover on Facebook, claiming that before then, her marriage to husband Andy was over.

Last month Heidi’s heartbroken husband Andy, also 44, spoke of his horror at discovering his wife of 23 years had gone off to meet Salieu, who had contacted her on Facebook from The Gambia, West Africa.

Her decision sparked a police investigation and Andy said: “It’s a mid-life crisis. The person she has become is horrible.

“A caring mum wouldn’t go off ­gallivanting around Africa with her new boyfriend.”

Heidi has defended her actions, saying: “I don’t have a single regret. I’m not a terrible parent.

“It was really hard for me to leave my kids, but they couldn’t come with me, so I had no choice.

“I was shocked at the anger that was directed at me for supposedly abandoning my children. That just didn’t happen.”

Heidi has two sons and a daughter aged 24 to 29 from a previous relationship. She and Andy have three daughters aged six, nine and 23 and three sons aged 11, 17 and 18.

She added: “The three youngest were left with my eldest daughter. She moved into my home while I was away so that they were disrupted as little as possible.

“I went online every night and we video-chatted. They seemed happy and I know my kids well.

“They also chatted to Salieu and have become very fond of him through talking online over the past few months.

“If people think I went over to The Gambia and didn’t give them a second thought, they are so wrong.

“But having said that, I make no apologies for following my heart. I’ve been unhappy for a long time and I think I have found someone to spend the rest of my life with.

“We are in love and nothing will stop me from marrying him. If other people don’t like that, they will just have to lump it.”

Heidi’s romance rocked her family and made her the talk of her town, Hetton-le-Hole in Sunderland.

Car mechanic Andy blamed her online romance for killing their marriage, but Heidi insists the relationship was over before Salieu first sent her a Facebook friend request.

She also claims Andy was messaging women online behind her back, which he denies.
Heidi said: “Andy and I didn’t even share a bedroom, never mind a bed, for the last two years of our marriage.

“We were both unhappy and on some days the most conversation I would get from him would be when he’d say, ‘Put the kettle on.’

“At the end of last year, I picked up his phone to look up a number my daughter wanted and saw messages from two women. It was a big shock.

“We drifted even further apart and I was so unhappy. I started volunteering at the children’s school, just so I had some contact with other people and could feel better about myself.

“In February I started to talk online to Salieu after he sent me a friend request out of the blue. At first we were just chatting, asking about each other’s lives and hobbies.

“But as I got to know him I started to confide in him about how badly things were going wrong in my marriage, he was there for me to talk to.

“Andy has claimed I sent sexy pictures to Salieu, but I didn’t, that simply isn’t true.”

She added: “After a few months we were in touch with each other all day, every day via WhatsApp and I knew I was starting to develop feelings for him and he said he was feeling the same.

“I was falling in love with him.”

Although she had never flown or even been abroad, Heidi travelled to The Gambia at the end of October to meet shopkeeper Salieu in person for the first time.

But locals back home were furious at her arrangements for her three youngest children.

Their school was tipped off, leading to a police investigation, but officers were satisfied the kids were being cared for properly.

Heidi said: “I was shocked by the reaction. Anyone who knows me would confirm that my children are my world and always have been, but I believe Salieu is my future.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to be with him, but it has to mean we are all together — me, him and the children.

“I don’t know how we will achieve that, but we’re both determined to make it happen.

“It might be that Salieu comes to live with us in the UK, it might even mean we go to Gambia but that’s more complicated.”

“It was a romantic, unforgettable time with a loving, caring man.

“I had forgotten how it feels to be wanted that much. We slept together in the same bed and although we kissed we did not have sex because Salieu is a strict Muslim and it is forbidden before marriage.

“I respected that because I love him completely.”

During the month Heidi was in The Gambia she met Salieu’s parents, who run a small farm in the country’s Serekunda district, a few miles from the capital, Banjul.

“Salieu has made it very clear my children are important to him and he has been talking to them for months in video conversations.

“He told me that my family would become part of his family, which proves how much he cares.”
After her month in The Gambia, school worker Heidi had to return to the UK but she is already planning her next visit — and the rest of her life.

She said: “I am going to marry Salieu when my divorce comes through and I’m prepared to convert to Islam if that’s necessary. If people don’t like that they will just have to lump it. I’m not going to cry about it.

“We’ll be together, one way or another, whether Salieu comes to live here or I find a way to take the children to The Gambia.

“When I left him at the airport in Banjul it was one of the hardest things I have had to do.”

Heidi knows that cynics will claim her new lover is more interested in a British passport than life with her. But she said: “He’s not like that.

“He isn’t looking for a passport or anything like that, he is happy in Gambia. He fell in love with me, not the idea of a new life abroad.”

The British and the United States governments have warned their citizens of terrorist groups’ threat to carry out bomb attacks in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, during the Yuletide.

In its latest foreign travel advice to British nationals, made available to SUNDAY PUNCH, the country’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated that it would raise the terrorism threat alert in Nigeria during the festive periods.

Around 117,000 British citizens visit Nigeria each year, according to the FCO.

The US government warned its citizens not to travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe till the end of the year.

“The risk of terrorist attack increases around religious festivals; so (the threat alert) will be elevated in the run-up to and throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Terrorist groups have threatened to conduct bombings and attacks in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) area during this period.

“You (British nationals) should avoid places where crowds gather, including religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced people,” the United Kingdom said in a statement posted on the FCO website.

Last week, the United States Embassy in Nigeria issued a similar warning titled, ‘Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Holiday Security Reminder’.

“The US Mission urges all US citizens to exercise caution in and around shopping centres, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, and other places where crowds gather in and around the Federal Capital Territory, from now through the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. Terrorist groups have threatened to conduct bombings and attacks in this area during this period.

“The US Mission remains concerned about potential attacks in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe.  Travellers are urged to avoid those states through the end of the year.

“Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,” the US Embassy warned.

 

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is rolling out his political armour against several Peoples Democratic Governors (PDP) in a fierce battle for the soul of the party at Saturday’s crucial national convention.

Also scheming for control of the party’s machinery are ex-Vice President Namadi Sambo; ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar (who is yet to officially join the party); ex-governors, loyalists of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida led by a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau; ex-President of the Senate, Chief David Mark; Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu; ex-Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu; members of the party’s Board of Trustees being coordinated by its chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, Sen. Ahmadu Ali and Prof. Jerry Gana, a former Minister of Information.

Serving governors are being coordinated by Mr. Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ayo Fayose.

Former governors of the party including Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada (both Kogi) are not left out.

Investigation revealed that almost every godfather in PDP is backing one candidate or the other for election into the National Working Committee (NWC).

The objective is to enable the godfathers have a say in the management of the party especially in the choice of the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 election.

It was gathered that the interest of the godfathers has complicated the intrigues surrounding the contest for party offices at the December 9 convention.

Although some party leaders are pushing for merit, some other leaders believe that all the candidates have been tested in the past.

The positions of National Chairman, National Secretary, Deputy National Chairman (North); Deputy National Chairman (South) , the National Organizing Secretary and the National Publicity Secretary are attracting more interest from the godfathers.

The top contenders for the national chairmanship are a former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; a former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George; a former Minister of Sports, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; ex-Governor of Oyo State, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja; a media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi; and a former governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

A breakdown of the support base of the chairmanship aspirants is as follows:

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Wike, Fayose, PDP governors, state PDP chairmen
Tunde Adeniran—-Jonathan, IBB Boys, Gusau, Gana, Ali, Mantu, BOT members
Otunba Gbenga Daniel—-Ex-governors, a splinter of IBB Boys,
Olabode George—-Some BOT members
Taoheed Adedoja—-BOT members, some Northern delegates
Jimi Agbaje—–South-West delegates, BOT members
Rashidi Ladoja—-Ex-governors but under pressure to accept concession of Deputy Chairman slot to his choice
A top party source said: “The jostle for offices at the national convention is going to be a battle royale because the godfathers in the party and the governors want to slug it out to install their loyalists.

“For ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, the convention will be a litmus test for his plans to be a father-figure for PDP. But if he fails, it might be another political setback for him after the loss at the poll in 2015.

“Jonathan and others, especially loyalists of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida, are working hard for a national outlook for PDP but some of the governors think otherwise. They said they are already conducting some permutations.

“Our greatest fear is that all these forces are trying to outsmart each other. If the party leaders can cage the governors and allow the delegates to have a final say, we will be opening a new chapter for PDP.”

A member of Board of Trustees of PDP said: “we are all worried because if we do not get it right, we might as well say goodbye to our chances in 2019.

“The party is on the edge again. We are however struggling to appeal to all groups to sheathe their swords and avoid implosion at the convention.”

Responding to a question, the BOT source added: “All our leaders are conscious of the 2019 poll and they are struggling to be relevant. You cannot blame them because in politics, relevance matters.”

A governor, who spoke with our correspondent last night, said: “I think the way out of any crisis at the convention is to allow for a free and fair contest. We need to live up to our appellation as a democratic party.

“We are already working on a unity list because we do not want to play into the hands of the ruling party. Certainly, there will be more horse-trading in the days ahead but we will survive it.

“We urge the judiciary not to entertain any frivolous application to stop the convention from holding.”

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".

 
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