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PDP: Iyorchia Ayu’s Messy Executives

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By Kassim Afegbua

I want to believe that some members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party-PDP, are under a spell to do the wrong things all the time. Despite the banana peel that resides around them, what they want to eat often makes them blind to their real intention.

From Uche Secondus’s era to the present Iyorchia Ayu-led exco, the PDP executives are impervious to correction. How on earth will an opposition party battling to offer hope to Nigerians be engaging in hopeless indulgences.

Illegalities upon illegalities permeate the inner sanctuary of Wadata Plaza. Imagine parallel primaries in Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Edo, Kano, Lagos, Anambra, all because some over-fed clowns masquerading as exco members are unable to speak the truth due to corruption and filthy lucre.

Once they compromise their position, it is often difficult for them to speak straight. You are likely going to hear murmurs and stammers on an issue that requires straight response.

Trace the genesis of the crises bedevilling the party, you will see a function of dishonesty permeating the entire gamut of the narratives.

One had thought the Ayu-led exco will mark a sharp departure from his predecessor, but the reality today is making the previous exco look ten poles taller.

How can you be an opposition party and be so determined in doing the wrong things in the name of politics? How do you intend to confront a behemoth APC and you trade in illegalities and absurdities.

How do you prepare for electoral battle with a divided house as a result of corruption? I heard from the grapevine at the Wadaza Plaza that before you are eligible to be a member of any committee to superintend over primaries, something must exchange hands.

The murmurs and gossips are so loud at the Wadata Plaza. Under Uche Secondus, the PDP headquarters was dubiously referred to as “Casino du Wadata”, under this present Ayu leadership, the PDP headquarters is being referred to as “Wadata du Cash and Carry”.

The level of underhand dealings at the headquarters is massively promoting injustice, manipulations, and crass irresponsibility and illegalities. This present leadership disobeys court orders with reckless abandon.

For the first time in a long while, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Edo state, had to publicly declare that any primary election not monitored by INEC with recognised adhoc delegates would amount to a nullity.

There are validly obtained court verdicts on the Kano state PDP leadership tussle, and also on the Edo PDP stalemate, yet, Ayu’s leadership chose to look the other way with flagrant abuses being perpetrated.

In the history of PDP since 1998, this is the most reckless Exco driven by a tactless, pompous, over-zealous and egocentric Chairman, who is unable to connect the dots of inclusivity.

This should serve as a lesson to all political actors in future engagements. When you enthrone jobless characters into party positions, what you get are a combination of inanities and stomach infrastructure, and political buccaneers.
The choice and emergence of Iyorchia Ayu as consensus chairman from the North Central zone is tellingly becoming a mistake sort of.

His initial profile of being a foundation member of the party and his touted ability to articulate the issues have all paled into insignificance over his failure to offer utility-driven leadership that can elevate the substance of the party to a pedestal of hope.

Take a sample of the primaries conducted on Sunday, 22nd May, 2022 across Nigeria and the cacophony of condemnation that has attended them. Take Edo State for example.

There has been persisting political logjam that requires truth and honesty of.purpose to resolve. Adhoc delegates election was conducted and monitored by the electoral body.

The Governor of the state, in trying to show strength, hijacked those that were sent from Abuja to Edo Government House. The 3-man Committee sat down, concocted a list and hurriedly returned same to the party headquarters.

The Legacy PDP went to the field to conduct its own, duly monitored by INEC officials in line with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

The Edo Governor’s camp quickly rushed to their own court to seek for order that would prevent tampering with their concocted list.

The Legacy PDP obtained orders from the Federal High Court, Abuja stating that the authentic list obtained from the field as.monitored by INEC must be respected.

Rather than make room for a robust dialogue between the factors and actors involved, even when an Appeal Court in Benin lampooned the lower state High Court for being too hasty in its approach, knowing it lacks the jurisdiction to so do, the PDP National Organising Secretary, Umar Bature issued a notice of primary election for the Sunday 22nd May, event.

The NWC meeting earlier held to resolve these issues and those of other states, had not reached a conclusion on the lingering crises, yet the National Organising Secretary was too much in a hurry to please his sponsors.

This scenario played itself out in several other states, leaving the party in political quagmire of almost irredeemable dimension. Two parallel primaries dominated last Sunday event simply because Iyorchia Ayu cannot speak truth to power.

They have compromised their positions as leaders and executives of the party, chasing shadows and leaving the substance of every situation. Is this how PDP intends to confront their political opponents, the APC and others?

What is wrong if Governor Obaseki was told in plain language to seek political solution rather than tailoring the path of illegality and making the party fall within the ambit of contempt of court?

Only two weeks ago, I had accused the chairman, Iyorchia Ayu of compromising his position by jettisoning the zoning arrangement contained in the party’s constitution, and working from answer to question in favour of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

One of his rottweilers and cousin of the Edo Governor, Pedro Obaseki was pouring saliva all over his mouth in trying to attack my very informed position.

The crises that attended the outcome of the primaries are indicative of my earlier reservations about the propriety or otherwise of an Ayu-led exco.

Edo State has become another battle ground for Governor Obaseki’s attack dogs who are exploiting every opportunity to re-enact their paymasters style.

By now, one would have thought that as opposition, PDP would put its house in order, reconcile all grey areas and resolve all the lingering crises across the states as well as obey existing court orders to create sanity in the system.
Presently, PDP is in disarray simply because the leadership is greedily working to favour Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to make sure he emerges by fire, by force at the Saturday convention against the run of play.

The grumbling at the headquarters are making Ayu’s predecessor looking saner than what presently obtains.

The level of divisions in Lagos, Kano, Edo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Delta, Enugu and Abia, deliberately orchestrated and being sustained by a troika in the National Working Committee, NWC, further underscores the compromised position of the leadership.

Ayu, Bature and the Legal Adviser have become a troika that are undermining the process of credible electoral engagement. They are not only working to make the convention’s outcome favour Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, they are deliberately ignoring court processes, at times, trying to dodge court service, in order to armtwist the process.

Given the reality in Edo State, it was pointless endorsing a primary election when the NWC had not come to a collective conclusion.

Whilst a meeting was fixed for Sunday 22nd May, 2022 in Abuja between Governor Obaseki and Dan Orbih to resolve the issues, the National Organising Secretary issued a go-ahead statement for the primary to commence, amidst subsisting valid court orders.

PDP electoral process, as one staff of the National Secretariat told me, has become a “cash and carry” bazaar. “People are just making easy money, and lining their pockets with bribes upon bribes. In the history of PDP since formation, it has not gotten to this perpetual state of rot”, the staff enthused.

Lamenting the woes of the party, the staff argued further that they had thought this present executives would behave differently from its predecessor, but “they appear worse off”.

An opposition party that is poised to wrestle power from a behemoth ruling party, must consciously nurture its trail by doing the right things and delivering justice, fairness and equity to all participants through a level playing ground as guaranteed in the party’s constitution.

The idea of jettisoning the zoning provision as captured in Article 7 of the party’s constitution was in itself a slap in the face.

Iyorchia Ayu doesn’t seem ready to back down on his Atiku Abubakar’s presidential project, reason why the present crises in states that are the stronghold of Atiku’s co-contestants fit the skewed arrangement that is being envisaged to propel Atiku to victory.

By Saturday, all roads will lead to the Abuja Velodrome where the party’s convention is billed to take place. Feelers are already suggestive of a deliberate effort to cause more confusion in the system to birth an outcome that would be heavily contested after the convention.

Ayu and his members of NWC are utterly confused at the turn of events, and it is becoming more obvious that PDP may after all not be ready for the 2023 election.

It might just turn out to be a mere fluke. That is the stark reality that stares us in the face.

Culled from metrowatchxtra.com

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EDSG Trains Batch- 9 Vigilantes, Hunters.

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….. As Gov Obaseki Signs Edo Security Corps Bill into law

By Sim Omo- Benin City

As part of efforts to combat crimes, criminalities, cultism and other social vices bedeviling the state, the governor Obaseki led administration has commenced training of batch Nine hunters and operatives of Vigilantes, bringing a total of over ten thousand Vigilantes and hunters so far trained by the state to tighten security in every nook and cranny

Similarly Governor Godwin Obaseki has signed the State security Corps Bill into law

Speaking at the commencement of the batch- nine training exercise at the Police Training School in Ogida, the State Co-ordinator of the Edo security and Vigilantes network , Col. Kole Omomia( Rtd) commended Governor Obaseki and the state government for prioritizing security in the state and its continuous commitment to providing the necessary logistics for the state’s security apparatus to function

He noted that the training of the corps operatives which included the hunters, as in the instance of the batch- 9 who are currently here today, are concerted effort and determination of the state government to put her citizens at the fore front to enjoy peace, tranquility and have an enabling environment that would promote growth, development and investments.

Col. Omomia reiterated that the trainees would undergo series of exercises such as medical fitness, bio-data, teekwando, Judo, Drills, Parades and mental fitness and other activities ancillary to the job

According to the State Cord, the training would cut across the three senatorial districts in the state , with about One thousand, three hundred,(1300) Vigilantes and hunters expected to be trained in Batch- 9

He, however,urged the trainees to key into the program with keen interest and participate fully.

Recall that only recently, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, singed the Bill establishing the State security Corps, formerly known as the Edo State Security Vigilante Network,ESSVN, into law

By the establishing Act, the Corps is now a statutory body recognised by law and would perform its roles as provided by the Act

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HAILING THE SUPREME COURT ON LG ALLOCATION JUDGMENT

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Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN,CON, OFR

The supreme court judgement on

July 11, 2024, directing the Federal Government to pay allocations due to Local Government Areas directly to their account thereby abolishing the old practices of State-Local Government Joint Account,is timely and courageous.

What the judgement has done is more like interpreting section 162 of the Constitution, which provides for a joint State-Local Government Account. In which case, money is normally paid to state governors’ accounts and then for them to disburse to the local governments for them to share. But what has been happening is that, as I noted in 2020,over three years ago, the state governors, have been behaving like ”bandits”, waylaing local governments funds along the way and thus impoverishing them leaving them with nothing to work, just a little for salary. And nothing to actually work for the people whom they represent.
I agree totally with the judgement of the supreme court to grant full financial autonomy so that money is released and paid directly to the 774 local government councils which constitute the third-tier of government,to develop their places because the LGAs are grassrooted and nearest to the people. Rather than allow overbearing state governors throw their weight around and muzzle the local governments and seize their purse,they will now allow LGs breath some air of freedom.

If you take a look at our situation, Nigeria is operating a very lopsided federation,more like a unitary system of government. Where the federal government is supposed to be a small government,it is controlling 67 items on the exclusive legislative list. That is why the federal government gets the lion share of the federation account , the lion share of the money that comes to the federation account to the tune of 52.68%. The states get 26.72% while the entire 774 local government councils in Nigeria get just 20.60% of the monthly allocation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RLASMC.

The question is, what is the federal government doing with almost 53% of the national income? That is because it is a government that is behemoth.That is elephantine. A government that intrudes and intervenes in areas that should not concern it at all. What is the federal government’s business with licensing cars and trucks for states? What is its business with the Marriage Act, dealing with how people marry and wed in Nigeria and how they live together as husband and wife and separate or divorce? What is the federal government’s business with unity schools? A whole FG operating secondary schools? What is their business? Why is the FG not allowing states generate their own power, operate their own railway stations, if they have the capacity? Why should the federal government not allow states have their own police force? Even for the local governments to have their own police force as we have in the United States and other advanced countries of the world where even tertiary institutions have their own police?

The truth is that the federal government is overbloated and overpampered. That is why it is using too much money and make the centre become too attractive,eating deep into funds that ought to be meant for the states and local government areas. The states take not only that which belongs to the states, but also waylays at source that which is meant for the local government areas. No Nation grows that way.

So, I see this judgment as epochal,having

far-reaching effect because money will now be made available directly to the local government areas who will no longer be subservient, like fawning slaves to state governors. In fact, the judgement even went further to say that no state government has the power henceforth to dissolve local government areas. This is because we have been seeing cases where inspite of the provisions of section 7 of the 1999 constitution that give autonomy to local government areas, states normally go ahead and dissolve local government areas ND appoint caretaker committees for them.This is whimsical and capricious.The Supreme Court has said this can no longer go on and that henceforth, no state government should ever be able to dissolve any local government area in Nigeria for any reason whatsoever and howsoever.

The judgement is salutary, timely and regenerative. It should be upheld by all governments and people in Nigeria for better democratic dividends.I see this as victory for our wobbling democracy, even if we are far removed from true fiscal federalism where the federating units control and utilize their God-given resources while paying royalty or tax to the central government. This case is one big plus for tested court room gladiator, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, who initiated the case at the apex court, invoking its original jurisdiction.Surely,to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. God bless Nigeria.

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Ex+Abia gov, Senator Kalu backs part-time legislature

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed calls for part-time legislature at both federal and state levels.

Senator Kalu (APC Abia North) said this would help the nation cut costs and enhance the citizenry’s trust in the polity.

The former Abia governor said this in an interview published on his verified Facebook page over the weekend.

On calls for part-time legislature, Senator Kalu said, “I think it will be a very good idea if my colleagues and other members of the Houses of Assembly will agree that we can sit for three months and do constitutional amendment first.

“So we can sit four times a year and if there’s any emergency, there will be emergency sitting. We can come to do a presidential bid on that basis and go back instead of sitting on a full-time basis.

“Not only the Senate and the House of Representatives, but all the legislative houses in Nigeria will be part-time.”

Senator Kalu maintained that this would be part of austerity measures to reduce cost of governance, arguing that regional government is another viable alternative.

“If we’re going for regional government, it also means that the ministers, the legislators, will be the same. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of how we can save money to run Nigeria because the country needs money.

“I will encourage the President, the National Assembly to make these kind of laws. This will help him, and this will help the system, and this will help everybody,” he said.

The ex-governor explained that contrary to misconceptions among Nigerians, senators are not paid enough.
U
“But I want Nigerians and my colleagues to do a quick constitutional amendment so we can go and be a part-time sitting Senate and part-time sitting House of Representatives, and other 36 state houses of assembly in Nigeria.

“That will bring trust and bring relief to the Nigerian people,” the ex-governor said.

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