The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which blew open two weeks ago when its National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu pointedly accused the party’s National Chairman, John Oyegun of corruption and manipulation of the Ondo State governorship primary election, and called for his resignation, is far from abating.
Yesterday, Oyegun hit back at Tinubu, describing his allegations of corruption levelled against him as “personally insulting, reckless and baseless.”
The national chairman who opened up on details of what transpired during and after the crisis-ridden primary said Tinubu’s allegations are false and reckless.
Oyegun regretted that the ripples from the controversy over the primaries have unfortunately dragged the party’s image to the mud.
In a statement he issued and personally signed yesterday, Oyegun gave a blow by blow account of the election processes and how the party’s leadership arrived at the verdict to uphold the candidacy of Rotimi Akeredolu.
He dismissed all the accusation levelled against him by Tinubu that he over-ruled the party’s NWC on the primary as a “figment of the imagination of those who fabricated them”.
“There was absolutely no meeting which I chaired that voted in the manner alleged. Clearly, the report on which the media office of Tinubu acted was a figment of someone’s wild imagination.”
While explaining the role of the party in the controversial primary, Oyegun said that there was no truth in the allegation that 150 valid delegates were excised to make room for an equal number of impostors.
He said that the approved delegates list was compiled in strict compliance with the party’s constitution, adding that only qualified delegates were included in the list.
Oyegun said that none of the aspirants or the Appeal Committee had submitted to NWC a list of delegates who were not qualified to be included in the delegates list but were listed as delegates or presumed qualified delegates who were not included in the delegates list used for the Primary.
On the allegation that he overruled the NWC’s vote, Oyegun said that there was no record of such interference according to the minutes of the 18th emergency meeting of the APC NWC held from Monday 19th September 2016 to Thursday 22nd September.
He said that what happened was that a member of the NWC drew the attention of the meeting to its previous decision in which the report of the Primary Election Committee was adopted while the Appeal Committee was set aside.
He said it was at that stage that he agreed with the NWC member and ruled that the previous decision of the NWC be upheld.
“The media office of Tinubu in its statement alleged that I used a prayer interlude which I initiated to secretly excuse myself from the NWC meeting to submit the name of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate of the Party.
“The allegation is high fiction and an insult to the intelligence and sensibility of the respected NWC members present at the meeting. We do not and have never engaged in prayer interludes/sessions outside the usual opening and closing prayers. The prayer that is being referred to must be the closing prayer for the meeting,” he declared.
Oyegun responded furiously to the allegation of bribery and corruption, describing Tinubu’s claim as reckless and baseless.
Oyegun said: “This reckless and baseless corruption allegation levelled against me is unfortunate and an insult to my person and my hard-earned reputation which I have strongly maintained. Nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man.
“In all the primaries conducted under my watch as National Chairman, I have strived to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process. The 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election was not an exception. There must be internal democracy in the Party and our constitution must be respected by all.
“The Party’s NWC decision to reject the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report was taken on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberations. The minutes and rejection were confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.
“The NWC in its four-point resolution faulted the failure of the Appeal Committee to invite the National Secretariat as the custodian, to authenticate or otherwise the source of the disputed delegates list. Also, the Appeal Committee did not invite the Chairman or members of the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Committee to clarify issues relating to the allegation of manipulation of the accreditation process.
“The Appeal Committee rather relied totally on unsubstantiated evidence(s) in the petitions it received to recommend the nullification of the Primary. This is against the principle of natural justice and fair hearing.
“The NWC equally observed a serious contradiction in the Appeal Committee’s report in respect of the number of the accredited delegates. Whereas the Primary Election Committee’s report indicated that 2,774 delegates were accredited, the Appeal Committee’s report erroneously recorded it as those who voted in the election, thereby acting under the false impression that there was over voting in the exercise.
“The actual total number of votes cast was 2,754, as clearly recorded in the Primary Election Committee’s report. The issue of fresh primaries did not arise as NWC had already rejected the Appeal Committee’s report in view of the stated flaws and upheld the election.”
Fayose Condemns alleged ‘Conspiracy’ against Tinubu
In a related development, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose yesterday condemned what he called “conspiracy” against Tinubu in the APC, saying; “humiliation of Tinubu is as good as humiliation of the Yoruba race.”
The governor said: “Even though, I am not a member of APC and I will never be, I have elected to stand in defence of the Yoruba nation once again by saying no to the continuous dishonourable treatment being meted to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, having paid his dues.”
“If Tinubu is allowed to be embarrassed and disgraced just the way our past leaders were humiliated by these same elements, the Yoruba nation would have been made to suffer for uprightness.”
The governor condemned the Tuesday, sponsored protest against the APC leader at the party’s national secretariat, saying, “it is unfortunate that Tinubu is now being vilified in a party he invested heavily in and his fellow kinsmen that he brought up politically are part of this conspiracy.
“In their desperation, they have even tried to set him against the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, by insinuating that he tried to prevent his (Osinbajo) emergence as Buhari’s running mate. This is sad!
“When other tribes protect their own, it is becoming historically common among the Yorubas to allow themselves to be used against their leaders just for momentary political gains at the expense of the collective interests of the Yoruba nation.
“It should be noted that late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was sent to jail by the conspiracy and collaboration of some Yorubas with the external aggressors.”
“Tinubu is a prominent stakeholder; we should not sit back and watch while those he used his own sweat to make conspired with others to humiliate him. Most importantly, it is my position that irrespective of political affiliation, no leader of the Yoruba nation must be vilified unduly, especially by the same people who humiliated our past leaders like Obafemi Awolowo, Adekunle Ajasin, Bola Ige, Bisi Onabanjo, Lateef Jakande and others.
“To me, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu should not be seen just as an APC leader, but acknowledged as a major stakeholder in the Yoruba nation that we must all protect beyond politics.
”It should be recalled that these were among the issues that I raised when I visited Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State few months ago on the need to work together beyond party affiliations.
“Here in Yorubaland, it is said that if a household is at peace, it is because the bastard child of the family is yet to attain the age of maturity and those people that Asiwaju Tinubu made, but are now being used against him should watch it.
“I therefore condemn this conspiracy against Asiwaju Tinubu and I admonish those that are hoping to make political benefits from it to have a rethink.”
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari
In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”
Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.
This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.
He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.
Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.
The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.
“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force
Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.
The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.
The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.
As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.
It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.
Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.
“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.
Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.
Ezekwesili Presents Research Findings on Fixing Nigeria’s Politics
She stated this at the public launch of #FixPolitics, where she presented findings from her fellowship research on how to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.
Ezekwesili invited 124 Nigerians from diverse fields of endeavour and geopolitical zones to collaborate on designing the research findings over the last one year as a Work Study Group. The group is the co-leadership organ responsible for an integrated citizens-led actions to fix the broken political system.
She pointed out that politics in Nigeria was not fulfilling the core requirement of a democratic system, which was to provide good governance for the common wellbeing of citizens.
“My research findings primarily reinforce that the poor state of affairs in Nigeria is the consequence of the quality of politics at play. Politics is at the heart of everything any society can or will become. The essential process of democracy is not complete without politics,” the 2019 Nigerian Presidential candidate said.
In her study, she established primarily that in a democratic system, “there are three triangular pillars which determine the kind of outcomes that politics will produce for the people.
Explaining the concept, the former World Bank vice president said, “On the right angle or demand side of the triangle is the electorate; on the left or supply side is the politicians, political class and parties; and at the top is the regulatory – constitutional, legal, electoral and institutional context within which the politics happen.”
According to her, these tripod pillars create an interconnecting network of actions that determine the outcomes of every political system.
“Every pillar or angle of the triangle must function effectively and concurrently with the other two to enable the right quality of politics that will deliver strong economic performance for a people.
“In evaluating the outcome of politics in Nigeria and Africa, my study established that the quality of the electorate, quality of political class and quality and lack of independence and capacity of political institutions constitute a structural and systemic problem for democracy and must therefore be fixed by citizens,” Ezekwesili said.
She also said, “The research found that Nigeria is ridden with politicians without competing ideas of how to solve the problems of citizens, who lack a culture of public service and subordinate the common good to their personal and narrow interests.
“The constitutional, legal, institutional and regulatory environment is compromised by the political class to more frequently act without independence, fairness and adherence to the rule of law. The political space is thus completely monopolised by the supply side of governance, that is the political class, thereby causing political, economic and social stagnation for the nation and people.
“Currently in our politics, voters generally lack the level of influence necessary to compel the right political processes and good outcomes that serve the good of all in society.
“The bright prospect is that evidence from the #FixPolitics research shows that citizens are the only angle of the triangle that can act and propel systemic change by collectively and decisively acting for their common good.”
To alter the status quo, Ezekwesili said only the electorate “have the incentive to correct the abnormality in a political system.”
She added, “It is the collective effort of citizens that can change the quality of political class and compel the kind of constitutional and electoral changes required to achieve good governance.”
Delivering a keynote address, former President Felipe Calderon of Mexico said there was an enormous gap between the interests of the citizens and that of the politicians, which he saw as a major problem to a democratic setting.
“To fix politics in Nigeria, the citizens and the politicians must work together and represent the same in practical life,” he said.
Calderon further said that “citizens must change their perception of politics and political participation rather than holding to a view that politics is for corrupt and dishonest people.”
According to him, corrupt people are quite the opposite of what politics stands. “To fix politics is what happens when the people participate and take responsibility to provide political participation with ethical sense and ethical parameters,” Calderon added.
In a goodwill message, former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said politics should be seen as an inclusive love affair and if institutionally implemented, “Africa will witness a great change in its democratic system.”
While dissecting the dynamics of democracy, three intergenerational panels with discussants like Prof. Atahiru Jega, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga(also known as M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Samson Itodo, among others, agreed that there was an emerging consensus to fix politics in Nigeria as the status quo was untenable and unsustainable.
Speakers like Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Ayo Sogunro, Ndi Kato, Adewunmi Emoruwa, and Dr. Usman Bugaje highlighted that “there is a need for young people and women to fully engage in partisan politics, create platforms for political engagement, use politics as a tool for framing a shared vision based on a new dominant value orientation of public service, connect the elite with the grassroots and mobilise the Nigerian public to mount pressure on the legislature for the right constitutional and electoral changes.”
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