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.”
ECOWAS Imposes Sanctions on Guinea Junta Over Coups
West African leaders have decided to impose travel bans and freeze the financial assets of members of Guinea’s ruling junta and their families after a coup more than a week ago.
The decisions were announced Thursday after an Extraordinary Summit on Guinea in Ghana’s capital, Accra. Mediators with the regional group had traveled to Guinea to meet with junta leaders and check on the condition of deposed President Alpha Conde.
ECOWAS president Jean Claude Brou said the West African leaders have also insisted that there should be no “need for very long transition for the country to return to democratic order.”
The targeted sanctions come after Guinea’s coup leaders set a number of conditions for releasing Conde, according to the foreign minister of Ghana.
ECOWAS had already warned it will impose penalties on the junta in Guinea unless it immediately releases Conde, who has been held at an undisclosed location since being detained during the Sept. 5 coup in Conakry.
“We are coming to address a burning issue in the region,” said Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the current chair of the regional bloc, ahead of the summit. He was joined by presidents or high-ranking officials from eight of the other 15 ECOWAS countries.
Members of the ECOWAS delegation that visited Conakry after the coup presented their reports at Thursday’s meeting, said Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway. The junta has set a number of conditions for complying with the demands of regional mediators, she said but declined to disclose what they are.
The delegation has spoken with Conde’s doctor “who ascertained that indeed physically, he’s very well,” she said. However, she said, the ex-president is still coming to terms with the fact that his government has been toppled after more than a decade in power.
“For anybody who has gone through such a traumatic experience like he did, mentally, it’s not the best, not to say that mentally we found anything wrong, but he was quite shocked; he’s still in a state of shock,” she added.
Meanwhile, in Conakry, junta leaders were also set to meet with mining company representatives on the third day of a special summit to chart Guinea’s political future. Junta leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya has sought to reassure the country’s most vital economic sector that the political changes will not impact existing mining projects in the country, which has the world’s largest reserves of bauxite.
Guinea’s coup leaders have yet to make public their proposed timeframe for handing over power to a civilian transitional government, nor have they outlined how quickly new elections can be organized.
Conde had sparked violent street demonstrations last year after he pushed for a constitutional referendum that he used to justify running for a third term, saying term limits no longer applied to him. He ultimately won another five years in office last October, only to be toppled by the coup 10 months later.
At the time he came to power in 2010, he was Guinea’s first democratically elected leader since independence from France in 1958.
The regional bloc also planned to tackle concerns over whether a second member state, Mali, is making enough progress toward a return to democracy more than a year after a military takeover there.
In Mali, the ruling junta led by Col. Assimi Goita has committed to holding new elections by February 2022, though mediators who recently visited have expressed concern about whether that deadline now can be met.
Goita overthrew Mali’s president in August 2020 and then agreed to a civilian transitional government and an 18-month timeframe for holding a vote. However, only nine months after the first coup he effectively staged a second one, firing the civilian interim leaders and ultimately naming himself as president of the transition.
ECOWAS has not reinstated Mali’s membership in the bloc, marking the first time since 2012 that two of the 15 member states are suspended concurrently.
ECOWAS President Brou said there was the need to revisit the organization’s 2001 protocol on good governance “because a lot of things have changed or improved.”
COVID-19: Indian Travellers Regains Entry Into Nigeria
The federal government of Nigeria on Monday said travellers from India will no longer be denied entry into Nigeria as the country has been removed from the list of flagged countries.
In May, in an effort to curb the spread of the global health pandemic, the federal government had banned travellers from Brazil, India and Turkey from visiting the country.
Speaking on Monday during the national briefing of the presidential steering committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), said the situation in the Asian county has improved.
“The Global cases recorded continues to decline to about 4m cases weekly, although it is less, compared to last year and the situation calls for caution because we are not out of the woods yet. Africa and Nigeria in particular, continue to record rising cases and lots of fatalities,” Mustapha said.
“This can really be curtailed and reduced minimally if we adhere strictly to the NPIs. I recognize the fact that people are fatigued and tired but let me encourage all Nigerians not to give up. We all need to come together to defeat this dreaded disease so we can return to our normal life.
“The most potent way of getting out of this situation is through vaccines, which science and research has presented to us. I call on every eligible person to come out and be vaccinated. There are various choices now. We have AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and we expect Pfizer to be delivered very soon. There will be enough vaccines to go around soon. By the second quarter of 2022, we would have received about 52 million doses of the vaccines.
“To ease travels for fully vaccinated Nigerians, we are exploring the principles of reciprocity between Nigeria and other nations. For the time being, Nigerians are advised to always carry their vaccination card details or barcode on their electronic devices for easy access especially for those travelling outside the country.
“Compliance with protocols laid down for quarantine to ensure control remains a source of worry to the PSC. The need to review the protocol has become expedient to align with existing global protocols and realities. On this note, the PSC will adopt a sustainable model and policy that will be unveiled soon. To begin with, India has been removed from the list of flagged countries in view of improved situation in that country.”
“On this note, the PSC will adopt a sustainable model and policy that will be unveiled soon”, he said.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health said evidence has so far shown that the Delta strain is already dominant in Nigeria.
He warned that though the third wave of the pandemic may appear to be leveling out because there have been no catastrophic increases in infections and fatalities, it is not wise to assume that the threat is gone, especially as cases are fluctuating and have to be identified by genomic sequencing.
The minister assured that even though there is a 25 percent shortfall in CICAX supply, Nigeria will not run low on vaccines.
Ehanire further noted that there were reports of new coronavirus mutations circulating in other countries, and assured that government will monitor with all tools available to respond appropriately.
Also speaking, Faisal Shuaib, executive director of, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency noted that vaccine cards were becoming a requirement across the country.
He, therefore, warned against any attempt to produce/procure and sell fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
“Anyone who ventures into this would be apprehended and made to face the law. This is a criminal offense, in which both the buyer and seller would be prosecuted.
“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians to report any suspected attempt by any person or group of persons to buy or sell a COVID-19 vaccination card to us via our call centre line on 0700 220 1122, any of our social media handles (Facebook and Instagram), at the nearest police station or any other law enforcement agency. No one needs to cut corners on COVID-19 vaccination.
“The vaccines are free, and the vaccination cards are given free of charge at any of our designated health facilities after your vaccination,” Shuaib said.
South Africa Plans To Introduce Covid Passport
South Africa has announced plans to introduce a vaccine passport amid widespread mistrust of the Covid-19 vaccine in the continent’s most affected country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement in a televised address to the nation and assured that the immunization of the adult population was a necessary prerequisite to fully reopen the economy and avoid a fourth wave of infections, while the number of cases has dropped sharply in the country.
In two weeks, we will “provide more information on a system of ‘vaccine passports’ that can be used as proof of vaccination for various purposes and events,” he said without providing further details.
He added that the “sustained decline in infections (…) over the past few weeks” would, however, allow for a relaxation of the restrictive measures starting Monday.
The nightly curfew will be extended by one hour, to 11 p.m., and the limits on gatherings will be raised.
Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also be eased, although protective masks will still be required in places open to the public.
The peak of a third stubborn wave due to the Delta variant is now over. Over the past seven days, the average number of new daily infections has dropped 29 percent from the previous week and 48 percent from the week before, Ramaphosa said.
“Our most urgent task is to vaccinate our population,” he said, noting that vaccine supply “is no longer a constraint.”
“If many people are not vaccinated (…) the risk of new and more dangerous variants emerging is much greater,” he warned.
After delays in the supply and distribution of doses, the vaccination campaign is now struggling to take off because of skepticism about the vaccine, especially among men.
To date, just over seven million people have been fully vaccinated in South Africa, with more than a quarter of adults have received at least one dose.
The country’s goal is to vaccinate 40 million South Africans, or about two-thirds of the population, by next March.
Authorities have recorded more than 2.8 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and 84,877 deaths, making it the worst affected country in Africa by the pandemic.
South African scientists are monitoring a new local variant with an unusually high mutation rate, dubbed C.1.2, although its presence is so far marginal among new cases detected in the country.
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