- New Mega Party Targets 16 Governors
With an eye firmly fixed on the 2018 governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun States and 2019 general election, the movers of the proposed new mega party are already targeting at least 16 states of the federation whose governors they are confident will decamp to the new party, to bolster their chances of unseating the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The new opposition party is believed to have the tacit support of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that currently controls 11 states in the country, a National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bola Ahmed Tinbubu, and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, a major chieftain of the APC.
Both APC leaders have, however, denied their involvement in the proposed party, saying they remained committed to the APC.
Some of the states being considered for the taking are spread across five crucial geo-political zones of the country, with the calculation that once the new party is able to hold down these states, the others could be turned into battleground states, where it would compete for votes with the APC to shore up its chances in the 2019 elections.
The states already considered to be the strongholds of the proposed mega party are Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu in the South-east; Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River and Bayelsa in the South-south; Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Lagos in the South-west; Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa in the North East; and for now Benue State in the North-central zone.
Since the governors of the 16 states are seen to be sympathetic to the cause of the mega party, either directly or indirectly, their membership would most likely be taken for granted, while the party is saddled with the task of concentrating on areas where it is considered to be relatively weak.
The movers behind the new party are of the view that if they must make any meaningful impact in the elections in 2018 and 2019, respectively, then certain states are germane to the victory.
However, whilst the backers of the party are working on a winning strategy, the Makarfi-led PDP, sources confirmed yesterday, has expressed disappointment in the way Atiku and Tinubu denied their involvement in the formation of the new party.
The PDP leadership, while trying to empathise with the concerns Atiku and Tinubu might have over the news of their involvement in the proposed party coming out too early in the day, however, some members of the PDP felt that they should have known what they were up against from the outset.
According to a PDP chieftain, “We would have expected Atiku and Tinubu to have been more strategic in their reactions to the news.
“They just proved that they could develop cold feet at the slightest whiff and are not really prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Their denials could be a setback for the mega party, as there is no way the formation can progress with this kind of attitude.
“We know it is going to be tough, but we must be ready to live with the consequences.”
From the perspective of the PDP, the source said the party was on the verge of putting its house in order and was preparing to start a new chapter, adding that once the challenges related to the leadership tussle are cleared, it would be in a better position to fully concentrate on the talks for a new mega party, which he described as the only joker for the 2019 elections.
He said the argument by some concerned observers about the Makarfi-led PDP not really needing an alliance or merger the minute it settles its leadership crisis may be logical, but noted that the battle to unseat an incumbent president in Nigeria was not an easy one to be prosecuted by one party alone however strong, hence the need for co-operation from people of like-minds to pool resources.
He noted that with the PDP going into talks with anyone as a united family, this would give it better grounds for negotiations and that the concerns about anyone selling out or undoing the party would be unfounded once the other faction has been completely neutralised.
“At least, we know that the Ali Modu Sheriff faction is working for and with the APC. So, the fears about the kind of damage they could do would have been adequately checkmated with their exit.
“The collaboration is therefore important and key to the success of our collective plan to take over the government and lead the nation to a better place,” he said.
He described the issue of the presidential candidacy as too early in the day since the consolidation of the proposed party was yet to take place.
“It is true that the APC wing of the proposed party might have been pondering their options on the choice of candidate for the presidency, but the PDP too has its own take on all of this and there are many options from which the ideal candidate can be chosen.
“But first, we need to tidy up the amalgamation and other things will follow,” he said.
The source did not however dismiss the influence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the choice of a presidential candidate for the mega party, but expressed concern about Obasanjo’s opposition to Atiku and former President Goodluck Jonathan, both of whom he said the former president had vowed never to have anything to do with.
“His take on Atiku is particularly worrisome because he once said even if he dies today and Atiku was coasting home to the presidency, he would beg God to let him come back to life, finish him off and then return to God.
“You may want to laugh this off, but it is deep and speaks so much about his disdain for these two persons, Atiku especially,” he said.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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