- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 05:08
- Written by Compass
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JUST like he did on June 5, 2007 when he imposed Mrs. Patricia Etteh as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, former President Olusegun Obasanjo is plotting to impose his daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, as the Senate President in June, it was gathered yesterday.
Mrs. Etteh’s imposition led to the crisis between Obasanjo and the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih. She was forced to resign as the number four citizen in October 2007.
The Iyabo-must-be-Senate-President-by-force conspiracy was responsible for the change of the list of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in Ogun State to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It was gathered that after the national headquarters of the party had submitted the names of the candidates who emerged at the primaries conducted by the Colonel Abdulmumuni Aminu-led team sent by the party and monitored by INEC officials, Obasanjo went straight to the party office in Abuja for the names to be substituted but was not successful.
Said a source yesterday: “He then approached two senior officials in INEC. These officials are still there today because Obasanjo influenced it. They would have gone with Prof. Maurice Iwu but he impressed it on the President to leave them behind. So, it was pay back time and he told them that unless his own list was accepted by the commission, there is no way Iyabo Obasanjo would become the Senate President in June.
“There and then, it was agreed that he should get a court order, tying the hands of the commission into accepting his own list as the authentic one, despite the fact that no INEC official monitored the parallel congress held in his library in Abeokuta.
“This move has already pitted Obasanjo against the Senate President, David Mark and Prof. Dora Akunyili. Mark is the current Senate President and he is thinking of coming back to that position.
“Prof. Akunyili, who is also going to the Senate, got wind of this conspiracy and that was why she cried out recently that if the post is allowed to go to the South-West, then, the Igbo in the South-East have lost out.”
Under the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the six top positions in the country (President; Vice President; Senate President; Speaker; Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker) were occupied by indigenes of North-West; South-South; North-Central; South-West; South-East and North-East.
Under President Goodluck Jonathan, the equation has changed to South-South; North-West; North-Central; South-West; South-East and North-East.
The structure Obasanjo wants as from May 29 is as follows: South-South; North-West; South-West; North-East; South-East and North-Central.
In Abuja yesterday, the national headquarters of the party told a Federal High Court that a faction of the state chapter loyal to Obasanjo fraudulently obtained a court order to prevail on the electoral umpire to admit the controversial list.
According to the PDP, the interim injunction was obtained by deceiving the court into believing that the primaries witnessed by members of the national screening committee, was organised by a dissolved state executive.
The Obasanjo faction of the PDP had obtained the restraining order stopping INEC from recognising the Elder Joju Fadairo-led State Executive Committee from presenting candidates for the April general elections.
Justice Abdu Kafarati had on January 26, granted an order of interlocutory injunction, restraining INEC from accepting the list of candidates that emerged from the party primaries conducted by a party loyal to Governor Gbenga Daniel and supervised by the screening committee dispatched from the party’s national head office in Abuja.
The court restrained the INEC and the PDP from accepting the list of candidates sent by the allegedly dissolved Fadairo committee.
The court had made the order after a motion on notice filed by Chief Adetunji Olurin, Babatunde Fadun, Dave Salako, Mr. Wale Solaja and Seun Adesanya.
It was supported by a 53-paragraph affidavit sworn to by Wale Solaja and moved by Mr. O.O. Fakunle (SAN).
Before the case was adjourned till yesterday, Justice Abdul Kafarati had ordered as follows:
•That the first (INEC) and second (PDP) respondents are restrained from accepting, compiling, announcing, using, validating or otherwise acting upon the results of the primaries/congresses conducted in Ogun State, pending the hearing of the originating summons.
•That the (INEC) and (PDP are restrained from announcing or making any pronouncement validating the result of the primaries/congresses conducted in Ogun State by the dissolved Ogun State Executive Committee of the second respondent, pending the hearing of the originating summons.
•That the (INEC) and (PDP are directed to approve, accept, compile, announce and use as its responsibilities require, the results of the primaries and congresses of the second respondent conducted by its harmonised executive committee from which the applicants emerged as the candidates of the second respondent in Ogun State for the general elections and delegates to its National Convention/Presidential primaries pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons.”
During yesterday’s proceedings, counsel to the PDP, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) told the court, in a motion he filed seeking to vacate the order, that the plaintiffs in the matter misrepresented the facts before the order was secured.
Fagbemi asked the court “for an order discharging, setting aside or vacating the interim order of injunction made exparte by this honourable court on January 26, 2011, having been made without jurisdiction and on the basis of concealed material facts and misrepresentation of facts by the plaintiffs.”
Fagbemi made efforts to move the motion, but counsel to the plaintiffs opposed him on the ground that the motion was not ripe for hearing.
In his argument in the motion, Fagbemi said: “The plaintiffs misrepresented facts to the honourable court that the Chief Joju Fadairo-led Executive Committee of the PDP in Ogun State had been dissolved, when to the knowledge of the plaintiffs, there was no such dissolution; “The plaintiffs misrepresented to the court the fact that there was harmonised executive committee of the party in Ogun State led by one Chief Dayo Soremi when no such committee existed and when the National Executive Committee or the National Working Committee of the party did not ratify or approve any such harmonised executive committee;
“The plaintiff concealed from the court the fact that an Abeokuta High Court in suit number AB/166/2010-Chief Joju Fadairo and 28ORS vs Dr. Okwezileze Nwodo and five Ors had restrained the Peoples Democratic Party from dissolving from interfering with the Chief Joju Fadairo executive committee of the party in Ogun State; “The plaintiffs also concealed from the court the fact that the PDP complied with the order of Chief Joju Fadairo-led Abeokuta High Court in suit number AB/166/2010 by not dissolving the state executive committee in Ogun State;
“The order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to act on the list of harmoniosed executive was made without jurisdiction”
In a related development, Fadairo applied to the court to be joined in the suit.
In a motion on notice filed by his counsel, Chief Taiwo Oyetibo(SAN), Fadairo asked for an order of the court to be made a party in the suit.
In an 11-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Gbenga Ojekunle, the applicant said that the party, seeking to be joined has not been disqualified or incapacitated from performing the functions of his office by any subsisting order of injunction of any court of competent jurisdiction in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The case was adjourned to February 15 for parties to argue the application before the court.
In Ibadan, apparently conscious of the possible devastating effect their action could make on the ruling party, Obasanjo urged Jonathan to set up a reconciliation committee to woo back aggrieved members of the party who have lost out in the just-concluded primaries across the country.
Obasanjo made the appeal at the South West “Goodluck Jonathan/ Namadi Sambo” campaign rally, which held at the Mapo Hall, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Remarking that the choice of Jonathan was not a mistake, Obasanjo said: “If a person from the minority South-South is elected, it will serve to further unite our country. I believe we have been proven right in our last year choice of Jonathan, but nevertheless, nothing should be taken for granted,” while appealing to the people of the South-West to vote for the president on April 9.
Coordinator of the campaign organization in the South West, Governor Gbenga Daniel was conspicuously absent at the rally, just as the Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin was not at the occasion. Aggrieved party members in the state, who are averse to the second term ambition of Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala led by Senator Lekan Balogun were equally not in attendance.
Present were Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala; his deputy Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja; Senate President David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole; Anenih; Senator Ahmadu Ali; Haliru Bello Mohammed (Acting National Chairman, PDP); Governor Timipre Jonathan of Bayelsa State; Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo (South-West National Vice Chairman); Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello; governorship candidates of the party in Lagos, Ade Dosunmu and Olurin, (who were presented with the party’s flag), Chief Harry Akande (who recently defected from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to the PDP), South-West Zonal Women Leader, Chief Nike Oluwole; Dr. Yemi Farounbi; campaign committee members in Oyo State as well as supporters of Alao-Akala.
Also at the event were former Ekiti State Governor Segun Oni; former Ondo State Governor Olusegun Agagu; former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, Minister of Commerce, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye, and others.
Taking a cursory look at the plethora of complaints that greeted the last primaries in which many people were marginalised, Obasanjo called on the national secretariat of the party to urgently set in motion a machinery towards facilitating a reconciliation of the aggrieved members of the party “so that they can come back to the fold.”
He said: “We need everybody, the good, the bad and the ugly. After the primaries we have gone through, some people will feel displeased while some will feel pleased. We should not allow anybody to appropriate our possession into theirs. Let us vote for President Goodluck Jonathan. He is going to perform and he will not disappoint us. In the past, we were behind the stage; but now, we are in the stage and so we should not allow the opportunity to elude us”.
Optimistic that the PDP would wax stronger following its defeat in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states, Obasanjo who said that “in the political history of Nigeria, our democracy would be deepened and strengthened”, declared that Jonathan had passed through a period of tutelage and can do it, while calling on Nigerians outside the country to support his candidature so that PDP could continue to take Nigeria to loftier heights.
Despite the crowded nature of the rally, the event was made agog as juju and fuji musicians sang songs to thrill the people.
Obasanjo, Alao-Akala, Bankole, Jonathan and others gleefully and openly danced to the scintillating tunes of the music as they addressed the crowd. Among the artistes that brightened the occasion were 9ice, Femi Lancaster, Pasuma and Taye Currency.
Bankole, who addressed Obasanjo as Ebora Owu (Owu’s gnome), gave a guttural sound to depict the former president’s overbearing influence on the party, particularly in their home state, Ogun. He craved for the abdication of political power and leadership to youths, while describing Jonathan as a youthful leader who can carry the country to the Promised Land. He was later presented with the flag of the party on behalf of all the House of Representatives candidates.
Displaying a rich political maturity, Bankole greeted every leader on the podium, including Obasanjo and his daughter, Iyabo, with whom there was no love lost.
Alao-Akala assured Jonathan of the support of the people of the South-West and particularly, Oyo, stressing that “We are on the hill of Mapo where things have been happening. Shagari was here and he won; Obasanjo was here and he won; Yar’ Adua was here at Mapo and he won; President Jonathan, you are here today and you have won already, like others before you. Yours cannot be an exception. We in Oyo State really love you. The injunctions we got recently are not for us in the South-West. What they have been saying is not the true picture of what we are in the South-West. Come April, we are going to embrace Jonathan so that we can have ‘goodluck”, Alao-Akala said.
Oladipo drew the attention of the crowd to some salient points which he wanted Jonathan to give priority attention for the benefit of the people of the South-West, including the need for a “massive infrastructural development in the South West. Our road network needs to be totally overhauled and the problem of power must be tackled with all vigour during your term so that we can bury this evil that is robbing our nation of the much-needed development. The problem of youth unemployment must be tackled so as to reduce crime and other anti-social vices in our society. In addition to the above, we want to be actively engaged in the governance of the country. We, therefore, appeal that our sons and daughters be given key positions in the upcoming government”.
Responding, Jonathan, who thanked the people of the South-West for their support, disclosed that the team was in Ibadan to “assure you that the South-West is becoming the cosmopolitan of Nigeria. The South-West is a mini Nigeria, so we must take our issues very seriously”.
He highlighted his administration’s agenda which, according to him, would be vigorously pursued to the betterment of the people of the country. Among the areas, he said serious attention would be focused on, are power stimulation, agriculture, transportation (road and rail), security and the initiative of five-year term budgeting that would put paid to abandoned projects as had been witnessed in the past administrations.
He asserted that Lagos State would be taken over by the PDP, stressing that “before 2015, PDP will take over Lagos, Osun and Ekiti states. By 2015, South-West will be taken away from rascals”, he concluded.
But, two hours after Alao-Akala was given the flag for the April 16 election, INEC yesterday dashed the hope of the governor for the second time in one week.
No sooner than the news of the removal of the list presented to INEC by the PDP in Oyo State filtered in than politicians in opposing camps began to make calls across to their teeming supporters that “INEC has finally bowed to the popular wish of the people”.
Journalists, who got wind of the development, made several calls to the Public Relations Officer of INEC in the state, Mr Ayodele Folami, to confirm the veracity of the claims but calls put across to him were unanswered.
With his office under lock and key, the reporters went to the office of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ayo Adakeja and they were told to wait because the PRO and other management officers of the commission were having meeting with the INEC boss.
Shortly after, the PRO emerged from the REC office and told reporters that truly, INEC had delisted the candidates of PDP from the pasted lists of political parties.
Folami confirmed further that there was an order from the Abuja National headquarters of INEC that the list of Oyo PDP candidates be immediately removed in line with the court orders of an Oyo State Federal High Court of February 1 which barred INEC from accepting or receiving the list, following alleged inconclusive congresses held from December 29 to December 31 in the state.
He added: “Since INEC, an independent body, is a product of the law, we cannot but obey the court orders in line with the avowed commitment of the National Chairman and the laws setting up the Commission.”
On Monday, the court had threatened INEC with contempt for pasting the list of PDP candidates in Oyo State against the ruling of Justice J.E. Shakarho of February 1, restraining INEC not to receive or accept the nomination of any person or persons for any election in the state PDP.
The Federal High Court, Ibadan yesterday gave notice of consequences of the disobedience of its order to INEC.
The court said that INEC “will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison” if the injunction of the court was not complied with.
Meanwhile, miffed by the turnout of events in the Ogun State chapter of the PDP, supporters of Governor Gbenga Daniel yesterday stayed away from the venue of the flag-off of Jonathan’s presidential campaign in Ibadan and also prevented the governor from attending.
Thousands of PDP stalwarts in Ogun stormed Daniel’s Asoludero private residence in Sagamu, protesting the non-recognition of several candidates that emerged from the party’s primaries.
This came as there were speculations that the aggrieved PDP members may defect to another party to actualise their political ambitions in April.
Prince Gboyega Isiaka is the governorship candidate who emerged during the congress recognised by the party’s national leadership and INEC.
The party faithful, however, deplored the deteriorating political events in the Gateway State, saying they would explore every justifiable means to challenge the injustice allegedly meted out to their preferred candidates.
They insisted that the process that led to the emergence of PDP candidates on the INEC list contravened the Electoral Act and the party’s Constitution.
Amidst solidarity songs, the protesters also accused Obasanjo of allegedly fuelling the crisis in the PDP, just as they blamed the declining fortunes of the ruling party in the South-West on the imposition of candidates by the former president.
But Daniel, while addressing the party members, urged them to remain calm and await the next political move.
The governor, who went down the memory lane on the nation’s political history, equally blamed Obasanjo for the PDP’s loss of South-West states, including Ekiti, Ondo and Osun.
He expressed disappointment that the state party primaries that were conducted by the PDP national leadership and supervised by INEC officials were eventually discarded in favour of an exercise conducted in secret and without proper monitoring.
The governor wondered why some forces were bent on persecuting him and his supporters, despite the fact that they had worked hard to build the PDP to a formidable level.
Daniel noted that the brazen cheating perpetrated by his political adversaries in the party would not stand, urging his loyalists to remain focused as they would savour the desired victory at the end.
His words: “We have known the truth. I was about going to Ibadan and you came to block the way that I shouldn’t go and I asked why. I was told the people of the state are annoyed. All the people that can make us to be annoyed, may God take them away.
“In a situation like this, we have been ruling in Ogun with honesty and truth and the people of Ogun State appreciated and commended us. But some people came and they were disorganising things. They are not God.
“For a long time, our country has been going through difficulties, a few of us witnessed the Operation Wetie that started in Ibadan as people will not allow the wish of God to prevail. One thought we have learnt our lessons but 40 years after the civil war, people still think they can take the country for a ride.
“In the 1979 election, when the people would have been liberated, the powers that be did not allow that to happen. Enough is enough. History is being repeated, they are not happy with the progress we have made.
“In the last five years, they have been battling us. They sent EFCC after us but they failed. They disrupted the House (of Assembly). They did a lot of things against us.”
Daniel expressed fears that the prevailing crisis in PDP, especially in the South-West, may affect its fortune, saying: “I don’t know the kind of luck that has befallen the PDP in the South-West.”
The governor, however, urged the party members to remain calm and steadfast in the face of the current crisis, adding that he would not lead them astray in the next line of action to be taken by them.
He said: “We held our primaries. We were not even the ones that conducted the exercise; they brought people from the national PDP in Abuja to conduct the primaries. INEC officials witnessed it, SSS, police and all others witnessed it and did their reports and everything was recorded, only for us to hear after about seven days that they were substituting names. Those who did not come out to mobilise for the recent voter registration; who did not know about the party and did not participate in the primaries were handed the tickets.”
“I will not lead you astray and by the grace of God, our candidates will not be substituted. If they allow us to do it here (in PDP), it is okay. But if they refused…,” Daniel said just as he was interrupted by a thunderous applause from the supporters.
In Enugu, the crisis affecting the party yesterday took a dramatic turn as INEC withdrew the list of candidates of political parties containing the name of Governor Sullivan Chime as the flag bearer of the ruling party for the April governorship.
It is believed that the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, will also be affected.
However, Chime reacted through his campaign organisation, saying that the development “does not vitiate the irreducible fact that Governor Sullivan Chime was duly nominated by the PDP and had since filled and returned his nomination form to INEC”.
INEC had on Monday released the list of governorship candidates for the election with Chime as the PDP candidate against the name of Anayo Onwuegbu, an engineer and another contender who had obtained a court injunction, restraining the PDP and INEC from recognising the governor as the party’s candidate for the election.
But yesterday, the situation changed when INEC removed the list and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Joshua Uwazuruonye, explained that he had orders from the commission’s headquarters to do that.
He said: “I was directed to withdraw the list. I was told by the INEC Legal Adviser to withdraw the list because of many court injunctions and rulings about some candidates.
“I was also told that the list was released in error. I did not see any court order. I did not even see the list of candidates. The parties and the court will resolve the problem. Already, we have a precedence in Omehia and Amechi.
“The National Commissioner in charge of Legal Services, Mr. Philip Umeadi, advised that the list be withdrawn because it was published in error. This is because of the court injunctions surrounding most party primaries for which the PDP is not devoid of,” he said.
In Kaduna, members of the ruling PDP were taken aback when the name of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa was missing on the INEC list in the North-West state.
But Yakowa’s Deputy, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramallan Yero, was conspicuously displayed on the notice board of the commission’s office along its Kinshasha Road area of the state.
Among the candidates who made the INEC list are former governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa with his deputy Maitamako Tom Maiyashi on the platform of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
Others at the time of filling this report are the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate, Sani Mohammed Sha’aban with his running mate, Joel Giwa; ANPP governorship candidate, Senator Mukhtar Ahmed Aruwa with the running mate, Bulus Gani, National Transformation Party (NTP) governorship candidate, Jimmy Dung, with the running mate, Musa Mohammed.
Besides, the three senatorial candidates from the state, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Yusuf Hamisu Mairago and Nenadi Esther Usman made the INEC list just as 24 candidates for the House of Representatives and 23 candidates for the House of Assembly had their names displayed by the commission.
Speaking on why Yakowa’s name disappeared on the list, the INEC Administrative Secretary, Musa Adamu said: “It is not everybody’s name that is on that list. There are a lot of lists that are not there but that is not to say that their names are not sent to us from the headquarters.
“We are still processing the papers; we are photocopying and doing all the paper work. So, at this point, it is too early to conclude that somebody’s name is on the list or not.
“We are still processing the names that we collected from Abuja and we are still getting some, either through hand message or e- mail. So, up till now, we have not exhausted receiving these names from Abuja. It will not be fair to say that the governor’s name is not there, it will not be fair.”