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Melaye’s recall: Kogi state’s political drama starring living, dead actors



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Melaye’s recall: Kogi state’s political drama starring living, dead actors

By John Akubo

The journey to the recall of Senator Dino Melaye has been fraught with judicial potholes. Currently, the matter awaits ruling by the Supreme Court. The hands pulling the strings, however, have refused to give up.
Recently, the process received fresh thrust, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the defining exercise.

Some constituents from Kogi West Senatorial District, where the senator hails from, had, last year, begun the move, registering their names and submitting photocopies of their Permanent Voter Cards.

Over 188,000 people from the district reportedly gave their signatures in June 2017, indicating readiness to recall Melaye, whom they accused of poor representation.

But the senator raised issues with the recall, alleging dead people, including a deceased gubernatorial aspirant, signed the petition.

He complained that the All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant, Prince Rotimi Obadofin, and hundreds of other dead voters were on the list.

Read More: Court issues bench warrant against second accused in Melaye’s assassination attempt

He contended that Obadofin died April 7, 2016 and has since been buried, and that the figures were forged and fraudulently passed on to INEC.

He said: “Our investigation revealed that even the dead signed the recall across the seven local government areas of the senatorial district.

Let me also sound authoritatively, here, that in Lokoja Local Government Area (LGA), several others whose names and signatures appeared on the list for the failed exercise were identified and known to us, such as the late Abdullahi Abubakar; his late immediate younger sister, Halima Lawi Abubakar; and Ibrahim Adams of Unit Code 021, Adankolo Ring Road in Ward ‘A’, Lokoja LGA.”

He added that the late Mallam Salihu Black of Gegu-Beki town in Kogi LGA, who until his death was a biology teacher at Government Secondary School, Koton-Karfe, was also a signatory.

Melaye’s legislative aid, Abubakar Sadiq, alleged that the recall was hatched at Government House, Lokoja, and was aimed at paying back the senator for challenging the administration over non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.

“This is the sin committed by the senator. He has been the only voice crying out for the suffering workers in the state,” Sadiq said.

On the register, he noted: “They claimed to have got over 188,000 signatures of the electorate in Kogi West senatorial district, whereas the total votes cast in the last senatorial election in 2015 was merely about 111,000.

That is for all the candidates that participated in the election, valid and rejected votes inclusive. For God’s sake, where could they have got such outrageous figures, when people were not seen at the polling units visited during the purported exercise.”

Sadiq pointed out that if INEC embarks on verification, it would find that the list was doctored allegedly under the watch of Chief of Staff to the Governor, Edward Onoja.

Still on the late aspirant, the campaign manager to the deceased, Yahaya Adesayo Ismail, said he was perplexed when he saw his former boss’ name among the list of persons seeking Melaye’s recall.

He questioned why this should be, when the people of Kogi West failed to support the aspirant’s political agenda when he was alive.

The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Yahaya Bello, Petra Onyegbule Akinti, had earlier said the allegation didn’t deserve any response. According to her, “The fact about the people that signed the register is with INEC.

It has the responsibility of verifying the signatures. So, it has nothing to do with the CPS or even the Kogi State government.

There is nothing for the distinguished senator to be worried about, as INEC is set for the public verification of signatures, and the date is around the corner. There is no point burning their energies all over the place.”

INEC had kick-started the recall but was compelled to stop, due to legal actions instituted by Melaye. The Court of Appeal, however, threw out the senator’s suit.

Its judgment delivered March 16, 2018 in Abuja gave INEC leave to continue with the process. And on March 24, 2018, INEC consequently released the timetable and schedule of activities for the exercise.

In a statement INEC said: “Pursuant to the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, delivered on March 16, 2018, the Independent National Electoral

Commission, hereby, issues this timetable and schedule of activities for the recall of the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State.

“The process will begin March 27, 2018 with the posting of the notice of verification at the Commission’s local government area office in Lokoja, Kogi State, and end with the declaration of the outcome of the verification on April 29, 2018.”

The commission stressed that it was exercising its powers, as conferred on it by Sections 69 and 110 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Section 116 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

Also, according to the statement, April 4 was set as the last day for the submission of application by interested observers. April 20 was the last day for the submission of the names of verification agents.

A stakeholders’ meeting holds April 25 at INEC’s state office and conduct of verification on April 28 at all polling units in the constituency.

Some constituents, however, have threatened to make trouble, alleging their names were put on the list without their consent. Others expressed satisfaction with the process. Others, yet, urged caution, saying the state government and not Kogi West people was behind the matter.

One Suleiman Abdulmalik, who has been at the forefront of the recall, was optimistic. He said: “We are going to succeed. Dino can only run but he cannot run forever. The law must surely catch up with him. We are getting close.

He is using the judiciary to frustrate the process, but we will surely get there. Even within the judiciary, we are winning. He has gone to the Supreme Court. And once we defeat him there, the recall would be a done deal.”

He added: “We are sure we will secure the over 50 per cent signatures required. It would be verifiable. And at the end of the day, we will succeed. The recall is our project.

We cannot continue to support a senator that will be deriding his own party, the president and the governor of his own state. His acts are always un-parliamentary, and the recall is to enable us correct that. There will be no going back.”

On the other hand, a constituent from Kabba-Bunu LGA, Segun Modeyin, said the recall is not in the best interest of the people of Kogi West.

According to him, “It will be an exercise in futility because Dino Melaye is someone who is well accepted among the people in his senatorial district. He has been representing us well. In recent times, he has done a lot in impacting lives through the execution of various constituency projects.

“In fact, he has touched virtually every community within his senatorial district. Our rural people have enjoyed electricity, water and road construction projects from the same Dino.

Our people have resolved that at whichever party Dino Melaye chooses to contest for a second term, they would vote for him because of their confidence in him.

I believe the recall is purely a political vendetta from the Kogi State government. I believe the APC, as a party, needs to wade into the face-off between the senator and the governor. The senator is performing and I don’t believe any recall would work against him.”

He added: “I doubt if they (INEC) can authenticate those signatures. We are surprised that INEC, which is supposed to be an unbiased umpire, is the one pushing for the recall of our senator. It is unfortunate that those who are supposed to protect the rule of law are the ones doing otherwise.

Our call on INEC is to ensure that each of the signatures gathered is confirmed to be truly those of the constituents. If not, we will make an issue out of it.”

INEC’s Head of Voters Education and Publicity, Mr. Biambo Bagudu, stressed that the Commission would follow the timetable of the recall to the letter, except there is another judgment. He disclosed that members of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC), staff of federal tertiary institutions, and the Commission’s personnel would oversee the exercise, which he promised would be credible.

On the suit filed by Melaye at the Supreme Court, Bagudu said the Commission would halt the process, if a judgment demands it. But a veteran journalist turned politician based in Lokoja, Comrade Tims Ejiga, cautioned that since Melaye has already approached the apex court, the status quo ante should be maintained, as continuing the recall would be unfair.

Culled from the Guardian

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Why women in academia must not stay aloof of politics by Mantu




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Why women in academia must not stay aloof of politics by Mantu

***says without polilitics development would be a mirage

Former deputy President of the Senate Ibrahim Mantu has challenged the women in the academia not to stay aloof of politics because they percieve it to be leprous as there cannot be development without democracy.
He spoke recently in Abuja when the newly formed North Central Peoples Forum (NCPF) met with stakeholders from Kogi to sensitize them on the Forum’s agenda.
Mantu was speaking against the backdrop of comments by Professor Lucy Ogbadu who advised the forum to be apolitical for better developmental strides to be achieved in the zone.
The professor had also made strong case for women to be brought on board in the forum as no development can be achieved without them.
Senator Mantu however said,
“You cannot have Development without politics, politics produces people who are going to govern you, they are the ones that will ensure they manage the resources God has given properly.
He said people like Professor Ogbadu must show interest in politics. “We want women of substance, women who will go and talk so that people will warmly hear them and we would be proud to say this professor is from our zone and that is why she is doing wonderfully well.
“You must join politics so that we can make use of you in the right place because your voice would be better heard.
“There is no way we can compare you a professor with a woman who is on the street no matter what happens and if you are in politics and tomorrow your party wins because you are a professor the chances of you becoming the minister of education or Finance or any higher ministry is there.
“So people like you must not stay aloof and see politics as leprous, no you must show interest in politics so that the best women amongst us can be given the most resounding position that will go a long way to developing our zone and for our lives to be better.”

Professor Ogbadu earlier indicated she is not a politician, but identified immediately with the forum is because of what she saw about the Forum.
“It is a non partizan forum, a Forum geared towards the development of the zone and that is the only thing that endeared this Forum to my heart.
“That is why I have always presented myself. Unfortunately I am the only woman here today and it is in this respect that I wish to request that you should try to bring more women into this forum because there would be no developmental effort within the zone that will succeed without the women.
“You know it even as politicians. Most of you here are politicians. You can not get to the grassroots without women.

“We have to make concerted effort to reach more people and to bring more people on board. Some of you are politicians, the faces that people will see is that of politicians so when you bring people like us that are not politicians people will begin to identify more with the forum.
“Let us make effort to bring people that are apolitical. I also want to appeal to all of us to put away our differences, we are not talking about politics at this forum. We are talking about the backwardness of this zone in terms of development.
“The zone is backward in terms of development. We know the potentials that this zone have, we know we are blessed with capable human resources.
“We have been reminded that Gowon comes from this zone. Gowon is not the only past president from this zone. We can count up to three past heads of State from this zone yet we have nothing to show.
“For this reason I want to appeal to all us, as we make effort that this zone is brought to the limelight we do all we can within our capability to carry everybody along. “The women from this zone are capable, educated, they are beautiful. They have what it takes.”
The North Central Peoples Forum interim chairman Architect Gabriel Aduku said they are now getting closer to the people.
He said they were meeting with the Stakeholders of Kogi, those elected into offices like former Governors, senators and all that to have a close discussion with them on the need for them to key in and support.
“We are just gathering momentum.”

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Though Politics is tough for women, take the shot, humanitarian minister challenges womenfolk




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Though Politics is tough for women, take the shot, humanitarian minister challenges womenfolk 

Though there is the general believe that politics in Nigeria is tough for the womenfolk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has challenged them to get more involved in politics. 

The Minister spoke at the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship Speaker Series held in Kaduna on Tuesday October 21, 2020.

This was contained in a statement by the minister special adviser on media Nneka Ikem Anibeze on Thursday.

Umar Farouq who made a virtual presentation titled ‘My Political Career as a Northern Lady: Experiences and Challenges expressed concern about the percentage of women in politics.

“The truth is that we are not many. We are not where we should be and clearly we need more women represented in politics and executive positions. 

The good news is that we are making progress. Today as the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State is a woman. 

“This is a first for the North and His Excellency Governor Nasir El Rufai by the grace of Almighty God made this happen despite the odds.

She said very soon the hope for the first female Governor and President would soon be realised.

The Minister said politics especially in Africa is  a difficult and expensive terrain for women however she encouraged  the younger generation not to be deterred but embrace the career.

“Politics is driven by a selected few and is also very expensive. We need more young people to participate, change the narrative and make conscious efforts to ensure inclusion so that any young woman or man even from a less privileged background or  from any part of the country can be a President of this nation”.

Umar added that her vision for Nigeria is to see more young men and women dream and achieve their ambition as leaders in whatever field of endeavor they choose. 

“I am a grassroots person and will continue to connect with my people to lift the vulnerable out of poverty and foster the creation of an environment for inclusive growth and prosperity.  

K9I am supported by a team of vibrant young men and women working in the Ministry to bring fresh ideas and strategies to solving the nation’s Humanitarian and Social Development challenges. I want to use this avenue to thank my staff who work day and night in difficult terrains to ensure that we achieve our mandate,” Farouq said.

The Chief host of the Speaker Series was the Kaduna state Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai. 

The Speaker Series is designed to expose Fellows to notable personalities who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of expertise.

Some of the previous speakers include former President Chief Olusegun Obasanajo, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II the former Emir of Kano,  Deputy Chief of Mission, US. Embassy Abuja, H.E. David J. Young, Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations Hajiya Amina J. Mohammed, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika – Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, H.E. Donald Duke the former Governor of Cross River State, H.E Kashim Shettima, Ms. Kadaria Ahmed, Dr. Joe Abah, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mr. Mohamad Darwish and Dr. Dakuku Peterside amongst others.

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PDP says Buhari’s Address Disconnected, Fails Empathy Test




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PDP says Buhari’s Address Disconnected, Fails Empathy Test

The long-awaited national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on the protests rocking the nation, came with disappoint as it is completely disconnected from the realities of the tragic occurrences in our country in the last two weeks the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said.

This was contained in a statement that was issued by the party’s National publicity, secretary Kola Ologbodiayan in Abuja on Thursday.

The party however appeals to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of our nation.

“The President’s address, in the face of the turmoil witnessed, the unrests as well as the killing of young Nigerians, is to say the least, depressing and failing in empathy test.
“Our party and, indeed, all lovers of peace in our country, were shocked that the President glossed over the immediate trigger of violent protests – the widely condemned killing at the Lekki Toll Gate by security operatives, a situation which created a global concern and drew the attention of the world to the abuse of human rights going on in our country under his watch.

“Painfully too, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, was silent on the demand by Nigerians for enquires into the involvement of the military in the gruesome killing.
“Sadly, the long awaited address failed to inspire any hope. It failed to address the trepidations, the pervading hopelessness, the drifting towards anarchy and provided no concrete steps on how to arrest the situation and rein in bandits, hoodlums and vandals that were let loose to unleash violence on peaceful protesters and innocent Nigerians.
“In short, from the letters of the address, there were no correlations between the fundamentals of the crisis situation that we have witnessed and the long-sought reaction of the President.”

Furthermore, he said Nigerians had expected that the President will provide the lead for the much- needed overhauling of our security architecture to meet the demands of professionalism and respect for rules of engagement.
“The President also failed to use the opportunity to further heal wounds and inspire hope by outlining a roadmap to open up the economy in a manner that will enable our teeming hard working youths to pursue their productive goals as well as address the issue of pervading hunger in the land.
“However, in solidarity with Nigerians and in honour to the victims of Lekki Toll Gate killing, our party has directed that our flags in all our offices across the nation be flown at half-mast for a period of one week, beginning from Friday, October 23, 2020.

“The PDP urges all men and women of good faith to join forces in praying for our country as well as working towards solutions and peaceful resolution of the crisis that seeks to envelope our dear nation.”

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