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Ocholi’s replacement saga stokes fresh crisis in Kogi APC

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Ocholi’s replacement saga stokes fresh crisis in Kogi APC
By John Akubo, Lokoja

Members kick against Faleke as possible substitute, party disown them
The inability of the presidency to fill the ministerial slot created by the death of James Ocholi about one year ago, has thrown Kogi State chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC) into a fresh round of crisis.
Ocholi who was minister of State for Employment, was an indigene of Kogi. His party, APC has been bedeviled by internal wrangling since the governorship election that saw the emergence of Yahaya Bello as governor in place of Prince Abubakar Audu who died on the verge of victory.
James Faleke, running mate to late Audu, had expected that Audu’a name will be substituted with his but the party leadership settled for Bello, the second runner up in the primary, to the chagrin of many members.
Though the Supreme Court has since laid the matter to rest when it affirmed the validity of Bello’s election, the Audu/Faleke’s group are still sour and it has not been well with the party ever since.
The dust raised by the choice of Bello has not settled when the issue of Ocholi’s substitution cropped up further deepening the crack in the APC.
Faleke’s name has been bandied as possible nominee to fill the vacancy created by Ocholi’s exit. Sources claimed that it was part of the rapprochements to get APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari back on one page in the party affairs.
In fact, it is believed to be one of the numerous appointments that have been lined up by the presidency to massage the ego of Tinubu who many consider relegated to the background by the central government.
But rather than pacify the people and bring cohesion to the party, the move has further stoked the acrimony in the state chapter of APC.
The Kogi East zone where the late minister hailed from, had before now complained over the presidency’s delay in picking one of them to replace their brother that died, insisting that it was their slot. According to them, it would be a grave disservice for another to produce the minister since their son died in service.
Similarly, the APC in Kogi West warned against the choice of Faleke as it would exacerbate the crisis within the party. In a statement jointly endorsed by Alhaji Suleiman Ejibunu and Chief Richard Asaje, they contended that if Faleke and his godfather deserve any ministerial slot it couldn’t be that meant for Kogi.
They cautioned such move would lead to exit of prominent, loyal and committed members of the party as well as aggravate the fractionalized party along many divides.
“We are also unequivocally resolute to stop Tinubu’s expansion into Kogi State or any state in the North Central, we are determined to push out all his consults from Kogi come 2018/2019. It is a task that must be done through all legal/political means. They have failed and they will continue to fail,” the Kogi West APC asserted.
They claimed that Kogi APC knew Faleke that represents a Lagos State constituency in the National Assembly only during the governorship struggle when the Tinubu purportedly imposed him on them as the deputy governorship candidate to late Prince Abubakar Audu.
According to them, it generated a lot of distress to the founding members of APC in the state who built the party, battled the then sitting government in all national elections and won.
Furthermore they asked: “Faleke took the party to court up to Supreme Court and lost while some leaders have remained beggars after the massive support to build APC in the state; if those leader’s effort are left to this ugly power play with humiliation of this nature, what type of party and country are we building?”
They alleged that reconciliation was proposed, which Faleke rejected on the grounds that he cannot be reconciled with the Governor until the ‘injustice’ of taking the governorship from him is redressed, adding: “Giving him such an appointment will amount to providing him fuel to fire the breakup of APC in the state.”
But in a dramatic turn, the State executive council of APC berated Ejibunu, Asaje and their associates described them as fifth columnists in the party.
A statement signed by the entire membership of the executive including the chairman, Alhaji Haddy A. Ametuo, said that the people lacked the locus standi to speak for it stressing that it was meant to cause disharmony among members.
“We the entire members of the state exco respect the power of the President to freely choose whoever he wants to serve in his cabinet, Hon. Faleke inclusive. We also respect the national leadership of Asinaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose support and influence traverses the national structures of the party.
However, Faleke in a swift reaction said that the opposition against his purported nomination was coming from “empty vessels,” noting that it was strange that the people were campaigning against a nomination that was yet to be made by the President.
The House of Representatives’ member, who denied knowledge of any such nomination, however, said those ganging up against him were working for a particular interest.
“My purported nomination as a minister is even unknown to me, but it is a fact that the choice of a minister from any state rest with the President. I will ignore the duo that spoke against my purported nomination,” he stated.
Also, he said that it was wrong for the people to have spoken against Tinubu, whom he noted, worked for the development and the victory of the APC, adding: “Tinubu is a national leader who also has followers in the North. He has nothing to benefit him in Kogi for them to view it as trying to infiltrate the state or northern politics.”

http://m.guardian.ng/features/ocholis-replacement-saga-stokes-fresh-crisis-in-kogi-apc/

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17 persons die in seperate accidents on same route in Kogi

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17 persons die in seperate accidents on same route in Kogi


17 persons including five children, two policemen and their driver lost their lives in seperate autocrashes Thursday on Itobe-Anyigba road in Kogi State.

First was that involving a mercedez-Benz truck and an ambulance conveying an empty casket with two police inspectors and a civilian driver travelling to Anyigba to take the body of a dead police sergeant.

The trio died when their ambulance van had a headon collision with a Mercedes-Benz truck coming from the opposite direction.

On the same day 14 persons also perished in a multiple accident involving three vehicles; two trucks and a passenger bus along the same route.
The State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Solomon Aghure, who confirmed the incident to newsmen in Lokoja on Friday, indicated that three vehicles; two trucks and a passenger bus, were involved in the accident.
He said that the three vehicles were travelling on the same lane enroute Anyingba when a truck suddenly hit the bus from behind and as a result of the impact, the Bus skidded and hit the truck in its front.
Aghure said that the bus was trapped in between the two trucks with all the passengers before his men arrived the scene to carry out rescue operation which lasted for hours.
He disclosed that 14 out of the 23 persons involved in the accident died on the spot, adding that nine others sustained various degrees of injury.
Aghure said that three men, one woman and five children (two males and three females) survived the accident with some injuries.
He said that the injured were taken to Holley Memorial Hospital, Ochadamu for treatment while corpses of the dead were deposited at the morgue of Grimard Hospital, Anyingba.
Aghure,who attributed the accident to possible break failure,said further investigation would be carried out to determine its actual cause.

 

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Presidency tells Muslim group to exercise restrain even though Kukah actually injured Islamic faith

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Presidency tells Muslim group to exercise restrain even though Kukah actually injured Islamic faith


The Presidency has indicated that, though it agrees with Muslim Solidarity Forum that Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto actually injured the Muslims in his Christmas day homily it’s unconstitutional for them to issue him quit notice.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu spoke in reaction to the threats for the Bishop to quietly pack and leave Sokoto should he fail to apologise over the controversial sermon.
The Muslim Solidarity Forum had issued what seem like a subtle threat to Bishop Hassan Kukah to tender an unreserved appology or quietly leave the seat of Caliphate.

The spokesman for the President in a statement said, Kukah has truly injured the Muslims, but he should be guided in his utterances and take into cognisance, Sokoto’s heartbeat of Islam in Nigeria.
Shehu said, it’s unconstitutional for an individual or group to issue quit notice to a citizen under whatever circumstances, saying, father Mathew Hassan Kukah must be allowed to practice his religion.
Nationalupdate reports on Tuesday indicated that the Sokoto based Islamic group, “Muslim Solidarity Forum”, at a press briefing said the Bishop is known for his perchance to speak in parables and innuendos against Islam in a provocative manner.

The spokesman for the President in a statement said,
“Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric.
“On matters such as these, responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint. Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance.
“The reported ultimatum by a group based in Sokoto, “Muslim Solidarity Forum,” calling on the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah to tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah over his recent “malicious comments” against Islam, or quietly and quickly leave the state, is wrong because it is not in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Under our Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions.
“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution.
“The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians.
“The Sultanate has historically had good relations with followers of all faiths. That is why Father Kukah was received on his arrival in Sokoto with friendship and tolerance.
“Under our laws, groups or factions must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches. Where they occur, it is the courts of law that should adjudicate. Unilateral action is not the way to go.
“Groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles. And individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances.”

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Group tackles Bishop Kukah, demands immediate arrest

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Group tackles Bishop Kukah, demands immediate arrest

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has described Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s recent controversial statement as unguarded and open incitement to military coup and insurrection against the democratically elected government of Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima on Monday, the group
condemned “Kukah’s use of nepotism as weapon of calumny against government and people of Nigeria.”

The AYCF demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Bishop Kukah for what it described as treasonable felony against the Nigerian state.

In the alternative, the group called on Federal Government to place Kukah on special watchlist for this open attempt to “set the South against the North in order to destabilize our country and further complicate matters.”

Shettima, in the statement, took exception to what his group described as “Kukah’s latest role in devil’s advocacy, as the North struggles to restore peace and enduring security in the region and indeed Nigeria.”

The statement noted that “such a reckless statement by Kukah betrays something much more sinister against both the North and the nation as a whole because Nigeria is at a stage that it requires responsible advice for attaining peace and stability, not deliberate attempt to mischievously compound our problems.

“If Kukah wants to play politics, he should not do so in the pulpit and he should keep the Bishop’s office aside and chose any Nigerian political party platform to contest President in 2023 and stop all the pretences,” the statement said.

It reminded Kukah of the rough road tread by democracy heroes to rid the nation of military dictatorship at a time when he was nowhere in sight.
“We will not allow opportunists who did make any contribution to scuttle the democracy achieved through the our sweat and toil and the sacrifice of our liberty,” Shettima said in the statement.

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