The last week has witnessed a series of interesting happenings in the political arena. The allegations against the national chairman of the ruling party, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, continued with Senate President Bukola Saraki getting into the fray. Also, two state governors who were convicted for stealing state funds got their conviction validated by the appeal court, but had their jail terms reduced.
Below are some of the key political happenings last week and the days they occured.
Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he was subjected to security search on arrival at the Nnamidi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates – claims which sparked a flurry of commentaries amongst Nigerians online.
Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, however, issued a statement Sunday evening debunking Mr Abubakar’s account as “a mischievous attempt to grab the headlines” before proceeding to explain take-off and landing procedures at the international airport in Abuja.
-Uche Nwosu, the Chief of Staff to Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, said being a son-in-law to the governor does not ‘disqualify’ himfrom succeeding him in office. He denied Mr Okorocha has put his family members in key positions in the state.
-A senator and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress was arrested at the Abuja airport over allegations of contract fraud to the tune of $12.5 million. Hope Uzodinma’s arrest came after PREMIUM TIMES exposed how the senator landed a contract of about N26 billion from the Goodluck Jonathan administration. He received $12.5 million of the contract sum for the dredging of Calabar channel from the Nigerian Ports Authority, but failed to execute the contract.
Days later, he said he was innocent of the fraud allegations and that the reports may not be unconnected with his emergence as a governorship candidate.
-The APC in Sokoto State announced the“expulsion” of the party’s national vice chairman, North West, Inuwa Abdulkadir, for alleged anti-party activities.
Mr Abdulkadir’s expulsion came after a member of the party from his Magajin Gari Á’ward, Naibi Abubakar, wrote a complaint letter to the ward chairman of the party accusing him of “continuous absence from party activities and meetings.” The national headquarters of the APC, however, said it would not recognise the expulsion.
-A judge of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court revoked the bail granted former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, after Mr Kalu flouted the order of the court. Mohammed Idris, the judge, said part of the bail conditions given to the former governor after his first arraignment in 2007 was that he should deposit his international passport with the court.
-Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said any state government working against the Local Government Autonomy Bill is an enemy of the people. He also lamented only nine out of the 36 states have so far supported the bill passed by the National Assembly, “despite its importance to grassroots development.”
-President Muhammadu assented to five bills,after months of legislative action.
The bills include the Extradition (Amendment) Act 2018, Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act, 2018 and Nigerian Centre For Disease Control And Prevention (Establishment) Act, 2018.
Others are the National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) (Amendment) Act 2018, and the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geo-sciences, Jos, (Establishment) Act 2018.
-A Kano High Court upheld its earlier orderhalting the state House of Assembly Investigative Committee from investigating the bribery allegation against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.The court also ordered all other parties involved in the investigation of the bribery allegation to maintain the status quo ante, pending the determination of the originating summon.
-The Nigerian Senate could not form quorum to hold plenary. Consequently, the lawmakers adjourned plenary for a week, saying the adjournment was due to the absence of some lawmakers engaged in oversight functions.
Like their counterparts at the Senate, members of the House of Representatives also adjourned plenary due to malfunctioning of the microphone.
-The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Kwara State, Razak Atunwa,formally admitted he has two university degrees, but failed to present himself for national service in a blatant violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
Mr Atunwa, a serving federal lawmaker and chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, tendered the document to the PDP in his nomination filings for the party in late September, and even went further to swear an affidavit notarized at the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin, the state capital.
-A bill to prohibit the killing and exportation of donkeys or its carcasses out of Nigeria passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill sponsored by Garba Muhammed (APC-Kaduna), seeks to address the threat of donkeys going into extinction, and to preserve its aesthetic, ecological, historical, recreational and scientific values to the nation.
-The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, said because of the primary elections recently held by political parties, INEC had been dragged to court over 200 times.
He also said the commission was poised to conduct free, fair, and credible general elections in 2019.
-The Senate said it would demand explanationon why the federal government wants to reduce the $8.1 billion fine imposed on the communication giant, MTN, to $800 million. It said though it was not particularly against whatever the government would want to do with the MTN fine, it should be intimated on why the reduction became necessary.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara-PDP), told some journalists that his committee would immediately demand a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report on the matter.
-A federal high court in Uyo declared vacant the seat of a lawmaker in Akwa Ibom State who defected from the PDP to APC. Idongesit Ituen represented Itu State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. The suit was filed by Mr Ituen in September to pre-empt the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, from declaring his seat vacant.
-Sokoto State Deputy Governor, Ahmad Aliyu,resigned his position. Mr Aliyu, who is the APC governorship candidate, announced his resignation in a letter to the state House of Assembly dated November 13, 2018.
-An APC member in Jigawa State was electrocuted while hoisting a campaign banner with the pictures of President Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Mohammad Badaru on an electric pole. The incident occurred at Kudai community, one of the ruling APC’s strongholds in Dutse Local Government Area of the State.
-The federal government said final processes for award of contracts for the clean up of Ogoniland will be completed. The Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, said his ministry has reached the final stage of procurement processes that will lead to award of contracts to 21 firms so the exercise can finally begin.
-The APC has declared support for the fight against fake news in Nigeria. The party also accused the PDP of using fake news in its campaigns, saying it was not surprised as it believes it is an effort by the opposition party to evade scrutiny.
-The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the purchase of 400 Beretta assault rifles with 20,000 rounds of ammunition for the Nigerian Prisons Service. Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said the arms and ammunition will be purchased at the cost of N272 million with a delivery period of 120 days.
-Hundreds of Nigerians petitioned the United States authorities to urgently grant one of the presidential candidates a visa to enable him clear a slew of corruption allegations pending against him.
Over 1,000 Nigerians have signed the petition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other American authorities, demanding a thorough probe and conclusion of pending corruption allegations against Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of PDP. The petitioners said they are on a mission to ensure the country’s 2019 presidential election field is devoid of persons of questionable backgrounds.
-INEC revealed the process it will adopt for voting in the 2019 general elections. A national commissioner of the commission, Festus Okoye, said the voting procedure will be in accordance with the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System (CAVS) and only voters with permanent voter’s cards verified by the smart card reader would be allowed to vote.
– Senate President Bukola Saraki said the National chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, has no moral right to remain in politics following allegations of kickbacks levelled against him.
Mr Saraki said the APC chairman has no locus standi to talk about morality in today’s Nigeria politics in view of controversial roles he played in the APC primaries.
In his response, Mr Oshiomhole, asked Mr Saraki to provide evidence he (Oshiomhole) was bribed or be taken to court. He said the attack by Mr Saraki is “unwarranted, pathetic and irresponsible” and that he (Mr Saraki) lacks moral grounds to make such accusations.
Mr Saraki on his part, replied tthat he is ready to meet Mr Oshiomhole in court.
– The APC said the endorsement of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, by some South-east leaders was an insult to the Igbo people.
Its spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a message, said the APC considers Mr Abubakar and the PDP “as people who have lost any sense of shame”.
– PDP presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar, said he is willing to let Nigeria’s oil producing stateshave absolute control of crude oil revenuesfrom their domains, but added he is reluctant to immediately implement such policies at this stage of national development.
He told The Africa Report that federating units once had considerable control of their resources, unlike the current federal laws that only allow 13 percent derivation for states in the Niger-Delta, where Nigeria’s sweet crude is extracted.
– The police used tear gas to disperse lawmakers, staff and supporters of various factions of the Anambra State House of Assembly. The House became factionalised on Tuesday with the controversial removal of the speaker, Rita Maduagwu, by about 20 of the 30 state lawmakers and was replaced by Ikemba Uzoezie.
– President Muhammadu Buhari has givenconsent for the renewal of three Oil Mining Licences (OML) belonging to oil and gas firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.
A disclosure sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE) said the president gave consent for the renewal of the three licences––OMLs 4, 38 and 41––to a new expiry date of 21 October 2038.
– Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) announced the withdrawal of its presidential candidate, Olusegun Mimiko, from the 2019 presidential election.
The National Chairman of the party, Dan Nwanyanwu, made the announcement and said the party would approach the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw Mr Mimiko’s name and file same for the Senate.
-Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje filed a N3 billion lawsuit against Jaafar Jaafar, publisher of Daily Nigerian newspaper for alleged defamation over publications of videos clips showing the governor collecting bribes in hard currency from a contractor.
In the writ of summons obtained by PREMIUM TIMES in the suit filed at a Kano State High Court on November 13, counsel to the governor, Nuruddeen Ayagi, demanded the defendants to appear before the court within 14 days.
– The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reduced the jail term of ex-Governor Joshua Dariye to 10 years.
The court reduced the sentence of 14 years to 10 years for criminal breach of trust while a similar conviction for diversion of N1. 62 billion ecological funds was reduced from two years to one year. The sentences are to run concurrently, like the previous judgement in June, meaning Mr Dariye has now been effectively jailed 10 years.
The court also ordered the former Taraba State Governor, Jolly Nyame, to pay a fine of N495 million for alleged misappropriation of funds while he was governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007 and reduced the 14-year jail term, earlier given to him by a High Court in Abuja to 12 years.
The appeal court, however, said the law compels the court to add a fine for each of the various convictions.
– President Buhari said the split within the Ohanaeze Igbo socio-cultural group over its reported endorsement of Mr Abubakar did not surprise him.
He also said that the moment the so-called resolution was announced, he got calls from well-meaning leaders from the region asking him to disregard it as it was without any substance.
– President Buhari approved the appointment of five chief executive officers and two executive directors of some federal agencies.
The appointments include that of Mr. Buhari’s son-in-law, Junaid Abdullahi, who takes charge as Executive Secretary at the Border Communities Development Agency (BDCA). His appointment took effect from September 22 for an initial period of four years.
– APC National Chairman, Mr Oshiomhole,dismissed allegations that he collected bribes of about $80 million to manipulate the outcome of the party primaries in some states and FCT.
His denial was in reaction to allegations by some aggrieved aspirants who accused him of collecting various sums in bribes to twist the primaries.
– INEC said it will on Sunday lift the ban oncampaign for 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections slated for February 16, 2019.
A statement by Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC director of Voter Education and Publicity, on Saturday in Abuja said that political parties who fielded candidates for both elections would commence campaigns across the country.
– PDP candidate, Mr Abubakar, is to kick-start hiscampaign for the 2019 presidential election through an address to Nigerians on Facebook on Monday.
A statement issued by Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation on Saturday said Mr Abubakar would use the address to launch his policy document.