The year 2018 ended on a rather subtle note with little noise from politicians, and the first week of the new year was no different.
While political watchers anticipate a kick-off of major political events such as campaigns, other stories dominated the political world in the past week.
Below are some major political stories from last week.
– President Muhammadu Buhari promised that the federal government would in due course institute a suitable memorial to immortalise the country’s first executive president, Shehu Shagari, who passed away on December 28, 2018, aged 93.
He said this while paying a condolence visit to the Shagari family.
– The campaign organisations of the two main candidates in next year’s presidential election accused each other’s candidate of corruption.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s team accused Atiku Abubakar of the PDP of not just being corrupt but also being so recognised internationally.
A spokesperson of Mr Abubakar said Mr Buhari has a history of funneling looted funds.
Paul Ibe said he was reacting to the ‘allegation’ from Mr Buhari’s camp that Mr Abubakar was planning to smuggle in looted funds into the country just before the February 2019 elections.
– Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said President Muhammadu Buhari would be re-elected for a second term in 2019, for the sake of Nigeria.
Mr Tinubu, who was speaking, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during the flag-off of the APC presidential campaign, said Mr Buhari represents “continuity of hope” and “continuity of development.”
– President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to ensure “free, fair and credible” elections in 2019.
Mr Buhari, who is seeking re-election, stated this in his New Year message to Nigerians.
– Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, advised the Igbos to be wary of the promise of the APC government to hand over power to them in 2023, noting that it was dangerous to take the APC government seriously.
He said this during a stakeholders meeting held at the residence of a former minister of aviation, Mbazuluke Amechi, in Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State on Saturday.
– Former president Goodluck Jonathan denied claims that he offered $5 million to the governorship running mate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat.
In a statement, Mr Jonathan described the claim as a “blatant lie apparently concocted by a wannabe politician desperate for votes in a campaign season.”
Mr Hamzat, a former commissioner for works in Lagos State, had claimed he rejected a $5 million bribe from Mr Jonathan during the 2015 elections.
– The former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, cited reasons why Nigerians should give President Muhammadu Buhari another term of four years in office.
He said Mr Buhari is refocusing the country and impacting on the lives of common Nigerians and the opposition against the president will be “roundly defeated.”
– The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, accused the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of “dancing on the graves of the innocent souls who died in the April 5, 2018, armed robbery attack in Offa”.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, the minister said Mr Saraki should stop playing politics with the unfortunate incident.
Mr Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, however, dismissed the minister’s comments as falsehoods.
He insisted his principal donated N10 million for the treatment of victims of Offa Robert.
– Many hours later, Mr Mohammed said he is presenting to the public available evidence of how the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lied that he donated N10 million to the victims of Offa bank robbery.
– The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, held an extraordinary security meeting to discuss the worsening security situation in the state.
At the meeting, the governor admitted that the security situation in the troubled state was getting worse. He, however, said he could not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the situation unlike how he blamed ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
– First Lady Aisha Buhari was appointed the chairperson of the All Progressives Congress Women and Youths Presidential Campaign team for the 2019 election.
The wife of the Vice-President, Dolapo Osinbajo, was also appointed as the co-chairperson of the campaign team.
The national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, were conspicuously absent when President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a campaign team formed and led by Aisha Buhari.
The President said he expects the women and youth presidential campaign team led by his wife to exhibit the same loyalty and support they gave him in 2015.
– The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said voting decisions of Nigerians in the 2019 general elections will determine the future of the country.
Uche Secondus, the party’s National Chairman, stated this in his New Year message issued by his Media Aide, Ike Abonyi, in Abuja as he advised Nigerians to see 2019 as “the restoration year” for the country.
– Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has called on Nigerians to sustain the achievements and progress recorded by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the past four years with their votes, come February 2019.
– A Rivers State senator insists he is the governorship candidate of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, in Rivers and will emerge governor in 2019.
Magnus Abe, who is in court asking to be declared the candidate of the APC, warned the APC headquarters not to recognise anyone else as its governorship candidate.
– The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, has again condemned the petrol subsidy policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mr Obi who spoke on Channels TV programme tagged: “Politics Today” on Tuesday said a “serious government” would rather divert the funds used for petrol subsidy to the provision of education and health care services for citizens.
– The Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said that he is ready to vacate office if that is what is required to restore peace and security to the state.
Zamfara has been bedevilled by armed bandits who kill villagers and also abduct some for ransom.
He also said the policy of transfer of police officers as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari aids bandits in attacking villages in the state.
Mr Yari said President Buhari recently instructed the Inspector General of the Police, Ibrahim Idris, to transfer any policeman who has spent more than three years in the state.
– A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, said that voters would elect candidates on their personal merit in 2019, unlike in 2015 when they voted “one party all through”.
Mr Lawal stated this while speaking with journalists in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
– The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) appointed Amina Zakari, a controversial national commissioner who once headed the agency on an interim basis, as the head of its Collation Centre Committee.
This was revealed during the swearing-in of the committee and another on logistics by INEC’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.
– The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of making a U-turn on its plan to use Smart Card Readers (SCR) in the upcoming 2019 elections.
The commission, however, promptly denied the allegation, saying it was false.
– The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio-Cultural Association has urged Nigerians to reject Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at February 16 polls.
The National President of the Association, Bello Bodejo, made the call at a news conference in Abuja when accused Mr Atiku of trying to destabilise the country using the latest Amnesty International (AI)’s report on the farmer/herders’ conflicts in some parts of the North.
The party said it took the position because Mrs Zakari is President Buhari’s niece.
– The director of voter education and publicity at INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, however, said Mrs Zakari’s role as head of the collection center committee has nothing to do with the actual collation of votes.
He said only the chairman of INEC, who is the returning officer for the presidential election, decides the validity of votes.
– President Muhammadu Buhari held a closed-door meeting with the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
– Following a siege at his residence by the police which lasted for eight days, the Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye. handed himself over to the authorities.
He opened the door of the house himself on Friday afternoon in the presence of police operatives and some senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While coming out of the house, the senator slumped to the floor and was later assisted onto his feet.
He was thereafter taken to the office of the IGP Intelligence Response Squad (IRT) in Guzape, Abuja.
Reacting to the surrender in a statement by its spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, the police said Mr Melaye “is currently in police custody for investigation, and subsequently, taken to police hospital, Abuja for medical attention and he is in stable condition.”
The police said it would charge Mr Melaye to court “on completion of investigation.”
– Former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, said there will be trouble if the ruling All Progressive Congress rigs the 2019 general election.
He said Nigerians and the international community are anticipating an excellent election devoid of rigging.
– President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday, inaugurate the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 General Elections.
– Chibuike Amaechi, Minister for Transportation and Director General (DG) of Buhari Campaign Organisation, said the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) was responsible for the current challenges Nigerians were passing through.
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