The political space was focused on Ondo State in this past week because of the governorship election. President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the executive and legislative APC caucus to a two-day retreat while the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, named a new Emir of Zazzau.
Some members of the House of Representatives defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC.
Prior to Saturday, preparations had been in top gear ahead of the gubernatorial elections.
While we had candidates of major political parties signing peace treaties and shaking hands in one part of the state, party supporters and agents were clashing with one another in other parts.
The president had first promised that all necessary measures had been put in place to ensure that Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo is peaceful, transparent and credible. He also assured the electorate in Ondo of the provision of adequate security to forestall any breach of the peace by unscrupulous elements and to this regard, the police deployed over 33,700 personnel to the state.
During the election, PREMIUM TIMES reported a case of shooting in Akure South, vote-buying and even the capsizing of a boat carrying electoral materials and staff in Ilaje.
Although voting has ended, results are still being announced. The results of 12 local governments have been officially announced at the time of this report and the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is leading with over 30,000 votes.
Emir of Zazzau
The Kaduna State Government announced the appointment of Ahmed Bamalli as the new emir of Zazzau.
The appointment was a sequel to the death of the former emir, Shehu Idris. Mr Idris, the 17th Fulani emir of Zazzau, reigned for 45 years before his death on September 20.
The new emir was selected from among princes from three of the four dynastic lines of the emirate. He is the first emir from the Mallawa ruling house in 100 years, following the demise in 1920 of his grandfather, Emir Dan Sidi.
President Buhari has presented the 2021 budget estimate of N13.08 trillion to a joint session of the National Assembly within the week.
The budget contains a crude oil benchmark price of $40 per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.86 million barrels (inclusive of condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day) and N1.35 trillion spending by Government Owned Enterprises and Grants and Aid funded expenditure of N354.85 billion.
The budget also contains recurrent expenditure of N5.65 trillion, personnel cost of N3.76 trillion and debt service of N3.12 trillion. There was statutory transfers of N484.4 billion while Pension, Gratuities & Retirees Benefits was put at N501.19 billion and Overhead cost at N625.50 billion.
The president budgeted N128 billion for the National Assembly and N63.5 billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Mr Buhari complained that revenue generation is Nigeria’s major challenge and he urged ministries to generate revenue. He also spoke on a looming recession for the country as well as plans to complete and commission the second niger bridge before 2023.
In a two-day executive/legislature retreat organised by Mr Buhari for APC members, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo noted that Nigeria today has millions of extremely poor people and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened employment and poverty.
He also decried the huge deficits in infrastructure in the country as well as the high number of out-of-school children and said it will be callous and irresponsible if the different arms of government work together to resolve the problems ravaging the country.
Members of the party were also admonished to respect party leadership as well as other members and for the APC to exercise more control on its members to enable it to resolve crises that may arise.
The lawmakers, Ephreaim Nwuzi, who represents Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency of Rivers and David Abel, who represents Gashaka/Kurmi/Sardauna Federal Constituency of Taraba, said their decision to dump the PDP was based on consultations with their constituents and also because they like the leadership style of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Although a few lawmakers protested the defection, they were told to go to court if they felt dissatisfied.
Messrs Nwuzi and Abel are not the first to dump the PDP in recent times. Former Speaker Yakubu Dogara also made the same move as well as former Bauchi senator, Isa Misau.