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PDP govs shun Ondo campaign flag-off as cracks deepen

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The divisions in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2023 elections appear to be deepening with only two of the state governors of the party showing up on Saturday in Akure for the flag-off of the party’s campaign for next month’s governorship polls in Ondo State.

Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State was the only state chief executives in attendance to support the party’s flag bearer in the election, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, in what party sources said underlined the battle for the soul of the PDP.

There are fears within the party that the development is a major threat to the chances of the PDP in the polls and even beyond.

Although the party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, was at the rally, prominent party leaders from the South West, such as former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, PDP candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State Mr. Ademola Adeleke, and party chieftain from Ogun State Mr. Ladi Adebutu were absent.

They are currently locked in a rift with Governor Makinde who is the chairman of the PDP campaign committee.

The disagreement centers on the handling of the Ondo State governorship campaign of the party.

Secondus and many chieftains of the party in Ondo State are also said to be unhappy with the situation.

It was learnt that following incessant complaints by some major stakeholders within and outside the state that they were not being carried along by the Oyo State governor in respect of the Ondo election, Secondus expressed concern about the state of things and asked Makinde to put more effort into uniting the Southwest with a view to giving PDP victory in the state.

Sources said little or nothing has been done to bring aggrieved stakeholders of the party to work with Makinde in the campaign efforts.

Fayose had warned that Jegede could lose the Ondo State election if the party remained divided in the Southwest and Ondo State ahead of the poll.

He accused the Oyo governor of foisting party executives, committee members, and instructions on leaders and members of the PDP who are working tirelessly towards the victory of the party and Jegede.

Southwest national vice chairman of the party, Eddy Olafeso; Ogun State chairman, Sikirulai Ogundele; Lagos State chairman, Deji Doherty; Ekiti State Chairman, Bisi Kolawole; and Osun State chairman Sunday Akanfe, are all in support of Fayose’s objection to Makinde’s style.

Adebutu, Adeleke, Senator Yinka Olujimi, and other prominent leaders of the party in the Southwest had recently called on the NWC of the party to caution Makinde in the interest of the PDP.

Fayose and his supporters are also said to be opposed to Makinde’s alleged positioning of former deputy national chairman of the party, Bode George, as the de-facto leader of the Ondo campaign structure.

A source said: “We have told the national chairman and other party leaders that with Makinde’s undemocratic approach to leadership and his collaboration with Bode George, there is no way he can get other stakeholders in the zone to work with him.

“Our worry is that he is threatening the chances of the PDP in Ondo State.

“Makinde’s political style and undue meddlesomeness in the Southwest and Ondo State, in particular, may cause the party to lose the election.

“He is driving away from the people who can deliver Ondo for the PDP and working with retired grandpas. That is not how to win elections.”

The Nation also gathered that some governors of the party, as well as supporters of a former presidential candidate of the PDP, are also not inclined to working with Makinde in the campaign committee.

A source accused him of singlehandedly selecting members of the committees and deciding who got what.

“You can imagine him making Fayose an ordinary member of a sub-committee,” one source said.

Continuing, the source said: “Others like Adebutu and the party-state chairmen in the zone were not consulted on the selection of committee members.

“In Ogun and Ekiti, he (Makinde) decided to support factions of the party not recognized by the NWC. These and many more actions of Makinde’s are threatening Jegede’s victory.

“Even outside the Southwest, some PDP governors and leaders are not comfortable with Makinde’s style.

“They have openly accused him of acting the script of a clique within the party that is determined to snatch its control.

“That was why only two governors attended the campaign flag-off in Ondo State.

“Even the national chairman is no longer happy with the situation of things. But he is cautiously approaching the whole issue so as not to further scuttle PDP’s chances in the election.

“Unless something is done urgently to rescue the campaign structure from Makinde and George, the situation will remain the same.”

 

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NIGERIA

Ijaw nation vows to resist national water resources bill

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Following its earlier condemnation by different groups and individuals, the Ijaw Nations Development Group (INDG) has condemned the reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill in the National Assembly, vowing to resist it vehemently.

The INDG described the bill as not only provocative but also a complete distortion of Nigeria’s federalism, insisting that reintroduction of the bill was the height of insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Nigerians.

Ijaw stakeholders, who stated this yesterday during a virtual meeting attended by over 100 participants, lamented that the Federal Government sent the bill to the National Assembly without engaging the states and peoples that are the direct stakeholders but only acknowledged them as footnotes.

The Keynote Speaker at the meeting, Anthony George-Ikoli (SAN), described the bill as a deleterious agenda.

“Taking a critical look at the National Water Resources Bill 2020, currently in the legislature and our national consciousness, I am compelled to align myself with more speakers, who in recent times, have come to the conclusion that such a bill can only be the product of an undisclosed, deleterious agenda,” he said.

He explained that true federalism usually serves to recognize the rights of the constituent units to ownership and protection of the same, noting that by its vesting sections, the bill represented an egregious distortion of federalism.

“The Federal Government has not only deprived the states of the minerals and mineral oil in the land within their territories, but it is also now plotting to take the only resource left for the states to administer for the benefit of their people through the National Water Resources Bill,” he added.

He said the time was past when the Ijaw nation would sit aloof and watch, but it was time to set an agenda for its legislators at all levels.

Another speaker and Niger Delta activist, Ann Kio-Briggs, said it was disheartening that the Federal Government was tampering with the rights of Ijaw people and the Niger Delta region.

“Water represents life and belongs to my people, we live on and by the water. For the first time, the Ijaw have to wake up because they have taken our land, oil, and air through pollution and now, they want to take our water. It is our responsibility to protect our rights,” she stated.

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NIGERIA

Finally, APC concedes defeat, admits Edo poll free, fair

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The governing All Progressives Congress on Monday conceded defeat 24 hours after Governor Godwin Obaseki, of the Peoples Democratic Party, was declared the winner of the Edo Governorship Election.

Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, in a statement titled, “Edo State Governorship Election: Victory for Democracy,” which he signed, congratulated Obaseki over his victory.

Buni said,  “Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the person of the Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the People Democratic Party.

“We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians. The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent a victory for Nigeria’s democracy

“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority.

“ We commend INEC, our security agencies, and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election. As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved. “

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NIGERIA

Government has no business running refineries — Osinbajo

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The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the problems associated with Nigeria’s refineries will persist if the Federal Government continues to own and run them.

He noted that experience has shown that refineries were better managed by the private sector hence the need for the government to restrict itself to providing the regulatory framework for such businesses to thrive.

Osinbajo said this at a virtual meeting organized for the All Progressives Congress bloggers and social media influencers at the APC National Secretariat, in Abuja, Monday.

According to him, it was time for the nation to do more to develop its gas and renewable energy resources which are cheaper and cleaner.

He said, “If the refinery is left in the hands of the government, it will continue to experience the same problem it is experiencing now. I do not think that it is the business of the government to run the refinery. It should be the business of the private sector, which is why we are trying to focus on assisting the private sector to develop modular refineries.”

Speaking further Osinbajo said, “There is a 100,000-barrel capacity refinery about to come on stream and we hope it will by the next year. It is completely private and closely located near the Port Harcourt refinery so that it can share the facilities of the Port Harcourt refinery. We are hopeful it will come on stream in the first quarter of next year.

“There are also six modular refineries that are almost ready. There is a Niger Delta Petroleum refinery in Delta state, there is another one in Imo, there is also another modular refinery in Edo State.

“We engaged the oil-producing communities to find a new vision for the Niger Delta and we tried to encourage modular refinery that will give the people in the oil-producing states a stake so that the modular refinery is not just private but the people there have some stake and equity.

“The whole idea is to support as many private refineries as possible. We are also waiting for the Dangote Refinery with 250,000 barrels capacity which is bigger than all of the government refineries put together.

“In the next two or three months, we will see the private sector playing a bigger role and things will quickly improve. We hope that this particular effort will complete the refurbishment of the refineries which will be completed soon but I am more hopeful of the private effort been the key to the future.”

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