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In what appears to be one of his reasons for returning to his old party, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Wednesday claimed that the state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress had continued to launch an attack on him.

Speaking at a gathering in which he formally announced his return to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Ortom added that 10 out of the 17 state lawmakers elected on the platform of the All Progressive Congress are ready to follow him to PDP.

Ortom had formally announced his return to the opposition PDP, from where he had defected to APC on whose platform he was elected as governor in 2015.

Ortom made the declaration of his defection during a meeting with local government chairmen and councillors at the new banquet hall of Government House, Makurdi.

Thirteen local government chairmen and 276 councillors were in attendance.

“The state chapter has continued to launch an attack on me,” Ortom claimed, saying that was despite the intervention of APC national leadership.

“This morning, I had wanted to go to Abuja to attend the meeting but some youths in the state refused, they asked me to go back.

“But let me formally inform this gathering that I have forwarded my resignation letter from the APC to the chairman of my council ward and he has promised to join me in the new party.

Immediately he announced his resignation from APC, the governor displayed his resignation letter to the people.

“As I talk to you, ten (10) out of seventeen (17) state lawmakers of All Progressive Congress, APC are ready to follow me to the new party.

“May I formally announce to you that I have formally moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,” governor Ortom declared.

Earlier, the 13 council chairmen and leaders of the legislative council in attendance promised to follow the governor to the new party to ensure his re election aspiration.

Mr Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives (APC) has reiterated his appeal to aggrieved members of the party to be patient with his leadership, in an apparent response to the emergence on Wednesday of a rebel group, Reformed APC(R-APC)
“My appeal to all those who are aggrieved is to be patient,” Oshiomhole said.

However, former Senate leader and the Senator representing Southern Borno, Alhaji Ali Ndume, dismissed the new group, saying that only God and time could determine the direction of the APC in 2019.

Oshiomhole spoke to newsmen after receiving the report of the party’s just concluded National Convention Appeal Panel Committee’s report on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alhaji Buba Galadima who is the National Chairman of the Reformed APC, announced its formation at a news conference at the Sheraton Hotels in Abuja on Wednesday.

“The assurance is that under my leadership, we will make honest mistakes and once our attention is drawn, we will find courage to make up for our mistake.

“Some people say how can people eat their words, for me, I will eat my words if it is nutritious enough and if that is what I have to do to have peace in the family,” Oshiomhole said.

He expressed appreciation to members of the party for his election and for entrusting with him, the responsibility to pilot the party’s affairs at this time.

He acknowledged that he new of the party’s challenges before accepting the task, saying that it was a huge opportunity for him and other newly elected executives of the party to make a difference.

This, Oshiomhole said, was not only for the party, but for the country generally.

“So, I appeal to people to realise that a blind man can redeem his eyes if he applies the correct medication, but you can’t force it to open over night,” he said.

He added that forcing the eyes to open over night, would create more problems and damage the eye the more.

The APC national chairman maintained that he would do everything possible to sustain confidence and trust, adding that everybody was important in the party.

He also said that everybody in the party matters, adding that he would run an inclusive party.

“I pray for wisdom and courage and I believe that we have it and we will deploy it for peace within the APC family, Oshiomhole said.

Senator Ali Ndume, in a separate interview dismissed the new group.

He said the threat by the R-APC and nPDP to leave the APC would never spell doom for it, but only God and time would tell.

The Senator who admitted that politics is all about interest, said there was however, nothing wrong if an aggrieved group voices out its displeasure.

He added that movement from one political party to another is normal in politics.

“What is happening is part of politics, especially now in our political days, all of us are Nigerians and we know what is happening.

“So, politics is about interest and if somebody feels that his or her interest will be more protected by voicing out his dissent, it is Ok.

“This party is a party of time, decided by Nigerian masses and it is only God that can decide the time of a political party: God and Nigerians know that APC government is the light at the end of the tunnel,”the Senator said.

Malam Bolaji Abudullahi, APC National Publicity Secretary was more laconic in his reaction. He said the party leadership would get the full details of what happened.

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said the Presidency should be ready for the defeat of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the July 14 governorship election in the state.

This was as the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State asked Fayemi to account for N16.7bn his administration under-declared as Internally-Generated Revenue from 2010 to 2014.

The party said this became necessary since Fayemi’s claim of N600m monthly IGR, which totalled N7.2bn yearly, contradicted the figures his administration gave to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, among others.

Fayose said the defeat of the APC would be a shocker for the Presidency and a congratulatory message for the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the party.

He stated this in reaction to the notice to quit given to him and his party, the PDP, by the Presidency during the APC’s National Convention in Abuja.

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, the governor said apart from losing Ekiti, the APC would also meet its waterloo in Osun State and would be finally dislodged from the Presidency in 2019.

Fayose was optimistic that the PDP and its candidate, Prof Kolapo Olusola, would win convincingly during the poll.

“He (Fayemi) has offended the teachers, who he demoted, harassed and planned to sack. They also know that if Fayemi comes back, he is going to sack them, so, how will teachers vote for him?”

“The local government workers that Fayemi harassed and said were not necessary are not his friends.

“Recently, he said no local government needs more than 200 workers, signifying that he plans to sack them if elected. They won’t vote for him.

“He said commercial motorcyclists are a nuisance and should be barred from operating in the state. They will not vote Fayemi or the APC. The list is endless and the people of the state who are reeling under the heavy debts he put the state into, have rejected him,” he said.

The state PDP Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, said available records indicated that Fayemi under-declared the IGR that accrued to the state under him.

He said since Fayemi claimed that he raised the IGR to N600m monthly which should be about N7.2bn in a year, it meant that his administration under-declared its IGR and should tell the Ekiti people where the remaining funds were.

Oguntuase explained that since the Fayose’s administration came on board, the IGR so far generated could be ascertained.

He said, “In 2015, we generated N3.3bn which amounted to an average of N283m monthly. In 2016, it was N2.9bn via an average of N241m monthly.

“In 2017, it increased to N3.8bn via an average of N306m monthly. We have nothing to hide; it is Fayemi that has to tell the people of the state what he did with their money.”

But reacting, the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation accused Fayose and his men of concocting ridiculous and inconsistent figures to claim that Fayemi either put the state in debts or that he stole money.

“Fayose first said Fayemi left N96bn debt. Later, he reduced the figure to N92bn and again to N86bn. Later, he called it N76bn to the point that you could not even say this is what the figure was until the DMO declared that the debt was N18bn.

“One good thing is that Ekiti people have seen through Fayose’s wall of deception and there is no lie and blackmail that can change the minds of Ekiti people from kicking out Fayose and his clique from their lives so that they can start living like other decent Nigerians who are lucky not to be doomed to Fayose’s voodoo economic management where figures appear, disappear and re-appear to confound decent Ekiti people that are living under the yoke of ruthless businessmen that have hit jackpot in Ekiti State.”

Source – punch

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce on Wednesday welcomed Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, to the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party.

Murray-Bruce, who had, on Monday, urged Dino Melaye to resume at the Senate, said, it was nice to have Melaye back in the red chamber.

He went on to welcome him to PDP and promised that he would not experience “trauma or intimidation.”

In his tweet,

Senator Dino Melaye on Wednesday returned to the Senate, and his decision to take an interim seat near the former Senate President, David Mark, led to speculations that he was defecting to the PDP

Drama started when Melaye urged Senate President Bukola Saraki to order the sergeants-at-arms to create a space for him on the side of the minority Peoples Democratic Party, saying that he would sit near the former Senate President, David Mark, though Mark was absent at the proceedings.

And despite the Senate President Bukola Saraki directing him otherwise, Melaye sat at the opposition PDP section throughout the plenary.

The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress has written a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission on its plans to hold congresses and convention across the country.

Investigations by one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday showed that the letter was written to the commission on Monday.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said the letter was sent to the electoral body immediately after the party’s National Executive Committee meeting, which was also attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), and governors elected on the platform of the party.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the party decided to hold the convention before May 16, 2018, because of the Ramadan.

He said, “We have sent a letter to INEC concerning the congresses and the convention we are planning to hold.

“While I will not disclose the proposed dates of the events because we want the commission to acknowledge our letter, but I can confidently tell you that we are determined to hold it before May 16.

“We have checked the Islamic calendar and it showed that the Ramadan might start on that date.

“Due to stress associated with congresses and conventions, we don’t want our members to have difficulties attending or playing their roles in the events.”

Also, the party said only the National Working Committee, led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, that was constitutionally empowered to select members of the convention committee of the party.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, stated this on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, while responding to insinuations that there was power tussle between Odigie-Oyegun and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over the selection of members of the APC convention committee.

Abdullahi said he was not aware of any power tussle between the two leaders, adding that the party’s constitution was clear on who was empowered to constitute the committee.

He noted that the dates for the APC congresses would be fixed before the end of the week.

Abdullahi said, “The National Working Committee will fix the dates for the congresses as quickly as possible because we now have the mandate of NEC to proceed.

“So we are going to announce the dates as soon as possible. They will be announced probably before the end of this week.

“The party has not selected the members of the convention committee. We are still in the midst of that.”

When asked about the tussle between Odigie-Oyegun and Tinubu, the APC spokesman said, “None that I am aware of. You probably need to ask them. Look, the responsibility to constitute the convention committee is squarely placed in the hands of the National Working Committee, led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

“That is the only organ of the party empowered by the constitution to set up the convention committee.

“But the NWC as a matter of courtesy to our leaders will need to get them involved saying what their input or opinion is. But that does not remove the fact that the primary responsibility to constitute the committee lies with the NWC.”

It was not clear on Tuesday whether Odigie-Oyegun would seek re-election at the proposed convention.

However, a former Governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole; a former Governor of Cross River State, Chief Clement Ebri; and a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipriye Sylva, were said to be interested in leading the party.

The party had on Monday at its NEC meeting, granted waivers to all members of the party’s executive from the ward to national level the opportunity to remain in office and contest any position they want in the party.

Before the waiver was granted, the constitution of the party had stipulated that any member of the executive who wanted to contest any election must resign from his position a month before the election.

The Peoples Democratic Party has appealed to foreign nations to prevent the APC and INEC from rigging the future elections.

The party alleged that there were plans by the ruling party and the electoral body to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State.

The National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, made his party’s position known in Abuja on Tuesday when the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Bernhard Schlagheck, paid a courtesy visit to the PDP national leadership.

The PDP national chairman said instead of the APC-led administration to fulfil its 2015 campaign promises, it has plunged Nigeria into “series of crises.”

He alleged that, both the APC and INEC were planning to start the rigging from Ekiti State.

Secondus, who urged the international community to prevail on the incumbent administration to ensure free and fair elections, said, “In July, the Ekiti State governorship election will be the first test for this administration. We know that the APC and INEC have perfected plans to rig the election.

“It is your duty and that of other foreign nations to make sure that both the APC and INEC give us free, fair and credible elections. We are not asking to be favoured. All what we ask for is a level playing field and free atmosphere for the electorate to make their choices.”

Secondus, who noted that lack of free and fair elections remained a major cause of crisis in Africa, said, “When citizens are deprived of their right to vote; that will generate crisis that might be difficult to control.

“Nigeria is an important country on the continent of Africa. The best we can give to our people is election that will be transparent; election that will be credible, election that all, both local and international observers, will welcome.

“We urge the governing APC that the best they can give this country is one man, one vote. We did that during the campaign in 2015, but they are not assuring us of this, which means that there is a great fear in the land that the election is not going to be free and fair despite all the promises made by INEC.”

The PDP chairman, however, said that they were using two major platforms, which he listed as generation next and rescue mission, to project the party ahead of 2019 elections.

While he explained that generation next was to ensure mentoring for youths, Secondus said the rescue mission was aimed at salvaging Nigeria from APC’s misrule.

The ambassador said he and members of his team would send their findings to Germany, calling on stakeholders to ensure free and fair elections.