Delta PDP And The Brewing Crisis 6within [LEADERSHIP]

What appears to be a major crack in the ranks of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State emerged last week as the party’s state working committee issued a suspension letter to the immediate past deputy speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Friday Osanebi and a warning letter to another serving lawmaker.

While the recent rumpus revolves around the battle for party control ahead of the 2023 governorship polls,  it was triggered by the recent PDP congresses held in the state.

The intensity of the crisis comes into view against the backdrop that Osanebi is an ally of sitting senator, Peter Nwaoboshi, while the state governor,  Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, naturally heads the party in the state.

However, the publicity secretary of PDP in the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, in a statement on behalf of the chairman, Barr. Kingsley Esiso and the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party, announced the suspension of Osanebi who represents Ndokwa-East State Constituency for an initial period of one month with immediate effect.

Osuoza in the statement, said the action became necessary as a result of reported allegations against Osanebi which are “potentially inimical to the peace and harmony of the party and tantamount to causing discord and disaffection among loyal party members.”

Besides Osanebi, the party also expressed deep displeasure and serious concern over the attitude of a member representing Sapele Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Felix Anirah, especially on his alleged use of provocative language and inciting vituperations in recent times on party matters.

The party maintained that Anirah was wrong in casting aspersion on the leadership of the party with regards to the forthcoming state congress of the party.

It threatened to suspend Anirah over what it described as the lawmaker’s provocative language and inciting vituperations against party members.

Anirah led a PDP bloc of chieftains in Sapele against the second term bid of the party’s state chairman, Kingsley Esiso. They had backed a former Sapele council chairman, Godwin Atose for the seat.

The party threatened to drag him before a disciplinary committee noting that the utterances of the lawmaker were complete disregard of the established structures and laid down appropriate channels for aggrieved and respectable members of the party in seeking clarification or redress on issues.

In keeping with the move to ensure discipline however, the PDP chairman while inaugurating the panel charged it to look into the issues arising from the Osanebi’s suspension, adding that a lot of events in the past by some leaders of the party have put the party in bad light.

He said “as a state working committee we decided to at all times apply the persuasive instrument in handling issues of the party relating to the entire working committee and members of the party and some of our members have decided to take our approach for granted.

“Because we believe that the instrument of persuasion is very important in our daily activities that’s why at every given time we have decided not to use the stick on members but have applied persuasion which does not give members the privilege to abuse the opportunity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ogani Isu Ndokwa, a social cultural organisation of the Ndokwa, fumed over the suspension of the immediate-past deputy speaker, accentuating the intrigues in the party ahead of 2023.

Publicity secretary of the Ogani Isu Ndokwa, Dr. Ossai Sylvanus Annantram, said “The attention of the leadership of Ogani Isu Ndokwa has been drawn to the news making the rounds  on social media that our visionary lawmaker, Hon. Friday Osanebi has been suspended from PDP for one month while a disciplinary committee has been put in place to investigate the allegations against him.

Edo/Ondo: Right to life or  Right to vote ? [LEADERSHIP]

The point cannot be overstated: it was  a mark of statesmanship for  President Muhammadu  Buhari  to have steered the ruling party from a potential mutually destructive brinkmanship and  imminent “ politicide” defined as additive acrimony and deafening collapse of compromise, comradeship and cooperation. Which again, calls for an urgent quality control of the country’s democratic process.  Section 23 of  Chapter 11 of the 1999 constitution dealing with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy recommends “national ethics of  Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social, Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-reliance and Patriotism”.

There should be a strategic and systematic inculcation  of  of these values within the ranks of the political class in particular! Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni as the new caretaker Chairman  and the designated Caretaker National Secretary  Senator John Akpanudoedehe are happily tasked to be up and doing on arrival. Any crisis within a ruling party must be of grave concern because of  it’s adverse implications for good governance.

A  ruling party in crisis is a nation in “governance hemorrhage”. I  recall that the internal crisis which rocked the ruling PDP  created an atmosphere for deepening security challenge, the worst expression being the kidnapping of chibok girls in 2014 by Boko Haram militants, worsened corrupt practices and reversal of economic growth of earlier years from which  Nigeria had not yet recovered.

President Buhari has not just saved his party from  self destruct ( his words! ) but has commendably inadvertently refocused the attention of all Nigerians to the current challenges of governance the worst manifestation being the huge  spikes in COVID:19 infection and fatality rates. With the crisis tamed, party members and other parties are enjoined to support the ongoing commendable interventions of Presidential Task force(PTF)on COVID:19, constructively interrogate the newly announced complementary Economic Sustainability agenda among other recovery measures. Notwithstanding the ongoing political discordant voices within the  ruling parties at national and states levels, Nigeria remains the largest democracy destination in Sub-Sahara Africa:  80+ million registered voters, 18 political parties (after the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had deregistered 74 political parties) thousands of political actors, legislators and governors.

However it’s  regrettable that political entrepreneurs and insular political warriors  had since replaced genuine patriotic farsighted politicians of the first and second democratic republic. Most  today’s politicians stood for no principles making them vulnerable to everything dysfunctional, inclusive of self destruction. It’s time , for  “quality democratic process” in which  values and  ethics in terms of ideology must return to politics and politics must welcome ethics and ideology. Larry Diamond (1988) had documented how bipolar intra Party battle, with serial abuse of court process by actors within the ruling Western region’s Action Group (AG) between 1962 and 1963 set the stage for the failure of the First Republic, military adventurism and eventual tragic civil war. More than 50 years after, there is still abysmal insufficiency of tolerance, blind ambition without vision. Of course there is an absence of the much needed compromises, sobriety and patience.

COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Highest In June [THE NATION]

There is no end in sight yet for COVID-19 as cases have risen since the lockdown was eased, figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has shown.

According to the agency, Nigeria recorded 60.5 per cent of its total confirmed COVID-19 cases in June.

The Nation investigation showed that the country recorded its highest number of deaths – 51.5 per cent, in the same month.

The total number of cases since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic (February 29 till May 31) is 10,162. There were 15,532 cases in June alone.

Also, the total number of deaths from COVID-19 from the beginning of the outbreak on February 27 with the Italian index case, to date is 590. June alone recorded 303.

However, the data shows that the country had its highest test in June – 72,577 (52.4 per cent).

President Buhari, on March 29, declared a two-week lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states.

On April 12, the President announced the extension of the lockdown by two weeks.

However, on April 27, President Buhari approved a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown with effect from May 4.

Row Grows Over Plan To Hire 774,000 For Public Works [THE NATION]

Discordant signals were sent from different quarters on Wednesday as the Executive-Legislature feud over the recruitment of 774,000 youths escalated.

Senators advised President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the programme or go to court if uncomfortable with the position of the Legislature.

President Buhari approved a Special Public Works Programme (SWP), which will generate the recruitment of 1,000 youths in each of the 774 local government areas to do public works for three months.

The programme is to run between October and December.

Each of the beneficiaries is to earn N20,000 monthly.  Fifty two billion naira was allocated to the programme in the 2020 budget.

The programme, to be driven by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), is to be supervised by Minister of State for Niger Delta, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN).

Appearing before the joint committee on Labour and Employment of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Keyamo and the members engaged in a shouting match.

The meeting, which was called to enable Keyamo brief the lawmakers on steps being taken to engage the youth, ended abruptly. Keyamo refused to meet the lawmakers in camera after he had been criticised in the opening remark. Following the altercation, the minister was asked to leave the venue.

The minister accused the lawmakers of trying “to direct me as to what to do from state to state.”

The lawmakers sought to know from him how a  20-member committee charged with the  selection of beneficiaries  was selected.

Suspend Plan To Recruit 774,000 Nigerians, NASS Tells Buhari [THE NATION]

The Senate and the House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the implementation of the plan to recruit 774,000 Nigerians for Special Public Works across the country.

The position of both chambers of the National Assembly followed a sharp disagreement between the National Assembly Joint Committee on Labour, Employee and Productivity and the Minister for State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo SAN over the modalities for appointing the 20-member Selection Committee for the programme.

Keyamo who had appeared at an interactive session organized by the joint committee opposed a resolution of the Joint Committee to resolve into a closed door session.

The Minister said he rejected the lawmakers decision to quiz him behind closed doors because of the need to ensure transparency and accountability.

However, the Senate had on Wednesday held an executive session apparently to deliberate on the fiasco between the Minister and the lawmakers.

The Nation learnt that during the closed session which lasted for about two hours, the lawmakers expressed shock at the behavour of Keyamo and his insurance that the National Assembly cannot direct him on what to do concerning the recruitment.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru and his House of Representatives counterpart, Hon. Benjamin Kalu in a statement insisted that the implementation of the programme must be put on hold until its modalities are explained to the National Assembly.

Petrol Price Hits N143.8, Stakeholders Push For Total Deregulation [PUNCH]

The pump price band for Premium Motor Spirit has been increased from N121.5 – N123.5/litre to N140.8 – N143.8/litre for the month of July 2020.

However, different stakeholders, including petroleum products marketers and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said total deregulation rather than price control could drive the price below the current price.

It was gathered on Wednesday that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency advised marketers to sell the commodity within the price band of N140.8 to N143.8/litre.

In June, the PPPRA had advised marketers to sell within the price band of N121.5 to N123.5/litre.

But in a letter to all petroleum marketers dated July 1, 2020, with reference A.4/9/017/C.2/IV/705, and obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, the agency advised all dealers to operate within the new price range this month.

The letter, which was signed by the Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Abdulkadir Saidu, read in part, “After a review of the prevailing market fundamentals in the month of June and considering marketers’ realistic operating costs, as much as practicable, we wish to advise a new PMS pump price band of N140.80-N143.80 per litre for the month of July 2020.”

The agency urged marketers to note that the ex-depot price for petrol collection includes the statutory charges of bridging fund, marine transport average, national transport allowance and the administrative charge.

Sources at the Abuja headquarters of the agency said the rise in petrol price for July was primarily due to the increase in global crude oil prices, as PMS had been deregulated.

Industry analysts, however, added that the recent lifting of the ban on inter-state travels had increased the demand for petrol.

It was also gathered that the increased demand had put a strain on the PMS stock across the country at the moment, as bulk of the commodity’s imports were done by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

On Sunday, Saidu insisted that it would continue to issue price bands for petrol despite opposition by oil marketers regarding the move.

He also declared that a regulation for PMS had been established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Saidu disclosed this while trying to address questions about the PMS pricing regime, which commenced on March 19, 2020.

Since the introduction of the regime, marketers had expressed concerns several times over the issuing of monthly guiding prices for deregulated petroleum products.

The National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, told our correspondent that marketers were not comfortable with the price announcements without involving stakeholders.

He wondered why the PPPRA would not ask for the inputs of marketers before announcing new prices.

Gillis-Harry stressed that the sector had to be fully deregulated in order to allow marketers sell at prices that might eventually be lesser than what was captured in the price band.

Unlike in the past when marketers asked for days to adjust for downward review of prices, it was observed that several filling stations across the country immediately adjusted their pumps to reflect the new pricing.

At the Mobil and Total filling stations in Berger, the pump prices were adjusted to N143.5/litre.

Also other stations in Abuja adjusted their pumps to N143/litre when one of our correspondents visited some of the outlets on Wednesday night.

Following the sharp drop in global crude oil prices, the pump price of petrol, which is still being regulated by the government, was reduced to N125 per litre from N145 per litre on March 18, 2020.

Then, Brent crude, the international oil benchmark against which Nigeria’s crude is priced, was trading at a 17-year low of $24.89 per barrel.

The PPPRA further announced on March 31 a price band of N123.50-N125 per litre of petrol. The agency gave a new band of N121.50-N123.50 on May 31, with oil price trading at $30.38 per barrel.

The price of Brent crude stood at $42.01 per barrel as of 8:30pm Nigerian time on Wednesday.

Aside from the price of crude oil, another major factor affecting the landing cost of petrol imported into the country is the foreign exchange rate.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had on March 20 adjusted the official exchange rate to N360/$1 from N307/$1, a development many analysts described as naira devaluation.

The acting Director General, MAN, Ambrose Oruche, said the increase in price would lead to inflation and the purchasing power of Nigerians would further be eroded.

He, however, questioned the law that was guiding the PPPRA in the deregulation of the oil and gas sector as he Petroleum Industry Bill had not been signed.

Oruche said, “If we are fully deregulated, it is a good sign for our economy because paying this subsidy was a wastage because the money that would have been used for other infrastructural development was being used to subsidise PMS.

“Is the PPPRA managing the deregulation? What law is the PPPRA basing the deregulation of the PMS when the PIB has not been signed? Be that as it may, it will hike inflation rate and what that will mean is that the income of the citizens will be eroded.

“That will be compensated if we had done full deregulation because the money we would have used to subsidise petroleum would have been invested in something that will be useful for the citizens.”

An economist with the Lagos Business School, Dr Bondo Adi, explained that the decision was an indication of the government’s intention to stop paying subsidy.

Adi said this would reduce the wastage of the government revenue on subsidy payments that had bedeviled the sector over the years

The Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the country was already operating a deregulated pricing regime in the petroleum downstream sector.

He said the decision of increase pump price was based on changes in the price of crude oil in the international market and changes in exchange rate.

Ex-Convict Rapes Housewives, Maids To Spite Husbands, Bosses In Lagos [PUNCH]

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has announced the arrest of an ex-convict, Adeniyi Ajayi, for allegedly raping no fewer than eight women during robbery operations in different parts of the state.

Speaking at a press briefing at the command’s headquarters in Ikeja on Wednesday, Odumosu said Ajayi broke into the premises of a company, robbed workers of their valuables and sexually harassed the female employees in the process.

He explained that Ajayi was tracked down to the Ijora Badia area of the state and arrested, adding that during investigation, more than eight victims accused the 27-year-old of raping them during separate robbery operations.

Odumosu stated, “On June 16, 2020, around 1.55pm, some female and male members of staff of a particular company reported at the Sabo Police Station that one Adeniyi Ajayi, alias Ogologo, 27, forcefully gained entry into the company. The suspect claimed to be in company with other members of his gang outside the premises. He tied the hands and legs of the staff members and dispossessed them of four phones, two laptops and ATM cards.

“He sexually harassed the female workers. The suspect was arrested in a hotel at Ijora Badia by SARS operatives. The stolen phones were recovered from him. It was revealed that the suspect operated alone. He was recently released from prison custody. He equally confessed to a series of robberies and rape he single-handedly committed around Sabo and its environs.

“In the cause of investigation, more than eight female victims affirmed that the suspect robbed and raped them, even in the presence of their husbands and other family members. The suspect specialises in dispossessing victims of their phones, laptops and gold jewellery, and raping female victims. He will be charged.”

Ajayi told PUNCH Metro, “I prefer to be killed than go to prison. I have been imprisoned before, but when I came out, I had no job and that was why I went back to robbing people. I have only raped three victims, and it was when their husbands and bosses refused to cooperate with me that I raped their wives and maids in their presence.”

Odumosu also paraded nine suspected cultists for allegedly killing a rival in footage that went viral on the social media recently.

The CP said the video showed the suspects interrogating the victim in the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu before he was killed, adding that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had directed that the cultists must be arrested for prosecution.

Odumosu stated, “SARS operatives arrested one of the suspects, Francis Diamond, aka Iron man, who confessed to being among the suspects and that he was the one, who recorded the video showing the killing of the young man. Eight other members of the gang were arrested. They are: Olaitan Apanpa, 31; Chidi Michael, 25; Eno Sunday, 25; Saheed Gbadebo, 23; Adepeju Azeez, 38; Samuel Ilesanmi; Omotosho Quadri, 25; and Moses Ogungbe, 28.

Man Tests Positive, Wife Slums, Dies [PUNCH]

A woman has slumped and died in Ughell, Delta State, on hearing that her husband tested positive for coronavirus.

The tragedy, which happened at Igho Salami Street, Uloho Avenue in Ugheli, has since thrown the entire neighborhood into mourning.

Our correspondent gathered that the deceased, Mrs Oregbe, was at home on Monday when the news of her husband’s sample result came out that he had tested positive to COVID-19.

Mrs. Oregbe, sources said, had been managing high blood pressure prior to the incident.

It was learnt that as soon as she was informed that her husband tested positive, she slumped and died before they could rush her to the hospital.

“I’m sure she has been managing high blood pressure before now,” a source claimed.

When journalists visited the home of the Oregbes in Ugheli on Wednesday, mourners were seen discussing the sad incident in hushed tones.

When contacted, the spokesman for Delta State Police Command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, remarked that the incident had not been reported to the Command.

Ambassadorial Nominees: N’East, S’West Get Lion’s Share [SUN]

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, forwarded 41 names of non-career ambassadorial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.

The president had earlier forwarded names of career ambassadorial nominees where every state was captured to the Senate in May. However, in the non-career list sent to the Senate, the South East and South South got the least slots, while North West, North East, North Central and South West got the lion’s share.

While Kano, Kwara and Oyo got three slots each and Adamawa, Benue and Borno two slots each, Abia, Niger, Ekiti and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) got none.

In the letter read by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, no explanation was offered by President Buhari why three states and FCT were excluded from the list.

No state in the South South and South East got more than one slot unlike the other four geopolitical zones, with the South East getting four nominees in all.

Some of the nominees and their states are  Umar Sulieman, Adamawa; L. S Mandama, Adamawa; Oboro Akpabio, Akwa Ibom; Elejah Onyeagba, Anambra;  Abubakar Siyi, Bauchi; Philip Ikurusi, Bayelsa; Tarzoor Terhemen, Benue; Paul Adikwu, Benue; Al-Bishir Al-Hussain, Borno; Bwala Bukar, Borno; Monique Ekpong, Cross River; Oma Djebah, Delta; Ominyi Eze, Ebonyi; Yamah Musa, Edo; and C. O Ugwu, Enugu.

Hajara Salim, Gombe; Obiezu Chinyerem, Imo; Ali Magashi, Jigawa; M. A Markarfi, Kaduna; Hamisu Takalmawa, Kano; Jazuli Gadalanci, Kano; Amina Kurawa, Kano; Yahaya Lawal, Katsina; Dare Sunday Awoniyi, Kogi; Ibrahim Laaro, Kwara Abioye Bello, Kwara; Zara Umar, Kwara; Ademola Seriki, Lagos; Henry Omaku, Nasarawa; Sarafa Isola, Ogun; Nimi Akinkube, Ondo; Adejaba Bello, Osun; Adeshina Alege, Oyo; Debo Adeshina, Oyo; Folakemi Akinyele, Oyo; and Shehu Yibaikwal, Plateau. Others are Maureen Tamuno, Rivers; Faruk Yabo, Sokoto; Adamu Hassan, Taraba; Yusuf Mohammed, Yobe; and Abubakar Moriki, Zamfara.

Domestic Flights Resume July 8 –FG [SUN]

Domestic flight would resume on June 8, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced yesterday.

Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce of COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, announced on Monday that the Federal Government had approved that domestic flights resume in the country on a safe date.

Writing on his tweeter handle, Sirika said operations would resume at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja on July 8 with other airports to follow.

“I am glad to announce that Abuja & Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on the 8th of July, 2020. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri & Maiduguri to resume on the 11th. Other airports on the 15th. The date for international to be announced in due course. Bear with us,” he wrote.

Flights had been suspended in the country as part of movement restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The PTF had initially set June 21 as a tentative date for flight resumption and had mandated aviation agencies and operators to work on resumption protocols in line with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

On June 18, Musa Nuhu, director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), announced that the June 21 date was no longer feasible as checks still had to be carried out on the adjustments made by stakeholders.

In preparation for flight resumption, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) published guidelines for passengers including one that states that passengers have to be at the airport three hours before take-off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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