The full statement titled “TINUBU FOCUSING ON THE ISSUES OF TODAY: TOMORROW IS THE MASTER OF ITSELF,” is as follows:
“We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the National Assembly leadership. The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle. Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.
“Nigeria has barely emerged from President Buhari and the APC’s resounding victory in the last election. The President, with the support of an APC majority in both chambers of our National Assembly, is now preparing to lead the nation forward for the next four years. Instead of covering the President’s exciting Next Level agenda and what it promises in terms of economic and social growth & development, these people want to skip ahead to the next election as if they can cast aside the next four years.
“However, the Nigerian people do not elect politicians to office simply to watch on as they manoeuvre and jostle for position at the next election. The people elect those who they believe will be the best public servants, committed to the national wellbeing. This is why they reelected in President Buhari while rejecting the horde of political jobbers that constitute the PDP.
“The peddlers of these rumours have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country would be much the better.
“This attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth. While the headlines are sensational they are also senseless because they are not grounded in fact. Asiwaju has not run for elected office since 2003. He last held office in 2007. He has never vied to become chairman of the APC nor has he tried to insinuate himself into any major government office.
“If you were asked to name another political figure who has exercised such forbearance, you would be hard pressed to identify another person with a comparable record when it comes to restraint in seeking office. Where others, upon leaving one office, tend to set their eyes immediately upon another, Asiwaju, uniquely in Nigerian politics, has foregone his personal ambitions as his political ideas and policies have flourished in the hands of his allies and mentees.
“This track record does not evince a man obsessed with power and office. While the intrigue-mongers seek to depict Asiwaju as a man hungering for position, his deeds speak of something else. These peddlers of tales do not know the measure of the man nor can they understand what motivates him. Thus, they project their own petty ambitions and designs on to him. The rumours reveal more about the mongers than they say about Asiwaju. They merely reveal what these people would do if they were Asiwaju. But they are not him and thankfully he is not motivated by the same selfish designs that fuel such people. Perhaps because these people have nothing to contribute regarding statecraft or providing actual solutions to actual problems, their minds remain forever mired in political machinations.
“What afflicts them does not affect Asiwaju. Since he last held public office, Asiwaju has, with unprecedented success, dedicated himself toward building a political party that would furnish a progressive alternative to the regressive policies of the PDP. Joining forces with President Buhari and others who shared his progressive ideology, he helped form the APC. Since the inception of the APC, Asiwaju’s focus has been to assist President Buhari develop, refine and implement a progressive agenda that would give every Nigerian a fair chance to prosper and provide for his loved ones.
“As he enters his second term, President Buhari has stated that he will give the economy special priority. His goal is to defeat poverty and joblessness while spurring the type of growth and development that will make Nigeria’s a durable and flourishing economy. These goals are laudable and necessary to move Nigeria forward. However, the obstacles before us are vast and complex.
“Asiwaju’s mind, heart and efforts are focused on supporting the President in achieving their shared vision of a flourishing economy and a prosperous people. He is committed to doing what he can to help President Buhari surmount the challenges in order to achieve the economic reform the nation sorely needs. Given that the imperatives of today are sufficiently daunting in and of themselves, Asiwaju is neither inclined, nor sufficiently naïve, to take his eye off the present in the futile attempt to peer through the thick fog that is the future.
“It is against this backdrop that Asiwaju’s support of the party position regarding the National Assembly leadership must be interpreted. There is no surprise in him supporting the party and the president’s position regarding the National Assembly positions. Nor is it wrong that he do so. As a loyal party member and progressive leader, he would have committed a terrible wrong by navigating against the president and party in these matters.
“That Asiwaju has actively and publicly supported the party and president should not result in such public backbiting. We all know how important these positions are to the fulfillment of the president’s agenda. One need only look to the last four years to see how painfully this lesson has been learned. With the Senate leadership usurped by regressive elitists that chamber constituted a brake on progress and good governance. The Senate leadership, and to a lesser degree the House leadership, stymied APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious, reactionary and self-interested legislation on the nation.
“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk highjacked the budget process these past four years.National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them. Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.
“If we are truly committed to optimal governance, then we also must be equally committed to ensuring that the National Assembly leadership be competent and experienced as well as imbued with a progressive mindset and a desire to work in close cooperation with executive. This is all Asiwaju has hoped to achieve. There are no ulterior motives. Everything he has done is in concert with and in furtherance of the wishes of President Buhari and the party.
“Thus, those who cast aspersions at Asiwaju, in reality are bucking against the stated position of the President. This is a democracy and people have the right to oppose whomever they wish to oppose. However, if these mongers oppose the president let them be of sufficient courage to plainly say so. They should not disparage Asiwaju as an indirect way to contend against the President.
“What everyone who cares about Nigeria should now do is rally around the president to give him all possible support in driving to reality his economic policies and objectives. This is how we progress as a nation.
“In the end, the rumor-mongers should court greater discipline and wisdom. As Asiwaju recently said there is no action a person can take that constitutes a political guarantee as to what may come four years from now.Moreover, that having allies in the national assembly leadership positions will greatly enhance someone’s presidential ambitions is a spurious claim.
“In 2015, Senator Saraki finagled his way into the senate presidency. He planted himself at the apex of legislative power. But his actions as Senate president showed a man devoid of compassion for the average Nigerian. All he cared for was power and position. Soon he will be deprived of both. House Speaker Dogara has fared only slightly better. Occupying these positions is not a guarantee of future success. It is only a guarantee of present duty.
“Politics requires jockeying and maneuvering for influenceto get the right people in the right positions. To be beneficial, politics must be tied to the greater purpose of governance such as with President Buhari’s goal to reform the national economy for the good of all Nigerians. In supporting the party and the president, Asiwaju has shown his commitment to achieving the President’s goals. Nothing more should be read into it.
“Elections are over. Now is the time for governance to take primacy. Those who have taken to intrigue about 2023 reveal themselves to be lacking in essential concern for the people and the substantive issues that confront us. Our challenges are steep and multiple. Resolving them will occupy all of our time and energy. We do not have the luxury to embark on fantasies about the future. Let the future stay where it is for now. In due time, it shall come and shall decide the shape it is to take regardless of the plans we mortals hold for it.
“As for Asiwaju, he lives in the here and now. His words and deeds are geared toward perfecting progressive governance and resolving the substantive issues of today. Nothing more, nothing less. Those so enamoured with gossiping about him would do themselves and the nation well if they would follow his more productive example”.
Ahead Ekiti APC Primary: Seven Gov Aspirants Withdraw, Call for Cancellation
Former Minister of Works, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, and six other governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress have withdrawn from the party’s primary election in Ekiti State.
Others, who withdrew, according to a statement on Thursday, are a former governorship aspirant, Kayode Ojo; Demola Popoola; Femi Bamisile; former House of Representatives member, Bamidele Faparusi; National Assembly member, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; and Afolabi Oluwasola.
They alleged that the primary election committee is made up of loyalists of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, claiming that the governor is attempting to impose former Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, as the Ekiti APC governorship candidate.
This is as some members of the party protested against the process of the governorship primary election scheduled to take place on Thursday (today).
The statement read, “The seven aspirants herein received with rude shock and dismay the purported list of local government election committee and ward election committee made up solely by party members and political appointees that had before now openly endorsed the candidacy of Biodun Oyebanji the immediate past secretary to the state government.
“It is on record that the government of Governor Kayode Fayemi has given its unwavering support to the candidacy of Biodun Oyebanji, it is common knowledge that the Governor and most appointees of the governor are openly rooting for and supporting Biodun Oyebanji’s aspiration to become the flag bearer of our great party.
“What is more disturbing is the fact that a simple glance at the names of the persons appointed as members of both committees would reveal that it is made up of appointees of government who are all supporters of a candidate in the primary election they are appointed to superintend on.
“The seven candidates herein are loyal, faithful and committed party members who are sincerely concerned about the chances of the party in the forthcoming 2022 governorship election where an imposition is allowed to override a democratic primary election for determining its flag bearer.
“We request that both the local government election committee and ward election committee that were constituted on the list already in circulation be disbanded and replaced with names that would reinforce internal democracy and uphold the aims and objectives of the party.”
Senate Passes Bill Empowering FG to Seize Illegally-Acquired Assets
he Senate has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to allow the Federal Government to seize assets acquired by corrupt public officers, terrorism financiers, among others.
The legislation is titled, ‘A bill for an Act to Make Comprehensive Provisions For Seizure, Confiscation, Forfeiture and Management of Properties Reasonably Suspected to Have Been Derived From Unlawful Activities.’
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Suleiman Kwari, in his lead debate, said the proposal passed first reading on March 16, 2021, and was also listed among the versions of bills of interest contained in the recent communication from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the National Assembly.
Buhari had last week appealed to the parliament to pass three anti-corruption bills on proceeds of crime, whistle-blower and witness protection.
The Senate had on Tuesday passed the Witness Protection Bill for second reading.
Kwari said the main objective of the bill was to provide for the establishment of a department in the relevant organisations to manage forfeited assets.
According to him, the department would provide for an effective legal and institutional framework for the recovery and management of the proceeds of crime, as well as civil forfeitures in non-conviction based sentencing.
He said, “This bill further makes provisions for restraint, seizure, confiscation and forfeiture of property derived from property unlawful activities; any instrumentality used or intended to be used in the commission of such unlawful activities; and for non-conviction based procedure for the recovery of proceeds of crime.
“The bill’s other objectives are to strengthen the criminal confiscation procedure by ensuring that the total benefit from a person’s criminal activity is calculated and an equivalent amount, where recoverable, is confiscated on behalf of the Federal Government.
In his submission, Senator Smart Adeyemi, stated that it had become expedient for government to go after anyone who cannot account for how they acquired their properties.
“In supporting this bill, Mr. President, I hold the view that the people who have acquired their properties legally and with good funds have no cause to fear,” he said.
The Deputy Majority Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi said, “I think it is our duty to support such a law, but it must not be done in a manner that at the end of the day, when you have somebody that does not mean well, you have given him a weapon to go after his perceived enemies. I think that is where caution has to come in.”
Senator Stella Oduah, who is under the radar of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, however, kicked against the bill.
Oduah said, “For very brilliant senators such as us, we cannot be seen to pass a bill which we haven’t thought through and that is not in line with best global practice. We shouldn’t play ostrich with this bill. We are going to create a situation where conflict of interest within establishments will continue to exist. Subjectivity in handling issues will be the subject of the day, and innocent Nigerians will be made to be victims of this law, and laws are not supposed to be like that.
“Laws are supposed to stand the test of time. This bill will not stand the test of time because it will be very subjective.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, after the second reading, referred the bill to the Joint Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes; and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
The joint committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary.
Meanwhile, a bill seeking to broaden the functions of the Public Complaints Commission also scaled second reading on Wednesday.
Conduct Fresh Probe into Kyari’s Link to Hushpuppi, PSC Tells IGP Baba
The Police Service Commission has directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to deepen investigations into the connection between the suspended erstwhile head of the Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, and an internet scammer, Abbas Ramon, commonly known as Hushpuppi.
The commission, it was learnt, gave the IG two weeks to turn in the report which would be reviewed by the PSC Standing Committee on Discipline.
The directive to the IG was sequel to the advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
A four-man Special Investigation Panel headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike, had earlier probed Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Kyari had been suspended in July 2021 for alleged involvement in a $1.1 million Internet fraud allegedly perpetrated by Hushpuppi and four others; AbdulRahman Juma (Abdul); Vincent Chibuzo (Kelly); Rukayat Fashola (Morayo); and Bolatito Agbabiaka (Bolamide).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had alleged that Hushpuppi paid $20,600 to two bank accounts allegedly provided by Kyari on January 20, 2020.
Kyari denied wrongdoing.
The PUNCH gathered on Wednesday that the AGF said the facts contained in the police investigation report were not strong enough to convict the DCP.
Malami was said to have informed the commission that the police investigation on Kyari was not water-tight and that more facts were needed to establish the relationship between the ex-IRT commander and Hushpuppi, who is awaiting sentencing after striking a plea bargain deal with the United States authorities.
Based on the AGF’s advice, the commission was said to have asked the IG to carry out a further probe into Kyari’s relationship with Hushpuppi.
A senior official, who confided in our correspondent, stated, “The advice from the AGF is that the case needs further investigation; that the evidence produced on Abba Kyari was not enough to convict him despite the fact that they have established a prima facie case against him. But the facts cannot convict him in the court of law.
“So, the police report was returned and the IG was asked to set up a special panel to look at the case. We have given them just a short period of two weeks to turn in their report.
“The final report is expected to return to the standing committee which will review and send recommendations to the plenary where the final decision on Kyari will be taken.”
Meanwhile, spokesman, US Attorney Office for Central District of California, Thom Mrozek, has said Hushpuppi would be sentenced on February 14.
According to BBC Pidgin, Mrozek, however, did not state the jail terms, which is expected to be between 10 and 18 years.
“He may be subjected to removal from the United States once he completes his prison sentence,” he said.