Friday, 29 November 2013

New PDP/APC merger: ‘Tambuwal remains Speaker, for now’ •PDP Reps to meet Jonathan •Tukur is a polio virus to Nigeria’s democracy - Lamido

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Honourable Victor Ogene, on Thursday, disclosed that the new alliance between the aggrieved five governors of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not affect the position of the Speaker of the House, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal for now.
This is coming just as members of the PDP in the House are reportedly planning to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan over the crisis rocking the party and the merger of the five governors on the platform of the party with the APC.
Honourable Ogene, who spoke on the position of the speaker while responding to questions from newsmen in Abuja, said that, unless APC garnered up to 181 members, there will be no basis to discuss any change in the leadership of the House.
According to him,“there is no cause for alarm. The leadership of the House is intact and until a particular political party has up to 181 members before you start talking of changing leadership.
He explained that section 68 (1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) was clear on the defection of lawmakers as there is nothing like group or mass defection.

The lawmaker, who also spoke on the controversy trailing the presentation of the 2014 budget estimates by President Goodluck Jonathan,  said that the House would not be blackmailed by the insistence of the president that until both chambers reconciled their positions on oil benchmark before he would present the appropriation bill.
According to him, “we are not blackmailed. We’re taking things in our stride in the course of our national work. The question should be posed to the executive as to why the budget is being delayed and not us.”
He further said that, “we are waiting for the president to lay his budget estimate. We had always called for the MTEF and the budget proposal to be presented on time. MTEF is before us now; and the constitution mandates us to work on it.”
However, Nigerian Tribune learnt that members of the PDP in the House met at hearing room 0.28 at the National Assembly to discuss on the way forward in view of the crisis rocking the party.

Amaechi reels out FG’s/PDP’s sins against Rivers State
The Rivers State governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has outlined the sins of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-controlled Federal Government against Rivers state, which informed his choice to move to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor, who reeled out a number of Federal Government’s unfair treatment of the state, also noted that the state, despite its immense contribution to the economic well-being of the country, had been marginalised and that her attempts at seeking redress had continued to be suppressed.
According to Amaechi, the Federal Government, as run by the PDP, had among other things, embarked on the gradual ceding of the state’s oil wells to neighbouring states, just as it had completely refused to invest in the social development of the state.
“Unfortunately, recent events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective interest as people of the South-South and indeed as Rivers people. At various times, as the one to whom you gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalisation of our state and our people despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP.
“While the political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.
A few instances may suffice:
“Our demand that the Federal Government return oil wells belonging to Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us, only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned. In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal Government continues to pay neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenues meant for Rivers State in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“A second instance is the total absence of federal presence in Rivers State. The ‘national good governance tour’ provided a good opportunity for the Federal Government to showcase its presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, was evident that there was not much to show for in a state that is the cash cow of the federation. The East West road remains abandoned, work has been deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it have long been completed and commissioned..
“The Federal Government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State. The Minister of Petroleum has refused to allow the commencement of train seven of the NLNG that would have provided tens of thousands of jobs insisting that investors should go and invest in the Brass NLNG project rather than in the train seven project.
 “When boards and other appointments are considered at the federal level, Rivers State is treated with levity. No Rivers person was found worthy of becoming a university council chairman.
“Internal party democracy has been sacrificed on the altar of personal greed and injustice as the Rivers State chapter of the PDP is being run by persons who neither collected forms nor indicated interest in running for office while the legitimate holders of the office are left in the cold. Our several representations and pleas on this matter to the party leadership at the highest levels have gone unheeded and unanswered. We are left in a quandary and have been denied the appropriate support to lead our party in line with acceptable democratic norms.
Tukur is a polio virus to Nigeria’s democracy - Sule Lamido
Jigawa State governor and ex-member of G7 political group, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has described the national chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as “polio virus to Nigerian democracy.”
The governor said this on Thursday, in his office, while receiving Nigerian former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who paid him a courtesy call, during his official visit to the state.
Lamido explained that Tukur’s style of leadership in the PDP was a threat to the country’s democracy.
He added that the country’s democratic system had been “cannibalised by myopic, undemocratic people like Tukur and his supporters.
“It is quite unfortunate  that this is happening now 12 years after you, Abubakar Abdulsalami due to your patrotism and selfless commitment to the nation, conquered all the temptations around you.”
The governor also said that PDP’s  house was in “shambles as a result of the focusless leadership style of Tukur, who has no idea of how to move the party forward,” adding that  his colleagues who recently moved to APC did so out of frustration.
“Most of them had worked for the advancement of the PDP in their states but instead of the party to show appreciation, it ended up sending people parking unceremoniously,” he added.

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