Former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, SAN, and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, and some leaders, yesterday, dissected the state of Nigeria’s federalism and returned a grim verdict: Federalism is dead in Nigeria. Vanguard reports.
They fingered former President Olusegun Obasanjo for being principally responsible for killing federalism in the country through the 1979 constitution and his opposition to restructuring, resource control and devolution of power to the federating units. They spoke in Lagos at the launching of a revised edition of the book: ‘’Attah On Resource Control’’ edited by Dr Dele Sobowale.
The 156-page book noted that resource control is another synonym for the principle of derivation, which is the bedrock of all federating units all over the world, and if properly applied it will ‘’inexorably lead to devolution of economic, social and political power to the state and local governments making the struggle for power at the centre less attractive, less violent and less divisive.
‘’Indeed, no single amendment to the 1999 Constitution will go far to correct most of the contradictions in the constitution as resource control alone. In one step, we will not only enthrone justice, we will lower the tension associated with the struggle form power at the centre,” they noted. Okunnu However, Alhaji Okunnu said the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were playing a game of cat and mouse on the issue of restructuring and accused former President Obasanjo of being part of Nigeria’s problems rather than a solution which he masquerades himself to be.
Alhaji Okunnu, who chaired the event said: “The issue of restructuring is in the air and both the APC and PDP are playing a game of cat and mouse and nobody is taking the issues seriously. Sadly, constitution amendment has become a thing of past Nigeria because there was no National Conference which I was part that any of the recommendations saw the light of the day.”
Accusing Obasanjo of being part of Nigeria’s many problems, he said: “When I went through the Clifford’s constitution of 1922, the Richard’s Constitution 1946, the Macpherson’s Constitution of 1951, Lyttleton’s constitution of 1954, I discovered that Nigeria ceased to be a federation in 1979 and the federation was killed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He is part of the problem not the solution to the problem. Though he is masquerading himself to be a solution and the saviour of Nigeria today, he is to be held responsible for some of these problems.”
He continued: “Major issues that need to be addressed in our Constitution include Finance, Fiscal federation, Judiciary, Local Government, Resource Control, and Independent Candidacy because what we have today is partly dictatorship. People should be able to stand for election whether they belong to a party or not. In all this, it is necessary we re-shape the country by going back to the 1963 constitution. “The 1979 constitution killed the Federation of Nigeria.
Under the 1963 constitution, we knew that 60 per cent of the revenue from minerals goes to the state of origin, 20 per cent to the Federal Government and 20 per cent to others and that was the exact template followed by General Murtala Muhammed and General Yakubu Gowon. But in the the 1979 constitution, the Federal Government grabbed it all and no kobo went to the state of origin. He, however, advised cultural groups like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and Arewa Consultative Forum to stay off politics and maintain their cultural arena rather than dabbling into politics.
Ogun 2019: Ex-Speaker Dimeji Bankole Emerges ADP Governorship Candidate
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has emerged the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party in Ogun State.
Bankole emerged the party’s candidate on Saturday evening at its primaries in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Announcing Bankole as the candidate, the Returning Officer for the primaries, Chief Chamberlain Amadi, said he polled 157,466 votes to clinch the ticket in an election held across the 236 wards in the state.
Amadi commended members of the party for conducting themselves peacefully during the elections.
He urged them to work assiduously well in ensuring that candidates of the party for all elective posts emerged victorious in the forthcoming elections.
He said: “I am glad today to announce that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has won the governorship primary of our party in Ogun state after polling 157,466 votes.
“This election was conducted across the 236 wards scattered across the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs in the state.
“We have the total number of members accredited across the state to be a total of 157,600 and the election free and fair.
“By the power conferred on me as the Returning Officer in Ogun State, I hereby declare Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole as the winner of this primary election and flagbearer of the party during the 2019 governorship election.”
2019: Gbenga Daniel Tipped As Atiku’s Running Mate As PDP Reportedly Zones VP Slot To South-West
The search for a running mate for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, began immediately after the conclusion of the primaries in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday.
According to Eagle Online, Atiku Abubakar, a number of the aspirants for the presidential tickets, some governors and chieftains of the party, including the Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, met immediately after the primaries to iron out the issues of zoning of positions the party will adopt ahead of the 2019 elections.
According to informed sources, the meeting agreed that the vice presidential slot should be zoned to the South West in order to counter the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which has President Muhammadu Buhari for the North and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from the South West.
According to sources at the meeting, the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was zoned to the South East.
The Eagle Online was told that one of those mentioned for consideration at the meeting for the vice presidential slot was Daniel.
He was said to have been considered fit for the position because like Osinbajo, he is from Ogun State and has huge network across the country, especially having been a crucial part of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015 and campaigned across the country for the national chairmanship seat of the PDP, which was eventually won by Prince Uche Secondus.
Sources said those at the meeting also said Daniel performed creditably as governor and has succeeded in rallying the party in his home state for a formidable challenge of the APC in the general election.
One of those said to be in pole position for the SGF slot from the South East is a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.
Obi rose to national prominence as governor based on his performance, especially the prudent management of the state’s resources, and has sustained this outside political office with his contributions to education and knowledge of economic issues.
Some party leaders and members are, however, said to be rooting for the emergence of a South-Easterner as the vice presidential running mate.
They also canvassed the position at the meeting, which was adjourned to a later date, which will be soon, for the presidential campaign to commence.
In a related development, Chief Chinedu Eya, a chieftain of the PDP in Enugu State, on Sunday congratulated Abubakar following his emergence as the presidential candidate and called on him to choose the country’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala or Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, representing Bayelsa North Senatorial District as his running mate, to give technical coloration to his aspiration.
Eya, a former Enugu North Senatorial District aspirant on the platform of PDP, who spoke after a keenly contested primary election of the PDP at the national convention of the party held at the Adokiye Amasiemeka stadium, Igwuruta-Ali, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, congratulated the party’s delegates for their bold decision during the exercise.
Eya noted that his choice Murray-Bruce and Okonjo-Iweala was to allow front-line technocrats in the country the opportunity to chart a new course for the Nation’s bastardized economy under the APC in one term.
In a statement by his media aide, Gwiyi Solomon, the PDP chieftain urged the other presidential aspirants who participated in the primary election to happily accept the outcome of the contest and rally round the chosen candidate of the party as the tasks ahead of the general election will be daunting.
Eya said: “The wise thing to do at the moment is for Atiku to choose Dr. Okonjo Iweala or Senator Ben Murray-Bruce to give technical colouration to his aspiration.”
“While I congratulate our delegates for a good job, I also want to beg other contestants in the exercise to hug Atiku and become ‘Atikulated’ as the tasks ahead of the coming general election will no doubt, appear very daunting.”
Ajimobi Clinches Oyo South Senatorial Ticket
The Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has clinched the All Progressives Congress ticket for Oyo South Senatorial District in the primary election conducted by the Chief Ademola Seriki-led electoral panel.
Ajimobi defeated Dr. Fola Akinosun by 2,659 to 168 votes to seek a return to the Red Chamber, where he represented the state between 2003 and 2007 on the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy.
Announcing the result in the early hours of Wednesday, Seriki said the exercise, which started around 6:30pm on Tuesday, was delayed due to the late arrival of voting materials from the national headquarters of the party in Abuja.
The Oyo South Senatorial District spans nine local government areas, which are Ibarapa North, Ibarapa East, Ibarapa Central, Ido, Ibadan North, Ibadan South-East, Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North-East and Ibadan North-West.
The Senator currently representing the district, Soji Akanbi, did not take part in the exercise for undisclosed reasons.
Addressing journalists after being declared the winner, the governor applauded the electoral committee for what he called the hitch-free and smooth conduct of the exercise, despite the earlier delay.
Ajimobi said: “I look forward to going back to the Red Chamber to contribute my quota to the national debate and the progress of the nation.
“I wish to bring to fore my parliamentary experience to grow a Nigeria that the next generation will be proud of.
“The process has just started today (yesterday) with my emergence as the candidate of our great party.
“The people of Oyo South Senatorial district should expect greater performance from me at the Senate, which will even surpass my unprecedented achievements as governor by the grace of God.
“As you have all witnessed, the election was free, fair and transparent.
“I was even happy that my younger brother, Dr. Fola Akinosun, could score as high as 168 votes.
“I think he tried.
“And you can see that it was transparent and I am happy about it.”
Akinosun, who was present at the beginning of the exercise, left the venue for undisclosed reasons before the final collation of the results from the nine LGs.
He had earlier promised to abide by the results of the primary on the condition that it was free and fair, adding that he decided to throw his hat into the ring as a free citizen and qualified member of the APC, irrespective of the stature of his co-contestants.
Akinosun added: “This election is not about life.
“It is about representation and should not be by force.
“I promise to accept the outcome of the polls and that is if the due diligence is done.
“We are in the same party and we shall not allow an internal election to create a crisis in our party.”
Also addressing delegates after announcing the results, Seriki described the exercise as another successful primary that the committee had conducted, having also taken charge of the governorship primary that produced Chief Adebayo Adelabu on Sunday.
He said: “You heard what happened in some states that conducted the same exercise.
“Some were not as successful as Oyo State and I give the credit to the aspirants and the entire members of this great party for making this exercise worthwhile.
“I salute the calmness and maturity of the aspirants that have so far participated in the primaries, from Sunday’s governorship primary and today’s Senate primary.
“We look forward to further cooperation of all stakeholders in the remaining primaries.”
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