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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.

POLITICS

Sack Tambuwal From Office, APC Begs Supreme Court

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The All Progressive Congress (APC) has asked the Supreme Court to sack Governor Waziri Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on the ground of irregularities in the primary election that produced him as the party’s candidate in 2014.

The party, in a change of gear, directed its counsel Abduganiyu Arobo to concede to the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru to get judgment entered in favour of the appellant.

To pave way for the actualization of its new position, the APC de-briefed its lead counsel Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who stood for the party at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal where he got favourable judgments for the party.

At yesterday’s hearing, a new counsel, Abdulganiyu Arobo announced his appearance for APC shortly after the senior lawyer made the same appearance.

Okutepa in response admitted receiving a letter but insisted that his legal fee payment issue has to be resolved before he will step aside.

Justice Dattijo who demanded a copy of the letter drew the attention of the senior counsel to a portion of the letter that he was engaged for the party by governor Tambuwal and that he should approach Tambuwal for his legal fees paid.

At this point, Okutepa announced his withdrawal from the appeal.

He, however, told the apex court that he ran into stormy waters with the party when he declined to agree to reverse the positions canvassed by APC at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal.

He said he declined to agree because in law, parties must be consistent with their position and that APC was no longer ready to be consistent with its earlier position in two previous courts.

Okutepa further said that the new position of APC came about because of the defection of Governor Tambuwal from the party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adding that since he is not a politician but a minister in the temple of justice, he could not join them in the new position.

However, the appeal could not be heard as the court informed parties to wait till January 25, 2019, for its decision in the preliminary objection against hearing of the suit filed by Tambuwal.

Justice Dattijo subsequently fixed March 5, 2019, for the hearing of the appeal.

Dahiru also of APC had challenged the nomination of Tambuwal on the ground that the list of delegates who ought to vote at the 2014 primary election of the party was fraudulently swapped to favour governor Tambuwal.

He urged the court to nullify the primary election or in the alternative, declare him as the rightful candidate of the party for the 2015 governorship election.

The appellant lost at the high court and court of appeal prompting him to approach the Supreme Court for a final decision.

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PDP To Kashamu: You Are A Clown, You’re On A Journey To Nowhere

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The Peoples Democratic Party has said it has only but pity for the Independent National Electoral Commission/court-recognised governorship candidate for Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu Buruji.

The party in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondian, spoke against the backdrop of the presentation of governorship flag to Kashamu and his running mate, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday.

The party said Kashamu has finally turned himself into a clown in his desperate bid to destabilize the PDP as part of his pact with the Buhari Presidency.

It said this followed the threat of imminent extradition of Kashamu from Nigeria over alleged international fraud.

The party described as the height of ridicule, Kashamu’s purported presentation of himself as Ogun State governorship candidate of the PDP, for which he had to organize his own sham campaign rally, rented an audience and presented a fake PDP flag to himself, after the authentic flag had been handed to the PDP candidate, Ladi Adebutu, by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

The statement added: “Senator Buruji, in his forced hallucination, has failed to realize that Nigerians, particularly the voters in Ogun State, have seen through his antics; they know that he is not the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state; they know that he has a pact with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destabilize the PDP; they also know that he is a clown on a journey to no where.

“Nigerians are aware that Senator Buruji never purchased PDP nomination form; never participated in our governorship primary or in any process related to nomination of governorship candidate of our party or any position whatsoever.

“Those using Senator Buruji as their agent have turned him into object of public ridicule, particularly in his charade of organizing a rally to hand a fake flag to himself.

“The PDP therefore urges the people of Ogun state to completely disregard Senator Buruji as a clown and continue in their support for the PDP governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, who is already coasting to victory.”

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POLITICS

Atiku, Obi, Secondus, Saraki, Dogara; Families & Associates Listed For Arrest — PDP

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National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, on Monday alleged that the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have listed critical players in opposition including himself, the PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar, his Vice Peter Obi, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, other top party leaders and their associates for arrest on frame up crimes.

The PDP National Chairman came hard on the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, saying that he has made himself a willing tool to carry out the APC script on how to cage and crush PDP.

“The country is in a keg of a gunpowder at the moment as a result of your hatchet job for the ruling government and I warn you to get away from this illegitimate job of using instruments of state to harass and intimidate opponents,” Prince Secondus said in a statement through his Media Office signed by his Media Adviser Ike Abonyi.

He said that available intelligence shows that former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio are presiding over clandestine meetings and developing strategies for the APC which is aimed at freezing critical leaders of the opposition.

He said that aside arrest and detention of opposition leaders, their family members and business associates have been lined up for intimidation and harassment including freezing their business interests and their bank accounts.

Secondus described as an afterthought fabrication, the EFCC denial that the son of the PDP Presidential Candidate was not the target in the raid of an apartment housing him in Abuja insisting that the game plan privy to the party was clear on who was the ultimate target.

Prince Secondus reminded Nigerians that these acts of impunity is in continuation of the embarrassment they caused our Presidential candidate and former Vice President of this country on Novemeber 11, 2019 when he was thoroughly searched at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by operatives of the state on his return from overseas on November 11, 2018.

“After that embarrassment and harassment which was aimed at intimidating the candidate and nothing incriminating was found on him, no apology was extended to him as a former number two citizen.

“They followed it up with the freezing of the Bank account of our Vice Presidential Candidate as well as that of his friends and family members as part of a large scheme to keep the party distracted from its focus of regaining power in 2019.”

According to the script, “PDP will be brought to their knees so that by January they would be finally grounded with their leaders framed up and put behind bars,” Secondus said.

He said that in the script, APC and the Federal Government believe that the party can only bark and not bite as observed in the case of Osun and Ekiti states while indeed they are set and determined for the worse rather than lose the election.

Prince Secondus warned that “while PDP believes and cherishes all ingredients of democracy including the rule of law, it cannot guarantee any situation that aims at cowing the opposition and thwart the will of the Nigeria people.”

He chided “Magu and other characters of his type who are willing to assist the APC in undermining democracy, to look back at history and know that the consequences are always not palatable.”

The PDP National Chairman called on “all lovers of democracy and rule of law especially international community to rein in President Buhari, Magu and the APC to observe the tenets of democracy that respects the sanctity of the opposition and human rights.”

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