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Okorocha Offered Me $2m To Return His Son-In-Law As Governorship Candidate – Gulak Alleges

Peter Okunoren

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The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress governorship primaries committee for Imo State, Ahmed Gulak, has alleged that Governor Rochas Okorocha offered him a $2 million bribe so he could return his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the party’s candidate.

Gulak, a former Political Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, made the allegation in Abuja on Saturday in an interview with newsmen.

He said he turned down the offer and submitted the report of what actually transpired during the primaries to the party’s National Working Committee, which appointed him.

The report declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, whose name has since been forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, as the party’s governorship candidate.

Gulak, who had alleged that he was kidnapped on his arrival for the primaries in Imo State, also claimed that officials of the state government offered to convey him and his team to Owerri from Abuja in a private jet, an offer he claimed to have rejected because he did not want to be compromised.

He said Okorocha’s plan was to turn the state into a family estate with his son-in-law as governor, his son as deputy governor, his wife as a member of the House of Representatives and himself as a senator without considering the fact that it is the people of the state that will be the ultimate decider.

Gulak said: “The NWC approved our appointment.

“Myself as the chairman and returning officer and six other members, including the secretary, making us seven as enshrined in the guideline.

“We went to Imo against all odds.

“We stood our ground, elections held, results collated and the winner announced.

“After the collation, I and few others escaped because the governor himself came to arrest everybody in the hotel.

“But before he arrived, about four of us escaped and he arrested other members, including the secretary.

“He took them to Government House and they read a prepared speech declaring his son-in-law the winner of that exercise.

“But I had already left Owerri for Abuja where I submitted my result.

“As I speak today, there is no single petition against our report and against the result.

“Let us not forget that Rochas’ in-law was not the only aspirant.

“Hope Uzodinma was not the only aspirant.

“There were other seven aspirants, including the Deputy Governor.

“From the nine of them, there is no single petition against the conduct of the election.

“If there were grievances against the conduct of that election, the party has an appeal panel where petitions ought to have been lodged.

“The Appeal Panel will then recommend whether or not a fresh primary will be conducted.

“That did not happen.

“As we speak, in accordance with the constitution and the guidelines, the result submitted by my committee, signed by me, is the authentic unchallenged report and the NWC had no option but to uphold that report.

“I feel vindicated, the members of my committee feel vindicated.

“The issue of Governor Rochas going round blackmailing the party, threatening the party, is not the best for a governor.

“He is supposed to be a statesman.

“This is his party.

“I understand very well that he is the senatorial candidate of his party in Orlu, so he should not weaken the party from within.

“He should call everybody.

“All hands must be on the deck to ensure that the party retains the state.”

Gulak said though there is nothing wrong in Okorocha wanting his son in-law to be governor, his lack of consultation with critical stakeholders in the state and his attempt to transform the state into a family dynasty is an insult on the people.

He said: “I know that whoever Governor Rochas wants to push forward, decency demands that he should do so in consultation with the stakeholders of that state.

“Even if he wants to put his son in-law, his daughter or his wife, he ought to have consulted the stakeholders.

“No one man can do this game of politics.

“Everybody must be carried along.

“But I feel he did not consult the stakeholders before pushing his son-in-law as the person to succeed him.

“Naturally, people will revolt and if he had his way and imposed his son-in-law on the party, what of the general election, can he impose him?

“At the end of the day, the people of Imo State will decide who they will vote as governor and don’t forget it is not a one party system.

“I know that if you impose your son-in-law as successor, don’t forget that it is the Imo people who will decide who the governor will be.

“I have it on good authority that immediately they learnt that the NWC had upheld the result of the Imo primaries, the other candidates subsumed their ambition in the interest of Imo State to support Hope Uzodinma.

“As party men, we should all be happy about that too.

“That is politics without selfishness.

“Rochas has spent eight years as governor of Imo State and you want your son-in-law to succeed you, you want to come to the Senate as a senator, you want your wife to be a House of Reps member, you want your younger brother to be running mate, you want your son-in-law to be governor.

“That in itself is indecent, it is immoral and the people of Imo State may not take it lightly.

“They are not slaves.

“You cannot enslave them by making it a personal family dynasty.

“This is a well-educated state, a well-enlightened state where we have professors in almost every family.

“We have businessmen, industrialists.

“These people have a stake in Imo State.

“So I know they will not lie low when Rochas begins to enslave them.

“He has gone on air every day to abuse and malign me and I have decided to keep calm because it is an internal family matter.

“Abusing me every day on television and in newspapers will not help him.

“He should go and work for the victory of his party and leave me alone.”

Speaking in his experience in Imo State, Gulak said: “Even before I went to Imo State, I was offered a private jet to take me there by the Government House and their proxies, but I refused because I didn’t want to be compromised.

“I refused the private jet and even the tempting offer made to me, very tempting.

“We are talking about $2 million, which I refused, and tried to persuade them that I was going to do what was needful: free and fair primaries and that every stakeholder must be involved.

“Immediately we landed at the airport, that was where the problem started.

“They wanted to kidnap every member and only God knows where they wanted to take us to.

“I pity the Imo people, but they have to take their destiny in their own hands and elect who they feel will represent them better.

“I am not from Imo State, but I am a Nigerian.

“There is equality and there is equity.

“Some of our governors take state resources as their personal resources and we know that power is transient.

“After four or eight years. I am happy that the party has vindicated me and I know it is the best decision for the people of Imo State.”

BIG STORY

Nigeria Senate: Tension As 9th Assembly Elects Principal Officers Today

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As the election of Nigeria’s 9th Senate President and his Deputy comes up on (today) Tuesday with Senator Ahmed Lawan and Ali Ndume locking horns for the position, both former 8th Senate leaders are still gripped with tension.

It’s particularly so, because the Clerk to the National Assembly, who is the administrative head has adopted a secret ballot system of Tuesday’s election of principal officers of the Senate.

Initially, there was conflict of ‘modus operandi’ with skepticism from the Ahmed Lawan Campaign Group headed by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi that if secret ballot was adopted, there might be shocked despite Ahmed Lawan’s adoption by the ruling All Progressives Congress.

While the Presidency’s intervention has made the former Governor of Gombe State, who is also a ranking Senator, Danjuma stepped down for Lawan, his rival, Ali Ndume representing Borno South has insisted that it was late stepping down for anyone.

Between Ahmed Lawan and Ndume, no one has had the pendulum swung in his favour yet despite the acclaimed endorsement of some Senators-elect.

What further makes the situation looks gloomy is the dead silence of the Senators-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Among PDP Senators-elect, most are still indecisive. Their silence is not only grooming, but heightening tensions all over the places.

Prodded to talk on the situation of things ahead of today, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha representing Taraba South Senatorial district confirmed that the party would take a unanimous decision on who to vote.

Speaking on reasons for PDP’s silence even in few hours to the election, the ranking lawmaker said, “there is dignity in silence.”

He further ruled out open ballot, stating that secret ballot has always been a tradition, insisting that Tuesday’s election would not be different.

With PDP having 44 Senators-elect, they play a commanding decision as to who emerges as Senate President on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, PDP had scheduled a meeting last0 inviting all Senators-elect, House of Representatives-elect and governors at the instance of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Nwike to hold at Rivers House As Okoro.

Sources close to the venue explained that the party would take a position ahead of Tuesday’s election of principal officers of the upper and lower legislative Chambers. It also said, “the party would roll out conditions for supporting any candidate especially the Senate President.”

The source added that the party became uncomfortable over the ruling APC’s decision not to allow Chairmanship of Committees to any of its member irrespective of ranking or not. It added that so many factors would shape PDP’s decision at the meeting today.

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POLITICS

Kogi Guber 2019: Fresh Crisis Rocks PDP As Ibrahim Idris Imposes Son As Candidate

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A major crisis is brewing in the Kogi State chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), as concerned members are mobilizing to protest the moves by ex-governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, to impose his son, Abubakar, as the party’s candidate in the state’s governorship election slated for November.

Abubakar Idris, declared his intention to run for the office once occupied by his father  last year but it is the manner in which the party leadership in the state is being forced into adopting the ex-governor’s son that is setting the stage for a major confrontation.

PDP members in the state, still smarting from the mismanagement of the nomination process in the 2019 general elections across the state are raising alarm, warning that any attempt to impose another candidate in the coming governorship election would backfire.

Party stalwarts who spoke with our reporter on condition that they are not named accused the ex-governor of killing the PDP in Kogi State, while in office, pointing out that all the poor foundation he laid contributed to the party’s poor outing in 2015.

Some of them stated that towards the end of his second tenure, Idris popularly called ‘Ibro’ was seen extorting money from those vying to succeed him with a promise of allotting them the governorship slot, adding that he has already started playing the same game now, promising the deputy governor’s slot to those who can pay.

“Ibro as usual, has turned the deputy governorship slot into a money-making machine. The same way he did in 2010 over the governorship slot. Politicians are currently trooping in and out of his Abuja residence in their bid to lobby for the number two post. Ibro on the other hand is said to be smiling to the bank on daily basis as those he has approached for the slot are responding with bank alert,” one party stalwart, said.

The stalwarts revealed that one of the ex-governor’s plan to foist his son on the party is in the exorbitant nomination fee, which they said is already driving many good potential candidates out of the PDP into other parties.

“In the last two weeks, they have asked aspirants to pay the sum of N75 million as nomination form fee without giving any genuine reasons why aspirants are being asked to pay such ridiculous amount,” one aggrieved member told us.

According to them, the strategy is similar to the one used during the NASS/presidential election when high nomination fees were used to push our potentially good candidates in favour of Senator Attai Aidoko was later fielded.

They, however, warned that if Ibro is not checked by the national leadership of the party,  the party will fail woefully in its mandate to produce the next governor of the state, and that the error will also mark the exit of the party from the state polity.

The party stalwarts lamented that fact that a man whose records during his nine years in office can only be described as disastrous, would be allowed to dicate who would be the party’s flagbearer in the upcoming election.

How could Ibro’s son, they queried, with neither the competence, experience, a genuine manifesto, or broad appeal amongst party faithful, be expected to deliver electoral victory in November.

The ex-governor was equally accused of losing touch with reality in Kogi, pointing out that his recent interview, where he said that he had no idea of the prevailing hardship in the state, as evidence that neither he nor his son had anything good to offer.

They queried how any dynasty built by a man who is oblivious of the misery that poor leadership is producing in the state can be good for Kogites, pointing out that it was better for the PDP to realise the error of allowing am like Ibro to select a governorship candidate for the party, in order to save it from obvious defeat in November.

The party men said the way out of the defeat staring PDP in in the face was to allow the party run the selection process according to laid-down rules and regulations, rather than allow an ex-governor, who failed in his time, to impose his son.

‘Ibro’s tenure, it was further pointed out, enjoyed one of the economically healthiest moments of the country, with  the price of oil relatively high, internally-generated revenue in the state receiving  as much as 150 per cent boost, but Kogi under his watch failed miserably to record any meaningful development.’

He was also accused of siphoning Kogi’s funds to build businesses for himself, family and cronies, and that his hotels spread across Abuja, Lagos and Dubai are mostly the proceeds from the crime committed against the state.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: African Action Congress Suspends Omoyele Sowore, 8 Others Over Alleged Corruption, Abuse Of Office

Peter Okunoren

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The African Action Congress, AAC, Monday, declared that it had suspended its national chairman and 2019 presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, and nine others over alleged corruption and abuse of office.

Sowore’s suspension was conveyed in a communique read by Mazi Okwy, a member of the party’s National Executive Committee.

The decision of the party, according to the communique, signed by the acting National Chairman, Leonard Nzenwa and the Deputy National Secretary, Abayomi Francis Olufemi, was the resolution of the National Executive Committee of the AAC, at its 2nd National Executive Committee meeting, held 27th March, 2019, in Abuja.

The party, according to the communique, accused Mr Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters of “deliberate inability to convene or hold the constitutionally mandated quarterly meetings of the National Executive Committee and other organs of the party.”

Details Later….

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