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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.”

POLITICS

Bode George Joins 2023 Presidential Race

Peter Okunoren

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Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, has joined the 2023 presidential race.

Freedom Online learned that the former governor of old Ondo State joined the race after three meetings held in Lagos, London in UK and Berlin, Germany.

George, the Director-General (D-G) of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Campaign Organisation in 2006/2007, is still in London “strategizing and meeting some prominent Nigerians on how to actualize the ambition”, said a source.

Although he is still a member of PDP, it is still not clear on which political platform George, the Atona Odua of Yorubaland, will launch the ambition.

Before leaving Nigeria for the London and Berlin meetings, Freedom Online learned that a former President and former Head of State had already endorsed the move to make George succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

This move is based on the partisan calculation that the presidency will move to the South-West.

Some members of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization led by nonagenarian Reuben Fasoranti, are also believed to be backing George’s ambition.

Freedom Online learned that present at the London and Berlin meetings were a former Senate President, a former Chief of Naval Staff, a retired General who had issues with President Muhammadu Buhari when he was Head of State between December 31, 1983, and August 26, 1985, a prominent power broker during the administration of a former president, a former governor of a state in the North-East and two ministers during the Yar’Adua administration.

Freedom Online learned that George, an experienced administrator, orator, and politician, will unveil his presidential plans in the middle of 2020 and “the real fireworks will start in 2021”.

A source disclosed that three committees – Finance, Strategy, and Contact – had already been set up, headed by the former Chief of Naval Staff, a former Minister, and a former South-South governor.

George is a prominent Lagosian, very close to the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.

A prominent Lagos Prince, Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, who also confirmed the development, declared that “people may believe it is a joke now but when reality dawns on them, they will wake up.

The truth is that some prominent Nigerians have resolved to back Chief Bode George in the race for 2023. This is real and authoritative. In fact, a group, The Pathfinder Consortium, is already working underground as a foundation for a bigger and more robust national platform to actualize this presidential ambition.

“We can say 2023 is still far away but at the same time, it is not too far. Many stakeholders want real change in the country, politically and economically. This is not about PDP or APC. This is about Nigeria.

“I only attended the Lagos meeting. I was not part of the ones held outside the country so, I can’t really give you details of what happened there. But, I can only tell you that this is a pan-Nigerian movement”.

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APC Disclaims Suit to Foist Third Term On Buhari

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed a suit seeking an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to allow President Muhammadu Buhari to run for a third term in office, which was filed by one Charles Enya, whom it described as a self-proclaimed member of the party.

APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement yesterday said the party had initially chosen to ignore him but decided to disavow the suit to send a clear message to Enya and other troublemakers like him.

According to him, the president has said history would not be fair to party members if the APC collapses after his second term, stressing that what better proof is required of the president’s resolve to abide by the constitution on term limit than such a statement.

He said at the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, Buhari had assured party members that he would abide by the constitution and uphold the oath of office he took.

“The party is, however, by this statement sending a strong signal to such other busybodies like Charles Enya who may be contemplating testing the resolve of our government on our mission to work for the best for our country to be ready to face the law.

“We would follow this new enemy of our country, who is most likely being sponsored by the desperate and misguided opposition, every step of the way, using all legal means to thwart his devilish efforts to create chaos in our country.

“As a party, we would not take kindly to anyone or group causing an unnecessary distraction for this administration through anti-democratic actions. As a country, we are several years behind where we ought to be,” he added.

The party spokesman noted that the Buhari-led administration is focused on the onerous responsibility of delivering good governance, revamping moribund infrastructure, growing the economy, fighting corruption, creating the right environment for teeming youths to deploy their creative energies and providing adequate security for all.

“We have tried to find out the status of this character claiming to be a member of our party. If he turns out to be our member, we would ensure the party organ that has the responsibility to act on this matter promptly commence the process of expelling him,” he stated.

Issa-Onilu said APC as a progressive party would not tolerate anti-democratic forces and charlatans.

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Bayelsa Decides: INEC Declares APC’s David Lyon Winner With Over 200,000 Poll Margin To PDP’s Flag Bearer

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate David Lyon was, early this morning, declared Bayelsa State governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lyon, 49, will succeed outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson, who has ruled the state since 2012

The APC thus ended the 20-year political dominance of the oil-rich Bayelsa State by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Returning Officer Prof. Faraday Orumwense, the vice-chancellor of the University of Benin, declared Lyon winner with 352,552 votes in Saturday’s election. He won six of the eight local government areas

PDP’s candidate Senator Duoye Diri, who came a distant second, polled 143,172 votes. He won in two local government areas.

There was jubilation in Yenagoa as soon as the Returning officer declared Lyon winner at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre, INEC Office, in Yenagoa.

Many people trooped to the streets of the state capital in celebration.

Southern Ijaw which is fondly called the Kano of Bayelsa state, gave the APC candidate the boost with 124, 803 votes as against the 4,898 recorded by the PDP.

The APC got 21,489 votes in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, while PDP scored 18344.

Senator Douye Diri, also recorded massive win in the home council of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state with a total of 58,016 as against the vote of PDP of 13,763. The outcome according to political analysts is based on the open disrespect by the Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson against the former President.

Also massive was the 83,041 votes recorded by the APC in Nembe Local Government Area as against the PDP votes of 874. But the PDP had its share of massive vote at the home council of the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson in Sagbama with 60,339 votes and APC recorded 7,831.

At the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Council, where the PDP flag bearer hails from, the PDP defeated the APC with 15,360 votes as against the 8,934 votes recorded by the APC.

In Brass Local Council Area where the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva hails from, the APC defeated the PDP with 23,831 as against 10,410 votes.

Declaring the winner, the returning officer of the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa state, Mr. Faraday’s Orunmwense, stated that with the power bestowed on him, David Lyon, after scoring the highest number of votes is returned as the winner of the election.

But the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in a press briefing earlier on Sunday night addressed by its flag bearer, Senator Douye Diri accused the Nigerian Army of conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the polls in parts of the state.

According to Senator Diri, though results collated by the party agents showed that the PDP has won the Governorship election, ”members of the PDP were terrorized and arrested by soldiers on the orders of the General Officer Commanding the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army, General Sarham Jamil”.

Senator Douye Diri, who spoke in company of the National Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council and Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed and National Vice Chairman of the Party, Elder Emmanuel Ogidi, noted that what is playing out in Bayelsa confirms the earlier red flag the PDP had raised days to the election about plots by the APC to use Gen Sarham, who had since been transferred to the Nigerian Defence Academy to defy his posting to supervise the state election.

According to the PDP candidate, critical stakeholders of the party were harassed and prevented from accessing the collation centre in Ogbia, which is former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s Local Government Area.

Senator Diri said the Chairman of the Council, Hon Ebiyon Turner and a serving member of the state House of Assembly representing Ogbia Constituency Two, Hon Gibson Munalayefa were all arrested and detained by the Army operatives up till the time of the briefing.

In Southern Ijaw, he noted that PDP members who were travelling to their communities for the election including Dr Michael Amaegberi were also apprehended by soldiers at Ogboinbiri while their APC counterparts were allowed to go scot-free.

Senator Diri who commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and the media for their show of professionalism in the conduct and coverage of the election, however, urged them to maintain the tempo for the sake of democracy.

He called on the international community and lovers of democracy to prevail on the Nigerian Army to respect the rule of law and for democracy to thrive in Bayelsa and Nigeria in general.

His words, “The collation centre in Ogbia is under siege by the Nigerian Army and as we all know, this is against the laws of our land. It is an anathema because the Army has no business in determining who goes into a collation centre.

“Information available to us indicates that the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 6th Division has ordered officers and men from 6 Battalion, 343 Artillery, 5 and 29 Battalions were carrying out certain security functions to withdraw from the venue in Ogbia because they have failed to rig the election in Ogbia for the APC. It is totally unacceptable. For there to be peace, there has to be justice.”

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