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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

Tinubu To Sanwo-Olu: Make The People’s Welfare The Cornerstone Of Your Administration

Peter Okunoren

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The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Friday told the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to make the welfare of people the cornerstone of his administration’s programmes.

He stated this at the retreat organized for members of State Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries.

According to a statement issued by Sanwo-Olu’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, Tinubu also urged the current Governor to work hard to achieve the programmes of the party in the state.

“Many books on leadership and administration have been written by great thinkers which focused on the talent of individuals.

“But, is leadership about talent alone? I say no. Talent can only give you the opportunity to shine and get recognition among your peers. But it cannot pave the way for success.

“Talent without character is an effort to nowhere,” he said.

Also present at the cabinet retreat was the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, another former Governor of the state.

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BIG STORY

Interesting Times Ahead In Kogi As Dino Melaye Picks Guber Nomination Form

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, has picked the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) nomination forms for the Kogi State governorship election.

Similarly, another aspirant, Abubakar Suleiman, also picked the nomination documents for the Kogi election billed to hold on November 16.

The duo picked their nomination documents at the Abuja national secretariat of the PDP on Thursday.

Addressing journalists shortly after the nomination formalities, Melaye his decision to contest the election was informed by the agitation, clarion call and passion from people of Kogi state.

“The ambition is not mine but that of the people of Kogi state. There is the dire need to recover our state which has been completely battered, shattered and destroyed.

“Today, the magnitude and intensity of killings in Kogi State surpassed any other time in the history of our state. The state has never experienced such insecurity before.

“I have looked for people who believe that the welfare of workers of Kogi State is the basic priority of government and people who believe that security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government and all these we will achieved

“Unemployment is on the high side. Retrenchment, sack and non-payment of salaries and pension are now a tradition in Kogi State. The economy and the economic activities in Kogi State have completely depleted. I have heard the loud cry from the Almighty and he said,: who do I send and I said, send me,” Melaye said.

The controversial senator vowed to defeat Governor Yahaya Bello in the coming poll, saying, “We are resolutely determined to chase the mediocre in Lugard House.

“We are too sophisticated to have Yahaya Bello as a governor. We are too intellectually mobile to have a classless character like Yahaya Bello as governor.

“He never won an election. He is a coronated governor. Now for the first time, he is attempting to contest to be the governor through electioneering process. This is his first time and we will prove to him that we are masters in the game and we will separate the boys from the men”

Also speaking with journalists after picking his forms, Suleiman said Kogi is in dire need of change in leadership, stressing that things have deteriorated in the three-and-a-half years that Governor Yahaya Bello has been in the saddle.

Bemoaning the poor state of infrastructure and economy in the Kogi, Suleiman said workers have been reduced to beggars while victimisation and intimidation of the people had become the order of the day.

Stating his mission for joining the race, Suleiman said, “I have a priority policy document that I have worked on, which include: social infrastructure, fundamentals of government, physical responsibility and economic development.

“The policies are intertwined. For example economic development includes job creation; empowerment is related to physical infrastructure. My social infrastructure plans include health, schools and roads. All these will be given serious consideration”.

Recall that another aspirant, Dr Joseph Ameh had obtained his nomination documents for the Kogi governorship race on Tuesday.

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BIG STORY

Judgement Day: Oyetola, Adeleke In Final Battle At The Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court will today (Friday) give judgment in the four appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

A seven-man panel led by Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad had, after hearing the appeals on June 17, 2019 fixed July 5, 2019, for judgment.

Adeleke and the PDP are, by their four appeals, marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019, challenging the May 9, 2019 judgments of the Court of Appeal, Abuja which affirmed the election of Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Governor of Osun State.

The Court of Appeal also set aside the majority judgment of the election tribunal which had allowed Adeleke’s petition and declared him winner of the election.

By agreement of lawyers in the appeals, the court on June 17, 2019 took arguments from Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), for the appellant, and Wole Olanipekun (SAN), for the 1st respondent (Oyetola), in respect of appeal marked: SC/553/2019.

The court said its judgment in the main appeal – SC/553/2019 – will be applied to two other similar one, filed by Adeleke against the Court of Appeal’s decision in relation to the appeals filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC,marked: SC/554/2019 and SC/555/2019.

The court also took arguments from Ikpeazu (for the appellant), Yusuf Alli (SAN) for INEC; Bode Olanipekun (SAN) for Oyetola and Olumide Olujinmi, for APC in relation to the fourth appeal, marked: SC/556/2019.

In their arguments, lawyers to the respondents – INEC, Oyetola and the APC faulted the appeals and prayed the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.

The respondents prayed the court to uphold the judgments as given onMay9, 2019 by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which affirmed Oyetola of the APC as the winner of the governorship election held in september 2018.

In relation to the first set of appeals – SC/553/2019; SC554/2019 and SC/555/2019, ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the judgements of the Court of Appeal and restore the majority judgment given in his client’s favour by the election tribunal.

In a counter-argument, Wole Olanipekun, Alli and Olunijmi faulted the competence of the appeals and urged the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.

They prayed the court to uphold the May 9 judgments given in favour of the respondents by the Court of Appeal.

In arguing the fourth appeal: SC/556/2019, Ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the two concurrent judgments of the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal, in which both courts rejected Adeleke’s request to void the supplementary election held after INEC declared the Osun governorship election inconclusive.

Ikpeazu said his client’s contention was that INEC lacked the powers to have cancelled elections in some pooling units and order a rerun.

He argued that the supplementary election was unnecessary because his client had won the election and met the constitutional requirement to be declared winner.

Ikpeazu prayed the court to set aside the Paragraph 44 of the INEC’s Guideline,on which basis the supplementary election was held,on the grounds that it conflicted with the Constitution.

Olanipekun’s son, Bode Olanipekun (SAN) argued the fourth appeal for Oyetola, urged the court to disregard Ikpeazu’s contention that the supplementary election was unnecessary.

He argued that Paragraph 44 of INEC Guidelines was not in conflict with the Constitution.

Olanipekun, who noted that Section 178(4) of the Constitution provides that the entire state is the constituency for a governorship election.

He argued that “where elections have not held in the entire state, the appellant cannot contend that he won the election, as against the 2nd respondent (Oyetola), who won the election as conducted across the whole of the state,” Olanipekun said.

He urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

Lawyers to INEC and the APC argued in similar vein, with Alli (for INEC) arguing that Ikpeazu’s submission on reliefs 8and 9 of his client (Adeleke’s) petition,overlooked the fact that election tribunal are special tribunal with limited jurisdiction to determine whether somebody was properly returned in an election.

“The quarrel of the appellant is against a concurrent findings of two lowers courts. There is no compelling reason to make this court interfere with the concurrent findings of the two lower courts,” Alli said.

Olujinmi urged the court to be guided by its earlier decision in the case of Faleke v. INEC 2016 8 NWLR, prt 1543 pg 61, in which this court affirmed the limited scope of the jurisdiction of the election tribunal.

He noted that even though Adeleke and his party, the PDP are aware of this court’s decision in that case (Faleke case), but have failed to approach the court for departure on its position on that issue.

Other members of the panel that heard the appeals Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Kumai Aka’ahs, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi, Paul Galunmje and Uwani Abbah-Aji.

(The Nation)

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