APC Kicks Out Former FCT Minister Of State

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has expelled one of its members and former minister of state for the FCT, Senator John Akpanudoedehe for alleged anti-party offences.

But Udoedehe, as he is popularly called, has  promised to respond appropriately to the expulsion in due time, saying he was putting his arsenal together.

The letter of expulsion, signed by the state chairman of the party, Dr. Amadu Atai and 60 other party executives as well as elders yesterday, said the action was sequel to an earlier suspension and dismissal from the party effected on the former governorship candidate by his ward and Uyo chapter of the party.

Spokesman for the senator, Mr. Ata Etuk, said they are preparing appropriate response to the expulsion as many of the signatories to the letter were fake.

“When our response is ready, tomorrow, I will let you know and I will let you have it,” he said.

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2019 Election: Defectors can contest if … , says APC

The  ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has disclosed that new members of the party that meet the right conditions would be permitted to contest in 2019 election.

Meanwhile, ex Senate President, Ken Nnamani on Sunday, in Enugu State, defected from his former political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and joined the ruling All Progressives Congress APC.

Similarly, Senator Joel Ikenya, the immediate past minister of Labour and Productivity, announced his defection from the PDP to the APC.

APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, assured that the party would accommodate the defectors.

“We are happy that people across the political spectrum are buying into the philosophy of progressive politics,” .

“We are aware of some concerns that may arise as a result of this, but we will look into all of them to ensure that all issues are effectively managed.”

Also, deputy national chairman (South), Engr Segun Oni, said the defections into APC will not cause any problems.

“It is our responsibility as a party to ensure that we check for what caused the ‘sunset’, as it were, for the PDP.

“When we were with the party then, most of us were of the opinion that every product has a life cycle and when it reaches a peak, if not properly managed, it can only come down there from.

“But as a party, we will take the right lessons and ensure that the issues that the PDP encountered are not replicated in this case”.

On aspirations of the defectors ahead of the 2019 election, Oni said: “In the first case, every member is a member. If you meet the criteria as a bona fide member, you can aspire.

“That is why we have to have the right management culture to be able to screen and field the right persons for the job.”

Jonathan’s ex minister, Ikenya joins APC

Sen. Joel Ikenya, the immediate past Minister of Labour and Productivity, has announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ikenya hails from Taraba and served in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He told newsmen on Monday in Jalingo that his defection was informed by the numerous achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration.

He urged Nigerians especially those from the North-East, to key into the policies and programmes of the President for the socio-economic development of the country.

“My reasons for decamping from the PDP to pitched tent with the ruling party are based on the many achievements the president have recorded within his first one year in office.

“The success he achieved in restoring peace to the troublesome North-East zone alone is something we cannot shy away from no matter our political party differences.

“Buhari’s fight against corrupt practices is also one of the major factors that motivated me to dump my former political party to the ruling APC,” Ikenya said.

The former minister pledged the `unflinching support’ of his and his supporters to the President to enable him (Buhari) lead the nation to greater heights.

“My supporters and I will support Mr President because a close look at his appointments will show you that no region benefited from his appointments like the North-East.

“I want to use this platform to call on citizens from the northeast region to put aside sentiments and support the president in reciprocity for all the good things he has done for us,” he said.

No party can be bigger than APC, says Oni

Former governor of Ekiti State and deputy National Chairman, South, of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Segun Oni, has maintained that attempts to form a mega party ahead of the 2019 general elections will fail.

Oni, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, revealed that the ruling APC and its members were determined to turn around things in the country.

He stressed that while he was not saying that it was not possible for the Peoples Democratic Party to make a comeback, it would not be right to call any emerging party a mega party as it would not be bigger than the APC.

Oni said, “We have always been saying it; this is a party that is going to turn Nigeria around completely. Any attempt to form any mega party, we can predict clearly, will end up in failure. This is the party that will turn Nigeria around, and we are prepared, we are prepared.

“If the PDP dies, there will be another opposition party. What I believe is not visible is the idea. So, we are not saying that the PDP will not come back, we are saying, don’t call whatever political party that is coming a mega party, it cannot be bigger than the APC.”

Oni, who also commented on the state of the economy, assured the citizenry that the economy would get better in 2017 to demonstrate what he described as the ‘human face’ of the APC.

He stressed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had been making efforts to encourage state governments to pay workers’ salaries through the release of bailout to the states.

On the issue of the crisis rocking the party, Oni said that the APC leadership had commenced talks to ensure a resolution of the differences among the members.

Oni, who was a former governor of Ekiti State, said that he was optimistic that the APC would win the next election in Ekiti State.

“Ekiti people should expect a government that will be different from Ayo Fayose’s and that will come from our party because it is not going to be Fayose’s party again, it should be our party.

“Our party should produce the next governor, that is our prayer, that is our hope and that is the hope of everybody on the street.”

We’ll overthrow APC in 2019, Makarfi vows

The Ahmed Makarfi led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the party has a very good opportunity of coming back to power and overthrowing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election.

This was coming after its special committee on strategy and inter party affairs led by Prof. Jerry Gana promised that it would be ready with its report by January 31.

The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, while addressing members of the committee on Wednesday, said the party was awaiting the pronouncement of the Court of Appeal to enable it go ahead to re-build the party into a wining platform.

But the APC said the opposition party would not recover from the internal crisis bedevilling it.

According to Makarfi, “We are not just an opposition party but government in waiting. And if we do the right thing, we will be there. It is in the interest of Nigerians that opposition exists and is strong,” he said.

Speaking on the pending Appeal Court verdict on the leadership crisis in the party, Makarfi sounded a note of warning, saying PDP is alive and kicking .

Makarfi also said the party would employ a different strategy in its opposition to the APC-led government.

He said the favourable judgment from the Appeal Court would strengthen its hands in reconciliation.

In addition, the former Kaduna State governor said the court’s pronouncement has become necessary so that the party would not face any challenge in future over the present leadership crisis.

“It is a matter of procedure, we have to follow the law. If not, anybody that works here will no doubt that PDP is alive; it is alive and we are restrategising and we hope that in the end, we shall smile. We all remember that Rome is not built in a day.

“We are all aware that it is only the judgment from Port Harcourt that we are waiting for. Whatever we do, even if we make peace yesterday and the court pronounces judgment, but we are waiting for judgment that will restore hope, how the court will restore that hope is for the will of PDP members should be respected, and we are giving the legal right for us to go ahead to build a virile party.

“Nigerians will not expect an opposition that behaves in an unruly manner, that will be there to talk down on government all the time. I think we should not be unreasonable in our opposition but we should use our brain, so that when we criticise and bring out alternative ways of doing thins, we will convince Nigerians that we are better set of people to take Nigeria that it is in now.

“But if we show that there is no difference, Nigerians will say no, they are birds of the same feather. That is why we must criticise using our brain to actually connect with Nigerians so that we can convince them that we are what we say we are,” he said.

On the issue of reconciliation, he feels that party leadership must not withdraw from any opportunity to reconcile with its members, “We must not close door to reconciliation, and negotiation but we must reconcile based on strong position. A unified judgment by Court of Appeal will place us in good stead,” he said.

The chairman of the caretaker committee commended all the staff for their solidarity and self-less sacrifices which the they have so far made notwithstanding pressures and inducement to back out.

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the chairman of the PDP strategy committee, Prof. Jerry Gana said the party has asked one of its syndicate groups working on the Committee’s assignment to help devices strategies to overcome alleged bias by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Gana said before submitting its report, the committee intends to have a brief session with governors “to inform them on some of the issues and recommendations that contained in the report, and also the National Assembly caucus so that if there is any input they can bring forward so as to bring everybody on board.”

Meanwhile, Deputy National Chairman of the APC, Segun Oni, while speaking yesterday in an interview with journalists in Abuja, dismissed the possibility of PDP successfully forging alliance to form a new mega party before 2019 elections.

“If PDP dies, there will be another opposition party. What I believe is not visible is the idea of calling it a mega party, because no party that will emerge will be bigger than APC, that ‘s what l’m saying. I have always predicted from the beginning that, long before now, the PDP will go into rumbles and that it will thereafter grind to powder, Its rumbles is grinding,” he said.

According to Oni, even if a new party emerges, it would not be bigger that APC.

“So, we are not saying the will not come back, we are saying, don’t call whatever political party that is coming mega party, it can not be bigger than the APC.

Speaking on what Nigerians should expect from the APC and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in 2017, Oni said they should expect that the economy would get better.

“Nigerians should also expect that the human face of this party will continue to show.

“Let me tell you something that you journalists have not noticed, or pretended not to have noticed. Since the coming in of Buhari’s administration, federal government has been trying to encourage the state governments to meet their obligations to their staff by giving series of bailouts.

“The federal government cannot afford to pretend that after everybody have taken the allocation, that’s all. And over the years, Nigeria has become a country where government, not just government at state level, even at federal level, owe people at will, especially staff.

“I believe the moral signals that Buhari is sending to all of us is that if Nigeria will be Nigeria, staff salaries should be paid to all. And I’m sure with the series of bailouts, everything will be covered and this government will encourage people never to allow things to degenerate to this level. So, when we talk of ‘change,’ that is ‘change.’

“There was a time when I was growing up, we did not even know when our teachers were paid. Nobody ever complained that salaries were delayed. It was a mentality and somehow, the mentality of government not caring to meet its obligation became so rampant. Now, that mentality of the government meeting its obligations as at when due, is what President Buhari is bringing back.”

However, the leadership of the APC has said its national convention will now hold not later than April 2017. According to the party, the processes leading to the party’s long-awaited convention would now begin with congresses nationwide which would be followed by the national caucus meeting, and finally with the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, where actual dates for the national convention will be fixed.

In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party said the processes leading to the national convention would commence with the congress to fill vacancies in the state party structures across the country.

The APC spokesman said the decision on the proposed convention dates was one of outcomes of the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting which was held on Monday and Tuesday this week at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

According to the spokesman, APC constitution provides that the party’s convention must be held once in every two years.

“The processes leading to the national convention will commence with the congress to fill vacancies in the state party structures across the country. The vacancies to be filled occurred principally from political appointments, deaths and resignations. The congress to fill the vacancies would be followed closely by another congress to nominate delegates into the mid-term non-elective convention of the party.

Meanwhile, it was leant that the party was unable to take a definite date for the convention because of the need to consult widely with stakeholders, some of whom would be expected to bank-roll the convention expenses.

The meeting of the NWC which had to stretch to two days, was also not able to conclusively deliberate on the proposals for the constitutional amendment and restructuring of two important party organs-the Board of Trustees and national caucus.

The meeting was chaired by the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

Blessing Abomere Rejects Edo APC By-Election Results

Blessing Agbomere, the aspirant of the All Progressives Congress for the January 28 by-election for Etsako federal constituency of Edo State, , has rejected the result of the party’s primary which produced Johnson Oghuma as the candidate.

Oghuma, who is also a former member of the state House of Assembly, had earlier been declared winner of the primary by the Chairman of the party’s electoral panel, Senator Bala Na’Allah.

Na’Allah had said that Oghuma got 334 votes to defeat Agbomere, who polled 75 votes.

But the aggrieved aspirant, while briefing journalists on Sunday in Benin, accused the panel of manipulating the electoral process, which he claimed had given him an early lead.

Agbomere also claimed that the composition of the delegates ‎was altered from about 1,000 delegates to less than 500, allegedly in favour of another aspirant.

“When the process changed, I complained to the chairman (Na’Allah). He did not do anything about it. I complained to the security but it did not do anything about it until the protest.

“There is a primary election committee, which came to conduct the election. It was a five-man committee; they‎ (panel members) made that blunder in an attempt to favour a particular candidate.

“By the time they correct that blunder, automatically, the victory comes to me who was leading before the process was compromised.”

Don’t Decamp From APC, Chief Sam Nkire Warns

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Sam Nkire, has reiterated his appeal to all those who intend to leave the party to form another “mega party” to reconsider their decision.

He appealed to party members in Abuja at the weekend to rather join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari “to effect the ‘change’ we jointly promised Nigerians in 2014”.

The APC chieftain warned the proponents of the “mega party” that the success story of the APC in 2015 may not be repeated so soon, adding that Nigerians were more inclined to giving the Buhari-led APC government a chance to succeed.

The APC was formed in 2013 from the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change, All Nigeria Peoples Party and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

Using Abia State as an example, Chief Nkire, who is the leader of the APC caucus in the state, said: “The party is now like a vehicle raving to move, with more people heading in, than heading out.”

Nkire, who was a member of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Council, advised fellow APC members who are aggrieved for one reason or another to remain in the party and “make sure their petitions are heard” instead of honouring the invitation to an “imaginary mega party”.

The Abia State-born APC leader said though it was impossible for every politician to be appointed to government office, he believed that competent and honest politicians who worked for the success of the last presidential election should not be neglected.

Quoting President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003, Nkire said: “Not everyone will have political appointment; this is why I say a politician must have a second address.”

PDP Chieftain Alleges Massive Defection Of Amaechi’s Aides From APC

Rumors making the rounds indicate that more members of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State may be planning to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party.

The speculation comes in the wake of last week defection of a former Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government council, High Chief Cassidy Ikegbidi, from APC to PDP.

A PDP chieftain, Theophilus Ben Tamuno, who is the leader of Wakrike Development Projects, claimed that those planning to dump APC for PDP include thirteen former commissioners who served under the past administration.

Tamuno, who cited information from the state leadership of PDP, also claimed that seventeen former local government council chairmen who served in the immediate past APC administration headed by Rotimi Amaechi also planned to join PDP.

The Wakirike leader said the line-up of prospective defectors to PDP also included seven prominent politicians who served as board members; two of whom were chairmen, as well as a former opposition party chairman in Rivers state.

“You will soon see what I am telling you. Mass defection will begin to take place because the APC in Rivers state is disorganized.

“I have it on good authority that all those who joined the former Governor Amaechi to APC will come back to PDP.

“They thought when Governor Wike gains power he will embezzle funds but now that they have seen what the man has been able to achieve with little revenue, they now understand that he means well to this state.

“They will all come back, I can assure you”, he said.

PDP, APC Produce Candidates In Etsako Federal Constituency By-Election Party Primaries

Johnson Oghuma, a former lawmaker in Edo State and a former Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Students Affairs, Jude Imagwe yesterday emerged as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) respectively in the Etsako federal constituency by-election party primaries.

Oghuma, had earlier represented Etsako East state Constituency twice at the Edo state House of Assembly, . He scored a total of 334 votes to beat his rival, Blessing Agbimhere who garnered 75 votes in the APC primary election held at Ikelebe Sports Complex, Auchi in the result announced by the five-man Electoral Committee, led by Senator Bala Ibn Na’ Allah.

It was however gathered that the PDP party primary in which Imagwe emerged winner was through a concesus was conducted at Polaris Hotel, Afasho, near Auchi.

Meanwhile, Blessing Agbomhere, who contested with Oghuma in the APC primary has rejected the result, alleging manipulation by party leaders in the state.

But the deputy governor of Edo state, Mr Phillip Shaibu in an interview debunct Agbomhere’s claim, saying the primary election went smoothly without any form of violence.

According to him, the primary could not have been manipulated when the there was no violence during the exercise, adding that delegates for the primary were duly accredited and voted the candidate of their choice who eventually emerged victorious.

APC Senators Threaten Ekweremadu To Decamp Or Face Removal From Office

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has told Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in clear terms that he risks losing his coveted seat unless he defects from his party.

Ekweremadu was elected into the office of deputy senate president in 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Reporters gathered that APC Senators, predominantly those in the Unity Forum, are making a daring move to wrest power from Ekweremadu.

It was learnt that some APC Senators are already scheming to battle Ekweremadu, if the current efforts to convince the Deputy Senate President to defect to the ruling APC do not materialise.

Giving an insight into the scheming against Ekweremadu, Senator Kabir Marafa, a formidable member of the Unity Forum, told The Daily Sun that if the Deputy Senate President defects to APC, there might be no need to make a move for his seat.

Marafa insisted that Ekweremadu’s continuous stay in office was depriving the APC of what rightly belongs to it.

In the words of Sen. Marafa, “Let me call the Deputy President of the Senate, Ekweremadu to defect to APC. If he defects, it will seal everything and there will not be any problems again. Ekweremadu’s seat is the only one we are contesting. That seat belongs to us in the APC. He came from the PDP to take the seat.

“If he just accepts and defects to APC, everything will be fine. Instead of moving against his seat, let him join us now. Tell him to join APC. When he refuses to join APC, you can then come back here and ask me what to do next. He has the golden opportunity to join us. The constitution says that when there is crisis in a party, anybody can defect. As a person, I do not want to move against Ekweremadu’s seat,” Sen. Marafa said.