The lawmaker representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, has hailed former President Olusegun Obasanjo for seeking medical services within Nigeria while President Muhammadu Buhari seeks his own outside the country.
In a veiled reference to Buhari in a post on his Facebook page on Thursday, Murray-Bruce described the President as the most famous health tourist.
He wrote, “A few days ago, I was with President Obasanjo in Bayelsa where he went for his medical check-up. That is a leader who believes in Nigeria. That is a leader who loves Nigeria. Meanwhile, I hear that London would soon have a visit from one of her most famous health tourists.”
Buhari will begin a 10-day leave on Friday (today) and will attend to his health in London during the period.
Meanwhile, Murray-Bruce in a series of tweets on his Twitter handle alleged intimidation of the opposition by the Buhari-led administration and the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Senator Murray-Bruce tweeted, “Using law enforcement officials to oppress political opponents and rivals is wrong for the simple reason that you may not always be in power and your precedent may be used against you. A president that wants to sleep in peace when he hands over should be careful how he uses power.
“The more the @MBuhari-led @OfficialAPCNg government persecutes us, the more we in the @OfficialPDPNig become more united and determined to rid Nigeria of a blaming and inept administration and return Nigeria to the path of unity, peace and prosperity! PDP is one united family!”
Senator Murray-Bruce cited the example of the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party and was levelled with allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Murray-Bruce tweeted, “Governor Sam Ortom, you are not alone. They can bring the police and the EFCC against you but in good times and in bad times, we will be by your side standing shoulder to shoulder with you to uphold genuine democracy for the people of Benue and the whole of Nigeria!
“To all those who are tired of the reign of dictatorship, impunity, incompetence and ineptitude on display in the APC, we invite you to join us in the PDP where peace, justice and unity reign.” Murray-Bruce said.
Meanwhile, Senator Dino Melaye has edited his biography on Twitter to reflect his defection from the APC to the PDP.
It now reads, “Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Representing Kogi-West Senatorial District. Anti-Corruption Advocate. Unapologetic Carpet Crosser. Ubunifu.”
Ubunifu is a Swahili word for imagination or creativity. (Punch News)
PDP: “We Never Knew Akpabio Was Going To Meet Buhari”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it was not aware that the Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was going to London where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday.
Rather, it said the former governor of Akwa Ibom State told members of the party’s National Working Committee that he was on his way to Germany.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated this in Abuja on Monday, said the party was not aware of Akpabio’s planned defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
He said the minority leader of the Senate could have had what he called “technical stopover” in London.
Ologbondiyan said, “He told us he was going to Germany and if he ended up in London, maybe, he had a technical stopover.
“The PDP has no issues with Akpabio whatsoever and the party will not respond to speculations of his readiness to defect. We have no notice of the said defection and all I can say now is that we will cross the bridge when we get there.”
Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that the rumour of Akpabio’s planned defection had been rife within the national leadership of the PDP, including the governors.
It was gathered that one of the governors, name withheld, from the southern part of the country had openly accused Akpabio of hobnobbing with the ruling party at the residence of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, recently.
The event was said to have happened when the leaders of the party visited Ekweremadu as a result of a siege laid to his house by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission recently.
The governor, according to a top-ranking member of the PDP, openly confronted Akpabio and demanded explanations why he had allegedly been meeting secretly with leaders of the APC.
The source said, “We were all surprised with the governor from the southern part of the country, who accused him (Akpabio) of playing a double game. He asked why Akpabio had refused to speak out for the party of recent and why he had been absent at party’s events.
“We all knew that Akpabio was actually meeting with APC leaders at night, and laughing with us during the day. But we didn’t know how to handle it.
“Akpabio, however, refused to speak to the governor. Rather, he was just smiling, even though he seemed not to be enjoying the talk.
“The DSP (Ekweremadu) tried to calm the said governor down, but you know he is very outspoken. He said it without fear or favour, that he knew that he was saying.”
It was also gathered that the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, had tried to dissuade Akpabio from joining the APC.
Secondus, it was gathered, met with the former governor on many occasions, assuring him of the love of the party for him and that he (Akpabio) remained a ranking member of the party.
A source privy to the meeting said, “Secondus had met with him on many occasions when the rumour started filtering in.
“Though the former governor complained about the treatment he was said to be getting from his successor, Udom Emmanuel, he was asked to tarry, that the PDP would intervene.”
It was also learnt that the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, was also involved in the negotiation with Akpabio.
“Wike spoke with him on many occasions as well. He asked him to shelve the idea and cooperate with him and others to reposition the PDP to win the elections. Unfortunately, he seems not to have been persuaded by all the talks.”
Meanwhile, some members of the party in Akwa Ibom State said that Akpabio’s defection into the APC might not be unconnected with the case he had with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
A source, who did not want to be named, told one of our correspondents that apart from the EFCC issue, Akpabio also had issues with the state governor, especially on a single term.
They said Akpabio had made a deal with the governor that he would spend a single term before the position would move to another area in the state.
According to PDP, the agreement spelt out a single term for the governor, adding that the second term was supposed to go for someone from the Oron ethnic nationality.
The sources noted that in order for Akpabio to settle some scores with Emmanuel, he had to leave the PDP with his supporters to stop the governor’s second term bid.
“His reason was also that the EFCC has been on his neck for a very long time. The other reason, which I think may not be so cogent, is allowing a person from Oron ethnic nationality to go for the second term instead of the present governor,” a source said.
A former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Essien Nduese, said Akpabio had not told him or any other persons why he was leaving the party for the APC.
He noted that the former governor had had cause to complain to people without solid reasons. (Punch)
Shehu Sani’s Suspension: Kaduna APC Rubbishes Oshiomole
The Kaduna State Executive of the All Progressives Congress has said it is not backing down on the indefinite suspension it imposed on the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani.
The state APC rejected the directive of the party’s National Working Committee that Sani’s suspension should be called off.
The APC NWC had, in a statement on Sunday by the party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja, directed the Tudun Wada ward to lift the suspension imposed on Sani.
Nabena said, “The (APC) National Secretariat has received the news of the suspension of Senator Shehu Sani by the Tudun Wada Ward Chairman and wish to clarify that the purported suspension of distinguished Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, is hereby lifted and he is confirmed as a bonafide member and leader of our party.
“The Chairman, Kaduna State Chapter has been directed to inform the relevant ward and local government chapters appropriately and also put the necessary mechanism (in place) towards complementing the efforts of the national leadership towards ensuring lasting peace and unity in the party.”
But rejecting the directive, the Kaduna APC, in a statement by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Salisu Wusono, contended that the constitution of the party did not confer any power on the national leadership of the party to quash decisions made at the state, local government and ward levels.
The Kaduna APC, while stressing that it would not sacrifice its cohesion, discipline and unity for political expediency, stressed that it had for long and consistently battled to uphold respect for the party’s constitution.
“Therefore, we affirm the indefinite suspension of Shehu Sani for serial indiscipline and violations of the party’s constitution, and further clarify that the constitution of our party does not bestow any powers on the national headquarters to quash the decisions of the ward, local government and state executive of the party.
“You cannot join the party at your ward level, proceed to treat the same party with the utmost contempt for three years, then delude yourself into a belief that the national headquarters can now declare you a saint, and impose you on the state party.
“The party shall support only those who uphold its substance and spirit, and it cannot condone the opportunism of people who, having used the APC to get to the Senate, began rebelling against it as soon as they got to Abuja,” the Kaduna APC said.
The state APC said Sani had violated the various offences listed in Article 21A (i-xi) of the APC Constitution, stressing that the senator’s indefinite suspension had become inevitable as “we are not a party of ‘anything goes’.”
“The process for his suspension was initiated in December 2015 by the party executive in Ward 6, Kaduna South Local Government Area, which suspended him for 11 months. Shehu Sani’s indiscipline, his disrespect for the APC, and the whole notion of party spirit persisted during the first suspension. Therefore, it was extended to an indefinite suspension, with the endorsement of the State Executive Committee of the party.
“Since 2015, Shehu Sani has engaged in unremitting hostility towards the APC, joining the gang-up against the party in the Senate. At the national level, the utterances in which he has ridiculed the party and President Buhari are well chronicled.
“In Kaduna State, Shehu Sani has since July 2015 opposed everything the APC and the government it installed has tried to do.
“On security, education, law and order, and social welfare issues, he shamelessly diverged from party position with an enthusiasm and recklessness that even the opposition parties in the state did not demonstrate.
“We recall the undisguised glee with which he denied Kaduna State the $350m loan the World Bank had adjudged the state eminently qualified to access. This loan was to help improve lives by building more schools, hospitals and vital infrastructure. We cannot sit with such a renegade except he can reverse course and ensure that we get our loan, among other conditions,” the Kaduna APC added. (PunchNg)
9 Taraba Corpers Drown During Riverside Picnic
Nine members of the National Youth Service Corps who are currently serving in Taraba State on Saturday drowned in River Mayo-Selbe in Gashaka Local government Area.
Taraba State Police Command Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Missal, who confirmed the death of nine out of the 22 corps members who were swimming in River Mayo-Selbe said seven corpses have so far been recovered from the incident.
“Information available revealed that 22 youth corps members had gone on a picnic party in River Mayo-Selbe in Gashaka LGA on Saturday when the incident happened.
“We were made to understand that while they were swimming in the river, there was sudden upsurge in the volume of water, which carried them away.
“Nine of them drowned, while others managed to escape.
“We have so far recovered seven corpses, while the search for the two remaining corpses is still in progress,” Missal said.
Taraba State NYSC Coordinator, Mrs. Florence Yaakugh, also confirmed the incident, which she described as “most unfortunate.”
Yaakugh also confirmed that seven bodies have been recovered, while the search for the other two bodies was still ongoing by the locals in collaboration with security agencies and the NYSC.
“It’s a very sad development and we would soon have the identity of all the corps members involved in the accident and make such information known appropriately.
“We have very sketchy information indicating that about nine of our corps members drowned in Gashaka yesterday.
“So far, seven bodies have been recovered and we are working with relevant persons to recover the rest of the bodies and to identify them.
“This is a very sad development and the entire NYSC family in Taraba State is already thrown into deep mourning,” she said.
This is really a sad news for the family of these Taraba Corpers’ parents. This sad news is coming barely a week that the NYSC DG announced the FG’s move to increase the monthly allowance of Corp Members in Nigeria.
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