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Nigeria Can’t Progress Without Restructuring – Fayemi

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Kayode Fayemi

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has restated his call for restructuring of the country.

He maintained that a fundamental restructuring is an “unavoidable step for the creation and sustenance of a participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, responsive and equitable national governance based on respect for the rule of law.”

Fayemi explained that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) included restructuring in its 2015 and 2019 manifestoes and has been working towards it in a bid to use its platform to address the perceived structural imbalance.

The restructuring, he said, must address issues like writing the people’s constitution and the question of constitutional governance, the fundamental precepts of authorising principles of national togetherness, citizenship and national question, the political economy of federalism including the allocation of public revenue, security sector governance, human rights, social justice, electoral system, type of government-parliamentary or presidential, among others.

While urging Nigerians to always hold their leaders accountable in order to strengthen the nation’s democracy, he argued that democracy goes beyond the right to choose leaders through the ballot.

The governor stated this on Wednesday while delivering a paper at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington DC, United States. His lecture was entitled: “Twenty Years of Democracy in Nigeria: Successes and Challenges” at the event with the theme: “Deepening democratic governance in Nigeria.”

While noting that Nigeria has made significant progress as a democracy since returning to civil rule in 1999, Dr. Fayemi opined that “democracy is a journey and not a destination” hence the need to address imbalances in the Nigerian federation.

On the need for Nigerians to show more interest in governance and hold their leaders accountable, Dr. Fayemi stated that “an indifference might be dangerous for democracy” as Democratic institutions cannot be strengthened in a climate of apathy and clinical disengagement.

Dr. Fayemi said: “The current phase of the struggle is therefore not just about maintaining the sanctity of the ballot but also holding those elected accountable and stimulating civic engagement in the public realm, in a way that democratizes ownership and improve the quality of life of our people.

“We must banish the idea that governance is something performed by a team of gifted performers or strong men, while the rest of the citizens are spectators or complainers.

“What we established in 1999 is the right to choose our leaders via the ballot. But democracy is more than just the ability to choose one’s leaders…

He added: “..there is a fundamental truth to the saying that politics is too important to be left to politicians. It is about redefining politics itself, transforming it from a rarefied craft reserved for a select few professional politicians, to the protocols and relationships that undergird personal, communal and social wellbeing. In other words, politics is the management of human relationships, interactions and aspirations in the service of the common good. It is not something mysterious that only ‘politicians’ do; it is how citizens operate. Politics is a civic responsibility. It is how we engage with each other. The pursuit of good governance means that politicians can no longer be left to their own devices.

“Seen in this light, the mutual estrangement of government and civil society will end. The civil society will continue to express the communal instinct to regulate power but the chronic antagonism that poisons relations between the state and civil society will be replaced by mutual respect and positive tension. Civic engagement means that the state can access a much larger pool of wisdom and knowledge made available by a new rapport with civil society. In return, participatory governance will become much more practicable across all levels of governance.

“Before we arrive at that new rapport between the state and society, we must work hard to address a lingering threat, a carry over from the days of military rule. The biggest challenge facing us as democrats is to rebuild trust between the state and society. The relationship between both spheres is often needlessly adversarial owing to a lack of trust. Simply put, Nigerians do not trust their governments and this has made it difficult, indeed in some cases, impossible, to build mass citizen movements for a fuller democratic engagement.”

According to Dr Fayemi “residual distrust of power” feeds apathy, disinterest and cynical disengagement.

“The people distrust their governments but not enough to actively check them and avert excesses of power. Rather, they distrust them so much that they desert the state and many simply do not care enough about the public realm. This indifference is dangerous for democracy. Democratic institutions cannot survive or be strengthened in a climate of antipathy nor can politicians long retain their legitimacy under such circumstances. If the price of a free society is eternal vigilance, then apathy will carry a severe penalty for our republic,” he said.

The Ekiti State Governor said looking back on two decades of democratisation in Nigeria, “it is instructive to note that only civic movements mobilised in the context of larger patriotic interests can overwhelm the forces of impunity. It is the discipline of civic engagement that will keep at bay those who wish to turn back the hands of the clock and return us to the dark days of totalitarian rule. The struggle we are engaged in is dedicated to making this democracy truly a government of the people, for the people and by the people, and by so doing honour the memory of all those who paid the supreme sacrifice pursuant of our common aspirations for the good society”.

Ambassador Johnnie Carson of the USIP and Gen Agwai led the discussion session after the Governor’s presentation

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Politics

There Is No Crisis In APC, Tinubu Says

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Tinubu - APC

The APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Thursday night declared that there was no differences to be sorted out in the party.

Tinubu, also said, “there is no crisis in the party, hence, no fight to reconcile.”

He made the declaration shortly after a closed door meeting with Gov. Mai Mala Buni, Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and other members at his Bourdillon Residence in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Buni, also Governor of Yobe, led other members of the APC National Caretaker Committee to the Lagos meeting with Tinubu.

”We have no differences to be sorted out in the APC; we just had consultation and it is how our party, the APC, would continue to be a progressive party,” he said.

According to him, the committee is a consultation and not reconciliation committee since nobody is fighting anybody.

”There are instances when you disagree, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot discuss it over and be a good example in leadership and politics,” Tinubu said.

The former Lagos State governor also said that politics without seeming media crisis would be less interesting.

”But the question is, are we committed to building this party and Nigeria? That is what we are all about.

”We are steering the ship of our nation and our party in the right direction,” Tinubu said.

He said that the party leadership had trust and respect for the chairman of the caretaker committee and would support him to succeed for the party to continue in its progressive governance of the country.

The committee chairman, who led other members to the meeting, said that the meeting was part of the consultation the committee was making.

”You know the task before us is daunting, and we need guidance, experience and prayers from our leaders,” Buni said.

The host Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, expressed his pleasure to have his colleagues in the state.

”It’s been a very fruitful discussion we have had here this evening,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Other members of the committee in attendance included the Chairman of Progressive Governor’s Forum, Gov. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Secretary of Caretaker Committee, APC, Sen. James Akpan Udo-Edehe and Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello.

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Why Supreme Court May Disqualify Obaseki — Erhahon

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A former Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Godwin Erhahon, has said the Supreme Court may eventually disqualify Governor Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State on the grounds that he contested in the primaries of two different political parties.

Erhahon, who spoke to Daily Post in Benin-City, said what happened to Uche Nwosu, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, would also happen to him since, like Nwosu, he contested primaries in two different political parties, the APC and PDP.

Erhahon also said Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, are wasting their time because they have failed to learn from history, adding that what happened to Nwosu should have served as a lesson to them.

According to him a Supreme Court judgment that sacked Nwosu as the governorship candidate of the AA in the 2019 election should have guided the governor’s decision to participate in the Peoples Democratic Party’s primary after undergoing screening in APC.

“The apex court crafted the judgment so explicitly as if it was meant for the duo of the governor and his deputy to understand what fate awaits them in the state.

“The Supreme court nullified Uche Nwosu nomination in AA on the account that he had contested for nomination under APC.

“As if to explain itself further to the outgoing Governor, the Supreme Court elaborated on how the relevant law nullifies the PDP candidacy for their understanding when it elaborated thus:

“The spirit of the law forbids anyone to contest for nomination under two or more parties in the same election or even start the process of being nominated by procuring the nomination form. How does Governor Obaseki hope to escape the last clause?” Erhahon maintained.

Erhahon also said the governor currently possesses a counterfeit PDP governorship ticket, since he obtained the APC nomination form, filled it and returned same, and even attended the party’s screening and was disqualified.

He said based on that clause, the apex Court seems to have told Obaseki to stop wasting his time and resources.

“So also does it sound a warning to Obaseki’s supporters that they are about burying themselves along with a dead body because they are blinded by temporary pecuniary sentiments.

“Whoever is being deceived by his neighbour may survive but whoever deceives himself is on a suicide mission. Let’s watch and see where desperation, cantankerousness and sadism are leading Governor Obaseki to. Like the Benin elders would say, ‘Hasty wrestling and fatal fall go together’,” he averred.

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BREAKING: Court Dismisses Suit Against Oshiomhole

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Jabi, Abuja has dismissed a suit filed against the immediate past Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and three others.

The suit, filed by Comrade Mustapha Salihu and five others, was the one in respect of which the court granted an interim order on March 4 this year, suspending Oshiomhole from further acting as the APC’s National Chairman.

The Court of Appeal, in Abuja in a judgment on June 16, 2020, upheld Oshiomhole’s suspension.

Parties were to return to the High Court of the FCT for determination of the substantive suit, when on Thursday, Plaintiff’s lawyer, Oluwola Afolabi moved a motion to withdraw the case.

Afolabi said the withdrawal was informed by the directive by leaders of the APC that all court cases be discontinued in the interest of peace.

Lawyer to Oshiomhole and one other, Ginika Ezeoke said she was not opposed to the plaintiffs’ desire to withdraw.

Ezeoke then urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that parties have filed pleadings and have be enjoined issues in relation to the subject of the case.

Ruling, Justice Danlami Senchi dismissed the suit and ordered parties to bear their respective costs.

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