Weekly political notes

Nigeria’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo

Buhari Recuperating Fast, Will Return Soon– Osinbajo
The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said that ailing President Muhammadu Buhari is recovering fast and will return to the country soon.Osinbajo stated this on Wednesday, in a brief chat with State House correspondents before the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The acting president travelled to London late on Tuesday, where he said he met with Buhari for over an hour, adding that the president is almost back to his normal self.Osinbajo’s visit was very timely and needed. It is a welcome development, considering the anxiety that had enveloped the country regarding the true state of Buhari’s health. This disclosure by Osinbajo, a man known for his uprightness will douse tension in the polity, especially among Buhari’s supporters and loyalists who have been left in the lurch.

It has also contradicted the recent claim by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose that Buhari was on life support. The development has clearly shown the good relationship and understanding between the two leaders, especially at this critical time. But is it not disheartening that instead of praying and wishing Buhari’s quick recovery, some desperate politicians within and outside his party are trying to politicise and trivialise his health condition? But it is expected, especially in a clime where what an average politician wants is “power.”

Now that Osinbajo has said Buhari will return soon, it is hoped he will not be proved wrong like former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, who upon his return from UK last month told Nigerians that he met Buhari and he will return before June 11.

While, Buhari’s return is important, what should be of paramount importance is his sound health and capacity to function effectively as president. He needs not be rushed back home, having transferred power constitutionally, before embarking on the visit.

Supreme Court Sacks Sheriff As PDP Chairman
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, upheld the former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi, as the interim chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after a protracted legal battle that ruptured the unity of the party.

A three-member panel of the court presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, berated Makarfi’s contender, Ali Modu Sheriff, for demonstrating infantile desperation to lead the party.Reading the judgment, a member of the panel, Rhodes Vivour, said Sheriff was not within the category of an ‘unimpeachable leader’, stressing that the removal of the former governor was not necessarily expected to follow a vote of no confidence.

Vivour added that there was no clause in the constitution of the party that made it mandatory for Sheriff to be removed’ using a vote of no confidence.
“He demonstrated an infantile desperation to lead the PDP by filing almost 10 different applications in various courts. They shall forever gather dust in judicial archives,” the judge said, referring to the various applications filed by Sheriff regarding the matter over the last few months of intense legal wrangling.

This judgment is major relief to PDP members and lovers of democracy in the country. It will revive and strengthen vibrant opposition politics in the country. Anything contrary to the judgment would have been a major impediment to opposition politics. This is because PDP is expected to be a rallying point for the opposition, having been in power for 16 years.

Unfortunately, since the crisis erupted, the party has suffered several losses that require time to be addressed. With this judgment, there is no doubt that the party will bounce back again. But what is important is how it will do so, considering that what it suffered was self-inflicted.

It is hoped that party members who were responsible for the crisis in the party have learnt some bitter lesson. So, for the party to make headway as major opposition, inordinate ambitions and infighting should take back seat for now.

For the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) the return of the PDP may be a thorn on the flesh ahead of 2019. It is good that APC will soon be put on its toes. It is either APC wakes up from its slumber or PDP will facilitate it to sleep well in 2019. But is there any difference between PDP and APC? Your guess is as good as mine.

NDLEA Denies Harassing Patience Jonathan
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday denied allegations that it was harassing a former first lady, Patience Jonathan.The agency, which referred to the accusation as spurious and misleading, said it was not investigating Mrs. Jonathan.In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Mitchell Ofoyeju, the anti-narcotics agency said it does not harass citizens.

Mrs. Jonathan had petitioned the House of Representatives last week alleging harassment of her family by security agencies. She had included NDLEA and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in the charge.

In its reaction, the NDLEA maintained it always takes appropriate action against anyone or group of persons who contravene the NDLEA Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2001.

Now that NDLEA has denied allegation of harassment by Mrs Patience Jonathan, it is hoped that Mrs Jonathan has disclosed details how she was harassed by the agency? This will help the House members and even Nigerians to know more about it.But one wonders how and why the agency has been harassing the former First Lady when she is not a drug peddler or addict. Madam Patience over to you. Please throw more light on the allegation or at best substantiate it, especially as the agency has denied.

If the harassment is all about conducting a routine check on her luggage whenever she is travelling out of the country. It is normal and expected. This is because, she has no immunity and the constitution does not recognise the position of a former First Lady. Meanwhile, NDLEA should try to accord her some modicum of respect because she is Nigeria’s ex-first lady.

Nigeria Can No Longer Afford To Borrow To Fund Budget – Adeosun
Nigeria can no longer afford to borrow to fund its budget and must seek alternative fundraising mechanisms, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said on Tuesday.Speaking at the quarterly presidential business forum in Abuja, Mrs. Adeosun said Nigeria should continue to diversify its economy to enable it generate more revenue to fund its budget.

She said: “We need to mobilise additional revenue to fund our budget. We have got to get our budget bigger and to do that we cannot borrow anymore. We simply have to generate more revenue, we have to plug the leakages and improve tax collection so that we can manage our borrowing.”Speaking further on diversification, the minister said: “The problem is that we have been relying on oil and oil gave us a big budget size.”

There is nothing new in Adeosun’s narrative. She is just being circumlocutory. Enough of this, Nigerians want more of action than speeches. Adeosun should understand that nobody is against borrowing. But people are worried that borrowed funds have not been transparently used or accounted for. It has not reflected in the country’s economy, thereby raising question on the expenditure of such funds.

Even developed countries borrow to develop their economy, but such borrowing is always accounted for. So, Mrs Adeosun, Nigeria can still borrow to fund its budget, but let the government first of all account for its previous borrowings. That is how the economy could be revived and expanded. Although, Adeosun later agreed that there is still room to borrow. Doublespeak!!!

Okorocha Stops Imo Monarchs From Speaking In English At Functions
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo has directed traditional rulers in the State to desist from speaking in English at official functions. Okorocha gave the directive while handing over letters of recognition and staff of office to 19 newly recognised traditional rulers in Owerri on Tuesday.

He directed that every monarch must only speak in Igbo at functions and in their palaces, adding that interpreters could be employed if the need arises.The governor said this was in a bid to ensure that the Igbo language did not die as predicted in some quarters.

While Okorocha’s directive is a welcome development, considering that Igbo language is gradually going into extinction, it is expected of the governor to make the teaching of the language compulsory in schools in the state. Okorocha should also live by example, by conducting the affairs of the state in Igbo language and encourage all his appointees and members of the House of Assembly to do so.

Before Okorocha dethrones any monarch for not obeying his instruction, he should be reminded that no law compels anybody to speak in his local dialect while conducting or participating in public functions.

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