Ekiti: LG workers threaten showdown over minimum wage

Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees in Ekiti State have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the state government over the delay in commencement of payment of the new minimum wage.

The NULGE, in a statement by the secretary of the union on Monday, Mr. Victor Adebayo, said it was unfortunate that the government which promised to pay the new minimum wage of N19,300 to all its workers since 2011, was yet to fulfill the promise at the end of July.

The union said it would not make public its next step if the government failed to implement the new wage after the expiration of the ultimatum.

But the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye, in his reaction to the ultimatum appealed to the workers while assuring them that the government would pay the new minimum wage.

He said the government was carrying out biometric data capture of all the workers to know the number of genuine workers in the councils.

Afuye assured the workers that the exercise would soon be completed, saying the workers would be paid.

But the NULGE said, “Instead of government acceding to our request by paying the new salary to our members,government has been ordering us to go for verification and unfortunately this particular exercise has claimed lives of some of our members.

“Consequently, the union has directed that a second notice to the effect for another 14 days,be served to the government to address the matter raised by the union.”

Jega petitioned over party crisis

Acussing fingers were yesterday pointed at the electoral umpire –the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of taking side in the crisis ripping apart the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

In a petition to the INEC chair, Prof Attahiru Jega, the National Executive Council (NEC) of APGA blamed the commission for conferring recognition on Chief Victor Umeh, after he had been suspended at its July 16 meeting in Abuja.

Addressing reporters in Abuja, the party’s Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Sadiq Masalla, recalled that the Director of Political Parties Monitoring and Liaison, Mrs. Regina Omo-Agege, attended the NEC meeting where Umeh and the National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi were suspended.

He accused the INEC’s Secretary, Abdullahi Kaugama of single-handedly writing a purported letter of recognition to Umeh without recourse to due process and the rule of law.

Masalla said: “If the said letter was actually written, then the commission would have erred in its judgment since the premise for its conclusion was indeed wrong and uninformed.”

According to him, a copy of the letter was not sent to the party’s NEC as claimed by the INEC.

He said: “The speed, with which the letter was written, delivered and published in a national newspaper may have been alien to any public bureaucracy including INEC”.

Court decides APGA chair Umeh’s fate tomorrow

Embattled National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chief Victor Umeh will tomorrow know his fate on the restriction slammed on him by an Enugu High Court.

The court presided over by the Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezuluike, last week, stopped Umeh from convening any meeting/ convention or expelling anybody from the party. 

But in a counter application which came before the court yesterday, Umeh challenged the jurisdiction of the court and the locus standi of the applicant, Chief Jude Okoli, who he contended was never a member of the party.  

Although hearing on the substantive suit was earlier fixed for July 31, it was brought up yesterday due to the urgency of the matter.

Mr. Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), who led a team of the defence lawyers, urged the court to entertain the application yesterday due to its urgent nature.  

This, he said, was on the grounds that everything has been put in place for an executive committee meeting slated for tomorrow.

Contending that the application which led to the injunction handed his client was in bad faith and frivolous, he asked the court to hear the applications same yesterday. 

Counsel to Okoli, Afam Ogbu, however, asked the court to apply the law as it is while deciding on the issue of date. 

Justice Umezulike decided to hear the case today on jurisdiction and locus standi and give ruling.

He also shifted the time down from 1pm to 9am.



Lagos: N500m scam: Resign now, PDP tells Ikuforiji

The  Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday called for the resignation of the speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji over alleged N500 million scam.

The PDP noted that it was disheartening and unfortunate that in spite of the progressive posture of the party, no chieftain of the ACN has been prosecuted in its controlled states despite what the PDP described as ‘’the barrage of cases of misconduct in these states.”

Reacting to call by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN that the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur must step down now,  the PDP said, “The ACN has also turned the other way in the case of a N500 million fraud allegation against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. There has been no call for the Speaker to resign. Till date, there is no record of any ACN official or chieftain standing trial in any ACN controlled State despite the barrage of cases of misconduct in these states”.

In a statement signed yesterday by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the Party however threw its weight behind its National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, stressing that the party was not prepared to sacrifice his son, Mahmud Tukur over his prosecution  by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on the subsidy payment scandal.

Metuh who also accused the ACN of interfering in judicial processes for its members, stressed that PDP was the only party in Nigeria that does not do that, adding, “the same cannot be said of the ACN. For instance, when the educational qualifications of Senator Bola Tinubu, the ACN’s National Leader were questioned, the entire Party machinery, operating under its earlier metamorphosis as Alliance for Democracy(AD) rose up and vilified anyone that called for a mere investigation. Every effort was deployed to frustrate the investigation.

According to PDP, it was not surprised as a party  at the propensity of the ACN to make political capital out of every passing event in Nigeria, adding that it finds this posturing hypocritical, laughable and a desperate measure to smear the image of an individual who stands very tall in his contributions to the development of our country.

It will be recalled that son of the PDP National Chairman, Mahmud Tukur; Mamman Nasir, son of the former National Chairman, Dr Ahmadu Ali and  Abdullai Alao, son of Chief Arisekola Alao are presently standing trial before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja for alleged offences in the oil subsidy payment scam…(read more)

Akeredolu denies alleged ACN members’ decampment to LP

The Rotimi Akeredolu Campaign Organisation, RACO, has debunked media reports that  no fewer than 10,000 Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, members had decamped to the Labour Party, LP, describing it as a ploy by Governor Olusegun Mimiko to deceive voters in the state.

It also accused the governor of  not  keeping faith with the pledge he made to meet the needs of Ondo people, as well as serving  only one term.

In a statement by its Director of Media, Publicity and Strategy, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, RACO noted that some ACN chieftains, who were alleged to have  decamped to LP had debunked the claims.

He said: “It has, however, come to the notice of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the state the calculated  and malicious attempt by Gov.  Mimiko and his LP to give the wrong public perception that we are out to undo him by all foul means. To achieve his ignoble aim, he has gone to town to hawk loaded lies on the streets of desperation for power.”

“Only recently the media was awash with the news item that as many as 10,000 party faithful of ACN and PDP defected to LP. Nothing could be farther from the truth.”



Ondo: Mimiko names campaign team

Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Monday, appointed a team of technocrats and politicians to man his re-election bid.

Tagged Mimiko Campaign Organisation, the team is headed by Mr Akin Adaramola as it Director-General.

Adaramola, a former Head of Service in the state is the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning.

He is to be assisted by Mr. Clement Faboyede, Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperative Services,   who is Director of Campaign Operation.

A former Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Kolawole Olabisi, is also to man the Campaign Office as the Director of Media and Publicity.

Anambra: Okonkwo joins APGA

Senator Annie Okonkwo, who represented Anambra Central in the sixth Senate under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has joined the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.

Chief Okonkwo who contested the April 2011 governorship election in Anambra State under the Accord Party emerged the president of an Igbo Socio-Political Action Group called Committee 21, with the aim of harnessing Igbo political and economic potentials.

In a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr. Collins Ugwu, the Senator stated that ” the unrelenting machine of political deceit and injustice in Igbo land have run its full circle and should quietly give way to honest superior efforts to rid our people of ravages and rancour. As I call on Igbos in Nigeria and the diaspora to move en masse to APGA to recover their progressive identity.”

2015: ANPP to merge with ACN, others against PDP

National Chairman, All Nigeria Peoples’ Party, ANPP, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, has said the party would merge with other opposition political parties ahead of the 2015 Presidential election against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Onu, who was in Ikenne, Ogun State,  weekend, with members of the executive of the party  on a courtesy visit to the widow of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief H.I.D. Awolowo, said the party  had begun collaborative moves  with other parties to form a formidable opposition to PDP.

According to Onu, for democracy to be entrenched in the country, the opposition political parties must be seen and allowed to play their traditional constitutional role.

He said: “The seeming non-existence of strong opposition could be blamed for the poor performance of the ruling political parties at state and national levels.

”We are also working very hard to enter into relationship with other opposition political parties.

“We want a situation whereby there can be competition in the political arena. We, ANPP, are not even interested in being in opposition, we were not founded to be in opposition.

“We were founded to form government at all levels but until that is done, Nigeria must have effective opposition so that any person, man or woman who occupies any elective position anywhere in the country will know that he owes that position to the people and if you don’t do well, you can leave for another person to come in.

Responding, Awolowo, who expressed worry over the situation of things in the country, enjoined  all Nigerians to keep praying for the nation to avert further calamity.

She said: ”We would  continue to pray for Nigeria because as Nigeria is moving, one is wondering where we are moving to. Whether we are moving forward or backward, I don’t know.”

“ But we’ll continue to pray so that Nigeria will move forward because I don’t know. We’ll continue to pray for Nigeria because we wouldn’t want Nigeria to sink. We want Nigeria to rise and if we join hands, God will hear our prayers.



INEC Recognises Umeh’s APGA Faction

The internal crisis rocking the All Progressives Grand Alliance took a new twist at the weekend with a letter by the Independent National Electoral Commission declaring that the purported suspension of the party’s national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, and national secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, by six previously suspended members of the APGA National Working Committee was unconstitutional and of no effect.

INEC also declared that a meeting held by the rebellious group, led by Alhaji Sadeeq Massala, on July 16 and all decisions taken there were against the APGA constitution and, therefore, invalid.

The commission said it cannot stop the APGA national chairman from convening a “proper meeting” of the party’s National Executive Committee.

A High Court in Enugu had on Thursday restrained Umeh from convening any national, state or local government executive meeting of the party pending the determination of a case before the court.

Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who gave the restraining order based on a motion for interim injunction brought by one Mr. Jude Okoli, described as a former APGA member in the state, had also restrained the APGA national chairman from expelling any member pending the determination of the motion on notice, fixed for July 31.

But reacting to the INEC letter, acting national secretary of the anti-Umeh faction, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, said in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday that though the group was yet to receive the commission’s latest memo on the crisis, such a position might have been based on a faulty premise.

“We are yet to receive the said letter from INEC. However, I do not think the letter emanated from the commission. If it did, it must have been based on a faulty premise,” Okwenna said.

He stressed, “The convening of our NEC meeting was done by the two-thirds of members of the NEC and not NWC as was stated in the letter.  If INEC had considered our invitation letter and attended our  NEC meeting, the onus is not on them to turn back and say they did not recognise our faction. It should be left for the court.

“We will make our position known to the commission on Monday when we have received the letter. Until then, you have not heard the last on this matter.”

The letter addressed to Umeh, dated July 26, 2012, with reference number INEC/LEG/APGA/222/11/313, and signed by the secretary to the commission, Abdulahi Kaugama, read, “The commission received series of letters from the All Progressives Grand Alliance inviting it to monitor the meeting of the National Executive Committee meeting of July 16th, 2012 and your letter alleging forgery of signatures of eleven members of the National Executive Committee.

“The commission has considered all the correspondences via-visa the constitution of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and observes as follows:
“That the National Working Committee of APGA purportedly met on June 19th 2012 and unanimously resolved to suspend indefinitely Chief Victor Umeh and Alhaji Sani Shinkafi as National Chairman and Secretary, respectively, and in their places appointed Alhaji Sadeeq Massala and Dr. Ifedi Okwenna as Acting National Chairman and Secretary of the party.”



Ondo: Mimiko Clinches LP’s Ticket for Second Term

In preparation for the October 20 governorship election of Ondo State, the three major political parties contesting the election, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the ruling Labour Party (LP) yesterday ratified their candidates for the election.

Incumbent governor of  the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, was returned by  the Labour Party as its  candidate in the  election as he emerged  the party’s flagbearer unopposed after his major challenger, Ade Ogunjumelo,  stepped down from the race to pave the way for Mimiko at the primaries election held in Akure  Saturday.

The congresses of the parties were held simultaneously in the three different locations in Akure, the state capital amidst tight security provided by the men of the Nigeria Police and the State Security Services.

In all the congresses, parties’ members and leaders conducted themselves in an orderly manner with representatives of the national secretariat of the three political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  in attendance.

Two of the three parties, the PDP and the LP announced names of the candidates’ running mates with only ACN yet to name its deputy governorship candidate.

While the incumbent deputy governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi , was retained by the LP, Mr Saka Lawal, who was until recent time a gubernatorial aspirant of the ACN from the Ondo North,  was picked as running mate.

The initial plan of the LP was to conduct its primary  until Mr Francis Ogunjumelo who had obtained nomination form against Mimiko later announced at the State Cultural Centre, venue of the congress,  that he had withdrawn from the race in the interest of the party.
Speaking after the exercise, a cross section of the LP members declared that it could not have been otherwise since both Nigerians and foreigners have continued to applaud the uncommon achievements of Mimiko’s administration in various spheres of human endeavours in the past three and a half years in office.

ACN Urges Tukur to Quit over Son’s Trial

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Sunday called on the National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to step down immediately following his son’s indictment and prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for his alleged involvement in the fuel subsidy fraud.

ACN, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Tukur’s resignation was necessary for him to free himself from the moral burden arising from the trial of his son, Mahmud, for his involvement in the fuel subsidy fraud along with others.

Tukur, along with other individuals and oil marketing companies, was arraigned on Friday in Lagos by the EFCC for abusing the fuel subsidy scheme. The ACN said the PDP chairman’s resignation would also ensure a fair trial of suspects in the fraud.

The party, which described the fuel subsidy fraud as about the biggest corruption case in Nigeria’s history, said it was necessary for Tukur to step aside so that the trial could go unimpeded to save the country’s anti-corruption battle.

The party said although it subscribes to the legal dictum that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty, its intervention was not about the guilt or otherwise of the accused but the fact that the PDP chairman would find it  difficult to extricate his image from public guilt as long as his son is on trial .

“It is important to say here that the fuel subsidy fraud trial will be held in two courts: the court of law and the court of public opinion. While Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is not facing any charge in the court of law over the fraud, he is definitely a star suspect in the court of public opinion.

“That is why many Nigerians are already insinuating that nothing will come out of the trial, especially as far as his son is concerned. This is an allusion to the influence bestowed upon him by his high office,” ACN added.

While the party expressed confidence in the ability of the judiciary to ensure justice, it said anything that could cause doubt in the delivery of justice in the fuel subsidy fraud trial should be removed.

It viewed Tukur’s continued stay in office as the PDP chairman as capable of thwarting the cause of justice.

“We also believe that since Alhaji Tukur, as the PDP chairman, has a say in who becomes the chair of the boards of the key agencies in the oil sector that are linked to fuel subsidy (e.g. NNPC, PPPRA and PEF), his continued stay in office is inimical to efforts to clean up the tainted sector,’” ACN said.

The party described as sheer sophistry the attempt by an aide of the PDP chairman to distance him and the party from the fraud.

“Is it a coincidence that the ‘stars’ in the court trial of the subsidy fraud include the sons of the past and present chairmen of the PDP? Will it be wrong to say the sons of Dr. Ahmadu Ali and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur ‘benefitted’ from the subsidy largesse because of their father’s positions in the ruling party?

“Is it a coincidence that many of those named as suspects are big donors to the ruling party? The truth is that the PDP and its bigwigs are right at the centre of this scam, and it is too late for the party and the bigwigs to now seek to distance themselves from it,” it said.

According to the party, the fuel subsidy fraud has further justified its opposition to fuel subsidy removal, which it described as an attempt by the government to punish ordinary Nigerians by making them pay for the inefficiency and corruption in the downstream sector of the oil industry.

“The government did not heed this warning, and went ahead, in the cruellest manner, to raise fuel prices. Now, thanks to the determination of Nigerians to shake off the yoke imposed on them by the same government they voted into power, and thanks to the doggedness of the House of Representatives, it has now been revealed that Nigeria’s largely poor citizens are being made to subsidise a few fat cats, most of them linked to the PDP! “While some of these fat cats allegedly collected billions of naira for the fuel they did not import, the ordinary Nigerian is today paying N97 per litre because of the corruption in which he/she is not involved,” ACN added.



Edo guber election petition tribunal constituted

Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, to entertain petitions arising from the outcome of the July 14 governorship election in the state has been constituted.

A statement by Mrs. J. Aliyu, Secretary, Tribunal, Edo State, said the venue of the tribunal is the High Court of Justice Complex, Court 1, Sapele Road, Benin-City.

She enjoined the Police, State Security Service, SSS and the general public to take note that Nigerians  irrespective of their political persuasions have declared the July 14, 2012 Edo State governorship election to be best conducted in the country apart from the June 12, 1993 presidential election, presumably won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola.

It will be recalled that though President Goodluck Jonathan and top Peoples Democratic Party, PDP members across the country had congratulated Governor Adams Oshiomhole on his victory, PDP governorship candidate in the state, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere has so far refused to congratulate Oshiomhole on his victory at the poll.

It was gathered that the General Airhiavbere is seriously considering going to election tribunal to challenge the declaration of Oshiomhole as winner of the election.