The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may shed more gubernatorial weight if ongoing negotiations between three of its governors and the ruling All Progressives Congress succeed.
Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, had on Tuesday opened the impending floodgate of defections when he deserted the PDP and pitched his tent with the APC complaining that the main opposition party had treated his South-east home zone shabbily.
THISDAY gathered last night that three PDP governors are deep in discussions with the APC and might jump ship shortly.
The governors in transition, according to multiple sources close to the discussions, are
1. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu),
2. Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River) and
3. Senator Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).
It is not clear why the governors want to leave their party that had given them abundant opportunities to be politically relevant, a PDP source in the know of the move told THISDAY last night.
However, governors of the party yesterday gave assurances of their loyalty and commitment to support and strengthen it after a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja.
Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, spoke on behalf of his colleagues at the 90th NEC meeting in Abuja.
The governors’ pledge followed the defection of Umahi.
The National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who presided over the meeting, seized the opportunity to warn that there would be no transparent general election in 2023 without amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Tambuwal said the PDP governors are more than united as could be seen in the fact all the governors attended the meeting.
He said: “All 15 of us are here present. We are individually committed to good governance in our various states in order to make our party strong.
“This is a clear statement that we are united and working towards strengthening our party for the future.”
The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, told the gathering that the PDP remains strong in Ebonyi State despite the exit of Umahi.
He faulted reasons adduced by Umahi for leaving for the APC but said it was a thing of joy that the PDP structure in the state remains intact.
Jibrin expressed delight that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) took proactive steps to ensure that Umahi did not take undue advantage of the PDP structure in the state.
Also speaking on behalf of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinanya Abaribe, assured the party leadership that the caucus is prepared to fight against anti-media legislation “with every drop of our blood.”
He said: “The attempt to gag each and every one of us by the government talking about the media, I can assure you that we shall fight with the last drop of our drop and that attempted legislation will not see the light of the day.
“We are also going to ensure that in the Electoral Act that we are tampering with now, we will be putting all the safeguards and ensure that our vote will always count.
“We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the national party that as we work towards the 2023 elections, party discipline will be most important to us.
“Our members need to always be sure that they can depend on the national party for protection in and wherever they are.”
Secondus, however, said there would be no transparent general election in 2023 without amending the Electoral Act.
He added that Nigeria is now on autopilot due to the incapacity of the present administration that has piled up over N31 trillion debts.
He described the defection of Umahi to the APC as a personal voyage, adding that the party cannot be intimidated or blackmailed.
Secondus, in his address to the NEC meeting, urged members of the party in the National Assembly to work hard to ensure a new Electoral Act is passed before the 2023 general election.
National Assembly Can’t Deliver New Constitution – Omo-Agege
•Rules out merger of Senate, House of Reps
Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, has urged Nigerians not to engage in wishful thinking that the 9th National Assembly would deliver a new constitution, saying it lacks the mandate to do so.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, Omo-Agege made the comment when he hosted members of the Alliance of Nigerian Patriots led by Ambassador Umunna Orjiako in Abuja.
The deputy senate president, who chairs the Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, explained that the National Assembly had no powers to replace the current constitution of the country but could only amend it.
He cited advanced democracies like the United States of America after which Nigeria’s presidential system of government was fashioned as well as Sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), saying what is obtainable is piecemeal alteration of the constitution.
Omo-Agege, therefore, urged those calling for a brand new constitution to channel their energy towards participating actively in the ongoing amendment by the National Assembly.
“One of the issues you raised is the replacement of the 1999 Constitution. I am not so sure that we, as a parliament, have the power to replace the constitution. We can only make amendments. And it is explicit in Sections 8 and 9 of the constitution how we can do that and the requisite number of votes required.
“I say that because there are some top attorneys in this country who, for some reasons, keep saying that we don’t even need any of this, that we should just bring a new constitution. We can’t do that. What we are mandated to do by law is to look at those provisions and bring them up-to-date with global best practices, especially to the extent that they tally with the views of the majority of Nigerians. So we are not in a position to replace this constitution but we can only amend,” he said.
The lawmaker described the proposal by the delegation that zones should replace states as another euphemism for going back to the regions.
“We will look into that if that is what majority of our people want. You talked about devolution of powers. The preponderance of views we have received so far is that those 68 items are very wide and need to shed some weight and move them to the Concurrent Legislative List,” he said.
On the call for scrapping of the upper legislative chamber, Omo-Agege said;
“One of the issues raised by #EndSARS protesters was that the government should abolish the Senate and merge us with the House of Representatives. We are not in a position to do that. Mr. President is not even in a position to do that as well.”
Earlier, Orjiakor called for the reconfiguration of the present 36 states structure into six zones as federating units, drastic cut in the Exclusive Legislative List and expansion of the Concurrent Legislative List, reform of the National Assembly to a hybrid presidential and Westminster systems, abolition of security votes to be replaced by regular security budget allocations and electoral reforms to ensure a truly independent Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Anyim’s allegations unfounded, irresponsible —Ebonyi govt,
Reacting to Senator Anyim’s letter, Ebonyi Government through its appointees including Chief Onyebuchi Ogbadu, Ivo LGA Chairman; Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji, Commissioner for Information; Engr. Ogbonnaya Obasi, Commissioner for Works; Hon. Joseph Obasi, SA on Agric Development among others described the letter as unfounded, malicious and irresponsible. They added that the allegations he made did not hold any water.
Senator Pius Anyim had in his letter accused Governor David Umahi of being delusional in the handling of the governance of the state and the welfare of the people.
In their disagreement, the government appointees added that: “We are mindful to react to the senseless utterances of a man who supposedly is a national figure by virtue of his position as the former President of the Senate for about 3 years and Secretary to the Government of the Federation for four years and who is the real bad luck of his Local Government Area, Ebonyi State and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Nigeria.
“Anyim in his widest imaginations thought that by concocting mendacious allegations and making sarcastic utterances against a man who gave him relevance in his Local Government Area and a face in his state since he lost out in an unprovoked 6-year war he levied against a sitting governor of Ebonyi State between 2000 and 2006( Sen. Sam. Ominyi Egwu), he could sweep under the carpets, the public rage about the ugly trends of his nature of indisposition to a sitting governor of his state, by dishing out unfounded, malicious and irresponsible allegations of ‘assassination attempt’ and other petty-accusations against the person of our dear hard working governor.
“Senator Anyim also appeared to have unwittingly reflected his public perception when he connected the golden personality of Governor Umahi with the word ‘curse’
“It is indeed unbelievable and insensitively ridiculous that Senator Anyim Pius Anyim could use media platforms to make disreputable utterances that are capable of inviting those who know him to give a tip of the iceberg about his person and socio- political mannerisms.
“It may interest the public to know why this after thought by Sen. Anyim to sell a dummy that there’s a plan to kill him by the governor, which he funnily said was to perfect his ambition.
“Anyim who, though a BOT member of PDP had never attended a meeting of the NEC and South East Zonal meetings of PDP since the current national leadership of the party’ nor did he attend the keenly contested election of Prince Uche Secondus led National Working Committee, is now heading an Ebonyi based Zonal Working Committee to constitute a caretaker committee for the zone and the state in Abuja. What a local champion!
“As that was not enough, Sen. Anyim got an appointee of the governor to head the zonal leadership of the PDP, South East. As they were plotting what was uncovered and revealed through a security report as acts capable of causing breach of the peace, the governor exposed their evil plots in a media briefing.
“For the records, everybody knows Anyim as a man who has quarreled with the governors that have ruled in the history of the state. Anyim is known to have one style of criminal allegation; he doesn’t find it difficult to open his mouth to accuse somebody especially innocent people of murder. He is a man of peculiar antecedent of quarreling even with heads of churches and creating problems in families through land grabbing.
“We have myriads of cases hanging on him bordering on love for money at the detriment of the peace and development of his people.
“Honestly, we must commend the governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi who has tolerated Anyim thus far, who has done his very best to work with him, including doing everything to please a man we know cannot be pleased. But the time for the rest of Ebonyians especially Ivo people to see the quantum of his wickedness is now.
“What would the governor of Ebonyi State have done to sustain the tolerance of Anyim. All the projects done by the governor in Ishiagu, (Anyim’s home town), were given to Anyim as a contract. Anyim used his surrogates to do a shabby job, including the Nzerem/ Okue/Eke Ishiagu road.
“The governor gave him all the appointments with exception of Hon. Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji who is Commissioner for Information. The governor gives him palliatives uptill today despite his riches.
“Even in community and secular elections, he places demand on the governor and the governor does it without looking back. Many people in Ivo LGA have suffered a great set back and communities were retarded because of Pius Anyim. The curse upon him today is that if Governor Umahi cannot please him, no leader in this world will ever please him.
“It is obvious from Anyim’s publication that he has declared war against the state. By his publication, the alarms raised by the governor and the worries of the stakeholders and Elders have been justified and our governor vindicated.
“When a person dances badly in public, his or her people feel it badly. This is the case of the people of Ivo Local Government Area who are worried by this ugly behaviour of their son whose education and election into the Senate was by the collective contribution of Ivo people. We pray for him.”
Blame yourself not Anyim, Ebonyi indigenes in Onitsha tell Umahi
Countering the position of Ebonyi government, some indigenes of Ebonyi State living in Onitsha, yesterday, told Governor Umahi to emulate the prodigal son in the Bible and return to PDP instead of blaming anybody for his political miscalculation and ill fated journey to APC that they said will lead to woes.
Urging Umahi to stop washing his dirty linen in the public by claiming that Senator Anyim and other party leaders have grievances against him that made them back out of the defection to APC, the leader of Ebonyi Patriotic Front, Onitsha branch, Mr Tochukwu Okposi said that they are concerned about Umahi’s move to APC because he has worked more than any governor in Ebonyi State and therefore, don’t want him to continue in the mistake that will ruin his political achievements.
According to Mr. Okposi, “We were shocked that the Govermor Umahi embarked on a lone visit to President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of his defection. Such a lone visit may mean he had ulterior motive and does not speak well of the governor even though we are happy that he has done well for our state.
“President Buhari would have valued Umahi’s visit better had he visited him with the former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and other PDP leaders in the state.”
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