THERE were indications on Sunday that three members of the senate, Senators Solomon Ewuga (CPC, Nasarawa North), Chris Anyanwu (APGA, Imo East), and Ehigie Uzamere (ACN, Edo South), had perfected the process of their defection to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the three senators would have announced their defection on the floor last week but for the appeal by the senate leadership that their action would be a weapon of blackmail by the opposition.
The leadership of the Senate had prevented the reading on the floor of the letter of defection of Senators Bukola Saraki, Adamu Abdulahi, Shaba Lafiagi, Ibrahim Gobir, Aisha Al – Hassan, Magnus Abe, Wilson Ake, Jibrilla Mohammed Bindowo, Danjuma Goje, Ali Ndume, and Umar Dahiru, who wanted to join the All Progressives Congress.
Senate President David Mark had maintained that their defection would not be perfected because they had instituted a suit against the Senate leadership at a court of law and that he would therefore not act on any matter pending before the court.
The development, it was further learnt, stalled the formal defection of Ewuga, Anyanwu and Uzamere, who made frantic efforts to announce their defection to the PDP last week, having registered as a member of the party in their various constituencies.
Uzamere had even attempted to raise a point of order to announce his defection on the floor last week but was not recognised by Mark, even when the attention of the Senate was drawn to his efforts by Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, an APC member from Oyo State.
The Senator from Edo State told our correspondent last week that he wanted to join the PDP because his party had merged with other parties and that he did not believe in the merger arrangement.
Also, Anyanwu justified her planned defection by citing the division in APGA, while Ewuga also said his decision was informed by the fact that he did not believe in the merger arrangement, which his party had subscribed to.
One of the defecting senators, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent on Sunday that he would submit his letter of defection this week and would make open announcement on the floor.
Meanwhile, the 11 senators who submitted a joint letter of defection were also said to be planning to raise a point of order seeking a political solution to their case on the floor of the Senate this week.
However, investigations by our correspondent revealed that the Senate leadership might frustrate the move and would insist on its position that the outcome of the court process, which they instituted, would determine their fate.
The party also wondered why the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, which voted N4bn for the First Lady’s pet-project and increased budget for Vice President’s new home from N9bn to N16bn, could not pay lecturers’ salaries.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics are currently on strike following the refusal of the Federal Government to honour agreements reached with their unions on improving their conditions of service.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, on Sunday, the CPC said it was “horrified by the ongoing strike”.
The CPC said, “The attendant disruption of academic calendar in the nation’s universities at this time of our national development is, to us as patriots, very disheartening indeed.”
It added that the demand by the ASUU “should be a no-brainer for any administration that seeks to radically improve the national educational standard. But we have seen that, over the years, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party has shown a consistency in exacerbating the falling standard of education in the country.”
The CPC noted that between 2000 and 2010, the average allocation to education by the successive PDP administrations was 8.12 per cent.
It said, “It is therefore not surprising that in 2010, there was a meteoric rise in fees in tertiary institutions across the country and that no Nigerian university could be found among the first 5,000 in the world or the first 50 in Africa and over 12 million children of school age were out of school.
“Furthermore, there were 98 per cent and 74 per cent mass failure in the 2009 National Examination Council November/December Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and 2010 May/June West African Examination Council examination respectively!
“As a party, we have noted that even the military regime before the infestation of PDP rule in Nigeria had an average of 12.87 per cent in sectoral allocation to education between 1994 and 1996.
“While the PDP administrations had been withholding the badly needed investment in education, Nigeria’s fellow English-speaking West African neighbour, Ghana, has consistently shown commitment to improved education within its boundaries. In 2012, Ghana’s allocation of 31 per cent of its national expenditure to education paled into insignificance the paltry 8.43 per cent that Nigeria – under President Goodluck Jonathan – spent on education.
“Should it therefore surprise anyone why Nigerian students have opted for Ghanaian tertiary institutions in recent times? The staggering $500m (N81.5bn) that left the shores of the land in 2012 because of money spent abroad by Nigerians for education should be a cause for worry to all well-meaning Nigerians.”]]>
A new opposition party emerged yesterday. It is called All Progressives Congress (APC), midwifed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). It is a consummation of the merger talks among the main opposition parties.
At a Press conference yesterday in Abuja, Chief Tom Ikimi, Alhaji Garba Mohammed Gadi and former Kano State governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, all chairmen of the merger committees set up by the three parties, announced the formation of APC. Senator Annie Okonkwo represented the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In attendance at the briefing were governors, federal lawmakers and chieftains of the parties involved.
But the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, dismissed the merger, saying it is a sign of weakness by the opposition parties. Chief Ikimi told reporters that the merger was informed by the resolve to form a political party committed to the principles of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end, determined to grow our economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, industrial growth and stop the increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people.’’
Ikimi noted that the new party would serve as a catalyst for the restoration of peace and prosperity in the country.” The resolution of these issues, the restoration of hope, the enthronement of true democratic values for peace, democracy and justice are those concerns which propel us. We believe that by these measures only shall we restore our dignity and position of pre-eminence in the Comity of Nations.
This is our pledge.’’ While they were, however, silent on the logo of the new party and when it would be unveiled, Ikimi told journalists that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be formally informed in due course about the formation of the new political party.“We shall immediately communicate this decision to the appropriate authority, so that the process of registration could commence.’’
Reacting to the alliance, Tukur said it was indifferent to the new party, as he noted that the PDP remained the most formidable party in the country. “Beautiful! The more, the merrier. Let me tell you, there is no ward in the whole Nigeria where you do not have one member of PDP. PDP is the only party in the country that fields candidate in every polling booth in the country. “There is no polling booth in Nigeria where you will not find one member of PDP. We are the only party. That shows the acceptance. It is the only party in government now that is in the majority. It does not mean that we want to be a party and there is no opposition, in fact opposition is a charge to action.
If they have the strength, why do they come together? They (opposition parties) are no threat at all, it is better, it inspires PDP to action.’’ In what could be termed a crack in the alliance, APGA dissociated itself from the talks. Opposition to the merger came from the Anambra State chapter of APGA, saying, the party has stated categorically that it has not merged with any political party or group of parties. A statement issued yesterday by the Commissioner for Information, Chief Joemartins Uzodike, described the purported merger as a figment of the imagination of some people and therefore, null and void.
He said that APGA had neither gone into nor did it intend to go into any merger talks with any political party, let alone the ones mentioned in the merger. He stated that neither the National Executive Council (NEC) nor a National Convention of the party had been summoned to discuss or ratify any proposal for a merger. According to him, “APGA is a national party and is guided by both the Constitution and electoral laws of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, our governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has never mentioned any issue regarding APGA merging with any political party in the executive council meeting of the state either for discussion or for information as was His Excellency’s practice on issues of such importance and magnitude. “I have equally consulted with the state chairman of our party, Chief Mike Akunwata Kwentor and he is in total agreement with this assertion that APGA has not merged with any political party or parties.” Uzodike said that APGA was part and parcel of the Jonathan administration where the party enjoys ambassadorial and other executive appointments/privileges and should therefore, not be seen as working against the administration.
According to him, those who were clamouring for merger were only after their ego and self-aggrandizement. The APGA family, he said, could not be in a merger with parties whose manifestos, ideologies, beliefs, culture, ethics and conducts were not in tandem with that of APGA. The commissioner said it was regrettable that some of those championing APGA merger were people who could not boast of winning their wards in a political contest while some of them were those who masquerade their drivers as party chairmen in their states and their wives as women leaders.
He called on members of the public to disregard the so-called merger and go about their normal businesses. Meanwhile, attempts by Daily Sun to get the reaction of APGA Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, yesterday were not successful as one of his aides refused to pick his calls. Daily Sun wanted Umeh to clarify the statement credited to Anambra State faction of APGA that Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who represented the party at the merger talks was on his own even as it was learnt that the governor received Umeh’s nod to attend the meeting.
At the end of the closed-door meeting, held at the Marina residence of the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, read a communiqué to journalists saying the governors reviewed the situation in the country, and then agreed that dethroning the PDP was critical to rescuing Nigeria from anarchy and underdevelopment.
“As progressive and patriotic leaders of our people across party, religious and geo political zones, we are extremely concerned about the state of the nation and we have put our heads together in the interest of our people to deliberate on what can be done to rescue our country”, the communiqué said.
“As Governors, we fully endorse the merger initiatives already commenced by our various political parties and we will put our full weight behind these efforts,” added Mr. Shettima, who is of the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party.
The governors argued that Nigeria is greater than everyone and that everybody has a duty to make the merger work in the interest of the people and the future of generations yet unborn.
Also speaking, the host, Mr. Fashola of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, said the meeting was about making Nigeria a better place. He dismissed suggestions by the PDP and some Nigerians that the might not work.
He said, “I am convinced here that the full weight of ten of us governors and many more who unfortunately could not make it today is a much more stronger force and the underlying reason is clearly how to make this place a better place.”
In his speech the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, also of the ACN, said a lot of the other governors who were not present at the meeting would come on board once they are convinced of the sincerity of the participants in Tuesday’s meeting.
Justifying his attendance at the meeting, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, said the planned merger had become necessary to save the country from being turned into a one-party state.
“I personally fully endorse this movement and merger,” Mr. Okorocha, of the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance, said. “We are on a rescue mission here and the essence is about making Nigeria a better nation.”
The Zamfara State Governor, Abdulazziz Yari, described the meeting as a pathway to fixing Nigeria and putting it on the path of development.
“We believe that the PDP has not done enough,” Mr. Yari, also an ANPP governor, said. “We have the idea, the knowledge and the progressive intention to move the country forward. So, if you say that we are going to move PDP out of power, yes we are ready to do that, God willing,” he said.
Those at the meeting were Mr. Shettima, Mr. Okorocha, Mr Fashola , Nassarawa, Governor Tanko Almakura (Nassarawa), Mr. Amosun, Governor Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Governor Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Mr. Yari and the Yobe state governor, who was represented by Senator Jejere Alkali.
The party said its attention was drawn to comments credited to the Presidential aide, who they alleged cast aspersions on Buhari for speaking on the “failure” of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration to provide security.
This was contained in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, in Abuja, on Thursday.
The satement said, “In the said response, Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Presidential aide on Public Affairs, was reported to have described Buhari’s statement, which aptly mentioned the constitutional provision that the ‘purpose of government is the welfare and security of the people’, as irresponsible, reckless and opportunistic.
“It is never surprising that Okupe’s communication is often laden with asininity and acerbic profanity. What is befuddling is the quality of leadership of the nation’s presidency that bears with such immeasurable indecency.”
ABUJA — The new party coming from the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, will pursue the restructuring of the country, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the CPC national leader said yesterday.
Speaking at the inauguration of the CPC merger committee in Abuja, Buhari said that a flag and logo for the new party which is expected to emerge in June this year have already been prepared.
The merger committee headed by former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Garba Gadi, is expected to formalize ongoing talks with the ACN and other opposition parties on issues ranging from manifesto, party flag and logo.
Buhari said: “It is not impossible that the new party is presented to the people by middle of this year after signing the declaration. It should not take more than six weeks for the parties to pursue the matter within their own constitutional context to ensure that the issue is legitimated through the proper procedures and processes of its own organs”.
He said the party and the ACN were already pursuing the merger at an advanced stage as both parties are near perfection on every detail of the agreements between the two parties.
Buhari said there was a strong understanding and determination between the ACN and CPC to create a new party with a brand new logo and flag already designed, including all other paraphernalia of a political party already in place.
Buhari who was optimistic on prospects of the new party said: “The new party will root for proper federation as the basis of the union and for the governance of the country; and should therefore support the restructuring of the country. The 36-state structure of the country is simply not working; and it must therefore be rationalised.
“The party should root for democracy, rule of law and the entrenchment of a democratic culture in the country; and the foundation of the new party should be anchored on the recognition and acceptance that our cultural and religious differences are a blessing and a source of strength, and should not be a cause for disunity”.
“The new party should as a matter of topmost priority begin to tackle and plan for the creation of a new security architecture for the country and possibly for the entire sub-region, a development that may involve the creation of local security networks and the restoration of traditional intelligence gathering techniques to shore up a police force that has obviously failed,” Buhari said.
According to Buhari the new party will bring about new work ethic in the public service and accountability by every public office holder.
He assured Nigerians that the merger between the CPC and ACN is going to be a full fledged one, and not an alliance, because Nigerians expect a merger.
However, he charged the Gadi led 18-man committee on CPC merger talks to be focused and see their assignment as a national task as it is an opportunity to build and run a better Nigeria.
“Your task is national, the issue before you now and as you go into your negotiations is fundamentally one that you will negotiate at the best deal for Nigeria. It is essentially a matter of give-and-take: there is nothing sacrosanct about any of the issues you will be called to thrash out, but of course, there is a bottom-line the outlines of which have been giver in the committee’s terms of reference.
“We are not going into a battle; we are going into a friendly game with our brothers who desire for this nation what we desire for. You must always remember to negotiate with respect, understanding and decorum as befits people who are ready and genuinely desirous of merging into one tomorrow,” Buhari added.
National Publicity Secretary, Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
The three major opposition political parties planning to merge in 2013 are having problems agreeing on a name, symbol and other identities for the proposed mega opposition party.
Findings by The PUNCH show that the three parties–the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Congress for Progressive Change–set up separate committees to ensure that the merger plan materialised.
The committees were mandated to prepare the position of their parties for an enlarged meeting of all the three committees.
The committees, whose members are working in secrecy, are also to suggest a name, logo, symbol and slogan for the proposed party.
However, our correspondent learnt that one of the parties is insisting that any new party resulting from the merger must bear its name and have its symbol.
A source privy to the goings on in one of the committees spoke to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday. However, he refused to disclose the name of the party that wanted the mega party to assume its identity.
The source said, “We may have problems choosing a name and a symbol, because one of the parties is insisting on dictating the name and the symbol.
“This is, however, expected, but I believe that as time goes on, we will get over this. It is one of the teething problems we expected.”
Our correspondent, however, learnt that unlike in 2011 when merger moves failed, the three parties were ready to reach a compromise.
But when contacted, spokesmen for the political parties, however, allayed fears over the problem.
They said in different interviews with our correspondent in Abuja that the merger would work.
But National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, debunked the rumour of problems in the merger talks. He alleged that the PDP was behind the rumour.
He said, “If PDP wants to know what is happening in our merger talks, they should come out openly to say so.
“The real matter is that the PDP is worried about this merger and wants to erect artificial obstacle against it. It will not work.”
Mohammed said the ACN and its leaders would not renege on their promises concerning the merger plan, adding that talks aimed at achieving this were ongoing.
He said, “The merger talks are going on well and I can tell you that we are committed to this. The three parties are committed to this, and the Peoples Democratic Party is aware that we are coming up stronger, which may not be good for it.”
Also, the National Chairman of the ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said that the merger talks between opposition political parties were at a critical stage now, and would definitely solve Nigeria’s political problems when concluded.
Onu, who added that the PDP was not comfortable with the talks, said the leadership of the opposition political parties were united in their resolve to merge.
He said, “The merger talks are ongoing right now. By the grace of God, the merger will be successful. We want to give Nigeria effective competition in the political arena.
“We believe that competition, which is good in the social and economic arena, is also good in the political arena.
‘‘We are convinced that when we have this in the country, we will be better off. Many of the problems that have confronted this nation over the years shall be solved. We are hopeful that once we come together and form a government, everything will be solved for the good of everybody.”
National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, told our correspondent that the three political parties had realised that it would be difficult to unseat the PDP if they failed to team up.
Fashakin said, “We will work hard to merge and that will be achieved. Before now, the three political parties had tried individually to dislodge the PDP from power, which did not materialise.
“The reality that they would not be able to do it alone dawned on them during the last general elections with the sophistry with which the PDP rigged the polls.
“Now, we have agreed that we do not even need collaboration or alliance. What we need now is merger or nothing else. I can confirm to you that a merger is a foregone conclusion among us.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, however, said that the PDP was not threatened by such a merger since it remained the only truly national political party that was deeply committed to the continued existence of Nigeria and its transformation.
THREE major opposition political parties – Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party – may drop their identities by April 2013, when talks on their proposed merger are expected to be completed.
The merger of the parties is one of the strategies being canvassed by some politicians to defeat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party which has dominated power since the advent of the present democracy in 1999.
Analysts are of the opinion that any genuine and honest cooperation among opposition parties for the 2015 general elections could make the election tough for the PDP.
The Chairman of the ANPP National Rebuilding and Interparty Contact Committee, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, told journalists in Abuja on Sunday, that the merger talks between the three ACN, CPC and ANPP had reached the last stage.
Shekarau, a former Governor of Kano State, added that the chieftains of the three parties had decided to forget their individual ambitions to make the fusion a success.
He said that the leaders had realised that an alliance between the three parties would not work and that it was better for them to merge.
The ANPP chieftain said, “Certainly, we are going to submit our party certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission after our merger. That is what a merger means. The Electoral Law is so clear on the procedure for a merger.
“If we decide to merge, the next thing is that we go back to our parties, call National Executive Committee meeting, and discuss with the members, in the presence of INEC officials. Then, you can call congress and that is all.”
He said that both the ANPP and the ACN were not new to mergers.
Shekarau said, “We have passed through this before when we were All Peoples Party and then Action Congress too, before it became ACN.
“The difference now is to pass a resolution and all this will be simultaneously done (by the three parties) and we will inform INEC about it. When that is done, INEC has no choice than to register your new identity.”
In the alternative, he said the parties might decide to adopt the name of one of the existing political parties while the remaining two would dissolve into the adopted one.
The other two options, according to him, are to “take a symbol, a flag and any other identity from the parties so that every party will have a sense of belonging or all of us will just forget our identity.”
Asked if the parties had learnt any lesson from their failed ambition to merge in 2011, Shekarau said ‘Yes’. But added that one of the reasons was that they started the process late.
He said, “We started late then. In fact, the negotiation started when all the political parties already had their presidential candidates and had finished their congresses.
“That was what made it difficult. Who among the candidates would you have expected to step down?
“Arguments came for example, that I had won the presidential primary of the ANPP. Out of the 3,000 delegates, I had 2,500 votes or thereabout. Now, sitting down in a room with about 10 people and I say I’m stepping down for you, it is no longer my personal mandate.
“What do you do with the people who stood in the rain and sun, slept in the bus, on the roadside and overnight. And again, our party had already submitted names of persons to INEC and when you merge, it would be beyond national election.
“What do you do with other elections like governorship elections, where each political party had their candidates?
“The CPC, ACN, and ANPP all had their candidates for other elective positions. These candidates had spent money, canvassed for votes and all that. That was why we said let all the parties go for elections.”
The former presidential candidate said all the political parties had agreed that the electoral ambitions of party members must not feature during their discussion.
“We are all coming to the table on equal terms. Whoever has any ambition is with his political party and not ours now. We are all talking on the same level. None of these parties has any candidates for any elective office for now. We can only talk about former candidates,” Shekarau said.
The National Publicity Secretaries of the CPC and ACN, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Sunday confirmed what Shekarau said.
Both Fashakin and Mohammed said their parties were committed to the merger and that the modalities were being worked out.
They said their plan was to form a stronger political party that would be capable of sacking the PDP.
Fashakin said, “Yes, we are ready to lose our identity for the sake of the bigger party that is capable of sacking the PDP.
“My National Chairman, Prince Tony Momoh, has said it several time that he is ready to lose his position as well. I’m also ready for that, if that will enable us form a party that will be big enough to confront and remove the PDP from the central government.”
Mohammed said, “ACN is committed to getting a single platform of all opposition political parties that will drive the PDP out of power.”
On whether the ACN was also ready to lose its identity, he said “All I can tell you is that the modalities are being worked out. And we are committed to it.”
Ogun State Government Ibikunle Amosun, his Kaduna State counterpart, Patrick Yakowa, and the Congress for Progressive Change have expressed their condolences to President Goodluck Jonathan on the death of his younger brother, Meni.
Meni, 45, died at the National Hospital, Abuja on Tuesday.
Amosun, in a statement by the Secretary to State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, on Thursday, described the death of Meni as regrettable.
He said, “It is most regrettable that he died at the prime of his life, when he still had much to contribute to the development of Bayelsa State and Nigeria in general.
“Many who had close interactions testified to his strength of character, discipline and dedication to the service of His creator and well being of his community.
“We take solace in the knowledge that the good Lord knows best and that Chief Meni Jonathan lived a short but eventful life worthy of emulation.”
Yakowa described the death as shocking.
The governor noted that the death of Meni had left a vacuum through his youthfulness, vigour and energy that would be missed by the family.
In a statement on Thursday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Mr. Reuben Buhari, the governor said, “The governor and the entire people of Kaduna State deeply sympathises with President Goodluck Jonathan and his family over the death of his younger brother.
“We pray to God to give the President the grace to overcome the unfortunate loss.”
CPC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, in a statement on Thursday, condoled with Jonathan “with unquestionable feeling of empathy for the family”.
He said, “Undoubtedly, the loss must have brought great anguish to the family.
“As a party, we commiserate with the Jonathan family at this very trying time. It is our prayer that the good Lord shall grant the needed grace and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
CPC added, “While mourning the dead, it is fitting to celebrate the living. It is in this wise that the leadership, members and supporters of the CPC heartily congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan on his 55th birthday. We pray for good health and many happy returns.”
Reacting to the quick acceptance of defeat by Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, the PDP in a statement congratulating the victorious Barack Obama, had advised opposition parties in Nigeria to learn to accept defeat, accusing them of being bad losers.
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC in separate reactions, tongue-lashed the PDP for being the major obstacle to democracy in the country. The ACN said the joke was on the PDP and charged the party to ask why its candidate in the recent Ondo State gubernatorial election, Olusola Oke was in the courts if really there was a level playing ground in the country.
President Obama’s victory was, nevertheless, hailed across the country with President Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate and the House of Representatives sending their respective congratulations to the victorious US Democratic Party candidate, Obama who was returned for a second term.
Opposition parties are bad losers — PDP
Urging Nigerians especially, the opposition and those who lose elections to emulate the action of the Republican candidate in his swift acceptance of defeat, the PDP said it was a good element of patriotism which opposition parties should learn to make Nigeria a greater nation.
“The swift manner of congratulations and the graceful conduct of the defeated candidate is a shining example of patriotism and submission to the overall will of the people,” the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.
This act, according to the PDP, is one of the elements that have made America’s democracy the envy of all nations.
“The greatest threat to the stability of our democracy is the reckless bickering that happens after elections in Nigeria,” Metuh added.
“A lot of time and energy is decimated on frivolous legal suits and the pursuit of bitterness which indeed affects valuable time for the delivery of electoral promises.”
According to Metuh, the PDP was particularly delighted at the conciliatory posture of President Obama and his emphasis on the values that unite America rather than the divisions that manifested during the campaign, adding, “President Obama’s constant reference to patriotism and a sense of duty to America by Americans in his acceptance speech is another lesson we must imbibe in our quest to build our democracy. Also noteworthy is the charge by the re-elected President for Americans to always uphold the philosophy of “not expecting what can be done for us but what can be done by us to move our nation forward.
‘With this election, America has once more blazed the trail in overcoming its internal stratification for the overall benefit of their country”.
The joke is on PDP —ACN
The ACN and CPC in two separate reactions were unsparing in their denunciation of the PDP, accusing the dominant party of hamstringing the democratic process through devious schemes.
The ACN speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed told Vanguard yesterday:
“They are very daft with due respect. You see, it is a process and the only reason the loser was able to concede defeat was because there was a free and fair election.
“The joke is on them. Why is their own candidate for instance, in Ondo State challenging the outcome of the election? So, they should heal themselves first. They should ask, ‘why is their candidate, Oke, saying that the election is not free and fair that he is not going to congratulate Mimiko? Why? So the joke is on them.
“There is no lesson to learn except that if elections are free and fair, the losers will be willing to congratulate the winner. Romney immediately conceded defeat because he could not say there was ballot stuffing here or that a commissioner was arrested with AK-47,” the ACN spokesman said.
PDP should be ashamed — CPC
In his own reaction to the charge from the PDP, the CPC’s national publicity secretary, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin said:
“The ruling PDP leaders should be ashamed of themselves. The electoral process in the US – that is devoid of the do-or-die philosophy of the forebears of the PDP- is another pointer to the worthlessness of PDP rule in the country.
“Ordinarily, electoral contest, having been conducted with scrupulous adherence to governing rules, should be devoid of acrimony and bitterness as was seen in the recent US presidential elections. But the salient variable that is missing is the corruptive superimposition of the ruling PDP that removes the fairness, free-ness and credibility from our elections. Owing to the President’s indulgent use of executive powers in militarizing the polity for the purpose of election rigging, the inexorable consequence is rejection of results. Indeed, if elections are fair, we shall imbibe the culture of congratulating winners immediately. The question is, can the PDP really learn from this,” he asked.
Jonathan congratulates Obama
Meanwhile, President Jonathan, yesterday, congratulated Obama on his re-election, promising to sustain the cordial relations between the two countries.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, he said:
”On behalf of himself, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan heartily congratulates President Barrack Obama on his success in winning re-election in yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) presidential elections in the United States.
“President Jonathan welcomes President Obama’s victory in an intensely fought presidential race as an endorsement by the good people of United States of his leadership, progressive world view and the very good work he has done in the past four years towards ending global economic depression and fostering global peace and security.
“Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union enjoyed very cordial and productive relations with the Obama Administration in his first term.
“President Jonathan looks forward to continuing to build on Nigeria’s and Africa’s developmental collaboration with the United States in the next four years.
“The President looks forward in particular to the further strengthening of US-Nigeria bilateral relations and the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission which was established in President Obama’s first term as the primary platform for the promotion of greater trade and economic cooperation between both countries as well as bilateral collaboration in other areas.
“President Jonathan also hopes that the millions of people across the world, especially those in developing nations who watched the beauty and strength of democracy unfold in the United States presidential elections yesterday will come to a greater and better appreciation of democracy as the key to building peaceful, stable and progressive societies.
“The President wishes President Obama continued good health and God’s blessings and guidance as he prepares for his inauguration in January for a second term in office as the President of the United States of America.”
Senate, Reps hail Obama, Americans
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, said that the election of the United States of America would serve as an inspiration to Nigerian politicians.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, noted that the will and wishes of the people prevailed, just as he stressed that there was no imposition of candidates during the primary election.
The Senate also congratulated the people of America and President Obama over his victory and expressed confidence in President Obama‘s ability to lead America out of the current economic challenges bedeviling the entire world.
Also yesterday, the House of Representatives congratulated Obama on his re-election.
This was sequel to a motion moved by Rep. Friday Itulah (PDP, Edo State) who in his motion said that the election had lessons for Nigeria to learn from.
Seconding the motion, Rep. Abike Dabri-Erewa said thatthe outcome of the election should be a source of inspiration for the Nigerian electorate and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Contributing to the debate on the motion, Rep. Samson Osagie appealed to INEC to learn from the experience of the US presidential election.
The motion was also supported by Rep. Nnenna Ukeje, Andrew Uchendu and Bimbo Daramola among others.