The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has blamed his recent travails on some chieftains of the party outside his state, saying “God will see me through, he knows my heart”
Oshiomhole spoke to State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday evening at the Presidential Villa, just hours after a Federal High Court in Kano gave a restraining order in his favour.
He said despite efforts by those he dubbed as ‘blacklegs’, whom he accused of holding membership of other opposition parties, his leadership of the party would be determined by God.
According to Nation, The party Chairman lamented that those who have been working to undo him had committed themselves to the fight not because he had performed poorly but because he had refused to allow them to abuse their privileged places in the party.
He also claimed that the ambition of some leading members of the party to contest the office of the President in 2023 had been a major motivation for many of the plots against him.
According to him, the court order, which called for his suspension was generated by the National Vice Chairman (Northwest), Comrade Mustapha Salihu and four others, adding that his lawyers had faulted the order gotten against him, saying it was issued by a court out of jurisdiction.
Speaking about those he alleged were behind the onslaught against him and their alleged motives, he said: “Those behind this plot, the hands you saw which includes as you saw yesterday, the Edo State governor and his people jubilating but that is the irony of life that you will help give birth to a child and the child look for cutlass to want to chop off your neck. It has happened in history, it has happened in this country so I won’t be only person.
“But there are other forces who see me for whatever reason as a threat to them. And those leading this anti-Oshiomhole campaign, some of them I emphasize, cannot even boast of a counselor in their state even as they lay claim to leadership position in our party.
“I am proud to say that I have done my best not only when I was a governor, I have done my best as chairman of this party.
” I have worked not only along members of the party and with support of the good people of Nigeria for the president to be re-elected, for us to have majority in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
“I also worked hard to deliver my unit, my ward, I worked hard to deliver my local government, I worked hard to deliver my federal constituency three of them in my senatorial zone, I also worked hard to deliver my senator.
“Those fighting me couldn’t deliver even a counselor of a local government in their unit.
“And they just feel that if they cannot give me orders then they must do everything to embarrass my person, but I believe that he who God stands with no man born of a woman can bring him down.”
He went on: “I can’t say more than that. Those who are parading themselves, holding meetings at night, my prayer to my God is that let them meet at night, what they do at night will be destroyed my light in the day time.
“I don’t go for night business I do day business. They know themselves, they know me and I know them.
“It is just unfortunate that if you have out of 100, 90 people are happy with you, will call and say well done, those 10 who are not are the ones that will call press conference to denounce you, they are the ones who will hold midnight meetings in a minister’s house to say how do we bring him down.
“They are the one who will plot how do we get rid of him because they want to be president in 2023 even when their hold on their state at the moment is doubtful If they were to go for referendum in terms of their approval rating.
“But God will see me through, He knows my heart, He knows my conscience and He knows the wishes of the overall majority of our members and to them I remain ever grateful”, he said.
On why they want him out, Oshiomhole explained: “You see there is an issue in this country. People want strong leadership, the averaged Nigerian want to have a strong leader for Nigeria, they want to have strong leaders in various institutions, they want institutions that are strong enough that cannot be controlled by individuals. That was why President Obama said, what Africa needs are strong institutions not strong persons.
“Unfortunately, very few section of our elites want to weaken institutions so that they can control and if you refuse to oblige them the misuse of your institution then they go for your jocular, that is the only thing. Otherwise I ask you, remember the confusion we had at the last NEC meeting?
“That meeting took place exactly a week or about 10 days after we had won Kogi election, Bayelsa election before the court took it and donated it to somebody else.
“Yet in the face of this victory, people said Oshiomhole must be removed, precisely because we won more seats.
“But you see whatever you do, those who want to fight you will fight you. But I know that my tenure will be defined my God not by man.
“And I worry more about what I will be remembered for when I was chairman rather than how long I was chairman.
“And I am convinced that I have done my very best, mistakes would have been made and I want to see the one person who will say he has never made mistakes.”
Speaking on the court order obtained against him, Oshiomhole said “just yesterday (Wednesday) morning suddenly I saw in the news that an FCT High Court has suspended me as national chairman.
“And that the person who went to court includes one of my vice chairmen, north East, one Mustapha (Mustapha Salihu APC National Vice Chairman Northeast) and four others. I was taken back because in the same suit they joined the APC, the police as the DSS.
“Our lawyers told me that in law that when you sue a federal agency, FCT High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. Number two, the purported suspension of my person by my ward, first I am going to give you a document to that effect so that you can form your opinion.
” Number three, I am not an officer of my ward, I am the national chairman of my party, elected at a national convention by over 7,000 delegates, so how could nine persons sit down somewhere and purport that they have removed a national chairman.
“And the court contrary to all logic, all judicial precedence find comfort in granting an interim interlocutory order to stop me from functioning pending when the matter is determine.
” In other words, he has given the order without the facts being laid before him and in the process adjourned the case to 7th of April.
“The calculations are clear that between now and April 7th, my opponent in the system would have had ample time to do all the mischievous plans they have in place to distabilise the APC.
“Because, some of them have membership of more than one political party. But happily this afternoon, a federal high court that I believe that has jurisdictions on federal issues because the DSS, the police are not state institutions but federal institutions, has given an appropriate order to restrain the so called suspension that was allegedly impose on me by my ward in Edo State.
“I thought that I had a duty to brief Mr. President as the overall leader of our party about this development. Incidentally, when I requested for the audience yesterday I wasn’t sure what has happened today will happen.
“But I had a duty to inform him about the court order. But happily before coming here, the order from a Federal High Court that has made nonsense of what the FCT court purported to have done has already settled the question.
“And I showed to the president the resolutions of my ward even though a ward executive does not have the powers to remove a national chairman, just to say that the document that we have says clearly that my ward passed vote of confidence on me.
“How the court can hold vote of confidence and twist it to mean vote of no confidence, only that judge can explain it to himself.
“But the good news is that this is not a final court nor is it the only court, incidentally it is just the court that didn’t have the jurisdiction even to listen to this matter.
“And our lawyers so pointed it out but the judge was determined to obliged those who want to distabilise the All Progressive Congress.”
Alleged ₦81.2bn Tree Planting Scandal: House Committee Exonerates NAGGW
The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee set up to investigate the utilisation of Ecological Fund released to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), has absolved the Agency’s management of allegations of fraud allegations leveled against it.
The Honorable Ismaila Dabo-led Adhoc committee was set up in July, to investigate allegations of mismanagement of funds released to the agency from the Ecological Fund.
This followed a motion titled: “The Need to Investigate the Utilization of Ecological Funds Released to the Great Green Wall by the International Organizations from 2015 to Date; and All Federal Allocations to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall as well as all Contract Awarded to Various Contractors for the Project from 2019 to Date.” which was sponsored by Honourable Ali Lawan Shettima.
The House panel, in a report obtained by Vanguard, on Sunday, revealed that it reached the conclusion after considering oral evidence and reviewing documents made available to it by those who testified before the 15 member committee.
At the inaugural sitting of the Adhoc Committee, the management team of the agency was invited to shed light on allegations that it spent ₦81.2 billion on the planting of 21 million trees across 11 frontline states.
The States listed were: Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.
The House Committee equally queried the agency over discrepancies in some of its expenditures.
Director General/CEO of National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Dr. Yusuf Maina Bukar, in his presentation before the Committee in September, denied the allegation while making clarifications on budgetary allocations to the agency.
He informed the committee that he assumed office in April 2022, and that berifiable records show that the sum of ₦53,425,423,874.34 was the amount released to the Agency from inception to July 2023, as against the sum of N81.2 bn which the Agency was alleged to have spent.
Bukar insisted the Agency has not acted outside its mandate in the implementation of its mandate.
According to him, not all of the ₦53,425,423,874.34 received were directly spent for tree planting activities as some uninformed persons would want Nigerians to believe.
He said, “The NAGGW cost of planting, from inception in 2015 to July 2023 is ₦5,145,735,470.15
“That the approximate sum of ₦7.2 billion balance in the Agency’s account are liabilities already committed to ongoing contracts that have already been awarded.
“All unutilized funds from capital appropriation are refunded to Federal Government TSA account at the end of the financial year where applicable.”
The Honourable Dabo fifteen-man Committee in its report also faulted the claim that the agency received the sum of ₦81.2 bn noting that, “Evidence from the Hearing indicates that the NAGGW received a total sum of ₦53,425,423,874.34 (Fifty-three Billion, Four Hundred and Twenty-five Million, Four Hundred and Twenty-three Thousand, Eight Hundred- and Seventy-four-naira, Thirty-four Kobo) only from inception in 2015 to July, 2023.”
In the course of its investigations, the Committee also discovered that the Agency didn’t receive budgetary allocation for 2015; and that ecological funding was not released to the agency until 2019.
The House panel also discovered that, “the percentage of ecological funding going to the Agency was reduced from 15% provided for by the Act to just 5% with effect from January 2020 to date.”
The report acknowledged the paucity and untimely release of funds, inability to access foreign assistance and absence of a Governing Board as some of the factors hindering the performance of the agency.
The lawmakers equally expressed displeasure over the unilateral reduction in the statutory allocation to the agency by fiat, and urged government, as a matter of urgency revert the Ecological Fund releases to the agency back to 15 percent as provided for by the NAGGW Act.
The report further read in part, “That the total sum of ₦20,168,363,662.18 (Twenty Billion, One Hundred and Sixty- Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Three Thousand, Six Hundred- And Sixty-Two-Naira, Eighteen Kobo) only being the shortfall of the reduction from Ecological Fund for January, 2020 to date, be immediately released to the Agency to fund its activities;”
Other recommendations contained in the report read : “Similarly, the Ecological fund office should calculate remit to the NAGGW the total sums due to the agency from the Ecological Fund from 2015 to 2018;
“Urge the National Agency for the Great Green Wall to as a matter of urgency include the frontline states of Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States in the fourth phase of the a forestation projects which is to commence soon.
“There is urgent need for the agency to undertake recruitment of staff, especially for its offices at the front line states;
“Need for a greater collaboration and synergy between the NAGGW and the Federal Ministry of Environment;”
“Urge the Federal Government to constitute a Governing Board for the National Agency for the Great Green Wall;
“Need for extensive enlightenment of the general public on the sustainable use of the forest for preservation.”
Aside from submissions by the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ecological Project Office, the Committee also undertook on-the-spot assessment visit to projects sites in some of the frontline states, namely; Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto State.
UNILORIN Extends POST-UTME Registration
The University of Ilorin, Unilorin, has approved an extension of POST-UTME registration by one week to cater for days of technical hitches.
This is contained in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday by Mr Mansur Alfanla, the Registrar of the university.
He announced that the new deadline for registration is Dec. 17, 2023.
It would be recalled that the deadline of the POST-UTME registration was December 10, before the extension.
The registrar therefore advised intending candidates to register within the extended period as there would not be further extension.
Disclose How Much Oil Nigeria Produces, Exports Daily, SERAP Tells NNPC
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited to disclose how much oil Nigeria produces and exports daily within seven working days.
SERAP alleged that the NNPCL had failed to disclose the amounts of barrels of oil the country produces and exports according to information at its disposal.
The organization also asked Kyari “to disclose how much of the revenues generated from oil have been remitted to the public treasury since the removal of subsidy on petrol.”
This was disclosed in a letter signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noting there was a legitimate public interest in disclosing the information sought.
“Nigerians are entitled to the right to receive information without any interference or distortion, and the enjoyment of this right should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure, and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.”
“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the details of barrels of oil Nigeria produces and exports every day and the total amounts of revenues generated and remitted to the public treasury.”
SERAP argued that the “Opacity in the amounts of barrels of oil the country produces and exports daily, the revenues generated and remitted to the public treasury would have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”
The organization said it would consider appropriate legal actions to compel the NNPCL to comply with the requests in the public interest, if it did not get any response within seven days.
SERAP recalled that the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had last week alleged that “the NNPCL is failing to remit enough foreign exchange into the treasury despite the removal of fuel subsidy.”
According to the organization the NNPCL has a legal responsibility to promote transparency and accountability in barrels of oil the country produces and exports every day.
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