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11years of Democracy: How have the states fared?

Dayo Benson, Political Editor
Tomorrow is exactly 11 years since this republic ‘s democratic journey began. Eleven years is not a milestone but that does not however detract from political stock taking, especially at this critical period. This year’s democracy day, which ever way it s viewed, bears some significance on the polity. It is the last before the much talked 2011 general elections.

It is also the last democracy day for state governments where governorship election will take place. Exceptions are Sokoto, Adamawa, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Balyesa Cross River , Ekiti, and Ondo. There are  pertinent questions: In the last eleven years how has democracy fared in the land?

President Jonathan

How has it impacted on the lives of the people? How have politicians and political parties redefined the political space? What dividends of democracy have been delivered to the people across the state? And what is the future of democracy in the next general elections? Perhaps a cursory look at eleven years of democracy across the states , particularly in the last three years will provide answers to some of these questions.

Kwankwaso, Shekarau have taken Kano to next level

Infrastructural development got priority attention in Kano over the last one decade following concerted effort of former Governor, and Defense Minister, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso  and the incumbent, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.

Kwankwaso administration who took over from the military in 1999 had within 4 years of his administration built several network of roads to open up hitherto congested centre of commerce.

Until lately, successful military administration in the state preoccupied itself with maintaining law and order while paying lip services to socio economic development of the state.

The last 10 years of civilian administration in Kano witnessed accountability in governance, maintenance of law and order, human development and social reorientation of the citizen.

Girl child education were made compulsory and free to all over the last ten years in the state, while feeding was introduced in primary schools to encourage students attendance, while street hawking was considerably reduced to barest minimum.

The administration set up skilled acquisition centre for youths to curtail rising unemployment, and youth restiveness while women were given loans to start an economic venture.

While Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s administration succeeded in  laying  foundation for development, Malam Shekarau expanded the frontiers by evolving a 10 years encompassing  development plan for the city that had since translated to huge success

Governor Shekarau introduces fiscal discipline and prudence in management of government finances a legacy that has made Kano richer than any of its peer in the polity.

Governor Ibrahim Shekarau dedicated sizable percent of the 2009 budget to capital project that gave way for the expansion Urban Roads to 6 lanes covering over 35 kilometers.

Kano now boast of Information Technology hub that has attracted such a US conglomerate,  Microsoft, while Tsangaya education were equally not left out as plan is also in the pipeline to establish a Board that will responsible for its operations.

Malam Ibrahim Shekarau regime had established water treatment plant in Tamburawa with a capacity of 150milion cubic litres of water, while water treatment plant is also ongoing and on completion will complement the existing facilities. Despite the rising population of the city that has overstretched the facility, acute water shortage is gradually becoming a thing of the past.

A resident, Engineer Magaji Dau Aliyu told Vanguard that the last 10 years of democracy has been a blessing to the state. According to him the two administration that ad the opportunity of rendering services to the people had actually proved their mettle.

The Jigawa born structural engineer maintained that the level of infrastructural development has made the state loose its hitherto traditional set up to modernity.

Adamawa has made several landmarks

By Umar Yussuf
Democracy in Adamawa State in the past years has been eventful in the sense that a lot have  been achieved in the political landscape of the state.

The administration of Governor Murtala Nyako seems to be recording some level of modest achievements in infrastructural development, but not without some degree of shortcomings.

Nyako’s administration in the past years, has achieved a lot in the area of roads construction. The government embarked upon on aggressive urban and semi urban township roads, so much so that Yola the state capital and other major towns in the state now have access roads networks.

Prominent among these towns are Mubi, the commercial nerve centre of the state, Numan, Ganye,Gombi, Demsa, Shelleng among others.

Road networks in all the cities and towns which were hitherto in deplorable conditions have been transformed by the Nyakos administration.

The administration even went further to construct and rehabilitate some Federal roads in the state, even as many link roads are either completed or are under construction.

Other areas of giant stride by the administration are the agricultural sector, education, health, youth empowerment, urban and regional water supply among others.

However, criticisms have trailed the administration in some key  sectors especially the running of ministries, parastatals and other government agencies.

Ministries, parastatals and agencies in the state have been rendered ineffective due to lack of running costs.

Most of these government ministries and agencies, among them those classified as rendering special services have been without running costs up to close one year.

The state owned media houses along side the water board are some classified agencies hard hit by the stoppage of running costs.

On the political scene, no major political upset were recorded in the state in the last  two years, except when all the Action Congress, AC members in the Adamawa State House of Assembly decamped  to the ruling PDP.

Reasons adduced by the members for joining PDP was the modest achievements of the Nyako’s led government.

The decamping has turned the Assembly to an all PDP affairs thereby bridging the little friction which hitherto existed between the executive and legislative arms of government in the state.

On the major political drama noticed in the state in the last one year as the nation marks democracy day is the lingering factionalization of the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

A  faction created by one  Prince Meden Teneke, the former cabinet  member of Nyako’s administration has been crying foul over the composition of the state executive of the party calling for a party congress.

It’s been blood bath on the Plateau

By Taye Obateru
Just like the situation in the country generally, the past 11 years of democracy in Plateau State is an admixture of the good and the bad. Whichever way it is viewed, majority of the people feel that the period is better than several years of military rule.

On the positive side, the Joshua Dariye Administration which governed the state for eight years and the Jonah Jang Administration which has been on the saddle in the past three years have contributed in varying degrees to physical and political development of the state.

Despite the controversies that dotted his administration, Dariye recorded some landmarks that cannot be taken away from him. The establishment of Plateau State University is one of such legacies.

He also contributed to the country’s constitutional development through the judicial pronouncement on his purported impeachment by handful of legislators. His case and those of others helped to establish that nothing short of the two_thirds of a legislature can impeach a president or a governor.

Jang has also within the past three years given true meaning to the much abused ‘’dividends of democracy’’ phrase through some projects. The facelift he is giving to Jos, the capital and local government headquarters through massive road construction is a major achievement of his administration.

Director, League for Human Rights, A Jos_based civil group, Mr. Peter Gad Shamaki noted: “There have been ups and downs in Plateau State as depicted by the declaration of a state of emergency, political instability and religious crises. Recently also, some little progress has been made by the government in the area of road construction”.

However, the unending crisis in the state since 2001 is a major minus as all efforts to restore peace have not achieved the desired ends. It would seem that democracy has increased the culture of impunity in some people while political differences are believed to have fueled some of the violence that have erupted.

It was crisis that made Plateau State go down with the unenviable record as the first state in the Fourth Republic where a state of emergency was declared. That was in 2004 following vilence in Yelwa_Shendam. The failure to find a solution to the violence  has also been blamed on the inability of politicians to separate political interest from the corporate interest of the state.

Thus we now have a situation where the same politicians that ‘ganged up’ against Dariye now find a common enemy in Jang. They are already in the trenches perfecting their strategies for next year’s election.

While some are poised to stop Jang from getting a second term for his alleged inadequacies, his supporters and strategists are also making deft political moves to brighten his chances and frustrate his political opponents. The governorship primaries of the PDP therefore promises to be a battle royale.

Despite the imperfections, however, many peope in the state are agreed that democracy was in every way better than military rule. Those who spoke to Vanguard believed that the ‘’teething problems’’ which they blamed on prolonged military interregnum would be gradually surmounted.

They advised politicians to mend their ways and move away from the current tendency to work for themselves, to serving the people. They argue that this was the only way to keep the military permanently in the barracks.

Militancy hindered development in Bayelsa

By Samuel Oyadongha
When the nation return to civil rule in 1999 expectations were high in Bayelsa State, the only homogenous Ijaw speaking state known to have suffered the worst form of violent conflict in the country. This was shortly after the Kaiama Declaration which brought the seen as the core of the Niger Delta with over eighty percent of its landmass under water  to the front burner of national discourse.

The joy of the people knew no bound as they expected that the election of one of their own will usher in a new dawn in the state lacking federal presence, a situation responsible for the agitations of the youths for equity and justice within the Nigerian federation.

The critical challenges in the state were security problems as this was a period the creek of the state was turned into a killing field by the rampaging militants locked in bloody guerilla warfare with the nation security forces.

Odi, Odioma and Agge communities were completely sacked by the nation Federal security forces with the people abandoned to pick the pieces of their lives and start afresh.

Unarguably one of the few states which oil and gas deposit have been the mainstay of the nation’s economy, almost 14 years after its creation Bayelsa cannot boast of any tangible Federal presence.

Governor Timipre Sylva himself stated the obvious during his inauguration when he described the state as the least developed, industrially and economically of all 36 states of the Federation.

For a place that accounts for 22 per cent of the country’s onshore oil resources and even more gas deposits, as well as being the place where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in the country, this was a harsh but honest conclusion.

Sylva had then blamed a number of factors for this sad state of affairs such as the collapse of the educational sector leading to poverty and high unemployment; collective neglect of the region by past administrations at both state and Federal level as well as lack of sustainable development programmes by the operating oil companies.

Conscious of the developmental needs of his people, the governor moved swiftly to reverse the fortunes of the state by brokering peace with the militants who had then stepped up their campaign of sabotage against the nation oil and gas industry.

This was long before the Federal government tinkered with the idea of granting amnesty to the masked men in the mangrove swamp.

The governor came up with a formula for peace called the Triple ‘E’ -engagement, empowerment and enforcement targeted at the youths whose disaffection made them easy pawn for the lords of the creeks.

This was the period the state was practically on its knees as violent attacks by militias seeking a greater share of the oil wealth had cut production in the Niger Delta as a whole by a quarter.

Bayelsa State was worse hit as its revenue from the federation account noose dived with the state losing its position as the second highest oil producing state in country.

However transforming the state, once a hot bed of youth militancy into an oasis of peace came with a price as enormous resources was expended to win the confidence of the warlords.

Lamenting the plight of the people, a minority rights activist, James Nengi, said the sacking and desecration of Ijaw communities by the federal troops is the ‘dividends of democracy’ enjoyed by Bayelsans and some states in the Niger Delta.

With eleven years of democratic rule and 14 years after its creation Bayelsa has no federal secretariat to accommodate the several federal ministries and agencies in the state.

The state police command, Nigeria Customs, Immigration and Prisons are operating from structures not befitting such federal agencies while efforts by the federal government to construct three senatorial roads to link the coastal hinterland have been on the drawing since the sixties.

Despite the Timipre Sylva administration construction of maze of internal roads within the capital city, Yenagoa could still be described as a glorified village, where property developers build structures haphazardly without recourse laid down government procedure in erecting buildings.

Also some property developers have blocked the natural canal right of way leading to flooding whenever there is heavy downpour.

For Ebikibina Miriki, State Acting Chairman of the Action Congress (AC), 11 years of democracy in the country has not impacted positively on the state, occasioned by the lack of political will by the Federal Government.

He said “11years of democracy is retrogressive and nothing to write home about,” adding that the state is still crawling after 14 years of state creation,” describing the situation as very shameful.

He said though some progress seems to have been made, but added that until the people see a situation, whereby they are allowed to take part in budget making processes and allowed to ask questions on how monies are appropriated and spent, the nation cannot be said to be in a democracy.

Though initial flurry of construction work that heralded the present distraction has since slowed down  a chieftain of the PDP, Thomas Owei, expressed optimism that things would once again picked up in the state once its share of the federation account increases.

“The state is now open for business and there is an upbeat mood about the future,” he said citing the recent granting of the headquarters of the Nigeria Content Development Agency in Yenagoa well as a refinery to be built in the state.

Where there once was gloom, there is hope; hope of an assured future of economic prosperity, especially with the recent elevation of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Leadership crisis held Edo down

By Simon Ebegbulem
EDO State just like other states in the federation suffered neglect in terms of infrastructural development during the reign of the military. Apart from the infrastructure  built by the then military government of Dr Samuel Ogbemudia and the little achievement  made by Professor Ambrose Alli of blessed memory during his short stay in office, there is nothing to show in the state which used to serve as the capital of the then Midwest State.

However, since the inception of democracy in the country, one can say that even though the much desired development in the state is yet to be achieved, there is hope in the air with the dexterity in which the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole is tackling the problems of the state. At the inception of democracy in 1999, Chief Lucky Igbinedion emerged as state governor of the state after he defeated Chief Lucky Imasuen of the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Igbinedion’s first tenure was peaceful but became  turbulent during his second tenure. All the major leaders then in the state, Chief Tony Anenih, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, Alhaji Inu Umoru backed Igbinedion through out his first tenure until they fell out with him after he defeated Senator Rowland Owie in the 2003 governorship. Though the general belief then was that Owie won the election but was rigged out by the powerful cabal in the PDP.

Following the protracted crisis between Igbinedion and Anenih, the former busied himself fighting the god fathers and neglected the primary assignment which he was voted for, which is developing the state.

Apart from the fruit juice in Ehor, Cassavita plant, Fertilizer plant in Ikpeshi, which was established by the Igbinedion administration, there is hardly any thing significant that the people of the state can remember to say he did well. The fight for the soul of the PDP then between him and Anenih factionalized the party and the Igbinedion group was eventually de_registered from the PDP and they all moved in en_mass to the Action Congress. Their movement actually gave boost to the AC in the state which was originally nurtured by the former Chief whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie and Charles Idahosa. But the party was fortified with the entrance of the Grace Group members (Igbinedion faction of the PDP) led by the then Secretary to the state Government, Pastor Osagie Ize_Iyamu.

Igbinedion completed his tenure but laid the foundation for the coming of an AC governor due the humiliation he received from leaders like Chief Anenih. He allegedly worked for the AC during the elections to pay back what the PDP did to him. However, through the PDP abracadabra, Professor Osunbor emerged winner, defeating Oshiomhole. But the latter  fought for his mandate knowing full well that he won the election. The PDP governor did his best to revamp the decayed infrastructures in the state but he was not given enough time to complete them before the Appeal Court sacked him and declared Oshiomhole the authentic winner of the election on November, 11, 2008.

It was not also easy for Osunbor because he had to fight with Chief Anenih for the soul of the PDP in the state. Osunbor was generally believed to be sincere in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people but the strong opposition which vowed to thrown him out of office due to his decision to build his own structure outside the one that brought him to office did not allow him to work. The war between him and Anenih continued until he was sacked by the Appeal Court .

However, when Oshiomhole came in, he told the world that it is no longer going to be business as usual and vowed to work for the people and end the politics of godfatherism in the state. Today, any one who enters the city , Benin , will think it is a construction site.  The Governor has brought changes. There are streets lights in the major towns in the state, walk ways are being constructed and roads, particularly those that were abandoned for years. Even though he had his share of political battle with the PDP in the state, he has remained focused in his resolve to move the state forward. And one can say that in the eleven years of democracy in the state, the people have seen the good the bad and the ugly.

In Enugu, it’s a tale of transformation

By Tony Edike
THE return to democratic rule in Enugu State on May 29, 1999 was welcomed by the over three million citizens of the state as a great relief from decades of maladministration and underdevelopment brought about by successive military administrations.  Enugu, the state capital, which was the headquarters of the former Eastern Region where foremost nationalists like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Professor Eyo Ita, among others once resided and conducted their political activities, witnessed serious decay in terms of infrastructure just as its economy dropped abysmally due to lack of focus by the military juntas that administered its affairs.

The first republic civilian Governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo of the then Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP, who operated from Enugu as the then state capital, was acclaimed to have made a mark in the development of infrastructure in what is now  Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra States and his legacies have remained a reference point.  Late Chief Christian Onoh of then then National Party of Nigeria, NPN, who succeeded Nwobodo as governor, was at the drawing board mapping out strategies for the development of the state when the military truncated his regime via a coup d’etat led by General Muhammad Buhari, who became the Head of State in 1983.

During the democratic experiment of the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo once served as the Executive Governor of Enugu State before the late president, General Sani Abacha truncated that era.

However, upon the return to full_fledged democratic governance in 1999 with the emergence of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani as the executive governor, Enugu State began to experience good governance with the provision of several infrastructures and amenities that lifted the state to the rank of developed states in Nigeria.  Nnamani’s government was acclaimed to have contributed immensely to the development of the state to the extent that the regime was compared to Nwobodo era where every part of the old Anambra now Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra States benefited from government projects.

By 1999, when Nnamani ascended the throne as governor, the administration  was mindful of the fact that Enugu occupies a prime position as the political capital of the East and made giant strides to development infrastructures in the area of roads, housing, educational sector among others. The negative impact and scope of the ravaging decay in social infrastructure, public utilities, human and social services experienced under the military was gradually erased by the democratic regime of Dr. Nnamani.

The administration of Nnamani invested a lot of resources in educational development.  The regime built the permanent site of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT at Agbani and relocated the university from its temporary site to a new permanent site.   He upgraded the Parklane General Hospital to an ultra_modern University Teaching Hospital, with the provision modern health equipment which has made the hospital a centre of excellence. In the area of Housing, Nnamani government developed the Ebeano Housing Estate, Loma Linda Housing Estate, Harmony Estate and Golf Estate among others.  Of note was the construction of the International multi_purpose conference centre opposite the Government House, Enugu but the project has been grounded since the inception of the current dispensation.

Nnamani successfully completed two terms of four years each and by the time his tenure elapsed on May 29, 2007, Nnamani and his supporters had cause to say “To God be the Glory” for the legacies they left behind. The regime was proud of the level of “Democracy Dividends” provided to the people.

After his eight-year tenure, Nnamani was elected into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where he has continued to contribute his quota to the development of the country.

It would be recalled that Nnamani’s Ebeano Political structure in Enugu State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dominated the state’s political landscape for eight years and it was from the camp that majority of National Assembly members as well as the state House of Assembly members emerged.

The climax of the administration’s political hold on the state was its ability to install a successor.  Nnamani handed over power to Barrister Sullivan Chime, one of his closest allies and the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state under his regime.

Nnamani, it was generally believed, installed Chime with the hope of continuing with the programmes of his regime but this was not to be as the incumbent Governor Chime soon on assumption of office, banned the Ebeano slogan in the state. He told his supporters at a forum held in Okpara Square that Ebeano was history as he was ready to implement his own programme distinct from that of his sponsor (Nnamani) with a view to realizing his dream for a new Enugu State.

Chime is acclaimed to have transformed Enugu into a modern city within the three years he has so far spent in office. The regime has fast_tracked the development of the state, especially the Coal City capital territory, within the past three years. The government can indeed beat its chest that it constructed more solid roads in the state capital than the previous regimes did.

The Chime administration is said to be the first to have deployed adequate resources to massive road construction and provision of street lights, which have restored the glory of Enugu State especially at night.  The government has also embarked on the provision of water by rehabilitating the obsolete Enugu water network, which defiled all efforts made by previous administration.

Chime’s government in line with its four-point agenda, introduced Free Maternal Health scheme for women and children while the local government areas were allowed to utilize their monthly allocations without interference from the government.

The governor had encouraged the local government councils to purchase road construction equipment with which access roads were opened in the rural areas. In the area of labour, workers in the state are happy with the Governor as they now receive their salaries before the 25th of every month even though there were agitations by workers recently for salary increase and full implementation of mon
etization policy.

On transportation, the state government introduced new taxis and buses to alleviate the sufferings of commuters just as the government has launched an agricultural scheme whereby young graduates are being trained outside Nigeria on modern farming techniques.  Although the Chime administration had delved into different areas of development, it is clear that the government has recorded more achievement in the area of road construction within the past three years.

In terms of peace and security, Chime’s government has earned itself accolades as the state appears to have won the battle against violent crimes through the provision of patrol vehicles and equipment support to security agencies. Although ransom kidnapping has remained a major source of security concern in the state, security agencies have continued to wage fierce battle against the kidnappers leading to the arrest of several culprits.

Chime has also succeeded in garnering the support of political leaders in the state whom he had constituted into elders’ forum that serves as an advisory body to the government. In the same manner, he has carried traditional rulers in the state  along and they have continued to sing songs of praise for the governor for alleviating their poverty.  The government has increased the monthly allowances paid to the traditional rulers from N30,000 to N150,000 while plans are on to purchase Prado Jeeps for about 300 recognized traditional rulers in the state without long.

The eleven years of democracy in Enugu State has indeed been eventful and full of achievements especially in the area of infrastructural development, but most people in the state said that the present government has a lot to do in the areas of agriculture, education, rural development and environmental sanitation before the next election as these would form part of the opposition’s campaign against Chime’s second term ambition.

But generally, the consensus among the people of the state who reviewed the eleven years of democracy in the state were of the view that democracy remains the best form of governance as it is all embracing and more so it affords them opportunity to partake in governance and enjoy the benefits arising from it.

In Abia it’s been years of mixed feelings

By Anayo Okoli
THE story of 11 years of democracy has been that of mix_feeling for the people of Abia state. Haven been administered for years since creation the people no doubt open heartedly embraced democratic governance when it came in 1999. They embraced it with a lot of expectations. But some of these expectations were not and is still to be met.

The state is basically made up of two major cities of Umuahia, the state capital and Aba, the commercial capital. There are few semi_urban towns such as Ohafia, Arochukwu and Bende. Of course development is expected to be concentrated in the two major cities. The situation on ground may not be the best in terms of development, but kudos should be given the present government for its effort to change the face of the state, especially Umuahia.

The present government, in all fairness has done some appreciable achievement in the development of Umuahia, to bring it to the status of a state capital. Two major rods that lead to the town are being expanded and diarized. While the Ossa road has since been completed, the old Umuahia road is being worked on. A good number of internal roads have also been rehabilitated while some new ones were opened up to decongested the capital city in terms of heavy traffic.

However, the state of roads in Aba, the commercial capital is one of the greatest headaches of the Governor Theodore Orji administration. Though a few of them have been done and many according to statistics given out by government recently, the impact is not yet much felt perhaps because of the past years of neglect.

The ones done by previous governments were not solid and were easily washed away. Also, the poor drainage of system of Aba is another hindrance.   One other area the government did well was the installation of street lights in Umuahia, the capital city, which gives the people some sense of security in the night. And they have been working well, but Aba people are still yearning to have a taste of it. The government has also distributed transformers to some rural communities to provide electricity to them

In the area of health, this government says it has built 256 health centres, and some of them have actually been equipped and commissioned. Again, one landmark achievement it is trying to record in health area is the building of two specialist hospital and diagnostics centes in Umuahia and Aba. The Umuahia own is actually progressing and it is being in partnership with an Indian firm. The Aba own will be sited inside the state university teaching hospital. The area where the state has the greatest challenge is in the area of security.

Violent crime, especially kidnapping in the past wanted to over run the state. But the situation has come down to an acceptable level. Efforts of the government and security agencies accounted for this. The government with the help of some corporate organizations like banks procured many vehicles and donated to the police with which they patrol the state.

Though crime is not yet eradicated but it has gone down especially in Umuahia even though Aba is still a big flash point.

However, it is hoped that the amnesty declared by the government for kidnappers and violent criminals and their perpetrators, if well embraced and managed will do a magic in the crime reduction in the state and will help the state in its quest for development.

Though the government has tried within its resources to provide democracy dividends to the people, more is still expected of them, especially in Aba. Luckily enough Governor Orji has said several times that he has made the development of Aba, especially building the roads, his priority before 2011 elections. He should intensify effort because a good Aba is a good Abia state.

Democracy has impacted on people of Ondo

By Dayo Johnson
They include the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) from199_2003, the immediate past Governor Olusegun Agagu of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP from 2003_2009 and the present Dr Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party LP from 2009_ till date.

Despite paucity of fund from the Federation account because the AD was not in the mainstream Chief Adefarati was able to make laudable impact in the lives of the people of the Sunshine State.

Some of his achievements include the establishment of Adekunle Ajasin University at Akungba Akoko, establishment of Ondo State Oil Producing Development Commission OSOPADEC which is to cater for the hitherto neglected oil rich communities of the state.

This laudable initiative had been copied by other states in the Niger Delta region to alleviate poverty in the regions.

Other achievement recorded by Adefarati included construction of many roads across the state, Schools and other infrastructures.

One of his undoing was the probe of the past Military administration in the state which yielded no results.

Many of the civil servants that the probe panel instituted by him penalized were re absorbed back into the system by the administration of Dr Agagu.

Dr Olusegun Agagu however was lucky because immediately he assumed office he used his connection with the Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some oil wells formerly credited to Delta state were returned to the state hence the allocation from Abuja was jerked up astronomically.

Dr Agagu however used about one year for planning and after that he swung into action and many projects were inaugurated and completed before he was ousted by the Court of Appeal judgment.

Some of the achievement of Dr Agagu includes the Multi Billion Naira Igbokoda –Aiyetoro, road, OKLNG project, construction of 1000kilometre of roads, inauguration of Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUTECH) tarring and repairing of roads resolution of age long Obaship crisis across the state, resolution of the Ijaw Ilaje crisis, Electrification of towns and villages.

Dr Olusegun Mimiko became the governor after Dr Agagu was sacked by the Court of Appeal judgment and had since swung into action.

In fact his achievement has attracted many former Commissioner, Special Advisers Chairmen of Boards and Parastaltas into his government.

Dr Mimiko had within one year despite the economic downturn across the globe had inaugurated a number of project including the Mother and Child Hospital said to be a master piece in the country, construction of neighborhood markets in strategic areas of the state construction of Science schools and award of scholarship and bursaries to students of the state origin, giving out of loans and micro credit facilities to farmers, market women and the youths.

Also, the government has commenced the beatification of the state capital with the demolition of illegal structures and shanties, payment of N1.4billion to pensioners in the state owed since 1993, 22.7 percent to teachers, payment of severance allowances owed political holders since 1989 to all political office holders irrespective of their political parties.

Others include construction of an Event center called the Dome, Mega Primary Schools to make education available to the poor and rich, construction of Ore sunshine city in partnership with NNPC to include fertilizer factory, three housing estates, and construction of tourism village in the state amongst others.

Pockets of the people especially politicians in the Sunshine state have in the last 11 years enjoyed the dividend of democracy while others eats the crumbs that falls from the table of the politicians.

Osun: As tribunal delivers judgment today

By Olatunbosunmomi Oyintiloye

TOPMOST on the agenda of the Federal Government for today is the conduct of 2011 elections to which various reforms have been targeted to make it an incontestable free and fair election. It is for this reason that those agitating for the renewal of Professor Maurice Iwu’s term as INEC Chairman lost gallantly in their pro-Iwu push. It is public knowledge today that Iwu has gone with the winds, having been booted out as the INEC Chairman. Though forcefully gone, the mess that trailed the elections conducted by the Iwu-led INEC in 2007 are yet to be fully cleared. Amongst the states affected by the 2007 messy elections conduct is Osun State, which, up till now, is awaiting justice through the country’s legal process.

It would be recalled that following the gubernatorial election in Osun State on April 14, 2007, INEC declared Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the PDP candidate, the winner with 426,666 votes as against Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, the AC candidate, whom INEC claimed polled 240,722. Immediately the result was announced, there arose widespread protests and condemnation of the results across the State, as people wondered who cast such generous votes to the Prince that had failed to deliver in his first term of four years. They claimed if the electorate did, it must have been an endorsement of non-performance. But, they did not. So, how were the figures generated?

Though bewildered at the extent of the electoral fraud, Aregbesola, the AC gubernatorial candidate was not  completely suprised at the INEC announcements, as fillers coming in during the elections showed widespread electoral malpractices, violence, ballot  snatching, ballot stuffing, hooliganism etc. Not willing to relinquish his people-given mandate to the dogs, he opted to challenge INEC’s results at the State Electoral Tribunal.

Since the hearing of Osun State gubernatorial election petition commenced in 2007, it has passed through some turbulent weathers. While the Oyinlola-led PDP government played every game in the book to frustrate the petitioner (i.e. Aregbesola) or his case, the Justice T. D. Naron-led tribunal that first heard the case for about a year did not help matters.

It stands to reason that if INEC, as the elections umpire, robbed Peter to pay Paul as was the case in Osun State, an election tribunal must be seen to be giving both parties a fair hearing as required by the law. Such was not the case at the Naron’s tribunal. Its bias was taken from the sublime to the ridiculous. Not only did he reject all documentary evidence, it turned down the application to call Andrian Forty, the forensic expert, to give evidence of his findings on the thumbs impressions on the election ballot papers and report of physical examination of election materials it ordered.

Amidst proven cases of its compromise with the respondents, the Naron-led tribunal gave a controversial verdict in favour of the incumbent governor in April 2008. Of course, this was quickly challenged at the Court of Appeal by Aregbesola. The Court of Appeal dismissed the tribunal’s judgement as perverse on the ground that “All the documents that the Petitioner/Appellant sought to bring to the tribunal were refused by the dismissal of applications, which ought to have been allowed in to enable the Petitioner/Appellant support the petition.”

Classifying the entire tribunal’s exercise as “tainted with some illegality and substantive irregularity”, the Court of Appeal ordered that the petition be heard afresh before a newly constituted Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal.

It was in response to this order that a new State Elections Tribunal led by Justice Ali Garba was constituted. This, indeed, is a plus to our judiciary. To have the hope of the cheated rekindled by a higher court when a lower court has been pocketed by the political hawks is the best that can happen to litigants. To know that it is not all at the bench that compromise and trade their reputable names for money is, indeed, good news. To discover that there is still a high level of discipline in our judicial system is, indeed, gratifying. Efforts should be intensified to continually strengthen the judiciary, as the strength of our democracy is directly dependent on the strength of the judiciary.

Those who have closely followed the hearing since the new Justice Ali Garba-led tribunal took over must have seen profesionalism at work. It admitted all the documents that were supportive of the appellant’s petition and gave a fair hearing. It was shocking to discover- at the hearing-  that there were several cases of  multiple voting in local governments and wards where Oyinlola claimed to have won. In many polling centers, there were no voting registers, neither was there any accreditation, all of which negate the provisions of the Electoral Act.

In some places, such as Boripe Local Government Area, ordinary pieces of paper were used for election. In addition to all this, total numbers of registered  vote  in Boripe Local Government Area was 12,631, while the vote recorded for PDP alone was 14,497-   a clear prove of the arbitriness of the results claimed and compiled as genuine by INEC on its papers. Exibits also revealed  many cases of irregular signatures of officials and highly inflated number of votes
to give false victory to Oyinlola.

In not less down ten local governments, involving 511 polling centres, there were massive discrepancies between the votes recorded in forms EC8A and the actual ballot papers counted in court and tendered as exhibits. As a matter of fact, there was no counting of votes and non announcement of results at the polling units of these local governments because in all, electoral materials such as ballot papers and ballot boxes were snatched, seized and later stuffed with illegal ballot papers thumb printed in favour of Oyinlola.

Such ballot boxes- with already thumb printed ballot papers- were later returned and forcefully deposited at the collation centers and counted as valid votes. The ten Local Government Areas where these atrocities were carried out in the full glare of INEC officials and law enforcement agents are Atakumosa West, Ayedaade, Boluwaduro, Boripe, Ife Central, Ife East, Ife South, Ifedayo, Isokan and Odo-Otin Local Government Areas. So, in all these areas, unmerited votes were generously awarded to
Oyinlola by carefully selected crooks. Is this the democracy of our dream in Nigeria?

Perhaps nothing was more revealing at the hearing than the show of shame displayed by Oyinlola’s witnesses. When they were being cross examined, their falsehood clearly manifested in their contradictory testimonies, uncoordinated facts and unintelligible assertions.

At the end of the day, it was glaring that what took place on the disputed Local Government Areas on April 14, 2007 was not an election, but a carefully organised ploy to deny the people their sovereing rights through their votes. People were blatantly told, through massive elections rigging and shameless pronouncements of INEC, that their votes would not count. Unfortunately, the dramatis personae in this unenviable exercise are Oyinlola, PDP, INEC and the police. This is shameful.

If this Osun State experience is anything to go by, our democracy in Nigeria is shaky, as nothing suggests that some elements, out of their own selfish interest, are prepared to allow a natural evolvement of  people’s government, put in place by people’s votes. In summary, apart from the fact that the 2007 election into the office of the Governor in Osun State was marred by violence and malpractices in the disputed areas, votes recorded were essentially fraudulent. Thus, the validity of the results is questionable, more so because there were many cases of disregard to the laid down provisions of Electoral Act, 2006. Going by these overwhelming facts, already proved before the tribunal, it is evident that Oyinlola was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast in Osun State.

Rather, he was fraudulently imposed on the people of Osun State. As the world now awaits the tribunal’s verdict, it is hoped that people’s stolen mandate will be restored back to them, and Aregbesola will finally get justice. Then,
Nigeria will take another leap forward in its bumpy journey towards democratic excellence.

*Olatubosunmomi  Oyintiloye is the General Coordinator of Movement of Democratic Educators and Learners

Osun: As tribunal delivers judgment today

By Taofeek  Oguntoye
WITH the pronouncement of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan a year ago ordering a retrial of the case of the Action Congress governorship candidate in Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola and the further order that he should be allowed to tender from the bar, a document called “Final Police Report on April 14, 2007 Election in Osun State”, it was expected that the petitioner would briskly tender the document, call a few witnesses and close his case.

However, it took Aregbesola six months to call 82 witnesses and tender several documents. When he closed his case in January 2010, his lawyers did not tender the police report which he had informed the Court of Appeal was “very vital to his case.” Police authorities had earlier last year arrested Aregbesola for forgery of the report and are trying him for the offence at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

All the parties adopted their final addresses on April 19, 2010 with Oyinlola and the other respondents asking the tribunal to dismiss the petition because Aregbesola had failed to prove his case with credible evidence. Aregbesola on the other hand, asked the tribunal to declare him as the winner of the election.

As the judgement of the election tribunal is being awaited, the usual media fireworks that have been the hallmarks of electoral and judicial contests in the South West have started. The first salvo, predictably was fired from the camp of the Action Congress candidate, who has inundated the media with write –ups containing some figures with which it wants the tribunal to give it  judgment. There are also on_going efforts to mount very serious attacks on the Ekiti tribunal judges who dismissed AC’s petition on Tuesday 4th May, 2010 ostensibly as a way of putting the Osun tribunal judges under pressure. The fire works are on.

Aregbesola is challenging the election of Oyinlola on the grounds of violence, ballot box snatching, stuffing and thuggery which he said marred the polls in 12 out of 30 local governments.

At the end of the pre_trial conference, the tribunal asked parties to the case to formulate issues for determination which they did. At the end of the exercise, the tribunal in its final pre_trial report issued pursuant to paragraph 3(10) of the election tribunal and court practice directions 2007 and signed by all its members distilled two issues for determination.

The first was whether Oyinlola was validly elected or not by majority of lawful votes cast in the April 14, 2007 governorship election in Osun state having regard to the totality of the evidence, oral and documentary before it. The second issue the tribunal distilled was whether the election was vitiated by corrupt practices substantially enough to cancel it and order a fresh election.

From the two issues distilled by the tribunal, it is clear that awarding the governorship to Aregbesola was not considered at all. However, despite the fact that copies of this report were given to all parties, Aregbesola inclusive, his camp has continued to feign ignorance of these issues while trying to draw parallels with cases in other states.

At the end of the trial of the case which started about a year ago, Aregbesola called 82 witnesses while Oyinlola called 62. both tendered several documents to support their case.

The police and INEC did not call witnesses basing their decision on what they described as Aregbesola’s battered evidence which did not support his case.

Basing its media judgement on reports of persons called as experts by him, Aregbesola has made an elaborate presentation of votes he called lawful and unlawful. However, Oyinlola through his lawyers in his final address, have stressed that it does not lie in the mouth of Aregbesola to declare some votes lawful or unlawful. That is the exclusive preserve of the tribunal, they said.

“The Petitioners also alleged that election results were based on fictitious figures. Indeed if the evidence proffered by the totality of the witnesses called by the Petitioners were not to be hearsay (which in reality and law they were) the Petitioners still have another burden. And that is, the burden of producing both the fictitious figures and the authentic figures/result.

“Throughout the proceedings, which lasted a solid eight months, the Petitioners did not produce any result either as declared by INEC or the “other result” as computed by the Petitioners.

It is therefore submitted that the allegation of forgery/writing of fictitious results (which in any case must be proved beyond reasonable doubt) has not been proved:We refer to Ezazodosiako Vs. Okeke (2005) 16 NWLR ( Pt. 952) 612 at 628 where it was held that “It is well established that to prove falsification, there should be in existence at least two results, one of which ought to be stigmatised as genuine and the other result false”. Also in Buhari Vs. INEC, (2008) 4 NWLR (Pt 1078) 546 at 665; it was held that:

“It is my considered view that since the 6th Respondent declared results despite the objection raised by the agents of the parties ………….there is a rebuttable presumption that the result declared is correct. The burden lies on any party who disputes the correctness to lead rebuttal evidence. It is for the Petitioners to call their agents….. to give evidence in rebuttal by the production of their copies of Form EC8D to rebut the declared results. This they have failed to do,” Oyinlola’s lawyers told the tribunal.

On the allegation of ballot box stuffing, Oyinlola contended that the ballot boxes alleged to have been stuffed with ballot papers were not tendered by the Petitioners as demanded by law.

“The law in this regard appears to be interestingly settled. In  Buhari Vs. Obasanjo (2005) 13 NWLR (Pt 941) 1. it was held that: “In an election where there is allegation of stuffing of ballot boxes, the ballot boxes in which the ballot papers were allegedly stuffed must be tendered before the tribunal and opened there.

It is only when the ballot boxes are tendered before the tribunal and opened before it that such an allegation is sustainable. In the instant case, the Tribunal fell into grave error in holding that ballot boxes containing ballot papers were tendered before it. The allegation of ballot stuffing was not established”

Oyinlola’s lawyers went further to tell the tribunal that all the witnesses called  by the petitioner were not neutral persons  but were individuals who were predominantly members of the 3rd petitioner, Action Congress, commissioned or paid individuals who were recruited by the petitioners, paid fees  and were presented as experts and alleged news men/reporters who were proved to be related to both the Aregbesola and indeed his political party, the Action Congress such that their testimonies ought to be taken with so much caution and circumspection.

“While it is conceded that being members of a political party or being related to a party to the proceeding is not a bar to testifying in support of the party’s case, it has always been the preference in election matters for evidence to be adduced by neutral persons who are not members of the political party.

We refer to the case of Duruoshimiri vs Duruodunze (2002) ALL FWLR (Pt. 100) 1410 at 1481 para B-C where court put the matter admirably thus: “It is settled that the testimony of a interested witness such as near relation, interested person and those testifying on their behalf should be carefully scrutinized and should not be given the weight of testimony of disinterested witness and if there is any thing affecting its credibility, it cannot be accepted as conclusive, especially where it is contradicted by circumstances in evidence or by testimony of other witnesses or where it is self contradictory or full of equivocation.” They also refered to  Azudibia vs Ogunewe (2004) All FWLR (Pt. 205) 289 at 301:“
In the instant, it is not in doubt that if the appellant had seriously wanted to prove the allegations, it should be possible for him to call other neutral observers to the alleged incident as witnesses. Among the neutral people he could have called are the Police and other security officers who were known to have been posted to monitor the election. The agents of other political parties and INEC Officials are also among those who could have been called to give such evidence.”

Oyinlola’s counsel particularly refered to the case of  Senator Ibikunle Amosun Vs. INEC & Ors. Delivered by Justice M.L. Garba JCA where the Appeal Court Justice held that “I agree with the learned Senior Counsel for the Appellant that no rule of law says that members of the same political party cannot give evidence in an election petition filed by a member of the party. However by virtue of the provision of Section 92(1) of the Evidence Act, in estimating the weight to be attached to the evidence of such witnesses, the issue or question as to whether or not they had any incentive to conceal or misrepresent the fact is a relevant consideration.

“ In other words, the fact that such witnesses are people apparently interested in the outcome of the petition is a vital factor to be considered in estimating the weight to be attached to their evidence because of the temptation to depart from the truth in favour of their party member. Section 92 (1) provides thus:_ “92. (1)

In estimating the weight, if any, to be attached to a statement rendered admissible as evidence by this Act, regard shall be had to all the circumstances from which any inference can reasonably be drawn as to the accuracy or otherwise of the statement, and in particular to the question whether or not the statement, and in particular whether or not the statement, was made contemporaneously with the occurrence or existence of the facts stated and to the question whether or not the maker of the statement had any incentive to conceal or misrepresent facts.

In this appeal the appellant’s witnesses were all by their own admission not only from the same political party with the appellant but also people said they went round words and polling unit to monitor the election for their party and the Appellant. They are therefore people with personal and political interest and incentives in the success of the Appellant petition and very deeply in the outcome of the petition.

In the circumstances, the Tribunal rightly used their positions as people who had other incentive and motive in their evidence than telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the conduct of the election which their candidate lost”.

On the bags of documents tendered by Aregbesola, Oyinlola informed the tribunal that the petitioners “merely dumped bundles of documents on the tribunal” saying that “apart from merely tendering all electoral documents in bundles and in bags in some instances from the Bar, no evidence was led as to the use to be made of them. Fatally, we submit, these Exhibits were dumped on the Tribunal without tying and relating them in a specific manner to the Petitioners’ case. It is humbly submitted that it is not the duty of the Tribunal to dig out facts and ferret out evidence from the Exhibits.See the cases of Onmeje Vs. Olopka (1999) 4 NWLR (Pt 600) 518 at 529.

“In the case of ANPP v. Usman (2008) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1100) 1 at 89 Aboki JCA held: “It is settled law that a party relying on the documents in proving his case must relate each of such documents to the specific area of his case in respect of which the document is being tendered in support of his case i.e. there must be link between the document and the specific areas of the petition. See Jalingo v. Nyama (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt. 231) 538; Terab v Lawan (1992) 3 NWLR  (Pt. 231) 569 at  590. Hashidu v Goje (2006) EPR 789 at 814_815 (2003) 15 NWLR (Pt. 843) 352….”

In Buhari Vs. INEC (2008) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1078) 546 at 629 _ 628 it was held that: “The Petitioner tendered result sheets not signed by his agent but led no evidence to establish why agents did not sign the result sheets…Moreover, documents apart from what they contain do not speak. However, ingenious or brilliant a counsel’s address might be, it cannot be a substitute for evidence….”

They further submitted that for ARegbesola to urge the Tribunal to commence an examination of the Exhibits without tying them to the Petitioners’ case would be a call to “sponsor” the evidence of one of the parties to the detriment of the other. See Udo Vs. Okupa (1991) 5 NWLR (Pt 191) 365 at 385, Niki Tobi JCA (as he then was) said: “In the evaluation exercise, the trial Judge should remind himself of his adversary and accusatorial role and deal with the evidence of the witnesses evenly and equally across the board to the egalitarian advantage or disadvantage of the parties on no account should he “sponsor” the evidence of one of the parties at the expense of or to the detriment of the other party”.

Oyinlola futher told the tribunal that  “the Court has no business to do for the petitioners within the confines of its Chambers what they have palpably failed to do in the open court would amount to doing clustered justice received the approval of the Court of Appeal in the recent case of Senator Ibikunle Amosu v. Independent National Electoral Commission (Supra).

In that case, M. L. Garba JCA expressed the position in the following admirable words at pages 95 – 96 of the judgment: “I would venture to say that it would have been an impossible and therefore an unviable task for the Tribunal to have attempted to fish and weave through such documents and then tie them to the various general allegations of malpractices and irregularities in proof of non compliance with the Electoral Act, 2006 and the Manual for Election Officials, 2007.

The Tribunal would have lost in the heep of the documents for its eyes would have been blinded by the dust of the arena of conflict between the parties in the attempt to make out  the Appellant’s case which only tested evidence was capable of proving.

“By the position of the law, the Tribunal rightly refused to be lured in abandoning its exalted position of the judex. Since the Appellant failed to adduce the necessary and fundamental oral evidence to link or connect the documents to act any of the specie of the non compliance he alleged the Tribunal rightly refused to accord them any probative value in the recess of its chambers in order to find the proof the Appellant was under a legal duty to produce or provide in support of his case. See Jalingo v. Nyame (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt. 231) 538.”

As a direct response to the calling of expert witnesses by Aregbesola, Oyinlola also called his own experts who faulted the conclusions of Aregbesola on the elections.   Aregbesola’s final address on the case summed up the totality of how he had prosecuted an election petition premised on violence, ballot box snatching, multiple thumbprinting and stuffing. He did not plead over voting throughout his petition, yet in his final address and in the media, he made a lot of efforts to complain about over voting which he said his expert found in some polling units.

Aregbesola who clearly challenged the validity of the election held in 12 local governments in his petition, later in his final address affirmed that he meant to challenge elections in 10 not 12 local governments. But it was too late to amend the petition.

Forensic expert, Dr Ndara Ekong, was called by Oyinlola to contradict the report of Paul Jobbins who came as a replacement for the late Adrian Forty for Aregbesola. Ekong, when cross_examined as to his classifications of impressions on finger_prints from his observations, such as smudged, faint, partially clear, clear and no vote, the witness clearly explained that smudged ballot papers are those which have application of too much ink or those that voters used the tips of their fingers to press on and which would therefore not show the correct finger prints. He also said that partially clear impressions are those that do not have the finger impressions on the ballot applied properly.

The expert made it clear to all that, since forensic analysis involves comparative analyses it is important to have 16 points of finger prints identification. And that the implication of his analyses on the ballot papers is that, for one to be able to say that there is a multiple vote, one must be able to compare one finger print on a ballot paper with another finger print on another ballot paper and come to a just conclusion.

The witness explained that his team employed the use of physical, visual and instrumental analyses of the original finger print impressions on the ballot papers as opposed to scanned copies used by PW80, Paul Jobbins, to avoiddistortion. He went further to explain to the tribunal that to have correct impression through finger print, it is very essential to use ink that does not appear wet or shiny. He even went further to demonstrate how the finger should be held at 45 degree to the inklet and is rolled over from one side to the other.

Ekong also did not hesitate to say that his report is bound to be different from that of Paul Jobbins because Jobbins worked on scanned copies which could produce distortion and that physically examining the original copies as he (Ekong) did, one would be able to see prints that are clear and those that are smudged distinctly.

Explaining further why it was impossible to get the correct impression of finger print, he observed that correct procedure was not adopted in affixing the finger print by the voters which, he said,  was not good for forensic examination.

To fault the conclusions of Aregbesola’s other expert, Tunde Yadeka, Oyinlola called  Babatunde Lateef Adeleke, a professor of statistics, data analyst, planner and software data analyst, engaged by Oyinlola to critically examine all relevant electoral documents used at the April 14th, 2007 elections in Osun State in order to scrutinize the claim and reports of PW 82, Tunde Yadeka and to confirm the correctness or otherwise of the said reports presented before the  tribunal.

Babatunde, who testified as RW 62 narrated to the tribunal under cross_examination what informed his expert view and conclusion that PW82, Tunde Yadeka based his compilation of ballot paper serial numbers on the erroneous assumption that ballot papers were distributed polling unit by polling unit and in sequential order of ballot papers serial numbers. He very importantly drew the tribunal’s attention to the fact that the AC candidate duplicated serial numbers of ballot papers which he spread across over 200 units when he (the AC witness) admitted that it was not possible for two ballot papers to have same serial number.

Indeed, as noted by Oyinlola’s lawyers in the final address, the AC expert has the liability of a very negative judicial pronouncement on his expertise. Citing the case of IBIKUNLE AMOSUN VS. INEC & ORS. where Yadeka testified as PW41, the Court of Appeal, Ibadan held that:

“The Tribunal for the reasons summarized earlier had found that PW41 did not satisfy it by his testimony, that he is an expert in the field he came to testify.  In addition, the Tribunal also found as follows at page 3413 of the record of appeal: “it is clear that PW41 was not only shown not to be an expert in the field he came to testify, the demeanor he exhibited also rendered him as untruthful witness.”

Oyinlola’s expert, Adeleke, while faulting Yadeka’s submissions, stated that INEC’s distribution of ballot papers was not done strictly on polling unit by polling unit basis in a number of Local Governments Area.  He gave an example of Exhibit R28, (EC25 for Ife Central local government), which was tendered, where allocation of ballot papers was done on ward to ward basis.

He went further by stating that, in statistics, when data analyses is of interest, the first thing to do is to either present a set of given data in an orderly manner or disorderly manner and that as a professional statistician, presentation of data is expected to be done in an orderly manner.

He concluded that since the data in reference, (PW82, Tunde Yadeka’s report) was presented in a disorderly manner, it was not verifiable with ease and as such PW82’s Statement on Oath and the reports attached thereto cannot hold because of the wrong premise upon which they were based.  And that, since the listing of serial numbers of ballot papers by PW82 was done haphazardly without due adherence to the fundamental principles of descriptive statistics, his presentation of serial number of ballot papers is clearly faulty and could mislead the Tribunal moreso, when he is not a trained statistician. While the fireworks go on, the judgement is eagerly awaited.
*Oguntoye wrote from Osogbo

Delta PDP chairman not an imposition

By Onyemelezee
Let me borrow from the book of wisdom which says that “To lack information, is to be deformed”. This is so as a result of some skeletal views of some persons who go about with the impression that the Delta State PDF Chairman, Chief Barr. Peter Onyelukachukwii NVaoboshi was imposed on Deltans.

There is no doubt that those in the forefront of this negative news peddling lacks the true information about the emergence of Peter Nwaoboshi as the PDP Chairman and whom in the real sense he is.

I have decided to correct the ugly impression of some persons amongst them, some who claim to be leaders, stakeholders and elders in the state who unfortunately forgot so soon that at one time or the other, they had worked with the said Chief Peter Nwaoboshi and gave ovation to him.

Chief (Barr) Peter Nwaoboshi, in his political soldering has become what he is today due to his determination, discipline and political diligence. For instance, in politics, Chief (Barr.) Peter Nwaoboshi means many things to many people. As a political enigma, he has been variously described by his political associates and foes alike as the “Obata Obie” of Delta politics, The “Ekwueme of Delta Politics” or “The political oracle of Delta State”, while yet some politicians refer to him as the best crisis manager in the politics of Delta State judging by the way he delivered Delta State to his party within a short time of his assumption of offices as the State PDP chairman.

I am sure in any part of the world, nobody likes to concede defeat, hence from 1979 when he ventured into politics, Chief (Barr) Peter O. Nwaoboshi had the same strong believe that will lead him to succeed in politics. The office he occupies does not make him rather he makes any office he occupies. He does not hold anyone responsible for his success or failure in life but to the almighty God.

From 1979 at the tender age of 22 when he entered into polities, some of these elders, stakeholders and leaders were still in their comfort zones in government offices milking and sucking such offices dry. While Peter Nwaoboshi on entry into politics also chose to blame no one else for whatever the future held for him in politics, he believed in himself just as he believed in God as according to him, God cannot lie as when God said “my Grace is sufficient for you” Chief (Barr) Peter O. Nwaoboshi believes that his successes in life did not come from his uncles or friends, nor with his mother, father, sister nor near relat
ions but from God Almighty.

In one of his chat with this writer Peter never blamed his humble background but rather owes his successes and failures in life to God and his prompt and intuitive sharp innate decisions. He chose early in his political journey in life to get to the topmost in his political career.

He has always joked “I will never go to where I will play a second best”. The fruits of this joke is showing today in his political soldering. Chief Peter Onyelukachukwu Nwaoboshi’s choice to leave a legacy in the sands of time is evident today with the numerous developments his party, the PDP has made His choice to be a blessing to his generation and leave indelible imprints on the planet earth has created the indestructible drive in his mind to succeed in life no matter the hurdles. These hurdles he has turned into positive challenges which must be seen as opportunities for higher callings in political maturity.

Peter as he is fondly called entered into politics without godfather or godmother. His God was all he needed to have all his needs met. One would have been surprised today if Chief

Peter Nwaoboshi was not occupying such envious position as that of the PDF State Chairman.

For the purpose of records permit me to go down …memory lane. After Peter leaving the famous St. Thomas’ Teacher’s Training College Ibusa, he had short stint with teaching for about four years. In 1979, He made it clear to whoever would like to hear him that he was venturing into the murky and uncertain waters of Nigerian Politics. He decided to pitch tent with me then Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

Many people thought he was too radical and rascal to have brazenly taken to politics. Incidentally he had a bright future and unbridled political brigandage. Politics then was seen as the never_do_wells, illiterates who had nothing doing. But nobody saw the silver lining in the sky. Only Peter saw what others did not see. Peter’s political apprenticeship under Senator (Obi) Nosike Ikpo, a two time Senator then began. Today this apprenticeship has brought him to be in showcase all his humility at the time and experience garnered.

Peter no doubt has labored and held various political positions, as his services and labour is what is now paving way for him like the saying _ “For every labour there is a profit. Few politicians including some Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders who are taking advantage through an avenue to destroy him politically do not know much of Chief Peter Nwaoboshi’s political antecedents as ignorance was their mountain.

His political pedigree between 1979 to 1981 saw Peter Nwaoboshi as special assistant to the Late Prof. Ambros All the then Governor of Bendel State on Youth Affairs at the young age of 25 which was the time he built his first house at his home place Ibusa. It is therefore amazing that some mischief makers who go under the guise of self made leaders and elders can after more than 30 years of this appointment still believed that he should remain a political toddler, crouching like millipede politically? _ Haba!

This group of people forgot that Chief (Barr) Peter Nwaoboshi holds B.A (History) LLB.BL and a Barrister at Law for several years. Also Chairman Jupes Nig. Limited (Equipment leasing company which is in partnership with some overseas companies).

Looking inwards into the real Peter coupled with his investments through hard work, his educational exploits, a one time Commissioner and other numerous political positions he has held including the present position he can best be said to be above N30 billion naira assets. It is important just as it is laughable to bring to the notice of the public that looking inwards some of the few persons whose stock in trade is to tarnish the good name of Peter Nwaoboshi have never made any meaningful contribution to the State of Nation, rather they were in far away America, London and other parts of the world generating huge wealth for themselves. It is unfortunate that a man of this status can be queried to have acquired wealth overnight.

I wish therefore to appeal passionately and advise the EFCC to go out and make their search light on these so called leaders, stakeholders and elders and question their source of wealth and their involvements in drug deals, illegal oil bunkering as well as sponsoring of militant group in the Niger Delta zones while Peter Nwaoboshi should be left alone and encourage him to enable him do more as he has currently embarked on a scholarship scheme to many dissident students as well as his philanthropic gestures extended to the nook and crannies of his immediate community.

There’s no factionalisation in Afenifere, says  Shonibare

By Dapo Akinrefon
CHIEF Supo Shonibare is the Lagos State chairman of the Democratic Peoples Alliance, DPA and also Lagos State chairman of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-politicalorganisation. In this interview with Vanguard, Shonibare refuted claims making the rounds that Afenifere has been factionalised. He also maintained that the proposed mega party is still in offing to stand as an alternative to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the 2011 general elections. Excerpts:

THERE have been calls by some Nigerians for investigation into the way and manner the death of the late president, Umaru Yar’Adua was shrouded in secrecy, do you subscribe this?

We should be able to investigate the circumstances around the management of the health of our late president. We need to determine whether or not, even his trip to Saudi Arabia was just politically expedient as opposed to whether or not it was the best medical institution available to deal with his state of health. It appears as if some people felt their going to Germany, which was his regular hospital for the management of his health. Some people felt that would raise up issues about the late president’s health and the, they took the political decision of going somewhere else.

So, we need to actually have some investigation about that process and we need to have investigation about the lies that were being churned out. We were being misinformed, even when he was brought back and it was clear to us that, he was unwell and could not resume office. We need to investigate so that there won’t be a situation of individuals attempting to rule by proxy, attempting to rule in the name of a president, who is unable to give such instruction, because these issues are matters that touch the proper running of a nation state.

It is not good to brush it under the carpet, as we often do in this country, so that we can avoid unconstitutional and illegal act that have been perpetrated within the period that the late president fell ill and he came back. We need to investigate all the way and manner his aides handled all these issues.

But the Senate has dismissed a motion that a probe should be carried arguing that it might heat up the polity? What is your position on this?

I’m not surprised that the Senate took that decision because after all, the Senate did not follow the stipulations in law as it were, given the issues pertaining to whether or not the president’s absence was such that they ought to have resulted to very clear stipulations in the law.

The Senate is part of the entire of the political class that forges and prepares to adopt short term political solutions to any mischief in the polity.

The debate on whether President Goodluck Jonathan should contest is gaining momentum Do you think he should contest during next year’s presidential elections?

If I were President Jonathan, I would not dwell on whether or not I will contest or not in 2011. As of now, I dwell upon making a difference in connecting the Nigerian people, making the Nigerian state my followership and not the PDP. PDP is bankrupt and a discredited vehicle, however, because its leadership consists of power brokers and money mongers, it can claim to have representatives all over Nigeria.

But if all opposition groups can come together and use one vehicle to challenge the PDP, I have no doubt that the PDP will not produce the next president of this country.

I’m aware that your party, the DPA, is fully involved in the formation of a mega party, but to some, the proposed mega party has failed. What actually led to its failure?

There is no failure yet, it’s still work in progress. But then, you know that the history of this country is replete with attempts by various opposition groups to come together and face the ruling party, it has not been successful in the past because there are, like I said, power brokers and money mongers who will use that wealth to disorganise the opposition. The opposition itself is responsible for the situation it finds itself in, it seems it has not dawned on some groups, in the opposition, that the hold they have on what they think they have, that hold will evaporate some 2011.

If all the non PDP controlled states can come together and resolve to use one political vehicle for the purposes of contesting 2011 elections, both at the state and national level, we may have the opportunity of taking over power from the PDP. But some people are still deep in some misconceived believe that some form of alliance, if they think that will work, then, it shows how unpatriotic we are in meeting the yearnings of the Nigerian people for an alternative.

Unfortunately, any ordinary man on the streets cannot form a political platform, a platform can only be created by the political elite and the political elites are failing this polity, if they don’t realise that the time is running out for us to come together and evolve a formidable platform that is capable of taking over power from the PDP at the centre.

An attempt by the Social Democratic Party, is work in progress, it was a move that had inputs from major leaders from all the geo-political zones and it’s still work in progress and I hope that we will be successful in using one political vehicle for purposes of contesting elections in 2011.

How true is it that there is a crack in Afenifere?

There is no faction in Afenifere, there is no one putting themselves out as leaders of Afenifere apart from Chief Fasoranti.

There is no one putting themselves out saying they are leading Afenifere in Lagos apart from myself. So, there is no factionalisation in Afenifere.

People will want to know what is the difference between Afenifere and Afenifere Renewal Group because it is believed that the latter is break away faction from the former?

They can’t be the same, the name itself is an indication that they are not the same. And they have not claimed to be the same with Afenifere. Afenifere Renewal Groups is an attempt by other people in the South West to use a different platform from Afenifere.

Afenifere is the description of social democratic movement in Yoruba land, the name was used to describe Action Group in the Yoruba language and it stands on its own. So, Afenifere and Afenifere Renewal Group are two different vehicles.

Leaders from the South west are planning to organise a summit with a view to promote the Yoruba course, how far do you think can this go?

It’s always a good idea to attempt to bring everybody together. Unfortunately, it’s easier to do that when there is crisis in the polity; whenever partisan politics rears its head, it’s impossible to bring all Yorubas under on vehicle.

Even in Chief Awolowo’s lifetime, as much as he was an iconic figure, he only accepted to lead the Yorubas during the crisis in Nigeria and he made it quite clear to all the leaders in Yoruba land that once they were able to overcome the emergency period, whenever there is a retunr to civilian rule, he definitely will lead a partisan political group.

In Afenifere, we are social democrats, it’s not everyone that needs to be a social democrat. Some people are mistaken Afenifere is an umbrella for all Yoruba people, it cannot be. It was not created to be like that.

2011 is just around the corner, as chairman of your party at the state level, are going to form an alliance with other political parties in order to win elections?

We are very much involved in the process of bringing up all political parties on one platform to be the alternative to PDP at the national level. That process may very well involve all other parties apart from PDP in Lagos, but then, that process is not an AC process. So, the entire process is dependent on whether or not AC sees the need to be part of a larger convention.

What do you think is the way forward as Nigeria celebrates 11 years of democracy?

The military tried to foist an undemocratic restricted mode of party formation on us. The court intervened as restricting freedom of association is incompatible with pluralism. There is no where in the western world, Asia or even stable democracies in Africa where you have extant laws limiting freedom of association.

Our rulers are so self serving that they cannot see that whenever we have had a situation when political party numbers are fixed, the ruling Party  simply buys off the leadership of those parties without any recourse to the members. SDP threw up minority Leadership in several States, which conduct led to the emergence of Sir Otedola as Lagos State Governor. All the five restricted Parties in the Abacha transition endorsed him as President for Life. Obasanjo took over ANPP and AD.

It was only after the Courts intervened and held that limiting the no of political parties was inconsistent wit freedom of association guaranteed by the constitution that taking over Parties became politically unhelpful as the supporters and Leaders would simply seek to register another party. Our rulers of course immediately embarked upon the campaign that we had too many political parties when other smaller stable democracies even in Africa had much more.

Argument of small political party sustenance by public funds was thrown into the mix, as if the National Assembly was incapable of separating these two issues and determining the criteria for eligibility to subvention from public funds by political parties, which is a legitimate exercise of legislative functions of the National Assembly without impugning on the fundamental right of people to form a political party.

If we say we are in a democratic dispensation and can be the only democracy is the world that is displays political illiteracy in not understanding that the  foundation of a liberal democracy and pluralism is the inalienable right to freedom of association, then we cant even begin to address other critical issues such as the process of making an autochonous constitution.

We have had Civilian rulership since 1999, I very much hope democracy can b entrenched through a free and transparent election. The constitution stipulates that the process for conducting an election shall be by open/secret ballot. In the Presidential election in 1993 the Electoral body accredited eligible voters within a certain period, all those accredited were asked to come back to vote at a fixed time, which was uniform everywhere.

I recall political parties suggesting this mode to Lagos  Independent Electoral Committee and as it was the overwhelming recommendation of all the parties, the Chairman Justice Adeyinka (rtd), seemed to accept. However when the rulers in Lagos were sensitized of this consensus, they intervened and the Electoral body welshed on this understanding. In summary its not only the National Electoral body which lacks the will and courage to conduct a free and fair election, State Electoral bodies are worse.


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