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Nigeria And The Danger Of One Party State

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Barely two months after the governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade surprised observers in his conservative state by defecting to the ruling All Peoples Congress, (APC), his counterpart in Zamfara, Governor Bello Matawalle followed suit on Tuesday by also dumping the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.

Before now, and just last year, the governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Dave Umahi also surprised many in the Southeast and the country at large, when he came out to tell the world that he would be leaving the PDP to the APC. Not a few people were dumfounded because the region has been a predominantly PDP geopolitical zone and were wondering if the governor was not committing political suicide through his action.

Even so, there were speculations that Umahi jumped the fence because he was promised a juicy position or office in a post 2023 politics. Yet, others were of the view that the governor’s audacity to jump ship, when he was not too sure of landing in a comfortable place, was a product of deep political pragmatism and not that he was being unnecessarily opportunistic.

But what are the reasons being adduced by both Ayade and Matawalle for leaving the party that gave them the tickets and structures to contest election? While Ayade justified his defection on the basis of ‘helping’ President Muhammadu Buhari in his quest to give the country the needed leadership, Matawalle is yet to give the PDP, the people of Zamfara and Nigerians any cogent reason for his defection.

Speaking during the defection, Ayade had said, “We need to join hands with President Buhari in his determination to enhance the fortunes of the country. I need all governors to similarly join me and understand my decision to join the APC.

“We need to work ahead with the president for the future and unity of Nigeria. We all need to sit at the same dining table with Mr Presidential to save Nigeria. It is my responsibility to bring back Cross River to the centre in order to enhance her fortunes”.

Whether the above reason was tenable or not remain to be seen, but for a governor that has performed below expectations and whose political future is uncertain, his opponents have accused him of dumping the PDP because strong forces in the party are rallying against him and are determined to decimate him before the 2023 elections.

In the case of Matawalle, while announcing his defection to the APC at a special grand rally in Gusau, the governor said: “As from today, I Bello Matawalle Maradun, governor of Zamfara, I am happy to announce my defection from the PDP to the APC.

“As from today, I am a full APC member and leader of APC in Zamfara. I am calling on all APC stakeholders in the state to join hands with me to build the party and move the state forward.”

This is simply nonsensical and idiotic. One would have expected Matawalle to, at least, lie or say something reasonable to justify the reason why he decided to betray the trust of his party. A party that stood by him when the Supreme Court pronounced him as the governor in the middle of the crisis that engulfed the ruling APC and made it impossible for them to have a candidate at the 2019 governorship election.

The PDP has however been quick to react to a development that is a danger signal and drawback to its plans and attempt to defeat the ruling APC in 2023. The party indeed accused the APC of intimidating and blackmailing its governors to defect to their camp. The party therefore vowed to use every legal instrument at its disposal to put a break to these decampments. How far they can go remains to be seen in a country that is devoid of strong political ideology and values; where politics has become a cash and carry business.

Beyond this lack of discipline, ideology and pragmatic politics is the danger of the country becoming a one party state. With the three PDP governors jumping ship when there is no shipwreck and speculations that others may follow suit, what is staring us in the face is the possibility of the nation becoming a one party state. The fear of one party dominating the political space is no longer impossible. What is even more troubling is that one would have expected the ruling APC to be losing steam and support, both among the masses and the political elite with the current state of the nation, but the reverse seems to be the case.

In a country where there is massive unemployment; where insecurity has become a recurring decimal; where the debt portfolio has been rising with no hope of any respite; where youth restiveness has become a routine and a constant feature; where the ruling party has shown lack of capacity and leadership in tacking myriads of problems facing the country and in a country where the future is becoming increasingly bleak, the natural course of events would have been for the ruling party to be losing support.

There is however no doubt that the APC is desperate to remain in power beyond 2023 and its doing everything, including using the instrumentality of state to either coarse, intimidate or blackmail political opponents to its corner of the ring. This is wrong in its entirety and should be condemned by all lovers of democracy and good governance in the country. And the PDP should wake up from slumber and do more to put the ruling party on its toes. The party should go beyond issuing press releases and strategically put its house in order, unify its members and act as a veritable alternative to the ruling party.

For sure, a one party state is in the interest of the hegemonic tendencies within the ruling party, but this will be against the interest of democracy and future of this country. I can’t remember any time during the PDP years in Aso rock when the party stifled the opposition or try to strangle the democratic space. Of course, there was a time its former chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor boasted that the party will rule for 60 years uninterrupted, but it all came to naught when the party mismanaged its political capital and trust of the people and was beaten by the APC.

What is even more befuddling is the role of President Buhari in all these. It appears Buhari is less perturbed if the country becomes a one party state. With the presidential statements that have been following the defections and the red carpet the governors have been receiving in Aso rock, it’s all too glaring that the attempt to stifle the democratic space has a presidential seal.

For all lovers of democracy and those who love this country, this is not the time to keep quiet. The civil society should not sleep over this and the various stakeholders in the democratic process should open their eyes to the danger ahead. It’s not impossible that the ruling party is working on a script with these defections and with the benefit of hindsight, Nigerians must rise up and stop this tide towards a one party state before it is too late.

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It’s Impossible For FG To Borrow N1.1trn To Meet ASUU’s Demand, Says Umahi

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Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State says the Nigerian government cannot borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for over five months.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum said this on Wednesday when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital.

“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little,” the governor said.

“There must be a commitment on the side of both parties that look, ‘ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses’ so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.”

He also called on varsities lecturers to show some level of understanding so the strike can end.

“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding,” he added.

“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”

The governor, who equally faulted the poor maintenance culture in the country, added that there is a need to work on it.

“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works,” Umahi said.

“No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.

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2023: You Need Wike For Your Rescue Mission, Mimiko Tells PDP

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…Says Rivers Gov Has Been The Party’s Solid Rock

Olusegun Mimiko says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike for its rescue mission in the next general elections.

The former Ondo State governor spoke on Wednesday at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Azikiwe -Iloabuchi Road in Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Your Excellency, our Party, the PDP, a Party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity, and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from the far from satisfactory performance of the past seven years will be built,” he said during the event.

“It is a mission that must be accomplished. A mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role. A mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”

He explained that when some forces tried to destroy the PDP, Wike was a bulwark that resisted such attempts.

“Beyond the self-evident physical transformation, you (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculate the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one-party State down the throats of Nigerians,” Mimiko added.

“You were at one point virtually a one-man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”

Mimiko’s comment came amid speculations that the Rivers Governor may dump the PDP following a fallout with the party after its presidential primary.

Wike lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the exercise, a development that has since caused a rift between him and Adama-born politician.

The PDP is making reconciliatory moves but Wike’s recent invitation of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos (a state governed by the leading All Progressives Congress, APC) to commission a project has generated further speculations that he may leave the PDP.

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Real Madrid Beat Frankfurt 2-0, Clinch UEFA Super Cup

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Goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt and a fifth UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

While Frankfurt were dangerous, particularly in the first half, Madrid’s experience and individual quality saw them through, as it did so often in their victorious 2021-22 Champions League campaign.

Frankfurt had the best of the early stages, with Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois forced into a stunning anticipation save when one-on-one with Daichi Kamada in the 14th minute.

Madrid almost got their first, when Benzema released Vinicius to curl past Kevin Trapp in the penalty box, only for Tuta to clear the ball off the line.

With Madrid dominating possession, Frankfurt mounted several counter-attacks until Madrid launched a counter of their own in the 37th minute.

A diving Trapp got his fingertips to a goal-bound shot by Vinicius, pushing the ball out for a corner.

From the ensuing play, Benzema linked with Casemiro just next to the right post.

The Brazilian sucked in several Frankfurt defenders and a diving Trapp, before heading back to an unmarked Alaba who scored from close range.

After the goal, Madrid stepped it up a gear and should have gone 2-0 up, with Benzema uncharacteristically dragging the ball wide with the goal begging in the 41st minute.

Vinicius, Benzema Connect
Madrid’s quality became more obvious in the second half, with Trapp saving a deflected Vinicius shot in the 54th minute and Casemiro hitting the crossbar with 61 minutes gone.

Borussia Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff had a chance saved just minutes later before Vinicius and Benzema combined to put Madrid 2-0 up.

Vinicius skated down the left before slicing the ball back seemingly unsighted for the Frenchman to hammer home from the edge of the box.

Frankfurt fought hard in the closing stages but Madrid were able to dominate the game to win their fifth Super Cup from eight attempts.

The clash, in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, was the first time these two sides had met in a European decider since 1960 when Madrid dismantled Frankfurt 7-3 through four goals to Ferenc Puskas and three to Alfredo di Stefano in the European Cup final.

The match also highlighted the growing gap between the Champions League and Europa League competitions, with Madrid being the ninth Champions League team to win the competition in the past 10 years.

Only city rivals Atletico Madrid have won the Super Cup when qualifying via a Europa League win in the past decade, having done so by beating Real in the 2018 edition.

In the 10 years before, Champions League and Europa League participants won five Super Cups each.

Frankfurt joined Hamburg (1977 and 1983), Dortmund (1997), and Bremen (1992) as losing Super Cup finalists from Germany, with only Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) having won the showpiece event.

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