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The Argument of a One-party State

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….The Argument of a One-party State

Since after the 2023 general elections, there has been a back and forth confrontation between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the alleged plot to plunge the country into a one-party state.

The PDP has not relented in accusing the APC of using every machinery of government it could muster to undermine democracy and also forcing members of the opposition political parties to join in dumping their parties for the party in control of government.

Umar Damagum, the acting National Chairman of the PDP threw the first salvo recently when he told a news conference that some ‘cabal’ in the presidency were using the judiciary to undermine democracy and that the ruling party was gradually sliding the country into a one-party state.

He expressed serious concern that the antics of the APC were aimed at weakening the nation’s democracy.

Damagum said; “The activities of a cabal in the presidency which is out to emasculate institutions of democracy, especially the Judiciary in the desperation to subvert and overturn the expressed Will of Nigerians in the various election matters across the country.”

He particularly said the APC was using the judiciary to subvert the will of the people by upturning the victories of its members in some states in favour of candidates of the ruling party. He gave example with the now controversial rulings of the Appeal Court in the legislative and governorship elections in Plateau state where most of the seats originally won by the PDP have been decided in favour of the APC.

“The sinister agenda is tailored towards a systemic emasculation of the opposition and foisting of an oppressive one-Party system is evident in the conduct and outcome of certain election petitions in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Delta, Ogun and other states of the nation where the Election Petition and Appeal Panels were used to rob the PDP of victory won at the polls.

“Also of serious concern is the continuing stay of the patently biased Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel sitting in Abuja despite widespread demands by the people of Plateau State and the PDP for its immediate disbandment having regards to its varying and contradictory judgments against the PDP, which are also in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC’s Guidelines and Regulations for elections”.

However, the APC will not let this slide without responding; and they did that through its National Publicity Secretary (NPS), Felix Morka who in a statement last week berated the PDP for accusing his party of totalitarianism and attempting to plunge the country into a one-party state.

The APC equally descended heavily on the PDP, accusing the main opposition party of denigrating and blackmailing democratic institutions like the judiciary especially any time they lose a court case.

Morka wrote; “In its morbid apprehension that it may yet lose more Governorship or National Assembly seats that it won against clear legal provisions of the Electoral Act and Constitution of the Federal Republic, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has continued to wage attacks calculated to disparage, denigrate and blackmailing democratic institutions, particularly the Judiciary into submission to its nefarious electoral agenda.


“PDP’s hallucinations about the one-party state is understandable only in the context of its unrealized plan to rule Nigeria for 60 years but now seeks to taint APC with its own scripted crude, intolerant, unpatriotic and anti-democratic zealotry.

“What is by far more repugnant, devious and a clear and present threat to our democratic way of life is the PDP’s relentless and unjustified objurgation of our courts and judges. The PDP has maligned and poured invectives on our judges at every turn since its miserable performance in the general elections.”

Indeed, what is happening today between the APC and the PDP is not new because it is a clear manifestation of the nature of Nigerian politics; where the party in power would usually want to frustrate the opposition parties. It happened during the 16 years reign of the PDP. During the era of the PDP, it was so dominant that its former National Chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor in 2008 boasted that the party would rule the country for 60 years without break.

Ogbulafor had also said the PDP was ready to have a one-party state because the party was able and strong enough to cater for everyone.

He said then: “Some time ago, I used to read in the newspapers that the umbrella of the PDP was torn. Each time I read that, I would laugh and then say to myself that the umbrella is still strong and very intact and ready to accommodate more people.

“The PDP is a party for all and it is set to rule Nigeria for the next 60 years. I don’t care if Nigeria becomes a one-party state. We can do it and the PDP can contain all,” 

The former PDP Chairman made that statement then because his party was controlling 28 out of the 36 states of the federation with a large number of seats in the National Assembly.

Already, the National Chairman of the APC, Dr. Abdulahi Ganduje even before the recent back and forth of a one-party state between the two parties had also claimed that his intention was that the APC would swallow most of the opposition parties.

In August, shortly after he received the then Minister nominee and chieftain of the PDP, Nyesom Wike, the APC boss enthusiastically boasted that most of the opposition political parties and politicians are willing to collapse into the APC.

Ganduje said Wike’s visit was the beginning of better things to happen to the APC membership drive under his leadership, adding that it was in line with his inaugural acceptance speech on August 3 when he became the national Chairman. He added that Wike’s defection will be an added advantage to the APC ahead of 2027.

“It will certainly improve the chances of this our party, especially in 2027, and not only that, we are coming out with a new blueprint to increase the followership of the party and this will include all strata of officials; those who are in APC and those who are in other political parties. We did not discuss the issue of his coming to APC or not coming to APC. That issue will arise later.”

 “I assure you very soon some of the political parties will even merge with the APC. We are doing that underground”.

To further buttress that position, recently, the former national Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Prof. Rufai Alkali led some members of the party to the APC national Secretariat where they formally announced their membership of the ruling party.

Ganduje who was on hand to receive them said the APC was well vast in accommodating as many people as may want to join its fold. He said the APC is an expert in the management of diversity, while promising that the new members were fully integrated into the party’s scheme of things.

The danger of a one-party state is that there will be little or no virile opposition and since absolute power corrupts absolutely, the party in power will have nobody to call them to order when they go overboard. It will be more beneficial to the country if politicians in the ruling party will focus on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people instead of the phantom thought of emasculating the opposition parties.  

The leadership of the APC should learn from what happened to the PDP and cut down on some of this unproductive rhetoric of enlarging its membership by luring the opposition to join them. It is always for the country to have a virile opposition that will continue to put the government on its toes because those in power will always be conscious of the fact that there are capable alternatives lurking behind them.

Another danger of a one-party state is that after everyone had joined the ruling party, there would be an implosion because those that will lose out within the scheme of things or not satisfied with what they have gotten will begin to undermine the government even when they are insiders.

The truth is that if those in government at the moment fail to impress the people, time will come when the people will resist them no matter how they try to hold on to power. The outcome of the last general elections should be a lesson to them that they have to sit up.  

If not for the unproductive and vain attachment to power driven by ego, the preoccupation of any government in power should not be how to lure or force opposition politicians to its fold; it should rather concentrate on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people. In fact, when the people see and believe that a government has done well, they will definitely support and also ensure that such a government returns to power.

Indeed, what one can deduce from this quest to emasculate the opposition parties is that the votes of the people may not really be needed for them to return to power; if not a ruling party should rather concentrate of satisfying the majority of the masses instead of dissipating energy on getting the opposition to join their fold.

Conversely, the PDP as an opposition party should also concentrate on proffering credible alternatives and suggestions on how best to ease the pains Nigerians are currently going through instead of crying over a phantom one-party state that is very hard to introduce and even harder to sustain.

By Jude Opara

POLITICS

Reps Set up 23-Member Ad-hoc C’ttee on Oronsaye’s Report Implementation

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Thursday, set up a 23-man Ad-hoc Committee to look into the Steve Oronsaye’s Report on the restructuring of Federal Government Ministries, Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies.

This was just as it emphasized the need for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to thoroughly review the Report on the proposed restructuring.

Recall that President Tinubu last week approved the full implementation of the White Paper on Steve Oronsanye’s report, which recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the 541 MDAs.

Hon. Abbas, who announced the Ad-hoc Committee to be chaired by Majority Leader, Hon. Julius Ihonbvere, explained that the Ad-hoc Committee will recommend the appropriate measures to mitigate the likely fallout of the review process of Steve Oronsanye’s report on

In a related development, the House, which suffered with the process adopted by Mr.

President, called for a comprehensive review of the 2012 Orosanye Report, the Goni Aji Report, which reviewed the Orosanye Report, the White Paper released by the President Jonathan administration, the Ama Pepple White Paper, and the Ebele Okeke White Paper in line with current realities, while considering implementable alternatives that are in tune with current realities and which at the same time would have minimum unintended consequences, impacts, implications, and outcomes.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance jointly sponsored by Hon. Kama Nkemkanma, Hon. Olumide Osoba and Hon. Gaza Gbwefi

In his lead debate, Hon. Nkemkanma observed that “in 2012, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration set up the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, headed by Stephen Oronsaye, a retired federal civil servant and former Head of Service of the Federation.

“The House is aware that the Oronsaye Committee, after their painstaking assignment, recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the then existing 541 government agencies.

“The House is also aware that the Committee’s 800-page report noted that the government’s parastatals and agencies’ functions are overlapping and therefore recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, the abolition of 38 agencies, the merger of 52 and the reversion of 14 to departments in ministries, and the management audit of 89 agencies capturing biometric features of staff, as well as the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies and councils.

“The House is again aware that the Oronsaye Report said then that if the committee’s recommendation was implemented, the government would be saving over N862 billion between 2012 and 2015, with a breakdown that showed that about N124.8 billion would be reduced from agencies proposed for abolition; about N100.6 billion from agencies proposed for mergers; about N6.6 billion from professional bodies; N489.9 billion from universities; N50.9 billion from polytechnics; N32.3 billion from colleges of education; and N616 million from boards of federal medical centres.

“The House is further aware that after the committee’s report, the White Paper committee set up by Jonathan’s administration rejected most of the recommendations, while those accepted were not implemented.

“The House notes that in November 2021, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration inaugurated two committees; one of the committees, chaired by Goni Aji, a retired Head of Civil Service of the Federation, was to review the Orosanye report, and the second committee, chaired by Ama Pepple, also a retired Head of Civil Service of the Federation, was constituted to review agencies created between 2014 and 2021.

“The House also notes that upon submission of their reports, the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government in July 2022 set up another committee chaired by Ebele Okeke, a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to produce a white paper on the reports.

“The House is worried that the full implementation of a report 12 years after it was first made, which ordinarily may be described as outdated, especially because of how dynamic society, economy, politics, technology, and all facets of our national life have been,.

“The House is concerned that, contrary to the assumption that the full implementation of the report would reduce the cost of governance, with the current realities, the full implementation of the report will not substantially reduce the cost of governance as it does not reflect the current situation in the Public Service of the Federation.

“The House is deeply worried that the full implementation of the 2012 Oronsaye report in 2024 will certainly have unintended consequences, implications, and outcomes. It is committed to supporting all positive actions and policies of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration that have minimum unintended consequences, impacts, implications, and outcomes.

“The House is cognizant of the primary purpose of government being the security and welfare of the citizens as enshrined in Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” he noted.

The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to develop and implement policies that will reposition the agricultural sector, the solid mineral sector, and the informal sector, which will serve as alternatives to those that may be laid off consequently while at the same time spurring economic growth.

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POLITICS

Senate Urges PSC to Recruit 10 Candidates Each from 774 LGAs

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The Senate has urged the Police Service Commission(PSC) to recruit a minimum of 10 candidates from each of the 774 Local Government Areas(LGAs) of the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen. Udende Memga (APC- Benue) at plenary on Thursday.

Presenting the motion, Memga said that the Buhari administration had ordered the recruitment of 10, 000 constables annually as part of measures to address the nation’s security challenges.

He said that President Bola Tinubu was keen in implementing the policy, saying however, that the recruitment should be conducted based on the strength of each LGA especially in the area of community policing.

“The use of LGA parameters in the recruitment exercise is to reflect the principles of the federal character.

“It is also meant to promote inclusion, representation and give a sense of belonging and balance in the polity, section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended, captured the federal character,’’ he said.

He said that the parameter would promote national unity and command national loyalty as well as eliminate marginalisation of any state, ethnic or any group in government or its agency.

Memga said that the use of state parameters in the recruitment as against LGAs initially adopted, would lead to inequality.

“It is extremely important to always reflect a fair representation of all local government areas in the recruitments,’’ he said.

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POLITICS

Why I Object to State Police – Senator Udende

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The Senator representing Benue North East at the National Assembly, Senator Udende Memsa Emmanuel has explained that the crazy mentality of some Nigerian politicians, especially the Governors remained the reason he is opposed to the creation of state police.

Speaking with newsmen in his office at the National Assembly yesterday, Senator Udende who was the Deputy House Committee Chairman on Police Affairs during the previous dispensation pointed out that the mentality of most political elites in Nigeria was low, so if they had state police they would use it to harass and intimidate political opponents.

The Senator, a lawyer by profession however said that community policing, where youths from various communities get the opportunity in equal measures to join the federal police and be posted in their respective localities remained the best policing option for Nigeria at the moment.

Recall that senator Udende had earlier in the day moved a motion seeking the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to adhere to the Federal Character Principle in the recruitment of Constables into the Nigeria Police Force, stressing that both entities should ensure the recruitment of at least 10 personnel from each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

He said such a measure would entrench unity, harmony and the spirit of community policing rather than bickering and suspicion which had become the order of the day after each police recruitment exercise across the country.

He noted that the underlying philosophy of the federal character principle was to provide equality of access in public service representation to curb dominance by one or few sections of the country either in the federal, state or local government, saying otherwise it would create lopsidedness.

“I will, in the interim, oppose the creation of State Police. As you know, most of our political leaders, especially those Governors are crazy, they have mad attitudes to issues and low comprehension ability to the principles of fair play. They will abuse the good intentions of the spirit of State Police, use it to harass and intimidate not just their political opponents but anyone who goes against their thoughts and aspirations.

“In place of State Police, I’m for Community policing under the supervision and control of the federal government. This is the best approach for now in my opinion. To this effect, I moved a motion on the floor of the Senate earlier urging the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to recruit at least 10 persons from each local government area in Nigeria in the spirit of the federal character principle. Such personnel could be posted within the local government areas and that’s community policing pure and clear. If they do that for 10 years, would we still be talking about State Police?, he queried.

However, his motion was supported by the Senate Minority leader, Abba Moro of Benue South senatorial district, senator Titus Zam of Benue North West and senator Bassey Ekong of Cross River North, making the deputy senate president, Jibrin Barau who presided over the plenary yesterday adopt the motion and consequently directing the Committee on Police Affairs and legislative compliance to ensure compliance as well as directing the police authorities to recruit at least 10 persons each across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.

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