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QuckRead: PDP’s expulsion of ex-Gov Nnamani, others. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week expelled the former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, and five other members for alleged anti-party activities.

Also, suspected hoodlums during the week attacked the supporters of the Labour Party in Lagos.

These and three other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.

1.PDP’s expulsion of Nnamani, five others

On February 10, the PDP NWC approved the expulsion of Nnamani and John Fayose, son of former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, for alleged anti-party activities.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who confirmed the development in a statement in Abuja, listed the other affected members as Ajijola Oladimeji (Ekiti Central), Olayinka Olalere (Ekiti Central II), Akerele Oluyinka (Ekiti North I), and Emiola Jennifer (Ekiti South II).

He said: “The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party at its 566th meeting today, Friday, February 10, 2023, approved the expulsion of the following individuals from the Party for anti-Party activities and other grave offences in violation of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).”

Why it matters

The expulsion of the former governor and other key members again points to the enormity of the crisis in the major opposition party just 12 days before the country’s national elections.

It shows that the dispute is far from abating and instead of the leaders putting their thinking caps to fashioning a way out of the impasse, they continue to plunge the party deeper into crisis over their inability to rein in their ego.

All said, the development lends credence to the fact that there would always be various tendencies in a political grouping, with each pulling at narrow interests.

How PDP survives the push and shove within its rank will largely determine how it fares in the coming polls.

2.Attack on Labour Party supporters

Hoodlums on February 11 attacked the Labour Party supporters during the party’s presidential campaign rally in Lagos.

The LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who reacted to the development on his Twitter handle, charged the security agencies to protect Nigerians exercising their constitutional rights.

He said: “As we go into the final stretch for the 2023 elections, I call on all Nigerians regardless of political affiliation or tendency, to eschew violence. I condemn any form of violence and political thuggery; and especially the incessant attacks on my Obidient supporters.”

Why it matters

The growing violence among supporters of rival political parties again speaks to the culture of political intolerance in the country’s political space.

The development has also confirmed fears about the conduct of the elections with candidates and their supporters seeing violence as the only way to settle scores or force their rivals to succumb to their will.

This reinforces the call for the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the bill that will enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prosecute promoters of violence and other persons undermining the electoral process.

3. Council of State’s approval of naira redesign
Abubakar Malami

The Council of State meeting on February 10 approved the redesign of the naira notes initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, said the council, however, urged the apex bank to make the new naira notes available or recirculate the old notes to ease the scarcity of cash in the country.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: El-Rufai’s claim on gang-up against Tinubu. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

He said: “So, by way of conclusion, the two major resolutions that were driven, arriving from the deliberations of the Council, are one that we are on course as far as election is concerned and we are happy with the level of preparation by INEC and the institutions.
“Two, relating to the naira redesigned policy, the policy stands, but then the Council agreed that there is a need for aggressive action on the part of the CBN as it relates to the implementation of the policy by way of ensuring adequate provision being made with regard to the supply of the naira in the system.”

Why it matters

The council of state’s approval and the Supreme Court’s intervention will at least ensure normalcy in the system after the apprehension of the likely consequence of the policy on the country.

The events of the last few days again highlight the current administration’s inability to initiate or effectively coordinate policies aimed at tackling the country’s challenges without hurting the citizens who ordinarily are the focus of such ideas.

4.Court frees Okorocha of fraud charges

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on February 6 discharged the former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, on the N2.9 billion fraud charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission had on May 30 last year arraigned the former governor and six others, including a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on a 17-count charge of fraud.

In his ruling, the judge dismissed the case for contravening section 105 (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

Justice Ekwo declared that the EFCC ceased to have the legal authority to prosecute or continue the prosecution of the case from the moment the AGF demanded the case file from the commission.

He said: “All that the law required of the respondent (EFCC) was for the respondent, when directed by the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF) pursuant to any enactment, to comply and not act as if it is not under the law or is exempted thereby.”

Why it matters

The ruling suggests the need for the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies to always discharge the burden of proof on criminal cases at this magnitude.

Also, the conduct of the EFCC throughout the period, including the drama that led to the ex-governor’s arrest suggests that the commission may not have weaned itself completely of allegations that it is sometimes used as an instrument to settle personal scores between individuals or perceived enemies.

5.Supreme Court’s ruling on Lawan

The Supreme Court on February 6 affirmed the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Yobe North.

The apex court delivered the ruling in an appeal filed by the APC challenging the listing of Bachir Machina as its candidate in the district by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Centus Nweze, who delivered the lead judgement, criticized Machina’s strategy of starting the lawsuit at the Federal High Court, Damaturu division by way of an originating summons.

He said: “Hon. Bachir Machina ought to have commenced his suit by a writ of summons going by the allegations of fraud leveled against the APC in transmitting Mr. Lawan’s name to INEC.”

Why it matters

The Supreme Court’s ruling, though confounding, shows the technicalities associated with judicial matters that might sometimes appear to defy logic.

The development is a challenge for the political parties to put their house in order to avoid the kind of controversy generated by the apex court’s ruling in the future.

By Hamed Shobiye

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