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QuickRead: Edo PDP governorship primary confusion. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) produced two governorship candidates in last week’s governorship primary in Edo State.

The same week, the former Kwara State governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed, was arraigned for alleged misappropriation of N1.6 billion.

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

1. Edo PDP governorship primary drama

On February 22, the duo of Edo State Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu and former Chairman of Nigeria Breweries Plc, Asue Ighodalo, won separate governorship primaries conducted by the PDP.

Shaibu won the election held in a facility at Commercial Avenue in Benin City after he polled 301 votes while Ighodalo defeated nine other aspirants in another exercise that took place at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.

The Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal, who announced the result of the second primary, said: “I, therefore, declare Asuelimen Ighodalo the winner of this concluded primary today with a total vote of 577. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

“Therefore, I hereby return him elected as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the upcoming election in Edo State. My brother, congratulations.”

Why it matters

Although the rival All Progressives Congress (APC) has its internal problem, the governorship primary saga put the ruling party in Edo at a greater risk of losing their grip on the South-South state when the residents cast their votes on September 21.

The drama is an indication that the PDP in Edo State is in a crisis and risks serious implosion heading into the election.

Unless Shaibu and his boss rein in their egos or the PDP national leadership steps in and resolve the dispute, the bad blood between the two former allies may hamper the party’s chances of retaining power in Edo State beyond this year.

2. EFCC arraigns ex-Gov Abdulfattah Ahmed for alleged N1.6bn fraud

The EFCC on February 23 arraigned the ex-governor for alleged misappropriation of N1, 610,730,500 at the Federal High Court, Ilorin.

The commission in a charge sheet alleged that the ex-governor spent the funds meant for the security and running costs in the state to charter private jets when he was in power.

It read: “Ahmed (while being the Governor of Kwara State) between 2015 and 2019 in Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court used an aggregate sum of N1,610,730,500, property of Kwara State Government, meant for the security and running cost of the Government of Kwara State, to charter private jets through Travel Messengers Limited on different occasions for your local travels and which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust or theft.”

Why it matters

The arraignment of the ex-governor indeed brings home the question of accountability and reinforces the calls for sufficient punishment of indicted public officials involved in barefaced corruption to serve as a deterrent to others.

Although Ahmed is still assumed innocent of the corruption allegation until proven otherwise by the courts, his ordeal is a sad reminder of the level of corruption pervading Nigerian society.

3. Military warns advocates of coup

The military on February 22 warned those calling for a coup in the country to desist.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, gave the warning while interacting with journalists after he inaugurated the main entrance of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Officers Transit Accommodation at the Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Tinubu and governors consider establishment of state police. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

He said those calling for a coup in the country are enemies of Nigeria and the law would catch up with them soon.

Musa said: “Whoever is making that call does not love Nigeria. We want to make it very clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are here to protect democracy.

“We all want democracy and we do better under democracy. And so we will continue to support democracy. And any of those ones that are calling for anything other than democracy are evil people and I think they don’t mean well for Nigeria.”

Why it matters

The calls for Nigeria to go the way of the Niger Republic and a few other countries in West Africa where the military junta disrupted the constitutional order, if indeed true, were expressions of deep-seated anger among the citizens with officials they voted into power.

The CDS remark is timely advice for Nigerian leaders to put their acts together in order not to push the citizens who have become victims of bad leadership for the better part of the last decades to anger or give the men in khaki an opportunity to seize power.

4. Obasanjo calls for law against organ harvesting

President Olusegun Obasanjo on February 21 called for an urgent enactment of a law to help check organ harvesting and trafficking in the country.

Obasanjo, according to a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, made the call on Tuesday at the 36th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the National Association of Nephrology.

He said: “There is an urgent need for legislative support in terms of a new bill to support affected persons.

“Organ trafficking is also an emerging issue in our environment and I want to plead with agencies concerned to help in examining relevant laws, especially with regards to cadaveric donations taking cognizance of our peculiar cultural and societal idiosyncrasies and also laws guiding organs to be harvested from living donors.”

Why it matters

The ex-president may have spoken the mind of many Nigerians on a stricter punishment for anybody involved in the heinous crime which has sent many to their early graves.

The British court’s handling and subsequent conviction of a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife for the same offence in 2023 should provide the springboard for Nigeria to enact a law in that direction.

5. Obi, North Elders’ support for state police

The Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, on February 20 declared their support for the creation of state police as a solution to the country’s security challenges.

The parties welcomed President Bola Tinubu and the 36 state governors’ discussion on the matter.

In a post on his X handle, Obi wrote: “While the idea of State Policing as discussed recently by the President and the 36 States Governors, is a welcome development, and while looking forward to its implementation, which may still take a while, all efforts, at the moment, should be geared towards ending the ugly trend of insecurity in the nation.”

The Northern Elders in a statement issued by their Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, also chipped in with their contributions, adding: “The issue of security in Nigeria is a pressing concern that needs to be addressed urgently. The current centralised policing system has proven to be inadequate in effectively combating crime and ensuring the safety of citizens.”

Why it matters

While the quest for state police and purported agreement by the political leaders have continued to gain traction in Nigeria, the promoters of the idea may have to wait a bit longer before rolling out their drums for a celebration due to several factors.

The approach though may sound logical; it will not be a smooth sail because it is closely related to the unfinished conversation around the restructuring of the country which demands an honest dialogue between and among its various entities.

Despite its many benefits, the fear over the possible abuse of the state police by the governors is another factor that could work against the implementation of the policy.

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