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



The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, alleged last week that some elements in the presidential villa were working against the presidential aspiration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in this month’s election.

This and four other stories we tracked were among the highlights of events in Nigeria last week.

1. El-Rufai’s claim on gang-up against Tinubu

On February 1, Governor El-Rufai claimed that some elements in the presidency were working underground against the success of the APC candidate in the February 25 election.

The governor, who spoke on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, said: “I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.

“They are working all day, trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the president’s desire to do what he thinks is right.”

Why it matters

El-Rufai’s claim might not be far from the truth.

It speaks to the growing discontent in the APC since the conclusion of its presidential primary in June last year with many key members of the party distancing themselves from the party’s preparations for the election.

The development, therefore, shows that all the parties have their underbellies and are not immune to crises heading into the election period.

However, it remains to be seen if the Labour Party will captalise on the crisis in APC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to cruise to a stunning election victory at the end of the month.

2. Supreme Court’s ruling on Edo crisis

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The Supreme Court on February 1 resolved the crisis in the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in favour of a faction loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The apex court delivered the ruling in an appeal filed by a lawmaker representing the Oredo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama.

Justice Centus Nweze, who delivered the lead judgment, said Ogbeide-Ihama’s appeal was dismissed on the ground that the issues he raised did not form part of the judgment of the Court of Appeal which he had appealed.

He said: “Any ground of appeal that does not challenge issues raised at the lower court is incompetent. I enter judgment in favour of the respondents.”

Why it matters

The Supreme Court’s ruling effectively puts to rest the question of who pulls the string in the nomination of candidates for elections by political parties.

The prolonged crisis in the Edo State chapter of PDP has again confirmed the claim of politics as an interest-driven game with the quest to achieve an immediate goal constantly dictating the action of the players.

However, a possible realignment of all parties in the internal squabbles following the ruling is seen as a potent force that could help the party maintain its grip on the state in this month’s elections and beyond.

3. Buhari’s seven-day request on naira notes logjam

President Muhammadu Buhari on February 3 asked Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the scarcity of the new naira notes.

Read also:QuickRead: Osun tribunal’s sack of Adeleke. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

Buhari made the request at a meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors in Abuja.

He said: “Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves. Even if a year is added to this exercise, the problems won’t go away.
“I will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company. There will be a decision one way or the other in the remaining seven days of the 10-day extension.”

Why it matters

The ugly scenario that has characterized the naira redesign and swap policy vividly mirrors the larger Nigerian society where greed and the selfish attitude of a few undermine policies no matter the intention behind such.

Again, the difficulties or failures of various initiatives to curtail rising inflation and strengthen the Naira speak either to the inability of the current administration to handle such effectively or devise the right approaches for the challenges.

The drama associated with the policy even with the ruling party does not bode well for a government hoping to end on a high after more than seven years of underperformance.

4. LP campaign director, others dump Obi for Atiku

A Director of the Labour Party presidential campaign council in Bauchi State, Alhassan Bawu, on January 31 dumped the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

Bawu, who addressed journalists at a media briefing in Bauchi, said all the LP leaders, including the zonal and national officers in the North-East, had joined the PDP to support the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the February 25 election.

He said: “Without an iota of doubt, we believe the LP is not strong enough to win a single seat in the North-East.
“We are officially declaring that all the North-East executives of the Labour Party are defecting to PDP to support Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“We don’t want to waste our votes, and we want to use this time to mobilise votes to who has the capacity to win the election.”

Why it matters

The Labour Party’s leaders switch to PDP and their declaration of support for the party’s presidential candidate points to the lack of principle among players in Nigeria’s s political space with many shamelessly jumping ships at the slightest opportunities for pecuniary gains.

5. INEC on the plot to manipulate BVAS

Festus Okoye

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) claimed on February 1 that some politicians in the country are plotting to manipulate the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) ahead of next month’s elections.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this when he featured on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily.

He said: “There are some politicians who want us to open the brain of the BVAS [machine] so they can see inside the BVAS [machine], to see how it functions and for them to also see whether there’s a possibility for them to clone it or manipulate it and the commission will not do that.”

Why it matters

The INEC’s claim suggests that politicians are constantly evolving strategies to undermine the country’s electoral process.

This again illustrates the win-at-all-cost culture that is deeply ingrained in our political terrain and the determination of the political players to constantly impose themselves on the citizens against their wishes.

By Hamed Shobiye

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