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Crack in APC, state chairmen kick over appointments by governors

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Indications have emerged that state chairmen of the All Progressives Congress are threatening a showdown with the national leadership of the party over recent appointments at the federal and state levels.

The PUNCH learnt on Monday that the state chairmen were becoming frustrated over the failure of the leadership of the party to reward loyal party members with appointments.

The chairmen expressed their grievances as the governors elected on the platform of the party on Monday warned that the internal crisis in the APC could destroy the party and the political process.

The renewed agitation of the chairmen followed the expiration of a 10-day ultimatum issued to the National Working Committee of the party under the leadership of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

Recall that the Forum of APC State Chairmen had on September 23 issued an ultimatum to the NWC to address their perceived concerns.

Among their concerns are failure to secure appointments for party loyalists and fill vacant leadership seats in the party.

The position of the National Secretary had become vacant following the swearing-in of the last occupant, Mai Mala Buni, as Governor of Yobe State.

Also, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was recently appointed as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Their chairmen alleged that they were being treated as outsiders in the party they toiled day and night to secure victories for in the last general elections while those who worked against the party were being rewarded.

Prominent among state where core party members were neglected included Ogun State, where two loyalists of ex-governor Ibukunle Amosun, clinched federal appointments. During the 2019 elections, Amosun supported the Allied Peoples Movement governorship candidate, Mr Adekunle Akinlade.

The ultimatum has expired without the chairmen getting any concrete response from the party national leadership.

One of the state chairmen, who spoke with one of our correspondents in confidence said the state chairmen were angry because their concerns had not been addressed despite the letter to the national leadership.

He said, “It is unfortunate our efforts are not being recognised by the party we have all laboured for while those that did nothing were getting rewarded because of their closeness to some powerful forces in government.

“There is a limit to everything because we are fast losing grip of our members at states who feel the party is not carrying them along.”

Another state chairman from the North said, “The situation is getting critical and our members are becoming disenchanted and losing faith in us for something that it is not our fault. We don’t know what to tell them again because it is getting to a stage they can no longer understand the direction of the party.”

However, the Secretary of the forum, Dr Ben Nwoye, told The PUNCH that they were not relenting in their efforts as there was no going back on their demands.

READ ALSO: Umahi orders arrest of partygoers for blocking convoy

He said, “There is no response yet, but when it is time you will hear from us. You will hear from the party faithful; those who believe they worked hard for the party and have been left behind and out of the system while those who worked against the government and the party have been rewarded.

“You will hear from those who participated in putting the government in place in various states and have been abandoned.”

Nwoye, who is the Enugu State APC chairman, said the state chairmen would meet in the next few days to review the development.

“Discussions are going on.  We are planning and we are organising ourselves. Whatever that will be done will be a collective decision of all of us and it will be made public; it won’t be in isolation,” he said

Speaking on their grievances, Nwoye said, “The chairmen are speaking the minds of the people, those who sacrificed, worked hard and promoted the cause of the party but have been left behind.

“We are speaking the minds of the contestants who have promoted the image of the party and have been neglected. The minds of the people who nurtured the party in the non-APC states but have been left behind while the PDP people are rewarded.”

Efforts to reach the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, proved abortive as he did not answer calls placed to him.

He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to him on what the APC had done to address the issues raised by the forum of state chairmen in their letter to the NWC as of 7:53 pm.

 

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Buhari seeks Senate’s approval of N10.06bn refund for Kogi

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Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, has sought the  approval of the Senate to pay Kogi State Government N10.069 billion being refund of money spent by the state on behalf of federal government.
The request was contained in a letter dated  October 10, 2019 and read by the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, during plenary.
According to the letter, the requested amount is for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the federal government to the state for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.
President Buhari recalled that 24 out of 25 state governments had received the approval of the National Assembly for the settlement of claims on projects executed on behalf of the federal government.
He added that the sum of N10.069 billion is outstanding amount due to Kogi State Government which is the only state yet to receive a refund.
The letter reads: “The Distinguished Senate President would recall that, based on my request for the Resolution of the National Assembly approving the establishment of a promissory note programme and a Bond Issuance to settle inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations of the Federal Government, the 8th National Assembly passed Resolutions approving the Issuance of Promissory Notes to refund State Governments for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
“The Resolutions of the 8th Assembly were conveyed through three different letters from the Clerk of the National Assembly as follows: Letter dated July 27, 2018 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.10/277 which approved the Issuance of Promissory notes to 21 states.
“Letter dated January 29, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/004 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Delta and Taraba States; and letter dated May 23, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/164 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Bauchi State.”
“The three Resolutions approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to 24 out of the 25 State Governments requested, and the only State for which approval has not been given is Kogi State, with an outstanding claim of N10,069,692,410.15 (Ten billion, Sixty-Nine million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Two thousand, Four Hundred and Ten Naira, Fifteen Kobo).
“The Senate may wish to note that, subsequent to Resolutions of the National Assembly approving the refunds to the 24 State Governments, the Federal Government has issued Promissory Notes to all the approved States for the settlement of their claims.
“Accordingly, the Senate is hereby requested to kindly approve, the Issuance of a Promissory Note in the sum of N10, 069,692,410.15 as refund to Kogi State Government for Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.”
Lawn later referred the President’s request to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative work and report back in two weeks.
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Senate explains amendment to Production Sharing Contract law 

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Ahmad Lawan

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has explained the reason behind the current move by the upper legislative chamber to amend the law on Production Sharing Contract in the oil industry.

Lawan said “it has become absolutely necessary for us to do so as a country so that we can generate more revenues from our endowments.”

He spoke while declaring open a public hearing on the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract, 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2019 which is being sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan.

The public hearing was convened jointly by the Senate committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Gas, Finance and Judiciary.

The Senate President said that the Senate will, in the process of carrying out the amendment, be mindful of the need to maintain a competitive environment for businesses to continue to thrive.

The Senate, he said, will also ensure that the Oil and Gas business in Nigeria remain profitable.

The bill seeks to amend section 5 of the PSC Act to bring the provisions of that section into conformity with the generality of provisions of the Act and into congruence with the intent and essence of Production Sharing Contracts.

“We want to attract more investments and therefore it is absolutely necessary that we engage in a process that we produce a win-win situation” for Nigeria and the business concerns in the oil and gas industry.

“Let me assure everyone here that the national assembly is determined to pass this bill and of course that will be a precursor to our determination to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill next year,” Lawan said.

The Petroleum Industry Bill was first introduced in 2007 and the bill is yet to be passed in its entirety.

Lawan said the National Assembly will this time around adopt a different approach to make the passage of the PIB a reality.

“We want to see a situation where the Legislature and the Executive work very closely to have a PIB that will attract investment into the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

“An investment climate that will be competitive; we know we have other countries who have this product, and therefore we have to be competitive, we have to have an environment where the businesses make profit.

“This is a journey that involves everyone.  We want both government – and that includes the legislature and executive on one hand and IOCs (International Oil Companies) to work together to ensure that this environment we are trying to create is an environment that will work for all of us,” Lawan said.

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Senate partners FRC to block revenue leakages

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Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), has expressed the readiness of the upper legislative chamber to work with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC to block revenue leakages and misuse of funds by federal government agencies.

Senator Adeola, however, lamented at a meeting with FRC’s Acting Chairman, Mr. Victor Muruko, that the commission had not lived up to its billings over the years, a situation he said must change.

The lawmaker, in a statement in Abuja by his media aide, Chief Kayode Odunaro, said representatives of the FRC would henceforth attend the committee’s interactive sessions with revenue generating agencies in a bid to ensure that government gets its target, prevent leakages and frivolous spending.

He said: “Your commission has a watchdog role over revenue accruing to the Federal Government.

“With the country facing financial challenges to fund urgent infrastructure and social development, the issue of government revenue leakages and frivolous expenditures by some agencies need to be curtailed and the FRC must play a critical role in ensuring this.

“That is what the Act establishing the commission envisaged and our committee will be working with the commission during oversights on revenue generating agencies.”

Senator Adeola also regretted that the board of the commission had not been constituted since 2013, saying this militates against effective performance of its roles.

“The committee will inquire from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, why the commission under the Presidency still operates from rented apartments, lacks fund for its operation, including printing of its annual reports, years after it was established,” he added.

In his remarks, Muruko told the senators that the commission was hamstrung by lack of funds for its operations that required seeking information from revenue generating agencies on revenues targets, achievements and expenditure to ensure they conform to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

“We have many challenges in our operations. When we write to agencies for information they are very reluctant in giving us information and delay such for months or don’t give us at all because there are no sanctions.

“There is need to amend the Act to provide stiff sanctions against agencies flouting the Act as well as compel them to provide stipulated information,” the FRC boss said.

 

 

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