vanguardnews @vanguardnews @vanguardnews VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018—9 NEWS HOTLINES 018773962, 08052867058 CONFERENCE: From left, Deputy CEO, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance, Anuradha Gupta; Director, Division of Administration, United Nations, Clemens Adams; Director- General, World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; GAVI Champion for Africa & Founder, Avon Medical, Dr Awele Elumelu, and CEO, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance, Dr Seth Berkley, at a conference to champion increased vaccine coverage, targeting underimmunised nations, in Geneva, yesterday. Stolen funds: Attempt to frustrate recovery, immoral, daylight robbery — FG •Says rule of law adhered to in MTN sanctions •Nigeria committed to tackling IFF By Michael Eboh ABUJA— THE Federal Government, yesterday, described as immoral and daylight robbery, the actions of some countries who are custodians of stolen funds from Nigeria, stating that most of these countries were putting in place hurdles to frustrate the recovery of the funds. This was even as the Federal Government also stated that it was following the rule of law in the sanction of MTN over alleged illegal importation of funds from Nigeria. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyema, stated this in Abuja at International Conference on combating illicit financial flows, IFF, and enhancing asset recovery for sustainable development organised by Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC. Onyema also lamented the hurdles faced mainly by developing countries in the repatriation of stolen funds from some western countries. Specifically, he stated that in its attempt to recover stolen funds from Switzerland, the country was confronted with harrowing experiences, which saw some percentages of the looted fund paid to companies and individuals in Switzerland. He said: “We got some money back from Switzerland, but my God, when you look at the details, I was shocked and extremely angry at the process of recovery. If you should see the percentage of the money that eventually came back to us; that was paid out to all kinds of institutions in Switzerland — to lawyers, to this, to that, percentages of huge sums of money. I said this is daylight robbery that these countries are perpetrating and of course playing on the fact that we are not United States. “This is something that we would keep harping on and mentioning wherever we have the opportunity that these countries would have to do a lot more, because at the end of the day, if not, they are condoning huge theft and accessories after the fact of crime. “They say Nigeria is fantastically corrupt, but look at what those other countries are doing in encouraging corruption, keeping those assets for their own benefits.” FG committed to tackling IFF — Osinbajo Also speaking, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that illicit financial flows are of concern to Africa because of their negative impact on the development of governance, adding that the processes through which IFFs take place undermine governance because their interest is to skip the obligation of citizenship, abuse public trust and break the law. According to Osinbajo, resources lost to IFF could otherwise, have been used to drive Africa’s development, noting that lost tax revenues and private investments could have helped prevent austerity, provide jobs and infrastructure and pay for vital social services including education and health. He said: “Above all, we must remain committed to using the resources acquired from blocking illicit financial flows or data recovered there from, for promoting development and advancing the interest and welfare of our people, including by achieving the SDGs. “We remain committed in Nigeria to tackling IFFs, such as tax evasion, money laundering and the proceeds of smuggling and corruption. Olawepo-Hashim cautions against recycling corrupt politicians P RESIDENTIAL aspirant on the platform of Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has warned against allowing corrupt politicians to use looted funds to hijack the electoral process, as the country prepares for the 2019 general elections. Consequently, he charged the electorate to be wary of the corrupt politicians now regrouping to present themselves as credible alternatives to All Progressives Congress, APC, which, according to him, has failed in office. Olawepo-Hashim, who gave the warning in Lagos while addressing friends sympathetic to his ambition, said the populace must be vigilant not to fall into the hands of politicians who have woefully failed them in the past. He noted that though the APC has failed, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which was defeated only in 2015, could not present itself as a credible alternative. He said: “The APC is no doubt vengeful and has underperformed as a party in government but we have to resist the temptation to regard the PDP as the solution. "Doing so will mean we have forgotten so soon why they lost a general election only a few years ago. Nigerians cannot afford to We are fully conscious that this requires transparency, financial probity and the upholding of due process in public procurement amongst others." MTN sanction follows rule of law Speaking in the same vein, a member of the PACAC, Mr. Femi Odekunle, accused some countries, especially developed countries and their institutions of actively facilitating and reaping enormous profits from the depth of massive amount of money taken away illegally from developing countries. He said: “This reflects the issue of MTN, taking billions of dollars away from this country illegally and because of the political will of this administration, the regulatory agencies, like the CBN has started to act. “Again, we are not doing anything by force, we are going by the rule of law. The company has been fined and at the same time it sort to go to court and challenge the ruling." do that." According to the business mogul, the APC and the PDP cannot also be presented as the only options before the citizenry. He noted: “We cannot permit things to look like we just have a choice between two evils. We now have a credible option in Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN.” He said the ANN remained a fantastic alternative to take Nigeria out of the woods because it had clear programmes and was not under the shadow of anyone. He saif: “It has no baggage anywhere. It is a viable third force, and miles apart from the worn-out APC and PDP.." ‘Why PDP presidential aspirants are against consensus option’ By Dirisu Yakubu ABUJA— FOLLOWING yesterday’s rejection of the consensus candidate option by two presidential aspirants of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senators Bukola Saraki and Jonah Jang, indications have emerged that most of the contenders have secretly voiced their opposition and wound settle only for transparent and credible primaries. An official of the party told Vanguard in confidence, yesterday, that the rejection of the option by the aspirants was in connection with the earlier pledge by National Working Committee, NWC, of the party to provide a level playing field for all aspirants to the various elective offices in the 2019 general elections. Although the leadership of the party has not issued a statement to the contrary, media reports recently claimed the party was mooting the idea of pruning the number to avert postconvention crisis. Last week, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the party set up an ad-hoc committee which function, according to the chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, will be to work on a consensus candidate to fly the ticket of the party. Investigation by Vanguard also revealed that the decision to set up another committee to liaise with the NWC to make it “speak with one voice,” with the BoT, is a strategy aimed at forging a common front on a consensus candidate. He said: “There is a reason most of our presidential aspirants want a credible primary election to pick the flag bearer. One of the things that convinced high-profile defectors to return to the PDP was the promise of a transparent process of selection. “Whether we like it or not, these leaders have their followers and almost each and everyone of them think he can clinch the ticket on merit. So, asking them to drop their ambition and rally behind one may be very difficult. That is one." Tambuwal’s silence explained On the relative quietness in the camp of Sokoto State governor and presidential hopeful, Aminu Tambuwal, a source said the former Speaker of the House of Representatives was probably working behind the scene to “gain an itch advantage.” Consensus not a problem for me — Makarfi Despite the opposition to the consensus model for many presidential aspirants, including former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido; erstwhile Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and a host of others, one of the aspirants, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said he was not bothered by the clamour, even as he pledged to subscribe to what was collectively agreed to by all the contenders. In a chat with Vanguard yesterday, Makarfi said: “I am open to anything collectively agreed to. Like I said before, whatever the position taken by our party, provided it enjoys the support of all, is okay by me.” NASS joint c'ttee has no final say on election budget funding —Enang should be funded from A BUJA—SENIOR Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said, yesterday, that National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has no final say on the source of funds for 2019 general elections. Enang, who disclosed this at News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja, said the lawmakers’ recommendation could not be final as the whole process would have to be approved by all the lawmakers at plenary. The National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC had on August 30, recommended that INEC’s N143 billion for the elections Service Wide Votes under the Special Intervention Programme (Recurrent). Chairman of the committee, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, had said the recommendation was to ease the consideration and avoid increasing the size of the 2018 Expenditure Framework. He said: “The call is inquorate because it can only be complete if it is presented to the plenary. “When the committee was considering it, I asked if there is the budget of the Office of the National Security Adviser, DSS, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service and others. “Is your committee going to consider these budgets? they said no, that those other ones will be considered by other committees."
10—VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 vanguardnews @vanguardnews @vanguardnews Lagos on edge as Tinubu rallies forces against Ambode By Emmanuel Aziken, Dapo Akinrefon, Charles Kumolu, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Ebun Sessou & Monsur Olowoopejo LAGOS — LAGOS and indeed, much of the entire South-West was on tenterhooks yesterday as political permutations against a second term for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode reached a crescendo with the unravelling of the governor’s political base. Worse, the governor’s prospects of serving out the rest of his first term, it was learnt, was hanging in the balance upon claims of momentum to remove him from office if he does not drop his second term aspiration. The governor’s support base which had been built around Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu unravelled after it emerged that a major contender for his office had emerged from one of the major political structures in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the state, the Mandate Group. The Mandate Group, Vanguard gathered, is presenting Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, incumbent Managing Director of Lagos State Property Development Corporation, LSDPC. Ambode’s prospects outside the APC were also not being helped with the emergence of billionaire Mr. Femi Otedola as an aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Otedola who is vacationing in Paris, it was learnt, has, however, vowed not to contest against Ambode. Succession crises In the face of the unfolding battle, many stakeholders spoke in hushed tones yesterday on the crisis of a second term that has shadowed successive successors of the political leader of the state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Political sources in the state yesterday said that after challenges that Tinubu got from Fashola, it was unlikely that Hamzat, one of Fashola’s options as a successor could get Tinubu’s support. That means that the momentum was gravitating towards Sanwo- Olu who ironically served as a commissioner in the Fashola government. 57 LG/LCDA chiefs desert Ambode It was learnt yesterday that the chairmen of the 57 local government councils and development areas in the state had in a show of force endorsed Sanwo-Olu’s forms. “That was meant to send a message to Ambode,” a political chieftain told Vanguard yesterday. Impeachment rumours Ambode’s options were last night being narrowed as reports of an impeachment plot started swirling around political meetings around Lagos House and the State House of Assembly. The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Haruna, however, dismissed the reports of impeachment simply saying “it is not true.” It was also learnt that emissaries •Ambode, Sanwo-Olu displaying their nomination forms. sent by Ambode to Tinubu had been shut out, making the resolution of the Ambode crisis difficult. The situation left many political stakeholders in the lurch, with many saying that they were confused. This was mainly caused by the fact that Tinubu as at last night had not made a pronouncement. However, the body language of the national leader was reflected by the fact that many of his trusted aides were said to have gravitated towards Sanwo-Olu. One source said: “It is difficult to say anything right now really but it is true that some people have collected forms for Jide Sanwo-Olu and if he has collected the forms, it means he has the blessing of Asiwaju. He would not have collected the forms without Asiwaju’s blessing.” Makings of the crisis It was leant that though efforts were being made for reconciliation, it was gathered that the face-off worsened seriously on Monday after Ambode went to Abuja to collect the APC governorship form. He was said to have obtained the form without a full reconciliation with Tinubu. After collecting the form, Ambode proceeded to make a public declaration at the Old Task Force Ground, Alausa, Ikeja, without the obvious presence of chieftains and leaders of the party. The fact that the declaration was not done at the party headquarters at Acme Road, Ogba, in Lagos sent negative signals as to the possibility of his estrangement from the Tinubu mainstream in his re-election bid, a source said. Few of the local government chairmen who attended the declaration left midway and some even left before the ceremony started at 4.00 p.m. on Monday. Before the declaration ceremony, chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the APC, Babatunde Balogun had held a closed-door meeting with all the 57 local government chairmen at the party’s Acme Road office before they later dispersed and shunned the governor’s declaration ceremony. Vanguard reliably learnt that the party members were currently confused and are awaiting the declaration from the National Leader of the party. Ambode weighing options Ambode yesterday summoned a closed-door meeting of some of his top associates at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, in order to weigh the options for the governor. The outcome of the meeting could not be deciphered as at press time •Otedola yesterday. Though the crux of the meeting was unknown, it was gathered that the governor was open to all options, including dumping the party for another or walking away to wait for another opportunity from the party. The governor’s capacity to fight back within the party or outside, it emerged, had been limited by his strained relationship with the Lagos State House of Assembly. There were reports from within the House that the governor had instigated a plot to remove the speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, a strong Tinubu loyalist. That plot quickly unravelled. It was also learnt yesterday that a sizeable proportion of the members of the State House of Assembly attended a meeting at the party secretariat to discuss the development. One of the sources, who spoke under anonymity with Vanguard, said the lawmakers have resolved to commence impeachment moves against Ambode as soon as they resume from the recess. A member of the State House of Assembly estranged from the Tinubu mainstream who spoke on the condition of anonymity said yesterday: “It could be rumour, but the source I heard it from was an indication that it is nothing far from the truth. “Although, it was debunked, but the people I heard it from were those I believed knew what they were saying. The people I spoke with gave it a possibility that, it is real. Asked, where the impeachment move is coming from, he said, “Unfortunately, it is coming from both the Lagos State House of Assembly and all the LCDAs. According to another source, all the chairmen of APC in 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs have signed the nomination form of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as an alternative choice. Genesis of trouble for Ambode Ambode’s troubles with the political establishment in Lagos had for long been reported in political circles in the state. A South-West governor close to Tinubu was said to have been at the forefront of the agitation to stop Ambode’s second term ambition. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, it was claimed had prevailed on the APC leader to support Ambode’s re-election plan. At the centre of the allegations against Ambode was that the governor alienated the political mainstream in the state. Some others described the governor as heady with a capacity to decapitate Tinubu and his associates should he get a second term. The issue of the PSP operators in the disposal of refuse was said to have been very touchy for the political elite, many of whom were entrenched in the PSP scheme as a way of servicing the political base. Ambode, however, dismantled the scheme without as much appreciation of their role. Even worse for the governor was the fact that the alternative arrangement made to replace the PSP operators have not done a good work, leading to mounting heaps refuse in the commercial capital of the country. Party stalwarts had also complained that traditional acts of patronage that normally came the way of government did not come from Ambode. However, Ambode it was claimed, decided not to patronise the political leaders on the premise that he had left politicking for Tinubu while he concentrated on the act of governance. Rude shock The face-off between Ambode and Tinubu came to the fore recently at a stakeholders’ meeting at the party’s secretariat, at Acme Road, Ogba, Lagos where Tinubu throughout the meeting failed to raise the hands or endorse a second term for Ambode which was a rude shock to members in attendance. Vanguard gathered that various support groups which had been created for Ambode’s re-election campaign had for some time been put on hold, pending final clearance from Tinubu. Failed efforts On different occasions, recently, some APC chieftains (names withheld) have confirmed that a number of political leaders and traditional rulers had impressed it on Tinubu not “to listen to those inciting him against Ambode.” One of the chieftains who confided in Vanguard at the weekend, simply stated, “Ambode is at a crossroads” because all his supporters have backed off as all efforts to resolve the difference met a brick wall with Tinubu who insisted on a fresh candidate (kept to his heart) for the job. Oba Akiolu was said to have tried to convince Tinubu to change his mind, but all proved abortive. According to the chieftain, “It is only Tinubu and Ambode that NEWS HOTLINES 018773962, 08052867058 can resolve the issues, not even President Muhammed Buhari. The issue is like that of a married couple having a family grudge. No third party can really know the source of their fight let alone resolve it. The two, Tinubu and Ambode, must have a closeddoor meeting without a third party to settle this current imbroglio. This is not about loyalty, it’s fundamental.” APC keeps mum However, it was learnt that members of the State Executive Council have been jittery over the development, not knowing where the pendulum will swing in the 2019 governorship ticket. Those with political aspirations were said to be worst hit as they could be shown the way out at any moment. Most of them have started making moves, meeting the party leadership and stakeholders for an endorsement from Tinubu and other decisionmakers. One of the aspirants who spoke to Vanguard on the basis of anonymity said: “The decision of the party to adopt direct primaries has caused panic in the fold of the aspirants in Lagos. We are left in the dark, and that is why some aspirants have put on hold their ambition and begun moves to get Tinubu’s endorsement.” Risky development Tinubu’s associates were last night not very comfortable with the development, fearing that the national leader could be taking a very big risk if he decides to dump Ambode. “The situation is not very bright for any side because as at this time, Asiwaju is already grappling with forces in Abuja and to compound it with additional enemies from home is not something we are very pleased to talk about,” an associate of the national leader of the APC said. Meanwhile, a school of thought in Lagos claimed last night that the present crisis may not be directed at derailing the governor’s second term ambition but merely to whip him in line. Otedola enters PDP’s calculations Meanwhile, it emerged that oil magnate, Mr Femi Otedola has emerged as a possible frontrunner in the PDP as a candidate for the party. However, sources said that Otedola’s bid could be a fightback by the Ambode camp who could project him to fight whosoever could emerge from Tinubu’s camp. According to sources, the billionaire businessman had maintained that he would not run for the governorship against Ambode. When Otedola, who is currently on vacation in Paris, was reached for comment on the development, he responded thus: “I am on vacation.” However, a source told Vanguard: “Just like the current governor, Otedola is from Epe. The thinking and good news now are that if the APC ticket goes to Ambode, the governor will still be from Epe. On the other hand, if Ambode does not get the ticket and Otedola runs for governor and wins, the governor would still have come from Epe. When contacted, spokesman of Lagos State chapter of PDP, Mr. Ganiyu Taofeek said the PDP is not aware, adding that having him in the party would be a good development.