An attack against Fashola is an attack against me – Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stated that any scathing attack on former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola is an attack on himself.

In a statement issued by Tinubu’s media office the former Lagos state governor claimed that the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was trying to unsettle the APC.

Read full statement below:

The past elections were an epic confrontation between two opposing political camps. Those who believed in the progressive governance of the people gathered under the banner of the APC. Those who harkened to the conservative elitism that had cast this nation downward for so many years held to the PDP.

The elections clearly showed the preference of the average Nigerian. They chose the APC and rejected the PDP nationally and in Lagos state. Since the commanding victory of the APC in Lagos and all over Nigeria, the enemies of progressive governance have cleverly been at work, trying to regain through intrigue and subterfuge what they so openly and fairly lost in the elections.

Our political opponents now try to steal victory when their only entitlement is resounding defeat. Having fared woefully with the electorate, their game plan is to sow discord within the ranks of the party people had chosen to lead them. The PDP hopes to strike division in the APC, in that way weakening us and our ability to govern.

Apprised of their wiles, we in the progressive camp must be wiser still. We must not allow ourselves to be pawns in this cynical strategy. We cannot fall into their obvious snares for that would be embracing defeat when victory has already been won. It is our responsibility to govern as the people want. It would be to our detriment to fall victim to our opponent’s sly instigations by allowing ourselves to be utensils picking each other apart.

This brings me to recent developments in the Lagos political scene. Born of this motley stew is the recent gossip mongering that I have willfully instigated false and negative reports against former Governor Fashola to thwart him from being appointed to a major post in the Buhari administration. I want to declare clearly and categorically that these rancid attacks do not come from me nor do I endorse them. Neither my hand nor my heart are in these mean submissions. I deplore them. An attack against the performance of Governor Fashola is indirectly an attack against me and the edifice of achievement we have constructed in leading Lagos state out of a protracted time of stagnation and into an era of sustained progress and development.

Lagos is a much better place than when we came into governance in 1999. Each year, it has gotten better. With the APC at the helm, each subsequent year will be better yet. Babatunde Fashola has been an integral part of this improvement. He does not deserve the pillory. His record has been applauded and will continue to be when all this rumor mongering has died its natural and quick death.

Former Lagos governor, Babatunde Fashola

I am proud to say that I played an instrumental role in bringing Governor Fashola into politics in the first instance. He served as my trusted chief of staff, performing excellently in that role. Due to his leadership qualities and diligent work ethic, I endorsed him for governor notwithstanding the stiff and vocal opposition of many. I am not ashamed of backing him. I believe the progress the state made under his administration has more than vindicated my endorsement.

Fashola, the present Governor Akin Ambode including myself are the products of a progressive political institution and its programmatic expressions. I laid the governance foundation and started the first lap, running as well as I could. I handed the baton to Fashola, knowing he would do the same. He did; he ran as well as he could. Now, he has handed to Ambode who is off and running as well as he can. We have achieved much in Lagos; but, we recognize as much as anyone that we have much more to do.

We also know that progress is fragile and easily undone while destruction is easily transacted but hard to undo. I for one am not the type to tear down my own house or to bring my enemy’s rubbish into it.

We must remember something. We have always governed Lagos state as an open forum where democracy and free expression were respected. Those who are against us were never placed in fear of the heavy hand of government descending on them even as they played funny tricks. We also must remember than in any democracy, a number of people will always oppose you no matter the quality of your performance. If an office holder has an approval rating of 70 percent, this means, in Lagos, roughly five million people dislike the person. Also remember the PDP is just recently out of office at the federal level and that it built a vast, unprecedented financial war chest to contest the elections. The residual of that war chest is still at work, buying media space to plant rumors in hopes of spreading discord through the APC. Thus, the enemy camp may be a minority but it is a large and well-funded one that knows its only chance lies in us attacking ourselves.

I for one will not bend to the artificial provocation of those seeking to tear at what we have painstakingly built over the years. In my mind, Governor Fashola and I are and shall always be political allies and fellow travelers on a vital journey; that alliance is unshakeable and our journey must not be interrupted. I would no more attack his character or his administration than I would attack myself.

I see this present moment as crucial to Nigeria’s future. The nation faces acute challenges of security, corruption and economic development. Our task is to create policies that bring prosperity, dignity and hope to all. Great change is in reach because we have progressive governments at the federal and state levels for the first time. With great change at hand, it would be a terrible abdication of our duty to allow agents provocateur to prompt us to suspect and toss dirt at each other at a time when we should be focused on building a better, more equitable nation and society.

I for one shall never allow myself to be a tool of a political enemy that has nothing good in mind for Nigeria. I for one will never engage in the intramural character attacks of which I am being accused. I stand for the unity of the APC and for the progressive purpose we serve. I will not be guilty of tearing down our progressive house, not a brick of it. That I vow to all.

Buhari appoints Babachir Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the following appointments:

Engr. Babachir David Lawal – Secretary to the Government of the Federation

Alhaji Abba Kyari – Chief of Staff to the President

Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service

Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service

Senator Ita S.J. Enang – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate)

Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives)

The appointments are with effect from today, August 27, 2015.

Engr. Lawal, the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation hails from Hong Local Government Area, Adamawa State. He graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree and worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited and Data Sciences Limited before establishing his own ICT and Telecommunications consulting firm in 1990. He is also a member of the Nigeria Computer Society, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.

Alhaji Abba Kyari, the new Chief of Staff to the President holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick in Law and Sociology. He has worked with the New Nigeria Development Company, New Africa Holdings, African International Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unilever, and Mobil in various capacities over the years.

The new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ali holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Criminology. He was military administrator of Kaduna State from 1996 to 1998.

The new Comptroller- General of Immigration, Mr. Abeshi hails from Nasarawa State. He joined the Nigerian Immigration Service in 1989 as an Assistant Comptroller. His educational qualifications include a Masters Degree in Public Administration.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

August 27, 2015

Buhari slams NASS jumbo pay, fumes at RMAFC


Source: PM NEWS

President Muhammadu Buhari has rebuked the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission for approving excessive remunerations for some political office holders.

And he has urged the commission to seek a proper interpretation of its powers and address the public outcry against the unreasonably high payments.

Buhari made the remark today when the RMAFC chairman and members briefed him in Abuja on the cost of governance in the country.

Excessive payment to political office holders has remained a hot topic in Nigeria, since Buhari assumed power in May and followed up with a voluntary massive reduction in his salary. Expectations that the National Assembly which votes N150 billion yearly for its recurrent expenditure, would take a cue, were dashed as senators vehemently resisted the 30 per cent reduction in their pay package as recommended by an ad-hoc panel set up to address the issue.

Despite the grave poverty in the country, Nigeria’s assemblymen earned the highest salaries in the world. Ordinarily a senator gets a monthly salary of N1.4 million while his colleague in the House gets N1.1 million a month.But the allowances they received are humongous, far above the markings set by the RMAFC.

For instance, each senator earns N6, 079,200 for furniture. House members get receive N5, 955,637 each for their furniture.

At the meeting, the President also gave the RMAFC the assignment to design a humane way to deal with the oil subsidy issue.

Buhari had blamed past administrations for the current situation in which Nigeria is forced to spend billions of naira annually on alleged subsidies for petroleum products.

According to him, the escalation of petroleum subsidy payments in recent years was due to the deliberate neglect of the nation’s refineries, oil pipelines and other related infrastructure to allow the importation of petroleum products and corruption to thrive.

The President, who restated his huge disappointment with the way Nigeria’s oil industry has been run since he left office as Petroleum Minister and Military Head of State, said that he was convinced that if the development of the country’s domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand, there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies currently being paid to importers.

“They allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas,” President Buhari said.

The President urged the chairman and members of the RMAFC, who availed him of their view on the vexed issued of petroleum subsidy payments, to go “back to the drawing board” and come up with more humane proposals to rescue ordinary Nigerians from the “wicked manipulation” of the country’s oil industry by corrupt operators.

The President said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Ports Authority and other MDAs which previously relied on the laws establishing them to retain all or part of revenues collected by them, did so illegally and must now comply with the Nigerian Constitution by paying all revenues to the Federation Account.

President Buhari also warned that severe sanctions will be visited on any individual or organisation that violates the directive on the payment of all national revenue into the Federation Account.

Former Akwa Ibom Gov. Akpabio, Others, Provokes President Buhari; He Restates That Corrupt APC, PDP Members Will Face Prosecution For Corruption


President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to claims by the 49-member Senate Caucus of ‎the Peoples Democratic Party which on Thursday kicked against the current administration’s war against corruption, claiming it was selective and lacked transparency and fairness.Former Governor (now Senator) Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State

In a statement Sunday night, Mr. Buhari described the claims by the Godwill Akpabio-led caucus as “false, baseless and totally unjustifiable”.
Mr. Akpabio and his colleagues had at a press conference in Abuja Thursday alleged that the administration’s anti-graft war was mainly targeted at opposition politicians.

“The [PDP] caucus is not happy with the current trend that seems to suggest that the war against corruption is selective and targeted at PDP stalwarts and states,” the group said at the briefing.
“The current war lacks transparency, fairness to all and appears to be aimed at political adversaries.”

But in a statement via his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, Mr. Buhari said it was regrettable that “wild allegation of bias and partisanship” could come from respected and distinguished members of the Nigerian  Senate.

Mr. Buhari said, “We have noted with regret, the allegation by members of the PDP Senate Caucus that the present administration is being selective and partisan in its prosecution of the war against corruption.

“We state without equivocation that the allegation is false, baseless and totally unjustifiable.

“For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, we affirm that having made his zero tolerance for corruption clear to all and sundry, President Muhammadu Buhari does not micro-manage or interfere in the daily work of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies.

“The wild allegation of bias and partisanship in the fight against corruption shouldn’t have come therefore from respected and distinguished members of the  Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“That claim belongs to the past and not the present. Public officials and other leaders accused of corruption by relevant agencies should plead their innocence, not malice.

“President Buhari’s unwavering stance is that whosoever is charged with corruption should face the law irrespective of whether  they are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), or any other political party.

“As far as the President is concerned, corruption has no political party, no religion and no ethnic group.

“It is important to remind the PDP Senate Caucus and all Nigerians that right from 2003 when he started campaigning for the Presidency of Nigeria, President Buhari consistently promised to do his best to curb corruption in the country.

“The President remains wholly committed to fulfilling that promise and will not be deterred from the relentless prosecution of the war against corruption because he remains convinced that, as he has said, “unless Nigeria kills corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.

The President also dismissed the claim by the caucus that he and his party were meddling in the ongoing cases at election tribunals and using the State Security Service to harass electoral officials believed to have sympathy for the PDP.

“The claim by the PDP Senate caucus that President Buhari and his administration are meddling in election petition cases through the Department of State Services (DSS) is also untrue,” Mr. Buhari said.

“The duties of the DSS and other security agencies are clearly spelt out in the laws establishing them. The Federal Government led by President Buhari does not give them instructions regarding their daily operations.

“Election Tribunals and the Independent National Electoral Commission  in Rivers, Abia and Akwa-Ibom States  do not operate under the guidance of the President.

“Any individual or group of individuals who think that their legitimate political and civil rights are infringed upon by the DSS or any institution is advised to seek protection and redress under our constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria instead of resorting to baseless allegations against the Buhari Administration.

“On President Buhari’s watch, the rule of law, not impunity, shall govern every aspect of life in Nigeria and there will be no room for sentiments, bias and corruption in the application of the laws of the land.

“President Buhari also wishes to re-assure all Nigerians that his administration will not discriminate against individuals or groups in the performance of its duties and that favours or patronage will not be dispensed on the basis of votes.

“The President remains committed to his Oath of Office and  the letters and spirit of the constitution.

“He calls on all Nigerians to join hands with him in the fight against insecurity, corruption and impunity in Nigeria so that we can have a country that will prosper for the benefit of all of its citizens  and future  generations of Nigerians.

Former Minister, Fani-Kayode, Disowns Children From Ex-Wife

Femi Fani-Kayode

In a lengthy article published Saturday, a representative of the family, Felix Olawunmi, narrated a turbulent post-marital relationship between the former minister and Yemisi, and said the issue of the children’s parenthood had been on for years.

The family said Yemisi, the daughter of a former Lagos state judge, refused repeatedly to allow the three girls undergo a paternity examination as requested by the Fani-Kayodes.

The former minister said he and his family had restrained themselves from going public for years, but that they became upset after ThisDay recently published a “libellous” piece about him and his former wife.

The family said they will no longer have anything to do with the three children and their mum, Yemisi.

Contacted, Mr. Fani-Kayode, who recently changed his name to Femi Olukayode, told PREMIUM TIMES the article was the position his family. He also confirmed that Mr. Olawunmi wrote on behalf of the family.

Read the article below:

‘Fani-Kayode Takes Good Care of His Children’

By Felix Olawunmi

The piece titled: “Temitope Fani-Kayode’s blissful conjugal” published in THISDAY of last week Saturday contained huge incorrect and misleading information. The motive, source and credibility of the information published are highly doubtful. Nigerians are urged to discountenance the disparaging remarks made against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode in the publication. As a member of the Fani-Kayode family and one who has followed closely the life and career of Femi-Fani-Kayode for almost 50 years, I believe it is pertinent for me to set the record straight. In 1989 or thereabout, Femi got involved with Yemisi Adeniji, the daughter of Justice Adeniji of the Lagos State high court. He had been married previously to his first wife, Saratu Attah, in 1987, and had a child with Saratu whose name is Folake who was born in 1987 but by that time Saratu and Femi had separated.

Yemisi and Femi got very close and spent much of the time together and eventually she got pregnant. When she got pregnant, the issue of marriage came up. Femi’s father, the late Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode, objected to the marriage because he believed that Yemisi was not a stable character and was not a serious minded person. He also had lots of contempt for her background. Femi insisted on going ahead with the marriage simply because Yemisi had said that she was carrying a child and that if he didn’t marry her, she would kill herself and the child inside her.

It was on that basis that they proceeded and got married. Femi’s father refused to attend the marriage ceremony and told him that it would not last because he could see through Yemisi. Femi’s mother attended the marriage and Chief Duduyemi who was like a son to Femi’s father came to represent the father. Once the marriage took place and everything was initially okay, they went to the UK to have the child. But throughout the marriage from the beginning to the end, it was turbulent and unpleasant. They had two children – Temitope and Tobiloba. Both of them were born abroad.

Throughout the period, Femi did his best to look after them but Yemisi was always going out and found it difficult to be a responsible and decent wife. By 1993, it got to a point that Femi almost had a nervous breakdown and instead of her standing by him, not only did she desert him, she went out and had extra-marital affairs. Another child was conceived in 1993, the child was born later on in the year and that child’s name is Tumininu. But right from the outset, Femi said that she was not his child. I remember Femi telling me that he never touched Yemisi throughout that year, “yet, she maintained that it was my child.”

At the end of 1993, Femi went to the Bible Seminary in Ghana. No sooner had he left than she said she would never have anything to do with him again and that was where the marriage completely broke down.

There was another development that affected the relationship. Yemisi’s father was implicated by the Justice Kayode Esho panel that probed the Nigerian judiciary and the recommendation was that he be kicked out for corruption. Yemisi and her father told everybody that cared to listen that it was Femi’s father that was behind this. Throughout that period and regardless of the fact that they had separated, Femi did his best to send money to Yemisi and school fees and allowances for the children.

When Femi’s father died in 1995, he came back to Nigeria. The family questioned the paternity especially of the last child, Tumininu, and not only that, they were so disgusted by Yemisi’s behavior and the insults and the things she kept saying about the family that nobody wanted her and her children to attend the burial. That was why their names were not listed among Femi’s father’s grandchildren during the burial notices. They forced themselves on the Christian wake-keeping.

After that, and for a number of years, Femi remained in touch. He kept sending her money for the children. He kept doing his best to take care of them. Even when Femi went to Ghana on exile in 1996 and came back again to Nigeria in 2001, throughout that period, he was in touch. He kept sending money to all three children irrespective of the uncertainty over their paternity. He took care of their school fees; he took care of their needs and gave as much as he possibly could. By 1995, he formally divorced Yemisi and inside the affidavit of divorce, he wrote there that one of the reasons was because he questioned the paternity of especially the last child. For fear of being exposed about the real paternity of the children, Yemisi offered to settle out of court and the divorce eventually went through and that was the end of it.

After that, Femi got married to Regina his third wife in 1997 and moved on with life as she did as well. He had a child from that union by name Remilekun in 1997 and spent most of his time in Ghana but eventually, he came back to Nigeria. Throughout those years, he kept sending money to the three children by Yemisi. He did his very best despite the fact that all through the years, all that Yemisi Adeniji did was to abuse him, insult him and tell lies about his family.

When in 2001, Femi returned to Nigeria and Yemisi reached him and he saw the children from time to time. He did his best for them throughout that period. Eventually, he got into government and all she ever did was just to demand for money. He did his best for her. He kept on doing the best he could do; he kept on taking care of the children.

When Femi was appointed a minister, Yemisi tried her best to scuttle his ministerial clearance in the Senate by telling lies about him all over the place but she failed. After he was confirmed as a minister, she now decided to settle with him and tried to restore a reasonable relationship and she begged for help. Femi assisted her and the three children. He even bought a house for her in London.

Femi did all these purely out of compassion and not because he owed her anything. Quite apart from that, throughout that period, he was taking care of the fees of the children, by cheque, by transfer, by cash and he was seeing the children regularly. When Femi stopped being minister and EFCC started hounding him, she then started sending abusive text messages and saying he was going to go to jail.

What caused that hatred was simply the fact that Femi was happily married to somebody else and had moved on with his life. Nevertheless, Femi still interacted with the children for quite some time. Eventually she poisoned the mind of the children that not even the children themselves ever acknowledged nor ever came to court to support Femi during the case. Femi refused to have anything to do with them from 2012 onwards. From that period, he cut himself off completely and Yemisi’s desperation got more. Yemisi was granting series of interviews, denigrating him, running him down and saying he had done nothing for the children.

Eventually, a few weeks back, Femi read on the internet that one of the children was getting married. Once he read that, he reached out to the Randle family saying that “if you are getting married to anybody that bears the name Fani-Kayode, we should know about it”, but he said Yemisi objected to Femi’s family having anything to do with the marriage and that if he wanted to have anything to do with the marriage, he should try and settle everything between them first. So, Femi’s family members met with the Randles and with Yemisi’s mother.

Femi’s family asked uncles like Chief Alex Duduyemi to intervene because they would not participate in this wedding unless one condition was satisfied and that condition was this, that all the three children have a paternity test. Despite Femi’s pleas that his family should try and overlook that, they said no way.

So when they said they would not go for the paternity test, Femi’s family said they would not have anything to do with the wedding. The family has it on good authority that the July 5th day set for the wedding was in the hope that Femi would have been jailed by then and that his being jailed would also be celebrated at the wedding. The Randle family didn’t reach out to Femi’s family, and in Yoruba tradition. All Femi’s family asked for was a paternity test which they refused to do. Once it was clear that all the discussions did not bear any fruit, the family as led by the head of the Fani-Kayodes now took a decision that a few days before the marriage, they would take a full page advert and also announce on television that the girl was not their daughter and that she has nothing to do with the family.

But at the last minute, Femi intervened and appealed to all the elders to just ignore them and leave them. They had the first ceremony, they had the second ceremony, they had the third ceremony, not one of Femi’s family members attended. The only one that attended was Femi’s first daughter, Folake, and she did that with his understanding.

The talk that Femi didn’t do anything for the children is all rubbish. He did plenty for the children. They said that he was beating Yemisi while pregnant. It is all lies. If he was beating her, why did she stay to purportedly have two more children? Why should anybody be concerned about things that happened in a marriage that finished almost thirty or twenty five years ago? Femi has moved on. He has a very good relationship with the mother of Folake. He has a good relationship with Folake. He has a very good relationship with the mother of Remilekun. He has a good relationship with Remilekun, his youngest daughter.

It is only Yemisi that he does not have a good relationship with because she’s full of bitterness and hatred and envy. There is no way he would have a good relationship with her children because they have no respect for him, they have never honoured him; they wanted him to go to jail.
The only recognition they have before high society is the fact that she is Femi Fani-Kayode’s ex-wife. The only reason why people recognise Yemisi’s girls is because Fani-Kayode is attached to them.

As far as we are concerned in the Fani-Kayode family, Femi has two children, Folake and Remilekun. The family does not recognize those other three. We don’t wish them ill; we have no hatred for them. They are not just part of us. So, nobody should be surprised that we didn’t go to the wedding. And there is no question of reconciling with supposed daughters that have no respect for their father, that have no love for their father and have done nothing but run their father down everywhere.

In fact, there was a time Femi begged them to change their name from Fani-Kayode because in our culture, what they are doing is shameful. You do not side with one parent against the other, and you do not expect a man, a father, to take rubbish from a child. Their mother is so embittered, so full of hate and malice. They have chosen to go that way and we have chosen to ignore them and not to go on a war path with them or start talking about them because we have class and they do not.

So, Femi does not hate his children. He is just indifferent to the ones borne by Yemisi. He has no fatherly feeling for those children except for Folake and Remilekun. The lies that he is an absentee father that never takes care of his children could only have come out from a hateful, venomous and malicious heart. Anyone can ask Folake’s mother, anyone can ask Remilekun’s mother, Femi takes good care of his children.

Fire Engulfs Dubai’s Torch Tower Skyscraper


A huge fire has engulfed part of the Torch Tower in Dubai, forcing thousands of people to flee the 1,100ft skyscraper.

The fire reportedly started in the middle of the residential building, rapidly spreading across some 15 floors.

In several videos posted on social media websites, multiple floors of the tower were seen ablaze.

As yet, it is unclear what caused the fire.

There are no initial reports of injuries.

Torch Tower is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

PDP Faction Wants Jonathan Out As Candidate, As Party Faces Deepening Schisms

In separate interviews with SaharaReporters, numerous PDP officials disclosed that many founding members of the party had lost confidence in Mr. Jonathan’s viability as a candidate, adding that a faction within the party had discussed easing the incumbent president out of the presidential race, and replacing him with another candidate from the Niger Delta zone.

“The only obstacle to the plan is that the South-South might kick against it, so we have arrived at a consensus to find another candidate,” one of our sources, a northerner, said.

“If elections could be postponed for six months, we will definitely replace President Jonathan as our candidate,” another member of the faction confirmed.

In a clear sign that the party was crumbling was within, several high ranking PDP members said they regretted letting President Jonathan carry the party’s flag as a presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections. Some of them confessed to being aware that the party’s prospects looked dire with Mr. Jonathan holding the presidential ticket.

“We are the ones who started the push for six months delay in the elections to enable us [to] put in place an interim government which would then enable the party to change its presidential candidate to somebody that is more competitive,” one official confessed. He added that Mr. Jonathan’s faction also sought the extension for their own designs, which was to explore ways of rigging the elections.

Our interviews revealed that many PDP governorship candidates in the north and elsewhere in the country were secretly working against Mr. Jonathan’s re-election or quietly distancing themselves from him.

One party leader revealed that some candidates in the northern area were all but campaigning for Mr. Buhari, the presidential flag bearer of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

However, some PDP officials told SaharaReporters that, while they hoped that President Jonathan could be sidelined to increase the chances of the party in the upcoming elections, they also wished that the APC would also dump Mr. Buhari as its presidential candidate.

The party officials claimed that key political figures across Nigeria continue to view a Buhari Presidency with mortal fear because of his stubborn personality and his promise to punish the corrupt.

Several of the PDP officials told SaharaReporters that the rift between Mr. Jonathan and a large faction in the party that wants him dumped was reflected in the responses to former President Olusegun Obasanjo who two days ago dramatically announced his resignation from the PDP, publicly tearing his membership card. Two of the officials disclosed that, while Mr. Jonathan’s aides launched direct attacks on Mr. Obasanjo, the officials at the party headquarters in Abuja adopted a more cautious and subdued tone, regretting that the former president had decided to leave the party.

Some officials stated that the party hierarchy viewed Mr. Obasanjo’s public departure from the party as a dangerous signal and as a major threat. “Chief Obasanjo doesn’t just come out swinging the way he has done recently unless he is privy to the existence of some third forces that are against President Jonathan. And to the best of our knowledge, the former president has never fought a battle like this and lost, no matter how long it takes him,” one of the officials said.

“The truth is that many senators, honorable members of the House of Reps and governors are loyal to Baba, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. So they are doing Baba’s bidding even though they are giving Mr. President [Jonathan] the impression that they are with him,” another party official in Abuja said.

The party officials acknowledged that the statements of former President Obasanjo in the last three days had caused a major havoc on the party’s plans to work towards an interim national government.

Several of the PDP officials attributed the fractiousness within the party to the way Mr. Jonathan and his wife, Patience Jonathan, imposed unpopular candidates on the party in various parts of the country. Even though they agreed that Mr. Obasanjo had imposed candidates on the party in the past, one PDP official said the Jonathans consistently backed candidates who were extremely unpopular within the PDP and unelectable.

Asked if President Jonathan was aware of plans to replace him, some of our sources said the president knew that many powerful members of the party were not satisfied with his style and low performance. One source said former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and even the party’s chairman of the board of trustees, Tony Anenih, were far from enthusiastic about Mr. Jonathan’s re-election.

“President Jonathan’s candidature and unpopularity are damaging the party,” one official stated. He added that the party’s electoral prospects in the general elections had dwindled dramatically. “We are only sure of carrying about 11 states in the country, according to our internal polls,” one party official disclosed.

Party officials also said they were determined to change numerous candidates for governorships, the Senate and House of Representatives in several states if the six-month postponement ever became a reality. “The way President Jonathan and First Lady Patience Jonathan picked many candidates has now weakened the party across the country,” one top official in Abuja complained.

Source: Sahara Reporters