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Sylva, Alaibe in alleged N5bn secret deal over Bayelsa governorship poll

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Indications emerged on Sunday that the race for who picks the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the December 5 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State may have been settled between ex-governor, Timipre Sylva and former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe.

According to sources, if the arrangement sails through, Sylva will shelve his governorship ambition for Alaibe, but that will come at some huge concessions as Alaibe has allegedly offered a N5 billion cash inducement to Sylva as well as a firm commitment to ensure that the party leader becomes a minister plus nominates Alaibe’s deputy and five commissioners in his cabinet if he wins the election.

In what is said to be a secret deal, Alaibe reportedly told one of his aides that the deal concluded at a secret meeting in Port-Harcourt over the weekend involved some “significant tradeoffs”.

The source, who craved for anonymity, said the new development was arrived at as a “strategic means “of wresting power from the incumbent PDP government in Bayelsa state”.

In addition, the source claimed that Alaibe had also offered to weigh in through his top contacts to make sure that Sylva’s case at the EFCC was dropped because he has the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who would in turn talk to President Muhammadu Buhari to facilitate the ministerial position and close the EFCC trial.

But the political intrigues continued at the weekend as the Tiwe Orunimigha-led faction of the APC also endorsed Timipre Sylva as the candidate of the party for the election.

On his part, Sylva, curiously, was also said to have told Alaibe that he needed time to consult and would get back to him on his offer “very soon”.

However, it was gathered that the arrangement was already causing ripples amongst key stakeholders in the party, particularly those within the ranks of APC governorship aspirants and their supporters.

Sources hinted that other governorship aspirants have vowed to resist any kind of imposition in the party’s nomination process.

According to them, Sylva and Alaibe alone cannot guarantee victory for the APC by excluding other key stakeholders, saying they completely disagree with the deal between the two political heavyweights.

“If indeed the purported agreement between Alaibe and Sylva is true, then it means the APC has lost the election to PDP. Those of us who defected to the APC from PDP are not fools. The reason we gave for defecting was PDP’s lack of internal democracy. So I will advise Sylva not to fall for Alaibe’s antics of deception. It won’t serve a collective interest”, one of the governorship aspirants declared on Sunday.

Also, a former member of the House of Representatives, who was one of those who recently defected to the APC was blunt in his comments on the development, saying “it is preposterous to think that Alaibe is promising Sylva ministerial slot in exchange for the governorship ticket. Is he Buhari or what?
“The talk of getting former President Obasanjo to strike a deal with Buhari is a scam, a huge joke. Sylva should be careful not to fall prey to this kind of game. Evidently, Alaibe is desperate. He has never been a reliable politician but a businessman.”

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POLITICS

APC considers Badaru, Umahi, Akeredolu, five other Govs as Presidential Campaign Directors

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Indications emerged last night that Governors Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State may emerge as the Presidential Campaign Directors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign for the 2023 general election.


Other governors being considered include Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Sani Bello of Niger State, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.

It was gathered that while Badaru has been pencilled down as the head of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidential Campaign in the North, Umahi will take charge of the South.

The investigation also revealed that the ruling party has also created Zonal Directorates for the six geopolitical zones.


Each of the six zonal directorates, it was learnt, would be headed by a serving governor.


Multiple sources confirmed that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Imo State Governor, Uzodimma will oversee the Tinubu presidential campaign in the South-east. The sources also disclosed that Governor Ayade of Cross River State will head the South-south.


According to the sources, Akeredolu will head the campaign in South-west states consisting of Lagos, while Kano State Governor, Dr Ganduje, and Niger State Governor, Bello, will head the North-west and North Central campaign teams, respectively.

Similarly, the Gombe State, Yahaya, has been proposed to head the North-east.

However, the proposal is subject to ratification by the NWC and approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Adeleke forged certificates, Oyetola tells tribunal

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Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State on Friday asked the Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo to nullify the election of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke.

According to the governor, the election was fraught with certain irregularities.

He also said that Adeleke ought not to have been declared winner as he was not qualified to have contested the election in the first place, having submitted forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commision.

Adeleke was returned elected by the INEC, after defeating his closest challenger, Oyetola, and 13 other candidates, scoring a total of 403, 371

Oyetola got 375, 027 votes and won in 13 Local Government Areas of the state to come second in the election.

A member of Oyetola’s legal team, Kunle Adegoke (SAN), in an interview immediately after filing the petition in Osogbo said the governor has assembled 50 lawyers including 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, listing 13 grounds on which premises Adeleke should be disqualified.

Other key members of the legal team included Prince Lateef  Fagbemi (SAN), Chief Akin Olujumi (SAN), Prince Biodun Layonu (SAN/, Muritala Abdulrasheed (SAN).

Adegoke said the election in many 749 polling units were fraught with irregularities.

The legal team, he said, have established by the petition that the election in those 749 polling units across 10 Local Governments in Osun State was characterized by irregularities pertaining to over voting.

Adegoke said, “We have nothing less than 50 lawyers, including 10 SANs that we cannot list all of them, so we have listed about 20 lawyers in the petition. We have 13 reliefs. What we are contesting is that the election is fraught with certain irregularities by which the person declared winner ought not to have been declared and the petitioner, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola ought to have been declared the winner on the ground that Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke was not qualified to have contested the election in the first place, having submitted forged certificate to INEC.

“The second is that the election in 749 polling units was fraught with irregularities and the election in those units ought to have been nullified. All the polling units mentioned are in 10 Local Governments, out of 30.

“So, if the election in those units is nullified and the votes are cancelled, then Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola will have comfortable requirements of the constitution to be declared winner of the election.

Asked when the trobinal would commence sitting, Adegoke said he does not know.

“We don’t know yet but now that we have filed, it is expected that once the PDP is served, their lawyers will file their own defence then we will file a reply to their defence. That is when the tribunal will be able to give a date.

“Except if either of the two parties have an application that requires urgency, only then can the Tribunal have an emergency sitting but as of now nobody knows the date”, he said.

Adegoke had on July 19 said Oyetola may line up over 50 lawyers to contest the declaration of Adeleke as winner.

He had said, “We are still reviewing documents and the legal team is actually working. In an election of this nature, the documents will be so many; so it is important to look at them critically before we take a decision and that is exactly what we are working on right now.

“Dr Biodun Layonu (SAN), is the leader of the team. The legal team is not complete yet because there are so many others that will still come in.

“In the meantime, the two members of the legal team we can reveal is Dr Biodun Layonu and Kunle Adegoke. Others that may come in are people, we may not know but as soon as we are ready to move, we will notify the press.

“The membership can’t be determined as many lawyers are interested in joining the team. You know election petition is a special case. So, we allow as many lawyers that are interested to come in. We may run into 50 or more membership.”

When contacted for reaction, the Chairman, Media Management Team of Osun PDP, Prince Diran Odeyemi, said the party was not losing sleep over the petition.

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15 deregistered parties back Obi

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The 15 political parties deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, under the aegis of Coalition for Good Governance, on Friday declared support for the presidential ambition of the candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The organisation said only Obi out of the candidates contesting for the 2023 Presidency can stop Nigeria from disintegrating.

The CGG in a statement by its national chairman, Okey Chikwendu, and Publicity Secretary, Don Anthony Harmattan, said the deregistered parties took the decision after carefully studying each presidential candidates to know the most reliable and credible among them.

INEC had in 2020 deregistered 74 political parties on the ground that they failed to meet constitutional requirements that determine the continuous existence of political parties in the country, leaving 18 which passed its test.

But the deregistered parties said they still have their structures in place, adding that they would all support and work for the success of the former governor of Anambra State.

The statement read,”We have earlier stated that the outcome of the political parties primaries for the presidential ticket and selection of the vice presidential tickets will determine which party we, the Coalition for Good Governance comprising of 15 deregistered political parties and some former presidential candidates would endorse and support for the 2023 presidential election.

The choice is based on identifying the ticket with the most credible candidates who are tested, trusted, and exhibit sufficient intellectual capacity to salvage our nation from the wreck we find ourselves and meet the yearnings of the Nigerian people which is equitable, fair and just irrespective of tribe or ethnicity.

“In furtherance to the above, the CGG on July 28 held a meeting in Abuja well attended by the National Party Chairmen and former presidential candidates of deregistered political parties whereby they took a very critical appraisal of all the current presidential contenders for the 2023 presidential elections and their Vice, the house unanimously voted Peter Obi/Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed as the most credible among the candidates and as such resolved to support and work with them and their campaign group on the platform of Labour party.

“We, therefore, agreed to rebrand our offices nationwide as Campaign support offices for the project. Our structures all over the 36 States and 774 Local Government Areas are henceforth required to support the Obi ticket.

“Nigerians have had enough of the disunity, eminent disintegration, lingering ASUU strike, terrorist threats, killings, kidnappings, hunger, unemployment, unbearable petrol cost and scarcity, high electricity tariffs, its epileptic situation, rising food cost etc and the continued lack of resolve by the establishment to put an end to these crises.

“We as leaders in main stream politics in Nigeria wish to make clear that only an efficient, effective and credible candidate of renowned character can resolve most of Nigeria’s lingering problems and we therefore urge Nigerians to heed to our advice and support our goals of returning Nigeria as the true giant of Africa and the production hub of West Africa.”

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