Geoffrey Ekenna:

* Lagos PDP kicks against Aganga
* Anti-Martins-Kuye rally holds Monday

A BITTER war is brewing between various chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former President Olusegun Obasanjo over what the states refer to as the imposition of ministerial nominees on acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Of the 33 names that have been submitted to the Senate by the acting President, very few have the input of the state chapters of the ruling party, no thanks to what the politicians cite as the over-bearing influence of the former president in the process. The choice of former House of Representatives Speaker Aminu bello Masari, for instance, is said to be causing ripples in Katsina State, going by the well-known anti Umaru Musa Yar’Adua tendencies of the ministerial nominee.
The same disquiet, viewed as Obasanjo’s master stroke, is following the nomination of ailing President Yar’Adua’s nephew, Murtala, who is a son of the former president’s friend and deputy as military ruler between 1976 and 1979, the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.
Equally being protested is the nomination of Mr Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga as filling the slot of Lagos State. Aganga, according to the PDP members in Lagos State, is from Sabon Gida Ora in Edo State, and is believed to be a cousin of Obasanjo’s late wife, Stella.

Monday, next week, is a date for leaders and people from Ogun West senatorial district to protest the nomination of former Minister, Chief Jubril Martins Kuye, also believed to be on the say-so of Obasanjo, and Mr. Awodele Alao Nojeem.
The PDP in Lagos, said the only condition for it to leave Aganga alone was for the Acting President Jonathan, to name the nominee as a member of his economic team instead of  Lagos State.

The party, on Thursday, sent a petition to the Acting President; Chairman of the PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor; Senate President, David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives; Hon. Dimeji Bankole, disowning Aganga.
A copy of the petition made available to our correspondent exclusively yesterday, stated that Aganga hailed from Sabon Gida Ora in Etsako Local Government Area of Edo State and cannot be said to be representing Lagos State. The letter, signed by leaders of the party at both the state and local government levels, that the nomination of Aganga violated  Sections 147(5) of the 1999 which states: “No person sall be appointed as a Minister of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives” .

It further said that Section 65(2)(b) of the same Constitution stated that, “A  person sall be qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives if he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.
“Unfortunately, the state Chapter of the party is in the dark as to who nominated Mr.Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga and therefore plead passionately that the said nominee be dropped in the interest of peace, fairness and equity.
“We, as a party in Lagos State have forwarded the list of our nominees to the presidency and expect that the nominees be considered as such.”

According to the petitioners, the three names sent were those of  a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tunde Salau; Chairman of the Industrial Training Fund Board of Directors, Alhaji Bode Oyedele and Hon. Moshood Salvador.
The letter signed by the Secretary of the party, Tunji Shelle,  was however not signed by the state Chariman, Hon. Setonji Koshoedo, Treasurer, Chief Dele Sonola and Legal Adviser, Anayo Emeanua.

But a member of the State Executive Council of the party said that the party would ensure that Aganga was not cleared by the Senate to ensure that  the “plan” to relegate the Lagos chapter fails.
The official  who pleaded anonymity, said that they were aware that Obasanjo nominated Aganga, who is said to be close to the Abebes, Obasanjo’s in-laws. He insisted that Aganga would receive the same treatment meted to Bode Augusto, another Obasanjo nominee in 2007 when President Yar’Adua first constituted his cabinet.

He said, “ Baba (Obasanjo), told us yesterday (Thursday), to avoid protest and ensure that Aganga scaled the Senate screening. But he knows we are going to shout and make noise about this one. You know it is constitutionally wrong to give the Lagos slot to another state. Again, we are in an election year, where they know we need money to prosecute election. Can Aganga bring money into our party? Baba seems to have forgotten what happened with Bode Augusto in 2007. We must ensure that Aganga is not cleared. He is not from Lagos.”

It was gathered that Obasanjo, who returned from a trip abroad met with elders and leaders of the Lagos PDP in Ota on Thursday, where he promised to get Lagos another ministerial slot but warned them to ensure that no obstacle was placed on Aganga’s path.
Another chieftain of the party told our correspondent that the PDP leadership was working towards sending only a candidate to the acting President, based on the advice of the  Presidency on Friday when the letter was submitted.

In Ogun State, a similar crisis is brewing over the nominations of Martins-Kuye and  Najeem by Obasanjo. While Martins-Kuye is from the Ogun East, Najeem is from Ogun Central. The Ogun West senatorial district insists that  the nominations of the two were “least expected, unconscionable, inequitable and grossly unfair to say the least. It also portends and institutionalised  and deliberate policy by the Federal Government to perpetually marginalise the people of Ogun West Senatorial District that constitute about one third of the population of Ogun State.”

The  group said in an open letter published in National newspapers yesterday that it was aware that the Acting President received names of a nominee from Ogun West but that he might have dropped the nominee because of pressure from very powerful people in the state.
The letter further said that of the six ministerial positions from the state  since 1999, none has come from the zone, while it has received only one ambassadorial post since 1999.
A source in the zone said that the people of the zone would embark on a “massive protest” on Monday to put a stop to the “continued injustice”.

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