By Olamide Salama
As President Jonathan Plans To Run In 2015, Intriques Emerges As He Moves To Control The National Youth Council Of Nigeria, Presidential Aspirants Accuse Minister Of Youth Of Lawlesness
For the past days, the Nigeria Governors Forum Election has been in the fore of the nation’s politics. Despite high level intrigues by President Jonathan to stop Chairman, Governors Forum; Rotimi Amaechi’s re-election bid, the Governor seem to have outsmarted the President and his anointed candidate Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State. As a sign that the Presidency may feel slighted by Amaechi; who is rumoured to be nursing a Vice-Presidential ambition in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party known for controversies and disregard for the rule of law decided to suspend the Rivers State Governor from the party for a decision taken by the legislative arm of his state and Amaechi was deprived of the opportunity to defend himself. This is one of the many cases where Nigeria’s ruling party has demonstrated its contempt for the rule of law and courts. More recently, the President Jonathan’s administration has shifted attention to the National Youth Council of Nigeria, a move believed to be aimed at taking control of all influential groups that can truncate his bid for re-election in 2015.
The earlier scheduled congress for the election for the National Youth Council of Nigeria was to take place in April, 2013 at Ondo State. Perhaps afraid that the Presidency’s anointed candidate will be defeated, the Department of State Security are alleged to have cancelled the elections claiming the security situation in the state is not okay. An aide of Governor Olusegun Mimiko on Youth Affairs, Mr. Olamide George, told PUNCH’s correspondent that the state was acting on directive from the Federal Government. The draft constitution of the Nation’s Youth Council was expected to be ratified at the congress but the Federal Government through the Hon Minister of Youth Development began implementation of the unratified constitution and allegedly insisted that the congress must be moved to a PDP state. Benue was chosen and some aspirants immediately secured a Federal High Court ruling, Lagos from Justice Abang which directed that status quo should be maintained with respect to the notice of congress published on some national dailies till hearing on the 11th of June, 2013. It was revealed that the Hon Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, Esq despite being served with the court order went ahead to disobey it. This is most regrettable because the Hon Minsister of Youth Dev. is not only a learned fellow but a former Attorney General of Sokoto State. In a message sent to delegates of the Youth Council, Hon. (Chief) Mrs Elizabeth Ativie on behalf of other members of the incorporated Board of Trustee of the Youth Council directed that congress should be called off to obey the Federal High Court ruling. Sources further explained that the illegal congress at Benue State was eventually suspended to forestall breakdown of law and order and court contempt but soon after security agencies and delegates had departed, the Honourable Minister of Youth began writing names of selected government candidates as winners of an election that did not hold. A source accused President Jonathan, National PDP Chairman and current FERMA Chairman of being desperate to foist what the source called “a PDP candidate” on the Youth Council of Nigeria. Chairman of FERMA, Engr Olajide Adeniji is believed to be bankrolling this effort with the money meant to repair Nigeria’s roads while Mr Inuwa Abdul-Kadir is accused of playing this script as he has been promised a PDP Governorship Ticket for his state in 2015.
President Jonathan is facing serious opposition to his widely speculated re-election bid in 2015. Many Nigerians are unsatisfied with the progress of the nation as unemployment seem to be increasing by the day. The President is alleged to be troubled by the new merger of major opposition parties into the All Progressives Congress and is aware that the PDP chances are getting slimmer by the day. His strategists believe that just like the Governors Forum, the National Youth Council may turn against the President in 2015. The President’s supporters argue that the incumbent President of the National Youth council, Wale Ajani who is seeking re-election made the first effort to oppose the President’s fuel subsidy removal in a hunger strike protest at Abuja which led to his arrest by officials of the Department of State Security. The eventual fuel subsidy protest became one of Nigeria’s biggest anti-government movements and only ended after soldiers were unleashed on protesters in what the government feared may degenerate into a violent revolution. President Jonathan therefore seems to be particular on the candidate that emerges as the number one Youth in Nigeria. Fair enough, but the President and his agents must do so fairly and legally.
State owned media outfit Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) reportedly announced an unknown Shendam Yakubu as the new President on the directive of the Youth Minister despite the fact that no election was held. Just like Governor Jang, Shendam Yakubu is also from Plateau State. Yakubu is reported to have been a member of President Jonathan’s Neighbour 2 Neighbour Campaign and is seen as a loyalist to the President. A telephone chat with one of the Presidential Aspirants of the National Youth Council, Phillip Jwan who is also from Plateau state insisted that: “There was no election”. He noted that Youths do not recognize him (Shendam Yakubu) and his integrity is questionable. An obviously angry Jwan said that such imposition without an election is unprecedented in the history of the council and that: “We will not be intimated or coerced by the Federal Government”. He believes that the office of the President is too high and should not be brought to such ridicule. He warned that the youth of Nigeria will resist such illegality to the drop of their blood. When contacted, the incumbent President of the Council and an aspirant seeking election believed that there was desperate effort by high ranking Federal Government officials to embarrass the President, over heat the polity and plunge the nation into further crises. He urged President Jonathan to call the Minister of Youth Development to order and ensure that the rule of law is upheld. Another Presidential Aspirant from North Central (Kogi), Tosin Adeyanju revealed that Shendam Yakubu is not even a member of the National Youth Council and affirmed no election actually held. He disclosed that all Presidential Aspirants will be giving a World Press Conference tomorrow (Wednesday, 29th May, 2013) and that the legal elections will take place within 90 days from today (Tuesday, 28th May). A Presidential aspirant from the South East, Emeka Ikpegbu described the situation as “a rape on democracy by the Minister of Youths”. He said no elections were held and this was “an aberration of the highest order and an insult to good consciences”. He lamented that the Minister of Youth instructed his staff to go on air (NTA) to announce an illegality. He insisted that the President should immediately remove the Youth Minister as he is planning to plunge the nation into crises with youth protests across the country.