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Buhari’s hold on power slackens in Nigeria; How the ‘coup’ happened

True to prediction, the breakaway faction of Nigeria’s ruling party, the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC) has formally dumped the mother party to join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

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True to prediction, the breakaway faction of Nigeria’s ruling party, the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC) has formally dumped the mother party to join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a dramatic move Tuesday, 52 lawmakers defected from APC to PDP. They were made up of 15 Senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives. The notes conveying the decision of the decampees were read by the respective heads of both houses of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki of the Senate, and Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives.

The 52 lawmakers, in their collective letters, alleged irreconcilable differences within the APC as reason for pitching their tents with the opposition PDP.

SlamReportesAfrica had reported how, in the build up to the breakup, the ruling party had approached its aggrieved members with juicy offers to give up on their intentions to leave the party.

In no unmistaken terms, the aggrieved faction had said that the promise of juicy carrots to its members by the leadership of the APC was already too late to stop the R-APC from its planned defection.

The bombshell was dropped on Sunday in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kassim Afegbua.

The statement came on the heels of high powered meetings between the Presidency and perceived arrow head of the rebel group, Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Read Also: Unfolding story: What we know about siege on home of Nigeria’s Senate President

In one instance, the meeting with Saraki was led by President Muhammadu Buhari himself while Chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, was caught in nocturnal consultations with Buba Galadima who has been the known figure behind R-APC.

Early attempts to abort a gathering of lawmakers occurred Tuesday as security operatives, allegedly from the Presidency, made futile efforts to prevent the Senate President and his deputy from accessing the National Assembly, venue of the defection exercise.

The development has radically altered the power configuration in the country’s legislative arm with the opposition PDP having majority of seats while shrinking APC’s control of the lower house.

Reacting to the political tremor, President Muhammadu Buhari said he wished the departing members best of luck in their future endeavours. The ruling party, however, would not concede that it had lost control at the National Assembly.

Bolaji Abdullahi, spokesman of the party, said in his reaction to the defection of 52 federal lawmakers that the party respects the right of people to move to another party.

“APC notes the development in the National Assembly with the defection of some of our members from the party,” Abdullahi said in a statement.

“APC remains in firm control of 25 states of the 36 states of the federation and maintains a clear majority in the Federal House of Representatives and state assemblies.

However, the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, branded the defecting lawmakers ‘mercenaries.’

Analysts argue that the developments would have far reaching implications for the polity as the realignment of forces is expected to trickle down to the States of the federation where at least three governors and their supporters are likely to join the PDP bandwagon and ultimately alter the support base of President Buhari ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Politics

Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Ibrahim Traore, assures France of relations amidst recent tension

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Amidst recent diplomatic tension between Burkina Faso and France, the military leader of the West African country, Ibrahim Traoré has claimed that recent incidences do not suggest the end of relations with France.

Burkina Faso had expelled French ambassadors and expelled French troops earlier in the year. French President, Emmanuel Macron had sought clarifications from military President Ibrahim Traore about reported demands for the departure of French troops from the country.

He said: “We’ve heard everywhere in the press that Wagner is in Ouagadougou. That’s also how we heard about it. I’ve asked some people who say, ‘Oh really? Where are they?’

“We’ve since heard that they’re even in a hotel somewhere, we’re surprised to hear about that.”

“There’s a general state of mind whereby if you deal with Wagner, everyone runs away from you, so it’s something which has been created in order that everyone shuns us – well congratulations, good job.”

The wave of anti-French agitations in the West African sub-region has continued in recent times. Notably French relations with Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali who is also caught up in a serious security crisis.

“The French embassy is here,” He said. “French nationals are here, just as ours is there, so diplomatically nothing has changed.

“This is about an agreement over military presence, and as they have said, our sovereignty is up to us, so that’s what we are expressing through our denunciation of this agreement. So there is no breaking off of diplomatic relations, or hatred of any particular country.”

France’s position in Africa has been a subject of discussion lately amidst recent anti-French agitations across the continent.

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Politics

Tunisian union, UGTT chief, Noureddine Taboubi accuses President Saied of intimidation

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As part of the fallouts of the recently conducted parliamentary elections in Tunisia, its trade union, UGTT accused President Kais Saied of targeting it as a distraction from record-low election turnout.

The powerful union also accused president Saied of overseeing a “total failure” of economic policies.

The UGTT chief, Noureddine Taboubi at a meeting held at Gammarth to discuss the arrest of the union’s senior official Anis Kaabi earlier in the week said “the president is trying to divert attention from the record low election turnout in the first and second round of legislative elections and the utter failure of his economic and social decisions.”

Mr. Taboubi added: “Why is the UGTT a target?  Because [the authorities] want to pass the painful reforms they are always discussing.

“In order to pass these painful reforms, they need to distract the public with trivia by saying that the reason for this situation is the UGTT.”

The election, which was a second round of the Tunisian parliamentary polls held last Sunday with reports that nearly 90% of the electorate did not vote, making it the highest level of abstention since the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Ben Ali and marked the advent of democracy in the country.

Voter turnout for the first round of the parliamentary elections in December was only 11%, prompting widespread ridicule among Saied’s opponents and new demands by the powerful labour union that he changes tack.

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