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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.

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Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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