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    Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana has described the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the

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    edited September 2013 in African Headlines
    Tunji Braithwaite restates demand for Sovereign National Conference, faults ongoing review of 1999 Constitution.
    Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana has described the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as a “fraud” for allegedly demanding that its members should not be investigated or prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, or the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.
    Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, seven governors and some chieftains of the ruling PDP announced the birth of the splinter group last August 31 in Abuja and appointed Kawu Baraje and Olagunsoye Oyinlola as its national chairman and national secretary, respectively.

    The governors are Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Musa Kwakwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).

    Speaking at the inauguralTunji Braithwaite Birthday Symposium in Lagos of Friday, Mr Falana, said ”the New PDP is a fraud because one of the major demands of the group is that their corrupt members must not be investigated or prosecuted by the EFCC or ICPC.”

    Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, alleged that a member of the splinter PDP, who is also a former governor, was being prosecuted for defaulting on a N12 billion loan and discharged by a court with a fine of N2 billion.

    According to him, the former governor ”is now claiming that the EFCC is again after him because he is a member of the New PDP, when he went away with N10billion.”

    ”This is very wrong and all members of the new PDP must be prosecuted no matter what and the media must stop celebrating these people” the fiery lawyer said.

    He urged the media not celebrate those not addressing the challenges of the country.

    Lamenting the widening income gap in Nigeria despite the acclaimed economic growth achieved under the PDP administrations, the human rights activist said”the symposium’s venue (Yard 158) used to be a massive factory in Lagos but is now used for church services and social events.”

    PDP Is Finished

    In his remarks, Tunji Braithwaite for whom the symposium was organized to mark his 80th birthday, noted that ”the chaos at the fragmentation of the PDP; the largest party in Africa or whatever nebulous name they call themselves, resulting in the sacking of many ministers does not come as a surprise because the PDP is finished.”

    According to him, ”the PDP is finished becomes it has always been in a fragmentation.”

    The leader of the defunct Nigeria Advance Party, NAP, declared that the ”recklessness and simple-mindedness and wide spread corruption will trigger a people’s revolution.”

    The octogenarian, who was tear-gassed by police officers while leading a protest in 2011, further added that a people’s movement was currently being organised to fight the status quo.

    Deaf not dumb

    Mr Braithwaite, who was also a former presidential aspirant, reiterated the call for a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, which had been relentlessly demanded by diverse groups and organisations across the country.

    Referring to President Goodluck Jonathan’s prolonged silence on the convocation of SNC, Mr Braithwaite said ”unfortunately, it seems we have been conversing with a deaf, though not necessarily dumb.”

    He warned the president that the ”choking, revolting influence of power mongers in his political party (PDP) and other political parties remain the albatross of the country.”

    The lawyer cum politician also demanded what he described as “Peoples Constitution” in place of “military decrees” which he used to describe the proposals by the National Assembly in the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.

    He alleged that the document ”is currently being tinkered with by lawmakers for their selfish interest, before the next general election in 2015.”

    Mr Braithwaite advised Mr Jonathan to join the new liberation ”as people will no longer sit down and watch the plundering of the nation’s resources.”
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