Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘party leaders’

Obama, Hillary Join Forces to Raise Money for Democrats.


President Barack Obama is bolstering his party’s campaign coffers, joining an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic National Committee climb out of a worrisome deficit. It’s the latest alignment of the Obama and Clinton orbits, as the former first lady considers a White House bid in 2016.

Obama is traveling to New York Tuesday to raise money for the party at two events, including a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Alan Patricof, the founder of a New York venture capital fund. Patricof is a longtime Clinton friend and financial bundler for her Senate and presidential campaigns.

The event illustrates the overlapping fundraising draw that Obama and the former first lady, senator and secretary of state represent for the party at a crucial time for the cash-strapped DNC. It also helps bridge some internal party tensions between donors who are merely interested in presidential politics and the Democrats’ needs during this year’s midterm elections.

Patricof wrote in a February email to contributors that he and his wife, Susan, had been “relatively quiet on the political front” following Clinton’s loss to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

“The most effective way that we all can be helpful to Hillary, and the Democratic Party in general, is to make sure that the Democratic National Committee is as strong as possible if Hillary should decide to run in 2016 and, for that matter, if any other good candidate appears on the scene if she decides not to be in the race,” Patricof wrote in the email, first reported by Politico.

He called the fundraiser with Obama a “fireside chat” that would include 13 couples — 26 people — paying $32,500 per person.

The DNC has been trying to pare down millions of dollars in debt accumulated during Obama’s re-election campaign; through the end of January the DNC owed more than $15 million.

Obama, who will also raise money at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser while in New York, has been making a sober fundraising pitch of late, warning that Democrats run the risk of losing control of the Senate if the party doesn’t have the resources to motivate voters this November.

The president’s cash-raising comes amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine and a fast-approaching health care sign-up deadline that have been preoccupying the White House, underscoring the competing demands on Obama. It also comes as Obama is struggling with tepid approval ratings. Recent Gallup and CNN/Opinion Research polls place his job approval at 45 and 43 percent respectively. Over the past year, Obama’s approval ratings as measured by Gallup have fluctuated between a high of 51 percent last April and 39 percent in January.

If Clinton runs and wins the party’s nomination in 2016, the DNC would serve as a platform of continuity between the Obama White House and a future Clinton campaign. Party leaders recently outlined plans to build upon its technological advantage over Republicans and expand its voter registration and protection work in key states, steps that will help Obama’s successor.

The DNC already has plenty of Clinton connections. Committee members include Harold Ickes and Minyon Moore, both longtime advisers to Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. One of its top fundraisers is Michael Kempner, a New Jersey public relations executive who served as co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 national finance committee and was a top bundler for Obama in 2012.

For many Clinton backers, the DNC is a natural place to offer help while the former New York senator mulls her future.

“It’s a clear signal that the Clinton faction of the party is seeking to help the president any way possible,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s campaigns. “Money is still the mother’s milk of American politics.”

The fundraiser is the latest in a series of steps that have helped bring together the Obama and Clinton camps after the bitterness of the 2008 primary fight.

Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action recently brought on board Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, to lead the group. It made clear that it will back Clinton if she seeks the nomination. The super PAC’s executive director is Buffy Wicks, a former top Obama campaign staffer.

Ready for Hillary, a grassroots group aiming to lay the groundwork for a Clinton campaign, is advised by former Obama campaign aides Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart. In Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential caucus, the super PAC dispatched 250 volunteers last weekend to sign up new members at county Democratic conventions. The group covered 84 of the state’s 99 counties.

Patricof is managing director of Greycroft LLC, a venture capital firm he founded in 2006. In November, Obama appointed him to the President’s Global Development Council.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Nigeria National Conference: It Is Time To Forge Ahead – By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje.


By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje

Since the announcement of the proposed convocation of a national conference by President Jonathan Ebele Good luck there has been mixed bag of reactions and expectations in the minds of Nigeria from all divides. Nonetheless, the conference should be seen as a strategic move to a robust people – driven democracy parley. Additionally, it should be noted that national conferences all over the world are broadly inclusive forums for the renegotiation of contentious state-people relationships and Nigeria should not be an exception in its quest to discuss its future based on its political antecedents particularly on the account of the reality that confront it as a nation today.

National conference are generally peaceful and in my view, is intended to launch national reconciliation and rebirth efforts or processes that will help to stimulate the intense political activism for a nation in search a true federal state devoid frustration and suspicion from all groups and interest.

Indeed participants at National Conferences or dialogue usually claim sweeping sovereign powers to rewrite constitutions and election laws in order to promote political pluralism and guarantee better protection of human rights and political freedoms. Although, national conferences in Nigeria in the past might have seemed frenzied or unending, but as an ordinary Nigerians, we should take advantage of this initiative as rare opportunities for us to re – define our own rules of political engagement and to take full ownership of our political futures.

This article looks at some of the fundamental issues that the national conference should discuss amongst others, governments should move away from the extremely centralized and expensive presidential and gubernatorial systems inherited from the 1979 Nigeria Constitution to more balanced semi-presidential or semi-parliamentary systems that should institutionalize the position of prime minister and provide for the holder of that office to be backed by a legislative majority. This proposed arrangement should also include any opposition parties, civil society, market women and community associations to be elected on yearly basis.  In addition, this will close the existing gaps between the democratic aspirations of Nigerian citizens and the maneuvers by incumbent political leaders to preserve their stay in power.

Nigeria’s political experience over the last five decades or so has been characterised by lack of genuine democratization. Genuine democratization in my view should entail a deliberate broadening of the political space, an expansion of opportunities for political participation and mobilization, and the establishment of credible processes and institutions that allow for the change or renewal of political leadership through people driven elections from communities’ representatives on part- time basis. This would also allow citizens to enjoy greater rights and freedoms. Furthermore, Nigeria’s constitution should be a direct result of the government deliberately pursuing a policy of ethnic or regional democracy. Ethnicity has always serves as the foundation for Nigeria’s political parties since independence.

In addition to the national government, there should be regional states whose borders trace ethnic lines for national development aspiration purposes.
Admittedly, over the last twenty years or so, myriad nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have played a vital role in promoting political participation and good governance in Nigeria particularly at the grass root levels. National associations or associations for human rights, associations of retired jurists, and politically activist bar associations, with independent journalists and other civil society groups would act as crucial watchdogs within the new structures to safeguard rights and freedoms and to foster further democratization and development. Increasingly, civil society and community associations should become an accurate barometer for the people and political leaders.

Community organizations should find the space to conduct advocacy activities for their respective communities, develop better channels of communication with the executive and legislative branches of government at the local, state and national, and provide input into the governance process based on the community development aspirations and needs.

The judiciary to very large extent has played a unique role as an independent arbiter for political issues in Nigeria. The Supreme Court in particular tended to hold final jurisdiction over administrative, criminal, constitutional, civil, and commercial matters. However there is need to create constitutional and peoples courts to handle litigation pertaining to the constitutionality of laws or acts of government. The proposed courts should assume jurisdiction over election-related disputes and the conditions of eligibility for public office. The eligibility criteria to public office should be at the centre of the debate in the conference.

Elected officials, party leaders, and, in many cases, ordinary citizens of voting age also may petition constitutional courts. Allowing citizens access to institutions that can pass judgment on the executive branch acts or omissions is likely to curb flagrant abuses of state resources and power. The conference should also introduce another important level of oversight regarding budget and expenditure and state – community relations mechanism to enhance accountability and community development.

Advocacy for a constitutional provision and requirement calling for 85 percent of its members to be elected by their peers and associations throughout the country and by extension, at the end of the dialogue, should be made  as constitutional mandate for representation in parliament from local, state  then to the national levels of governance.

Furthermore, the  electoral systems should moved away from closed party and Godfather structure to other forms of proportional representation or to multi-member constituencies, elected representatives must live and resides with the people they wish to represent, so that they can more responsive and accountable to their constituent needs and should push for loosened relationships to party hierarchies and supremacy. These developments in my view would empower communities to quarterly legislative parley and meetings to initiate hearings, legislative inquiries, budget debates, and motions to censure governmental policies and inactions that would not be beneficial to the people or constituents. Communities – legislative and budget debates will help to tone down executive branch bills and the reckless spending by governments and its agencies.

Also, the recalcitrant and bogus bureaucracies must also be renegotiated to favour ordinary citizens. The civil service remains in my opinion, conservative and heavily indebted to the patronage and rent – seeking system that encourages profligacy and contract through over invoicing. This is especially evident in the jurisdictional conflicts that have emerged between agencies and ministries, and in the reluctance of presidential and gubernatorial appointees and auxiliaries, such as governors and their cronies to respect the rule of law and due process in the management of the people resources.  The challenge lies in the national conference persuading the bureaucratic elites to embrace people’s aspirations and to tie their performance with community driven projects.

Finally, it is instructive to note that Ethiopia in 1991 conducted a national conference and came out with far reaching a peoples constitution in 1994 with a clause that creates a two-tiered federal structure, which, at least in principle, emphasized ethnic groups’ rights and the right to self-determination which are necessary ingredient for a stable democracy and on the other hand, Nigeria should not also be in a hurry forget the case of  the former Yugoslavia in Europe with similar historical trajectories like us disintegrated in  1992 – 1999 respectively.

Therefore, the national conference should facilitate a deep-rooted and inclusive democracy where all minorities are protected. Irrespective of the outcome, a referendum that would provide for a thriving and inclusive local democracy is necessary to secure the interests of all local peoples and not only the political elites and representatives of the people at the discourse.

Orovwuje, Founder, Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, Lagos

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

 

Tag Cloud