Osun election: Party agents laud INEC’s efforts to curb vote-buying

Various party agents in some polling units in Ifon and Ilobu have lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission for ensuring the placement of polling booths in such a way as to prevent voters showing their ballots to politicians.

At Unit 4 Ward 3, Ifon Osun in Orolu Local Government Area, our correspondent observed that the polling booth was located where nobody could see where voters marked on the ballot paper.

Voters were also not allowed to take their phones into the voting cubicles to prevent snapping of the ballot to claim money afterward.

Some of the party agents: Nurein Akinola, who represented Peoples Democratic Party, Jimoh Akeem from the All Progressives Congress and Muritala Olasupo of the Social Democratic Party said the arrangement was good to prevent the inducement of voters.

Also, the Chairman, Osun State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Mr Kamil Oyedele, said the process was transparent.

He said, “There is no fight here, we are all one irrespective of parties. The process is transparent and we pray it will continue like this till the end.” – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:21 GMT |

Ebonyi: APC Onitcha LG suspends chairman

The All Progressives Congress in Local Government area of Ebonyi, on Saturday, suspended its party chairman, Mr Uchenna Agwu, for alleged anti-party activities, indiscipline and insubordination.

Mr Kenneth Nwali, Onitcha Local Government Secretary of the party, announced this in a statement in Isu, the Headquarters of the Council at the end of a stakeholders’ meeting.

Mr Ifeanyi Ezeka, the Vice Chairman of the party, was appointed as the acting chairman of the party in the area.

Nwali said: “His suspension follows adoption of a motion sponsored by Mr James Okafor, Organising Secretary, urging the local government executive committee of the party to adopt an earlier report submitted by a disciplinary committee set up to look into the allegations.

“Executive Committee after a critical study of the report of the disciplinary committee, upheld the report.

“Also the chairman‘s refusal to honour series of invitations extended to him by the disciplinary committee to defend himself is a further proof of guilt.

“In the light of the above, the vote of no confidence earlier passed on Agwu is hereby sustained and accordingly he is hereby suspended from the party indefinitely.”

According to the scribe, the party has taken the decision in the interest of APC to serve as a deterrent to others, instil party discipline and loyalty in the area.

“APC wishes to assure every member of the party of its support, cooperation and equal opportunities to achieve individual and collective ambitions and the development of democracy.

“We reiterate our commitment to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates of our great party in the 2019 general elections,” the statement added.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that efforts made to speak with the embattled party chairman were unsuccessful as he was not in attendance at the meeting and his mobile phone could not be reached. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:15 GMT |

Tinubu, Ambode alleged feud puts godfatherism in the spotlight

The alleged rift between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and his political godfather and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over the latter’s refusal to support the governor’s second term bid, has brought the issue of political godfatherism to the fore, JESUSEGUN ALAGBE writes

A scene played out on Monday at the launch of a book written by the Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia.

At the unveiling of the book, ‘Africa Arise and Shine,’ which had many dignitaries, including Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in attendance, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State was initially seen standing between the author and the Chairman on the occasion, Dr. Christopher Kolade.

According to a video clip from the event, while the paparazzi were busy taking photographs of the dignitaries on the podium, Ambode was seen feeling unsettled as he was standing a bit far from Tinubu, his political godfather.

Not minding how the audience would react, the governor jogged past Osinbajo and Ovia and squeezed himself between Tinubu and another dignitary on the podium.

Expectedly, the scene evoked a mix of bewilderment, laughter and applause from those on the podium and several other guests at the venue.

Earlier before this moment, Ambode – who was invited to speak immediately after Tinubu – had caused the guests to burst into laughter when he jokingly described how powerful the APC leader was in the party.

After acknowledging the dignitaries, the governor said he was not competent to speak after Tinubu had spoken.

“Actually, I didn’t prepare to come and say anything and who am I to come and speak after the Jagaban (Tinubu) has spoken?” he asked, causing the guests to laugh.

Notably, that was the first time the governor and his political godfather were seen together in the public after several reports of an alleged rift between the duo over the former’s second-term bid.

Tinubu was alleged to have refused to back Ambode’s second-term ambition and instead endorsed Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner in the state, for the 2019 governorship election.

Sanwo-Olu, who formally declared his intention to vie for the Lagos State governorship ticket on the APC platform, had also purchased his expression of interest and nomination forms.

He was said to have the endorsement of the Mandate Movement, a political group led by Tinubu. The chairmen of the 57 councils in the state except the two from Epe where Ambode hails from were said to have also declared support for him.

Even though it was claimed that some leaders of the party pleaded with Tinubu to endorse Ambode for a second-term, the APC national leader was said to have ignored the pleas, insisting that the governor should be ready to face the party’s primary against Sanwo-Olu and other contestants.

In a last-minute effort to ensure he secured Tinubu’s backing for his second-term ambition, Ambode was said to have had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting was said to have followed an appeal by governors on the APC platform for the President to intervene and ‘save’ Ambode.

Nevertheless, no matter the eventual outcome, political observers said the alleged Tinubu-Ambode rift had again brought to the fore the dangers of political godfatherism in the country.

A political scientist and economist in Lagos, Mr. Sunkanmi Babatunde, wondered how one man could be allowed to dictate the affairs of “a mega-state” like Lagos.

He said, “From what filtered into our ears, Tinubu is not happy with Ambode because the governor is not subservient. There are claims that Ambode disrupted the state’s political structure by clipping the wings of some so-called owners of the state.

“There are claims he blocked some sources through which state funds usually flowed to these people’s pockets and they are not happy about it.

“While I’m not advocating Ambode’s return because I can’t say he has performed excellently and I don’t think he hasn’t also enriched himself with state funds, however, the rift between him and his political godfather showed how some individuals have taken hostage the lives of about 20 million people due to their selfishness.”

Babatunde argued that where democracy was working, Ambode’s second-term ambition ought not to have been dependent on the endorsement of the APC national leader.

He added, “The people should be the judge of who gets their votes and who doesn’t, not an individual or some power blocs whose judgment is clouded with greed and power.

“No matter how their rift ends, I really wish the electorate would make a bold statement in the next elections. Enough of this dictatorship in Lagos State and even in Nigeria as a whole!

“Where has political godfatherism landed us? In poverty, misery, poor infrastructure, among other negative indices. Indeed, we should all rise up and fight against political godfatherism, which is the same thing as dictatorship.”

On Thursday, the Socialist Party of Nigeria had also frowned on the style of political leadership in Lagos, describing it as a “dictatorship.”

The party stated that neither Ambode nor Tinubu deserved the public’s sympathy, adding that the disagreement between them should be used as an opportunity to “free Lagos from self-succession in power and installation of cronies as governors.”

“Neither Sanwo-Olu nor Ambode represents a future that will make Lagos work for its people, given the fact that they both represent the wishes and aspirations of big business and the moneybags.

“The struggle between the Mandate Movement is about business and profit interests of the contending forces of the ruling elite in Lagos,” the party’s Chairman, Rufus Olusesan, said via a statement.

Trying to take advantage of the alleged rift between Tinubu and Ambode, the Peoples Democratic Party in the state had during the week offered the governor its platform to contest next year’s gubernatorial election should he be rejected by the APC.

And then on Thursday, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, advised Ambode to resist godfatherism in Lagos State.

Osun election: Why didn’t you withdraw policemen from Aregbesola, PDP asks IGP

The Peoples Democratic Party has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to explain to Nigerians why he failed to withdraw policemen attached to the Governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, like he did to the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, before the conduct of the Ekiti governorship election.

The party said that the conduct of the police under Idris had shown him to be a partial police boss who was merely interested in the ruling party.

The National Chaairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who said this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, recalled that the IGP ordered that all policemen attached to Fayose be withdrawn before the governorship election which held on July 14, 2018.

He also asked Nigerians to remember that the police boss equally withdrew the policemen attached to the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, before the Anambra governorship election “in order to make him vulnerable just because he is not a member of the APC.”

Secondus said the police had claimed that the action in the two instances was to allow for the neutrality of the police in the conduct of the election.

He, therefore, wondered why the same thing had not been replicated in Osun State, saying the action of the police had confirmed the position of the PDP that it was a ploy to facilitate the rigging of the election against the PDP in Ekiti State.

He said, “By now, we thought that the IGP would have replaced all the policemen attached to Governor Aregbesola and the State Government House at Osogbo with new ones as he did in Ekiti State.

“Recall that the police also took away the security detail attached to Fayose. He was prone to attacks and all that. But what has happened to the policemen attached to Governor Aregbesola? Nothing. Instead of them being replaced, they have been fortified with policemen from Lagos State and neighbouring friendly states in order to manipulate the outcome of the election.

“It is unfortunate that we have a police force that has become an arm of the ruling party; a police force that is not serving the interest of all Nigerians but a clique.

“We want IGP Idris to tell Nigerians why he is applying different rules in the deployment of policemen for the conduct of elections in states being controlled by the PDP and the one under the control of the All Progressives Congress.”

Secondus, however, appealed to members of the PDP in Osun State to guard their votes on Saturday (today) and make sure that they are not stolen.

He added, “Members of our party and others in the opposition must guard their votes and make sure that they are not stolen. They must be vigilant and be strong in the face of persecution. Osun people will never follow a government that has refused to pay salary for more than three years. PDP remains the viable alternative. – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:09 GMT |

APC senators, aspirants reject party’s indirect primaries

Some All Progressives Congress senators and aspirants have opposed the Wednesday decision of the party, which granted the request of the APC governors on the mode of primaries for choosing candidates for the 2019 elections.

The APC National Executive Committee, after its meeting last month, had announced the adoption of  the direct method of primaries  for choosing its candidates.

It said states that preferred  the indirect method must get the approval of all stakeholders and write the national secretariat.

The letter is expected to be signed by a majority of members of the state executive committee.

But after his meeting with the governors on Wednesday night, the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said state chapters of the party were free to choose any mode of primaries.

In separate interviews with Saturday PUNCH,  some senators  and aspirants opposed the power given to the governors by the party.

Some of them denied knowledge of the U-turn made by the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the ruling party, which allowed states to adopt indirect mode of primaries to elect candidates for the 2019 general elections.

In his submission, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who said he was not aware of the leeway given to the APC governors to adopt indirect primary mode, said the decision would mark the beginning of the end of the ruling party.

Marafa, who had a few weeks ago told The PUNCH exclusively that he would participate in parallel direct primaries to be conducted by the faction of APC led by him in Zamfara State should Governor Abdulaziz Yari insist in the indirect mode, noted that Oshiomhole might have been under pressure to back down on direct primaries.

The senator said, “One, I am not aware of it. Two, I don’t want to believe that the party under Oshiomhole would concede to that because, like I have always said, he is a man of integrity. My little interaction with him shows that he is committed to building a stronger party. I don’t know how he is going to build a stronger party by shying away from the electorate. Anybody who is afraid of facing the electorate has no business in politics.

“Being a human being – that is Oshiomhole, and knowing what the governors are, and the combination of the National Working Committee as it is today, he can be overpowered because politics is a game of number. If the majority of the NWC are for something, he cannot dictate otherwise. But one thing I can assure you is that if that is what the party has now conceded, mark my words, it will be the beginning of the end.”

When asked if he meant the end of the APC, Marafa said, “I think (it is) for the party because, like I have said, the pronouncement by the party that the presidential primary would be by direct was a vote of no confidence in the congresses supervised by the governors. That means those congresses cannot stand legal scrutiny. Therefore, whatever you build on a faulty foundation cannot stand. Candidates will be fielded but their candidature will not see the light of the day.”

According to the lawmaker, courts will soon nullify congresses that produced the current state executives who have been billed to conduct the proposed indirect primaries.

Another senator, Shehu Sani, said, “You have to excuse me while we do consult first of all. We have to be formally informed and addressed before I will react to it.”

Shehu has been an ardent critic of indirect primary, insisting that it breeds corruption.

APC may lose Bauchi without direct primary- Gov aspirant

In a related development, a former Minister of State for Health Dr. Ali Pate, has said the APC can lose Bauchi State if it goes ahead with the indirect primary and presents an unpopular governorship candidate.

Pate, who is also aspiring for the APC ticket to contest the governorship election, said this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, on Friday.

He spoke after he was screened by the APC panel set up to screen governorship aspirants.

Pate said the preference of most aspirants for the direct primary was to eliminate corruption and provide a level playing field for all aspirants to truly test their popularity with the electorate starting with card carrying members of the party.

Pate said, “We have made our case, if the party wants to win Bauchi State, it should put forward a credible, popular candidate. At this point, we know that the mass of people in Bauchi State are worried that an imposition will not stand well in the general elections.

“So, we place our faith on the leadership of the party to do the right thing and allow fair process to play out otherwise we cannot guarantee the APC winning Bauchi State.”

Speaking about his experience during the screening exercise, the ex-minister said, “There is a structured process that we have been made to participate for the various offices we are seeking on the platform of the party. I have done mine and for Bauchi state, we have an agenda which is to bring development which has so far eluded our people.

“So, even though we have an incumbent governor, we know his term comes to an end in 2019 and we are sure to take over even as we also believe in the party to do the right thing and ensure that members and aspirants get the justice they deserve if the party wants to succeed in Bauchi.”

Oshiomhole, NWC recommended direct primary for Imo – Uzodinma

Meanwhile, Senator Hope Uzodinma (APC, Imo-West) stated that adopting direct mode for the primaries was the only way Imo State people would ensure victory for the APC  in 2019.

Uzodima, in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Friday, said direct primaries in Imo would bring the various factions of the party in the state together.

He commended the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole, and the National Working Committee of the party for the role they played in reconciling the various APC factions in the state.

Accusations, allegations from PDP sign of impeding loss – APC

The APC Campaign Council for the Osun Governorship election has described the allegations and accusations emanating from the camp of the PDP ahead of Saturday’s polls as a manifestation of the fear of impending defeat.

In a statement in Osogbo, the Council’s Media Committee Chairman and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the PDP and its chorus singers had resorted into such flimsy and unsubstantiated allegations because defeat is now staring the party’s candidate in the face.

He also said those who were shouting about an alleged rigging and thuggery plan by the APC in Osun State were only acting true to type, adding that such persons were the certified architects of rigging and thuggery, not minding that their alleged murderous thugs that had been sequestered and the rigging capability clearly curtailed.

He said, “The PDP and some of its top members have accused INEC, the police and other security agencies as well as the NYSC of all sorts of things. They have made allegations of thuggery and rigging against the APC. None of the accusations has been substantiated. If only the party had invested its energy in preparing for the election, it may not have become so jittery.

“Unfortunately, the die is cast and the PDP has seen the handwriting on the wall, hence the party’s slip into the panic mode.

“On our part, we have confidence in the various institutions saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a successful election in Osun State. We have no need for thuggery or rigging because the people are solidly behind us.” – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:05 GMT |

Osun 2018: INEC, EFCC vow to prosecute vote buyers, sellers

Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Osun, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) say  vote buyers and their customers  risk being arrested and prosecuted.

Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu,   said this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to the statement, the decision was the outcome of a meeting between the two commissions at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.

The statement said that the INEC Chairman had led a team of National Commissioners to the meeting.

According to the statement, the issue of vote buying and selling had become worrisome to the two commissions and therefore evolved measures to address the menace.

Yakubu, however, said the  incidence of ballot box snatching and kidnapping of INEC officials had reduced significantly due to a number of strong reforms INEC had put in place to strengthen the electoral process.

“We are here as part of our consultations with critical agencies  that are connected to the electoral process.

“We have undertaken a number of innovations to strengthen the electoral system and these days, you hear less of ballot box snatching and kidnapping of INEC officials.

”But as we solve one problem, another one is coming up.

“Of immediate concern is the election we are holding on Saturday in Osun State and it is going to be the last major election before the 2019 general elections.

“We have taken steps as a Commission, but we need the support of the EFCC in this respect.

“Vote buying and selling is earning a bad reputation for our democracy, for our elections.

“We thought we should visit national institutions like the EFCC because they have the powers under the law to arrest, to investigate, to prosecute.

“They can assist us to stem this ugly tide of vote buying and selling,” the statement said.

Yakubu expressed regrets  at increasing inducement through electronic transfers  in order to influence their decisions on election day.

“We believe that you have both the law and the capacity on your side to help us in this respect,’’ he said.

He implored the EFCC to also monitor campaign finances of political parties and their candidates.

“As we go into the elections proper in 2019, we need your support in the area of campaign finance and spending by candidates.

“The law has prescribed limits as to what candidates can spend in elections but we need the enforcement of these laws.

“We don’t want the money-bags to determine our democracy. We want the votes of the people to determine who wins in our elections,’’ it said.

The EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, on his part, said there was cause for concern over vote buying and selling.

“We have the mandate to monitor money transfers and we are collaborating with the banks.

“We have the mandate to arrest, investigate and prosecute and we are going to use the Osun governorship election as a test case,” he said.

Magu pledged to work with the INEC Chairman to curb the menace and appealed to Nigerians to support the EFCC in the fight against corruption. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 19:12 GMT |

Asogwa, APC chieftain in Nsukka joins PDP

Chief Joe Asogwa, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nsukka, on Friday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Asogwa at a ceremony organised to receive him at PDP Enugu North Zonal office in Nsukka, said he decided to join PDP because of APC’s led Federal Government failure to fulfill its campaign promises to Nigerians as well as good performance of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

“My decision to dump APC is because the party has failed Nigerians in all its electoral campaign promises.

“The good performance of Ugwuanyi in Enugu State also `seduced’ me to join PDP because even a blind man can see his good works in the state,’’ he said.

The former APC chieftain predicted victory for PDP in 2019 presidential election, explaining that many people have left APC to PDP and more aggrieved members would leave the party before next year’s general elections.

“With the gale of defections across the country from APC to PDP, I have no doubt that PDP will return to Aso Rock in 2019,’’ he said.

In a remark, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial District in the Senate, said Asogwa is a respected elderly statesman and prolific writer.

He said that his joining PDP means that APC had suffered serious setback in 2019 general elections in Enugu State.

“Today PDP in Enugu State has added another feather to its red cap.

“Enugu State people are happy for your decision to join the party so that you will join hands to move the state to the next level,’’ he said.

Mr Michael Onyeze, PDP Chairman in Nsukka Zone, who spoke, said that stakeholders and PDP faithful had gathered to receive Asogwa to let him know he had taken a wise decision.

“Asogwa is a respected elder statesman and celebrated writer who had been in the forefront in the struggle for the creation of Adada State for Nsukka people.

“This former APC chieftain was governorship candidate of Great Nigeria peoples Party (GNPP) in 1979, as well as close friend of Chief Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi of blessed memory.

“On behalf of PDP, I hereby welcome you, the party umbrella is too big to shelter everybody in Nigeria.

“We know your worth and the party will accord you respect that a statesman deserves,’’ he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 19:09 GMT |

Osun poll: Our eyes focused on vote-buying, say EU observers

The European Union (EU) Election Observers say they will monitor Saturday’s governorship election in Osun with an eye on vote-buying.

Mr Ketil Karlsen, the EU ambassador to Nigeria, said this at a news conference on Friday in Osogbo.

Karlsen said that the EU was hopeful that the modalities put in place by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to check vote-buying during the election would yield positive results.

While commending INEC on its preparation, Karlsen said the global community would be watching the conduct of the election, being the last before the 2019 general elections.

Karlsen, who noted that more than 28 diplomatic observers from different countries were in the state for the election, said EU was committed to the continued consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.

“We are neutral in this election. We are not here to promote any candidate or political party.

“But we are here to promote the process that would lead to credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria and we hope to see credible election on Saturday.

“We are also here to see stability and continuity in Nigeria,” Karlsen said.

Also speaking, Mr Dominic Williams, the Political Councillor, British High Commission, said the Osun election would be a signal to the 2019 general elections.

Williams said the EU would be watching to see how the election would be conducted and its impact on the 2019 general elections.

“We want free, fair and credible elections and we want candidates to show respect for the rule of the game and shun violence.

“We also appeal to the more the 1.2 million people that have collected their Permanent Voter Cards to come out en mass to vote,’’ Williams said.

In his remarks, Mr David Young, Deputy Chief of Mission, United States embassy, said the US was committed to transparent and credible elections in Nigeria.

Young said the EU would continue to support the process that would promote peaceful elections.

While commending INEC for what it had done so far, Young urged the security agencies to be neutral in the election. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 19:05 GMT |

Kwankwaso: Restructuring will speed up Nigeria’s development

A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, on Friday said the country would witness accelerated development if restructured.

Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, expressed the view in Lagos while addressing party delegates at the PDP secretariat.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kwankwaso’s visit was in continuation of his tour of state chapters to seek support for his aspiration.

The aspirant said restructuring would strengthen the various federating units to reach their potential to promote the country’s prosperity.

Kwankwaso said he was a strong advocate of restructuring, and would speed up the development of the country, if elected president.

“There have been agitations for restructuring in the South West and other parts of the country.

“Let me assure you that I am for anything that would promote the country’s progress.

“I am for anything that would deliver democratic dividends. I support restructuring and I am going to implement it if elected, ” he said.

The aspirant said the All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed in the delivery of its electoral promises to Nigerians.

He said the ruling party had not been able to address security and economic challenges, among other problems facing the country.

Kwankwaso said the PDP would provide the kind of impactful leadership needed to reposition the country, if elected.

He said he had the capacity, experience and passion to turn the country around.

The aspirant appealed to Lagos delegates to vote for him at the convention.

He said apart from having the capacity to deliver, he was the only aspirant with the wide support needed to defeat the APC.

On why he left the PDP in 2014 to join the APC, Kwankwaso said he did so because of the problems in PDP then.

He said he was back because of the new spirit in the PDP, and that it was the only party that could move the country forward.

“When we left the PDP, we thought it was the worst party due to the crisis then.

“Now, the party has been repositioned and we are back.

“We have since realised that PDP is 1000 times better than the APC.

“We are back in the PDP to join forces with our great party men to ensure we defeat the failed APC in 2019,” he said.

The aspirant expressed regret that PDP had never won Lagos despite the strategic importance of the state politically.

He promised to mobilise his supporters in the Kwankwasiya Movement and others to ensure that the party wins the 2019 governorship election in the state.

Speaking, a PDP chieftain in the state, Alhaji Adegoke Adejumo, thanked Kwankwaso for the visit, saying the chapter supported his vision for a better Nigeria. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 19:05 GMT |

Nigeria needs a president who will respect rule of law – Tambuwal

The Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, says Nigeria needs a president who will respect the rule of law and will seriously consider restructuring the nation.

He said this on Friday when he met with leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ekiti State ahead of the party’s presidential primary.

Tambuwal, who is a presidential aspirant, scored the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari low.

He said he on the other hand, if elected, would lead a government that is fair to all, united and technology-driven in resolving some of its major challenges such as security.

The state governor, Ayodele Fayose, who was also at the meeting, said he was in support of his (Tambuwals’s) thoughts and visions.

He, therefore, advised him as well as other aspirants to approach the forthcoming primary with determination and a spirit of sportsmanship in order to reclaim power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).


2019 Polls: Abdulsalami warns against Nigeria’s disintegration

Former Head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Friday said he will forever be an enemy of anyone that tried to hinder the democratic development of Nigeria or plunge Nigeria into crisis.

Abdualsaslami said this at the Maiden Edition of General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Peace Lecture, organised by the staff and students of the Abdulsalami Abubakar Post Graduate Students’ Hall of the University of Ibadan. The lecture was titled; “Collaborative Peace Building in Nigeria,”

He cautioned politicians against disrupting the 2019 general elections, saying “we have no other place to run to should the country be engulfed by fire”.

According to the former head of state, Nigeria cannot be that great nation we all want,  except we all agree to collectively work together and collaborate on peace.

“Peace is not absence of disagreement. Every society must have disagreements. This is because we are not born alike, even twins do not operate in a like manner,” hence there is nothing wrong with people having disagreements.

“What is expected is that when we have disagreements we would find peaceful solutions to the issues, ” he said.

He said there can be no sustainable development where people find it difficult to deal with the problems around them peacefully.

“It is therefore, my honest opinion that we are going nowhere until we have a national consensus to work for peace.

“What our politicians should focus upon at a time like this is to be working with professionals on how to make a difference in 2019.”

The former head of state stressed the need for Nigerians to focus more on addressing the escalating development crisis in the land.

“No matter how good those managing INEC are, if things are not well managed as they are, it might be difficult for us to have credible elections in 2019,” he said.

He advised the students to reject being used in the forthcoming elections and not be allowed to be dragged into electoral malfeasance and violence.

He also appealed to politicians to be more conciliatory in their relationship and public utterances.

“INEC must be an unbiased umpire. The security agencies in the country must be fair to all, people must be free to vote their leaders”.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Idowu Olayinka, praised the former head of state, adding “it is very rare for a military head of state to say he has to grant the wishes  of the people for a democratic government.

“This is the kind of things we need in Nigeria for our leaders to forge peace in the country,” he haid.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the University presented a peace award to Gen. Abdulsalami, while a cafeteria was built in his honour.

Some Dignitaries at the event included former minister of Petroleum, Tam David West, the GOC, 2 Division, Fidelis Azinta,  former Executive Secretary, TETFund Prof.  Suleiman Bogoro and the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi.  (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 17:09 GMT |

Peace Day: PCN boss wants youths to preach unity, peace

The National Commandant, Peace Corp of Nigeria (PCN), Mr Dickson Akoh on Friday urged youths to be advocates of peace and avoid ethno-religious and socio-political tension.

Akoh said this in a media statement signed by the Public Relation Officer, Mrs Millicent Umoru-Osakwua to commemorate the International Day of Peace.

The theme of the International Day of Peace is: “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”.

Akoh said that conflict prevention and peace building should be the cornerstone of a thriving democracy and sustainable development, involving all-governments, groups and individuals.

“There is need for our leaders and indeed Nigerians to be guided by national interest rather than allowing primordial and sectional interest to dominate good reasoning.

“Since the return of democracy in 1999, the various governments, groups and well-meaning Nigerians have yearned for peace, realising that peace is a requisite for sustainable development.

“Despite good efforts from the Muhammadu Buhari-led government and international border support, Nigeria is still circumnavigating around the fixed axis of religious intolerance, socio-political insecurity and economic quagmire,” it said.

He said that the tragic incidence of kidnapping, cattle rustling, terrorism and youth restiveness had unquestionably taken the nation some steps back in development and search for peaceful co-existence.

Akoh said that the organisation was of the view that only in a peaceful environment would young people realise their full potential.

He said that peace was absolute for youth development, undeniable for survival and a prerequisite for humanity.

”As Nigeria navigates into the timeline of electioneering campaign in 2019; goodwill and national interest must hold sway over selfish interests.

“The electorate holds the key to effective and appropriate elective processes debarred of conflict and irregularities.

“If every man upholds good morals; engender peace and conscientiously support decent electoral processes, we shall again witness an election not shredded with bloodshed and unending legal suit,’’ he said.

Akoh, however, called on Nigerians to uphold fairness and peace, saying the country would be a better place for citizens and foreigners to co-exist and flourish in business.

He, however, advised individuals, communities, nations and governments to embrace genuine forgiveness and reconciliation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the International Day of Peace is celebrated every year Sept. 21as directed by the General Assembly of the UN in 2002.

This day provides the opportunity for individuals, organisations and nations to create practical acts of peace on this shared date. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 17:05 GMT |

2019: Tambuwal’s youthful age a great asset to Nigeria – Fayose

With barely three weeks to the forthcoming national convention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) where the party is expected to picks its candidate for next year’s presidential election, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state has identified the youthful age of his Sokoto state counterpart, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, as a great asset to Nigeria.

Fayose made the remark in Ado-Ekiti on Friday, September 21, when Tambuwal, one of the party’s presidential aspirants, visited to solicit support from the state’s delegates. He explained that in this digital age, only a leader with age on his side could have the stamina, mental capacity and the grasp needed to confront and find workable solutions to the serious challenges facing the nation.

He noted that besides his young ago, Tambuwal’s experience in the legislature, where he served as speaker of the House of Representatives for four years, and as executive governor for the fourth year, eminently qualify him for the office of president.

“A man can never give what he doesn’t have. Buhari’s old age and tyrannical character  cannot allow him to perform.  An old man cannot perform. Anybody packaging Buhari to come back is packaging him for   their personal interests,” Fayose said.

 He charged Tambuwal not to be afraid but to work hard “so that we can remove this monster. The fall of a tyrant always comes when he least expects it. “

To all the presidential aspirants in the PDP, Fayose said: “You must take the outcome of the party’s primaries in good faith. If God favours you, try to be magnanimous and if you lose, join hands with the winner to fight this common enemy.”

He justified the choice of Port Harcourt as venue for the party’s national convention, saying “we settled for Port Harcourt because we were looking for a city with   High number of hotel rooms that can accommodate our delegates.”

Earlier, Tambuwal informed his hosts: “We are here on this soil of Ekiti land where I own a number of chieftain you titles and where I hate lots of friends, to share with you this project – the aspiration to provide dynamic leadership for our country..”

He appealed  to the Ekiti delegates to “choose a personality that is pan-Nigeria and not an ethnic jingoistic,” pointing out the “Nigeria today is at a cross road and so we require a courageous leadership to wrestle power from this cabal.”

He commended Fayose, who is the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, for the role he played by providing the much needed leadership not only in Ekiti state but also standing out as the voice for the opposition in Nigeria, particularly “after the loss of election in 2015 and after the wahala of Sheriff.”

Tambuwal told the delegates that the only condition for the emergence of the type of leadership that Nigeria understands would be “if the delegates elect the person who understands the dynamics of Nigeria. I have that experience because as a principal officer of the House of Representatives before becoming Speaker, I traversed the length and breadth oh Nigeria and I have a fair understanding of the needs of Ekiti state and I am in a better position to respect the needs of the people.”

“I am not going to be that leader that would shut down pole from calling for restructuring.  I will support and encourage restructuring and at the end of the day we shall have it,” he assured.

Tambuwal further pledged that if given the mantle of leadership, his government would have respect for the rule of law and respect for human rights. “I will not be that leader that considers national security more important than human rights,” he added.

In his remarks, Gboyega Otuase, the Ekiti state chairman of the PDP, said: “When  you have a failed state in Nigeria, when you have a tribalist and a religious bigot in power, you start looking for an urbane person to right the wrongs.

He told Tambuwal that Ekiti state has an interest and that as the only PDP state in the South West that is capable of altering the voting equation of the region, that interest of the state must be recognized and addressed.

On Tambuwal’s delegation were Rowlence Nwuluku, ex-Ambassador to Mexico and Panama; Terngu Tsegba, a former speaker of the House; Kassim Afegbua; Ben Okoko; Bello Suleiman, ex-Minister of Power; Malawi Aliyu, Abubakar Koto, Aliyu Mohammed and Yemi Arokodare, among others.

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:39 GMT |

I am contesting Oyo South Senatorial seat, says Ajimobi

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, on Friday in Ibadan, announced his intention to contest the Oyo South Senatorial seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress.

The governor made the announcement at the maiden General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Peace Lecture held at the Trenchard Hall of the University of Ibadan.

“You know, I am running for the Senate. So, I went to Abuja for the screening exercise of our party and just returned yesterday,’’ Ajimobi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Oyo South Senatorial District comprises nine local governments namely: Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North, Ibadan North-West and Ibadan South-East.

Others are Ibadan North-East, Ido, Ibarapa Central, Ibarapa East and Ibarapa North.

NAN reports that Ajimobi, a two-term governor of the state had from 2003 to 2007 represented the same senatorial district in the National Assembly on the platform of Alliance for Democracy.

The governor is expected to contest the ticket with Dr Fola Akinosun, while the other contender and incumbent, Sen. Adesoji Akanbi, was reported to have dumped the APC for African Democratic Congress.

Ajimobi at the event, described the former Head of State, Retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, as a man of peace, integrity and honour, saying he handed over peacefully.

The governor described Oyo State as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria, adding that the foundation of his administration was based on peace and security.

Ajimobi also used the opportunity to highlight the tremendous achievements of his administration in the last seven years.

He described the University of Ibadan as the best in Africa, saying the institution had graduated reputable and renowned Africans.

“Unarguably, University of Ibadan remains the best in Africa. It is a world class training institute for postgraduate studies. It has graduated reputable and renowned Africans.

“It is known for human capital development and has above all, been supportive to Oyo State Government in our educational programmes, ’’ he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:32 GMT |