Category: Politics

I’ll support any female aspirants — Aisha Buhari

Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has promised to support female politicians aspiring for political offices across party lines.

According to a statement on Thursday by her spokesman, Suleiman Haruna, the President’s wife spoke while receiving members of a political group, the South-East Women for Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.

She said Nigerian women should occupy political offices to make a difference.

“‘Women need to be in political offices for them to make a difference in the lives of their families,’ she said, promising “to support female aspirants across party lines,” the statement read.

Mrs. Buhari commended women members of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the South-East for doing a wonderful job by mobilising women.

“It is a fact that women determine the outcome of elections; therefore it is important to mobilise more women to ensure that our great party is re-elected to continue the good work that it is doing,” she said.

She also attested to the success of the mobilisation drive which she said had resulted in a high number of women aspirants from the geopolitical zone.

She expressed the hope that the mobilisation would lead to a more peaceful elections that would produce more able and competent women to take over as many offices as possible, especially at the grass roots.

Mrs. Buhari called on officials and members of the APC to ensure party supremacy, respect party constitution and shun divisive tendencies.

She also called for more inclusion, especially of women.

Earlier, wife of the Imo State Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, who led the delegation, said the women came to congratulate Mrs. Buhari on her recognition by two Korean universities and to present the South-East Women for Buhari, a political group in support of the ideology of President Buhari to her.

The Coordinator of the group, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, said the President had done well in all respects and deserved another term in office.

That, she said, was why they formed the group to ensure that the South-East stood behind Buhari in the next general elections.

The event was attended by women party leaders including the National Woman Leader of the APC, Salamatu Baiwa, National President of National Council for Women Societies, Mrs. Gloria Shoda and Dame Pauline Tallen.

Saraki declares presidential bid, promises sincere anti-graft war

Senate President Bukola Saraki has formally declared his intention to contest the presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Saraki made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja during his meeting with Not-Too-Young-to Run-Movement.

The Senate President lamented the poor state of Nigeria’s infrastructure and growing insecurity as exemplified by acts of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and sundry other crimes which he said he would tackle if elected.

He said, “I hereby announce my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming General Elections in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and Nigerians.

He said Nigeria was blessed with a relatively young country bursting with tremendous energy, ability and potential.

Saraki further observed that more than 70 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 40.

The Senate President lamented that Nigerians were crying out for succour because a large number of its population of women and children were hungry and dying of avoidable or treatable diseases.

He also said many had fallen below basic living standards and were among the 87 million that sealed Nigeria’s position as the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty.

Saraki said, “Our young people lack opportunities. The necessary education facilities and system to equip them for the future simply do not exist. We are not creating the jobs needed to usefully engage them in order to grow our economy. And too often, youths feel shut out, prevented from having any say in the direction of this nation.

“The harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuel the state of insecurity all over the country. Hunger, the lack of education and lack of opportunities, push many Nigerians into criminal activities including terrorism.

“Many of our communities are paralysed with fear due to incessant communal crises, kidnappings and other social ills, as well as the threat of terrorism. We are failing abysmally to tackle the problems of today and to prepare for the future.”

He expressed sadness that Nigeria had become increasingly divided along regional, religious and ethnic lines thus widening the nation’s fault lines.

Nigeria, he said, needed a new generation of leaders that are competent, with the capability to rise to the challenges of the 21st century, adding that it was time to pull the nation back together and rebuild.

“The choice we face in the forthcoming election is either to keep things as they are or make a radical departure from the old ways; to find a better way of doing things or keep repeating the mistakes of the past, to fix the problems or keep compounding them,” he said.

Saraki promised to, among other things, provide a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit.

Towards this end, he said Nigerian youths will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.

He said his administration will ensure that youths who have ideas and capacity will be funded in ventures that will be beneficial to the nation in order to create jobs.

On the war against corruption, Saraki said, “Ours will not be a selective fight against corruption. The emphasis will be on strengthening institutions, with a particular focus on deterrence.

“We cannot afford to compromise our institutions with proxy wars against perceived political opponents. We see the fight against corruption as crucial to Nigeria’s economic development.”

He said the leadership Nigeria deserves is one that will be a source of pride to all, one that will be respected and admired in Africa and around the world.

“It should be a leadership that can hold its own and stand tall anywhere in the world. That is the type of leadership I offer.” Saraki added.

Meanwhile, the Not-Too-Young-to-Run movement has distanced itself from the Presidential declaration of Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The group said it had only invited Saraki and other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party to a town hall meeting as part of efforts to ensure that youths were given some concessions ahead of the 2019 general elections.

It said it was shocked when Saraki seized the opportunity to declare his Presidential bid thereby compromising the event.

The statement read in part, “Whilst addressing participants at the town hall, Senator Saraki declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2019 elections. The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to hold dialogue with party leadership to advance his personal political ambition. We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate.

“The movement restates its commitment to sustain its engagement with political parties to ensure youth candidacy and democratic party primaries. As noted earlier, the movement reaffirms its identity as a non-partisan citizens led movement dedicated to the defence of democracy, political inclusion and transformative leadership.”

PDP asks Tambuwal, Atiku, Kwankwaso, others to accept primary’s outcome

In a bid to have a rancour-free presidential primary, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party met with its presidential aspirants in Abuja on Wednesday night.

The PDP team was led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

Other members of the party’s National Working Committee and some members of the Board of Trustees were also in attendance.

Present at the meeting were the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; a former governor of Plateau State,  Jona Jang;  Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal,  a former governor of Sokoto State,  Attahiru Bafarawa and a former Chairman of the PDP  Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi.

Also in attendance were a former governor of Kano State,  Rabiu Kwankwaso and a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabir Tanimu Turaki (SAN).

Absent from the meeting were  Ahmed Datti, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo and a former governor of Jigawa State,  Alhaji Sule Lamido.

The meeting was held behind closed door.

It was gathered that Secondus told the aspirants that the party would conduct a free, fair and credible primary.

He was also said to have assured them that the NWC had no favourable aspirants among them, adding that the primary aim of the party was to sack the All Progressives Congress’ Federal Government in 2019.

He told them that the party and others leaders in the country would want the aspirants to cooperate with whoever emerged as the party’s candidate at the October 6 national convention.

A source at the meeting said, “Secondus, in his opening remark, thanked the aspirants for having confidence in the party and its national leadership.

“He also asked them to say whatever they have in mind and suggest to the party,  areas they felt that the NWC should work on in order to have a credible primary.”

Sources at the meeting told our correspondent that the aspirants demanded a free and transparent primary.

They were said to have also said that they would “cooperate with anyone that emerges so far the process is credible,  free and fair. “

Speaking with our correspondent on the outcome of the meeting, Secondus said he assured the aspirants of the party at all levels that there would be free, fair and transparent primaries where the delegates’ decision would prevail.

“Let me tell you that we the members of the NWC are assuring all aspirants of our party that the era of impunity or imposition is over in the party as a rebranded PDP under my watch would ensure transparency and fairness for all,” he added.

Secondus appealed to the aspirants to work harmoniously among themselves in the interest of the party “since it is only one person that will get the slot at the end of the day.”

He said, “I told them that we must not forget to put the will of God in all we do bearing in mind that nobody gets power unless as designed and approved by God.

“We are proud of all our aspirants, all of them are eminently qualified to rule this country and if we work in harmony we would chase away the APC out of the Aso Rock Villa by 2019.”

Emir’s son joins Kebbi governorship race

Alhaji Ibrahim Mera, son to the late emir of Argungu, has declared intention to run for governor under the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 general election.

Mera, a retired Deputy Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service and brother to the current Emir of Argungu, Dr Samaila Mera, declared his intention on Thursday in Birnin Kebbi at the state APC secretariat.

Mera will likely battle for the party’s endorsement with the governor of the state, Atiku Bagudu, who is serving his first term in office.

“My desire to contest the seat was born out of the love I have for my state and its people.

“After I served my country excellently and diligently in the Nigerian Custom Service, I deem it patriotic to come home and contribute my quota to the development of Kebbi state and its people,” he said.

However, Alhaji Ali Bature, the state Financial Secretary of APC, who spoke on behalf of the state Chairman, Alhaji Bala Kangiwa, told the aspirant that the party had since endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Bagudu.

“We have never seen you in any of our party’s programmes for three years now, but as a member of our party, you have the right to contest for any position you want in our party,” he said.

Nigerians are starving under Buhari, says Lamido

A People’s Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Sule Lamido, has stated that Nigerians, under President Muhammadu Buhari, have been starved to the extent that they cannot protest hike in the prices of essential commodities in the country.

Lamido stated this on Wednesday in Bauchi while addressing delegates and supporters of the party in Bauchi State.

He said he was in Bauchi to seek the support of the PDP delegates to elect him as the party’s presidential candidate “to enable him to defeat Buhari in 2019 and restore the values of democracy which the President has destroyed.”

He described the officials of the All Progressives Congress in the Federal Government as thieves who he said had deceived and disunited Nigerians along ethnic  and religious lines.

Lamido, the immediate past governor of Jigawa State, accused the present administration  for being selective in its fight against corruption, saying “if you are in the PDP they will say you are a thief , if you are in the APC you are a saint. What kind of justice is this?”

He added, “Governor Samuel Ortom has spent three years governing Benue State , immediately he dumped the APC, the EFCC began investigating his administration. We are aware that the APC is shielding corrupt personalities that are supporting the party and if you are in the APC all your corruption are forgiven, but if you are in the PDP you are a thief.

‘We are in democracy you threatened people that you will jail so and so  persons, a leader doesn’t threaten his subjects, he treats them with justice ,compassion and mercy not jail threat. Intimidation can’t change the destiny of whoever God has prepared to become the next president come 2019. I believe in the entrenchment of democracy in the country.”

The presidential aspirant, who traced the history of politics in Nigeria from the first republic down to the present third republic, accused the APC government of bringing untold hardship on Nigerians by introducing anti-people policies “contrary to the fake pledges they made during the campaign.”

APC NEC takes final decision today on primaries

The National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress will today (Thursday) take a final decision on whether to choose its candidates using the direct or indirect mode of primaries.

It is also expected to deliberate and agree on the modalities for the nationwide membership registration/revalidation of members.

The NEC is also to take a final decision on the provisional dates contained in an earlier correspondence to INEC. The APC had proposed September 8th for its nationwide congresses to elect delegates for the national convention and September 24th as the date for the nomination of its governorship candidates.

The NEC’s decision today will be taken even as one of our correspondents gathered in Abuja on Wednesday that opinions were divided over which method would best serve the interest of the party.

A top ranking member of the party, who was privy to discussions at the National Working Committee and the party’s caucus meetings held on Tuesday, said, “The general opinion in both meetings tilted more in favour of the direct primary because the experiment succeeded with the recent primaries in Osun and Bauchi states.”

The APC National Vice Chairman (South-South), Hillard Ita, told The PUNCH, “The final position of the party as regards the method to be used for our primaries will be taken at NEC. Be patient, we will make it public after the meeting. Our party under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole is transparent.”

It was however gathered that most of the party’s governors had expressed reservations about the direct primary method.

A governor in the South-West was said to have threatened to leave the party if the leaders imposed the method on him.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, on Wednesday, the National Vice Chairman, North-East, Mustapha Salisu, told reporters while there were arguments for and against the direct primary, only the party’s NEC, which is the second highest decision-making party organ, was empowered to take a final decision on the issue.

He said the direct and indirect methods were both provided for in the APC constitution, noting that they were basically the same in terms of outcome. He explained that the difference was in the process and logistics required.

Salisu said, “The direct primary is not a new mode of primary. It is something that we have been practising before with the advancement of Electoral College that we have decided to go indirect.

“If you remember, part of the parties that formed the merger was the CPC (Congress for Progressive Change). In the CPC in 2011, we went through direct primaries and we didn’t find it funny because there were some pre-requisites we didn’t meet before we embarked on those primaries.

“If you walk down memory lane, we couldn’t field candidates in Kastina, Kaduna, Kano and Bauchi states because the processes were very porous. Many candidates emerged and there were so many court orders restraining us from sending names to INEC.  In the end, we would send a dummy. That was how we entered into the election without clear candidates and you remember a lot of House of Representatives seats that we won were later annulled by courts because of the fault in the processes of the primaries.”

He noted that the direct primary method was easier for councillorship and ward chairman positions because the party would be dealing with an almost homogenous society where many people were related either through blood or marriage.

Salisu said, “But when you want to do a direct primary at the governorship level, senatorial seats and House of Representatives and the House of Assembly members, it is  beyond that of the ward primaries.  A lot of supervision is required; otherwise, even people from another ward can come and create trouble.”

On the news that a decision had been taken on the mode for the primaries, he said, “I am aware that some members of the House of Representatives from certain parts of the country are circulating text messages to their colleagues that a decision has been reached as to the nature of the primary to be used by the party.

“The NWC deliberated on the matter, the reason why I am doing this is that some people are trying to mislead members of the public, claiming that some decision came from the party or an organ of the party.

“Any decision that will come from the party will be disseminated officially from the spokesperson for the party. We should wait for the outcome of the NEC tomorrow.”

In response to a question on whether the party’s NWC is divided on the issue, he said, “I cannot say divided, because division is a big word for us to use on a family issue. Actually,  there may be divergent views, and all these divergent views will be trashed out at the NEC.”

Responding to another question whether he suspected a hidden agenda by party members from a section of the country, he said, “Before now, I didn’t have any feelings that there was possibility of conspiracy, but when I see people planting stories, I now begin to suspect.

“If one region feels that that is what is best for it, I think it can canvass that at the regional level and give us reasons why it needs that.

“I want to believe that in a democracy, the majority (should) have their way and the minority have their say. So, they have the right to wish and if we decide to make it flexible, definitely what they want will be given to them in their own various states, but one thing I want to assure you is that we will not succumb to regional imperialism so long that we are acting within the constitution.”

On the issue of the registration of party members, he said, “Even the decision on registration of party members will be rectified by the NEC. Actually, we have a proposal that we are going to give to the NEC. Then the NEC will now decide whether to continue or not but I want to assure you that the basic prerequisite for direct primary is a voter register and membership cards which can be verified.  Until we have that, I don’t think we will toe the line of direct primary.”

Ambode says APC constitution allows direct, indirect primaries

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday night said both direct and indirect primaries were allowed by the constitution of the APC.

He said the underlying factor was to ensure that all party members were allowed to be part of the decision to elect the party’s candidate.

Ambode spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he joined others to attend a meeting of the party’s national caucus at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “The fact remains that the constitution of our party allows us to carry out our primaries and elections using direct or indirect primaries.

“The whole essence is for us to deepen democracy and also allow our members to participate in this whole process.

“The idea is once you have party members that are able to take decisions on who should represent them, I think we would have gone a step higher and better than other parties, that makes us a better party.”       

15 billionaires to fund Ojukwu’s widow’s election —Ohakim

A former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has said  no fewer than 15 Igbo billionaires had been mobilised to fund the senatorial race of the widow of late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Bianca Ojukwu.

He said the Igbo would not watch the wife of their leader be intimidated by anybody in any circumstance.

Ohakim who described the late Ojukwu as the most selfless Igbo leader dead or alive, spoke at Ekwulobia in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State during a stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the Anambra South Senatorial district.

He enjoined those aspiring to contest the position with Bianca to have a rethink, stressing that it would be a setback to the Igbo and a disservice to Ojukwu for anybody to work against the interest of his widow and in fact any member of his family in general.

He said “Those who are contesting the poll with the wife of our leader may have the money and wherewithal to muzzle down Bianca but they don’t have the same integrity.

“Bianca Ojukwu is not an ordinary human being, she is a spirit. She has double-barreled identity and double-barreled legacy.

“We have mobilised 15 Igbo billionaires to sponsor her ambition and over 25,000 youths to work for her.”

He enjoined the people of Anambra State not to disappoint the Igbo race in the Bianca project.

He added, “The people of Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, have asked me to beg you (Anambra) to accomplish this mission and project in memory of our great leader, Dim Chkwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

“Ojukwu sacrificed his Oxford education, his personal comfort, his father’s wealth to save the Igbo race at the most auspicious time”.

Bianca said she was going to the Senate to accomplish the dream of her late husband of giving the Igbo a voice in national polity.

She said, “APGA and Igbo interests run in my veins and blood; and I have a kindred obligation to defend it and that’s why I’m going to the Senate. The Ojukwu dream must not die. We can’t abandon Ojukwu.”

 

Bianca, a former Ambassador of Nigeria to Spain would contest the Anambra South Senatorial poll on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

Her late husband led APGA for over a decade during his lifetime, and was at several times the presidential candidate of the party.

Ekiti guber poll: Fayemi, APC assemble 35 lawyers, 1,009 witnesses

The Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday filed a 2,225-page to counter the petition of the defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and outgoing Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.

Fayemi, in the defence, with over 3,000 documents as exhibits, averred that he actually won the gubernatorial election of July 14, contrary to claims by Eleka and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

His team of lawyers, armed with the exhibits and 1,009 witnesses, were led to the tribunal by three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr Hakeem AfoIabi, Mr. Yomi Aliyu and Dr. Kayode Olatoke.

Addressing newsmen after filing the petition, Olatoke, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said Eleka’s petition was a waste of time as it lacked substance and was sure that the case would be dismissed by the tribunal.

He explained further that Fayemi won “fair and square” in 12 out of the 16 local government areas of the state, while Eleka won in only four.

In his response to Eleka’s petition bordering on alleged over voting in some polling units, Olatoke dismissed this claim as frivolous and baseless.

He said Eleka’s first ground in his petition was based on Fayose’s alleged indictment via a Government White Paper which, he said had since been nullified and set aside by a competent court.

“The second ground of Eleka’s petition is alleged over voting, which is another false claim. In any case, the petition in itself is self-defeating.

“The third ground is on deliberate voiding of votes as alleged by Eleka but in actual fact, majority of the voided ballots were votes meant for Fayemi, while the fourth ground is on vote buying which is baseless as it was, Eleka’s sponsor, Fayose that was guilty of this.

“Fayemi won convincingly based on his popularity,” Olatoke said.

Imo council polls: APC aspirant drags winner to court

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and aspirant for the Ahiazu Mbaise chairmanship seat in the just concluded Imo State council election, Dr. Martins Nwoga, has urged the Owerri Judicial Division of the state High Court to restrain the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission, the Imo State Government and the State Attorney General or any of their defendants, their agents, organ(s), privies or arm from returning or declaring one Chief Adoctus Onuoha as the elected chairman of the council.

In a five-page petition dated, 18th August, 2018, the plaintiff, through his counsel, Ihediohanma Akponye Esq., also prayed the court to restrain the defendants from swearing in, or causing the swearing in or inaugurating the said Adoctus Onuoha as the chairman of the council, parading, holding out himself as a chairmanship candidate, operating, presiding over any meeting or attending to functions, sitting in office as elected chairman of the council.

The aggrieved Nwoga who, among other issues, also prayed the court to restrain the third defendant (Chief Adoctus Onuoha) from exercising any power or duty, holding any property or paraphernalia of office or presenting himself as elected chairman of the Ahiazu Mbaise local government council, sought to know whether from the combined reading of the provision of Section 18 of the electoral Act that empowers the registration of political parties, Section 156 of Electoral Act on council elections and the provisions of sections 221 & 222 of the 1999 constitution as amended, the APC is bound to follow its constitution in selecting a candidate for election into the office of chairman, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government council.

He also sought to ascertain whether, from the provisions of Article 20 of the APC constitution as well as the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act as amended, the third defendant (Chief Onuoha) who did not participate in the primaries of the party was entitled to be presented as the nominated candidate of the party for the Local Government council elections in the state for the office of Chairman of Ahiazu Mbaise LGA.

Among other relief and clarifications, the plaintiff averred that if the defendants fail to appear and present their defence within a time frame, such order would be made and that proceedings might be taken as the judge might deem just and expedient.

Eagle Square belongs to all Nigerians, says Saraki

The President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, condemned the last minute cancellation of the approval earlier granted Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, to utilize the Eagle Square for his 2019 presidential declaration.

This was contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Saraki was quoted as saying, “The refusal to allow Senator Kwankwaso to utilize the Eagle Square for his Presidential declaration, despite an earlier approval, sends a wrong message about our democracy, particularly the tolerance level in our politics.

“That square belongs to all Nigerians because it was built with public funds. We hope this is not what we will be seeing as we approach the 2019 General Elections,”

The Senate President insisted that the “Eagle Square belongs to all Nigerians” noting that the cancellation sends a wrong message about the tolerance level in our politics