Governor of Kogi State and former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has hinted that he will relaunch his presidential ambition in the near future.
He made the declaration in a chat with State House correspondents on Wednesday after he met with the President in his office.
Governor Bello, who was at the Villa on a ‘thank you’ visit to the President for allowing him to contest in the presidential exercise, said that what he did with the presidential race is test his might, promising that his next attempt will be supersonic.
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria has warned political parties against presenting a Muslim- Muslim ticket in the upcoming 2023 general elections.
In a statement jointly signed on Tuesday by the Secretary – General of the organisation Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi and the Director, Social Communications, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Nsikak Umoh, the CSN noted that while there are some things to be happy about, there are other aspects that are worrisome.
“The process for the 2023 General election in Nigeria has been initiated, and there are some things to be happy about; the passing of the Electoral Act 2022, which allows the use of electronic devices for accreditation and in the capturing and transmission of results; the prompt release of election timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); the renewed confidence in the electoral process by the electorate, as demonstrated in the massive last minute turn out for voter registration amongst others,” the statement read in part.
“It is, however, disheartening to observe that the conduct of most of our politicians seems to be going from bad to worse as we witnessed a show of shame and heightened ugly culture of money politics during the recently held primaries.
“While all this is going on, we must not lose sight of the fact that the unity of this country has, over the years, been maintained by a delicate balancing of the religious and the regional”.
The CSN made reference to previous governments in Nigeria’s history, explaining that even in the “despotic military era, most juntas ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes”.
While noting that a Muslim-Muslim ticket or a Christian-Christian ticket is not entirely bad, the CSN believes that such agenda’s may not work for the current situation of the country.
“For instance, we had Murtala-Obasanjo, Obasanjo-Yar’adua, Babangida-Ebitu Ukiwe, Abacha – Diya. This also applied to the heads of the various military formations and the different government parastatals like Customs, Immigrations, Finance, etc.
“Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (31 Dec. 1983 – 27 Aug. 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship.
“Similarly, only once did we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 1993 democratic elections, which featured Abiola-Kingibe ticket and turned out to be one of Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. But that government never took off!
“Fast forward to 2022, 30 years later, some individuals have tried to suggest the Muslim-Muslim ticket for the Presidential election in a country like Nigeria that has unfortunately been badly polarized.
“Ordinarily, there would have been nothing wrong with a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there is mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office is the fostering of the common good. But one cannot really say so of our country at the moment”.
Political parties last week, produced their flagbearers for the forthcoming 2023 presidential elections.
Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar emerged as the flagbearer for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while Peter Obi will be flying the flag of the Labour Party among other contenders.
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2023 general elections, Professor Peter Umeadi, has nominated Comrade Abdullahi Muhammed Koli as his running mate.
A statement by Peter Umeadi Campaign Organisation said Comrade Koli is a frontline labour union activist and social crusader who has led many struggles for the welfare of Nigerian workers in his capacity as Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Bauchi State from 1999 to 2002.
The move followed the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for political parties to submit the names of their candidates to its portal.
INEC has set a June 17th deadline for parties to do so.
Peter Obi has received a certificate of return as the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for next year’s general elections.
The former governor Anambra State governor received the certificate of return from the party on Friday.
“Mr. Peter Obi Receives Labour Party Certificate of Returns as its Presidential Candidate for 2023 presidential elections,” the Labour Party tweeted on its official handle alongside a photo of Obi holding the certificate of return. “Congratulations!!
“The leadership of the NLC and TUC recognize the leadership of the Labour Party led by Barr. Julius Abure, a former trade union leader and workers are part of the leadership,” the NLC President Ayuba Wabba said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“The NLC and TUC are aware of only one presidential primary which was held in Asaba, Delta State on 30th May 2022 and produced HE Peter Obi as its presidential candidate and standard-bearer.”
He said the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and NLC gave their full support to the processes which produced Obi as the party’s presidential candidate.
“This, therefore, serves as a public disclaimer on Mr Calistus Okafor. We warn the general public to steer clear of Calistus Okafor and characters who might want to cash in on the popularity of the Labour Party to hoodwink, extort and swindle unsuspecting members of the public,” he warned.
A former aide to the late Sani Abacha, Hamza Al-Mustapha, has emerged as the presidential flag bearer of the Action Alliance (AA) for next year’s election.
He got 506 votes to defeat his only contender, Samson Odupitan, in the party’s presidential primary held in Abuja on Thursday.
Two other aspirants, Felix Osakwe and Tunde Anifowose, stepped down from the contest to support Al-Mustapha.
While 972 delegates were billed to vote in the election, 851 were accredited out of which 721 votes were cast.
In his acceptance speech, Al-Mustapha, who thanked AA’s electoral committee for the successful poll, also lauded Odupitan for not withdrawing from the race.
“I also commend Mr Odupitan for contesting because if everybody withdrew, there won’t be a victory as we have seen today,” he added.
He also called on members of the party to get their permanent voter cards (PVCs) to ensure the AA emerges victorious in next year’s exercise.
Also speaking during the event, the National Chairman of the AA, Kenneth Udeze, congratulated Al-Mustapha and other aspirants. He called on members of the party to rally around him to make the party victorious.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stoking political crisis in the country to halt the 2023 elections.
This was contained in a statement by the party on Sunday evening where it also claimed the APC is planning to elongate President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure after 2023.
“The Party alerts Nigerians of the plot by the @OfficialAPCNg to use orchestrated insecurity and political uncertainty to derail the electoral process, stall the 2023 general election and create a situation to justify a tenure elongation,” the PDP said.
“There are revelations that desperate @OfficialAPCNg leaders are behind the delay by President @MBuhari in signing the amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 so as to frustrate the smooth conduct of primaries by political parties and derail the entire electoral process.”
The PDP described as “not surprising”, President Buhari’s trip to the UAE which means he abandoned his “constitutional duty of signing the crucial amendment to the Electoral Act.
“This attitude of Mr. President to an issue that is critical to our electoral system is consistent with @OfficialAPCNg’s plot to cause confusion in the polity, orchestrate an unconducive environment for elections, stall the 2023 general elections and achieve a rumoured third term agenda.
“The regularity of the electoral process as well as the confidence of the people in the certainty of timelines and outcomes of elections are the hallmarks of democracy, which the @OfficialAPCNg has been dislocating apparently with the view to undermining the electoral process.”
According to the statement, the APC has started plans to “use the Court to overthrow the outcome of the FCT Area Council election held on Saturday, February 12, 2022, which was overwhelmingly won by candidates of the @OfficialPDPNig halt the swearing-in of the newly elected Chairmen and Councilors and impose an undemocratic government in the FCT.
“The @OfficialPDPNig is concerned about @OfficialAPCNg’s exposed plot to deploy such despicable underhand methods to subvert elections in 2023 where they do not favour APC candidates.
“Moreover, it is now clear that the @OfficialAPCNg administration has been compromising our security system, opening our nation up to attacks and permitting shared sovereignty with terrorists over large portions of the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria apparently to further orchestrate a security situation that will justify the stalling of elections in 2023.”
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has re-echoed his support for Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s presidential ambition, noting that he is ready to be a “sweeper” at the Presidential Villa if the dream becomes a reality.
The Senate Chief Whip said this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“With Ahmed Lawan, I am ready to be the sweeper of the place (Aso Rock). I don’t need to have a position if Ahmed Lawan is the president,” the former Abia State governor noted.
“I can sweep the Villa; my house is very close to the Villa. I can be the sweeper of the Villa; it is just a stone’s throw. I am not joking.”
According to the former governor, Lawan’s presidential ambition is gathering steam with some candidates ready to step down for the Senate President.
“I want to tell you, I have spoken to nine candidates running for president, and they are ready, already discussing to step down for Ahmed Lawan,” the lawmaker added.
Kalu, who said Nigeria needs strong leadership, believes that Lawan is the one that can give the country such.
“I have known him 41 years ago,” the Senator said. “We were roommates at the university. He is strong enough to give the Nigerian people what they are looking for.”
As far as he is concerned the Senate President played a vital role in stabilizing the Nigerian parliament. He said several bills have been passed by the lawmakers under Lawan’s leadership, a development Kalu said will be replicated at the Presidential level if Lawan wins.
While defending his decision to step down from his presidential race, he reiterated that the position ought to be zoned to the South East.
“We have supported South West. We supported President Obasanjo, we supported Vice President Osinbajo, we supported Vice President Jonathan for five years and we supported President Jonathan for six years. Why can’t they support us?” he asked.
“Any southerner that is not from South East and is coming to run for president is a betrayer. They are the ones betraying us.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency of allowing the alleged mass looting of public funds to corruptly create a war chest for the APC to intimidate Nigerians and muscle the 2023 general elections.
The PDP in a statement on Tuesday claimed that the All Progressives Congress is diverting public funds meant for development purposes and salaries of workers to its coffers by orchestrating the purchase of its presidential nomination form by all manner of persons at an excessive N100 million to warehouse sleaze funds for the elections
PDP Spokesman, Hon. Debo Ologunagba asserted that the party has information on how public funds are being withdrawn from ministries, agencies, and parastatals of government and diverted to people who have no verifiable means of livelihood to purchase APC’s Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms for individuals without any electoral value and who cannot even win local government elections.
“We have intelligence on how public funds are pulled out of government Agencies in a surreptitious design perfected by an APC leader in connivance with certain individuals in positions of authority close to top persons in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Nigerians will recall that the PDP had earlier alerted on how the CBN under Mr. Godwin Emefiele as CBN Governor has been turned into the finance department of the APC where APC leaders fraudulently access public funds through nebulous subsidies, shady intervention programmes, and discriminatory exchange policies which perpetuate illegal arbitrage system
“The rejected APC has resorted to this underhand method to corruptly rake in billions of naira from the public treasury without consideration for the welfare of Nigerians.
“This APC’s nefarious action is informed by its realization that its leaders cannot make huge donations to the APC coffers as they will be violating the limits of contribution to political parties as stipulated by law and regulation.
“The APC is a sinking ship with ill-fated and inchoate sailors holding on to straw including this shameless attempt to sweep our national treasury. It is regrettable that the APC has shamelessly and soullessly extended their corruption to our electoral process not minding the consequential effect on our democratic system.
“In any case, such shenanigans and criminal pillaging of our treasury cannot prevent the imminent crushing defeat of the APC at the polls in 2023, Nigerians having realized the fraud and life discounting experiences that the APC represents,” Hon Ologunagba articulated.
The PDP called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Accountant General of the Federation as well as the Auditor General of the Federation to immediately commence an investigation and monitor the movement of funds in Ministries, Department, and Agencies of government so as to protect the national treasury from the APC as Nigeria approaches the 2023 general elections.
The opposition party further maintained that the National Assembly, pursuant to its constitutional duty to expose and prevent corruption, should in the interest of Nigerians commence a public investigation into these happenings.
The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, on Saturday hosted presidential aspirants and called on political parties and their candidates to reserve a certain percentage of elective positions for women.
The special Iftar, which she organised for presidential aspirants in the 2023 election, was held in Abuja.
Mrs Aisha Buhari also urged them to create a fair playing ground for the 2023 general elections.
The event attracted several presidential aspirants and dignitaries including former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi; Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio among others.
While Vice President Yemi Osinbajo did not attend the event, his wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, was present at the dinner.
The APC National Women Leader, Betta Edu, also attended the Iftar.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will deliver more dividends of democracy if Nigerians vote for the party in the next poll.
APC’s new National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, made the promise during his acceptance speech at the Eagle Square on Sunday.
“APC is set to do much more when Nigerians continue to bestow on us their love, their support, and confidence in the next general elections,” Senator Adamu said, hours after he emerged as the new chairman of the ruling party.
“Together, let us rise and march towards the sunrise in our party and in our country.”
Publisher and popular businessman, Dele Momodu has said that he possesses all that is required to win the 2023 presidential election.
He said this on Friday at the People Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Abuja where he picked up the expression of interest and nomination forms.
“I humbly come into this political contest with a pedigree of integrity, reputation, solid education, tolerance, business acumen, sharp vision, and competence.
“I possess everything it takes to win the 2023 presidential election on behalf of my party PDP and I will be greatly honoured to get the ticket and support of my party for this purpose,” he said.
The Ovation Magazine publisher also urged the party to align with morally upright aspirants who are keen to work for the good of Nigeria.
Momodu said he believes he is a unifier, and that he will help to promote the unity of the country and also urged his party to provide a level playground for aspirants irrespective of region.
He also said the 2023 election is time for Nigerians to stand against those he describes as career politicians who are bent on running the country aground.
Earlier in January, Momodu made his intention to run for the 2023 presidential race known to the PDP Chairman.
He joins the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and popular politican and businessman Peter Obi in the race under the same party, PDP.
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) comprising Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has commended PDP Governors from the South-South and southwest as well as National Assembly members and other key stakeholders of the party in the two zones on their commitment to the quest for fairness, equity, and justice in the power equation of the country.
In a statement on Thursday, the SMBLF said the reaffirmation of the declaration of the Southern Governors at Asaba, Delta State, in May last year, on the zoning of the presidency of the country to the South by the PDP leaders at their recent meetings in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Ibadan, Oyo State respectively, is a reassuring demonstration of the unanimity and resolve that the next President of Nigeria should come from the South, in the national interest.
“It must be noted that zoning had been practiced in the Nation’s polity since independence and remains sacrosanct. When Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in 1960, was the Prime Minister of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was Governor-General.
“The zoning of political offices, particularly the presidency of the country is the best panacea for peace, unity, and progress of the country,” the SMBLF declared.
According to the forum, this is why recent contentions by certain Northern politicians, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, on the issue of zoning, are most disappointing.
“Atiku’s comments while reportedly addressing some PDP leaders are symptomatic of desperation and somewhat arrogance. His supposition that the APC has a moral obligation to zone the presidency but that the PDP does not is self-serving and illogical.
“PDP already has a National Chairman who is from the North, in the person of Distinguished Senator Iyorchia Ayu, from Benue State; the opinion that Senator Ayu would relinquish his position for somebody from the south if someone from the North emerges as the party’s Presidential candidate is preposterous. Ayu was elected at the party’s convention with the expected consideration that the presidency would go the South.
“The PDP as a political party had always adhered to the principle of zoning since its formation. In 1998, the PDP zoned its presidential ticket to the South and the Chairmanship to the North, and Chief Solomon Lar from Plateau State became the pioneer National Chairman of the party.
“The APC has also been religiously following the zoning or rotation system between the north and the south. In 2014, the All Progressives Congress, APC, zoned its presidential ticket to the North, and the Chairmanship of the party to the South, Chief Bisi Akande emerged as the party’s first interim National Chairman.
“Subsequently, all those who contested for the party’s presidential ticket were from the North, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, and late Sam Nda-Isaiah, except Senator Owelle Rochas Okorocha who has been a habitual presidential aspirant since 2003. Buhari won the primaries, Kwankwaso was second and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar came third.
“In 2011, this same Atiku was one of the leaders from the North who canvassed that Goodluck Jonathan should not contest the presidential election in 2011 that the position was zoned to the North. Atiku went on to contest the PDP presidential primaries with Jonathan and he lost.
“So, there has been no time that Atiku has ever gone against zoning but now because it does not suit his purpose. If he has forgotten that there is zoning in PDP, we can forgive him, because he has been changing his party at all times, wanting to be president of Nigeria.
“It is worthy to also note that in 2018, only Northern candidates, including Jonah Jang, David Mark, Atiku Abubakar, Kabiru Turaki, Sule Lamido, Attahiru Bafarawa, Ahmed Makarfi, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Bukola Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, and Datti Baba Ahmed, contested the presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party that was held in Port Harcourt. Why was no southern involved in the contest, if not because it was zoned to the north? Was it a coincidence or by hook or by crook?
“It bears recalling that we, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, earlier in 2018, before the party primaries, had individual interactive engagements with presidential aspirants of various political parties, to ascertain their agenda for Nigeria, and whether or not, they were in support of the restructuring of the country.
“Sixteen presidential aspirants including all the PDP candidates besides Aminu Tambuwal, David Mark, and Datti Baba Ahmed, participated in the process. It was after those interactions that we decided we threw our weight behind Atiku Abubakar.
“We all worked for him; he won the PDP primaries but lost the main election. And he left for a holiday in Dubai while people were here fighting for him. Now, he wants to contest again. If he fails again, would he still argue that the party’s ticket should remain in the North or remain open for him to contest?
“The violent riots that took place in Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno, Adamawa, and other parts of the North in 2011 after Goodluck Jonathan’s victory were a result of incitements that Jonathan was taking the position of the North at the time.
“The impression of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State that PDP must win the election first before zoning should be considered is not only irrational but shameful, coming from someone like him.
“It is putting the cart before the horse. Tambuwal need not be apprised that zoning of key positions in the polity like the Presidency, Vice Presidency, Senate Presidency, Speakership of the House of Representatives, National Chairmanship of Party and even Secretary to the Government of the Federation, is always decided, by any serious political Party, before going into an election. And that has been the convention of the PDP and even now the APC. Little wonder, the PDP has already constituted a Committee on zoning.
“It is also reckless and insulting to the people of the South for Aminu Tambuwal to ask the PDP to choose between zoning and winning the 2023 presidential election. Suggesting that persons who can win the election are only in the north.
“The question Mr. Tambuwal needs to answer is, are there more qualified, credible, and fitting people in the North than the South? Tambuwal should know that better persons, in terms of education, exposure, competence, and capability, are available in all parts of the country, particularly in the South.
“By 2023, the north would have fully enjoyed the Presidency of the country for the full statutory period of eight years, under President Muhammadu Buhari, whether the president has been from APC or PDP is of no significance; it‘s the presidency of Nigeria, hence, the presidency should rotate to the South.
“Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960 to date, the north has governed Nigeria for about 45 years, including the five years and three months of Abubakar Tafewa Balewa; nine years of General Yakubu Gowon; six months of General Murtala Mohammed; four years and three months of Alhaji Shehu Shagari; one year and 8 months of General Muhammadu Buhari; eight years of General Ibrahim Babangida; four and half years of General Sani Abacha; the eleven months of General Abdulsalami Abubakar; three years of Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and the eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari by May 2023.
“Whereas, the South has only had it for about 16 years: six months of General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi; three months of Ernest Shonekan; three and half years of Olusegun Obasanjo as military Head of State and eight years as democratically elected President and the five years of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“Whether it was military or civilian, head of state or president; democratically elected or not, it does not diminish the fact that they were all Heads of the Government of Nigeria.
“It must be noted that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as ours, is fair and even sharing of power. We, therefore, urge all patriotic Nigerians to shun ambitions and arrangements that would exacerbate the crisis in the country but rather should support resolves that would engender national cohesion and concord,” the SMBLF enunciated.
The forum further restated its recent call on all lovers of peace and equity in Nigeria, particularly people from the Southern and the Middle Belt region to reject any political party that fails to zone presidential ticket to the South. SMBLF further stressed that the PDP needs to be mindful of its actions in order not to infringe established protocols and truncate the nation’s democracy as “THE YEAR 2023 WILL BE VERY DECISIVE FOR NIGERIA!”
The communique was cosigned by Dr Edwin K. Clark, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), Professor George Obiozor (Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide), and Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt Forum).