Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, on Monday said the chances of the South-East region producing the nation’s presidency in 2023 is in God’s hands.
With the President Muhammadu Buhari administration expected to elapse in about 17 months’ time from now, there has been uncertainty as to which zone would produce the presidency.
While the southern region has been agitating to have the presidential slot, none of the nation’s two dominant parties – All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – has officially given the slot to the zone.
However, Umahi who decamped from the main opposition PDP to the ruling APC last year, said the chances of the South-East region producing Nigeria’s President under his party, would be determined by God.
Although the governor didn’t specify whether he is against the move or in support, he only said God directs the party’s affairs.
“It’s in the hands of God,” Governor Umahi said during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, in reaction to the bright chances the Igbos have to be Nigeria’s President under the APC platform.
On whether God is a party member, the governor replied in the affirmative saying: “He is. He directs our affairs. He gives breath to every man so power belongs to God. Whatever thing we wish will come through only through God. If God says yes, no one can say no.”
The Ebonyi governor also backed the APC’s caretaker arrangement, noting that the interim Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni is not being paid.
He explained that the committee was set up by the party to do a particular job.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has cautioned Nigerians against voting for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking in Kaduna State during an interview with BBC Hausa, the ex-INEC boss argued that the two major political parties were synonymous with corruption, asking the masses to choose a credible alternative.
“The APC and the PDP have [ruled] all we have seen, they do not mean reform,” Jega said. “If you look at the fight against corruption, all the people who are said to be thieves will be punished because they stole under the PDP, now they have defected to the APC, and you are silent.”
“That is why we believe it is time to create a platform for all good people to return to, to contribute to the cause of change in Nigeria.”
Speaking further, the 64-year-old Professor of Political Science at the Bayero University Kano, said he registered as a member of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), to see how he could “help” Nigeria.
He alleged that those in the major political parties have destroyed everything and had made the parties so stigmatised that whichever good person joins the parties would be considered like them.
On the agitations for the country to split, the former INEC boss blamed the move on bad leadership in Nigeria, noting it had thrown the nation into its current problems.
Jega added, “So since these corrupt people have blocked everything, to the point that even if you are a good person if you are in their party and you can’t curse anything, then there should be a different party that will bring good people together.
“Obviously the way I see our politicians running the election and the way they are represented when they are elected is really scary.”
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned his appointees against early politicking ahead of the 2023 elections, saying he would not hesitate to sack any of them found wanting.
Speaking before the commencement of the weekly State Executive Council meeting in Government House on Wednesday, Governor Diri frowned on the activities of some of his appointees, which he said were hitting up the polity ahead of the 2023 elections, stressing that it was too early for open politicking.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that although people having the right to aspire to any political office, the time was not ripe for politicking.
“I find it very difficult to believe that appointees in this government have already started open politicking,” Diri was quoted as saying.
“Yes, it is the constitutional right of anybody to contest but even the Bible tells us that there is time for everything. At this time, we are trying to stamp our feet to meet up our campaign promises to our people.
“I hereby caution all those involved to immediately withdraw. If you are prepared to continue with this government, you must listen to the music of this administration. We are not prepared to start politicking from this year.”
The governor reminded his appointees that the administration lost considerable time last year due to COVID-19 and needless litigations, stressing that it was in a hurry to deliver on its campaign promises and cannot afford to waste time politicking.
He wondered why appointees would be involved in open politicking when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not even released a timetable for elections.
He urged members of his cabinet interested in open politicking at this time, especially those from Bayelsa West Senatorial District, to resign or be ready to be sacked.
He called on all those involved in the early politicking to immediately withdraw and follow the directives of his administration, saying his government was not ready for politics at this time.
The spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has berated the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), over its management of Nigeria, saying that by 2023, the party would have completely wrecked Africa’s most populous nation.
He stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, lamenting that the next party to take over the helms of leadership in 2023 would have a herculean task of fixing the country.
While blaming the political class for the nation’s woes, Baba-Ahmed said the country’s current challenge is not just as a result of banditry and kidnapping activities but leadership failure.
“What are you going to do with 2023 because between now and 2023, APC would have completely wrecked this country?” he said.
“You are going to take over a country that has been completely destroyed by a party that has been substantially produced by the PDP and how are you going to fix this country? What’s your blueprint for what happens to Nigeria in 2023?”
Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country.
The country has been battling terrorism for more than a decade which has killed 36,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the northeast.
The Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016 and has since become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking troops and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.
On March 1, jihadist fighters burnt down a United Nations humanitarian compound in the town of Dikwa after dislodging troops, killing six civilians.
Nigeria’s jihadist violence has spread to neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Segun Sowunmi, has ruled out President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances of succeeding as a candidate in any election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Sowunmi who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, also said he doesn’t see the President as a threat to the PDP’s chances of winning in the forthcoming 2023.
“Buhari is not an issue, I will spit him out of my mouth,” Sowunmi said when asked if he can wish the President away.
He, however, said if there were any threats to the PDP’s chances, it would be the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and APC national leader, Bola Tinubu.
“There are only two people in the APC that give me a headache,” Sowunmi said.
“I’m worried about Governor Yahaya Bello because of some of the foot prints I see him doing, he is young, and can connect to the right audience and I’m worried about Bola Ahmed Tinubu because I know the huge political infrastructure he has”.
President Buhari had lost elections three times prior to winning in 2015 and his re-election in 2019 – feats which the PDP chieftain believes was only possible because of the support of Tinubu.
“The APC did not win the PDP in 2015 because of the party in itself; they won in 2015 and 2019 because of the support of former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu,” Sowunmi said.
The President had hinged his campaign on three main promises of bolstered security, improved economy and the fight against corruption.
But with the country, increasingly rife with economic instability, insecurity and corruption despite claims of efforts on the part of the government, Sowunmi has urged Nigerians to begin to get their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and make better decisions come 2023.
“When we have problems on the ground, it’s (even) too early to be talking about an election,” he added.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he is done with partisan politics, noting that claims making the rounds in the media that he is planning to float a new political party ahead of the 2023 general elections are false.
“I’m done with partisan politics but by my position in Nigeria and in Africa and without being immodest and indeed in the world my door must be opened and it is open to any individual or group of individuals who want to seek my opinion, view, or advice on any issue or matter and I will respond to the best of my ability, without being part of that individual or group,” Chief Obasanjo was quoted as saying in a statement by his special assistant on media affairs, Kehinde Akinyemi.
The former president who stated this in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a guest of President Ashraf Ghani, warned those who want to use the back door to force him to return to partisan politics to respect his choice to remain a non-partisan statesman.
He insisted that he will continue to perform his role with a focus on providing counsel, support, or solutions wherever possible in Nigeria, Africa, and indeed the world.
Below is the former president’s full communique as sent out on Monday.
The attention of former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has been drawn to unfounded report published in the Vanguard Newspaper with the headline: “New Party Ahead of 2023: Obasanjo picks 3ex-govs as coordinators, meeting July 13” and dated July 4, 2021.
Obasanjo, who is currently in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a guest of President Ashraf Ghani has declared that this report, written by one, Soni Daniel, is false, maintaining that there was no plan to float a new political party now or in near future.
He said that the fabricated story hardly comes as a surprise because he has, for some time now, observed with bewilderment the efforts by some people to drag him into their political games.
Upon hearing of this latest fabricated report, Chief Obasanjo said “In my part of the world, when you say goodnight in a place, you do not go back there and say good evening. The one who reported that may need to visit Yaba Left. And those who believe it can believe that their mothers are men.”
“I’m done with partisan politics but by my position in Nigeria and in Africa and without being immodest and indeed in the world my door must be opened and it is open to any individual or group of individuals who want to seek my opinion, view or advice on any issue or matter and I will respond to the best of my ability, without being part of that individual or group”.
If anything, Chief Obasanjo’s political party today is the party of Nigerians facing insecurity, unemployment, hunger, poverty, and various other challenging issues. It is the party of Nigeria which must be saved, kept wholesomely united in peace, security, equity, development and progress.
Let those who want to use the back door to force Chief Obasanjo to return to partisan politics respect his choice to remain a non-partisan statesman. On his part, the former President will continue to perform his role as a statesman focused on providing counsel, support, or solutions wherever possible in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world.
Signed: Kehinde Akinyemi Special Assistant on Media Affairsb
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has not yet declared interest to run for the 2023 presidential election.
This is according to his media aide, Laolu Akande, who disclosed this via a statement issued on Monday.
“Prof. Osinbajo has not declared any interest whatsoever in the 2023 election, but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as Vice President in the current administration to address all the compelling issues in the country and concerns of Nigerians, including finding effective and lasting solutions to the security challenges,” he said.
“Therefore, we ask that people desist from such unhelpful permutations while we all deal together with the challenges confronting us as Nigerians, and resolve them for the benefit of our people, peace, and prosperity in the land.”
Akande’s reaction followed a volunteer group mobilising support for Osinbajo ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
The vice president’s spokesman said Osinbajo “is not in any way connected to this website or the group behind it and considers such an enterprise an unnecessary distraction.”
Others include Bala Muhammed (Bauchi), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Benedict Ayade (Cross River), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).
The governors are expected to discuss issues of party politics and the state of the nation with focus on security and economy among other concerns.
Earlier, Governor Makinde announced their arrival via Twitter.
“Pleased to receive and host my brother Governors – Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Samuel Ortom, Douye Diri, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi – all of our great party, PDP, in Ibadan tonight.
“We are meeting in Ibadan tomorrow, as members of the PDP Governors’ Forum, to discuss party issues as well as issues of national importance including security and the economy.”
A former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor has warned that the 2023 general elections would not hold over the worsening security situation in the country.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Ejiofor asked the Federal Government to urgently tackle insecurity head-on.
“If we don’t get these things right before 2023 elections, if we don’t get these things sorted out the various security challenges in the various geopolitical zones, I can assure you that there won’t be elections,” he said.
“There will be a crisis in this country, there will be anarchy. We need to sort out this thing before 2023.
“Let us talk about this country before talking about elections. If we continue like this, there won’t be elections in 2023 because of series of agitations.”
Amid the serial security challenges facing the country, Ejiofor backed several calls for restructuring, saying the move would help solve the various national issues.
The security official also faulted a situation whereby states would converge at Abuja on a monthly basis to collect allocation, adding that if governments look inward, the states can survive without the periodic revenue.
Pantami had for the first time acknowledged his past views but noted that he has since renounced those radical assertions.
The Minister said the past radical ideas he was championing were due to age, immaturity, and limited knowledge. This excuse however has not calmed the Twitter storm which is threatening to sweep him from office.
But Ejiofor said there is no way the DSS wouldn’t have done a thorough check before his appointment as Minister in 2015.
He recalled that the secret service had prompted the Senate via a report which barred the National Assembly from confirming the appointment of a former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
“I am not the spokesperson of the SSS but I can tell you that it would be difficult for that information to have passed the State Security Service.
“They must have it on record of his sympathy for Al-Qaeda and some of these terrorist organisations. If the State Security Service submits a report on an individual to government and government fails to act on it, who is to blame?” he questioned.
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has called for a power shift to Southern Nigeria in the next administration.
Governor Zulum stated this on Thursday while delivering a lecture on security and economic growth at a book launch by former Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, with the title”Strategic Turnaround”.
He urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to heed his advice and keep to previous agreements made to shift power to the southern part of the country in the next administration.
The governor used the opportunity to blame poor handling of the Boko Haram insurgency in the early years and corruption of government officials for the insecurity in the country.
He added that the mistake Nigeria made that has led to the banditry in the country is ignoring poor countries around us.
He claimed that “if Nigeria had emulated some European countries and empowered their poorer neighbours the situation would have been mitigated”.
According to the governor, military interventions and even national restructuring cannot stop the crisis, he is calling for strategic leadership and social re-orientation to end the insecurity in the country.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as ‘spiteful bragging’ the claim by the APC suggesting that the ruling party intends to retain power at the federal level for at least 36 years.
In a communique by its spokesman – Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the APC’s intention is a direct confrontation to the generality of Nigerians, who had already “reached a national consensus to kick them out of office, come 2023”.
The PDP also described APC’s claim of registering 36 million Nigerians in their “failed fictitious” registration exercise as another political hoax and empty claim, which cannot sway Nigerians in any way.
PDP says it is aware that the APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni made such “a garrulous statement in the belief that APC’s intimidation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the judiciary and security agencies as well as deployment of thugs from neighboring countries, will help them to subvert the will of Nigerians in future elections”.
“In Buni’s whims and thoughtlessness, Nigerians should make themselves ready for another 26 years of anguish, pains, hunger and starvation, insecurity and limitless suffering. This is the height of recklessness, insensitivity, and an affront to the sensibilities of Nigerians.
“The PDP counsels the fizzling APC to end its pipe dreams and arrogant boasting and wake up to the reality that its tenure in office, as well as its life as a political party, will meet an inevitable end in 2023.
“Governor Buni and his co-travelers in the illegal APC National Caretaker Committee must note that Nigeria is not their personal estate or the vassal of any group of power mongers,” the opposition party’s statement read in part.
According to the party, the APC ought to know that Nigerians have never been and will never be suppressed or conquered by any political interest.
The PDP further stated that Nigerians “are now, more than ever before, ready, willing, and prepared to resists the APC in its plots to use manipulations to perpetuate itself in power”.
The party claimed that it is incontrovertible that if the nation goes into a midterm election, the APC will not get up to 20 percent of the votes cast, therefore, the ruling party must stop addressing Nigerians like a conquered people with no voice, will, and aspirations.
PDP also asserted that “Nigerians are already set to deal the APC a death blow at the polls in 2023, as they have since reached a definite conclusion that there is no way our nation can survive if the APC is allowed to remain in power beyond 2023”.
The party was of the opinion that the APC’s Contact and Strategy Committee is of no moment, adding that Nigerians have suffered under APC’s rule and cannot afford to allow it to be in power a day beyond May 29, 2023.