A member of the All Progressives Congress, Daniel Bwala, has said that if both Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, decide to run for the presidency in 2023, they have all it takes to defeat their counterparts from the Peoples Democratic Party.
Mr Bwala who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said this while analysing the party’s preparedness alongside that of their opponents ahead of the elections.
“These two candidates you’ve mentioned, each of them can clearly defeat any candidate that comes out of the PDP except if the candidate is Atiku Abubakar,” he said.
While neither of them has clearly come out to state their intentions to run, there are talks that they may emerge as possible candidates.
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has opposed the zoning arrangement by political parties, describing it as unconstitutional and a plot to intimidate the north from contesting for the presidency in 2023.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said the group aligns with the position of the Northern Governors’ Forum, asking the political parties to jettison the idea of zoning the post to the southern region of Nigeria.
According to him, the north will not be obliged to any zoning arrangement for elective positions in the forthcoming general election.
“We find the renewed desperation by the south to threaten [the] northern people’s right to franchise a deliberate attempt to bastardise democracy, cause greater instability in the guise of contentious undemocratic power shift arrangement and therefore unacceptable,” he said.
“The CNG after due consultation with stakeholders, leaders and elders has categorically resolved to firmly and solidly align completely with the position taken by the Northern Elders Forum as expressed by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed and that of the Northern Governors’ Forum that zoning of elective positions is unconstitutional, undemocratic and must be jettisoned.”
The CNG spokesman further explained that the northern region is a major stakeholder in Nigeria, especially with respect to elections.
The group’s comment came eight days after the governors of the 19 northern states opposed the call by their southern counterparts that the Presidency should be zoned to the south in 2023.
After an emergency meeting with traditional rulers in the region at the Government House in Kaduna State on September 27, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, read out the communique containing the resolutions on behalf of his colleagues.
According to the governors, zoning the office of the president as being agitated by southern governors is against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
They stated that any president elected must meet the constitutional requirements which include scoring the majority votes, and polling at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation.
Governor Lalong noted that although some northern governors had endorsed the power shift to the south, the regional governors collectively fault such calls.
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has called for the electronic transmission of election results in the country.
He made the call on Friday during a national political summit in Abuja, ahead of the general elections in 2023.
“Transmission of election results has been one of the key areas in which reckless, unpatriotic, and self-serving politicians have undermined the integrity of the Nigerian electoral process,” Jega said.
“Bringing remarkable integrity to the Nigerian electoral process, therefore, would no doubt require the jettisoning of the traditional obtuse manual transmission of results, and its replacement with using appropriate technology with electronic transmission of results.”
Professor Jega also expressed worries over citizens’ lack of trust in the electoral process and the poor performances by those elected through the process.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, on his part blamed the failure of the electoral system on Nigerians who ‘enthrone tyranny during elections for peanuts’.
“Are we practicing democracy? No. We are practicing election-ocracy, that is my new term for it. What do I mean by election-ocracy? Every four years, Nigerians go out to the poll to carry out a ritual of electing their leaders,” he explained.
“They never actually elect them anyway because their leaders select themselves, they are state captors. They have captured the state.”
In his remarks, A political economist, Professor Pat Utomi, proposes a solution – the merger of three political parties aside from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said, “To project these desires, the comity of NCFront for Political Parties is proposing the merger of three of the leading political parties outside of the PDP and the APC to merge with a plan to absorb other parties and righteous wings of the APC and the PDP.”
Many of the participants believe that Nigerians must be ready to embrace the right motives of electing those that will lead them via a credible electoral process to ensure good governance in the country.
Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna state has clarified that the Northern States Governors’ Forum did not oppose the idea of zoning presidency to the south in 2023, rather it is against the language used in the resolution of the Southern Governors on the issue of power shift.
El-Rufai said that northern governors were alarmed that their southern counterparts will use the word “must” in their agitation for power shift to the south after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023.
According to the governor, the word ‘’must’’ is at variance with democracy which is characterized by negotiations and horse-trading by parties involved, often out of the public glare.
The governor recalled that himself and “some other northern governors had earlier called for power shift in 2023 in their individual capacities in order to foster national unity and togetherness”, adding: “I was called names by our people for making that call.”
El Rufai who made these clarifications in a media chat with select Kaduna-based radio stations on Tuesday night said that the media misrepresented the resolution of the Northern Governors’ Forum meeting which held on Monday, on power shift.
The governor who spoke in the Hausa language, also stated that “the north has supported southern presidential aspirants in the past,” recalling that it “supported Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s aspiration in 1999 and his re-election in 2003”.
According to him, southern governors should have reached out to their northern counterparts on the issue of power shift instead of playing to the gallery.
He pointed out that the APC has no provision of power shift in its constitution, adding that even the PDP which has it in its constitution, flouted their own law during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2011, where the president stood for re-election.
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says it will support a southern presidential candidate in 2023 only if it is in the best interest of the north.
NEF while noting that the north will continue leading Nigeria because the region has the numbers, said the coming presidential election is not one in which the northern territory will play second fiddle.
Speaking on Sunday at a lecture in memory of the late Maitama Sule in Zaria Kaduna State, NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that the north can decide for itself who they would support come 2023.
“If they do not like the fact that it might be a northerner that will emerge as president, too bad. If we want to support a southerner, we will support a southerner because that will be in our own interest, rather than in somebody’s interest.
“And we can decide for ourselves, we do not need anybody to tell us what to do,” Baba-Ahmed stressed.
With the 2023 presidential polls in view, leaders and politicians of southern extraction have been clamoring for a shift in power, arguing that the region must provide the nation’s next leader. . However, NEF through its spokesperson rejected the push to have Nigeria’s next president come from the southern region.
He said the northern leaders will not allow the next president to be zoned to the southern part of the country, because the practice is not in line with the democratic principle of power attained by a majority of votes.
Baba-Ahmed maintained that there is nothing wrong if the north produces the next president after Muhammadu Buhari, adding that this is possible not because the northerners are superior to others, but because the rules of politics avail the region a great opportunity.
The NEF spokesman submitted that the north will never be cowed into submission, nor forced to give up in the quest to retain power in 2023 considering its huge human population that gives the region an advantage over others.
While stating that the future of the north is not for sale, Baba-Ahmed also maintained that the region will not be threatened, intimidated, or blackmailed into giving up its right to a democratic office.
“Why does anyone need to threaten us and cajole us and intimidate us? If you don’t bring the presidency here, you will see, okay let’s see, we are waiting to see.
“If they tell you the north must play second fiddle, say No! If the rule of the game says you should vote for the candidate of your choice, vote for the candidate of your choice.
“If they do not like the fact that it might be a northerner that will emerge as president, too bad,” he stated.
According to him, no region should not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that can be sought by any person irrespective of where he or she comes from.
Baba-Ahmed however, urged citizens from the north to be humble when eventually power is retained in the region, noting that “power comes from God”.
The NEF spokesman’s comments come a few days after governors from the southern region of Nigeria declared their support to have the 2023 presidency zoned to their region.
Rising from a meeting in Enugu, Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said the leaders have resolved that the next president of Nigeria must come from the southern part in line with politics of equity, justice, and fairness.
The Chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin, has said that the party needs a reliable chairman who would not take any sides but be the man for all.
Jibrin who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said this while responding to questions about the party’s leadership crisis.
When asked if he would love to see the embattled Chairman, Uche Secondus, return as the party’s chairman after the convention in October, Jibrin said: “We have held so many meetings to look at the left, right, front and back, to look at the real situation that will be better for us.”
“When we were discussing, we did not say that Secondus should be sent away immediately, no.
“We gave him all the respect, all the opportunity to think and for him to even come out and make a decision by himself, not for us to make a decision for him.
“I’ve seen the rumours that there are some particular people who want him out immediately, No.
“For you to tell me that right away, the aim is to sack him, or to disgrace him, no we are not ready for that.
“We are ready for him to come and talk to us, agree with us so that we can leave peaceably”.
Speaking further, the BoT chairman, pointed out some qualities which he believes would make a good leader for the party.
“At this stage, we are in now, we need to have a very sound, clever, party chairman that will lead this party,” he said.
“We must have someone who is consistent in his loyalty to the party. He should be well-grounded in politics both at the national and local levels with a good reputation for excellent leadership.
“Somebody who will be for all of us and make sure that he does not take sides”.
His comments follow several calls for the resignation of Mr Secondus by some aggrieved party members.
They believe that he is more “preoccupied with holding onto his position rather than preparing for the next elections” and have also accused him of having “no clear road map, blueprint or policy programme for the PDP.”
Last week, a High Court in Rivers State granted an interim order restraining Mr Secondus from parading or acting as the National Chairman of the PDP.
The Kebbi State High Court on Thursday, however, ordered him to return to his position.
Speaking of the forthcoming Presidential election, the BoT chairman said the PDP has ruled Nigeria for 16 years and he is optimistic about the party’s ability to reclaim power in 2023.
“We are ready to rule again come 2023,” he said.
“We have candidates and personalities in the PDP that are capable of becoming President of Nigeria.
“There are many of them and we can pick anyone from any part of this country to be the president of Nigeria but it is not time for us to do that now”.
The immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has taken a swipe at politicians who usually decamp to other parties, describing the situation as an ugly Nigerian politician culture.
Dickson, who currently represents Bayelsa-West in the National Assembly, stated this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, noting that the country has not reached its peak with respect to the decamping season.
With the 2023 general elections about 17 months away, the lawmaker predicted that more politicians would cross-carpet from one side of the political divide to another.
Prominent members of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party have switched camp to the All Progressives Congress (APC) recently with Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, leading the league of PDP governors to the ruling party.
Shortly after, Governors Ben Ayade (Cross River) and his Zamfara State counterpart, Matawalle Bello followed suit, despite being elected under the PDP platform in the 2019 general elections.
Just today, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Joy Emordi also dumped the opposition party to join the APC train.
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.