Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has unveiled a New Generation project named Operation Rescue Nigeria in Abuja.
At the unveiling on Saturday, the ex-Vice President told PDP chieftains and members to firm up mobilisation at the grassroots.
The PDP candidate stated that the 2023 party campaign strategy will be polling unit-based, in line with the new electoral process.
It was an honour to unveil “Operation Rescue Nigeria 2.0” under the aegis of the PDP New Generation. I shared the importance of building bridges across this great country, Nigeria, from the North to the South, East and West, so that we might have a united Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/g3cqSw7EEF
He, therefore, charged the party faithful to protect their votes, while delivering their respective polling units to the main opposition party next year.
“As you know, our current electoral process is devolved in the polling unit. We don’t want you in Abuja. We don’t want you even in your state, we want you in your polling booths. Go and deliver it to us. Protect the votes and deliver it to us there,” he stated.
The Operation Rescue Nigeria project is a youth-driver structure that the main opposition party hopes to help them mobilise support for next year’s elections.
In his remark, the PDP vice presidential candidate and Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa stressed the need to give the party’s presidential flag bearer the desired support to have the ability to undo the present insecurity and welfare challenges facing the nation.
“In troubled times such as we experience today, we need the guidance of those who have been tested; a man with a nationalistic personnel to secure and not to destroy us and to prosper our people yet again,” he said.
Also speaking, the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, charged the party members not to relent as the party hopes to rescue the nation next year.
Ayu is of the opinion that if they collectively work hard as a team, the PDP will return to power next year under Atiku Abubakar’s administration.
“I am very certain that come May next year, you will have a brand new team led by President Atiku Abubakar,” Ayu said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has again reiterated his administration’s commitment to consolidating the nation’s democracy, saying Nigeria is working towards conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
Buhari stated this on Tuesday in Liberia as he joined other world leaders to attend the 175th independence anniversary of the West African nation.
“In Nigeria, we are working towards a free, fair, transparent, credible and acceptable outcome of elections and their results, it is important and necessary for all our countries to key into these resolves as they are indispensable to peace and stability in our countries and sub-region,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
The Nigerian leader called on his West African colleagues to do all within their powers to ensure that elections are conducted in their countries in an atmosphere of trust, freedom and transparency as this is the only way the sub-region can be insulated from the scourge of unconstitutional takeovers that reared its head in three countries recently.
According to the President, democracy and good governance must take its roots in the African continent to sustain peace, stability, and development while leaders must redouble their efforts to guarantee the irreversibility of democracy.
He stated, “I would like to use the opportunity of this event to address an important issue affecting three countries in the ECOWAS region; Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
“The deepening of democracy and good governance are essential antidotes to check-mate unconstitutional change of governments as we sadly witnessed within the last three years in three countries within our sub-region. We must strengthen our efforts to guarantee the irreversibility of democracy in our sub-region and Africa.”
President Buhari used the opportunity to recall Nigeria’s leading roles that pulled the country back from its fratricidal insurrection in the 90s, adding that his presence at the celebrations underscores his strong belief in cementing existing bilateral ties:
The Nigerian leader commended his Liberian counterpart, Dr. George Manneh Weah, for his demonstration of love for the country and the pursuance of peace, unity and progress, as evidenced by people-oriented projects executed with the sole purpose of taking the country to greater heights within the limited resources available. While urging the Liberian leader to do more, he assured him of Nigeria’s continued support in this regard:
“Your Excellency’s policy of development launched in 2018 as well as the recently launched youth empowerment program, targeted at comprehensively addressing the problems of youth restiveness in Liberia and equally aimed at rescuing the disadvantaged youths (ZOGOS in local parlance) from drug addictions and other forms of social vices and transforming them into useful members of the Liberian society, are clearly very appropriate policies to lift up the most vulnerable.
“Permit me to assure you and all Liberians that Nigeria, as a good partner and a dependable ally, would continue to support you in these efforts, within the limit of our resources. This brings to the fore, the need for strengthening and broadening the levels of collaboration and cooperation between our two countries, both bilaterally and multilaterally, within the ECOWAS, AU and the UN, in order to adequately tackle the common national, sub-regional and global challenges.”
The President of Liberia, Dr. George Weah, thanked President Buhari and other West African leaders for their attendance and to our President in particular, “thank you Mr. President and the good people of Nigeria. Without your support, we would not have had peace.”
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has revealed his plans to apply the knowledge gathered from his trip to Egypt if elected as Nigeria’s President in 2023.
Obi had on June 14 embarked on a three-day trip to Egypt where he understudied the country’s power, education, planning and finance sectors.
I just departed for Egypt on a 3-day visit as part of my detailed study of comparable countries to Nigeria. In Egypt, I am expected to understudy, among others, the Egyptian Power Sector, Education, Planning and Finance Sectors. -PO pic.twitter.com/GzH8Gl7977
Appearing during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, he shared some of the lessons shared from the visit to the North African country.
The presidential hopeful said South Africa and Egypt each produce over 50,000 megawatts of electricity, despite not being as populated as Nigeria.
According to him, Africa’s most populous country has the ability to generate, transmit and distribute 15,000 megawatts of electricity within a four-year period for any serious government.
“I go to where people have done the right thing to learn. Egypt, Vietnam and India have deployed the fastest electricity programme in the past five years,” he said.
“The experience of Egypt I decided to go and learn. I visited the power plant to see what they were able to do within those five years. I visited the company that executed the project, had a very useful meeting, and visited the Power Holding Company of Egypt and other agencies involved to learn what they did.
“Egypt moved their power generation, transmission and distribution from about 20,000 to over 55,000 (megawatt of electricity) today within five years. In a country like ours of 200 million people generating only about 4,000 megawatts when the second biggest economy in Africa – South Africa – is generating over 50,000 and Egypt is generating over 50,000.”
Electricity supply is a major challenge for Nigeria as it currently generates about 6,000 megawatts for the huge population of about 200 million people.
He said all 36 states should be responsible for the security of their residents within their domain.
“This security situation has become a complete worrisome situation for everybody concerned. I feel the Federal Government should do more,” he said.
“If I have the opportunity, every state will be responsible for their own security. I will make sure that the governors are given the powers to secure their states. Even if we have federal police, they will be responsible and report to the governor.
“For me, I have said it repeatedly that if I have the opportunity, we will deal with the situation head-on. There are so many things that we want to put in place in order to ensure that we secure the country.”
The LP candidate insisted that state governors should have every security apparatus to protect lives and properties within their domain.
Stating that security is top on his agenda, Obi explained that he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeking technic assistance from advanced countries to help fix Nigeria’s security challenges.
As part of his plans, Obi said if elected as President next year, he will pull millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
According to him, empowering the masses is the means of solving the security challenges as people will not indulge in criminal activities.
He also decried the continued strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), asking the government to invest in the nation’s education sector.
While lamenting the prolonged absence of Nigerian tertiary students from the classroom since February 14, Obi criticised the Federal Government for failing to honout the 2009 agreements reached with the striking lecturers.
He also called for the review of Professors, saying it doesn’t make sense for councilors to earn more than university lecturers.
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja declared that the off-season elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States have confirmed his Administration’s irreversible commitment to credible and violence-free polls in the country.
Receiving a delegation from Nasarawa State, the President urged the electorate to vote the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next general elections to ensure continuity in the polity, and stability in the country and West African region.
The President told the high-powered delegation led by the State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, that the Electoral Act, signed by him earlier this year, was an attestation of the fulfilment of the administration’s determination and commitment to the tenets of the rule of law.
‘‘On the issues of credible, free and fair elections in the country, I have always re-assured my listeners both at home and abroad, my personal desire and indeed the priority of this administration is to bequeath to our nation an irreversible political process that continues to be both democratic and acceptable to the people.
‘‘My desire for our nation is that the 2023 elections should clearly mark the commencement of the institutional strength of our electoral body in conducting acceptable, credible and violence-free elections.
‘‘The forthcoming general elections will provide us with the opportunity to convince the electorate on the need for continuity to enable our party to consolidate on our achievements in the last 7 years.
‘‘The Government and people of Nasarawa State, as usual, have a great role to play in returning our party to governance in the 2023 elections, in order to create a path for greater socio- economic growth and development. This is not only important for Nigeria alone but also for the West African Sub-Region.’’
Noting that Nasarawa remains very dear to his heart, President Buhari described the State as the symbol of hope and determination in collective efforts to entrench democracy in Nigeria.
He recounted that in 2011, the State stood out during the general elections of that year, as the one State that compensated the political efforts in the then Congress for Progressive Change, defying rigging and ensuring that their voices mattered.
‘‘To demonstrate this admiration and appreciation to the people of Nasarawa State, I personally attended the inauguration of Governor Tanko Al- Makura on May 29, 2011. In 2015 and 2019, the State remained one of the strongholds of our great party, the APC.
‘‘I am optimistic that the people of the State, the APC Government and this broad representation of your delegation will not disappoint me, as we sustain concerted efforts in pushing forward the frontiers of good governance in our country.’’
President Buhari also used the occasion to stress the need for partnerships among the three tiers of government in order to deliver good governance, infrastructure and critical services needed by the people.
He pledged commitment to the joint-efforts by the State and the Federal Governments to facilitate easy transportation by road, railways and airports as well as power as no nation can develop without these components of infrastructure.
‘‘The proximity of Nasarawa State to the FCT naturally makes the State a partner in infrastructural development. We therefore need more collaboration to enhance this proximity with other contiguous States to achieve more integrated development,’’ the President said, expressing appreciation to the Government and people of the State for their continuing support to his administration.
Governor Sule told the President that the delegation comprising political office holders, royal fathers and community leaders was in the Villa to show appreciation for the numerous projects executed by the Buhari Administration which Nasarawa State ‘‘is among the great beneficiaries.’’
He thanked the President for approving the Federal Government takeover of the Lafia airport, refunds for the completion of the Lafia-Keffi road, ongoing construction of Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi dual carriage road, and appointment of prominent sons and daughters of the State into different positions in the Federal Government.
On Lafia airport, the Governor said: ‘‘By this approval we can now see our airport being properly utilised not only as a cargo, but also commercial and security airport. This will createenormous economic activities, employment opportunities and more importantly security for our State and region.’’
He also congratulated the President for providing leadership and creating the enabling environment that facilitated the conduct of free, fair and credible primary elections, which resulted in the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Presidential Candidate of APC, as well as the recent Osun elections that produced the PDP-candidate as Governor-elect.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has dissociated itself from the unveiling of the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kashim Shettima, saying those who were presented as church leaders are ‘unknown clerics’.
CAN’s General Secretary, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola, stated on Thursday that the Christian body is surprised to witness how desperate politicians have become in their craving for power.
“We are shocked, disappointed and worried about the desperation of some politicians who once claimed Christians do not matter in governance and politics who went to hire some unknown ‘bishops, pastors and priests’ to impersonate the leadership of CAN in their political meeting.
“This is totally unacceptable, reprehensible, unprecedented, and ungodly. If they are saying Christians have no electoral values why impersonating them in their meetings?”
“We are throwing their principals and sponsors into the court of conscience. These actions of theirs have shown who they are to the public and what they are capable of doing to us all,” Barrister Daramola declared in a brief communique.
CAN asked political parties not to ignore “religious sensibilities and sensibilities of the people especially in today’s Nigeria when Christians are becoming endangered species daily.
“Our quest is within the constitutional requirements and ignoring it is akin to trampling on the Constitution, especially the Federal Character Act.”
The ecumenical body noted that at the fullness of time, it will direct its members nationwide on how to use their PVCs come 2023.
Tinubu’s choice of Shettima, a Muslim as his running mate, has split opinion and drawn widespread criticism with critics warning that a Muslim-Muslim ticket threatens the future of the country.
At the unveiling of Shettima where fresh controversy emerged over the presence of “bishops”, Tinubu called for unity.
He said, “We hold the chance to move the nation and our collective cause forward as never before,” he said on Wednesday at the unveiling of Shettima as his running mate. “To do this, we must be wise in our thoughts and courageous in our actions.
“We must win this election so that we can bring jobs, eliminate poverty, educate our children, (and) bring up our grandchildren without thinking of religious division or ethnic differences. We are one. Our passport is one; greenback is one. One nation, one destiny.”
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, is asking a Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit seeking his disqualification for nominating his campaign manager, Doyin Okupe, as his placeholder.
Last week, the Peoples Democratic Party had asked the court to bar Obi from replacing Okupe as his running mate.
The PDP had also prayed the court to prevent the All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, from replacing Kabiru Masari as his running mate.
In the suit, the PDP also asked the court to disqualify both Obi and Tinubu if they replace Okupe and Masari as their running mates.
But both candidates have replaced the placeholders. Obi picked Yusuf Baba-Ahmed as his running mate, while Tinubu went for Kashim Shettima.
Responding to the originating motion, via a notice of preliminary objection, dated July 18, Obi’s counsel, Mr Alex Ejesieme (SAN), is seeking an order of the court striking out or dismissing PDP’s suit “for want of requisite jurisdiction”. The objection by Obi to the PDP’s prayers is based on four grounds.
“The plaintiff’s suit is speculative, conjectural in nature and devoid of hard facts, thereby divesting this court of jurisdiction to adjudicate over same,” read the first ground.
Next, Obi’s counsel said that the PDP “has not disclosed any reasonable cause of action to activate the jurisdiction” of the court.
Obi’s counsel added that the PDP’s suit “is not situated within the jurisdictional confines of the Federal High Court”.
“The plaintiff’s suit is a gross abuse of court process,” Obi’s counsel added.
— PDP’s suit —
The PDP had sued INEC, APC, Tinubu, Masari, Labour Party, Obi and Okupe last week over the use of placeholders and choice of running mate.
The PDP had held that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to the Electoral Act and that Okupe had admitted publicly that he was a mere placeholder.
In the suit (Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022), the PDP is asking the court to determine if by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, and INEC’s timetable, Tinubu and Obi are bound by the submission of Masari and Okupe as their running mates.
The party also wants the court to determine if “by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the first defendant (INEC) can validly accept any change or substitution of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates of the 3rd (APC) and 6th (Labour Party) defendants.”
In all, the PDP is seeking five reliefs from the court, including a declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s timetable, both Tinubu and Obi must be bound by their submission.
The party asked the court to rule that both Tinubu and Obi will be disqualified the moment they substitute the names of their running mates.
One of the reliefs reads, “A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1st defendant’s (INEC’s) election timetable, the 3rd (Tinubu) and 6th (Obi) cannot validly contest the 2023 Presidential election without the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Obi) respondents as their respective running mates.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has unveiled former Borno State Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima as its vice presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The event, which is ongoing at the Shehu Yar’adua center in Abuja, has in attendance the party’s presidential candidate and ex-Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, and other chieftains.
In his remark, Adamu described the APC presidential candidate as a detribalized Nigerian who has carried everyone along irrespective of their ethnic and political differences.
He commended Tinubu for his choice of Shettima, thus following the path of the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Moshood Abiola who picked Babagana Kingibe as his running mate.
Extolling the virtues of the ex-Lagos State Governor, the APC Chairman said Tinubu can be trusted to run an all-inclusive government if elected as President in the 2023 general elections.
“The 1993 presidential ticket and the current one bridged one of our fourth lines in the management of our adversities. Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for that ticket because they trusted Abiola – a man who opened his arms to every tribe and religion in this country,” Adamu stated.
“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a man who has also thrown his arm around every tribe in Nigeria. He has offered his shoulders for those in pain to lean on. He has used his wealth to bring succour to the needy.
“He can be trusted to run an inclusive government in which character, competence and vision matter to his administration.”
Also speaking, Tinubu said he is grateful for the endorsement of the APC chieftains as the party’s vice presidential candidate.
According to him, every election affords the opportunity to bring hope to millions of Nigerians, promising that if elected, there will be a turnaround of things for the overall good of the masses.
Tinubu said he widely consulted before deciding to pick Shettima as his running mate for the 2023 general elections.
“Much has been said, written about my decision to select Shettima to partner me on this journey. As a committed and progressive leader, I have read and listened to all that has been written and said. It has been an emotional situation for me.,” Tinubu stated.
“Out of many competent Nigerians and out of many advice, I know it has to be my decision. And the hallmark of leadership is taking a decision at the right time when it ought to be taken.
“I did consult and I am proud to see all of you here acknowledging the quality of our Vice President Kashim Shettima.”
Tinubu had on July 10, announced the lawmaker representing Borno Central Senatorial District as his running mate, following the resignation of Ibrahim Masari, who served as a ‘placeholder”.
The announcement of Shettima has generated a lot of outcry from different quarters, just as it has received support from others.
While Tinubu is a Muslim from Lagos, the South-Western region of the country, Shettima is also a Muslim from the North-Eastern part of Borno.
The ruling party had received backlash from concerned Nigerians, religious leaders, opposition parties and the Christians Association of Nigeria.
Despite the criticism, Tinubu defended his choice of Shettima as his running mate, saying he has gotten the right qualities to move Nigeria forward. The ex-Lagos State governor also hinged his choice of Shettima for his loyalty to the ruling party.
According to Section 115 (D) of the Act, a person who signs a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum term of imprisonment for two years.
Clarifying the provisions of the law, the Akwa Ibom REC said “constituency” as stipulated in the legal document refers to separate elections whether it is presidential, governorship, senatorial, the House of Representatives, or that of the state assembly.
“Section 115 (D) of the 2022 electoral act stipulates that no person shall sign, obtain more than one form as a candidate for different elections,” Iginni stressed.
“And the offence for that under subsection K, beyond the financial, he will go two years’ imprisonment. Some people are claiming that they participated in one election, that they filled two forms; it’s ignorance of the law and it’s not an excuse.”
The electoral umpire, according to the INEC official, is only making efforts to prevent politicians in such category from becoming “candidates for prison and they are calling our names everywhere”.
“There are many candidates that have done this. INEC can only point you in that direction; that’s what we can do,” he added.
“People walk their way to prison when they say that they bought two forms; Section 115 (D) prohibits that. In fact, subsection 3 of 115 says that even that attempt itself will be treated as the offence.”
Tinubu had on July 10 announced the ex-governor and Senator representing Borno Central as his running mate in the 2023 general elections.
Nine days after, the ruling party issued a statement, saying the vice presidential candidate will be unveiled in Abuja.
APC National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, said the exercise will take place by 1 pm at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in the nation’s capital.
“All members of the National Executive Committee, Progressives Governors’ Forum, APC Caucus in the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, diplomatic corps and presidential aspirants at the June 2022 Special National Convention, APC state chairmen, secretaries and organising secretaries are hereby invited to witness this landmark official unveiling of our great party’s vice presidential candidate,” the statement read.
Criticisms had trailed the choice of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate since both candidates are Muslims, having served their respective states as governors.
While Tinubu is from Lagos, the South-Western region of the country, Shettima is from the North-Eastern part of Borno.
The ruling party had received backlash from concerned Nigerians, religious leaders, opposition parties and the Christians Association of Nigeria.
Despite the criticism, Tinubu defended his choice of Shettima as his running mate, saying he has gotten the right qualities to move Nigeria forward.
The ex-Lagos State governor also hinged his choice of Shettima for his loyalty to the ruling party
Benue State Governor Dr. Samuel Ortom has said that senator Ademola Adeleke’s victory at the Saturday’s gubernatorial election suggests that the takeover by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has begun.
The governor in a congratulatory message on Sunday praised Senator Adeleke for his steadfastness, hard work and commitment to the welfare of the people that earned him the victory, saying “ the people have spoken”.
Governor Ortom also praised the people of Osun state, the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), the media , civil society organizations (CSOs) and the security operatives for ensuring that the will of the people prevailed.
He said: “On behalf of myself, the government and the PDP family in Benue State, i congratulate Senator Ademola Adeleke on his election as the Governor-elect of Osun State. I am convinced that you will provide an enduring leadership for the people in appreciation for the massive support they have given you by your election.”
“The victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate; Senator Adeleke in the Osun election is a measure of trust and confidence of the citizens on him and the party “, Ortom stated.
He however counselled Senator Adeleke not to take the trust and confidence for granted, just as he urged him to carry everybody along.
The Governor noted that the people expect him to change the narrative by bringing positive changes to the state of Osun.
The governor said the election of Adeleke, “is a precursor to the sweet round of victories awaiting the PDP as we begin to take back all the states in our resolve to rescue Nigeria from the destruction meted to it by the clueless APC-led federal government.”
The Benue leader urged Adeleke to sustain and improve his family reputation of excellence, dignity and leadership so that Osun state can regain her glory under his administration.
While congratulating the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and the National Working Committee of the PDP, Governor Ortom also expressed confidence that the victory of the party in Osun State will further change the political map of the South West as the PDP is ready to rescue the country from its undertakers in the APC.
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on Saturday said the party cannot force any member to stay or exit.
He stated this after visiting Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule at the Government House in Lafia.
“We don’t want to lose any member but if a member wilfully wants to leave the party without recourse, we can’t force anybody to stay or leave the party,” he said.
“The issue of defection, there is a season for it in politics particularly in developing countries, and it is not news in Nigeria.
“Anybody who is a member of this party is an adult and when an adult takes a decision, it’s either you convince him and if the decision is not favourable to you and he does his bidding, you leave him for God who decides everything.”
According to the APC Chairman, the ruling party will still emerge victorious in the 2023 general elections despite its internal wranglings.
He stated that the defections of some members to other political parties would not prevent the party from being determined and focused.
“As for winning elections, we are working to win. By the grace of God, we will win the elections. We are going to work as if it is the last election we are going to handle,” Adamu added.