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.
The majority leader in the House of Representatives, Honourable Ado Doguwa, on Friday suggested his colleagues from the Peoples Democratic Party are biased about issues surrounding the electronic transmission of electoral results because they do not understand the provisions of the amendment.
The House was thrown into disarray on Thursday as members debated section 52(2) of the electoral amendment act bill, which deals with electronic transmission.
On Friday, PDP lawmakers walked out of a session after presiding officer Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase insisted that section 52(2) had been carried.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Hon. Doguwa, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said the PDP lawmakers were being over-exuberant and desperate.
He argued that the provisions of the electoral amendment act bill, as passed by the House on Friday, allowed INEC to determine whether it would employ electronic voting or not.
APC Senators on Thursday had forced through a version of the bill at the Senate that constrained INEC to seek permission from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly before employing electronic voting in any part of the country.
“I don’t know what version the Senate has, but in the House of Representatives where I serve as the leader, our provisions in respect to section 52(2) is that voting at an election under this act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Independent National Electoral Commission,” Hon. Doguwa said.
“This goes to prove to you that the House of Representatives is working in tandem with the constitution. We said voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission.
“Whether by electronic, manual, or any other technological device, that is left for INEC to determine.”
“The so-called walking out of the PDP members was unfounded and unnecessary because the arguments they came out to protect are already contained in the bill.”
However, Hon. Doguwa said it was not a problem if his party, the APC, was against electronic transmission.
“What’s wrong with not wanting electronic transmission of results? We have over 49.3 percent of the Nigerian population not covered by network and that would amount to absolute disenfranchisement, so it is a political matter,” he said.
A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, Abdullahi Shinkafi, has faulted the recent action of former Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa over the decision of the national leadership of the party in the state.
Shinkafi at a press conference in Gusau, the state capital on Thursday, called on the national leadership of the party to deal decisively with anyone who violates the constitution of the party.
The National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, had during the formal defection of the Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle and other members to the party dissolved the state caretaker committee of the APC and declared Governor Matawalle as leader of the party in the state.
But the duo of former Governor Yari and Senator Marafa had rejected the dissolution of the committee, saying it is a move to hand over the party to Governor Bello Matawalle’s camp.
Shinkafi who was a former National Secretary in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and who also defected to the APC with Governor Matawalle said stringent actions must be taken against Yari and Marafa to serve as a deterrent to others.
He described the action of former Governor Abdul’azeez Yari as a move to create factions in the party which he says will be resisted and therefore urged the party’s leadership to take drastic punitive actions.
Shinkafi said Yari, Marafa and their supporters should note that nobody is above the law, therefore, the directive by the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni to dissolve the state party’s executives from the ward, local government and state levels and also the appointment of Governor Matawalle as the leader of APC in Zamfara is sacrosanct.
The APC Chieftain called on the leadership of the party to expel Former Governor Abdul’azeez Yari, Senator Kabiru Marafa and theirs who publicly violated the decision of the party’s leadership.
Shinkafi also called on Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai to stay away from the politics of Zamfara State and desist from giving cover to who he described as disgruntled politicians.
Nyesom Wike has squashed insinuations that he will join the Progressives Congress (APC), taking a swipe at governors who defected to the ruling party.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has in recent months witnessed a wave of defections, raising concerns about the party’s viability. Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State moved to the APC this week, less than two months after his Cross River counterpart Ben Ayade dumped the PDP. Three PDP senators also confirmed their defection to the APC on Wednesday.
But Wike, the governor of oil-rich Rivers State and a strong critic of the APC, maintains that it is unthinkable for him to leave the main opposition party.
“It is not something to be discussed. How would any Nigerian feel that tomorrow I am discussing with the APC?” the governor asked when he featured on Channels Television’s current affairs programme Politics Today on Thursday.
He scolded governors and other members of the PDP who have joined the country’s leading party for being fearful and intimidated by the APC, insisting the APC has nothing on offer for him to move to their camp. The defectors, he claimed, had no reason to join another party.
“This people, because of one thing or the other, are trying to hide their inadequacies and inefficiencies and ensure that the government [at the centre] protects them. And they are always afraid,” Wike, a former minister of education explained, accusing the federal government of “fighting” Rivers State.
Governor Wike claimed those welcoming the decamped politicians to the APC have failed in delivering quality governance to their people, saying his main preoccupation at the moment is giving the right leadership to the south-south state.
“The problem with Nigeria today is insecurity. The problem with Nigeria today is poverty. The problem with Nigeria today is corruption, not to go and receive a governor somewhere,” he said. “They have nothing to show. I have no such time. You can watch it every day; we are busy.”
Despite the defections, the National Chairman of the PDP Uche Secondus insists the party is not bothered about the development, assuring that it will reclaim the presidential seat it lost in 2015.
“We stand here to state clearly that we will form the next government, come 2023, because of the masses, not the governors who are leaving the PDP,” Secondus said during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) says its track record in implementing projects and programmes that meet the needs of Nigerians is what has attracted more members and supporters from all over the country into the party.
National Secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, said this in a statement on Wednesday.
He also rejected allegations of the party’s plans to rig in 2023 by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus.
According to him, the strong internal democracy, transparency and fairness in the conduct of its affairs, which are demonstrably lacking in the PDP, are additional reasons that make the APC a better option for Nigerians, including serving state governors, National and State Assembly members who are abandoning the PDP and joining the APC.
“We want to remind Nigerians that while many APC members were victims of rigging when the PDP was in power, the APC has no record of rigging elections,” he said.
“The Muhammadu Buhari-led administation has introduced electoral reforms aimed at ensuring that all loopholes that open the electoral process to possible abuse in future elections are sealed and eliminated.
“With more than 40 million registered members, the APC has a solid foundation to successfully contest and win elections against other parties without tampering with the verdict of the citizens as was the case when PDP misruled the country for 16 years”.
Akpanudoedehe stressed that the PDP is doomed to fail in any future elections because it is rudderless, leaderless and devoid of anything coherent and organisational, thus making it moribund, irrelevant and too feeble to be an effective opposition.
“The only thing that held the PDP together in the 16 years was access to national resources of which it has been deprived of feasting on by the electorates whose trust it lost during two general elections.
“Nigerian electorates know that the APC is a party of people with integrity, who are trustworthy and fully prepared to implement policies that will address their interests and enhance their general wellbeing”.
Secondus said Onochie being a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot be appointed into a position that requires a high level of neutrality.
He urged the National Assembly leadership to impress on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw her nomination.
The party also raised concern over the recent defection of some members of the PDP to APC and blamed it on the approach used by APC in luring the defectors.
The party further accused the current administration of impoverishing Nigeria and subjecting the citizens to untold hardship.
Some PDP lawmakers including the Senate Minority leader, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe were among those who joined in the protest.
President Buhari earlier in October wrote to the Senate to confirm the appointment of one of his media aides, Lauretta Onochie, and three others as Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Others are Professor Mohammed Sani (Katsina); Professor Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti), and Seidu Ahmed (Jigawa).
The leaders also submitted a letter stating fully their demands and rejection of the nomination of Onochie. The statement was signed by the National Secretary of the party, Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
See the letter below…
The Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, National Assembly Complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja.
REJECTION OF THE NOMINATION OF LAURETTA ONOCHIE AS INEC COMMISSIONER
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has learnt of the nomination of Mrs. Lauretta Onochie as a Commissioner in INEC by Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The nomination which was read on the floor of the Senate and forwarded to your committee for screening has created a lot of misgivings in the court of public opinion and judgement.
Our Party considers it as important to bring to the attention of your committee the fact that our duty is to let you know that the National Assembly must endeavour to do things right and in accordance with the dictates of the laws of the country.
The Nigeria Constitution 1999 as amended clearly prohibits people like Mrs. Onochie, who is very partisan, in fact, a card-carrying member of a political party to be appointed into INEC as an electoral umpire. Section 156(i)(a) and third schedule, Part 1, Item F, Paragraph 14(1) of the Constitution have outrightly disqualified her.
We are, therefore, writing to ask the Chairman to save the Senate President, the Senate itself and Mr. President from being ridiculed.
We call on your committee to reject the nomination of Onochie because she cannot be neutral or independent as she is factually known to be an unrepentant card-carrying member of the APC with an uncountable number of proofs.
Her confirmation will be a wholesome abuse of democratic tenets and dragging the reputation of the President and the Senate in the political mud.
Please, don’t make an avoidable legislative and political mistake for the country.
Kindly, accept the assurances of our highest consideration and esteem regard.
Stakeholders of the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressive Congress on Monday held a meeting in Kaduna State where they discussed the planned defection of the state Governor, Bello Matawalle into the party.
The meeting had in attendance two former governors of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari and Mahmud Shinkafi, as well former senators, ministers and state APC chairman, Lawal Liman.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the former Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who is also the APC leader in Zamfara, said after much deliberation, they have decided to welcome Governor Bello Matawalle into the party despite their initial resistance, on the condition that he will abide by the party’s principles and progressive ideology.
He said that though Governor Matawalle failed to face governance and unite the entire people of the state since his assumption of office, the APC as a family will still accommodate him in the party with the hope that he will add more value to the party than destabilizing it.
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dissolved its executive in Zamfara State, warning that the governor will lose his seat upon defection.
The National publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press briefing on Monday, also said the party will go to court to challenge the governor’s exit from the party.
A former National Secretary and Governorship candidate for the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2019 gubernatorial election in Zamfara state, Dr. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, has defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Shinkafi who formerly declared his defection from APGA to APC on Monday while addressing his teeming supporters in his house said contrary to public opinion, he didn’t join the APC for material gain.
“I am leaving APGA not because I don’t like the party but I am living APGA in order to join Matawalle in the APC to rebuild Zamfara State,” Shinkafi said.
“I was invited by Governor Bello Matawalle himself to join him in the APC, as such I see no reason why I should not join him”.
He maintained that he was one of the founding fathers of APGA and has been in the party for 19 years where he rose up to the rank of the National Secretary of the party.
“Those who are thinking that I am defecting to APC because of material things are wrong,” he added.
“I have decided to defect to APC as from today Monday 28, 6 2021 and I am calling on all my supporters to also join me in the APC.
“I am not forcing anybody to defect to APC and I will however continue to relate with those who chose to remain in the APGA because of our long-existing relationship”.
Shinkafi also thanked the Anambra State Governor and the National Chairman of APGA for the support and assistance they rendered to him during his stay in APGA.
A former Senator who represented Anambra South Senatorial District, Andy Ubah, has been declared winner of the governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Ubah emerged the winner in the primary election contested by 13 other aspirants.
Declaring the results of the exercise on Sunday morning at the Golden Tulips Hotel, Agulu, Anambra State, the Chairman of the Anambra State Primary Election Committee and Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, said Senator Ubah polled 230, 201 votes out of the total votes of 348,490, to defeat his closest rival, Onunwoku Johnbosco who polled 28, 746 and 12 other contestants.
Abiodun said the election took place in 20 out of the 21 Local Government Areas of the state, noting that the election could not hold in Onitsha South due to the failure of the Returning Officers to conduct the election after collecting election materials from the committee’s secretariat.
The governor further disclosed that an Option A-4 method was adopted in the election, and blamed the delay in the conduct of the election as scheduled on the failure of the contestants to supply 30 of their representatives as directed by the committee.
According to him, only nine aspirants had supplied their representatives to the committee as at 9:00 am on Saturday.
Abiodun explained that despite the minor hiccups, Returning Officers, backed by security escorts were posted to all the 326 wards in the state, declaring that “the process was free, fair, transparent and in line with the party’s guidelines, as promised by this committee”.
The election committee chairman, however, debunked insinuations from some of the contestants that the exercise was deliberately delayed, pointing out that his committee only needed to be thorough and transparent.
He added that the minor delay was not the fault of the committee or that of the party members, but that of logistics.
Abiodun thanked party members and all stakeholders, especially the committee members, who according to him were carefully chosen for the task. He also called for all hands to be on deck to ensure victory for the party in the coming governorship election.
The All Progressives Congress Presidential Support Committee has suspended its National Coordinator, Senator Godswill Akpabio over what it describes as poor leadership.
The committee is an umbrella body of President Buhari support groups.
It had a mandate to galvanise support for President Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
Addressing journalists after a meeting of the group’s National Executive Committee in Abuja on Saturday, spokesperson Kailani Muhamad said the group decided to suspend Senator Akpabio because he abandoned the organisation after his ministerial appointment.
Senator Akpabio, a former Akwa Ibom state Governor, is the current Minister of Niger-Delta
He was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2019.
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been revived, energized, and repositioned for its national convention and future elections while commending the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor of Yobe State, Malam Mai Mala Buni.
Speaking at the APC CECPC meeting at the State House, the President said the fortunes of the party had been brightened by the re-organisation and reconciliation of members across the party, saying “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life.’’
“I have listened with great interest to the remarkable job you have done so far,’’ he said. “We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division.’’
President Buhari said the party structure was disturbed by the conflicts that preceded and followed various elections, noting that the secretariat had been witnessing a beehive of peaceful activities after the reconciliation.
The President told members of the committee that they will continue to enjoy the support of all party stalwarts and members to complete their assignment with the actualisation of the convention and leave an “indelible footprint’’.
“We want to leave behind a legacy of transparency and fairness, which the party needs to survive,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the CECPC said the committee approached the duty with commitment and dedication to rescue the party from imminent collapse.
The Yobe State Governor noted that all issues and members were given a fair hearing, and an open-door policy was created to accommodate all those that were aggrieved, leading to the withdrawal of cases in court and peaceful settlements.
“We are currently witnessing high-powered decamping to our party, including governors from the PDP.
“The party is now more peaceful, orderly, and accommodating than what we met on the ground. Although there was initial fear, the mobilisation and sensitization were able to allay the fears of members,’’ Buni said.
The Yobe State governor said the registration and revalidation of members across the country recorded more than 40 million members, and an appeal committee was also set up to hear all matters related to the process so that no member gets disenfranchised.
“We have observed that youth and women constitute the huge population of the voting group. We had a youth and women committee, and also people with disability,’’ he added.
He said a Contact and Strategy Team had been set up in every state to come up with an acceptable template that would ensure transparency, credibility, and acceptability of the internal electoral processes.
Buni also said the committee had instituted a process to review the party’s constitution and look into loopholes that usually fan conflict and litigations among members, with more than 500 memoranda already received.
The CECPC Chairman told the President and other party members that 14 party members had indicated their interest to contest for the Anambra State elections, assuring that the primary elections will be free, fair, and transparent.
The Yobe State governor said huge legal fees were inherited, and the committee had worked with members to settle all the outstanding, after scaling them down, noting that payment for the APC National Secretariat had been completed.
“The party members have agreed to name the secretariat, Muhammadu Buhari House,’’ he added.
While thanking the President for his support and insight, Buni noted that a National Conference for the Youths was organized recently as part of the bottom-up approach to strengthening the party and ensuring the relevance of all stakeholders.
Some members of the APC who attended the meeting include, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, Progressives Governors Forum, and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong. Others are, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el’Rufai, Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, and Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello.