2023 Race: I’m Only Concerned About Tinubu, Bello – PDP’s Sowunmi

 

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.

 

Insecurity: Those Responsible For Running The Nation Are On Holiday – Sowunmi

 

Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Segun Sowunmi, says the way the prevailing security threats are being handled suggests that the leaders have probably taken time off matters of State. 

Speaking Wednesday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Sowumi noted that it is disheartening that those at the helms of affairs are not rising up to the occasion.

“Insecurity on one part, have you ever seen this country this divided? For some reason you are just hearing noises of O secession!, O we want to go!

“Everybody is doing whatever they like, say whatever they want to say, and those with the responsibility to say enough, you are not going to be allowed to implode this country, you are not going to be allowed to destabilize this country, are on holiday, receiving guest and shaking hands with people that are running from pillar to post claiming that they are running parties,” the spokesman uttered passionately.

READ ALSO: Lawless Police Officers Must Account For Abuses Of Power – Gbajabiamila

Mr Segun Sowunmi

Sowunmi was of the opinion that at the moment, there is no sector in which the Federal Government can boast of a synergy of thought between policy and government action.

He argued that Nigerians have completely forgotten what the President Muhammadu Buhari administration promised before coming into power.

Sowunmi Likens Buhari’s Administration To ‘A Coven Of Dark Forces’

Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Segun Sowunmi, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to appear before the National Assembly over matters of insecurity in the country.

Sowumi believes that the president is being over protected and the government is now creating an impression that they are a “coven of dark forces who are not willing to be seen in the light”.

Speaking on Wednesday on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Sowumi noted that beyond the president’s failure to appear before the NASS, the real issue is a consistent pattern of failing to address Nigerians whenever the need arises.

“If the president doesn’t go, the heavens will not fall,” Sowumi said, adding “but we are saying that there is a pattern here and we practically had to beg him to speak to the Nigerian youths (during the EndSARS protests).

According to him, having a conversation with Nigerians, however little, goes a long way to inspire hope.

“That presidential conversation could infuse hope. Do you know the power of just the president infusing hope, saying “I’m on it and for some I can tell you this, some I cannot tell you…but be rest assured that this is what is happening”.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Farouq Aliyu, who was also on the programme said the President is not bound to honour an invitation by the National Assembly over the security situation in the country.

“President Buhari is not an orator,” Aliyu said, adding that if he were to advise the president, he would tell him not to go but rather send his service chiefs.

Read Also: [Insecurity] Service Chiefs Not Buhari Should Honour NASS Invitation, Says APC Chieftain

Responding to the comments, Sowumi faulted the fact that the government was always creating an impression that the president does not know how to talk.

“No one should come and give us the impression that he doesn’t even know how to talk. He can be guided, the people who will ask the questions can be screened.

“We are protecting the presidency too much and creating the impression that the Buhari presidency is a clone or cocoon or coven of very dark forces who are not willing to be seen in the light,” he said.

This comes hours after the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, in a statement said the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon the President.

He also noted the right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is “inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.”

Members of the House of Representatives on December 1, passed a resolution to invite President Buhari to brief the house on the true state of the security situation in the country.

The decision to summon President Buhari was taken at plenary when the House considered a motion moved by members from Borno State on the recent massacre of 43 rice farmers in the state by Boko Haram insurgents.

In response to this, the President’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie announced on Monday, December 7 that the President will address a joint session of the National Assembly.

Call To Resign: Abaribe Speaking For Slain Nigerians, Others – Sowunmi

 

Mr Segun Sowunmi, a spokesman for the Presidential Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, on Thursday supported the Senate Minority Leader, Eyinanya Abaribe, over his call for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Sowunmi explained that Senator Abaribe was speaking on behalf of slain Nigerians, their families, and others who were victims of the security challenges in the country.

He said, “I think Senator Abaribe’s comments must be situated properly.

READ ALSO: Senator Abaribe Asks President Buhari To Resign Over Security Challenges

“He is speaking on behalf of the people of the North-west; he is speaking on behalf of the North-central, he is speaking on behalf of the families of slain Nigerians,  the dead and their loved ones.”

The PDP member added, “He (Abaribe) is speaking on behalf of apolitical Nigerians, he is speaking on behalf of friends of Nigerians, he is speaking on behalf of the Minority Leader in the House (of Representatives) and he is making a very frank call that there is no reason for human lives to be lost under the All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration.”

Reiterating the call, Sowunmi also asked President Buhari to resign, stressing that his government has failed to address the security challenges plaguing the nation since he assumed office in 2015.

According to him, it has gotten out of the President’s capacity to manage the problem of security.

“There is nothing wrong in honourably resigning and allowing competent hands to take over,” the PDP member stated.

He said, “That is the reaction from all of those that are friends of this government. They are reacting as it were, spitting on the graves of the dead. We are not talking about the loss of income which is also a problem for them, we are not talking about the loss of jobs, we are not talking about lack of harmony in the country, we are talking about the loss of human lives,” he said.

Senator Ababribe had while addressing lawmakers during a motion on national security challenges on Wednesday, asked the President to quit over the security situation in the country.

Presidential Poll: Buhari Told A Lie Of A Fundamental Nature – Sowunmi

 

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Sowunmi, says President Muhammadu Buhari told what he described as a lie of a fundamental nature about his certificate in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

He stated this in reaction to the judgement of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the President’s election for another term in office.

Sowunmi, a spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, said he was unhappy with President Buhari for some reasons.

“With profound respect, nobody in the PDP would have said Buhari is not qualified in all material particulars, that’s not the case,” he noted during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.”

The PDP member added, “The case is simply that he told a lie of a fundamental nature. No one will say he is not qualified through other routes.

 

The Fourth Attempt

Buhari, who won the bid to become president in his fourth attempt, defeated his closest rival of the PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to extend his tenure in office.

Apparently dissatisfied with the outcomes of the keen-contested poll which held on February 23, Atiku and his party went to the Tribunal to challenge the victory of the President.

READ ALSO: Until PDP Lawyers Become Judges, Tribunal’s Verdict Is Perfect, Says Obun

Also listed as respondents in the suits are President Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

After months of litigation, a five-man panel of judges in a unanimous judgement held that the President won the election.

The opposition party has since rejected the judgement of the Tribunal, saying it would be tested at the Supreme Court.

While its lawyers are making preparations to appeal the ruling, Sowunmi believes Buhari has failed to learn from his experience while fighting to become president.

One of the purported mistakes, according to him, was the refusal of the President to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2018.

The PDP member said, “For the first time, it done on me what he had to endure three times in a row and how up-hilling this duty of how do you prove election fraud.

“I am a little bit unhappy with him that he didn’t really use that opportunity to improve that electoral (system) before the election.”

He, however, said Atiku would react to the ruling at the appropriate time, adding that the former vice president was aware that his primary role in the nation’s democracy was to be a statesman.

Citizenship: Sowunmi, Keyamo Disagree Over Atiku’s Eligibility To Contest Election

INEC Denying Atiku Access To Election Materials Despite Court Order, Says PDP
A file photo of former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

 

The spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Segun Sowunmi, and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Festus Keyamo, have disagreed on the citizenship of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Both men, who appeared as guests on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, made different remarks about the eligibility of the PDP candidate to contest the presidential election.

They, however, exercised restraint on how they addressed the issue as the matter was already in court.

Sowunmi believes the claims by the APC that Atiku is not a Nigerian are just part of the purported acts of the ruling party to distract the former vice president from reclaiming his mandate.


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Mr Segun Sowunmi

 

He insisted that the PDP candidate was one of the citizens of the country, stressing that Nigeria has 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, and Adamawa was one of them.

“Atiku Abubakar has been the former vice president of this country and I think that when this kind of issues come up, you begin to query who exactly and what exactly is the geographical expression of Nigeria,” the PDP member said.

He wondered how such an allegation could emerge when Atiku is the Waziri of Adamawa, adding that he was a top Customs officer for more than 20 years before he retired.

Sowunmi stressed that most Nigerians know a lot about Atiku’s background and affirmed that everything about the former vice president was that of Nigeria.

“I actual fact, Atiku’s grandfather is from Sokoto,” he said.

The PDP campaign spokesman stated explained, “Atiku’s grandfather followed his friend to Adamawa then was Gongola, and Atiku’s grandfather gave birth to Atiku’s father there. But it has never been under guesswork that Atiku is a full-fledged bona fide Nigerian.”

In his response, Keyamo who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that the matter was already in court and as a senior member of the bar, he cannot go into details about it.

He, however, advised “those who are informed” to go and read thoroughly Section 131 in conjunction with Section 25 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Mr Festus Keyamo

 

The APC member disclosed that the decision to test the matter in court was a collective decision reach by more than 18 senior advocates representing the President and the APC at the Election Petition Tribunal.

He stressed that the fact that Atiku served as a vice president for eight years does not make him a Nigerian, saying, “That is irrelevant.”

“Did you have access to security reports then; did the court look at that issue at that time? We are talking of qualifications to be President of Nigeria, not qualifications to be a Customs officer,” Keyamo stated.

He said that the matter has never been tested in court before does not provide a platform for someone to keep doing “something that is wrong”.

The senior advocate noted that the issue of citizenship was just one of the six grounds raised to challenge the petition filed by the PDP at the Tribunal.

He said, “I can tell you for free that since 1960, this is the most useless petition that has been presented before any court of law, or any Tribunal to adjudicate.”

Atiku Can Get Our Economy Working Again – Sowunmi

 

The Spokesperson for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Segun Sowunmi, says he believes that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, can fix the nation’s economy among other key issues.

He said this on Monday during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Specifically, he said with the nation’s increase in population and decrease in availability of jobs, Nigeria desperately needs someone Like Atiku who can create more jobs.

He said, “We are of the opinion that right now, Nigeria has lost more jobs for a population that is young and growing (at the last count, 12 million or thereabout, sometimes 13) and therefore, you need someone that can really create jobs because we have a young population.

“The implication of having a young population is that you could really double your population in a very short time and if you’re not taking job creation very seriously, you could implode your country just on the weight of the number of people. So, we need someone who can create jobs. Atiku can create job”.

Read Also: Keyamo Accuses Atiku Of ‘Colossal Failure In Management Of Public Institutions’

He further stated that with Atiku’s achievements as a businessman, he has the capacity to improve the economy through private sector partnerships and prevent it from sliding back into a recession.

“The indicators from the CBN and the world bank is that we could slide back into a recession if we are not careful.

“We need to bring someone into government who understands how to run government and open it up, so that private sector dictates can then push government and you can then create good opportunities for private sector people to come and help you develop the company like you see all over the world.

“Atiku is a businessman. He’s run a business well. He knows what it takes to partner with the private sector, he knows what it takes to bring foreign direct investments into the country. He has done it before and he can do it again.

“He can get the economy working again. We cannot be the most miserably poor people in the world and be happy with that. We need someone who is going to bring business-like discipline into the running of government, that’s why we are saying let’s get Nigeria working again, let’s put Nigeria in charge,” Sowunmi said.

He also stated that Atiku has the capacity to solve the nation’s security problems, lamenting that Nigeria has been divided along ethnic and religious lines.

Beyond that, Sowunmi believes he  can eradicate poverty and put food on the tables of the poor masses.

“Nigeria is very divided now. We fought a civil war sometimes ago and for some reason or the other, we found ourselves in a situation where the country is just divided. We are no longer dealing with just terrorism.

“We are dealing with animals and farmers and herdsmen. We are dealing with kidnapping and a whole lot of issues that seem to have divided us around ethnic lines, religious lines and all of the lines that you can possibly imagine.

“We need someone who has significant buy-in from all the sections of the country, who can pull us back again. A democrat who listens and takes consensus. Someone who considers restructuring or conversations around restructuring, important enough to hold.

“Nigeria has major security challenges. A lot of people have tried to solve the security challenges but somehow we’ve not been able to. We are of the opinion that one of the reasons why we are not able to solve the security problem in the country is to find someone to manage our cross-border issues.

“We believe that Atiku can get Nigeria working again, he can put food on the people’s table,” he said.

Withheld Looters Names: IT Is Better To Err On The Side Of Caution – Adesina

Femi-Adesina-Buhari-spokesmanThe spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, has defended the government’s decision to withhold the names of the persons that returned alleged loots to the government, saying the decision was made to guard against legal issues.

Mr Adesina told Channels Television on Sunday that in categorising the funds, some funds were in the country’s kitty while some were under interim forfeiture.

He said: “Do you go releasing the names of people from whom those funds were recovered but they are still interim forfeiture.

“What if at the end of the day the court decides that those people are not guilty and that the money should be returned, then you will have legal cases on your hands and that will constitute distraction to the government.

“I think it is better to err on the side of caution and that was why eventually the President agreed with those who said the names should be withheld”.

The President’s spokesman said that the government had high quotient of integrity and expressed confidence that Nigerians also knew the current administration had integrity.

He further stated that mentioning the names would discourage persons who had the intention of returning funds from bringing the funds forward.

“At the end of the day, we will lose monies that would have been recoverable for the country but because the government has been precipitate in mentioning names, those funds will not be returned to the coffers again,” he explained.

Mr Adesina also said that the recovered funds could be used to make up for the deficit in the 2016 budget. The budget has over two trillion Naira deficit.

However, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Segun Sowunmi, condemned the decision of the government to withhold the names, saying that a release of the names would go a long way in discouraging corruption.

“It suggests that they are incapable of doing that which everybody thought they have capacity for,” he said.

“How do you know the figures are true? It calls to question the integrity of those who are brandishing the figure.

“Who is going to tell me that that money is true?

“You cannot say you got money from people, what is appropriate and what Nigerians will want to see are the names of the people,” Mr Sowunmi stated.

President Buhari had earlier promised to release the names of the persons from which funds were recovered but a released interim document containing the financial recoveries had no individual mentioned.

Democracy Day: Sowunmi, Ekechi Differ On Buhari’s First Year In Office

#Buhari365Days, BuhariAs Nigeria marks Democracy Day on Sunday, May 29, mixed reactions have been trailing questions about the performance of the President over the last one year.

Speaking on a special coverage of 365 days of Buhari on Channels Television, former Director, Planning and Research for the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign organization, Dr. Toe Ekechi, described efforts being made by the President to save the nation from further plunging into socio-
economic problems as commendable.

He argued that rather than focus on the current challenges of hike in fuel price, naira depreciating and higher cost of living, Nigerians should consider the factors that brought the country to its current state.

“My opinion is that we were heading for a ship wreck – a colossal disaster but God in his infinite mercy, who never wanted Nigeria to be destroyed provided at the right time a captain that has managed to steer the ship off the course of a ship wreck trying to stabilise it.

“It is not very well fully stabilised, that is where we are now. So I will like to say, it could have been worse if we did not have Buhari.”

Meanwhile, former director of the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organization, Mr Segun Sowunmi, accused the APC-led federal government of making excuses and blaming past administrations for the challenges facing the nation.

“If they had not come to Nigerians with a huge promise that a whole lot of our people believed, all of these ‘it could have been ship wreck’ could have been tolerated.

“From the minute this government got in charge, they have only given us excuses,” Sowunmi said.

He recalled that when the PDP took over from the military in 1999, ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo did not give excuses about past military regimes but rather worked hard to revive the economy.

“What has happened in the last one year is that everything has gone bad,” he maintained.

Osun Elections: Sowunmi Commends President Jonathan For Military Presence

Mr. Segun SowunmiA member of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Segun Sowunmi, has commended the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan for deploying the military during the just concluded Osun elections.

He said that the presence of the military was not to scare people but a form of “some devices during the election polls”.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, Mr Sowunmi criticised the All Progressives Congress (APC) behaviour during the elections and explained that his party (PDP) would go to court. “We are not screaming or burning tyres, we just told them we’ll look at the process and go to court”.

He addressed the issue of security operatives wearing mask, explaining that no political party has the power to indicate how security operatives will appear when duty calls, but called on all political parties to help in building Nigeria in order to give Nigeria a good image.

He pointed out that the PDP sent out congratulatory messages to the winner of the Osun state elections and advised that the opposition party should take a cue from them.

Mr Sowunmi further explained that most of the politicians that were turned back or stopped from going to Ekiti before the election violated the rules of ‘no movement’ given by the government in that state.

On the 2015 general elections, he also noted that there would be lack of disturbance because everybody would be busy trying to vote in their own state.  “You won’t see people from Ogun state running to Lagos when they have their own business to face.”

He debunked rumors making the round that the presence of the military during the elections instilled fear in the citizens of the state and insisted that all political parties should help in rebuilding Nigeria.

Largess To Voters Not Meant To Buy Their Votes – Sowunmi

Segun SowunmiA member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the largess given to voters in Ekiti State before the governorship election was not meant to buy their votes.

The former Director-General, Jonathan-Sambo Campaign in Ogun State, Segun Sowunmi, told Channels Television on Wednesday that the largess were meant to re-assure the people of Mr Ayodele Fayose’s commitment to taking care of their welfare.

He insisted that the electorates were not forced to vote for Fayose.

“They have the right to decide who to vote for on the day of the election. Whatever we give does not equate with the emotions with which you connect with them. We give them to let them know that the good times are back again,” he said.

Mr Sowunmi explained that Fayose won the election because of a good relationship he had developed with the people of the state while he was a governor.

He, however, admitted that “with the level of poverty in the land, largess at times really helps”.

The victory of Fayose over the incumbent Governor, Kayode Fayemi, came as a shock to many Nigerians. It has been largely attributed to the ability of Mr Fayose to connect with the people of the state, laying more emphasis on the need for governors to ensure that a cordial relationship exists between them and the governed.

“APC members consider the victory of Ayodele Fayose to be a shock.

“We saw it coming about six weeks ago. We knew the enigma called Fayose. He is extremely hardworking, will leave no stone unturned and will penetrate to the lowest and the largest sector of the society. We saw the arrogance of the so called elite middle class who began to deceive themselves that when the chips are down, politics is not about numbers.

“But when one man will have one vote and his vote will count, ultimately, those people that you disregard will matter. There are distinct publics in politics. They are teachers, civil servants, students and Okada riders.

“There is a tendency that is mostly observed in the south west. You cannot claim to be a progressive and act contrary to progressive,” the PDP member said.

He also accused the APC of having the ‘culture of imposition of candidates’ on the people, saying that “the APC is used to looking for somebody from outside and superimpose the person on the structure of their people that are on ground and they begin to act contrary to carrying them along and carrying them forward”.

“The APC run their government like a small cult, where it is only them and their family and the people of the state see all these.

“The so called elite will not join political parties of their choice, they will not participate and will not strengthen people around them. They will sit in the comfort of their stupendous arrogance and think that as they think, so do the people,” Mr Sowunmi said.

He expressed confidence that the PDP would win the Osun governorship election that will hold in August, pointing out that the party would deploy its strategy.

Several times in Nigeria, some elections are widely believed to have been rigged, but Mr Sowunmi said that the era had passed, as the electoral commission had adopted strategies that would make it difficult for elections to be rigged.