The President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, has reacted to the presidential nominations of the ruling All Peoples Congress and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for the 2023 elections.
The South-East presidential aspirants in the two mainstream political parties had lost in the primaries with some not getting any vote despite the overwhelming agitation for the region to produce the next president based on equity, justice and fairness, and in the spirit of rotational presidency between the North and South.
While Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos State Governor from the South-West, emerged the presidential candidate of the ruling APC, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the North-East emerged the PDP presidential candidate in elections that were allegedly ‘dollarised’, that is, for the highest bidder.
But Obiozor, who had remained silent about the outcome of these primaries, broke his silence on Saturday morning in a statement titled: “What does Nigeria want from Ndigbo?”
The former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, said, “Now it is clear that the Nigerian national political elite have successfully orchestrated to deny the South-East an opportunity to produce the president of Nigeria come 2023.
“By this machination, some Nigerian leaders have demonstrated gross historic injustice towards Ndigbo, beyond our expectations.”
Obiozor, who is convalescing in a Dubai hospital, states that Nigeria, by its deliberate injustice, has failed the Rotary Club International four-way tests, “which are: First – Of the things we think, say or do: Is it the TRUTH? Second – Is it FAIR to all concerned? Third – Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? And Fourth – Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
While urging Ndigbo not to lament much but wait for the verdict of history, he expressed his conviction that in the end, this political manipulation would end in “a Pyrrhic victory for those who rejoice and celebrate injustice.”
Obiozor, who conveyed his statement through the National Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, thanked Nigerian statesmen and patriots across the country, who supported the idea for the South-East to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023, based on Nigerian proven history of rotation of power between the north and the south as well as commitment to equity, justice and fairness.
The Action Peoples Party (APP) will on Monday drag the presidential candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu to court to challenge his academic qualification to stand for the 2023 election.
The decision, according to APP, followed alleged irregularities in the academic qualification and documents submitted by Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The chairman of the party, Uche Nnadi, who disclosed this on Friday, added that the party has enough facts to nail TinubuRecall that INEC had on Friday published the list of candidates to contest the 2023 election.
According to the APP Chairman, APC candidate Tinubu is not eligible to contest as his forms contain alleged false information.
Tinubu denied attending Primary and Secondary but claims a university degree in the new INEC forms published on Friday.
The APP Chairman said that Tinubu commits perjury as he abandons his earlier claim of attending primary school, sworn in an affidavit to run for governor but now claims not to have attended primary school.
Tinubu’s new forms, he said contradicted his 2007 affidavit that he has primary school and secondary.
“Tinubu’s new declaration in new INEC forms of not attending primary and secondary school is false information, in view of earlier nomination forms of 2007 on oath containing alleged controversial primary and secondary schools he claimed to have,” he said.
Imo state Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) is already heading for victory in the 2023 general elections with its rancour-free primary that produced Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate.
The governor, who spoke to newsmen at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri amid rousing reception by supporters, said with what transpired at the presidential primary “the APC remains the Party to beat in the 2023 general election.”
“The party is heading for victory in 2023,” the governor assured and called on members to remain focused.
He also spoke on the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide on the nomination of a running mate.
The Governor noted: “There is no provision on the ballot paper for the Vice President. Therefore, Ohanaeze Ndigbo was never in context of the position of Vice President. The Vice President is a position that is always nominated or chosen by the presidential candidate in consultation with the political party and some critical stakeholders of the party.”
Those who joined Uzodimma’s numerous supporters from the 27 local government areas of Imo State to receive him at the airport include deputy governor, Prof. Placid Njoku; Imo Speaker Kennedy Ibe; Deputy Speaker Amara Iwuanyanwu and other principal officers of the Assembly.
Others were the Secretary to the government of Imo State Chief Cosmas Iwu; Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie and members of the State Expanded Executive Council.
The Labour Party has issued its certificate of return to its candidate, Peter Obi as its flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election.
The certificate of return was handed over to Obi on Friday at its headquarters in Abuja by the Party’s National Chairman Barrister Julius Abure.
The chairman while handing over the certificate indicated that the day was historic not just in the life of the party but for the people of Nigeria.
“I said so because it is a new dawn for the people of this country. It is a new dawn because the people have been enslaved over the years and a new movement has began that will liberate them from the slavery of hunger, poverty, employment, bad governance and insecurity in the land.
“Today we have started this movement and nothing, no amount of intimidation, no amount of pretence of factionalization, no amount if stopping us from registering or preventing us from participating in the ongoing voter registration will stop this movement.
“Wherever I have been to people have confronted me on how Am i going to deliver Peter Obi since you have no structure and my response has always been that a people that have decided to liberate themselves you can never stop them.
“I have also maintained that it is people that form structure. The structure belongs to the people and the people of Nigeria have made up their minds to liberate themselves and what will happen in the next few weeks will shock you what Nigeria s will do.
“We already have structure across the country, across the states and local government as well as in the units.
That structure will be further ventilated because Nigerians have decided to make a change and this change is inevitable. “
The presidential candidate Peter Obi while responding said; “Whenever I hear of no structure my answer to it is simple. The 100 million Nigerians living under poverty will be the structure. The 35 million Nigerian youths who don’t know where the next meal will come from, will be structure.
“The elderly, the mothers and fathers, the old ones that are dying or being owed gratuity and pension, will be the structure, ASUU, the lecturers who are being owed, the students that are not in school will be the structure since it is all about the structures of a human being.
He said in 2011 when ASUU went on Strike, though he could not meet up but he was able to strike a middle ground with ASUU.
According to him Anambra State University is not part of the ongoing ASUU strike because the precedent he set of N5b subvention yearly is still on.
He said the money that was in his custody was for the public hence he had the duty to utilize it judiciously for the people.
He promised to turn Nigeria from a consumer nation to producer nation.
“We must talk about the future of Nigeria to change the trend to ensure that our youth become productive, woth job opportunities, our aim us to move Nigeria from consumption to production.”
The National Vice Chairman, North-west of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Mohd. Lukman has warned that for the country to move forward, 2023 Presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion.
The former Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) said APC will not ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity in choosing its running mate for its presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He argued that the adoption of ethnicity and religious considerations in decision-making in the past has not only stalled development, but it has also further divided the masses of the country.
Reacting to the current debate on a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the ruling party at the 2023 Presidential election, Lukman in a statement titled “Issues for APC 2023 Presidential Campaign” warned against these primordial considerations as the standard-bearer of the ruling party picks his running mate ahead of 17th June deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Admitting the importance of ethnicity and religion, the APC leader maintained that political leaders should not be allowed to ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to opportunistically win elections.
He argued that as “important as ethnic and religious identities are, addressing challenges facing the country, requires that political leaders are not allowed to ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to opportunistically win elections.
“If Nigeria is to move forward, 2023 Presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates of moving Nigeria forward to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion. If the truth is to be told, both Islam and Christianity, as well as all our ethnic factors have been used in equal measure to hold Nigeria at a standstill.”
He alleged that many religious and ethnic leaders have used and are still using religion and ethnicity to pollute the minds of Nigerians against one another.
According to him, “If Nigerian politics is to overcome the adversities of these so-called religious and ethnic leaders, religious and ethnic backgrounds of leaders must be subordinated to experiential attributes of persons being considered for leadership.”
Lukman pointed out that whatever is the final choice of Asiwaju and APC leaders concerning who emerges as the running mate, the 2023 Presidential election will be keenly contested, irrespective of religious and ethnic identity of both Asiwaju Tinubu and whoever the running mate may be.
He counselled APC leaders to acknowledge the fact that the 2023 elections present another golden opportunity for the APC to re-invent itself.
Lukman argued that the primordial sentiments expressed before the emergence of the APC flag bearer have shown that for the country to move forward we have to jettison these considerations.
According to the former director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), “Against very strong sentiments and dominant ethnic and religious politics, which weigh heavily against Asiwaju, both within the APC, but perhaps more promoted by a very sectarian and conservative strategy of winning cheap votes of Nigerians by the PDP and their sympathisers, which led to the emergence of Alh. Atiku Abubakar as the PDP Presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Asiwaju Tinubu emerged as the Presidential candidate of the APC.”
As the opposition is using the challenges facing the country as campaign tools to further divide Nigerians, Lukman, advised that “APC’s 2023 presidential campaign must be about uniting citizens to move Nigeria forward. It must be about issues and proposals for nation-building.
“It must be about pushing Nigerians to take all the hard decisions based on respect, equity and fair representation. This is what the Presidential candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu should represent. APC should win the 2023 presidential election based on a convincing promise for national unity.
“A major objective of APC 2023 Presidential campaign should be to correct all the false narratives being propagated by opposition parties that APC government has failed. The campaign should instead focus more on showcasing the achievements of APC-led Federal Government, which is about rebuilding the country. For instance, achievements in the areas of social investment, infrastructure and agriculture can effectively provide APC’s contrasting scorecard. Since emerging as the governing party in 2015, APC Federal Government has implemented National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which is far more than what any government in the past has done. Founded on four pillars of N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), millions of poor Nigerians are benefiting from these initiatives. For instance, GEEP has disbursed N36.9 billion in interest-free loans of between N50,000 to N350,000 to more than 2.3 million Nigerians. Under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, 9.9 million primary 1 – 3 pupils in 54,952 public primary schools in 35 states are benefiting. Additional 107,000 cooks have been engaged. In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, more than 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered on the National Social Register, out of which more than one million families are currently being paid N5,000 monthly.
“In the area of infrastructure, when President Buhari’s administration assumed office in 2015, the total budget for Federal Roads by the outgoing PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was 18 billion Naira, which is only about 25% of the Lagos State roads budget for that year. The persistent skeletal funding translated to abandoned or slow-moving road projects across the country. APC administration increased allocation to the roads budget to more than 200 billion Naira per annum. In addition, more resources were devoted to construction of road and transport infrastructure than any other administration since 1999, and the results are roads, bridges, highways, rail lines and stations, and air and seaport upgrades. Currently, there are around 900 active road contracts covering the construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation of more than 13,000km of Federal roads and highways across the country, out of a total of 35,000km of Federal roads in existence.
“In the area of agriculture, APC led government of President Buhari established National Food Security Council (NFSC), Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), National Livestock Transformation Plan, Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and Creation of an Enabling Environment. Specifically, ABP for instance, implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2015, provided more than 300 billion Naira to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), across Nigeria, successfully cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland. PFI has produced and delivered to the Nigerian market over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent of fertilizer, at reduced prices; and resulted in the revival or construction of no fewer than 40 moribund fertilizer blending plants across the country. Nigeria today has 44 functioning blending plants, with more on the way as a result of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI).”
Despite the court ruling that statutory delegates were qualified to participate in congresses and conventions of political parties, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress has announced that statutory delegates won’t participate in the June 6 primary of the party.
The National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, made the clarification at the APC secretariat on Saturday.
The development is coming in the wake of a court injunction, which ruled in favour of the inclusion of the delegates.
A Federal High Court sitting in Kano had ruled that statutory delegates were constitutionally qualified to take part in all meetings, congresses and conventions of any registered political party in Nigeria.
The suit challenging the disenfranchisement of statutory delegates from participating at the primaries was filed by three aggrieved aspirants of the party namely Senator Mas’ud El-Jibrin Doguwa, Habibu Sani and Bilyaminu Yusuf Shin’Kafi.
Delivering judgment on the suit on Friday, 3rd June, 2022, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice A.M Liman, held that, “Section 84(8) cannot be interpreted to have excluded statutory delegates from voting at the convention, congress or meeting, by virtue of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 20(iv)(c) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Constitution, which allow Statutory Delegation to vote at convention, congress or meeting.”
A defiant Adamu, however, stood his ground on Saturday and insisted that no statutory delegate would participate at the convention.
He told our correspondent that as a law practitioner, he understood the interpretation well enough not to allow the delegates to take part at the primary.
“I am a lawyer; we have served notice of appeal and the matter is in the court and as far as we are concerned, this convention is concerned, statutory delegates are excluded,” he said.
Ahead of the forthcoming presidential primary election, the initial presidential consensus arrangement for northern aspirants in People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has collapsed.
To this end, the Governor of Sokoto state and PDP presidential aspirant, Aminu Tambuwal, has pulled out.
This was disclosed in a press statement by the Tambuwal Campaign Organization (TCO) on Saturday night in Abuja.
The terse statement signed by Nicholas Msheliza, Director Organisation and Mobilisation for TCO, reads, “The attention of Tambuwal Campaign Organization (TCO) has been drawn to a news item that former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Gov. Bala Muhammad of Bauchi state have emerged as consensus candidates from amongst the four of us announced at a meeting in Minna, Niger state.
“This is, to be candid and forthright, not correct. The correct situation is that the team met on Wednesday 20th April, 2022, at Bauchi Governor’s (lodge in Abuja and had a review meeting; and, unanimously agreed that the consensus arrangement was not working.
“The team further agreed that Sen. Saraki should come up with a draft statement on how to communicate this decision to the Nigerian public. This was the last time that members of the team sat and mutually agreed on anything. The proposed meeting to review and vet the statement scheduled for 10 pm of the same day was aborted unilaterally by Sen. Saraki via a WhatsApp message.
“However, on Thursday, 21st, 2022, same Sen Saraki circulated yet another WhatsApp message suggesting that members of the team should head to Minna for a meeting on Friday, Gov. Tambuwal reached other members of the team and informed them that he stands by the decision of the team that the initiative is not working. This is the reason Gov. Tambuwal was absent at today’s (Friday) meeting in Minna. As a result therefore, the outcome of the Minna meeting has no consequence or any implication on the aspiration of Gov. Tambuwal, who had earlier on informed his colleagues of maintaining their agreed position that the initiative has collapsed.
“Members of the public should be reminded that what was canvassed for was a consensus candidate and not consensus candidates.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Gov Tambuwal has submitted his Presidential nomination forms and now that the quest for a consensus candidate out of the four has clearly collapsed, will go ahead and face screening and indeed contest the PDP presidential primaries.
“This is in consonance with his acclaimed outlook as a pan-Nigerian candidate, with pedigree of national service as the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, life member of the Body of Benchers and now in his second and final term as Governor of Sokoto state.”
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and the National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Betta Edu, has called on party leaders, governors and other stakeholders to rally around all female aspirants in their different states and ensure they emerge candidates of the party in their different positions.
This was disclosed at the APC zonal and state women leaders strategy planning and capacity Building workshop held in Abuja.
At the workshop, Dr Edu announced that as part of her programmes for Nigerian women, she would embark on low cost housing scheme for less privileged women in the party, empowerment for women from polling unit to national.
According to Edu, the party’s decision to give out free forms to female aspirants and many other considerations should serve as incentives and motivations to the aspirants, noting that sales of forms begins on Tuesday .
Her words: ” I am.particullarly happy to have my fellow women here and other party leaders across board. This workshop is meant to prepare our Zonal and state women Leaders to be ready for the elections as the primary election is here.
“Am also using this opportunity to call on our Governors and other key stakeholders in their various states to ensure that all female aspirants win the tickets to represent the party at the polls.
” We are willing to partner and ensure that women occupied a good number of elective and appointive positions in line with the 35 percent affirmative action.
” I have also begun plans to initiate the door to door mobilization for INEC Registration, financial empowerment, a low cost housing scheme for the less privileged women amongst us.”
On her part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, said that women are ready this time to work with one another under the leadership of the brand new Women Leader, promising that women would be Empowered going forward. She called on women to rise to the occasion asking state and zonal women leaders to unite with one voice to project female candidates while working for them to be successful. She encouraged women to shun violence and love one another. Furthermore she called on men to support women rather than beat or kill them.
Director of Organisation, All Progressives Congress (APC) in an interactive session with the Zonal and State Women Leaders of the APC, spoke on the Guideline and Processes of the Party Primaries and fielded questions on the forthcoming primaries.
The women further resolved to work together to increase female participation, across board, at the National and State Assemblies by ensuring that women have two (2) out of five (5) delegates (Adhoc) in every ward and one out of the three in the LGA.
Another resolution adopted was to demand for effective women representations in employment, in National and State, appointments and board levels.
The immediate past women leader , Hon Stella Okotete was also at the event.