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Kwara governor second-term bid tears state APC leaders apart

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  • Abdulrazaq’s loyalists accuse party chieftains of undermining governor

Loyalists of the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, have accused some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the state of working to undermine him.

They specifically claimed at a press conference in Ilorin on Monday that the state party Chairman, Bashir Bolarinwa, and some party leaders including Chief Iyiola Oyedepo and Prof. Shuaib Abdulraheem, were using the media to disparage the governor and thwart his second-term bid.

Although they said the governor had not indicated any interest yet, they promised to support him should he decide to seek a second term in 2023.

One of the conveners of the conference, Sunday Fagbemi, who read a prepared speech at the event, said, “It is common knowledge that every governor, especially a performing one, would be interested in a second term.

“Even if His Excellency has not stated categorically that he’s interested in a second term, we’ll by his level of performance ask him to run for a second term.

“Contrary to decency and party rules, they (state party leaders) go on radio to openly condemn the government of their own party. Had the governor not endeared himself to the masses with his humility, simplicity and people-focused performance as can be seen in every part of the state, the insurrection by these persons is enough to bring down any government.”

But the state APC chairman, Bolarinwa denied the allegations.

Bolarinwa said, “I have never spoken against the governor or the government on any radio program. As the chairman of the party in the state, I have been preaching unity among the party members. The people making the allegation just want to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it and this kind of people should be careful.”

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2023: No automatic ticket for new decampees – APC

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  • ‘Plot to make Jonathan president conspiracy against South’

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it has not granted an automatic ticket to former President Goodluck Jonathan who is being rumoured to be planning to defect to the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

A founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-south, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, also described alleged scheme by some northern leaders to return the former President to Aso Rock in 2023 as deceitful and a grand conspiracy against the South.

On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to reclaim power at the centre come 2023, adding that the party would also win 28 of the 36 states across the federation.

The APC said the waiver granted new entrants and defectors into the party does not exclude them from undergoing nomination processes of contesting for positions in the party and as its flag bearers in general elections.

APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, made the declaration in a statement in Abuja yesterday.

He said defection into the party by any person does not confer the status of an automatic candidate of the party on such individual.

Akpanudoedehe, who was reacting to a misrepresentation of his views on the waiver granted new entrants and defectors by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) at its December 8, 2020 meeting in a television programme, said all party members, irrespective of the status of the person, must go through the party’s nomination process as outlined in its constitution.

He maintained that the waiver by NEC was not restricted to anyone.

According to the Secretary, “the waiver is not specific to anyone as being misconstrued and misrepresented in some sections.

“Coming into the party gives no one special status of being an automatic party candidate in any election. All aspirants must undergo the nomination processes outlined by the APC constitution,” he said.

Akpanudoedehe recalled that the party’s NEC resolved and granted waivers to persons who have recently joined the party and those desirous of joining the party in the nearest future to contest for positions in the APC and as party flag bearers in general elections.

He explained that by the NEC resolution, “new members will enjoy all the benefits and privileges accruable by the APC” but not the status of automatic candidate of the party.

According to the Secretary: “For the records, in my recent television interview reaction to the rumoured plans by former President Goodluck Jonathan to join the APC, my statement was that NEC resolution was a blanket waiver to ALL new APC entrants, including the interviewee.

“The waiver is not specific to anyone as being misconstrued and misrepresented in some sections.

“Coming into the party gives no one special status of being an automatic party candidate in any election. All aspirants must undergo the nomination processes outlined by the APC constitution,” he said.

‘Plot to make Jonathan President deceitful, conspiracy against South’

A South-south founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, described the ongoing scheme by some northern leaders to return former President Jonathan to Aso Rock in 2023 as deceitful and a grand conspiracy against the South.

Eze, in a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the plot was a packaged trick by some northern leaders to make Jonathan President for one term and retake power in 2027 thereby denying the southern part of the country a complete term of eight years.

Eze said that the northern schemers knew that with President Muhammadu Buhari successfully completing his second term by 2023, the South, in all honesty and fairness, would produce the next President.

But to truncate a southern eight-year rule, the schemes intended to feature Jonathan for one tenure in 2023 thereby throwing the 2027 presidential election open for a fresh zoning  arrangement and contest favourable to the North.

Eze urged all Nigerians to speak up and condemn such a dastardly act that might plunge the nation into unprecedented chaos.

The APC chief, however, claimed that Jonathan had rejected the plan, describing the former President’s rejection as consolatory.

He said: “This plot is an unacceptable insult on both Jonathan and the entire southern political class as if we lack credible political leaders from the South that can turn the fortunes of this country around.

“It is imperative to commend Dr. Jonathan for reading through the deceit of these leaders, trashing their dishonest entreaty and ensuring that his political feats and present status as a great promoter of democracy is not ruined, tarnished but kept intact by keeping these undemocratic elements at bay.

“I am very glad that Dr. Jonathan has done his best to keep these undemocratic forces at bay, who are hell-bent to deny the South the chance to preside over the affairs of this country according to the terms of power rotation between the North and the South, not minding that the northerners have through the military and democratic dispensations governed this country to their heart contents.

“Funny and sad enough, same leaders who ensured that Dr. Jonathan was not reelected in 2015 are the same crop of leaders that are doing everything to lure him back to finish whatever that  is left of him politically.

“As much as I am not a supporter or sympathiser of Dr. Jonathan and his type of politics, as I was one of those who ensured he was not reelected, I will not sit and allow his haters drain the little integrity left of him.

“Luring him to contest the 2023 does not  in any way wash him off the sins and reasons behind why he was not reelected in 2023, but a careful ploy to portray the Southerners as lacking better and credible leaders to improve on the fortunes of the country.”

Eze also commended Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for insisting that he would not support Jonathan if he decided to contest the 2023 general election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Eze said if Jonathan allowed himself to be fooled by those luring him, he would face the worst political defeat in 2023.

He advised Jonathan not to allow himself to be used as an object of division and tension in the country, appealing to him to continue to enjoy his 2015 feat, which earned him an international figure.

By Jide Orintunsin, Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja; Mike Odiegwu, THE NATION

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Anambra election: IPOB sit-at-home, insecurity threaten exercise as citizens lose faith in govt’s protection

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Close to two months after the Indigenous People of Biafra announced that it has suspended the weekly sit-at-home exercise for every Monday, the entire South East zone has continued to observe the exercise, leading to what the group describes as ghost Monday on a weekly basis.

IPOB in a message through its spokesperson, Mr. Emma Powerful had said that it decided to suspend the exercise because of the plea of the people, who were complaining of the dwindling fortunes of the South East economically, because of the exercise.

The group said the suspension of the exercise would also help senior secondary students of the zone to sit for the West African School Certificate Exams (WASCE), and other artisans who survive through daily work would also be able to meet up with their activities. It said the only days the exercise would hold would be days that its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu would be taken to court.

But curiously, despite the suspension, states in the South East zone, including Anambra have continued to observe the exercise. Curiously too, people, suspected to be members of the group have always gone out to enforce compliance to the exercise every Monday to the extent of killing, maiming and destroying property, even as IPOB has dissociated itself from it.

Many believe that the compliance this time is rather out of fear than of one’s volition, because of the violence that has recently been registered in the area.

As the Anambra governorship election draws near, with the seriousness with which orders from the group are taken, analysts believe that if the group decides to go the way it went in the 2017 governorship election, by announcing a – no referendum, no election – stance, it may ultimately achieve its aim.

In the last two weeks, despite the usual sit-at-home on Mondays, the group had announced that on Thursday of the previous week, and the Tuesday of this week would also be sit-at-home days. Despite announcements by various state governments in the South East to dissuade people from observing the event, it was observed that the compliance was high, thereby scuttling the economic activities in the zone.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State had before the exercise held a meeting with heads of banks in Anambra State and markets, urging them to ensure they open for business. Obiano said there would be sanction for banks and markets that fail to conduct activities on sit-at-home days. The governor also went out to ensure compliance, and DAILY POST observed that in some banks where the governor visited, they opened for business and after the visit, they quickly shut their gates against customers, for fear of attack.

While the governor was last Monday trying to enforce compliance with his order for businesses to open at Eke Awka and banks around the Ukwu Oji area, banks in other parts of Awka and other parts if the state were securely locked up, to avoid attacks.

On Tuesday, just a day after the governor went round to ensure compliance; banks and markets and other businesses in the state securely locked their gates, in observance of a sit-at-home order by IPOB, to commemorate the invasion of Kanu’s home on 14th September, 2017 by the military.

The near breakdown of security in the zone now seems to empower the group to incessantly declare sit-at-home exercises at will. A lawyer, Mr Ekene Obi who spoke to DAILY POST about the incessant declaration of Sit-at-home exercises and the near total compliance it registers each time said, “This is happening because people are afraid. How can government give order for the people to come out and do their business, and people will refuse to obey, instead they will obey a group that has already rescinded its own decision on sit-at+home?

“It is because there is no longer trust on the part of the government. They are telling people to come out, but they cannot secure the people. This week Monday and Tuesday, do you know the number of casualties that were registered? What has the government done to avenge the lives of those who were killed, or replace the property of those whose buses and motorcycles were burnt, since they were obeying government directive by coming out.

“Let me tell you, these days, even churches announce it to their members and they tell them to stay at home if there is any announcement for a sit- at-home, because they believe that government cannot protect. If for any reason a rumour flies around that some people, not even IPOB declare a sit-at-home on the day of the Anambra governorship election, I tell you, people will obey, because the security situation now is not the same as what we had in 2017, when people ignored the – no referendum, no election – mantra to go and vote.”

Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also disclosed that their job for the Anambra governorship election is being affected by the number of days there have been sit-at-home exercises. The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Anambra, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji stated this in a press interview, during a workshop by the EMSC Amber Zone Implementers, organized by the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES).

Orji said the commission has launched a dashboard for the Anambra governorship election, billed to hold on November 6, and that the dashboard already has all activities of the commission for the election. “The dashboard will remind us ahead of time of the things we have to do in the nearest future, what we should do that we have not done, and things like that.

“Already, we have factored in the incessant sit-at-home exercises into our schedule. The exercise has been eating up into our time, and putting pressure on our work, but we have been adjusting to ensure we meet up with our schedule. For now, I can say that all arrangements are going on well, and we hope that it will continue to be so,” Orji said.

Though there have not been any indication that the election may be disrupted, there is the belief that once the INEC gears its mind to conduct the election, the security agencies should be able to also provide marching power to ensure safety of the people for the election to hold.

Speaking in an earlier interview, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof Chukwuma Soludo had stated that there is no reason why the Anambra election should not hold. He said: “Elections have held in terrorists ravaged areas of the north, so why won’t it hold here. It is even made easier by the fact that the Anambra election is a one-state election, so all attention, especially of the security forces can be focused here.”

As the November 6 date for the election draws close, there is,however, no indication that the election would not hold, as parties and their candidates continue to strategize on how they can win the election.

The special adviser to the chairman of INEC, Mr Mohammed Kuna has, however, reinforced the assurance that everything about the Anambra governorship election is on course. “So far, there is nothing the commission has set out to achieve that it has not achieved, so, despite the incessant sit-at-home protest, we are hopeful that nothing would stop the election.”

Joe Chukindi, Daily Post Online

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Umahi: Fani-Kayode lied — he wasn’t instrumental in my defection to APC

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David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, says Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, was not instrumental in his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The former minister, on rejoining the APC on Thursday, said he was instrumental in the defection of three Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors to the APC.

He listed Umahi of Ebonyi state; Ben Ayade of Cross River, and Bello Matawalle of Zamfara as the governors he helped facilitate their defection to the APC.

Umahi had joined the ruling party in 2020, citing “injustice” done to the south-east by the PDP as the reason for his defection.

But speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Friday, Umahi said Fani-Kayode played no role in his movement to the APC, and so he must withdraw the “insulting” statement.

He said he had moved to the APC to bridge the gap between the people of the south-east and the federal government.

Umahi also said though he is still a good friend of Fani-Kayode, he is certain that the former minister never played a role in the defection of any governor, including himself to the ruling party.

“I think he needs to withdraw that statement, he’s my good friend but it was an insult to my person and the other governors,” he said.

“The man did not know when I moved but he incidentally visited me and he said he’s coming to join me with the other governors to declare. How would someone in the PDP be instrumental in my moving. A whole governor of a state, not even a small governor, an experienced one.

“He has to withdraw his statement. He was never part of any discussion of my movement. I moved south-east to the centre of administration. I moved to close the gap between the centre and south-east, which our forefathers like Nnamdi Azikwe fought for.

“For somebody to say that he’s instrumental to the movement of a whole chairman of south-east governors forum is a bit of an insult to my person. And with all due respect, he has to withdraw that statement.

“He remains my friend, a good one for that matter but he played no role in my movement and I’m sure he played no role in the movement of the rest of the governors.”

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