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Ohanaeze says no going back on Igbo president, rejects PDP no-zoning formula

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  • Zoning will not favour PDP in 2023, says Bauchi gov
  • It’s fair for South to produce next president – Masari

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has rejected the Bala Mohammed-led committee report of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which recommended that the 2023 presidential ticket of the party should be thrown open to all sections of the country.

Governor Mohammed had said zoning the presidential ticket of the party might cause some regions to feel excluded during the 2023 general election.

He spoke during a Channels TV programme on Thursday, stressing that the party would provide a level-playing field for all candidates, and encourage a merit-based process.

“In 2015, we lost because we were so over-confident and there was too much internal wrangling. We lost in the north, even in the states where we had comparative advantage, because of the wrangling that particularly came out of our lack of internal democracy.

“And that is why today, we are saying that we have seen some zones that have not had a shot at the presidency for a long time — the South-East and the North-East. But we’re not yet going to say that the choice of the presidential flag bearer should be left exclusively to those zones. We’ll give a level-playing field because good things are from every part of the country, and we have good hands.

“We are just saying that if we zone completely to those places, there may be some feelings of exclusion. There will be some feelings of even shortchanging Nigerians in terms of presenting the best. The merit-based leadership recruitment that we want to do, is even at the same time, looking at history.”

But Ohanaeze said that the Mohammed-led committee report was capable of impugning the unity of the country and asked for the withdrawal of the report that it described as unconscionable.

The Igbo parent body noted that it was committed to Nigeria producing a President of Igbo extraction in 2023, adding that it would willingly identify with any group that is ready for the bargain.

In a statement, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia said, “Ohanaeze views the report by the Bala Mohammed led committee as most despicable, un-reflective and unconscionable. It is very worrisome that some highly placed Nigerians who have benefited so much from the unity of the country would be inclined to decisions and actions that will further inflame the passions of the patient but aggrieved part of the country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians agreed on the rotation of the presidency between the North and the South; in which case it is the turn of the South after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari. For clarity purposes, both the South West and the South-South had both taken their turns in the persons of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan respectively. It is rather very unpatriotic and a trifle on the sensibilities of the Igbo for the committee to even suggest the rotation of the presidency to the North East in the first instance and open to every part of Nigeria as a major slight.

“It is disturbing that all the indignities, perceived and real, that the South-East suffers in the current dispensation are the outcome of the Igbo support to the PDP since 1999. It is on record that in 1999, the Igbo were in hock with the PDP through which Chief Olusegun Obasanjo emerged the President of Nigeria; same in 2003 and the subsequent elections in Nigeria.

“On the other hand, the Igbo had invested much political capital in the PDP only to be betrayed by its apparent lack of principles. The leadership of the PDP is advised to retract the comment made by Alh Bala Mohammed and countermand the content of the obnoxious committee report in the interest of the party.

“Let it be known that Ndigbo does not wax so eloquent on political parties. The Igbo is bound to advertise the party that caters to the interest of our people. It is instructive that Senator Ali Ndume, a chieftain of the All Peoples Congress (APC) is among the prominent Northerners that canvass for zoning the Nigerian presidency to the South East for the 2023 presidential election. Other prominent APC chieftains are highly committed to the realisation of this project and we will be very delighted to work with them in the overall interest of Ndigbo.

Also speaking on the issue, Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, says it will be in the interest of fairness for a candidate from the southern region to emerge president in the 2023 general election.

Masari stated this during an interview on Channels Television, which was aired on Thursday.

With barely two years to the 2023 elections, there have been speculations on which zone will get the presidential ticket of the two major political parties — All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking on what he thinks would happen after the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, the Katsina governor said the APC has a “bright future” in the country when compared to other parties.

 “With regards to zoning, fair is fair. If you ask me, I would, as a person — Aminu — think we should move the presidency to the southern part of the country,” he said.

When asked which part of the south he prefers, he said “south is south”.

Masari also claimed that no political party has impacted the lives of “ordinary Nigerians” positively through social intervention programmes as the APC has done.

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Restructuring: Umahi recommends six vice-presidents to reduce tension

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Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has recommended a restructuring arrangement with six vice presidents, one from each geo-political zone, to douse the rising “tension” in Nigeria.
He said this in an interview with Channels TV, on Monday, adding that the adoption of six vice-presidents would be a major step towards restructuring the country.
The concept of restructuring has dominated the Nigerian political space, especially at constitution review public forums.
He also urged that more powers should go to states.
“Well, I have a different view about this restructuring thing. My position about restructuring, for example, there are certain valid suggestions that have been made, to have six vice-presidents in the country,” he said.
“Each one is kind of coming from each of the geo-political zones. Tension will go down. This is very important.”
“Now, I will recommend administrative restructuring, which is making sub-national governments to be strengthened — devolving power and responsibilities to sub-national governments; abolishing the local governments,” he added.
Umahi also said President Muhammadu Buhari had done more projects in the South-East than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) achieved in its 16 years in power.
He noted that the rising insecurity in the country is a seed planted during the administration of the PDP.

The governor said, “The insecurity that they used against APC is a seed that was sown in 16 years of PDP administration and so it started germinating, bearing fruit at the time they were still in power,” he said.
“That is why we are suffering now and that is why Mr president is doing everything to solve it.
“Mr president has done more projects in the south-east, than we had in 16 years of PDP.”

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Anambra election: APGA clears Soludo, three others, disqualified five

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Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo, and three others have been cleared to contest the governorship primary election of the All Progressive Grand Alliance on June 23.
The APGA screening committee of prospective governorship aspirants, which cleared for the primary election, also disqualified five others for different reasons.
The decision of the party screening committee was contained in its resolution signed by the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Ifeanyi Mbaeri.
Those disqualified include a former Special Advisor on Technical Matters to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Nwankpo Sullivan Akachukwu; and member representing Aguata Federal Constituency, Chuma Umeoji.
The decision of the screening committee will have to be endorsed by the National Working Committee of the party, in term of eligibility of prospective aspirants to contest the Anambra governorship primary of the party.
According to APGA, the party primary will hold on 23rd of June in line with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) time table for party primaries.

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N’Assembly to conclude constitution review next month

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The National Assembly will conclude ongoing constitutional review next month and pass the bill for the alteration of 1999 Constitution before proceeding on annual break in July.

Towards the early passage of the bill, the National Assembly committees working on the bill will conclude their assignments and present the bill for clause-by-clause consideration before the lawmakers proceed on annual recess in July.

Already, the constitution review committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives are collating reports from the zonal public hearings held last month across the six geo-political zones.

The Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review, headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and that of the House of Representatives, headed by Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase, had in May held public hearings in 12 cities, at the rate of two per each of the six geo-political zones.

THISDAY findings revealed that the outcome of the zonal public hearings are to be put together by the committee members with the assistance of consultants engaged for the exercise.

A senator from the North-central geo-political zone and member of the Constitution Review Committee told THISDAY on condition of anonymity that the collation of the aggregate views at the zonal hearings will be worked on at a retreat to be held shortly for the committee members to take a holistic look at the presentations at the public hearings before putting them together into a draft bill for presentation to the federal lawmakers by July.

He said: “Our committee, which is also in liaison with the House committee, will any time from now go into a retreat to look at all the submissions at the public hearings and put them in a draft form for the Senate to consider and ensure clause-by-clause consideration before going on recess next month.”

He listed 16 thematic areas, which will be the guide of the committee while preparing its report to include gender equality for women and girls, federal structure and power devolution, local government and its autonomy, public revenue, fiscal federalism and revenue allocation, Nigerian police and Nigerian security architecture as well as comprehensive judicial reforms, electoral reforms and socio-economic and cultural rights as contained in Chapter 2 of the constitution.

He listed other areas as strengthening the independence of oversight institutions and agencies created by the constitution or pursuant to an act of the National Assembly, residency and indigene provisions, immunity, National Assembly and state and local government creation, FCT administration, the legislature and legislative bureaucracy and constitutional role for traditional rulers.

He expressed optimism that the bill will be ready for clause-by-clause consideration by the Senate at plenary before proceeding on its annual vacation in July.

The senator also stated that after the clause-by-clause consideration by the Senate and harmonisation with the House of Representatives, all those clauses that get through will be sent to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for consideration and approval.

According to him, two-thirds of the Houses of Assembly, which is 24 states, must concur with the position of the National Assembly after which the bill will come back to the National Assembly for further legislative action.

He said: “Once we scale that hurdle, the bill will now be properly vetted to confirm the clauses that made the threshold after which it will be sent to the executive for assent.”

According to him, the current constitution amendment process will see the light of the day as both the executive and the state governments are being carried along in all the moves by the legislative arm to further amend the constitution.

He said: “Let us keep hope alive that the process of amending the constitution, which is now at its peak, will turn out well as I know that the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly is carrying along the executive arm as well as the state on what we are doing to further amend the 1999 Constitution.”

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