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APC, PDP attack Jega over rejection advice to electorate

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The All Progressives Congress and opposition Peoples Democratic Party have come hard on erstwhile Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, for advising the electorate to reject both parties in the next general elections in 2023.
While the APC warned Jega to desist from attacking the party as part of his schemes to polish his political career, the PDP said comparing the party with the APC was a big disservice to the nation.
Jega, in an interview with BBC Hausa, warned Nigerians against reelecting the PDP and APC into office in subsequent elections, citing their alleged failure to bring development to the country in the past 20 years.
While the PDP ruled the country from 1999 till 2015, the ruling APC took over power in 2015.
In a statement on Monday, Kola Ologbondiyan, national publicity secretary of the PDP, described the comparison by the former INEC boss as unpardonable disservice to Nigeria.
“Trying to compare the incompetent and decadent APC to the highly productive and development-oriented PDP is an unpardonable disservice to our nation and calls to question the sense of judgment of Professor Jega,” Ologbondiyan said.
“It is indeed unfortunate that Prof. Jega, as a professor of political science, could portray an ignorance of the manifest contrasts between the robust fortunes of our nation under the PDP and the wasteland she has become under the APC.
“Perhaps the Professor needs to be reminded of how the PDP worked hard to revamp our nation’s economy, paid off our huge foreign debts and went ahead to grow the economy to become the largest investment hub in Africa as well as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with Fitch B+ rating; only for the APC to wreck the economy and turned our nation into the world poverty capital and a debtor country in a space of six years.
“Prof. Jega must also be reminded how the PDP reinvigorated the private sector with new businesses and employments springing up in critical sectors of telecoms, aviation, agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas, education, retailing, hospitality, healthcare and banking among others.
“Today, under the APC and Buhari, these gains have been wrecked with massive closure of businesses, which saw over 60 million Nigerians losing their means of livelihood, with alarming 33.3 percent unemployment rate and over 82.9 million more and about 25 million families not being able to afford their daily meals as our country ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index, due to the obnoxious policies of the APC and President Buhari.”
The PDP national publicity secretary added that the PDP stabilised the economy, but the APC wrecked it.
“We invite Professor Jega to note how the PDP ran an all-inclusive and transparent administration that guaranteed freedom of speech, equity, fairness as well as free and fair elections, which he attested to; and how the APC, had been running a massively corrupt, insensitive, divisive and exclusionist administration that has destroyed our national cohesion and turned our nation into a battle field,” he said.
“As professor of political science, Prof. Jega ought to know that while the PDP is an ideologically based political party, the APC is just a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) operated on the basis of deception and that is why it has failed in all ramification and now fizzled in the eyes of the law.”
Ologbondiyan added that Nigerians are already coming to terms with the “failure” of the APC and would hesitate to vote the ruling party in 2023.
The APC in its statement signed by the National Secretary of its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said, “Our attention has been drawn to an uncontrolled, wrong and untenable political outburst by a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega in which he lumped the All Progressives Congress (APC), together with the failed People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“While the PDP failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians as a government and opposition party, the APC is thriving, healthy and assiduously cleaning the massive mess left behind by the PDP which failed to deliver democratic dividends to the people of Nigeria after being in charge of the country for 16 years.
“While Professor Jega is right about the PDP, a party under which he served as the Chairman of the nation’s election management body, we reject his comparison of the APC with the PDP.
“Professor Jega got his facts wrong and mixed up in his baseless comparison of the PDP with the APC.

“While we do not intend to join issues with Professor Jega, we encourage him to engage in genuine scholarly research and come up with evidence-based conclusions on the progressive orientation of the APC.
“It is however instructive to note that having recently abandoned his academic pursuit and blindly plunged into the arena of PDP’s brand of politics, the erstwhile electoral umpire as a politician can make such political statements occasionally while trying to launch his political career in a mushroom political party.
“The APC is a strong, united, popular and focused political unit. Hence, the Professor should note the political lesson that maligning the APC would not provide him with a springboard to achieve his desires. Nigerians are wiser and remain the ultimate judges.”

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Anxiety over plans to truncate inauguration of NDDC board

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A group in the Niger Delta region has claimed that some people are desperately working to truncate the inauguration of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) raised the alarm yesterday in a statement made available to The Nation.

It would be recalled that the upper legislative chamber on 5th November 2019 screened and cleared 14 of the 15 nominees to the board of the NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But their inauguration was put on hold to allow for the completion of the comprehensive forensic audit of the Commission.

The report of the audit has since been submitted to the President on 2 September 2021.

Two weeks after submission and no talks of inauguration of members of the boards of the Commission, tongues have started wagging over plans by some powerful persons working to maintain the status quo.

The Commission has been under the control of a Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa since December 2020.

Reacting to the rumour, the group stressed that the continuous running of the activities of the Commission by a Sole Administrator is inimical to the representation of the various stakeholders in the region and thus is totally rejected.

The group alleged that those behind the scheme are doing it for their own personal interest and not for the good of the region.

Consequently, the group urges President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency inaugurate members of the board already cleared by the senate to deescalate the agitation already going on over the issue.

The statement which was signed by Mr. Izon Ebi leader of 21st CYNDAC reads: “The 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) have been made aware of the various underhand tactics been employed by political jobbers to truncate the inauguration of the substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.

“As critical stakeholders, we reiterate our stance that any attempt to truncate the inauguration will bid the region and the Commission no good.

“The attempt by these political jobbers to truncate the inauguration is for their political and pecuniary gains and nothing else, of what benefit will it be for the people and the region? Nobody is talking about the prosecution of people found culpable of the decades-long malfeasance, these rogues masquerading as stakeholders are only interested in planting people in the commission as a means of getting their hands on the cookie jar to fund their lifestyle.

“We use these medium to urge Mr. President to keep to his promise of cleaning the NDDC Augean stable by making the NDDC to benefit the people and the region, any attempt to allow fifth columnists to truncate the work of the forensic audit and further delay in inaugurating the substantive board will be of no benefit to the people and the region.

“The palpable restiveness and tension of the youths in the region is already being felt.  We urge Mr. President to do the needful and deescalate the tension and agitations. The 21st CYNDAC therefore use this medium to urge the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to take his redemption mission of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC to its logical conclusion by making sure that the substantive board of the commission is sworn in.

“Words on the street is that the minister is more amenable to running a one man show through the sole administrator vehicle which gives him unilateral power over the running of the Commission,  though the 21st CYNDAC are not in tandem with this submission taking cognisance of the forensic audit of the Commission which is more or less the brainchild of the Honourable Minister,  it behooves on the minister to come clean on his plans for the inauguration so as not to give charlatans an avenue to rubbish his noble objectives about the Commission to downsize the board of the Commission is inimical to the representation of the various stakeholders in the region and thus is totally rejected by the 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience  ( 21st CYNDAC  ) and other stakeholders in the region.”

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2023: PDP governors split over zoning

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Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a fresh crisis is brewing in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which zone should have its presidential ticket.

Since the party was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 to bring its rule for 16 years to an end, it has been struggling to reclaim the presidency without success.

While the opposition party is in the process of holding an elective national convention to elect its new leaders, there are indications that the issue of zoning is tearing it apart.

For months now, there have been severe agitations as to where the presidential ticket of the party should be zoned to, with leaders and chieftains of the party, particularly from the southern part of the country, insisting that the party’s unwritten zoning arrangement be respected and the 2023 presidential ticket zoned exclusively to the South.

It is believed in many quarters that the zoning controversy is at the bottom of the storm that has been the lot of the suspended national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.

His alleged tacit support for a presidential aspirant from the north in spite of the clamour for power shift is believed to have won him several enemies from his home zone.

However, fresh indications have emerged that anti-zoning forces may have devised new plans to forestall the possibility of the party zoning the presidential ticket to the South.

The Nation gathered that an ongoing process towards the election of a new national chairman for the party is brewing suspicion and creating a fresh crisis within it.

Very reliable party sources said the high number of southern PDP chieftains indicating interest in the national chairmanship while no northerner is showing interest has become a source of worry for pro-zoning agitators within the PDP.

It was gathered that some prominent leaders and chieftains of the party, including governors, National Assembly members and Board of Trustees (BoT) members from the southern zones have expressed dissatisfaction with what they described as an attempt to scheme the zones out of contention for the presidential ticket.

It was also gathered that governors elected on the platform of the PDP are now divided over the zoning issue.

The Nation gathered that while some of them are now openly supporting national chairmanship aspirants from the south, others like Governor Seyi Makinde and Udom Emmanuel of Oyo and Akwa Ibom states respectively are warning that the emergence of a southerner in that position may nail any hope of the region getting the presidential ticket.

An ally of the Oyo State governor explained in a chat with our correspondent yesterday that Makinde’s position is based on his understanding of the practice in PDP.

An aide to the governor said: “A look at previous arrangements revealed that the national chairman and the presidential candidate had never emerged from the same region in the past.

“So, our governor, given his commitment to the southern presidency project, is asking his colleagues for a commitment that the chairmanship is not a bait to stop power from shifting to the South in 2023.

“He is not alone in this. There are other governors with him.”

The Nation however gathered that some other governors have recently proposed that the presidential ticket be thrown open for aspirants from all zones of the country to contest for it. “Their major arguments are that the last president the PDP produced is from the South and it may not be easy to defeat the APC with a presidential candidate from the South So, they have a plan to retain the ticket in the north,” a source claimed.

Finding by our correspondent revealed that majority of southern governors are opposed to the new plan by their colleagues from the north. “Though a couple of southern governors are now being convinced to join the anti zoning push, with offers like the vice presidency and other promises, the majority is still unrelenting in the quest for the ticket in 2023,” a party source said.

Determined to send the message clearly to their colleagues, PDP governors in the south have joined their APC colleagues to insist that the next president of the country should come from the South in 2023, in spite of indications that many of their colleagues are plotting to keep the ticket in the north.

“At the recent meeting of southern governors, PDP governors sent a very strong signal to their colleagues from the north and others opposed to zoning when they openly supported and signed the communique insisting on power shift. The implications are that PDP governors are now poised for showdown over the zoning issue,” our source said.

The Nation also gathered that members of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly are also not on the same page on the zoning issue.

Last week, the Southeast caucus of the PDP NASS met and decided that it will not be part of any arrangement that opposes the zoning of the presidential ticket to the South.

The legislators were responding to alleged moves to give the Southwest the national chairmanship in order to keep the presidential ticket in the north.

“Our position is to put it on record that the chairmanship is not the same as the presidential ticket and that those angling for the seat are not doing so on behalf of the entire south,” our source added.

As the drama continues to unfold, prominent chieftains of the party are urging the gladiators to be careful not to cause an implosion within the party. They have also been expressing fears about the chances of the party in the next general election.

A member of the PDP BoT, while speaking on the current crisis, accused some governors of trying to return the party to its troubled era.

He said: “The plot to give the Southwest the chairmanship so as to block the South from the presidential ticket will fail.

“It is an attempt to destroy the PDP and we must be careful. If PDP wants to win in 2023, we must respect zoning and give the South the ticket.

“I commend the governors that are still standing and I am sure they will prevail.”

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Ogun APC crisis: Abiodun, Amosun factions in sharing formula talk

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Strong indications have emerged on Saturday that the two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State may adopt a sharing formula on the party executive members in the wake of the parallel congresses held by the warring groups.

Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, are battling over the control of the party in the state.

The secretary of the APC appeal panel on the local government congress for the state, Chucks Chinwenba, gave the hint while addressing newsmen in Abeokuta.

Chinwenba was, however, silent on how the positions will be shared between the two factions.

“On Friday, we held meeting with the party chairman and the party executive, the idea was to discuss with them and find out if there are complaints.

Anybody who has any reservation should please bury the hatchet, which they have expressed by not sending any petition.

“There is a sharing formula that was made known to us: 60-40 or 80-20. It is working and that is why we have relative peace,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of the appeal panel, Segun Ojo, disclosed that the committee had held “peace meeting” with members of the party.

Daily Trust

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