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2023 Presidency: Igbo candidate can’t be trusted, says APC chieftain Igbokwe

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All Progressives Congress chieftain, Joe Igbokwe, says an Igbo candidate cannot be trusted in the 2023 presidential election.

According to him, nobody is going to vote for people who would use the same position to divide Nigeria.

Igbokwe, who is an aide to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stated this in a PUNCH Live interview on Thursday.

He said the South-East geopolitical zone has indeed suffered “injustices”, adding that in “everything we share in this country, we get the least.”

He, therefore, urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to facilitate the creation of one more state to make states in the South-East six like other geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

States currently in the zone are Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi.

Speaking on the PUNCH Live programme, the politician, however, noted that despite the “injustices”, violent agitations and killings were not the way to press for justice, equity and fairness.

‘IPOB supports PDP, started agitation after 2015 elections’

Igbokwe lambasted members of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and other secessionists in the South-East geopolitical zone, saying they are going about their agitation in a wrong manner.

He alleged that IPOB members are supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, adding that the secessionists began agitations to leave the Nigerian entity after the PDP lost the 2015 presidential election.

The party stalwart said that only the PDP is currently campaigning in Anambra ahead of the November 6 governorship poll while other parties are allegedly being attacked.

He knocked Igbo leaders who are thirsty for the zone to produce a President in 2023, saying they should wake up and do the politicking and make friends in the other five geopolitical zones to achieve their goal.

As the 2023 general elections draw nearer, there have been intense political posturing, permutations and fireworks, especially as the eight-year regime of Buhari, who is from Katsina State, winds down.

The clamour for an Igbo President has since resonated with some 18 months to the general elections. Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has been consistent in its demand for an Igbo President in 2023.

The 17 Southern Governors had also met twice in the year and demanded power shift to their region while the 19 Northern Governors also met last week, opposing such move and noting that the candidate with the highest votes will emerge as President in the next general elections.

‘Igbo people must drop secession agitation to be considered for serious national posts’

Asked whether the agitation by IPOB and the other secessionists in the South-East would be laid to rest should the zone produce a President in 2023, Igbokew said it is not by force that the next Nigerian leader emerges from the zone.

He said Igbo politicians should do the work if they so desperately want the next Presidency, adding that Igbo people must drop Biafra agitation to be considered for serious national offices.

The 65-year-old Anambra indigene said, “If you want other Nigerians to vote for you, then you have to count how many bridges that you have built; bridges of understanding, bridges of communication, bridges of friendship.

 “I want to see your bridges and you want them to vote for you? Nobody is going to vote for somebody who will use that position to divide Nigeria.

“You cannot be talking about secession and talking about producing the President of Nigeria. We need to settle the issue first; we need to say, ‘Look, we have given up this demand for Biafra, grant us justice’.

“Today, Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) is in the saddle. How did Buhari become the President of Nigeria? It was Asiwaju that wooed him in 2013 with Tony Momoh, with Baba Akande and they went to Daura to meet Buhari.

“They said, ‘Look, you scored 11 million votes in 2003, 11 million votes in 2007, 12 million votes in 2011. If I pull South-West, you will get 17 million votes and you will become President.

Punch

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Kano APC crisis: Tinubu to meet Ganduje as feud threatens 2023 ‘ambition’

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National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje

In a move to save his presidential ambition, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is set to meet Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje over the crisis rocking the party in Kano State.

Tinubu had on Sunday met with Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, whose camp has been having a running battle with Ganduje over the control of the party structures in the state.

The former Lagos State governor singled out the leaders of the warring factions in Kano for reconciliation at a time when the just concluded congresses of the party had triggered a crisis in 13 states.

The meeting between Tinubu and Shekarau had raised dust in Kano, regarded as the votes’ bank of the ruling party.

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The congresses had polarised APC in the state into two with the governor’s camp being chaired by Abdullahi Abbas while Shekarau’s faction has Ahmadu Haruna Danzago as chairman.

The crisis reached its crescendo last Tuesday when an FCT high court gave a judgement upholding the parallel congress held by the Shekarau-led faction and voided the Governor Ganduje faction.

The battle between the camps assumed a violent posture on Thursday when thugs torched the campaign office of Senator Jibrin I. Barau. A petition has since been written to the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, indicting top shots in the governor’s camp including its chairman.

The camp loyal to Governor Ganduje led by Abbas had denied sponsoring the attacks.

Why Tinubu wants Kano crisis resolved

A stalwart of the party told Daily Trust that Tinubu waded into the matter as part of plans to advance his yet to be declared presidential ambition. The former Lagos State governor has been romancing with Ganduje since after the 2019 general elections.

Tinubu had last month visited an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, in Kano, where he sought for the northern leader’s support towards the actualisation of his presidential ambition. Previously, clerics in Kano State had endorsed Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

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The source said internal wrangling rocking the party in Kano State would affect Tinubu’s ambition, hence his intervention.

“Tinubu’s interest in all of these is the number of votes that can come from Kano. A good politician cannot play with the number of votes from the state. Lagos and Kano are central to any politician’s presidential ambition. Combined votes from the two states are over two million and that is why Kano was determinant of the 2015 and 2019 elections,” the source who is close to Ganduje and Shekarau said, pleading not to be named.

Another source said power brokers in the APC including a section at the centre and some governors who are allegedly averse to the Tinubu’s presidential ambition, are fuelling the feud.

“You know some powerful personalities in Abuja have reservations on Tinubu’s presidential ambition, thus they see this as an opportunity to advance their course by decimating the camp of Ganduje,” the source said.

The upcoming meeting between Asiwaju and Ganduje

Contacted, the Kano State Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba, said Governor Ganduje was also invited by the national leader of the party for the peace parley.

In a phone interview, he said; “Tinubu invited the two groups, both Malam Shekarau and Kano State governor to the reconciliation meeting. Asiwaju decided to hear from Malam first and subsequently hear from the governor and if there is any reason for reconciliation, then they take it from there.

“If you look at it politically and historically, there is always a contest or struggle for power after a second term. It happens during Shekarau and Kwankwaso.

“But at the end of the day, whether they are reconciled or not, the election will be conducted and Allah decides whoever emerges as governor, senator and what have you.”

Also Monday, the Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Lawan Musa, told Daily Trust that a notice of appeal has been filed against last week’s judgment that recognised the ward congress of Shekarau’s faction.

He added that they have also filed a motion for stay of execution and other motions, which he said they believe will tilt the tide in their favour.

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Shekarau met Asiwaju without our consent – G-7 sources

Sources in the camp told our reporters that Shekarau went to the meeting without the blessing of other members of his camp.

Operating under the G-7, the Shekarau’s camp has Senator Barau (Kano North), Rep  Shaaban Sharada, Nasiru Auduwa, Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, Haruna Isa Dederi, among others as key members.

One of the sources said the former governor was yet to brief them on the outcome of his meeting with the APC national leader.

“As far as we are concerned, the meeting was personal and not for our group because he went there without our permission and since he returned, nobody has been briefed.

“What I can tell you is that nobody can handover Kano to anyone come 2023. The state is bigger than anybody,” one of the sources said.

He emphasized that the crisis rocking the APC in Kano was “to solely free the party and open it up to all in the state. As it is now, many people are being side-lined. They are practicing politics of exclusivity and it is not good for our democracy”.

Another source said they would meet today. “There is the possibility of asking Shekarau to tell the world that he went to Lagos on his own,” he said.

A member of the Governor Ganduje faction, Engineer Ramat Ungogo, said the meeting was a sign that the governor’s side is winning in the ongoing crisis.

Ungogo, who is the Chairman of Ungogo LGA, said if Tinubu had invited Ganduje, it would have been interpreted as though “father and son are combining to deal with Shekarau”.

Tinubu’s media aide, Mr Tunde Rahman, pledged to call our correspondent when his comment was sought on why his boss was interested in Kano.

He was yet to call up till the time of going to press last night.

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Ganduje’s faction authentic – APC

The national leadership of the APC yesterday insisted that the congresses attended by its delegation were authentic.  The party also said it was yet to receive and study the recent High Court judgment recognising Shekarau’s faction as legitimate in the state.

Speaking with newsmen on Monday in Abuja, Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, said the party did not send parallel state congress committees to the state.

“We are responsible leaders of the party and we won’t like to comment on a judgment that we haven’t seen.

“All I can tell you now is that we are going to apply for a certified true copy of the judgment. We haven’t seen it. We need to study the judgement. 

“We didn’t give letters to two committees! How could we have done that? We won’t put fire in our own house. We know the people we gave the official letter to go to Kano and conduct the official assignment. That is the team we will accord recognition to,” he said.

In a separate interview, Barrister Auwal Ibrahim, who led the team that conducted the congress which produced the displaced Abdullahi Abass as chairman, told newsmen that the congress attended by Governor Ganduje was the authentic congresses.

There was no comment from Shekarau’s camp as the number of his media aide, Dr Sule Ya’u Sule was not going through.

Daily Trust

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Court fixes date for judgment in suit challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest presidency

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed Feb. 21, 2022, for judgment in a suit seeking to challenge former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s eligibility to vie for the office of the president.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date after taking arguments from counsel to the parties in the suit.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a group, an Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 had sued Atiku, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st to 4th respondents respectively

EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for presidency on the grounds that he was not a Nigerian citizen by birth.

The group asked the court to hold, among others, that considering the provisions of  Sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding the former vice president’s birth, he cannot contest for the top office.

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NAN also reports that the Adamawa State Government, through its Attorney-General (AG), had, on July 27, sought an order of the court to be joined in the suit.

The court, in the motion dated April 26 and filed June 24, granted the prayer of the AG of Adamawa to be joined in the case as 5th defendant.

The Adamawa government had told the court that Atiku was eligible to vie for the office of the president.

It said Atiku, against whom the suit was primarily directed, is a citizen of Nigeria from Adamawa who had been elected as a governor of the state in 1999 and served as the vice president of the country between 1999  to 2007.

It stated that the suit threatened the right of not just the ex-vice president to contest the office of the president “but that of the citizens of Nigeria,  of Adamawa origin covering 12 out of the 21 Local Government Areas in the state.”

When the matter was called on Monday, Counsel to the plaintiff, Akinola Oladimeji, informed that the matter was slated for hearing of his originating summons.

“We have amended originating summons in response to 1st to 5th defendants counter affidavits,” he said.

Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, who appeared for Atiku (1st defendant), said a notice of preliminary objection was filed.

Jegede, after withdrawing two motions earlier filed, one of which challenged the jurisdiction of court, urged the court to dismiss the plaintiff application.

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He argued that a previous case relied upon by the applicant in filing the suit did not relate with the matter at hand.

The senior lawyer also argued that the matter was already stale as it was tied to 2019 election, in which his client vied for the election, challenged the poll and was unsuccessful.

 He said this defined the futility of the plaintiff case.

Corroborating Jegede’s submission, counsel to the 2nd defendant (PDP), Adedamola Falokun, said he also filed a notice of preliminary objection.

He described the matter as a preelection matter, urging the court not to waste its time on it.

“I stand in alignment with the learner SAN that this matter is stale.

“They filed this before 2019 election that  the 1st defendant (Atiku) should not be cleared.

“The 1st defendant had been cleared, he contested and lost in the election. And you are still talking about 2019 when we are in 2021 and in few days, we will be in 2022,” he said.

The lawyer argued that there was no single line in the plaintiff application that specifically stated on good ground why Atiku could be debarred from being cleared from contesting election.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit with punitive cost against the plaintiff.

Also lawyers to the 4th (AGF) and 5th (AG of Adamawa) defendants also presented their arguments in the matter.

The plaintiff lawyer, Oladimeji, disagreed with counsel to the defendants.

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He said the suit sought to know the citizenship of Atiku.

He clarified that the suit was not a preelection one.

“For the purposes of clarity, a preelection matter is filed by an aspirant in an election.

“The plaintiff is not an aspirant, it is only seeking an interpretation into the questions raised,” he said.

Oladimeji argued that even though Atiku was said to have been born in Nigeria, he was not a Nigerian citizen.

He stated that for the fact that the mistake had, been done in time past did not mean that this should continue.

He said the interest of the group was for the court to interpret the constitution within the ambit of the law.

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Feb. 21, for judgment.

The Eagle

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Presidency: It’s too late to kneel and beg – Shettima replies Ezeife

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National President, AYCF, Yerima Shettima

The president of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, Yerima Shettima has said that 2023 might be too late for the Southeast to produce Nigeria’s president.

Shettima said the Southeast should look beyond 2023 because the next two years might be too late to produce the country’s president.

The Arewa youth leader who spoke to DAILY POST was reacting to the remark by former Anambra State Governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife on 2023 presidency.

Ezeife had said the Southeast was ready to kneel and beg other regions to support the 2023 presidential ambition of the Southeast.

But Shettima said Nigerians can’t be fooled by Ezeife’s sudden turn around because he has been anti-North for the past 20 years.

The AYCF National President said the Southeast should start engaging and lobbying other regions of the country beyond the 2023 election.

He, however, cautioned the region against allowing people like pro-Biafra agitator, Nnamdi Kanu to champion their cause for presidency.

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Asked to comment on Ezeife’s claim of the Southeast’s preparedness to kneel and prostrate to beg for the presidency, Shettima said: “It’s not enough at this injury time, after he has spent years being anti-North. Ezeife that I know for about 20 years has been anti-North, recently he turned out to be anti-Nigeria, anti-Buhari, and about one year to the election, he now somersaulted and became a repentant person, nobody is a fool. Moreover, he is not alone in all of these.

“Some of their utterances do not in any way promote national unity. Now if the likes of him suddenly somersaulted and say even if it takes them to kneel down, they would. We all know that this kneeling down is not the same kneeling down we all know; we are not fools.

“We don’t have problem with an Igbo man becoming a president but they should do the needful and not under this circumstances of abuses, threats, and intimidations.

“For me, kneeling down would not be enough, they need to heal the injury and go through the processes, so that it would serve as a deterrent to other Nigerians that you can’t eat your cake and have it, it’s not done anywhere.

“When the Southeast were busy abusing the sensibility of Nigerian while believing that they have one of theirs who will use his primitive attitude of intimidation to get their way, they should have realized that it won’t take them anywhere. The attitude of this their so-called hero under detention (Nnamdi Kanu) is a clear indication that they are not very much enlightened and exposed. I expect them to be more exposed not to allow such a person speak on their behalf believing that he is a champion that can give them the presidency on the platter of gold.

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“For me, it’s a good thing that the likes of them have decided to realize that intimidation, blackmail, and harassment can’t give them the Presidency, so they should continue doing and sustaining the tempo by pleading with Nigerians to forgive them for their utterances and abuse of our sensibility as a people. They should retract all the mess they have done to this country, so that at the end of the day; we can have a common front.

“The Southeast are also Nigerians but they must understand that politics is about understanding, negotiating; but not by intimidation in a very primitive form by this their so-called champion who talks and barks like a dog.

“Knowing that he can’t help them achieve the presidency, some of them are saying they are ready to beg; but we are not saying they should kneel and beg, but do the needful by reaching out, engage people so as to build trust and confidence in people.

“All the Southeast need now is confidence building, they should go across board and convince Nigerians that they are prepared. 2023 might be too late for them to do anything, maybe; they should look at the future which is the truth of the matter.

“And in the future, they should not allow somebody with bad attitude to come out and speak for them. That primitive attitude does not sell anymore, violence does not sell anybody anymore. We should be more mature and civil in our approaches so that we can build a country of our dreams where we can all be proud. Nobody wants the country to break and if we all understand this, it will be better for us than going separately.”

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