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2023: PDP can win without Wike, Atiku tells party’s BoT

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Nyesom Wike and Atiku Abubakar
  • ‘Buhari lost Rivers yet won in 2015, 2019’

  • Runner-up raises posers at meeting with candidate

The dust over the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the choice of Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate by its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has not settled.

Although Atiku and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike met yesterday in Abuja at the instance of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), led by Senator Walid Jibrin, a source said it did not lead to a truce.

The meeting was hosted by former Information and Culture Minister Prof. Jerry Gana at his residence.

At a meeting with BoT members on Wednesday, Atiku boasted that PDP can win next year’s election without many votes from Rivers State.

He said there was no cause for alarm if Wike did not want to fall in line with him.

Exuding confidence, Atiku recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, who did not win Rivers State, relied on votes from Lagos, Kano and other strategic states to win the 2019 presidential poll.

He also said PDP ran into crisis because Wike allegedly monetised the presidential primary.

Wike, who was privy to what transpired at the BOT meeting, was said to have complained about Atiku’s recent comment about him.

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A source said: “Wike joined issues with Atiku over his recent comments or pronouncements at the second meeting.

“He asked Atiku some questions:

  • ”Did I tell you I want to be the next Minister of Petroleum Resources?
  • ”Have I not been a minister before?
  • ”Do you control Lagos and Kano, like President Muhammadu Buhari, if you don’t need Rivers?
  • ”Have I asked for anything to support you?”

Atiku responded with “no” to most of the questions.

“Throughout the meeting, Wike was busy with posers to clear some impressions from Atiku’s camp in public space. Obviously, he was uncomfortable with some comments attributed to Atiku and some of his strategists.

“But the presidential candidate of the PDP was calm in managing the situation.”

Sources said Atiku and Wike had been engaged in a hide and seek game over a session with the BoT.

However, BoT members have consistently pleaded with Atiku to reconcile with the Rivers governor.

Although the two leaders got invitation letters from the board, none of them was interested in a face-to-face meeting before yesterday.

Atiku and Wike had resorted to bitter verbal exchanges and name-calling in the media in the past few weeks.

Their loyalists had also picked the gauntlet, with the two camps launching media attacks against each other, leading to a gradual alienation of Wike and his loyalists by the PDP leadership.

The BoT had waded in on Wednesday, with the setting up of a reconciliation committee headed by Senator Jibrin.

It was also gathered that party stakeholders will empanel another committee comprising nominees from the Atiku and Wike camps to resolve the differences.

It was also learnt that whatever the committee agreed upon would be tabled before a larger meeting of stakeholders for approval and ratification.

“One takeaway from the meeting is that supporters of Atiku and Wike must stop the media war with immediate effect,” a party source said.

Worried by the protracted rift, BoT members had on Wednesday met with Atiku in Abuja behind closed doors.

A member of the BoT said: “When the two leaders did not honour our invitation, we decided to meet with Atiku on Wednesday. We will still have an audience with Governor Wike. Our main interest is to keep the party united before we start the campaign.

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“Atiku took time to explain to us how he is ready to work with all party leaders and governors to enable PDP to regain power in 2023.

“He said since 1993, he has desired to contest and win the nation’s presidency without bitterness. He then asked: “‘How can a first-time presidential aspirant be so bitter for losing the primary? What of President Muhammadu Buhari who contested four times for the office?’

“Atiku also revisited the primary and how it was heavily monetised by Wike, but he said he still won.

“He urged the BoT members to prevail on Wike to work with him and others for the success of the party.

“He said otherwise, he will go ahead with the campaign without Wike and his team.

“He also said there are other PDP leaders from Rivers State who have bought into his candidacy, including Abiye Sekibo, ex-Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, Sen. Lee Maeba and others.”

The source quoted Atiku as telling the BoT members that “if Wike does not want to fall in line, we will go ahead with our campaign. One man alone does not make a state. Some PDP elders in the state are solidly with us.”

He added: “After all, President Buhari won the presidential election without many votes from Rivers State. He lost Rivers and still became the nation’s President after winning in Lagos, Kano and other strategic states.”

The BOT members, however, pleaded with Atiku to “allow more interventions to have a united campaign structure for the party’s victory.”

But Wike flew into Abuja yesterday afternoon to hold a session with his strategists before storming Gana’s residence.

But a source close to Wike’s camp said it was wrong to have accused Wike of monetising the presidential primary of the party.

He added: “We got to know all that transpired between Atiku and the BoT members. Wike did not monetise the PDP primary. Maybe, the Atiku group did. We don’t know what he is saying.”

The source said Wike rallied his friends, supporters and associates to boost the campaign of the PDP’s candidate with a huge amount in 2019.

“Wike has been a party man and he has never wavered in his commitment to his party’s return to power in 2023.

“If he did it for Atiku in 2019, he will do the same this time around.”

THE NATION

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Court to hear ‘certificate forgery’ suit against Tinubu Sept 7

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A federal high court in Abuja has fixed September 7 for the hearing in a suit seeking the disqualification of the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, from contesting in the 2023 elections.

The plaintiffs, four APC chieftains, are asking the court to rule that Tinubu is ineligible to run for president in the 2023 presidential election as the party’s candidate because he allegedly submitted false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a 33-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by one Ibiang Miko Ibiang, the plaintiffs averred that Tinubu falsely swore to an affidavit in 1999 in which he claimed to have attended St Paul Aroloya Children Home School, Ibadan -1958-64, and Government College, Ibadan -1965-68 and presented the same to INEC.

Tlaintiffs said the deposition was untrue. They claimed in his INEC form for the 2023 elections that Tinubu refused to include any information about his primary and secondary schools in order to hide the alleged false information he gave INEC.

The plaintiffs are praying the court to determine “Whether having regard to the provision of sections 1 (3); 4(1)and 2; 14(1),(2)(a), and (c)and 42(1)(a)and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the provision of section 29(5)of the Electoral Act, 2022 as enacted by the 4th defendant which modified the provision section 31(5) of the Electoral Act,2010(as amended) is not ultra vires the 4th Defendant and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatever.

“Whether having regard to the decision of the supreme court in the case Modibbo Vs Usman (2020) 3 NWLR(PT.1712)470 and the provision of section 137(1)(j) the 3rd defendant has not presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the 1st defendant and thereby disqualified from participating in the forthcoming 2023 presidential general election,” they said.

Upon the favourable determination of the questions, the plaintiffs are asking for “a declaration that the 3rd defendant (Tinubu) has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the purpose of seeking to be elected into the office of president of the federal republic of Nigeria”.

“A declaration that the 3rd defendant stands disqualified from participating in the 2023 presidential election as a candidate of the 2nd defendant has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the purpose of seeking to be elected into the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

“An order disqualifying the 3rd Defendant from contesting or participating in the forthcoming 2023 presidential general election as a candidate of the 2nd defendant.

Ruling on an ex parte application, Ahmed Mohammed, the judge, granted an order for substituted service on Tinubu after the plaintiffs’ counsel, Goddy Uche, told the court that substituted service has become necessary because all attempts to serve the presidential candidate proved abortive.

The court ordered that court processes should be served on the national secretariat of the APC and that such service shall be deemed as having been properly served on Tinubu.

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I Left APC Because My Rival At Primaries Abused My Father – Buhari’s Nephew

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Fatuhu Muhammad

Honorable Fatuhu Muhammed, a nephew to President Muhammadu Buhari, says he dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) because his rival abused his father.

Daily Trust had reported how Muhammed, son of Buhari’s elder brother, exited the ruling party.

The lawmaker, who represents Daura/Mai’Adua/Sandamu Federal Constituency of Katsina State in the National Assembly, failed to secure his re-election ticket after polling 30 votes, while Aminu Jamo, his rival secured 117 votes.

Since the primaries, there have been clashes between the camps of Fatuhu and Jamo.

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Speaking with one of our correspondents last night, Muhammed said he left APC because his rival abused his father.

“I received an audio recording where their candidate (Jamo) called my father, Alhaji Mamman Dan Baffalo, by name and abused him. Alhaji Mamman Dan Baffallo and President Buhari are of the same father and mother.”

“Out of the 26 children born by their father, they are the only males that are from the same father and mother. So, abusing my father is abusing the president.

“So, I said since the issue has gone beyond politics to denigrating the dignity of my parents, I cannot take it any longer, and it is not binding on me to stay in the party, so I decided to leave,” he said.

Daily Trust

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APC Denounces ‘Vote-manufacturing’, Unveils Omo-Agege’s Running Mate

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Deputy Senate President and Delta APC Governorship candidate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

PA chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Victor Ochei, has said that the era when politicians and political parties could speak authoritatively about winning a coming election was over due to the reforms in the electoral process, particularly by the new Electoral Act in the country.

Ochei, executive director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said the new electoral law would prevent the “manufacturing of votes” by political parties.

The former speaker of the Delta legislature stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Asaba shortly after formally unveiling the APC 2023 deputy governorship candidate, Hon Friday Osanebi, before the leaders of the party in Delta North senatorial district at a meeting held in Asaba on Saturday.

 On APC’s taking over Delta from the PDP in 2023, the former speaker said, “Well, at the end of the day, Deltans will decide. I’m not sounding boastful because there are no longer times when a political party can beat its chest and say it will win an election; because with the new Electoral Act, it’s one-man-one-vote. You don’t have votes being manufactured anywhere like it was in the past.”

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He added, “Having said that, I do know that Deltans have a choice – they will have a choice in 2023 – and they will definitely vote for the APC.”
The meeting, attended by various party leaders, also had in attendance candidates for national and state assemblies positions in the 2023 general election.

Before proceeding to a closed-door session, the party leaders stated that “the real game” had just begun as the APC was “on a rescue mission” in Delta, which the PDP allegedly mismanaged since the return to democracy in 1999.

Ex-Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Director-General of Delta State APC 2023 Governorship Campaign Organisation, Godsday Orubebe, assured that the APC would the victory of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege in the 2023 governorship election.

Orubebe lamented although he was “one of the most loyal members of the PDP,” he was not accorded much respect, especially with the refusal of the party to zone the 2023 governorship to Delta South senatorial district before the gubernatorial primary election.

Thisday

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