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2023 presidency: Tinubu didn’t tell me he’s running, says Fashola

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  • Tinubu in closed- door meeting with Orji Kalu

Former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, will in January 2022, speak on his rumoured bid for the 2023 presidency, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.

Fashola, who spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Hard Copy’ programme aired on Friday night, said Tinubu did not tell him he would be contesting the presidential election in 2023 when he met with him last week.

He said, “I saw him last week; he didn’t tell me he is running for office and to the best of my knowledge the last statement he made on it is that people will know in January.”

Posters and billboards advertising the rumoured presidential bid of Tinubu, who is the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been seen in major cities of the country including Lagos and Abuja.

A South-West Agenda 2023, a political movement mobilising support for Tinubu to contest the 2023 presidential election, was inaugurated in Lagos in October by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and other APC chieftains.

But Tinubu, himself has yet to declare his intention to contest the office in 2023.

Fashola also said he had not asked Tinubu whether he is interested in the 2023 President or not. “I didn’t ask him. I just went to ask how he was doing. He has issued a statement that ‘I will speak in January, so let us wait till January”, he said.

Asked if he is interested in becoming the President of Nigeria, Fashola said, “It is a very tough responsibility, a very tough job. I don’t envy those who have held that office and I don’t envy those who aspire to take it as well.”

Asked whether he is speaking for any aspirant come 2023, the minister said, “As far as I am aware, nobody has said, ‘I want to be Nigeria’s President’. There are people speaking for people. Nobody has come out; we are not at that stage yet. I can venture out and say that I will speak for X or Y. Let the person come out and say, ‘I want to serve Nigeria’.”

Meanwhile, Tinubu on Saturday evening met with Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State.

Tinubu reportedly arrived at the Abuja residence of the former Abia State governor at exactly 4:25pm.

Shortly after exchanging pleasantries, they were said to have gone into a closed-door meeting.

But the reason for the visit and what was discussed have not been disclosed.

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2023: E-Transmission Of Election Results Has Come To Stay – INEC

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Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday promised that the results of the 2023 general elections would be transmitted electronically.

There have been calls by stakeholders that the deployment of technology in the country’s electoral processes be enhanced to address hitches witnessed in previous elections.

It was against this backdrop that the Electoral Act was amended by the National Assembly. President Muhammadu Buhari had, on February 25, assented to the Election Act 2022 after its passage by the National Assembly.

One of the key provisions of the law is the deployment of technology in the electoral process.

Section 52(2) of the Act says: “Subject to Section 63 of this bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission (INEC), which may include electronic voting.”

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja when he hosted a delegation of Media Trust Group (owners of Daily Trust newspapers and Trust TV) on election debate, the INEC boss said going forward, the electoral body would transmit election results electronically.

Media Trust Group is organising a series of debates for presidential and governorship candidates ahead of the next year’s general elections, dubbed ‘Media Trust Nigeria Election Debate 2023’.

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Yakubu, told the delegation that the transmission of elections results from the polling units (PUs) would be a permanent feature in the nation’s electoral processes.

“Yes, it is going to be permanent in all elections conducted by the commission going forward. But I wish to draw your attention to the fact that we did not start the electronic transmission, at least, from the polling units to the IReV Portal, in Anambra or FCT elections.

“It was actually on August 2020 that we deployed that for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election, the first election conducted under COVID-19. So, if you look at the IReV Portal, you could see all the results from the 2020 to the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and all the other by-elections we conducted,” Yakubu said.

What INEC learnt from Kenyan presidential poll

On lessons learnt from the just-concluded Kenyan presidential election, Yakubu said that the INEC had received a letter from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya that it wanted to deploy the Kenya Integration Election Management System (KIEMS) and that it was going to transmit polling unit level results to the collation centre. KIEMS is the equivalent of the Nigeria’s Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

He said like Nigeria, the transmitted results were collated manually.

He also noted that Nigeria’s BIVAS is a significant improvement on the Kenya’s system because in Nigeria, the collations have to pass through several stages from the polling units to the ward level, to the local governments and the states before reaching the national portal for the presidential election.

This, Yakubu said, allows agents of all political parties and candidates to observe the collation process at all stages, unlike in Kenya where results go straight to the national portal.

The INEC chairman also said that while Nigeria learnt from the 2017 Kenyan elections, the Kenyans had also learnt a lot from the conduct of the 2019 and 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

He said the collation of results was faster in Kenya possibly due to the fewer numbers of polling units and registered voters compared to the larger number of same in Nigeria.

On pending by-elections, the INEC boss said that there were 27 pending by-elections across the country.

He said the commission would conduct the elections pending when court cases and insecurity in some of the affected constituencies were resolved.

Speaking further, Yakubu said the INEC would support the Media Trust Group’s debates in order to deepen issue-based politicking ahead of the 2023 elections.

According to him, there are other debates and more expected to be conducted ahead of the 2023 elections.

He, however, said that the commission would be watching all the debates like other Nigerians.

Daily Trust reports that for four months, three Senate seats: Borno North, Nasarawa West and Zamfara Central Senatorial Districts have been vacant following the resignation of the occupants, including the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Senator Abubakar Kyari and Senator Muhammad Hassan Nasiha.

The Media Trust Group delegation, including the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mallam Mounir Haliru Gwarzo, was led by the MTG’s Election Debate Committee Chairman, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim.

Ibrahim had earlier said that the visit was to seek the support and participation of the INEC in the coming debates and other activities to promote and sustain issue-based politics and campaigns in Nigeria.

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PDP crisis: Pressure mounts on Ayu to step aside, old video surfaces

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PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu

National Chairman of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyiochia Ayu, is under fresh intense pressure to step aside as a video of him pledging to do so should a northerner emerge as presidential candidate of the party is trending in the social media.

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APC supporters hold carnival as Tinubu visits Obasanjo

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Obasanjo, Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, met behind closed doors with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.

Both leaders had frank discussion.

Scores of supporters of the APC in state stormed Obasanjo’s residence, dancing and singing praises of the candidate while the meeting lasted.

The meeting, which started at 1.09pm, lasted for three hours and ended without either of the parties speaking with newsmen on the outcome.

Tinubu was believed to have seized the opportunity of the meeting to seek Obasanjo’s support for his presidential ambition.

The former Lagos State Governor was accompanied to Obasanjo’s Penthouse within  the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; a former National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande; and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu,  among others.

He was received by the state governor, Dapo Abiodun; and former Governors Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel.

Also at the gathering were former deputy governors of the state, Gbenga Kaka and Salimot Badru and other state government functionaries.

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While Tinubu emerged from the Penthouse into the hands of the  crowd which  included newsmen, Obasanjo remained indoor as his guests made their way out after the meeting.

The presidential candidate did not grant press interview as he entered a waiting vehicle which conveyed him to the MKO Abiola Stadium for another programme.

When he was asked to address members of the Artisan Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter at the stadium, Tinubu only prayed for them and left the venue.

A source, who did not want his name because he was not authorised to speak to journalist on the outcome of the meeting, told our correspondent that some selected persons were allowed to join Tinubu and Obasanjo for the second phase of the meeting.

The source said a pre-meeting was held where almost all the personalities that followed him were in attendance.

The second phase of the meeting was said to have had only five persons who joined the two leaders in the inner room.

The source described the meeting as fruitful, saying the two parties agreed that no one should make the meeting a media affair.

The source said, “It was a very truthful and tough discussion from both sides.

“Obasanjo, as usual, was direct and Asiwaju was very straight forward in his report.”

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