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Consensus: Northern Elders Deny Endorsing Saraki, Mohammed

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Bukola Saraki and Bala Mohammed

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has distanced itself from reports that it has endorsed former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed as consensus presidential aspirants of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the North.

Saraki, Mohammed, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Mohammed Hayatudeen had worked to produce a consensus candidate from the region.

The announcement of Mohammed and Saraki as northern consensus presidential aspirants of the PDP by Prof. Ango Abdullahi on Friday had continued to generate reactions.

Tambuwal had since dissociated himself from the outcome, declaring that the consensus plan had failed, while former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido described it as a ruse and unacceptable.

A statement by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, said the attempt to engineer a consensus among the aspirants was that of the aspirants themselves.

Baba-Ahmed said, “Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed, former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Mohammed Hayatudeen had informed for head of state, Badamasi Babangida, of their intention, and requested elderly intervention and advice in the event that their efforts failed to  produce consensus. 

“Babangida in turn requested Prof. Ango Abdullahi in his individual capacity to design and manage a process that could improve a consensus agreement among the four aspirants. Prof. Abdullahi concluded that assignment and released a detailed report and recommendation, signing it in his individual capacity,”

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He said the entire process did not involve the Northern Elders Forum as a group, and was not a product of the group. 

Professor Ango Abdullahi, he said, was free to undertake any lawful activity as a citizen, and genuine misinterpretations of his role are understandable.

“Northern Elders Forum is not affiliated to any political party or aspirant, and is strongly committed to the creation of a level-playing field which will allow the emergence of the best leaders in the 2023 elections.

“It has also remained consistent in its conviction that all parts of the country should play their parts freely, unhindered by restrictions which offend principles of inclusion and fairness. The forum believes the North has excellent candidates whose fate should be left to party delegates and voters to decide,” he said.

 Meanwhile, the leader of the Northern Elders’ Council, Paul Unongo, has defended the position of the region on Saraki and Bala Muhammed’s presidential ambition.  

Unongo told newsmen yesterday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, that he initiated the idea of picking a consensus for the region.

He said, “We held a meeting over the issue for two days in Abuja, and at the end agreed that if the North must file a presidential candidate in 2023, that choice must come from the North Central. That was agreed.

 “Then, the four aspirants who offered themselves for the contest were profiled. We looked at their credentials, their qualities and capacity to win a presidential election. Gov Bala Muhammed and Senator Bukola Saraki stood out.

“Senator Saraki was our first choice and Gov Bala Muhammed was our second choice and we have made our choice known to Nigeria to choose from the two.”

Other aspirants are free to contest – Bauchi Gov

Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, has said his nomination as one of the northern consensus presidential aspirants of PDP would not stop other aspirants from contesting the party’s primaries.

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 He stated this yesterday in Bauchi while briefing newsmen shortly after he was presented with a letter of nomination as ‘Governor of the Year’ by the management of the Sun Newspapers.

He explained that the Northern Elders Forum made thorough consultations with leaders and stakeholders across the country before endorsing him and the President of the 8th Senate, Bukola Saraki, as the northern presidential aspirants of the PDP.

Governor Bala said the former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, and others who opposed the consensus outcome were free to express their opinions.

Respecting consensus decision, individual choice – Saraki

A former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said respecting the position of the Northern Elders Forum on consensus is an individual choice.

He stated this while addressing PDP presidential delegates in Minna, the Niger State capital.

He said, “We voluntarily went to our elders’ statesmen to seek their participation. They did not seek or ask that they should be involved in it, and neither were we forced into doing it. We decided on our own to go seek their involvement for a northern consensus candidate.

“For the decision, we appreciate our elder statesmen for their role in the process and their patriotism and desire for the unity of the country. To abide by the decision is an individual choice. Everyone has to make his own decision.”

Saraki appealed to the members of PDP in Niger state to work towards ensuring that the north-central produces its first President.

DAILY TRUST

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Atiku, Obi, Kwankwaso In Attendance As Tinubu Shuns Arise TV Town Hall Meeting

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Tinubu, Atiku, Kwankwaso and Obi

For the second time, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has shunned the Town Hall meeting organised by Arise Television.

However, the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), were in attendance.

Recall that the spokesperson of the APC Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, had in a statement issued on Saturday, reiterated that Tinubu would not be attending Arise TV town hall meeting.

Onanuga also took a swipe at the media outlet over its constant broadcast of an advertisement about its scheduled town hall meeting which Tinubu had already declined participation.

The statement reads: “We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.

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“We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.

While it is the right that the media has a clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organized event at all.

“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and what events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.

“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.

“The APC Presidential candidate has its schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such event is scheduled for Monday, December 5, 2022, at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.”

Onanuga reiterated that for the umpteenth time, no amount of blackmail, bullying and media bullying, and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position the party’s campaign had taken on attending town hall meetings.

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After criticising APC Tinubu/Shettima ticket, Dogara named Atiku campaign member

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  • He’s running from pillar to post, says LP

A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has finally decamped from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party and will now be in the campaign train of the Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.

Indeed, Dogara was on Sunday appointed a member of the PDP presidential campaign council (PCC).

Aminu Tambuwal, director general of the PDP PCC and governor of Sokoto State, announced Dogara’s appointment in a statement on Sunday.

In a reaction to the development, the Labour Party has said the movement showed Dogara as a man still living in the past and is only running from pillar to post.

Dogara’s appointment came two days after he declared support for Atiku.

The Northern Leaders Consultative Forum, which Dogara is a part of, had endorsed Atiku and described him as “the best.”

As a member of the APC, the former speaker of the house of representatives, who is one of the party’s leaders of the Christian faith, kicked against the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the party.

Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate and Kashim Shettima, his running mate are both Muslims.

Members of a group of northern Christians in the APC had also expressed reservations over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, and said it would adopt a consensus candidate.

Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) and leader of the group, had said Obi would be the group’s choice.

Dogara, however, alongside other members of the group, distanced themselves from Lawal’s endorsement.

In 2018, the former speaker of the house of representatives, had defected from the PDP to the APC because of “failure of governance” in Bauchi, where he hails from.

While Dogara has not made an official statement on his new appointment as at the time of this report, his new role is expected to start immediately.

Meanwhile, the campaign office of Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP), says Yakubu Dogara, made a grave error in endorsing Atiku Abubakar.

The Obi-Datti campaign, in a statement, said Dogara had the right to support whomever he wants but trying to do that based on his selfish interest won’t augur well for him.

“Clearly, the former Speaker knows that he is swimming against the tide by his unpopular decision which amounts to running from frying pan to fire; from one injustice to another and claiming to be acting on behalf his people whose anger for the two wrongs of the two main political parties are glaring,” the statement read.

“Hon Dogara knows as a fact that his position does not reflect the heart and mind of majority of Nigerian populace who are already on the moving train to take back the country from the primeval political thinkers like him.”

The campaign said Dogara’s stand showed his double standard when he refused to support same faith ticket of his party but pitched his tent with the PDP that does not respect fairness.

“At his level as the Ex-leader of the national parliament, Hon. Dogara should have been privileged to read the hand writing on the wall vividly to know that where the pendulum swings today: the talk is not about political party, but about character, competence and capacity, because where the country precariously stands today requires nothing short to save it,” the campaign further said.

“Hon. Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representatives successfully ran a parliament literally in the opposition to the Executive and heaven did not fall, yet he feels that a pragmatic President like Peter Obi would not be able to maneuver or steer the ship of state.”

The campaign added that it was obvious that the former speaker was still living in the past of the old politics that brought the country to its knees.

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2023: Obi Unveils Manifesto, Lists 7 Priority Areas

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Peter Obi

The Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi has finally unveiled his manifesto titled “Obi/Baba-Ahmed Pact with Nigerians.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Abayomi Aranbambi, confirmed the development of Daily Trust on Saturday night.

The Manifesto sited by Daily Trust however promises seven key priority areas that were needed to jump start the economy and move the country from Consumption to production.

Some of the priority areas according to the pact includes to secure the country, end banditry and insurgency; and unite the country in such a way “that no one is left behind.”

Obi also promised to “Shift emphasis from consumption to production by running a production-centered economy that is driven by an agrarian revolution and export-oriented industrialization.

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” Restructure the polity through effective legal and institutional civil service. Leapfrog Nigeria into the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), through the application of scientific and technological innovations to create reforms to entrench the rule of law, aggressively fight corruption, reduce cost of governance, and establish an honest and efficient a digital economy.

“Build expansive and world-class infrastructure for efficient power scholarship and research, quality healthcare, and entrepreneurship
global competitiveness through investment in world-class supply, rail, road and air transportation, and pipeline network, entrepreneurial public sector governance.”

Others, according to the document promises, are enhancing the human capital of Nigerian youths for productivity and through integrated public-private partnerships and education.

The Labour Party presidential candidate also promised to conduct “an afro-centric diplomacy that protects the rights of Nigerian citizens abroad and advance the economic interests of Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in a changing world.”

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