PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, arrived the United Kingdom yesterday ahead of his planned lecture tomorrow.
The APC presidential candidate was accompanied on the trip by some state governors and party leaders.
The PCC, in a statement on its Twitter account on Monday, stated that the former Lagos State governor will on December 5 speak at the Chatham House, the United Kingdom’s elite Foreign and Policy Think-tank institution, where he will dwell on security, economy and foreign policy.
Chatham House had on its official website said that Tinubu will discuss “his vision and recently unveiled manifesto for ‘renewing hope’ in Nigeria including his policy proposals for economic reform and revival and how to deliver secure and inclusive job opportunities for Nigerian citizens.”
It said “the event is part of a series of events and outputs examining Nigeria’s 2023 elections and political developments.”
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Meanwhile, the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday accused Arise News of persistent blackmail to railroad the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to its town hall meeting scheduled for today, but vowed that the candidate would not succumb to the antics.
The council in a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga described the continuous broadcast of Tinubu’s participation at the talk shop as “shocking and downright anomalous”, even after informing the organisers of the debate that Tinubu would not be available for the programme.
Onanuga spoke just as Senate Chief Whip, Dr .Orji Kalu dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the APC presidential candidate was denied US visa.
He accused the opposition of peddling the rumour.
According to Onanuga , the APC flag bearer had on November 7 advanced seven reasons why he won’t be attending the television station-organised presidential debates in a statement by the spokesman for the campaign council, Festus Keyamo.
His words: “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.
“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 trite 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 the Section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised an 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. We want to equally stress that Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against Asiwaju Tinubu and we don’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.”
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The council then disclosed that the APC presidential candidate has his schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria.
“One such is his scheduled event for Monday, December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to the United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bullying and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.”
The council asked all its spokesmen and supporters to steer clear of “this station over its consistent unprofessionalism and bias against our candidate and party.”
Tinubu not denied US visa – Orji Kalu
Dr.Orji Kalu said on his Facebook wall yesterday that speculations that Tinubu was denied US visa were untrue.
He said: “As the election draws closer, the opposition will spread more fake news against our presidential candidate but we should always ignore and keep our eyes on the ball.
“The news that Tinubu was denied visa to the USA is as fake as other fake news.
“Tinubu postponed the travel himself and was never denied visa.
“The State Department of the US confirmed to me that Tinubu will be received in the third week of December.
“As the presidential candidate of our party with outstanding personality, he will be warmly welcomed in the United States.”
Face-off between Niger Gov, Senator disrupts pro-Tinubu rally in Borgu
Dozens of security operatives on Tuesday disrupted a campaign rally organised for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State.
The “Grand Lockdown Rally” billed to hold at the New Bussa Township stadium in Borgu, is organised by Project 774, a political group under the leadership of Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North).
Senator Abdullahi, who is the Deputy Whip of the Senate, had invited the Niger state Working Committee of the APC to the campaign rally.
The invitation letter signed by his Special Assistant (operations), Hon. Mohammed Garba Danladi, was addressed to the state Party Chairman, Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro.
“I am directed to invite you and your exco to the Grand Lockdown Rally in honour of Jagaban Borgu and Kashim Shettima, our party Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Hon. Mohammed Bago, with Comrade Yakubu Garba as Gubernatorial and Deputy Governorship Candidates for Niger state in the 2023 General Elections.
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“In view of the need to galvanize support and positively enhance the chances of our party in the forthcoming elections, we wish to solicit and count on your unflinching support towards the success of the rally,” the letter read.
But the party’s state executive disassociated itself from the rally, asking all party faithful not to attend.
A statement by the state publicity secretary, Mallam Musa Dan Sarkindaji, said the planned rally contravene the unified campaign structure as designed by the party.
The party instead urged its executives, stakeholders, and supporters to attend the grand zonal rally which is scheduled for Wednesday in Bida, the headquarters of the Bida local government.
When our correspondent visited the New Bussa township stadium, dozens of personnel from the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Federal Road Safety Corps blocked the entrance, preventing APC supporters from accessing the campaign venue.
When approached, some security agents, who preferred not to be named because they were not authorised to speak, said they were mobilized to the venue to prevent access on “directive from the above.”
The Police spokesman in Niger, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said security operatives were mobilised to the campaign venue to prevent a breakdown of law and order having got intel of a likely breach of security.
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In a terse statement, Abiodun said, “The Police had to take over the venue of the planned rally as a proactive measure due to intelligence received of likely breach of security at the venue.
“Hence, we have to do the needful to avert any possible attack or hijack by suspected miscreants to cause mayhem and breach of peace in the community.
“The Command will not fold its alms and allow an act of political violence, avoidable loss of life, destruction of properties, and lawlessness.”
The dissociation of the APC state working Committee from the rally laid bare the cold war between Governor Bello, who is in control of the party’s structure in the state Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the organiser of the rally.
The senator, who currently occupies the Niger North senatorial seat, contested the APC ticket to retain the seat despite pressure to step down for the governor, a development that pitched him against the state executive.
The governor won the primary and since then, both of them have not been in good terms.
The poster of the governor, who is the APC senatorial candidate, is conspicuously missing at the venue of the planned campaign organized by the senator.
We’re good to go, says INEC, publishes notice of poll
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday published the Notice of Polls for the 2023 General Election.
INEC also did a self-audit of its preparations for the polls and declared that it was good to go.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the declaration when he received in audience the President and Chief Executive Officer CEO of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems IFES, Mr Anthony N. Banbury.
So far, the Commission has successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities
Section 44 of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) provides that the Notice of Polls must be published not later than 14 days before the election cause to be published, a notice specifying the date and hours fixed for the poll; the persons entitled to vote; and the location of the polling units.
“This meeting is holding today when we are implementing the 12th activity – the Publication of the Notice of Polls – meaning that we have so far successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities on schedule.
“So, there are only two activities outstanding. The first one is the end of campaign by political parties, which by law is 24 hours before polling day, which is going to be on the 23rd of February for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the 10th of March for the States governorship and States Assembly, and then, the election day proper, which is on the 25th of February for the Presidential and National Assembly and on the 11th of March for the state elections,” he stated.
The INEC chairman added that the technological innovations for the elections had been tested and that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, would again be tested this Saturday in a nationwide mock accreditation exercise.
He said, “The preparation has gone on very well. And then with the benefit of the new Electoral Act, we have more time to prepare than our predecessors had in the past.
“We are working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers to make sure that we get logistics right so that we deploy personnel and materials to locations early enough so that we can open the polling units, conclude the processes at the polling units and quickly declare the outcome of the elections, as decided by Nigerians swiftly. The earlier we conclude the processes, the speed with which we also declare winners and conclude the processes.”
Gunmen attack Rivers SDP gov candidate Magnus Abe campaign train
Gunmen suspected to be hired assassins on Monday evening attacked the campaign train of the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe.
The gunmen, according to Leadership, carried out the attack at Akinima community in the Ahoada-West local government area of the state.
Abe and his team had earlier visited Ubeta and other communities in the area before heading for Akinima, the headquarters of the local government area, when they came under heavy gun attack.
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