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We have no mandate to zone President, VP positions – PDP committee

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The Zoning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party for national offices of the party says it has no mandate to determine which sections of the country should produce its presidential candidate and the running mate.

This was made known on Thursday in Enugu before members of the committee adjourned their meeting till next week for conclusion of their work.

Chairman of the committee and Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in his welcome address, said the committee had no mandate to zone political offices such as President or Vice President of Nigeria.

The governor said, “Our committee is strictly limited to the PDP National Executive Offices to be contested at the 2021 PDP National Convention scheduled for the end of October, 2021”, stressing, “We have no mandate to zone political offices such as President or Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Ugwuanyi maintained that the PDP remains the most credible platform to deliver good and accountable governance to Nigeria, adding that the work of the committee will contribute immensely “in this deliberate search for national officers of our party that will help PDP achieve the lofty ideals and goals of our founding fathers.”

He also said after the meeting had adjourned, “We had a fruitful meeting and we adjourned to conclude next week.”

The party has fived October 30-31 for its national convention.

Members of the committee present at the meeting are the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who is the Deputy Chairman; the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu Mohammed, who serves as Secretary; former presidents of the Senate, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and former governors of Niger, Ekiti, Sokoto, Jigawa and Adamawa states, Dr Muazu Aliyu Babangida, Ayodele Fayose, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, and Boni Haruna, respectively.

Others were Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, Rt. Hon. Sunday K. E Okoye, Chief Dan Orbih, Chief (Dr) Ali Odefa, Dr Kema Chikwe, Chief Osita Chidoka, Chidi Lloyd, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Senator Emmanuel Nwaka, Engr. Donatus Udeh, among others.

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Kano Gov’ship: Declare Me PDP Candidate, Abacha Tells INEC, PDP

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Mohammed Abacha

Mohammed Abacha has asked a Federal High Court in Kano to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop his substitution as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State. 

Abacha, in his counter affidavit, has also challenged the submission of Jafar Sani Bello, who came second in the primary, that he was not a member of the party because he was duly issued with a waiver and screened as a member of the political party.

The originating summons brought by his lawyers, J.Y. Musa (SAN) and Reuben Atabo (SAN), also has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Sadiq Aminu Wali, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and Alhaji Shehu Wada Sagagi as defendants.

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Abacha contends that he won the PDP primary which was held on May 25 and was monitored by INEC by polling 736 votes against the 710 scored by Ja’afar Sani Bello before his name was substituted with that of Wali.

He wants the court to restrain the PDP and its state chairman Sagagi from parading Wali as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections.

He argued that INEC was precluded from “recognizing and publishing the name of the 2nd defendant (Wali) as the gubernatorial candidate of the 3rd defendant (PDP) having issued to the plaintiff (Abacha) the certified true copies of the list of winners of the primary election of the 3rd defendant (PDP) in Kano which is monitored and which contains the name of the plaintiff as the governorship candidate of the 3rd defendant in Kano State.”

The case has been adjourned to September 12 for the hearing.

Daily Trust

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Worries In PDP As Wike Gives Tough Conditions, Romances With APC

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Governor Nyesom Wike

Even though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike met in Abuja with a view to finding a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis rocking the party, the meeting was yet to achieve anything.

Instead of solutions, tempers seem to have flared since the two top opposition figures met at the residence of the former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, in Abuja.

Daily Trust Saturday reliably gathered at the weekend that Atiku’s camp may have resorted to working towards the 2023 general elections without the support of the Rivers governor, especially following his recent romance with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Some party stakeholders loyal to the former vice president and the candidate of the PDP were said to have held a meeting with some PDP stalwarts from Rivers State. Some of those touted to have attended the meeting were former governor of the state Celestine Omehia, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Austin Opara and Senator Leo Maeba.

Worried by the development, the Rivers governor responded by striping the politicians of any garb of political paraphernalia in the state. While Maeba was removed as the Chairman of the governing board of the state owned Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Austin Opara and Celestine Omehia were removed as leaders of the PDP in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area and Ikwerre Local Government Area respectively.

The removal of the top leaders of the party from their positions, Daily Trust Saturday learnt, was as a result of their alleged secret romance with Atiku. The trio were said to have attended several meetings with Atiku without “clearance” from Governor Wike.

The thinking among those close to Atiku, Daily Trust Saturday learnt, was that some of these politicians could be used to divide the votes in the state in the event that the peace overtures by the Atiku camp fail to yield any positive result.

After the meeting between Atiku and Wike, a source familiar with what transpired explained that the members of the board blamed Ayu for allowing the crisis to fester when he travelled abroad and also allegedly openly took sides with Atiku Abubakar before, during and after the presidential primary.

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He said: “How can the National Chairman of the party visit an aspirant a day or two after the primary and hail him for stepping down for the eventual winner and even calling him the hero of the convention, which means he wanted only one person to win. How do you expect the other aspirants that lost the contest to feel? Will they be happy?”

Findings by Daily Trust however shows that the Campaign Council may soon be set up as the party hierarchy were said to be disenchanted by the antics of the Rivers State governor in spite of their peace efforts.

Instead of working for peace, Wike has invited at least three top ruling party chieftains to commission projects in his state.

The governor had invited his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwolu, former Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to commission different projects executed by his administration in the state.

Reacting to the governor’s political activities, Senator Maeba, an ally of Atiku, said the dissolution of the governing board of the polytechnic was as a result of his closeness to Atiku.

He said, “Wike is not hiding that he is fighting Atiku. He called a meeting of Ogoni people who are with him and told them to tell me that he will see how I will campaign for Atiku in this state and he is ready to fight to the finish.

“We don’t know what he (Wike) is planning to do because when campaigns start, we are qualified to campaign too. We are waiting to see how he will do it. This is a joke taken too far.”

Senator Maeba also confirmed the removal of former Governor Celestine Omehia and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Austin Opara, as leaders of their party in Ikwerre and Port Harcourt City LGAs.

“Yes, he (Wike) called them and humiliated them before their people because we went to pay a solidarity visit to Atiku which we are supposed to do.

“All of us knew Atiku before him. Austin Opara has been in the House of Representatives since 1999. He was the deputy speaker when Atiku was Vice-President. That time Wike was struggling to be local government chairman. So, if Austin Opara has to take permission from him today to go and see Atiku, then something is wrong,” he stated.

On the allegations of politicians holding meetings in Abuja against Wike, he said “When you apportion so much right to yourself, then you are superhuman. Austin Opara was the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives when Atiku Abubakar was the Vice President. They attended caucus meetings together and National Economic Council Meeting.

“So, does it mean that Austin Opara who has been friends with Atiku for over 20 years ago will now start to beg Wike to go and see Atiku? So, he (Wike) is the one who doesn’t have respect for citizens.

“Like me, I met Atiku first in 1992 in Jos for the SDP campaigns. We started working together in 2003 when I became Senator. That time where was he (Wike)? When Austin Opara was working with Atiku, holding meetings, Wike was struggling to come to limelight.”

Meanwhile, the peace talk was said to have broken down over Wike’s insistence that the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, must go amidst other conditions.  

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Among the list of conditions by the Wike Camp which met on Sunday 31st of July to harmonize their position was that the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, must vacate his seat for a southern chairman to take over and give the party a semblance of national outlook, but Ayu and his people are said to be strongly opposed to leaving his seat.

According to Wike’s camp, the party had been hijacked by Northerners as the Presidential candidate, National Chairman, Chairman BoT and the chairman PDP Governors forum were all from the North, a development they were not pleased with.

Reacting to the efforts towards resolving the crisis, especially the call by Wike’s men that Ayu should vacate his seat, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba said: “The National Working Committee led by Ayu is united. I also believe the party is happy with him,” adding that anything contrary is in the realm of fake news.  

He said “When you have a family it does not mean absence of disagreement, but your capacity to take care of those disagreements makes the difference, that is why the PDP is a party.”

Also speaking on the protests against the National Chairman to vacate his seat because he has allegedly taken sides and lacks the capacity to lead the party to victory in 2023, Debo said, “We are a party of law and order and when you have a situation like that, you must be willing to hear people out. We take every view seriously because conflict resolution is a marathon, it is not a one hundred meter dash.

“We have a robust internal dispute settling mechanism. We are satisfied with the progress we are making; it is slow but surely, we will get there. We are committed to the interest of the party and more importantly the interest of Nigerians and we are on course.

Also, a member of the party close to the presidential candidate, told Daily Trust that though Atiku and Wike have met, it only marks the beginning of the reconciliation process and the road to peace.

He insisted that “many people don’t really understand how difficult mediation is, especially political mediation. All the parties must have faith in the process. Apart from that, everybody is watching and they can misinterpret your genuine intention and accuse you of partisanship and taking sides. But we are hopeful that the differences will be resolved soon,” he said.    

Reacting to the situation, Rivers State Publicity Secretary of APC, Chris Finebone, said the party is not surprised about Wike’s move because “it is a fact already known to many politicians and observers that Gov. Wike was thrown into his present panic mode ever since he failed in his desperate attempt to secure the presidential and later vice presidential tickets of his party in order to cover up financial and other atrocities he committed over the past 10 years as Minister of state for Education and presently governor of Rivers State for two terms, ending May 29, 2023.”

He said, “Governor Nyesom Wike’s predicament has not been helped by the inconclusive outcome of his offer to work for the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, in exchange for a safe landing and protection after the 2023 general election, having been convinced that Tinubu will defeat Atiku Abubakar of his party, the PDP.”

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Amaechi’s Ally Defects To PDP Amid Wike’s Alliance With APC Chieftains

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Chris Finebone

Chris Finebone, a long-standing ally of former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Finebone, who was the publicity secretary of the APC for years, confirmed his defection to Daily Trust in the early hours of Friday.

However, he did not give any reason for his defection. On his verified Twitter account, Finebone said,”Similanayi Fubara , PDP governorship candidate is my brother; know it and know peace!”

Shortly after he defected to PDP, Finebone visited Governor Nyesom Wike’s Ada George road residence in Port Harcourt in company of the former State Chairman of APC, Dr Davis Ikanya, and the PDP governorship candidate.

The development comes amid the alliance between Governor Nyesom Wike and chieftains of the APC.

Baring last-minute change of plans, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the APC-controlled House of Representatives, would commission some projects in Rivers today.

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Earlier in the week, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Senator Aliyu Wamakko, both strong APC members commissioned projects executed by Wike.

During the commissioning, Wike, who is having a running battle with the PDP, under whose platform he was twice elected governor, fired indirect shots at his party.

“If you say Rivers State does not matter, Rivers State will tell you that you don’t also matter at the appropriate time. If you don’t like us, we will not like you. If you like us, we will like you. Nobody will use our votes for nothing. Our votes will matter and Rivers State must benefit from anybody that we are going to support,” he had said on Monday.

During Wamakko’s visit, the Rivers governor had said effective leadership was not about political party, stressing that he would still perform well outside the PDP.

Coincidentally, Wike and Amaechi came second in the presidential primaries of their respective parties.

While former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar clinched the PDP ticket, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged the flagbearer of the APC.

Wike had indicated interest in the PDP Vice-Presidential slot, but Atiku settled for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

This had thrown the opposition party into another round of crisis, with PDP leaders making efforts to reconcile the duo.

Last week, Atiku and Wike sat together at the residence of Jerry Gana, a former Minister and key PDP member, but the reconciliation talk is yet to yield the desired results.

It is unclear if Finebone’s latest political move has the blessing of Amaechi, the APC leader in Rivers.

In an interview with a national paper, a loyalist of Amaechi had said the alliance of Wike and APC Chieftains could make the former minister return to the PDP.

Amaechi is among the G-7 politicians that staged a walkout of the PDP Convention in 2013, a move that political pundits said contributed to the party’s loss of its 16-year dominance at the centre.

Atiku had led the move at the time and the G-7 politicians teamed up with the APC to wrest power from the PDP.

Wike, who once served as Amaechi’s Chief of Staff, succeeded Amaechi as governor in 2015, but they have maintained their rivalry even before the emergence of the incumbent Rivers governor.

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