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2023: PDP G5 GIVES ATIKU CONDITIONS FOR SUPPORT

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Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

Five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike have given the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar conditions he must meet before they can support him in the 2023 general election.

A highly placed source told Daily Sun that the PDP standard bearer is seriously under pressure to succumb to their demands few days after the flag off of campaigns by political parties.

The governors in Wike’s camp include those of Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Benue, Samuel Ortom; Oyo, Seyi Makinde and Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu.

Daily Sun learnt that following a meeting by the governors at the weekend in Enugu, there is renewed tension among leaders of the PDP over the protracted crisis in the opposition party in the run-up to the 2023 general election.

Our source confirmed that the resolve of Wike’s group that the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu must be replaced with a Southerner before they could participate in the PDP presidential campaign is unsettling a lot of party leaders.

He said that well meaning members of the party were mounting pressure on the PDP standard bearer to succumb to the demands of the G5 governors so the party does not prosecute next year’s election as a divided house.

This comes as the crisis rocking the opposition PDP over recent corruption-related accusations apper to have nosedived, as the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; national secretary, Samuel Anyanwu; and deputy national chairman, North, Umar Damagum have been given a 48-hour ultimatum to resign or face legal action.

The threat followed a resolution by the Forum of PDP candidates and aspirants, which passed a vote of no confidence in the three officers.

They’ve also petitioned the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party on the unanimous demand of candidates for the resignation the above-mentioned officers.

The candidates who gathered and held brainstorming session in Abuja, also alleged that the leadership of the party extorted several aspirants during the congresses, primaries and national convention of the party. It claimed after primaries, the leadership swapped the names of candidates with the names of persons who did not win.

They pointed out that these “underhand actions of the leadership of the party are largely responsible for the nullification by the courts of the governorship primaries in Zamfara State and all primaries held in Ogun State, while noting that many more are still pending in Court.”

Chris Ogbu, who presided over the session as the Forum Coordinator and House of Assembly Candidate, also read the communiqué. He was flanked by Dauda Yusuf, the Forum’s Secretary and former governorship aspirant as well as several other members.

He demanded Ayu, Anyanwu and Damagum step down immediately or sacked by the party within 48 hours or face legal action to force them from office which will commence on Wednesday.

The candidates/aspirants said that by Ayu allegedly sharing money paid as nomination forms instead of utilising it for the prosecution of the historic 2023 election of the party, was very provocative and indicting on the image of the party.

•Crisis’ll soon be over –Jibrin, ex-BoT cºhair

The immediate past chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin has said the ongoing intra-party crisis in the party should be seen as a normal family matter, which would soon be resolved.

Jibrin, a Second Republic lawmaker however, advised members of the party not to see themselves as above the provisions of the Constitution of the party, adding that every member must respect and obey the Constitution.

In a statement, yesterday, Jibrin called on members of the party to put aside their political differences to work for the victory of the party in the forthcoming general elections.

“All organs of the party must therefore create oneness and greatest positions of the party. All our elders, leaders, youths and all women of the party must talk with one voice and must never create any division from now on, and within the NWC.

“It is important that PDP remains calm and strong; talk with one voice, and remain focused to follow the path and objectives of the party. And to make sure all the elections are won in 2023, especially winning of the Presidential Election, and encouraging, voting for Atiku Abubakar to become the President of Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source close to the Wike camp told Daily Sun that the five governors at their Enugu meeting insisted that there is no going back on the sack of the national chairman as a condition for their participation in the PDP presidential election.

Also reacting to the development, a member of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC), who is pro- Ayu told Daily Sun that Wike and his men are unrelenting in the demand that the national chairman must be replaced before they would support Atiku in next year’s elections.

The NEC member added that the former vice president has not said Ayu should not be replaced but that due process must be followed.

The Enugu meeting came on the heels of a meeting between Wike and the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja, last Thursday, where the former president reportedly appealed to the Rivers governor to reconsider his stance on contentious issues.

The five governors, as well as other notable leaders of the party have been on warpath with the PDP, in the aftermath of the nomination of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively.

Repeated efforts to resolve the crisis have failed, with the Wike camp withdrawing from the PDP Presidential Campaign Council pending the removal of Ayu as national chairman.

Last week, five loyalists of the Rivers governor in the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) returned over N100 millon paid to them as housing allowance by the party leadership. A move, inside sources said is part of a grand plot to pile pressure on the national chairman to vacate office, ahead of the 2023 polls.

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BABA-AHMED HAILS SHETTIMA’S ‘IMPROVED DRESS SENSE’

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LP Vice Presidential Candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed and APC Vice Presidential Candidate of Senator Kashim Shettima

The vice presidential candidate of Labour Party, Datti Baba-Ahmed, has sarcastically applauded his counterpart in the ruling All Progressives Congress, Senator Kashim Shettima, over his “improved dress sense” to public functions.

The APC vice presidential candidate, who stood in for his principal, Bola Tinubu, was mocked on August 22 for dressing in an oversized suit-and-sneakers combo at the Nigeria Bar Association conference in Lagos.

The development led to a backlash, especially on Twitter where #ShettimaChallenge trended with tweeps making different posts mimicking the senator’s dress sense.

Although Shettima defended his position saying that he deliberately wore the sneakers to shame his critics, his excuse was not enough to dissuade social media critics from dragging him on the blue bird app.

But in a conference held in Abuja on Thursday, Baba-Ahmed, a running mate to the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, observed that Shettima had seemingly improved in his dressing lately.

While accusing him of having a penchant for belittling his political opponents urged the former governor to improve on his public composure and discipline.

He said, “We congratulate Mr. Shettima on having improved his dressing, but equally remind him that he needs to improve on his public composure and discipline in communication.

“Shettima is called upon to speak kindly and more responsibly about all personalities if only to uphold long-established standards. Little wonder he has consistently put to shame the noble heritage of the great Bornu Empire, in his unguarded and uncultured public pronouncements, which expose his intellectual laziness and discomfort with empirical facts and arguments.

“Regular insults which have now become his trademark, have not spared the current Vice President whom he directed to go and sell ice cream, nor the former vice president whom he described as a pure water seller, a noble venture which serves the populace better than a certain white substance.

“It is pertinent to recall how Mr. Shettima at a recent public event belittled Atiku Abubakar’s educational qualification as well as the modest lifestyle of Peter Obi. Clearly Mr. Shettima is out of touch with reality and cannot understand that people like Peter Obi who have reached the heights in business and material achievement have long transcended the need for ostentatious display of wealth.”

A livid Baba-Ahmed stated that the ruling party’s strategy against Obi now appeared clearly centered on promoting falsehood, in addition to derogatory personal attacks, because they can find no contentious points of negativity to push.

The LP vice presidential candidate did not also spare the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who he described as introducing unethical standard into his campaign.

He stated, “It is important to underline that oaths of office do not expire with tenure, and hence the comment that the Northern electorate do not need a Yoruba or Igbo leader is greatly at variance with the oaths of office taken in 1999 and 2003 respectively, and the Peace Accord of 2022.

“This is to call upon the owner of the statement to respectfully retract same in order to be readmitted to the honour list of esteemed presidential candidates. Truth of the matter is that every Nigerian from anywhere needs a credible and competent president.”

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‘APC PLANS TO DISUNITE NIGERIANS WITH MUSLIM/MUSLIM TICKET’

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Senator Walid Jibrin, a former Board of Trustees Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party

A former Board of Trustees Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Walid Jibrin, has accused the All Progressives Congress of planning to disunite Nigerians with its Muslim/Muslim Ticket ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Jibrin who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential and governorship campaign council in Nasarawa State made the accusation in the Awe Local Government Area of the state during his party’s zonal campaign rally on Thursday.

Our correspondent reports that the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, a Muslim, had picked the former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who is also a Muslim as his running mate ahead of the poll.

The development caused discontent along religious lines as many Christian faithful protested what they referred to as an attempt to “Islamise” the country.

The action of the APC also forced some stakeholders of the Christian faith out of the party.

Senator Jibrin said, “That singular unpatriotic gesture, coming at a time of rising security challenges confronting the nation is never a welcome development.

“The apparent late excuses by Tinubu to justify what is clearly an anomaly, that his wife is a Pentecostal pastor, are lame and insulting to the sensibility of Nigerians.

“And with what the APC and its presidential candidate have done, it is obvious that Nigeria cannot be safe in the hands of the former governor of Lagos State whose decisions and actions could plunge the country into chaos.”

Jibrin, however, said the country will be safer in the hands of the PDP, adding that the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the Nasarawa state governorship candidate, David Ombugadu, are men of high intellect and composure who would ensure steady growth and development of the nation.

He appealed to residents of the state to vote for all PDP candidates in the 2023 elections, promising that the party would tackle the numerous challenges confronting the nation by providing the dividends of democracy to the people.

On the current disagreement between the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, the former Board of Trustees Chairman said leaders of the party were making frantic efforts to settle the disputes before the commencement of the 2023 elections.

“What is happening now in the PDP is a family matter. Alhaji Atiku and Governor Wike are brothers. As leaders, we are making efforts to address the issues, and we are hopeful that they will be resolved before the February 2023 elections.

“I stepped down from my position as BoT chairman to allow peace to reign in the party and pave way for other party stakeholders who had never occupied my former position to do so.

“I am confident that the PDP will retake the presidency and win many states during the forthcoming elections, so I am urging our party members and supporters to remain resolute in the struggle,” Walid Jibrin added.

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NO GOV HAS POWER TO STOP OPPONENTS FROM CAMPAIGNING –IGP

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Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba

•Uzodimma, Anyim, others outline impediments to free, fair election

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, has directed police commissioners in the 36 states to dismantle campaign bottlenecks put in place by governors to frustrate their opponents.

This is even as the IGP and the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, vowed to arrest and prosecute touts obstructing campaigns by opposition political parties and politicians indulging in vote-buying during the 2023 poll.

The IGP specifically noted that all commissioners of police must provide security for political parties embarking on electioneering in all the nook and cranny of any state.

Speaking at the 2022 political parties’ summit organised by the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), yesterday in Abuja, he said any commissioner who fails to carry out his responsibility within the ambit of the law and decide to dance to the tunes of governors would be removed.

Represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, Dandaura Mustapha, he said: “We have been receiving a lot of complains from political parties. It is unfortunate of what is happening this period. All the political parties are complaining. It is not only APC or PDP or Labour Party or APGA. Unfortunately, some of our governors as stated by the IG during a meeting with the political parties that they are not helping matters.

“They have not laid a solid foundation, give other political parties access to campaign programmes. Some try to manipulate the campaign.

“Some even sponsor touts to pursue the opposition, remove their billboards and posters and destroy their offices.

“Based on this, the Inspector General of Police, has categorically directed all the commissioners of police that on no account should any serving or sitting governor stop other political parties from conducting their campaigns in all the nook and cranny of the state.

“This instruction was very clear both in writing and verbal. We have told all the commissioners of police. When it happens, the commissioners of police have been directed to arrest all the hoodlums no matter where they belong and whoever is sponsoring them we will arrest them and charge them to court.

“So, please, be rest assured that all political parties are free to go about your lawful businesses. You are free to go to any village conduct your campaign freely and we are going to give you enough security. We are encouraging all the aspirants that once you are threatened and you have no access to go round meet the commissioner of police in charge of that state.  They have been directed and warned to provide security for all the aspirants. No matter where they are going, they will attach security.”

EFCC chairman, who was represented by the Chief Superintendent in the Commission, Adukwu Michael, noted that the anti-graft agency had embarked on voters’ education and was working to ensure politicians do not spend beyond the stipulated amount.

“The Commission focus in election management is discouraging the use of money to influence the outcome of election.

“Electoral spending by politicians often lead to voter inducement and vote buying. Parties often induce vote with money because they lack proper and realistic policies to convince the electorate to vote them into power. Whenever one is induced to sell his vote, he automatic loses moral ground to challenge corrupt tendencies of those elected…

“We are working with INEC to determine and to enforce provisions of the Electoral Act as it relates to limit of campaign spending by different categories of office seekers. This is an intelligent driven exercise.”

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, said political parties and their candidates must adhere to democratic norms and “collectively intervene to achieve the kind of credible elections that will further deepen democracy.”

The keynote speaker, Senator Pius Anyim, argued that political parties must adhere to the principles of social justice as a means of preventing crisis.

“The rumblings in the PDP and the APC are surely due to perceived social injustice in the management of the affairs of the parties,” he argued.

According to him, the pain of the G-5 governors in the PDP is simply the sidelining of a section of the country in the sharing of party structures.

He, however, called on IPAC to step forward in playing a role to stabilise the democratic environment by ensuring that parties take their rightful position as the bedrock of democracy in Nigeria.

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