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APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu

The refusal of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sign the Electoral Act amendment bill that would have permitted statutory delegates to vote has altered the voting strength of some states, The PUNCH can confirm.

Section 12.1 of the All Progressives Congress constitution says members of the national convention shall include members of the board of trustees, national chairman and all members of the national executive committee, serving and past presidents, vice presidents, serving and past governors and deputy governors who are members of the party, serving and former members of the National Assembly, members of the state working committees, all local government chairmen along with three elected delegates from each of the 774 local government areas.

This came to the fore on Monday as the party again shifted it senatorial primary from May 26 to May 27.

With the President’s refusal to sign the bill, the number of delegates has dropped from 7, 800 to about 2, 340. The 2,340 consist of three delegates from each of the 774 local governments in the country and six area councils in Abuja.

The PUNCH observed that Lagos, which has one of the largest number of statutory delegates due to its large number of APC public officials, will now be left with 60 delegates because it has just 20 local government areas.

Lagos, which ideally should have 304 delegates, was in the top five only behind Kano, Katsina, Borno and Osun. However, with only 60 delegates, Lagos is now 19th.

Also, states that have a low APC membership or that are governed by the Peoples Democratic Party but have a large number of local governments will now have an advantage over Lagos.

For instance, Akwa Ibom which has 31 LGAs, Oyo which has 33 LGAs and Rivers and Sokoto which both have 23 LGAs each, will now have more delegates at the presidential primary than Lagos.

Borno, which should have the third highest number of delegates due to its large number of serving and former elected APC members, will now have a lower number of delegates than Akwa Ibom and Oyo because it has 27 LGAs. Essentially, Borno has also fallen from having the third highest number of delegates to having the fifth highest.

However, The PUNCH observed that Kano, Katsina and Osun retained their lead by virtue of the large number of local government areas that they possess. Kano, which has 44 LGAs will have 132 delegates while Katsina with 34 LGAs will have 102 elected delegates. This also applies to Osun State which has 30 LGAs and will thus have 90 delegates.

The PUNCH learnt that 15 states combined have the total strength to determine the outcome of the presidential election. They are Kano (132), Katsina (102), Akwa Ibom (93), Oyo (99), Osun (90), Jigawa (81), Imo (81), Borno (81), Delta (75), Rivers (69), Sokoto (69), Benue (66), Anambra (63), Adamawa (63) and Kebbi (62) with a combined 1, 224 delegates.

In a chat with The PUNCH, the APC chieftain in Lagos State, Chief Joe Igbokwe, said it was unfortunate that Lagos had fallen on the pecking order due to the exclusion of statutory delegates.

Igbokwe said he was confident that the party would look into the matter with a view to making adjustments.

He, however, said he was confident that Bola Tinubu would emerge victorious regardless of the calculation.

“Lagos is too important to be put in such a position because of the exclusion of statutory delegates. We are hopeful that the party will look into the matter. But we are not perturbed. We are confident that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will win. There is a lot of gang up against the man but he is the only one that can win the election for the APC. Igbokwe said.

States will not be properly represented at presidential primary – BUK professor

On his part, a political Analyst and Professor of Political Science at Bayero University Kano, Kamilu Fage, said the new system had taken away the advantage the executive enjoyed.

Fage, however, admitted that the new system might not offer a fair representation of the states at the presidential primary.

“You will see that based on the number of local government per state some will have high number of delegates while some will have very low.  States may not be properly represented based on this,” he stated.

The professor argued that all hope was not lost for aspirants, noting that the highest bidder among them would emerge as the party’s standard bearer.

Also APC chieftain, Dr. Osita Okechukwu, said the new system of using only ad hoc delegates would not stop the most popular aspirant from emerging victorious.

Okechukwu, who is the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, said the party had not yet decided on the mode of primaries it would adopt, adding that the APC could also use direct or the consensus method.

He added, “The party has not told us which mode they want to adopt. So, it then means that the issue of whether section 84 was signed into law has as an impact. So the options are very open. But even if they do indirect, it is even in the interest of the candidates that you have a fewer delegates to contend with. I think so myself. Whichever way you look at it, if you have fewer delegates to contend with, it is better for you.

“The fact that a given state has a larger number of delegates does not mean that that number cannot go to someone from another state.”

Responding, Osun APC Director of Publicity and Strategy, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, said the party’s Presidential primary was basically an issue based on the dictates of the law.

Attempts to get a response from the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls on Monday.

Meanwhile, The PUNCH learnt that Buhari will on Wednesday meet the 25 Presidential aspirants. The meeting is expected to take place a day after the Presidential screening at the party which takes place on Tuesday (today).

Sunday PUNCH had reported that the President would be meeting all of the aspirants this week with a view to fostering unity and promoting a consensus.

On Monday, The PUNCH confirmed that the meeting will take place on Wednesday.

It was learnt that the party would be open to refunding money spent by some aspirants that step down.

“The president will be meeting with all the aspirants on Wednesday. It has become imperative for the presidency to plead with them to settle for the party’s consensus candidate,” said a party source.

On Monday the APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu, said the postponement of the screening became necessary as the screening panel had not been constituted.

This is even as the national organising secretary disclosed that a seven-man panel, comprising a member from each of the six geo-political zones, would be set up by the National Working Committee to undertake the screening.While his excuse for the screening postponement may appear tenable, a source in the secretariat told our correspondent that the said constitution of screening panels is just a smoke screen.According to him, it is part of the grand plan of the party to put its house and compel the presidential aspirants to buy into proposed consensus talks.

Again, Reps postpone resumption over parties’ primaries

In a related development, the House of Representatives has postponed its resumption of plenary by two week, till June 7, 2022. The chamber was to resume on Tuesday.

Clerk to the House, Dr Yahaya Danzaria, in a terse notice issued on Monday, said the postponement was due to the ongoing primaries being held by political parties to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections.

Danzaria said, “I am directed to inform all honourable members, staff, media and the general public that due to the ongoing party primaries the House will now resume plenary on Tuesday, 7th June, 2022 at 11:00am.”

APC adjust primaries timetable again

The APC for the umpteenth time has revised the timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship, state House of Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives Primary Elections.

The development comes a day after the National Working Committee postponed the screening of the presidential screening exercise.

The revised timetable was announced by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, on Monday night on Wednesday at the APC Secretariat in Abuja.

Morka stated that the recently cleared 145 governorship and State House of Assembly aspirants will test their popularity at the primaries that will be determined by state and local government delegates respectively on Thursday, May 26.

On Friday, May 27, the 340 senatorial aspirants who recently got a clean bill of health at the party screening will undergo another litmus test to win the votes of their local government delegates.

The last primary, which involved the House of Representatives aspirants will be determined by local government delegates on Saturday, May 28.

On the special convention for the Presidential Primary, Morka disclosed that “It will be held as scheduled on Sunday, 29th – Monday, 30th of May, 2022.”


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The Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, together with a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, on Friday paid a visit to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt.

Though the reason for their meeting is yet to be known, there are speculations that it is connected to the 2023 presidency and also on the forthcoming general elections.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party and former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, also met with Wike, behind closed doors in Port-Harcourt.

Both men, however, did not speak on the purpose of the meeting, as journalists were not granted access.

Obi’s visit comes four days after the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, also met with Governor Wike at about 9pm behind closed doors.


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Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh has announced that she is the running mate to the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Rivers State, Tonte Ibraye for the 2023 election.

“I thank Mr. Tonte Ibraye the Governorship Candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Rivers State for nominating me as his running mate,” Tonto Dikeh said in an Instagram post.

“We are looking forward to investing massively in social protection, creating a social value system for young people, increasing women’s inclusion in our governance system, supporting small businesses and strengthening our traditional institutions to be active players in the drive to bring sustainable development to the good people of Rivers State.

“I am glad to be a proud member of the #RiversRescueMission2023 Please get your PVC and join the movement. You are the Future and The future is now!TonteTonto2023.”

Ibraye won the ADC governorship ticket during the primary elections in early June.

The vice chairman of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Abuja chapter defeated Dr. Warmeth Wright and Joyce Barida in a primary election organised by the party in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Ibraye, an advocate for maternal, newborn, and child health, polled 187 votes out of 188 votes.

A representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Emmanuel Isong, who monitored the exercise, described it as free and fair.

Ibraye called for full implementation of the Electoral Act in all processes leading to the general election, especially the enforcement of the provision for electronic transmission of results during the poll.

Addressing the delegates, he said: “One thing I must tell you is that, you have made history today. It will no longer be business as usual.”

“I believe some of you are aware some people will contest and they go to the ruling party to endorse them. I must assure you that I will not use your votes to trade with anyone.”


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Peter Obi, a former Anambra State governor and LP presidential candidate and Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former Kano State governor and presidential candidate of the NNPP.

The joint panel set up by the Labour Party and the New Nigeria People’s Party to work out an alliance between Rabiu Kwankwaso and Mr Peter Obi has submitted its report for consideration, findings by Saturday PUNCH have revealed.

Kwankwaso, a former Kano State governor and presidential candidate of the NNPP, is said to have a strong followership in the North with his Kwankwasiyya movement, while Obi, a former Anambra State governor and LP presidential candidate, is having an increasing support base among youths in the southern part of the country and the social media.

While it is no longer possible for political parties to merge, in line with Section 81 (2) of the Electoral Act, both presidential candidates are working on a joint ticket with the hope of defeating the ruling All Progressives Congress, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and others in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

The Section 81 (2) reads, “Political parties intending to merge shall each give to the commission nine months’ notice of their intention to do so before a general election.” Already, the 2023 general elections will commence on February 25, which is less than nine months away.

Kwankwaso in an interview about a week ago confirmed that a committee was set up to work on the alliance and that conversation was ongoing. He said, “We are in talks with Peter Obi and a committee is working to look into how to form a merger between us.

“The merger is important because as you can see, both the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party did not pick their running mates from the South-East.”

As the deadline for the substitution of candidates and running mates for the presidential and National Assembly candidates draws near, there is a mounting anxiety among the supporters of the two candidates over the progress made in the alliance talks.

Meanwhile, the running mate to Obi and director-general of his campaign organisation, Dr Doyin Okupe, confirmed to Saturday PUNCH that the panel had concluded its sitting and talks were ongoing on the way forward.

Okupe said, “A committee was set up before now and the committee has completed its work. There have been informal meetings and third party stakeholders interventions and we have had structured official meetings too.

“In all, we came to two agreements; one is that we are going to work together as political parties in order to achieve this change that we all desire. What we did not agree upon is who would be the president and who would be the vice-president. We didn’t agree on that. But we left it open.”

Asked if the parties would agree on the issue before the deadline for political parties to submit the names of their final running mates, Okupe said, “We are aware of the deadline, and we are working on it. When we adjourned our last meeting, we adjourned sine die. So, if there is a change, we will reconvene. But we are moving on. There is no problem. We have agreed to work together to create a platform for a national coalition, so that objective is still in place.”

Also, the National Chairman, NNPP, Prof Rufai Alkali, told Saturday PUNCH in an interview that the party was engaging with the people and getting support and solidarity from many places.

When asked who would become the candidate and running mate between Kwankwaso and Obi, Alkali said, “Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso is a seasoned politician and he knows the country very well. Certain decisions have to be taken at the appropriate time in a way and manner that would bring more strength and credibility to this journey.”

Asked if a decision had been reached on it, he said, “When we do, you will be among the first to know. No decision yet.”

About the panel’s report, he said, “I am not aware of anything and I am not going to comment on that.”

On the prospect of the NNPP in 2023, Alkali said, “I have been in other parties before the NNPP, and I must say it is amazing. We keep receiving calls from people that are likely to join us and we are making a lot of progress.”

Sources in both the NNPP and LP confirmed to Saturday PUNCH that an influential former President was among those being consulted on the issue.

Kwankwaso in Rivers

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Friday received Kwankwaso in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

After losing the PDP presidential primary to Atiku Abubakar and the running mate slot to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Wike, who is said to be aggrieved by the development, has continued to receive high-profile politicians, including Obi who visited him on Thursday.

Meanwhile, both of them were seen in front of the Wike’s residence exchanging pleasantries on Friday. This was about 24-hours after a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, as well as the senate minority caucus led by its leader, Philip Aduda.

The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, also visited Wike on Wednesday, while Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State visited him earlier in the week.

It is believed that the visits have to do with the forthcoming presidential election. All the visits were followed by a closed-door meeting but the outcome had remained unknown.

…19 days to go

Meanwhile, the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission indicates that political parties have until July 15 to withdraw or replace their candidates and their running mates for the presidential and National Assembly elections.

By implication, the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Obi of the Labour Party and other candidates who submitted interim names for running mates have about 19 days away to submit the final names.

Item six of the timetable read, “Last day for withdrawal by candidate(s)/replacement of withdrawn candidate(s) by political parties for the presidential and National Assembly (elections) is July 15, 2022, while for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly is August 12, 2022. Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides not later than 90 days to the election.”

The APC and its presidential candidate had been confronted with the possibility of a Muslim/Muslim ticket, given that Tinubu is a Muslim from a Christian-dominated South while his running mate is expected to come from the North, which is dominated by Muslims.

The Christian Association of Nigeria and other groups and individuals vehemently opposed a Muslim/Muslim or Christian/Christian presidential ticket, saying such would be insensitive and rejected by the people.

Voter registration extension

Amid the growing public clamour for the June 30 deadline for the continuous voter registration to be extended, INEC has said it is unable to extend the exercise for now because the matter is already subjudice.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 185 concerned Nigerians had filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos asking the court for, among other things, an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to extend voter registration by a minimum of three months and take effective measures to ensure that eligible Nigerians are able to register to exercise their right to vote in the 2023 general elections.

Speaking on rumours that the commission had agreed to extend the exercise for 60 days in line with the request of the House of Representatives, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC National Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission had not extended the June 30 deadline.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, Oyekanmi said, “INEC has not extended the CVR deadline. What the commission did about two weeks ago when we noticed pressure in particular areas, namely the South-East states, Lagos, Kano, and the Federal Capital Territory, was to send additional 209 INEC Voter Enrollment Devices to those areas to ease the CVR procedure.

“The commission wanted to wait and assess the effect of that action to determine the next step, but that is by the way now because SERAP went to court and tried to stop us from stopping the CVR.

“What the court has said, as part of its order, is that we should not announce any date or end the CVR but come on June 29 to respond to issues raised in the suit filed by SERAP. So now, even if we want to extend, we cannot do anything until we have answered the court and responded robustly to the issues raised in the suit and that would be on June 29. So, we can’t take any action on the CVR until then.”

Also speaking on the issue, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said in an interview on Channels Television on Friday night that the chairman of the commission was disposed to extending the exercise.

He noted that the surge in the number of registrants lately had made the extension inevitable.

He added, “We are going before the Federal High Court on June 29 to put the cards on the table. We are convinced that after we make our arguments, the court will be convinced on the reason why we cannot extend the CVR beyond a certain period.

“But we are convinced, given the enthusiasm of Nigerians and the new resolve of Nigerians to register that an extension is inevitable and the commission is disposed towards extending the period for the CVR but not up to the period that some people are canvassing.”

He said it would be a futile exercise to extend the registration and be unable to print the permanent voter cards of those registered and get them to collect the cards and vote. “So, we are favourably disposed to an extension of the CVR,” he added.

‘Tinubu, best candidate’

The Asiwaju Tinubu Campaign Organisation has described the APC presidential candidate as the most successful leader among all the presidential candidates.

The Director-General of the organisation, Chief Adebayo Shittu, at a press conference in Ibadan on Friday, said apart from being a governor of Lagos State for eight years, Tinubu developed leaders who became vice-president,  governors, senators and many others even after leaving power almost 15 years ago.

According to him, governance is not strange to such a leader and getting competent hands to work with him will also not be an issue.

He added, “He turned Lagos State around when he was there. He raised the internally generated revenue of the state and despite that the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo, stopped allocation to the state for two years, the state did not suffer. That is the kind of person we need now.

Speaking about Tinubu’s running mate, Shittu stated that he would pick someone who would help him to win. He added, “We should not place too much emphasis on religion or ethnicity. If you board a plane now, you won’t ask them if the pilot is a Muslim or a Christian or the state of origin. What you would be concerned with is the competence and the experience of the pilot. So, we need to be concerned about competence and not religious beliefs.”

LP as alternative

A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the recently held primaries, Sam Ohuabunwa, has said Obi has widened the options Nigerians could choose from in 2023.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, he said, “For a long time, it looked as if we had just two options, but now there seems to be the third option. That widens the democratic space and is giving relief to those who want alternatives.

“Though for now, it is too early to say or make any prediction, we are happy that there is a third option for Nigerians. The two parties are formidable and they cannot be glossed over easily.”

Ohuabunwa, who is the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals and former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, maintained that the APC and PDP presidential primaries were characterised by vote-buying.

“The monetisation of our politics is depressing because at both the APC and PDP primaries, everybody saw the impact of big money. If we thought it was just for the primaries of the leading parties, we also saw smaller parties complain about money and all that. If we leave the primaries and come to the general elections, we see the accusations going on in Ekiti (governorship elections). It is depressing for people like us.”


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