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LAWAN, AKPABIO LOSE OUT AS INEC PUBLISHES CANDIDATES’ LIST

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Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The All Progressives Congress may not have candidates for the Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial Districts in the 2023 election because of controversies over primaries, Saturday PUNCH learnt on Friday.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, were contesting for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial seats respectively.

But a National Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission, who did not want to be quoted because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said on Friday that both Lawan and Bashir Machina might have lost out for the senatorial seat of Yobe North in the 2023 election.

“Both Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North are blank. What we have is Mohammed Bomoi for Yobe South and Ibrahim Geidam for Yobe East. There is no name for the Yobe North for the APC”, the source said.

According to him, the commission did not publish any candidate for APC in the Akwa Ibom North West in the next year election.

‘’In Akwa Ibom State, apart from North West that is blank even though that man (DIG Udom Ekpoudom) won, in the North East and South Senatorial Districts, and the House of Assembly, they brought names of people who didn’t go through primaries monitored by INEC,” the source said.

However, Certified True Copy of INEC’s report from the May 28, 2022, primary election trending online on Friday revealed that Machina polled 289 votes out of 300 delegates to emerge winner for the Yobe North Senatorial District, even though the APC submitted the name of Lawan as the candidate of the party for the Senatorial District.

The document was reportedly certified by the commission on June 23, 2022.

Several calls, SMS and WhatsApp messages sent to INEC National Electoral Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, and Chief Press Secretary to the commission’s chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, on the matter were not answered.

The National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, had warned of severe sanctions if Machina refused to relinquish his ticket to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

He had claimed that the party was supreme and that it reserved the right to decide who would get its ticket in any election.

But Machina, a Third Republic member of the House of Representatives, rejected the substitution of his name in the list sent to INEC.

Meanwhile, the National Commissioner, Voters Registration, Education and Publicity, Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Festus Okoye, has said the submitted names of vice-presidential candidates cannot be retrieved or substituted by the political parties.

He noted that the nominated candidates themselves, who had accepted to be running mates to the presidential candidates, would stand for election come 2023, except they choose not to do so.

According to him, no one can force any of them to give up their seats for another candidate as the concept of ‘placeholders’ is alien to the electoral system.

Saturday PUNCH reports that the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, had submitted the name of Katsina Governor, Aminu Masari, as his running mate, stating that he would be replaced with a substantive candidate when a proper decision was reached before the window given by INEC closes.

This was the same for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, who chose his campaign Director-General, Dr Doyin Okupe, as his running mate for now.

Okupe, in an interview, said he was standing in for the substantive candidate who would be made known to the public in due time.

Reacting, Okoye, in an interview with Channels TV on Friday, Okoye said, a vice presidential candidate could only be replaced if he died or chose to withdraw from the race.

“In the forms submitted by the political parties, relating to their presidential and vice-presidential candidates, what we have in those forms are the name of presidential and VP candidates; their particulars and their affidavits.

“None of those political parties indicated that they were submitting a document in lieu of or that they were submitting a name of a candidate in lieu. All the political candidates said they were submitting the list of their candidates and running mates. The issue of submitting a name in lieu of or as placeholders does not even arise.

“As far as the law and constitution is concerned, we have made it mandatory that the moment a presidential candidate emerges, such candidate must nominate an associate who shall run with him/her as a vice-presidential candidate. Both are seen as Siamese twins who will move and fall together. In the forms submitted by the political parties, forms related to the vice-presidential presidential were submitted.

PUNCH

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2023: ENUGU YOUTHS BACK UGWUANYI, MBAH, PDP

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Youths of Independence Layout, Enugu, yesterday, visited Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu, to appreciate him for entrenching peace and good governance in the state.

The youths equally applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the numerous road projects his administration has executed in Independence Layout, Enugu, stressing that no past administration paid special attention to the area the way he (Ugwuanyi) has done so far.

They threw their weight behind Gov. Ugwuanyi, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Enugu North Senatorial District, the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Barr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah and other candidates of the party, stressing that they will work tirelessly for their victories when the time for electioneering comes.

Speaking, the leader of the group, Solomom Nnaemeka Nwobodo, told Gov. Ugwuanyi that “the way Independence Layout is now, is not how it was before,” adding: “You built for us Valley Crescent, Mount Drive, Link Road, Ukehe Street, Isi-Uzo street, Ugwuoba Street, Nwafia Street, Ibuza Street, Holy Trinity-Bishop Michael Eneje Street, among others.

“Your Excellency, you recruited the people from the Ministry of Transport, MOT, (Traffic Enforcement Bureau Cadets) to control traffic in Enugu city. During past governments, there was traffic gridlock in Enugu, but now the MOT controls everywhere making sure every place is free from traffic congestion.

“As if that is not enough, you established for us Forest Guards and Neighbourhood Watch groups and gave maximum support to the security agencies to discharge their duties effectively. And there is peace and security in Enugu today that we now sleep with our two eyes closed, among other numerous achievements.

“Your Excellency, you brought an open door policy to your government. You have given our youths, our mothers and our fathers the opportunity to participate in politics and most of them have achieved their political aspirations. “We say we should come and thank you and promise you that come 2023, we will support you to go to the Senate because some of us cast our votes in Nsukka.

“We are also promising you that we are solidly behind Barr. Peter Mbah, to be your successor in 2023. All of us are for the PDP and by the special grace of God, Independence Layout has never lost any election since 1999.

“Your Excellency, thank you once again for uniting the indigenes of Enugu State through the PDP by accommodating everybody, and anybody who comes to the Government House. Our motto is talk to who you know in your polling unit and ward to make sure that PDP wins come 2023. Always count on our unalloyed support and solidity, sir.”

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2023: PDP GOVS, LEADERS DIVIDED OVER AYU

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People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.

Governors elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as well as other stakeholders of the party are currently divided over the continuous stay in office of the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.

While some are insisting that Ayu should step down as party chairman, given the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a Northerner, as the party’s flag bearer in next year’s Presidential election, some others are of the view that even if Ayu should step down, it should not be now to avoid a crisis that might rock the political boat of the party and lead to its defeat in the election.

Saturday Sun gathered that the festering crisis has polarised the PDP Governors Forum, as well as other organs of the opposition party, including the National Working Committee. The governors, it was gathered, are sharply divided over the alleged push by the Governor Nyesom Wike group for the replacement of the National Chairman as a pre-condition for reconciliation.

Sources said that the division in the governors’ forum is such that it is affecting the cohesion of the National Working Committee (NWC). All the members are said to owe allegiance to governors that facilitated their elections into the party’s organ.

It is also such that no meeting of the Governors’ Forum has held since June 16, when the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, chose Delta State governor, as his running mate for the 2023 polls, and thus precipitating the continuous calls for the removal of Ayu as national chairman.

Multiple sources told Saturday Sun that out of the 12 PDP governors (minus Wike), four are supporting Wike while seven are with Atiku/Ayu. One is said to be non-committal at the moment.

Those on the side of Wike include Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu of Oyo, Benue, Enugu and Abia states, respectively, while Okowa, Aminu Tambuwal, Ahmadu Fintiri, Darius Ishaku, Godwin Obaseki, Emmanuel Udom and Diri Douye of Delta, Sokoto, Adamawa, Taraba, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states are said to be backing Ayu and Atiku Abubakar. Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi is said to be on the fence.

But a source close to one of the governors said that despite the crisis rocking the party at the moment none of the actors was contemplating the party. A story had earlier quoted Wike as suing the party and Aminu Tambuwal over the result of the presidential primary. But speaking at the commissioning of the House of Assembly Quarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday Wike debunked the news report, adding that he was focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.

He said: “People have called me that I went to court against Atiku Abubakar. I want to state categorically that I didn’t go to court. I just want to say it for Nigerians to know. If they lose election, nobody should call my name. I have told the candidate. If I wanted to go to court, I would have gone to court within two weeks. It is the candidate’s group that is doing all these things. Let the world hear. They are the ones plotting all these things, thinking they will spoil my name. We are supposed to be talking about winning an election.”

Atiku’s supporters are said to be urging the party leadership to move on with its preparations for the 2023 general elections, without the Wike’s camp in the event that the latter continues to maintain a hard stance in the reconciliation. However, Solomon Bob, a member of the House of Representatives from Rivers State, told Saturday Sun, in an interview that Wike  “wants nothing less than sincere, genuine and unscripted attempt to fully reconcile.”

He also implored Atiku to show commitment to the reconciliation process by mounting pressures on Ayu to step aside as national chairman.

However, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, told journalists, on Thursday night, that the party could not remove its National Chairman now, noting that the PDP would not want to go the 2023 polls with a divided house.

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2023: OBI SUPPORTERS DISTANCE SELVES FROM FAKE NEWS

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Labour Party, (LP) Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi

The National Coordinating Council, NCC, of the Obi-dient Movement, has dissociated supporters of the Labour Party, LP, Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, from fake news. They said that social media warriors of a desperate presidential candidate, who are allegedly being trained in Abuja were responsible for Ghanaian President’s fake advice to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to step down for Obi.

NCC Spokesman, Mr Danjuma Musa, in a statement said Obi has sustained issue-based  comments and his jittery opponents had resorted to fake news to fight him.

His words: “Peter Obi has single- handedly changed petty campaign strategy to an issue based one as it ought to be. “Nigerians have become more awakened, sensitized, informed, animated and determined to take back their Country from these hawks of darkness bedeviling our beloved country.

“I can confidently assure you that Nigerians are decisive in making sure that come 2023 Obi/Datti presidency is confirmed.

“The opposition seeing they have lost grounds in standing shoulder to Shoulder with this exceptional gift to Nigerians (Obi/Datti) have gone down to the mud to deploy dirty tricks to score cheap political points using fake news as their weapon.  “The most recent is the Facebook post written with the name of a supposed Peter Obi support group with the obvious intent to tarnish the good image of Peter Obi. The purported letter of the president of Ghana to the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu asking him to step down is false, fake and very cheap. “Among all the presidential candidates, Peter Obi has been proven to be not just the best, most reliable and most competent of them all, but also the most decorous and would never need to go this low asking an already defeated candidate to step down.”

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