Connect with us

Politics

AS OBI’S CANDIDACY REDEFINES NIGERIA’S PRESIDENTIAL DEMOCRACY

Published

on

AS you read this, and barring any last minute rescheduling, it will be exactly 177 days to the 2023 presidential election scheduled to hold on February 25.

By Ikechukwu Amaechi

Many Nigerians are enthusiastic, thrilled and motivated. Some are even exultant. This election cycle will be the seventh since 1999. Yet, none of the previous six elections elicited as much enthusiasm. In fact, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, figures, the turnout of voters had been on the decline.

For instance, 74 million Nigerians registered for the 2011 elections and 39 million (53.68 per cent) voted to elect Dr. Goodluck Jonathan president.

In 2015, both the number of registered voters and the percentage that voted dipped. Whereas 67.42 million registered to vote, only 29.43 million votes were cast, representing 43.65 per cent voter turnout.

Four years later, there was an 8.9 percentage decline. Of the 84 million who registered to vote in 2019, only 28.61 million (34.75 per cent) bothered to show up on Election Day.

Political pundits had predicted that voter apathy in the 2023 elections will be worse. And then, one man, Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, happened on the presidential canvass and everything changed. Now, rather than a decline, there is an uptick if the upsurge in voter registration is anything to go by.

Suddenly, those who had sworn never to vote again, wondering what difference it would make if they vote, have not only rescinded their decision but are fired up because everything seems be to falling in place and democracy has a new meaning for hitherto disillusioned folks.

For too long, many Nigerians had fantasized about democracy in other climes where issues dominate the campaigns and wished that theirs would blossom.

Before the primary elections, that hope looked forlorn. With the two major political parties – All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP – subtly signaling where they were headed with their presidential tickets, disillusionment crept in. Then, Peter Obi pulled out of the PDP and pitched tent with the Labour Party, LP, and nothing has remained the same ever since.

Now, when the campaigns start on September 28, there are indications that unlike before, politicians will no longer go on the hustings to dance Buga for two minutes after contemptuously keeping the people waiting for 10 hours.

For too long, politicians have taken the electorate for granted. They promise nothing and are not obligated to the people. If Peter Obi didn’t throw his hat into the ring, the choice for Nigerians would have been severely limited because the difference between the APC, PDP and their presidential candidates – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku Abubabakar – could be likened to the difference between six and half a dozen. Had the status quo remained, the apathy would have been unprecedented.

Peter Obi’s bold, strategic move has animated the political space and energised Nigerians to do the needful. They want to know the candidates – their antecedents, backgrounds and past history. The issue of integrity is resonating loudly. It is no longer enough for a candidate to boast of his unexplained wealth, Nigerians are beginning to ask questions. Those who refuse to answer may regret their folly on Election Day. NEPA bills are no longer sufficing for certificates. Dubious affidavits have become a liability and those who claimed to have attended certain primary and secondary schools in 1999 would rather leave the spaces blank in INEC forms today.

Leadership is a big deal. It makes all the difference in countries aspiring for greatness. If Nigerians had factored in the issue of antecedents in the weighty electoral decision they made in 2015, they would have taken note of how disastrous Buhari’s 20-month stewardship as military head of state in the early 1980s was. Nigeria wouldn’t have been in the mess it is today.

But while many, including APC chieftains, who are too ashamed of the Buhari legacy of failure, believe that no president will be worse, conscious effort must also be made to run away from the “anyone but Buhari” syndrome. In 2015, Nigerians who chorused “anyone but Goodluck Jonathan”, ended up with Buhari who turned out to be 100 per cent worse.

While it is true that President Buhari is the poster boy of incompetence and no one can possibly be worse, rescuing Nigeria from the doldrums requires grit, self-discipline, altruistic weltanschauung and buy-in of the people.

That, again, is where Peter Obi comes in. His candidacy in the 2023 election has become a crusade that crystallised in the Obidient Movement. For the first time since 1999, Nigerians have taken ownership of a presidential campaign without any financial inducement.

For too long, money bags have used their wealth to bribe their way, literally, to power. And because they owe their mandate not to the people but the deepness of their pockets, they are not obligated to anyone once in office.

That obnoxious political culture is changing. Today, Nigerians who have never met Peter Obi in person and may not have the privilege of doing so all their lives are volunteering their time, resources and talents, not because of what they hope to get from him but for the good of the country.

While the APC and PDP are looking up to the governors, contractors that have been awarded contracts at highly inflated costs, ministries, parastatals and agencies of government to fund their campaigns, Nigerians are using their hard-earned resources to organise million-man marches across the country to promote the Obi candidacy. Some are donating their properties, others are hiring private jets to facilitate his movement. His trips outside the country are paid for by Nigerians who insist that their country must be better.

Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora are crowdfunding to raise the billions of Naira needed to prosecute the electoral battle.

Is Peter Obi a poor man? Not by any means. He is far richer than most of those making these contributions. But they are doing it because they trust him. They believe in him. Is Obi a saint? Not at all. But Nigerians are rooting for him because his message resonates loudly. They want something new. Peter Obi is the breath of fresh air they have been yearning for. He is a refreshing change from the norm, hence the unprecedented decision by all to do the needful: talk of putting one’s money where one’s mouth is.

Suddenly, a presidential bid that looked like a long shot only yesterday, is becoming a reality, so much so that the APC and PDP are scared stiff, which explains all the attacks against Obi. But it is only natural that the tree with fruits gets the most stone throws.

Whether Peter Obi wins the 2023 presidential election or not, he is already a champion. His candidacy has redefined and deepened Nigeria’s democracy in very fundamental ways.

The choice of both the lecturer and chairman was a product of painstaking deliberations.

Since the announcement was made, some have asked the question: Why Fashola, who is not only a partisan politician and APC chieftain, but arguably one of the ruling party’s ideologues?

My answer is simple: On Thursday, September 8, 2022, ensure that you are seated inside the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Fashola, Nigeria’s Fourth Republic poster boy, will provide the answer. He has, beforehand, promised that it will be a rich intellectual harvest.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Politics

APC CAMPAIGN COUNCIL EXPLAINS TINUBU’S WHEREABOUT

Published

on

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu is in the United Kingdom to rest ahead of the campaign season.

This was the comment of a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council Ayo Oyalowo during his appearance on a television programme.

“The man, like I said, needed a few days off because the pressure on him is a bit too much and he needed to rest because the campaign is pretty long – we have about four, five months to campaign before the general election,” the APC chieftain said on Monday.

“So, he needs to ensure that he is not worn out by the show of love, and camaraderie – too many people coming to see him. So, yes, he needed to take that breather.”

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Politics

2023: PDP G5 GIVES ATIKU CONDITIONS FOR SUPPORT

Published

on

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.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Politics

RIVERS APC TACKLES S’WEST GOVS OVER ROMANCE WITH WIKE

Published

on

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike

All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, has cautioned South-West governors of the party to stop disrespecting them by hobnobbing with Governor Nyesom Wike.

Stakeholders of the party in the state gave the warning at a consultative meeting in the South-South zone in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

The party also urged its national leadership to prevail on the governors to desist from coming to the state, if not for the sake of solidarity.

Chairman of the party in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Sydney Nyeche, said: “Visiting Wike is an embarrassment to our effort in trying to reclaim the state.

“We find it disrespectful that while we are toiling for the party in the state, some group of governors from the West come to the state, go to Rumueprikom(Wike’s residence) and be negotiating with Nyesom Wike.

“The attention of the national chairman is drawn to this because we will not tolerate this anymore; we have had enough. We urge the National Working Committee of the party to warn these governors from the South West to desist from coming to the state to negotiate with the governor. This level of embarrassment we have suffered should stop.

“I cannot be threatened everyday because of my political leanings and somebody will come from the West to rubbish our efforts. If they cannot come to the state to show solidarity, they should stop coming to the state.”

Also, the state chairman of the party, Emeka Beke, berated the non-remittance of 25 percent of the funds generated from the sales of forms from candidates of the state during the party primaries to strengthen the party.

Beke demanded support from the party’s national leadership, stressing that the state chapter would reciprocate in the same manner it is being treated.

“Please, we urge the National Chairman that Rivers State bought forms worth over N1 billion and we are requesting that they should remit to the state 25 percent generated through the sale of the forms.”

Convener of the meeting, the Vice Chairman, South-South zone of APC, Victor Giadom,  said the essence of the meeting was to understand clearly the challenges of the party in the state and areas to improve on.

Meanwhile, some youths in Niger State have warned former Minister for Information and member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Board of Trustee (BoT), Prof. Jerry Gana to distance himself from River State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his group or face their wrath.

The youths under the auspices of “Concern Citizen of Niger state” in collaboration with Arewa Youths Council, Niger State chapter, in a letter signed by its coordinator, Alfa Nma, to Gana’s son, threatening to scuttle his ambition for the Lavun/Mokwa/Edati Federal Constituency seat if the older Gana continued his alliance with Wike.

“We wish to notify you about the activities of your father, Prof. Jerry Gana, over his unpalatable move towards our great party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which is capable of affecting our chances in the 2023 general elections.

“We have observed with dismay how Wike and his group have continued their rebellion against the party and its presidential candidate despite several appeals and peace efforts from well-meaning party stakeholders. The activities of the professor has become worrisome to many of our supporters within the state and we implore you to call your father to order before it’s too late. The failure to do that within 24 hours means we would have no other option than to mobilise all our support groups in Niger State to work against your election,” the group said.

All attempts to get the reaction of the candidate, Joshua Gana, over the threat letter, failed as he promised to get back to our correspondent after several calls and text message but never did.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Trending