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Edo: APC campaign should be about Ize-Iyamo not Oshiomhole, Lukman advises

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…Lauds Akeredolu’s reconciliatory moves in Ondo

The Director-General All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has warned that should the party allow sacked party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to lead campaign for the party’s candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, APC may not win the September 19, Edo state governorship election.

In statement issued Friday in Abuja, titled, ‘Progressive politics –which way APC? the PGF DG cautioned that Ize-Iyamu must be very visible and seen as the face of the campaign if APC wants Edo people to vote for the party’s candidate.

“It is important that immediately following the resolution of APC’s internal leadership crisis with the emergence of Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Planning Committee, internal party debate is promoted on issues of strategies to bolster our electoral viability. This should not be taken for granted. The test for all of this is Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

“How our leaders are able to work as a united front and the messages of hope and how determined we are as a party to inspire citizens into voting our candidates should be the focus. In other words, our campaigns and our candidates must project the aspirations of the people and the feature our party offers.

“Without any doubt, the signal coming from Governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN of Ondo state after emerging as the candidate of the APC is very encouraging and clearly consistent with the kind of progressive politics APC leaders should be promoting.
Immediately after the July 21, 2020 APC primary, notwithstanding that Governor Akeredolu won the primary election convincingly with 2,458 votes with his closest rival Olusola Oke who came second polling 262 votes, Governor Akeredolu has been going round, meeting all those who contested the elections with him and negotiating reconciliation.

“This demonstrate that governor Akeredolu is magnanimous in victory, at least within the party. With this, it should be expected that Akeredolu will approach the campaigns for Ondo governorship election based on a strategy of winning the votes of Ondo people. The message he seems to be conveying is that he respects the rights of the people of Ondo state to make their choice and he is offering himself as a worthy consideration to be the choice of the people.

“The reverse seems to be the case in Edo state. As opposed to reconciliation, it is loud drums of war that has taken over the airwaves in Edo state. Comrade Oshiomhole has relocated to Edo state and taken over the APC campaign and the campaign is proceeding in a manner that suggest the Edo state governorship election is an extension of the personal battle between the Governor Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole.

“The APC campaign is personalised around Comrade Oshiomhole and the candidate of the party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is an onlooker. The soundbite from the Edo APC campaign is so offensive to the point where Comrade Oshiomhole appear to be disowning almost every APC in Edo State between 2016 and now. To that extent, it simply means Oshiomhole is disowning himself, which may be why he went on his knee begging Edo people for forgiveness.

“We need to appeal to Comrade Oshiomhole to ‘calm down’. This campaign is not about his person. More importantly, we need to stress the point that part of the political vision of any progressive is that once elected into government, we commit ourselves to issues of agricultural development, jobs creation, education, health, infrastructural development, poverty eradication and rapid technological development.

“APC has ruled Edo state since the time of Comrade Oshiomhole as governor of the state. Up to today, whatever achievement Edo State experienced under Governor Obaseki, between 2016 and now, APC must own it, just like we should be able to accept some of the setbacks. Anything Governor Obaseki is able to achieve must be credited to APC as a party. Our Edo campaign should be able to raise the awareness of Edo people that had Governor Obaseki been in PDP, it would have been impossible for him to record any achievement.

“Based on the personalised way the APC Edo State campaign is being carried out, PDP all of a sudden is coming out very strongly to campaign for votes. If the Edo State APC campaign is to go ahead this way, when APC win the election who will run the affairs of the state as Governor? Is it Comrade Oshiomhole or Pastor Ize-Iyamu? If our party want Edo people to vote for our candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu must be very visible and be seen as the face of the campaign.

“Comrade Oshiomhole should take a backseat and play the facilitatory role our leaders play in all similar circumstances. Lagos state governorship election since 2007 present a good model. Without any doubt, our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, may be argued to be very influential in the emergence of candidates, from Babatunde Raji Fashola, Akinwumi Ambode to our current Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. But once a candidate emerges, the responsibility of executing the campaign largely belong to the candidate on account of which the particular candidate become the face of the campaign.

“It is important that Oshiomhole endorse a situation where the party is able apply the Lagos model to the Edo State governorship campaign especially because we want the Edo people to be able to have confidence on our candidate, Ize-Iyamu and believe that when they elect him, he will be the one that will govern the state. The responsibility for ensuring that this is done rests with the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Committee.

“Good enough, they have setup a National Campaign Council under the leadership of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State. Governor Ganduje’s National Campaign Council should be able to assume leadership and take the necessary steps to redirect the Edo State APC campaign to have a clear progressive bearing. As part of those steps, it should ensure that APC campaign messages appropriate all development achievements recorded under the APC administration of Governor Obaseki.

“In addition, we must take steps to also cut the oxygen supply to PDP campaign, which is presenting our party and our candidate as promoters of violence. Our campaign for the Edo election should therefore amplify messages of peace and what we need to do to achieve that.
“Having come out of a very difficult crisis, our leaders and all our party members must be vigilant to ensure that our politics is not recklessly managed as to reduce us to the level of just working to win elections by all means. That is far from progressive politics. Our leaders did not make all the sacrifices they made to achieve the merger of 2013 and resolve our last leadership crisis just because we want to win elections by all means, including violent conducts.
“As progressives, our commitment to winning elections must be about earning the confidence of citizens. If anything, President Buhari should be our model at all times, especially when it borders on conducting political campaigns. It is to his credit that he never associates his political campaigns with violence since 2003, which is partly the reason he could host his political campaigns with mammoth crowd running into millions without any violent incident,” he noted.

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Umahi Declares for 2023 Presidential Race

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As has been widely expected, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2023 Presidential race.

According to the Governor, he has informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his ambition to contest the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

Governor Umahi’s action came barely 24 hours after the National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, took similar steps.

Umahi disclosed his latest move to State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

  1. On what his chances chances are against the background that other big political figures had indicated their intentions to run for the same office, including Asiwaju Tinubu, the Governor said God would be the decider of the outcome of the race.

Umahi, who left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC, said he stands a chance if the APC throws the ticket open.

He said if he gets the opportunity, his presidency will replicate his efforts in Ebonyi, saying that he has a lot to show in running governance as a business.

The Governor also said he spoke with the President about resolving the security crisis bugging the Southeast region through political solutions.

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We Haven’t Zoned the Presidential Slot to Any Part of the Country, says PDP

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As permutations continue ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has denied zoning the presidential slot, saying a decision is yet to be taken on where its presidential ticket would be zoned to.

It also dismissed reports indicating that PDP had resolved to zone the presidential ticket to a particular region of the country.

Recall that former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, had, last week, told a group drumming support for the presidential ambition of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar that the party had resolved to field a northerner as its presidential candidate.

But reacting to the reports, spokesman for the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said: “This is completely misleading as it does not in any way represent the position of our party. For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP emphatically and unequivocally states that it has not zoned its presidential ticket to any part of the country.

“The PDP is a political party founded on democratic principles and every action of the party, including zoning, is based on extensive consultations, discussions and consideration of all the issues as well as the various tendencies and interests across the nation, with the main objective of ensuring that the unity, peaceful co-existence and development of our nation are reinforced and promoted.

“The PDP, therefore, urges Nigerians, our teeming members and supporters to completely disregard the unfounded zoning claims as being peddled. Our party also cautions those behind the claims to desist forthwith.

“The PDP thanks Nigerians for the overwhelming interest they have in our party as their sure platform to rescue and rebuild our nation from misrule and urges them to remain united and focused as we join forces for the task ahead.”

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Andy Uba Wasn’t a Candidate in Anambra Governorship Election, Court Rules

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All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Anambra, Andy Uba, who has vowed to upturn the election of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, was handed an unexpected knock out on Monday.

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, nullified his participation in the 6 November election, declaring his candidacy illegal.

The ruling effectively denied Uba a locus standi to challenge Soludo.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the June 26 primary of the party which produced Uba as its standard-bearer was not validly conducted.

The ruling ended what would have been some legal distraction for Soludo, a former Central bank governor, hoping to make a difference in governance in the state.

Chief George Moghalu, an aspirant in the APC primary election had challenged the process and the outcome of the primary election that produced Uba as the party’s candidate.

Moghalu, who was the plaintiff, had sued the party, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo aligned with the plaintiff’s arguments that the June 26 primary election breached the provisions of the Electoral Act and the APC guidelines for the conduct of the exercise.

Chief George Moghalu

He held that the plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that the primary election was not conducted in accordance with the law and the party’s guidelines.

“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on its merit,” he said.

Ekwo held that since the election was conducted illegally, the APC (1st defendant) cannot be a beneficiary of the Nov. 6 election which produced the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, as the winner of the poll outcome.

The judge, therefore, declared that the APC had no candidate in the Anambra governorship election by non-inclusion of the name of Moghalu in the primary election, and the conduct of the poll in contravention of the Electoral Act and the party’s guidelines.

“The 2nd defendant (INEC) is compelled to delist the name of the 1st defendant and 3rd defendant from the Nov. 6, Anambra governorship election,” he ordered.

Prof. Charles Soludo
Anambra Governor-Elect

According to the judge, any election conducted contrary to the 1st defendant guideline is in nullity.

“The real issue was not whether accredited members of 1st defendant voted on that day but whether the election was conducted in accordance with the election guidelines of 1st defendant,” he held.

He also said that the evidence of the police report confirmed that the election was conducted outside the time frame.

Ekwo, who described the conduct of the primary by APC as “crude and primitive,” ordered that the N22.5 million paid by Moghalu as expression of interest and nomination forms be refunded since the party failed to complied with the provisions of the law and its guidelines.

Moghalu had, in July, filed the suit at the court, seeking an order removing Uba and the APC from the list of gubernatorial candidates and political parties partaking in the Anambra governorship election on the grounds that the party failed to conduct a valid primary election.

He also demanded N122.5 million as damages, which include a refund for the fee paid for expression of interest and nomination forms and N100 million “for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election”.

INEC had picked Uba, winner of the APC primary election, as the party’s candidate.

In the affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff said the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate for the Nov. 6 governorship poll.

He said the APC had chosen to adopt direct primary, which is why the party published the list of designated venues for the exercise.

Moghalu said the party received N22.5 million for the expression of interest form and nomination form, including from him, “to allow him to participate in the primary election exercise”.
He further said he was informed a day before the primaries that the APC electoral committee would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Akwa.
“Shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra state,” he said.

He said the committee “announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the 3rd defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra”.

Moghalu also argued that the party did not invite the INEC in line with the law requiring the commission to monitor the exercise.

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