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#ENDSARS:Overhaul govt machinery, PGF boss says APC’s credibility eroded

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Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has said that the ongoing crisis in the country is eroding the moral credibility of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s leaders,

The APC chieftain said unless the current administration is able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country, APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election.

In a statement signed Thursday in Abuja, Lukman lamented the inability of so many federal government ministries and agencies to perform there functions as expected during this crisis.

“Perhaps, it is important to also state that the current crisis is eroding the moral credibility of our party, APC and our political leaders. A situation where lives of our leaders are being threatened and our party and our government demostrate weak responses is quite depressing. What is going on in Lagos State can happen to any state and any leader in an affected state can experience the same attack, if not worse. This must not be condoned and our leaders across all parts of the country must show strong solidarity and rise in defence of our leaders and Government in Lagos state. A threat to one, should be a threat to all, which is the needed reality!

“Unless we are able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country, APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election. This means winning elections in the country by APC, especially in the crisis affected areas will just be a daydream. Part of the sad reality is also that many of our political leaders live with the delusion that, if APC’s electoral viability is weakened or destroyed, they can move to other parties. All our political leaders should appreciate that the situation, as much as it is damaging to the APC as a party, it is more politically destructive to every leader of the party.

“If care is not taken, we may as well be writing our names as a generation of political leaders into a national black book. The implication of that may not be apparent at the moment. We therefore need to appeal to all our leaders to please treat the current situation with the utmost urgency it requires. This is the time when our claims to selfless service as progressive politicians is being tested, our humanity, nationalism and patriotism are being questioned. There is no doubt that our leaders are up to the task. We just need to strongly convey our appeals coming from our depressed and helpless hearts.”

According to the PGF boss, how can we have a Ministry of Police Affairs and the ministry is unable to simulate good engagement strategy with innocent young Nigerians calling for reform of the Nigeria Police? What is the advantage of democracy if a ministry cannot be able to engage the demands of citizens? Where is the Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Services in all these? Doesn’t the mandate of the ministry include initiatives to prevent disaster? Or, is disaster management limited to attending to human casualties by way of providing palliatives? Where is the Ministry of Youth in all this? How can the ministry absent itself from centres of legitimate protests of our youth for more than a week? Where is the Ministry of Defence? Where is the Ministry of Interior? Where is National Orientation Agency?

“If all the agencies of government and political appointees managing these agencies have handle their responsibilities as is expected, this crisis would have been averted. In fact, the pressure on President Buhari’s direct intervention will not have been the case.”

Lukman, however called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government.

“The crisis produced by the #EndSARS protest highlight the need for the President to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government if our democracy and our government is to be able to meet the expectation of citizens. It is the constitutional prerogative of the President to determine the best strategy and the details of governmental reforms aimed at overhauling the machinery of government to make them more effective in responding to the democratic needs of Nigerians.

“We also need to appeal to all Nigerians, especially our young ones, that we must all rise above our current anger, legitimate as they are. While invoking our inalienable rights to protest and struggle for better conditions in our country, we must also resist attempts by lawless people to take advantages of our actions to create anarchy resulting in the destruction of lives and property. As part of such resistance we must condemn every attempt to reduce legitimate struggles, which have potentials of developing our democracy to make it more responses to demands of citizens into sectional conflicts. Those who reduce national struggles into sectional conflicts don’t mean well for anybody. They are only opportunists, hiding behind so-called sectional interests to promote their personal agenda and therefore they are enemies of the people.

“Similarly, we must appeal to Nigerians in diaspora. It is within your right to join the campaign to make Nigeria better and every Nigerian should welcome your contribution, which is expected to come with superior knowledge of best practice across the world. However, it will be very unfortunate, if we all join the campaign to destroy our country by promoting sectional and religious hatred. No doubt, recognising that as Nigerians you also nurse the pains we are going through, your contribution is desirable and welcome but must avoid the opportunistic traps of joining the anarchistic enterprise of promoting hatred and violent conducts. Hate can only lead to destruction and self-destruction.

“Initiatives to resolve our national challenges is the responsibility of everyone. At the moment, the weight of responsibility is more on our APC leaders as much as is for all Nigerians. This is the time when for incidence a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC will be urgently required to ensure a coordinated political response to the current crisis. It is possible that this is being considered as I am confident our leaders are working round the clock to ensure immediately restoration of normalcy in every part of the country.”

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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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