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Identify, engage protesting groups’ leaders, APC chieftain tells party

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Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has advised the leadership of his party to urgently set up a strategic committee to recruit identified leaders of interest groups, including the leaders of the protest movement as part of efforts to end the ongoing agitation.

The PGF boss said APC must resist the lazy approach to present the protest as being influenced by political opponents.

In a statement he signed Sunday in Abuja, Lukman said the current ongoing youth protest across the country, calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police otherwise popularly known as #EndSARS protest, highlight some levels of citizens frustration, especially by the young people in relation to engaging initiatives of government aimed at resolving societal problems.

“As a party of change, APC is blessed with many energetic young people. Part of what must be done for APC to be able to reposition itself and attract the new strong energy of our young people is to ensure that the current process of rebuilding the APC is tailored to recruit our young people. In particular, a special strategic committtee to recruit identified leaders of interest groups, including the leaders of the protest movement by young people should be considered ahead of the membership registration exercise that is about to commence. Part of the medium to long term plans should be to try and develop new approaches to political leadership recruitment, which at the moment is unplanned.

“The days ahead will be decisive in determining whether our leaders can take steps to affirm the credentials of APC as a party committed to social change. The ability of our leaders to develop sophisticated structures and strategy, which can earn the trust and confidence of our protesting young people is facing a big challenge.

“All committed members of the party should rally round our leaders to support them to put in place the needed framework to resolve all the problems facing our young people and accordingly bring to an end to the #EndSARS protest. This should strengthen the process of orienting the politics of our party towards social change, which will confirm our progressive credentials.

“It is such a difficult reality. Yet, government and our party must do everything possible to resolve the problems and end the protest.”

The PGF boss also appealed to the protesting youths: “especially the underground leaders to see beyond the protest by taking the necessary steps to win landmark political concessions, which should include access to opportunities for leadership responsibilities by young people.

“Part of what this generation of young leaders must avoid is the unfortunate repeat of the mistake of our 1990s generation of activists when with all the political opportunities after a difficult prodemocracy struggle, in 1998/1999 we failed to take advantage of political transition and participate in politics.

“Not even appeals to our leaders by no less a person than revered Nelson Mandela when on two accessions as President of Republic of South Africa he sent former President Thabo Mbeki, the as Vice President of South Africa with the appeal to Nigerian prodemocracy activists to engage the transition process as part of the diplomatic mission to facilitate military disengagement from Nigerian politics. Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, Mr. Femi Falana, Mrs. Ayo Obe among many others are alive to confirm or refute the efforts by Mandela to convince Nigerian activists to take advantage of the 1998/1999 transition to be part of the emerging political leadership of this Fourth Republic. The rest as is often said is now history. After the difficult struggle to end military rule in the country, at a defining moment when we should mainstream ourselves as part of the political leadership of the country, we came up with theories of ‘democracy without democrats’ and disparaging our political class as ‘Abacha politicians’.

“If our protesting youth failed to convert the current protest to opportunity for access to political leadership responsibility, the resourcefulness of our youth as exhibited during this protest will be wasted. In fact, if there is anything capable of guaranteeing that the legal framework of “Not Too Young To Run” will lead to more political participation of young people, it is the current protest. But that is only possible if the negotiation around the current protest by our young people is broadened to issues of political participation. How can our leaders and APC achieve this? It is important that we are able to convince our leaders to recognise that opening the space for young people to actively participate in politics is necessary and compellingly in the overall interest of our democratic development as a nation.”

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Politics

2023: ‘Buhari’s successor can come from any part of Nigeria’ – Sheriff

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Sheriff

… says APC must work harder than ever before to gain the confidence of Nigerians in order to retain power beyond 2023.

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked Nigerians to choose a leader with capacity irrespective of where he or she comes from.

The leader, he said, can hail from any part of Nigeria as long as he can bring succour to Nigerians.

He made the statement in Abuja while receiving members of an All Progressives Congress (APC) pressure group, Frontier for Equality Leadership and Good Governance, on Thursday in Abuja.

The group had visited the former governor to ask that he contests for the position of APC National Chairman.

While he asked Nigerians to discard ethnicity and religion when choosing the next president, he said competence should be the main focus of Nigerians in making a choice.

“Unless we believe in ourselves as a nation, and believe all of us are equal and believe that a good leader will emerge from any part of the country, regardless of religion, tribe or where he comes from, we will not succeed in getting the country we dearly love.

“We must put our differences aside and look for leaders from anywhere.

“If the man that will bring succour to Nigeria is coming from a mountain in Ogoja (Cross River), we should go and look for him. If it is in the extreme end of Adamawa, we should go and look for him. If he is coming from the end of Anambra, we should go and look for him. We must do soul-searching and look for a leader,” Mr Sheriff said.

Leadership cross

The former governor also warned Nigerians against criticising their leaders and asked that prayers be made for them.

“When I see people criticise leaders on what they know nothing about, I pray for them because you will only know the challenges of this country when you are saddled with responsibility. When we have leaders we should pray for them that God will intervene, we should not curse our leaders.

“If you must blame any leader you must look at the followers, what have we done? To help our leaders to be strong – and we have to do soul searching.

“Everyday we wake up with a different challenge and these challenges are not only for our leaders, we must understand that, it is for all of us,” he said.

APC’s burden

Mr Sheriff who was once the National Chairman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP, stated that the APC might have lost the trust of Nigerians.

READ ALSO:  Anambra 2021: Stella Oduah dumps PDP for APC

The party, he said, “must work harder than ever before to gain the confidence of Nigerians in order to retain power beyond 2023”.

He noted that by the end of the tenure of the President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, “the APC would have to work extra-hard to gain a fraction of the 12 million votes which the Buhari administration carried over the years”.

In response to the group’s for him to contest for the national chairmanship of the APC, he said he would only contest “if the position is zoned to the North-east”.

Mr Sheriff’s comments comes amidst uncertainty as to where the presidential ticket for the APC will be zoned to.

Although he is yet to officially declare his intention to run for the position of chairmanship, PREMIUM TIMES had reported him saying his decision to contest is largely dependent on how the position is zoned by the party.

“…Whether I will run for the office or not will be determined by what the caretaker committee takes as a decision on where the leadership of the party will go. Whether it will go to another place or it will remain in our zone.

“If it goes to another zone, I will not contest. But if it stays in our zone, I will contest,” he had said.

He is among other key political players jostling for the position.

Others are former governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, Tanko Al-Makura; his counterparts from Borno and Gombe, Kashim Shettima and Danjuma Goje, who are also serving senators; former governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari; a former member of the House of Representatives from Bauchi, Ibrahim Baba; and a former chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Abuja, Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa State.

The party is expected to hold its national elective convention before the end of the year.

It is, however, not clear when Mr Sheriff and other aspirants will publicly declare their intent to contest.

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International

Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema sworn in as President in rare victory for an African opposition leader

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Zambia’s newly-elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, has been sworn into office after pulling off a stunning rare victory for an African opposition leader.

Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning at a ceremony attended by leaders such as Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera.

Zambia’s second female Vice President Mutale Nalumango was also sworn in during the ceremony.

Hichilema defeated outgoing President Edgar Lungu in a landslide by almost one million votes in his sixth attempt at becoming ruler of Zambia.

It was a stunning turnaround for the politician known as HH — Hichilema spent several months in prison in 2017 for what were widely seen as politically motivated treason charges. The charges were dropped under intense international pressure.

After initially indicating he may challenge the result, Lungu addressed the nation following the elections, saying: “Based on the revelations issued at final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.

Despite conceding defeat early, Lungu was booed by some of the crowd as he made his way to the stage at the packed Heroes stadium in the capital Lusaka to hand over power.

Hichilema called Tuesday “a new dawn in Zambia,” in a tweet ahead of the ceremony. “As I sit here in our vehicle being driven to Heroes Stadium, I see the love, the joy and the jubilation as people line the streets on our way. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all so much,” he added.

An example for Africa

Opposition leaders from other African countries were also invited to the event.

Nelson Chamisa, opposition leader in Zimbabwe, told CNN: “This is a significant and fantastic for what is possible for the future of Africa. Zambia is an inspiration to stubborn laggards in democracy. Strong institutions are key for effective power transfer and smooth transitions,” he said in a statement when asked about the significance of today’s inauguration.

Chamisa added that Zambia is an excellent example to be emulated on the continent.

“Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular needs leaders not rulers, strong institutions – not strong men. Leaders must lead and leave, serve and go. Zimbabwe must be free and Democratic. Freedom can be delayed but never denied,” he said when asked what the message for Zimbabwe is.

It is the third time that power has shifted peacefully from a ruling party to the opposition since the southern African country’s independence from Britain in 1964.

There was a huge turnout of mostly young people, some who came dressed in their academic robes to protest lack of employment post graduation.

Joseph Kalimbwe, a youth representative of Hichilema’s UPND party told CNN

Young people gave us the vote. Four million young people between the ages of 18 to 24 registered to vote. It was a huge turnout and it was very personal to them. They want to ensure the mistakes of their parents were corrected. They have voted for our leader on basis he has better policies and ideas and can strengthen our state institutions.”

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Politics

Uche Secondus Suspended As PDP National Chairman

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Court suspends Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman

 

Uche Secondus
Uche Secondus

The leadership crisis currently rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, worsened on Monday as a High Court in Rivers State has restrained Uche Secondus from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.

The order was given by Justice O. Gbasam at the State High Court sitting in Degema local government area of the State on Monday.

The judge who gave the order, also approved the suspension of Secondus as a member of the party pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The order followed a complaint brought before the court by some aggrieved members of the party.

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