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PGF boss, Lukman warns against complacency in APC

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…Says party better than PDP, APGA, others

Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has warned leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against complacency, saying the party should be ideally encouraged to consider testing political proposals meant to deepen democracy.

The APC chieftain said the governing party needs to take every necessary step to open up party structures and invite patriotic Nigerians, members and leaders of organised groups to join it.

In a statement released Sunday in Abuja, Lukman said APC is far ahead of its political peers in terms of being a liberal party with strong internal contestation.

“Emerging from a big existential leadership crisis, all our political leaders in APC should be ideally be encouraged to consider testing political proposals that should strengthen and deepen our democracy. There should be no room for complacency. In fact, as a party, we need to take every necessary step to open up our party structures and invite patriotic Nigerians, members and leaders of organised groups to join the party.

“With party’s National Caretaker Committee about to commence processes of membership registration and verification, we should aggressively mobilise Nigerians across all parts and sections of the country to join the party. This should be a necessary precondition to accelerate the process of ensuring that political negotiations in the country go beyond electoral contests.

“Part of the incentive required to encourage members and leaders of interest groups to be convinced about the APC being the go-to party for the realisation of political aspirations of diverse interests including professional and organised groups has to do with conducts of elected and appointed officials in governments controlled by the party. Are our elected and appointed officials dispose to public debates, engagements and negotiations with organised groups? Or, do they also consider demands by interest groups as expression of disagreement and therefore evidence of conspiracy against the party, governments it control and all our political leaders? For our democracy to develop to the level of producing compromises on a permanent basis, and with all Nigerians across all sectors based on corresponding respect for every interest in the country, the structures of our parties must be opened and broadened to accommodate everyone. Otherwise, our democracy will remain stagnant and limited to electoral contests with the risk of the current ugly leadership vicious circle.”

According to the PGF boss, APC is far ahead of its political peers in terms of being a liberal party with strong internal contestation. But such liberalism is yet to produce the corresponding requirement for interest representation and negotiation within the party, which is responsible for why our elected and appointed political leaders in the party estimate citizens’ demands as disagreement and subversive when it doesn’t correspond to their positions.

“It is also why fellow party leaders would appear intolerant to positions of other party leaders regarding both citizens’ demands and internal disagreements. We need to appeal to our leaders at all levels, especially in APC to liberate themselves and shed off any fear of citizens’ engagement, internal disagreements, political negotiations and the possible compromises that may emerge both within the party and in the country. Fear of citizens’ engagement and political negotiations is largely what is emboldening political opponents whose credentials on this score are anything but attractive.

Lukman said in APC, nothing is impossible.

“Our leaders have broken the country’s political ice twice. They have led us to negotiate the first successful merger of political parties in the history of the country. They have also led us to successfully negotiate a major leadership crisis of existential magnitude, which is arguably the first of its kind that has not led to breakaway and split in the party.

“As party members, we need to support our leaders and appeal to them to introduce all the required initiatives to enhance the democratic orientation of both the party and the country. At this critical point of our development, both as an emerging democracy and as a party, the catchphrase should be producing political comprises through debate and negotiations. This should be our new standards for political contests in the country, based on which we are able to command electoral advantages and assert our political superiority.”

He also believed that democratic development should be about the significant compromises brokered and the extent to which citizens, on account of the compromises, are able to feel a sense of belonging. Any democracy can be adjudged to be working well if through the different compromises it produces, citizens are able to feel a sense of belonging.

“A major requirement needed may have to do with the task of aligning the vision of political leaders with the hopes and aspirations of citizens. Interestingly, it is always much easier for citizens to align themselves with the views of political leaders. Those views may or may not necessarily equate to visions, nonetheless however, citizens can simply hope that their interests are represented in the views of leaders.”

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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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