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Osun APC gov primary: Oyetola defeats Aregbesola and cohorts

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The result of the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state held on Saturday proved clearly that the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola is far from being a kingmaker in Osun politics.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola succeeded Aregbesola in 2018 but the two had frosty relationship months after his election, hence, Aregbesola objected to his successor’s second term ambition.

After the congress on Saturday, Governor Oyetola emerged candidate of the party defeating/humiliating Aregbesola’s preferred candidate, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti with 222,169 to 12,921.

As reconciliation seemed impossible between the two gladiators and the followers, Aregbesola was vehemently against the second term bid of Oyetola.

He deployed all means to ensure that the project failed, including the formation of The Osun Progressives, TOP, a group within the party campaigning vigorously against him.

The group launched bitter campaigns against the Governor’s group ahead of their congress last year and even challenged the emergence of Ileri-Oluwa members as State Working Committee.

The minister claimed: “Oyetola has betrayed my trust, I begged him for two years, pleading with him not to erase my legacies but he refused. We have also left him alone, we have reclaimed our party. We will not support him. Adeoti is Osun’s next Governor.”

Oyetola’s silence tactics

While the situation was tense, Governor Oyetola rather than reply or respond to allegations against him, embarked on a tour of local governments across the state, familiarising himself with newly elected party executive members and party loyalists seeking their support for the party’s ticket.

The Governor’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Oluomo Sunday Akere said Aregbesola’s tactics were attempts to distract the Governor, adding that rather than for the Governor to respond to their allegations, he would concentrate on winning the heart of the masses.

Akere said: “As you can see, the Governor is deploying the state resources to service the different strata of the society and rather than being disturbed by the antics of a few aggrieved politicians, he is focused on delivering democratic dividends and winning the heart of the masses.”

The governorship primary

On the day of the governorship primary, party members thronged the 332 wards across the state and after results were collated, Oyetola defeated the Minister in his ward and local government.

Also, Oyetola defeated both Adeoti and Lasun Yusuf in their wards and local governments.

It’s  victory for our people—Oyetola

Governor Oyetola, immediately after the result was announced, urged his co-contestants in the contest to allow peace to reign and take the state to greater heights.

Oyetola said: “It is a victory for our people who trooped out in large number during our strategic tour of the State to inform them of our intention to seek a second term. It is a restatement of their confidence in our Development Agenda which we delivered in 2018 and performance sealed in 2022. It is evidence of their belief in sustainable development which we brought into governance and preached every inch of the way.

“I thank you all our party members for your constant support, and especially for speaking eloquently today with your massive votes in favour of our administration’s restoration and consolidation agenda.

“With this primary election now concluded, I invite us all to rededicate ourselves and the party to deliver an overwhelming victory at the gubernatorial polls holding on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

“Let us close ranks and eschew bitterness in whatever form. Therefore, may I use this opportunity to also ask all our aggrieved members to have a rethink and join hands with us to further strengthen our party and deliver outstanding results at the gubernatorial poll.”

The exercise was a sham— Aregbesola

Immediately the exercise was concluded, the Minister, in a statement by his media aide, Sola Fasure, described the exercise as a sham.

He said: “We have heard of the absence of result sheets and other vital documents for recording results and vital data. We note also the absence of INEC officials in most wards, casting serious doubt on the credibility of the election.

“We note with shame and much regret the consternation of local and international observers on what they regard as a travesty of an election. I will urge you to maintain your cool and calm. Be not downcast, be not agitated. Hold your head high. “We are still receiving and studying all these reports and will take a definitive position on them.

“You are urged not to take laws into your hands. Please leave the rest to the Almighty God and let us explore all peaceful and legal means for addressing the matter in order to obtain justice.”

Observer group’s reaction

Meanwhile, an observer group, Advocacy for Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative, ADAPHAI, described the exercise as peaceful, orderly and a model for other states as well as other political parties.

Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Sulaimon Suberu, averred that the process allowed every member of the party to exercise franchise in the atmosphere of peace.

Subaru said: “All in all, the process of the APC Primary election in Osun State was free, fair and democratic, it is indeed a model for other states and other political parties.

“However, there were reports of violence in three wards; Ward 2 Ede North where some suspected hoodlums invaded the voting centres with guns to destabilise the voting during accreditation, Gidigbo Ward 2 Iwo, where the Iwo Local Government Chairman, Mr Kamonru Ishola was allegedly assaulted and Ward 6, Osogbo, Atakunmonsa East where a yet to be identified man was shot dead by political thugs but the vehicle used for the operation was driven by the security personnel.

“In all, the report of violence is less than 1percent in all the 332 wards in the state and in our rating, the process in its entirety is excellence judging from recent political party primaries conducted in Anambra and Ekiti States.”

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SANWO-OLU PRESENTS SCORECARD AT RE-ELECTION RALLY

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…APC Flags Off Governorship Campaign In Lagos

A mammoth crowd of Lagos State residents, on Saturday, converged on Onikan – a cultured neighbourhood in the heart of Lagos Island – for an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally.

Clad in branded yellow shirts and Ankara brocade, the crowd dominated the city centre with pockets of political carnival. Thousands of ordinary citizens and party stalwarts trooped to Mobolaji Johnson Pavilion, the venue of the inaugural rally flagging off the party’s governorship campaign in Lagos.

The 10,000-capacity stadium brimmed with APC supporters. They carried banners and chanted slogans to receive the party chieftains and members of the Governorship Campaign Council.

APC standard bearer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, made a grand entry into the venue, animating the crowd, which chorused: “Greater Lagos Rising” – the Governor’s re-election campaign slogan.

Reacting to the massive turnout, Sanwo-Olu said the vast attendance further confirmed the strength of APC as the only party of choice in Lagos.

The Governor mounted the rostrum to seek the mandate of Lagosians for another term in office, saying the “Greater Lagos” he promised at the inception of his government could now be visualised, given the achievements recorded during his first term.

Sanwo-Olu said the last three and half years had been challenging for his administration, pointing out that his Government traversed difficult terrains to deliver on its development objectives.

He said: “It has been an interesting and challenging journey for us in the last three and half years. Our administration has traversed difficult terrains and witnessed major disruption occasioned by global pandemic. Lagos had its fair share in the attendant socio-economic meltdown, but we provided strong leadership that protected the people and made the State come out better and stronger.

“Now, we can say ‘Greater Lagos Rising’ because our State is rising on all of our modest achievements through the THEMES agenda. In Transportation and Traffic Management, Lagosians are now living with the reality of the delivery of two intracity Rail Mass Transit projects that are on the verge of completion. These projects will be handed over in the coming weeks.

“We have also scaled up infrastructure in public transportation services by improving BRT services, injecting new taxi scheme and energizing traffic management agency for efficiency. People have seen the construction and commission of Lekki Deep Seaport, and massive road construction projects in the Eti Osa and Epe corridors. We have delivered and are still constructing more new roads in Ikorodu, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Alimosho, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Somolu and other areas.”

Sanwo-Olu said activities of his administration, since inception, had been about purposeful governance. He added that his Government had delivered new hospitals in Badagry, Epe, and Eti-Osa, pointing out that construction of new hospitals were currently being undertaken in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Island.

In the environment, the Governor said the State was currently constructing 210 new drainage channels to address the issue of flooding in vulnerable communities. He said his Government had also raised the level of infrastructure in emergency response agencies, mentioning the recently completed four fire stations, recruitment of new fire fighters and provision of fire fighting equipment.

The Governor said: “Lagosians can testify to our feats in education. Over 1,000 new classrooms have been added to public schools and we completed over 1,097 projects in schools. We trained our teachers in modern teaching techniques through Eko EXCEL and handed over tablets to them for teaching. Overall performance of Lagos students in WAEC has improved from 42 per cent to over 83 per cent.”

Sanwo-Olu said there had been laudable progress recorded across his Government’s development blueprint, noting that the State had become a model for good governance and development.

The Governor thanked residents for standing by his administration, pledging that he would not take their support for granted.

He urged party members to take back the Government’s achievements back to their communities and engage in door-to-door campaign to ensure APC candidates are elected in the general elections.

Director General of Lagos APC Campaign Council, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, said the party would have no problem taking its campaign to the electorate, given the “exceptional” performance of the party’s governorship candidate.

Solomon said the second coming of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat would bring the State to new heights of development and prosperity.

Leader of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi, said: “The combination of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are the best a democratic society can get in delivering results of good governance. Anyone who wants the development of Lagos to continue, Sanwo-Olu must be allowed to continue the good work he started.”

Sanwo-Olu, assisted by APC chairman, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, presented flags to party candidates running for legislative seats in the House of Assembly and National Assembly.

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Osun Tribunal Admits Adeleke’s Certificates as Exhibits

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Ademola Adeleke

— As Oyetola, APC Close Case

The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the State.

This is just as the Petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving respondents to state their defence.

The admission of the documents followed the appearance of INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.

It will be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the Commission had submitted blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, and to threaten to invoke Coercive Power if it fails to do so.

At the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday, Counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce the Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.

Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.

After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”

Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.

Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.

Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they have objection to the tendering of the said documents, but they would reserve their objections till final address stage.

Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages which are Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial, saying the CTC earlier produced has not been tendered before the court.

Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, “We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it”.

Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.

It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case”.

When the tribunal asked INEC to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said, it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.

The panel then asked the counsel to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel the outcome of the meeting.

Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.

Earlier, Oyetola’s counsel had informed the panel that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had reverted the judgement of a Federal High Court which disqualified Oyetola from contesting the election.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the sitting excited the members of the APC who witnessed the hearing, as jubilations erupted after the sitting of the panel. They chanted songs to eulogise Oyetola and the APC.

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TINUBU WON’T SUCCUMB TO ARISE NEWS BLACKMAIL

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We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.

We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.

While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.

The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.

We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.

The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.

Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.

Bayo Onanuga
Director, Media & Publicity
APC Presidential Campaign Council
December 3, 2022

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