APC under pressure to throw presidential contest open
Ahead of the scheduled Presidential Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, there is now intense lobby by certain elements in the party to get its hierarchy to jettison zoning and throw open, the presidential contest.
Critical stakeholders of the party had, in the run-up to the last National Convention, reached an understanding that the presidential ticket should be ceded to the South while the North would take the national chairmanship of the party.
Although the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) said it has not deliberated on the issue of zoning, it was learned that some pro-northern forces have been scheming to retain the presidency in the zone.
Mystery of APC’s numerous presidential aspirants
Some of those promoting the agenda, Sunday Vanguard learned, had been engaged in a series of meetings with some governors from the zone.
“They have gotten the buy-in of some of the governors, especially those who are not angling to be presidential running mates.
“The move is being resisted by some influential traditional rulers in the region including some in President Buhari’s home state, Katsina, but the promoters of an open contest are not relenting as they have intensified efforts to get more governors on their side in order to arm-twist the parry leadership in their direction”, said an aide to one of the northern governors who said his principal does not support the move.
Sunday Vanguard however learned that in order to deflect attention from itself, the NWC might be constrained to set up a committee on zoning in the coming days.
“There is really no clear-cut position on zoning even as we know it is not in the law. However, it is the thinking of some of us in the party bureaucracy that the NWC should set up a committee in that regard. When they (NWC) meet next week, we hope they will ask for our inputs and then we will advise that they set up such a committee as they did in the lead up to the last national convention”, said a party official.
Meanwhile, concerned stakeholders of the party under the aegis of APC Rebirth Group have called on the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu to review some of the forms accompanying the nomination and expression of interest forms being purchased by aspirants in the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
The group, which noted specifically its concerns regarding the form 18 tagged, ‘withdrawal letter,’ said such document curtails the freedom of aspirants to pursue their aspirations without any form of coercion.
“The form 18 which seeks for aspirants’ voluntary withdrawal ahead of the primaries in which they will be taking part amounts to tacit coercion and violation of the freedom of aspirants to freely decide on their own. At what point, for instance, would the party activate the signed form of withdrawal by aspirants? Anticipated withdrawal from an election that has not yet been conducted, such as the one being solicited via form 18, would not give aspirants the needed confidence in the process, and the party would do well not to give the impression that it is working to suppress the rights of members to fair and transparent contest”, said Convener of the group, Aliyu Audu.
The stakeholders said while the party, through its secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, did say the signing of form 18 was optional, the fact that such caveat was not indicated on the form makes such claim highly suspect.
“Moreover, once an aspirant appends his signature to the declaration page of the form, he has inadvertently validated all the information or commitments on any part of the form. We are therefore calling on the party to clarify its position on this contentious issue of form 18 in particular in order to reassure aspirants of the party.
“The APC Rebirth Group would also like to use this opportunity to call on the party to take a definitive position as regards section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act which requires appointees of government seeking elective positions to resign before taking part in the primaries. This is necessary in order for the APC not to create an impression of wanting to reap off aspirants before taking a decision. It’s also necessary that we do this on time so that the party does not fall into the avoidable situation of contravening an important provision of the Electoral Act.
“Already, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has pointed out the likely consequence of fielding candidates who refuse to comply with this requirements of our electoral law. It’s therefore our hope that the party would listen to voices of reasons and state its position on this important subject clearly and without any form of equivocation”, the stakeholders added.
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Breaking: Tinubu swears-in George Akume as SGF
President Bola Tinubu, has sworn-in Senator George Akume as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Present at the brief event today (Wednesday) were the Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, some servicing and former governors, including former Governor of Nasarawa state, Tanko Almakura and the immediate past SGF, Boss Mustapha.
Others were Vice President, Kashim Shettima; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr FolasadeYemi-Esan and the spouse of the new SGF, Mrs Regina Akume.
Recall that Tinubu had earlier announced the appointment of the former Benue state governor as the new SGF.
The President also appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as the Chief of Staff, and Senator Ibrahim Hadejia, a former Deputy Governor of Jigawa State, as the Deputy Chief of Staff.
The appointment was made public via a statement issued by Abiodun Oladunjoye, Director, Information, State House. Abuja.
According to the statement, the President announced the appointment during the meeting he held with Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Akume was the immediate past Minister of Special Duties, under former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akinyelure, Edo senator dump PDP, allege internal crisis
The lawmakers representing Edo South, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, and Ondo Central, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, have both defected from the People’s Democratic Party.
The duo of Urhoghide and Akinyelure made their defection known on Wednesday in separate letters read by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agegewho, who presided over the plenary.
In his letter titled, ‘Notification of Resignation of My Membership of the Peoples Democratic Party,” Uroghide stated that his exit from the party was due to irreconcilable differences and squabbles within the party.
He said, “I write to formally inform you and the entire Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that I am resigning my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, effective immediately.
“This difficult decision arose out of the negative political energy emanating at the moment from the irreconcilable differences and squabbles within the PDP at the national level and especially in my dear state, Edo State.
“These squabbles have spiked to levels that have made it impossible for someone like me, who is a confirmed democrat, to function and grow as I envisioned in my political journey.”
The Edo lawmaker stated that he was grateful to the party for the experience and opportunity given him to build relationships.
Similarly, Akinyelure noted that he was resigning to seek other means of adding value to his state.
He said, “Distinguished colleagues in the 9th Senate of the National Assembly, this is to inform you that I am resigning my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party with effect from June 11, 2023 when I must have completed my four-year tenure in the Senate of the 9th Assembly.
“I, therefore, wish to express my appreciation to the party for granting me the opportunity to serve Ondo Central Senatorial District and Nigeria in the Senate of the 9th Assembly on the platform of the PDP.”
Akinyelure said he was leaving the PDP “to enable me to settle down and look forward to other areas of human and professional endeavours where I can be of value addition to my dear state, Ondo State and Nigeria in general.”
Both lawmakers didn’t state what party they are defecting to.
Reacting to Urhoghide’s defection, the Edo State PDP Chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, said, “He is a respected senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I wish him well in his future endeavours.
“I disagree with him over the reasons he gave for his resignation but they are his personal opinion and I don’t comment on people’s personal opinion, no matter how highly placed they are.”
UK, US, Saudi Arabia, others in bilateral meetings with President Tinubu, pledge support, solidarity
Several countries on Monday formally presented their goodwill messages and letters of support and solidarity to President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The letters were presented to the president by the special envoys and heads of missions of the countries after his inauguration as the 16th President of Nigeria.
Among the countries are United Kingdom, United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Israel, Cape Verde, Somalia and Nicaragua.
While congratulating President Tinubu, the new UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, presented letters from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The US delegation led by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia L. Fudge, paid a courtesy call on President Tinubu and had a brief bilateral discussion with him.
Also, the South Korean delegation had bilateral discussions with Tinubu.
While delivering a letter of invitation from South Korean, President Yoon Suk Yeol for Tinubu to visit that country soon, the delegation also sought increase relations between the two countries.
The Saudi Arabian delegation delivered a goodwill message from the Saudi Royal House to the Nigerian president.
A special envoy of the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida equally paid a call on President Tinubu and extended a hand of support and fellowship.
In the same vein, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a delegation which met with Tinubu and expressed willingness to work with the country in the area of fin-tech.
Others who met with President Tinubu and pledged cooperation with Nigeria included delegations from Brazil, Somali, Cape Verde and Nicaragua.
Office of President,
May 29, 2023.
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