APC gov ticket: Aggrieved aspirants seek direct primary, allege hijack
Kayode Oyero, Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis, Grace Edema, Deborah, Tolu-Kolawole, Tosin Oyediran, Daud Olatunji, Dennis Naku, Bola Bamigbola and Animashahun Salman
Some All Progressives Congress governorship and state Houses of Assembly aspirants in Ogun, Rivers, Sokoto, Lagos and Osun states have called for the adoption of direct primary to elect the party’s candidates in the 2023 elections.
The aspirants, in separate interviews with The PUNCH on Tuesday, alleged that governors and some ministers hijacked election of delegates, who would vote at Thursday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly primaries.
They, therefore, called on the national leadership of the party to cancel the delegates’ elections and adopt a direct primary on Thursday.
The PUNCH had on Thursday and Monday reported that the election of delegates in Rivers, Sokoto, Benue and Rivers was characterised by crises with factions rejecting the results.
In the Rivers State APC secretariat, there were gunshots by the police, who dispersed supporters of a governorship aspirant, Senator Magnus Abe, who alleged that a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, hijacked the congress.
Four governorship aspirants in Ogun State —Owodunni Opayemi, Adekunle Akinlade, Modele Sarafa-Yusuf and Biyi Otegbeye— in a petition to the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, obtained by one of our correspondents on Tuesday, demanded a direct primary for the shadow election that would hold on Thursday.
The APC in the state is divided into two groups with one loyal to the incumbent Governor, Dapo Abiodun, and the other led by his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun. The party structure is however controlled by the governor.
The four aspirants in the petition they jointly signed alleged that forms were not made available to “non-loyalists of the powers-that-be. This, Sir, is unconstitutional, unfair and undemocratic.”
They stated, “We, therefore, write to state our preference for the direct primary mode in Ogun State for a free and credible primary election.
“The chairman may wish to know that echoes of the disputed 2018 primaries are still being heard in the state and the division in the Ogun State chapter of the APC has yet to be healed.
“The party members across the divide are therefore desirous of having their voices heard in the next elections.
“We also wish to appeal to the chairman to appoint an independent and impartial arbiter to superintend the direct primary election in Ogun State for transparency and fairness.”
In a related development, the National Association of Nigerian Students on Tuesday accused the leadership of the APC of turning a deaf ear to the petitions written against Abiodun.
NANS in a statement signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Victor Ezenagu, knocked the APC for failing to take action.
Several attempts to get reaction from the leadership of the APC in the state failed as the chairman, Yemi Sanusi, did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile line. Several calls to his line were not answered.
But Abiodun, on Tuesday, breezed into the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja.
Abiodun was warmly received by the APC National Chairman who subsequently ushered him in for a closed-door meeting.
Efforts made to speak with the governor after the one-hour meeting proved abortive as he ignored the journalists and entered his car and left the premises.
Abe’s faction demands direct primary
The APC faction loyal to Abe called for the cancellation of the delegates’ elections and demanded a direct primary.
A chieftain of the party and former Chief of staff, Rivers State Government House, Chief Tony Okocha, in an interview with The PUNCH on the telephone on Tuesday, said the group had petitioned the national leadership of the APC.
He stated, “We have done that in black and white, besides the peaceful demonstration that took place in Port Harcourt. The other thing I would want anybody else to do is to find out from INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) if actually, that congress held.
“INEC’s role in that congress is not even to observe but to monitor. In other words, INEC was an integral part of that exercise. Find out from INEC if it actually monitored any exercise in any of the local government areas.”
Asked if his faction would demand the cancellation of the process and demand for direct primary for governorship should be held, Okocha answered in the affirmative.
He stated, “That is our position because there was no congress. That congress was supposed to throw up delegates that would have voted for aspirants to become candidates.
“To that extent, there is a lacuna. So, what is best as it were is to carry everybody along in a direct primary election to select the governorship candidate for the party.”
The state spokesman for the party, Chris Finebone, said he knew nothing about what the Abe camp was talking about, insisting that the entire processes were very transparent.
“The entire processes were very transparent and open and the congress took place,” he said.
Also, a Sokoto State governorship aspirant, Balarabe Salame, told The PUNCH that he and five other contestants had petitioned the national leadership of the party.
He said out of the seven APC governorship aspirants in the state, six of them were not in support of the delegates that emerged from the congress. He, therefore, called on the party to go for a direct primary.
“I don’t understand how it is going to be but the point is we are not satisfied with the delegates that emerged. The party is working for someone and we all know whom they are working for.
“If the party does not do the right thing, anything can happen. I only pray that the situation of Rivers or Zamfara does not repeat itself in the state here.”
Primary committee: Lagos APC kicks as group alleges Sanwo-Olu’s brother’s inclusion
In Lagos State, the National President of the APC Professionals for Change, Hakeem Ogunsanya, expressed its dissatisfaction with the inclusion of a man it alleged is Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s elder brother in the APC primary committee.
In a statement issued by the group, signed by its Publicity Secretary, Bayo Aderibigbe, and made available to one of our correspondents on Tuesday, the group alleged that many individuals in the committee had strong ties with some of the contestants, thus allowing them to play the role of umpires could jeopardise the interest of other aspirants in the race.
The Chairman of APC in Lagos State, Cornelius Ojelabi, had on Monday inaugurated the committee, which is to be headed by the APC Zonal Organising Secretary, Lateef Ibirogba.
But the group flayed the state chapter of the party for setting up the committee, saying it was a usurpation of the functions of the national body, which is constitutionally empowered to perform such duties.
The other committee members include Olayinka Oladunjoye, Bola Badmus-Olujobi, Hakeem Odumosu, Gbolahan Idris, Adebayo Sanwo-Olu, Sodiq Ademola, Oluremi Shopeyin, and Muritala Seriki.
“The committee’s composition shows the desperation of some aspirants to subvert the process in their interest. We have some elements in that committee who have close ties with some aspirants. It beats my imagination that our great party in the state could appoint the governor’s elder brother to the committee that will conduct an election in which he is a contestant; this is like taking impunity to another level. What signal are we giving to other aspirants in the race? This is an aberration that shouldn’t be allowed to stand.
However, the group charged the party’s national leadership to dissolve the Ibirogba-led committee and reconstitute another that would reflect neutrality in fairness to all aspirants.
Reacting to the statement, the Lagos APC Chairman, Ojelabi, who spoke briefly with our correspondent, said the sequence of events outlined in the party needed to be understood.
Describing the group’s statement as false, he stated it was never the responsibility of the APC state chapter to form the committee as the power was only vested in the National Secretariat of the party, where the members were formed and inaugurated before being sent to report to their respective states where they would coordinate the primaries.
He said the committee was only received and introduced ahead to help prepare the ground for successful and hitch-free primaries, being unfamiliar with the structure of the Lagos State’s federal and state constituencies. He maintained that the said Adebayo Sanwo-Olu had always been a state executive, “Notwithstanding, the claims of his alleged ties are unfounded and cannot be established,” he added.
Ojelabi said, “I urge all party delegates to discard the statement and go on and cast their votes for the aspirants of their choice, without influence or fear, urging them to be calm and maintain orderliness during the process.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said he had no knowledge of the statement yet and did not know the organisation. He added that such a statement could not even be addressed to the governor. “There are no groups in the APC,” he said.
Reacting to the statement, the Chief Press Secretary to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said there could be no reaction from the state government as it amounts to nothing and that the person bears the same name as the governor doesn’t make them brothers.
Oyetola, Aregbesola’s camps disagree
The Publicity Secretary of Aregbesola’s faction in Osun APC, Abiodun Agboola, while speaking with one of our correspondents, warned that the group would resist any attempt to impose fictitious names as delegates.
Agboola alleged that, last week, some men loyal to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola compiled the names of the delegates that would vote during the primary election to elect the party’s candidates at the House of Assembly primary taking place on Thursday.
He stated, “We are in the dark regarding the primary that should hold this Thursday. No directive from the national headquarters. No delegate congress took place in Osun. What we have is that a group loyal to the sitting governor sat in the Government House and wrote delegates names and submitted them to Abuja.”
But reacting, the state Commissioner for Political Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, dismissed the allegations, saying the election of delegates was held across the state between Monday and Tuesday last week.
He also said the exercise was monitored by INEC and advised against spreading unfounded allegations in a bid to score a cheap political point.
The Niger State APC is also in crisis over the alleged tampering with delegates’ lists by some members of the party executive to favour some aspirants.
Nine governorship aspirants, in a letter to the state governor, Abubakar Bello, alleged that some people had tampered with the party’s delegates’ list.
Umar Bago, on behalf of other aspirants including Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso, Professor Mohammed Yahaya, Mohammed Nda, Idris Usman Makanta, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, Muhammad Rufai, Dr MK Muhammad, and Alhaji Idris Ruga, warned those involved.
APC adjusts primaries timetable for fourth time
The APC the National Working Committee has again adjusted the released timetable and schedule of activities for the Governorship, state House of Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives primaries making it the fourth time the party would carry out the adjustment.
Unlike in the previous schedule of activities, the primary for the 340 senatorial aspirants that was slated for Friday, May 27, would now hold on Saturday, May 28.
The primary for the House of Representatives aspirants, earlier scheduled for Saturday, May 28 has been shifted back to Friday, May 27.
Primaries of the 145 governorship and state House of Assembly aspirants remain the same – Thursday, May 26.
While apologising for the last-minute adjustment, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, disclosed that “the special convention for the Presidential Primary will be held as scheduled on Sunday, May 29 to Monday, May 30, 2022.”
The Head of Department, Political Science, University of Lagos, Prof. Derin Ologbenla, in an interview with The PUNCH, said it was too late for the party to organise a direct primary.
He stated, “It is too late to organise a direct primary because the party did not start the process on time. They have to submit the names of candidates to INEC which they are struggling to meet. The President’s delay in signing the amended Electoral Act is also a factor. They were waiting that he would sign last week but he didn’t sign.
“Even if he signs it tomorrow, it can’t meet up or take effect, it is the laws that existed before that will apply.
“The political parties, especially the two major political parties will not meet up with INEC’s deadline. And they want INEC to give them an extension of time to submit the various aspirants for various positions. Some of them are still hoping that the President will sign the amended electoral law.”
Buhari holds marathon meeting with governors, NASS leadership
As he prepares to travel out of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday had a closed-door meeting with the governors and members of the National Assembly in the State House.
At the end of the meeting, the parties kept sealed lips on what they discussed.
A source at the APC secretariat, however, told our correspondents that it bordered on talks around the coming primaries and the need for consensus.
This is even as he disclosed that the outcome of today’s meeting with the President would determine the direction of the primaries and the new date for the postponed presidential screening.
A meeting of the APC governors took place late last night at the Kebbi Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro.
The source also stated that Buhari might likely meet with the presidential aspirants again tonight since he is travelling tomorrow.
“Baba seems to be travelling too much these days. It is hard to tell whether that is also part of his strategy to avoid giving in to some unusual demands ahead of the primaries.
“The dual citizenship issue is a tricky one I am sure even the publicity secretary may be unwilling to address. First, we have to determine what the constitution says about it. If it is against it, the party won’t concede to it as well.
“Morka himself has always maintained that the party will be consistent with the letters of the constitution,” he said.
On former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, the source said their forms were in the custody of the NWC.
Lagos aspirants threaten court action
An APC governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Wale Oluwo, warned the ruling party not to rely on the elected delegates’ list to conduct its primaries.
In a chat with The PUNCH on Tuesday, he described the delegates’ elections in Lagos as a sham and a fraud and threatened to go to court should the party proceed with the list for the Thursday governorship primary.
Oluwo, who is the chairman of the Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation, and a challenger of Governor Sanwo-Olu, said, “For the whole of Lagos State, we have a minimum of two contestants per slot in every ward. Then, for Lagos West particularly, we have three contestants per slot. So, how can one particular group come up with their own delegates and take it to the field and conduct an affirmation.
“What they did was an affirmation. Affirmation only happens when only one person has obtained form or if more than one person obtained the form and others stepped down. Then, you affirm by voice note. But when you have two to three people and you still do voice affirmation for one delegate of your own side, and they want to rely on that for a governor? The APC will not have a governorship candidate the way they are going. In so many states, the APC should be very careful, particularly in Lagos; the party will not have a governorship candidate.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the state chairman of the APC, Cornelius Ojelabi, proved abortive as calls to his line were unanswered as of press time. A text message sent to his line was also not replied.
Also, efforts made to speak with Morka on the demand of the aspirants in Ogun, Rivers, Osun, Sokoto and Lagos states proved abortive.
As of the time of filing in this report, he neither picked the calls nor replied the SMS of one of our correspondents.
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I’ve forgiven Tinubu —Bode George
A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, yesterday, said he has forgiven President-elect Bola Tinubu.
George, who analyzed the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, declared that he failed to live up to expectations.
The PDP leader, in a chat with journalists at his Ikoyi office, added that the Buhari administration did not impact the lives of Nigerians positively, saying he failed to provide security which was his core responsibility.
His words: “My personal assessment is that he failed, not completely in every sector, but if you do an examination and say you must have a minimum of 33 per cent, then you can go to the next class, but they did not attain that 33 per cent. I can give them maybe about five per cent, even the five per cent requires a lot of retrospection. The most important thing you must guarantee to your people, as a government, is security of lives and property, who is safe now?
“So it is very very disheartening and heartbreaking that he failed in his number one job, which is to guarantee security of lives and property. You know when he was coming in, oga (Buhari) was telling us, I would fight corruption, I will secure the lives and properties of the people, I will do this, I will do that, all kinds of promises.
“So let’s put those promises now into his departure, because that’s what will be written on the pages of history. Whatever a leader does during his time, it is on the pages of history.”
Asked whether he would work with Tinubu if called upon, George said: “There is nothing personal, this country trained me and I have to give back.”
On his reluctance to endorse Tinubu, he said: “I have forgiven him, but you cannot forget.”
Tinubu makes first appointments
In line with tradition, President-elect Bola Tinubu is expected to make his first appointments after being sworn in as President tomorrow by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
There are at least three appointments that ordinarily should be made by the new President to keep the wheel of government moving pending when other appointments that must have the seal of the National Assembly will follow.
The three appointments are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Staff and presidential spokesperson.
There has been a jostle for appointments, including ministerial, under the Tinubu administration since the president-elect emerged after the February 25 presidential election.
Names have been mentioned as those being considered by Tinubu including those of very close associates but Sunday Vanguard was made to understand by sources close to the president-elect at the weekend that nothing was certain on appointments under the incoming administration including those that announced must, as a matter of tradition and necessity, be made tomorrow or Tuesday.
The president-elect, it was learnt from multiple sources close to him, yesterday, has kept allies and close associates, among others, guessing over those that will form his cabinet.
Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed that Tinubu has refused to disclose the list of potential appointees at any level be it personal aides, Presidential Villa officials and ministers.
This, it was understood, is a source of intense anxiety among those lobbying to be appointed to the next government.
Meanwhile, there were insinuations that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and Mr James Faleke, a federal lawmaker from Lagos, are likely to play some roles in the Tinubu cabinet.
It has been reported that el-Rufai alongside two other outgoing governors – Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State – are in the race for the SGF office.
Former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is also, according to reports, in the jostle for ministerial appointment. He is said to be highly favoured for the External Affairs portfolio.
Traditionally, top members of the ruling party who lost governorship election in their states are usually compensated with ministerial appointments and this may also play out in the unfolding Tinubu government.
Multiple sources, however, said Gbajabimila was facing huge opposition to the possibility of emerging as Chief of Staff to the President.
There has been no word on who will emerge as a presidential spokesperson but there are high-profile professionals around the president-elect who fit the bill.
Some of them served in the Tinubu Presidential Campaign and they include Mr Bayo Onanuga and Mr Dele Alake.
Tinubu keeping list secret – Source
A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that all the names being peddled for appointments in the Tinubu administration remained in the realm of speculation.
The source said: “President Tinubu is likely to make his first appointments on Monday or Tuesday because he wants to hit the ground running.
“But all the conjectures about who is in and who is out in the cabinet and other appointments are in the realm of speculations.
”Everyone has continued to speculate but from what I know, the list is with the president-elect. “He is keeping it close to his chest. All those who go to him, he promises them but he won’t say anything.
“You know that Tinubu is also a politician but no one knows those on the list. Even the speculation about Femi Gbajabiamila being considered as Chief of Staff is dicey and not something anyone can confirm and, as you know, Gbajabiamila is going with him all over the place. I’m not sure if Gbajabiamila will get the Chief of Staff slot.
“We have also heard the names of Mr Babatunde Fashola who is speculated as being considered as the Attorney-General of the Federation as well as Mr James Faleke and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who may be among those to be appointed”.
Foreign guests, other dignitaries arrive Abuja for Tinubu’s inauguration
AHEAD of the inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who takes over as Nigeria’s President on Monday, foreign guests and other dignitaries have started arriving at the Federal Capital Territory for the ceremony.
Officials at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria confirmed on Saturday that the authority received a memo from the Federal Government on the expected arrival of presidents and other VIPs, who had started arriving at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
It was also gathered that though foreign nationals had started arriving at Abuja since Monday, the number of visitors coming through the international and presidential wings of the airport increased significantly on Saturday.
A senior Canadian official told Sunday PUNCH that the country’s (Canada) delegation would enter Abuja Saturday night.
It was gathered that the Canadian Government would be represented by the Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen.
Though the time of arrival of the United Kingdom delegation could not be ascertained, our correspondent learnt that the delegation might come in on Sunday. The UK delegation will be headed by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for the inauguration.
The delegation includes Minister of State for Development and Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Andrew Mitchell; the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria and Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, Helen Grant, and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery.
From the United States, those on the delegation include; Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy Abuja, David Greene; United States Representative, California, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, US Department of Commerce; Marisa Lago; Commander of US Africa Command, General Michael Langley, and Director, US Trade and Development Agency, Enoh Ebong.
Others are Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State, Mary Phee; Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council, Judd Devermont, and Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, US Agency for International Development, Monde Muyangwa.
Speaking on the arrival of VIPs for the inauguration of Nigeria’s 16th President, FAAN’s Head of Corporate Affairs, NAIA, Oluwakayode Adeyeoluwa, told one of our correspondents that a memo was sent to the authority about the high influx of VIPs into Abuja beginning from Saturday.
Adeyeoluwa said, “Of course, we should expect that. Dignitaries and possibly Presidents have started coming, because by the memo that came to my table, it shows that they’ve started arriving.
“They started coming into the country since last week, but it peaked today (Saturday) based on the influx at the international and Presidential wings of the Abuja airport.”
When asked if he had an idea on the Presidents that had already arrived, Adeyeoluwa replied, “No, I didn’t follow-up with that, because those categories of dignitaries will come through the Presidential wing of the airport, and that is not under our jurisdiction.”
India sends delegation
In a related development, the Indian government has sent its Defence Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister to attend the inauguration of Nigeria’s President-elect.
The Indian Embassy in Nigeria disclosed in a statement on Saturday that Singh will arrive in Abuja on Sunday for the occasion.
“Mr. Singh is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs of India,” the statement partly read.
Heavy security at Eagle Square
Meanwhile, operatives of the Nigeria Police, the Armed Forces, the Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps, among others, have taken over Eagle Square, venue of the inauguration.
Military personnel, police officers and other security agents deployed for the match past parade continued their dress rehearsals at the venue.
During a tour of the city centre by one of our correspondents, it was observed that major roads leading to the Central Area of the Federal Capital Territory were partially cordoned off by security operatives.
The Central Business District began to look like a ghost town due to the presence of heavy security operatives. Several helicopters were also seen hovering over the city for aerial surveillance on Friday and Saturday.
Similarly, vehicles belonging to the Presidential Guards Brigade and the Nigeria Police Force were seen moving around the city centre, blaring sirens.
Sunday PUNCH also observed that Eagle Square had been deserted by traders, as the usual business activities on the premises had disappeared.
The surroundings of the federal secretariat were also quiet, as civil servants were asked to stay off work from Friday until Tuesday.
Security at five-star hotels
At the Fraser Suites Hotel, one our correspondents observed the presence of four armed police officers stationed at the entrance and an NSCDC squad car in the parking lot and a couple of military officers in the hotel lobby on Saturday.
Hotel security officers conducted car bomb checks upon entry and also directed guests to go through the metal detectors, as well as put their luggage through the detectors.
Some foreign nationals, believed to be delegates of European and Asian countries were spotted moving in and out of major Abuja hotels. The front desk officer confirmed that the hotel was fully booked and would only be available after the inauguration.
At the Transcorp Hilton, several vehicles both of the Nigeria Police Force and the NSCDC were stationed at the junction of Aguiyi Ironsi Street where the hotel is located.
Four officers of both security agencies manned the street and took turns in patrol. While two armed officers were spotted at the exit and entry points of the hotel.
A hotel employee confirmed that the hotel was fully booked, adding that some of the clients included top officials of the Nigerian government as well as foreign dignitaries.
“Yes, we have quite a number of VIP guests, including delegates of foreign governments, but that is the most I can say,” the employee, who pleaded anonymity, stated.
Meanwhile, the police deployed personnel to be on guard for the protection of Aso Rock Presidential Villa and provide security around the Eagle Square.
The personnel are to man all borders, seaports and airports for the purpose of achieving a hitch-free ceremony on Monday.
Sunday PUNCH reports that the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, earlier disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
Personnel for the inauguration were drawn from Special Forces namely, the Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Unit, Special Protection Unit, Anti-Bomb Squad, FIB-Intelligence Response Team, and the Special Tactical Squad, among others.
Also deployed by the police were helicopters and drones for aerial surveillance in Abuja and its environs, as well as water cannons and armoured personnel carriers.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, said police officers and other security operatives were currently located along routes to-and-from the inauguration ground.
However, bands of merrymakers have also besieged the nation’s capital to add colour and melody to the inauguration.
The video of a band entertaining people at the Abuja airport on Saturday was shared on social media.
The drummers were seen at the airport welcoming guests with songs and dances as they disembarked from their aircraft.
Fight corruption, unite Nigerians, Buhari, ex-Kenyan president tell Tinubu
In another development, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and former Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, on Saturday tasked the President-elect to work towards uniting Nigerians irrespective of ethnic and political affiliation.
Both leaders gave the charge during the Inauguration Lecture at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
This was contained in the statement issued on Saturday by Tinubu’s media officer, Tunde Rahman.
In his keynote address, Kenyatta pleaded with the incoming president to unite the country irrespective of ethnic, political and religious cleavages that might exist.
“The contest is now over and the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins. Upon assuming the office of President, you will be wise to transcend from tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer,” Kenyatta said.
The President also re-echoed Kenyatta’s appeal, stressing that the inauguration lecture highlighted the imperatives of democratic governance, nation-building and various challenges confronting the socio-political fabrics of Nigeria.
He spoke extensively on the significance of democracy in driving Nigeria’s sustainable development.
Tinubu, who was represented by Shettima, used the opportunity to call on Nigerians to stand together with the incoming administration to birth a better country.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, has told the President-elect not to occupy his mind with the thought of winning the next election, but on how to develop the country and the next generation.
The Sultan spoke at an event where the former Kenyan President delivered an inaugural lecture titled, ‘Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development’.
Atiku, Obi shun inauguration
In another development, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is not expected at the inauguration.
This was disclosed to Sunday PUNCH by the Media Adviser to the former Vice President, Mr Paul Ibe.
Giving reasons why his principal will be absent from the event, Ibe denied knowledge of Atiku’s invitation to the event.
The former Vice President, he said, would be in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, on Monday for the commencement ceremony of the American University of Nigeria, a school he founded in 2003.
In the same vein, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has turned down the prospect of attending the May 29 inauguration of Tinubu.
Obi, who spoke through his media aide, Emeka Obasi, told one of our correspondents that it would be absurd for him to be seen attending the inauguration of the same person he believed didn’t win the 2023 presidential election.
The development is coming in the wake of Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed’s, visit to Kaduna on Saturday for the fathia (wedding ceremony) of his deputy campaign director, Alhaji Augie Mohammed’s daughter.
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