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APC: How govs, NWC, others gave Tinubu victory



After months of high-wire politicking, alignment and counter-alignment, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday, won the party’s 2023 presidential ticket in style.

He polled 1,271 delegates’ votes, which is more than the 831 combined total of his 13 other opponents at the two-day primaries held at Eagle Square, Abuja.

His closest rival, the former Transportation Minister, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, garnered 316 votes; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo polled 235 votes; and Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, got 152 votes.

Vanguard had earlier repeatedly reported that the contest would be a three-horse race featuring Tinubu, Amaechi and Osinbajo.

Although the party said it had 2,322 delegates, only 2,203 were physically on the ground and accredited for the exercise. Of the figure, 13 votes were invalid.

Co-chair of the Election Management Committee, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, announced the results.

Details of votes polled by other aspirants are Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, 47 votes; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, 38; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, 37 votes; Senator Sani Yerima, four votes; Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, one vote; and Chief Emeka Nwajiuba, one vote.

The other aspirants — Pastor Tunde Bakare, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Tein Jack-Rich, and Chief Mokelu Ikeobasi had zero votes each.

Chairman of the Election Management Committee, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who was the chief returning officer, returned Tinubu as validly-elected to fly the party’s presidential flag in next year’s general election.

With his victory, Tinubu has been handed APC’s political arsenal to face Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, among other opponents in the 2023 presidential poll.

How APC Govs influenced Tinubu’s emergence

Vanguard had in the lead up to the March 26 national convention of the party, reported how the APC governors struck a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari by trading off the national chairmanship position for that of the Presidency.

At the time, the governors were negotiating that one of them be supported by the president to emerge as the standard-bearer of the party.

However, as the Special Convention and Presidential Primary of the APC, drew closer, it became apparent that the president wanted to have a lot of input into who succeeds him. He had begged the governors to allow to him pick his successor.

While negotiations were ongoing, the northern governors’ forum in the APC resolved that power must shift to the South, essentially trying to force the president to support a Southern aspirant, following speculations that the president wanted Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Efforts by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu to impose Lawan on stakeholders as the adopted consensus aspirant were, however, resisted especially by the Northern Governors who were later joined by their Southern counterparts within the party.

For about five days before the primary, the governors engaged in a series of stakeholder meetings. The Northern governors met with political stakeholders from the region and then later met with President Buhari to demand a power shift to the South.

They, thereafter, stormed the national secretariat of the party on Monday night to meet with the Adamu-led National Working Committee NWC. But after about an hour of waiting and Adamu was nowhere to be found, they filed out to the Presidential Villa area where the national chairman lives.

The governors were said to have conveyed their position to their representatives in the NWC and Abdullahi Adamu himself. They also guided their delegates on the need to vote for Tinubu.

At the convention, delegates of virtually all the governors, except four, voted for Tinubu. The four governors include Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who participated in the primary; with his delegates voting for him; a North Central and South Western state governors and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, who also participated in the primary

Factors, horse trading that gave Tinubu victory

Indeed, Tinubu’s margin of victory is large but it did not come easy. It was a product of 30 years of political association with stakeholders across the country; weeks of energy-sapping negotiations to get opponents to lay down their weapons; and several days of wooing entrenched interests in the party to his side.

Some of the battles he fought include getting APC power brokers in the North to back power shift to the South; wooing delegates across the country including “unfriendly” states; stopping moves to use consensus to decide the candidate; and eventually the conduct of the primaries.

Said to enjoy the backing of many presidential aspirants who bought the APC N100 million expression of interest and nomination forms, sources said Tinubu got political and traditional leaders in the South-West to prevail on aspirants from the zone to step down for him.

The series of meetings and negotiations continued even at the convention ground. It led to four of the seven South-West aspirants and three aspirants from the other zones to back down.

The yeoman’s job was done by 13 Northern APC governors, some Southern governors and members of the National Working Committee, who first fought against moves to make Senate President Lawan the consensus candidate; and later delivered their states’ votes for Tinubu at the convention.

On Monday, the eve of the primaries, the National Chairman, Adamu, told members of the NWC that Lawan had become the consensus candidate for the primaries on Tuesday. Members of the NWC kicked against the move and insisted that other aspirants must take part in the primaries. The news filtered to 13 of the 14 APC governors in the North, who stormed Aso Villa to meet with President Buhari and insisted on a power shift to the South.

Thereafter, President Buhari, the governors, and members of the NWC disowned Senator Adamu over Lawan and the stance paved the way for all the 23 aspirants to contest Tuesday’s primaries.

Signs of Tinubu’s victory

Signs that Tinubu would win the contest emerged early when many delegates from many states wore Tinubu-branded clothes and sang praises of the former Lagos governor all through the event.

Things became clearer when aspirant after aspirant started stepping down for Tinubu. In all, seven aspirants did so cutting across South-West, South-East, South-South, and North-West

Those, who stepped down for Tinubu were Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); Senator Godswill Akpabio; Professor Roberts Ajayi Borroffice; former House Speaker Dimeji Bankole; Senator Ibikunle Amosun; and Mrs Uju Ken Ohanenye.

Pastor Nicolas Felix stepped down for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and nobody stepped down for Amaechi.

Tinubu has a connection, network, and structure to deliver — Ado Doguwa

House of Representatives Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said “the emergence of Bola Tinubu did not come to him as a surprise because “he has invested too much in the political space of this country. This is someone whose name is known all over Nigeria. He has the network, the connection of the people; he has all it takes to deliver. We and the great people of Kano did not find his emergence a surprise, we expected much more.

“The emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Presidential flag bearer of the APC, to me, is scientific because there are two major factors you cannot take away from our political space. We have two Buharis in the nation: The Buhari of the North, and the Buhari of the Southern part of the country in terms of their unprecedented popularity, connection, and what it takes to deliver. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the Buhari of the South. We have our own Buhari. if you have the Buhari of the North and Buhari of the South (Tinubu) on the same page, that is success all over.

“So we expected that our delegate would be reasonable enough to pay back to this person whose dues he had paid extraordinarily. “

Asked if he was surprised at the stepping down of some aspirants for Bola Tinubu, he said: “Obviously not. It didn’t come to me as a surprise because I was to some extent part of the top-level engagement. Dr Fayemi, I never expected him to step down based on the position taken by Northern governors.

What was even a surprise to me was that the VP did not step down. Everybody knows that the South would be allowed to become the Presidential flag bearer. Governors of the northern part of the country did not only agree to concede power to the South but also galvanised their support and solidarity for Bola Tinubu. It was not a secret but Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would have played along.

Asked why Tinubu didn’t step down for Osinbajo, he said: “You don’t expect the tail to wag the dog, it is the dog that wags its tail.”

We must banish PDP — Tinubu

An elated Tinubu said it was time the APC banished the PDP, who he accused of constantly dragging the nation back. In his acceptance speech, he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, Senate President Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Chairman of the APC, and Senator Abdullahi Adamu, among others for their efforts.

To Senate President Lawan, he said: “To you, the legislature, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, I would have been a little upset because you competed with me but that is over now since you can easily lick your wounds. It doesn’t take away from thanking you for the past cooperation and cool-headedness to build our country. You have helped in steering the ship of the nation and with your colleagues in the Senate history is written and will be kind to you.”

He continued: “To the chairman of our party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, it appeared some weeks back that some newspapers and many people were ready to write the obituary of this party. We pulled ourselves together like a cat with nine lives. We thatched the roof, steadied the pillars and became master builders. You came on and worked hard with the collaboration of others and here we are. Shame on those who were already building the coffin of APC, shame on them, our party is alive.

“They said we won’t be able to do the convention but here we are. The first convention was to choose the executives. The governors pulled themselves together, we did break our backs and we are here, very happy and confident and courageous to tell you that the cat that lies down quietly is not a pretension of death but gathering its energy to devour its enemies.

Now we are here, we will roar. We will do it. We will tell the Poverty Development Party, which they call PDP, 16 years of failures, and wastefulness. They will be buried and made to leave the way for us. We will repair our country. “We are Progressives, we are nation builders. We are not destroyers. We are confident that this nation is back on track.”

Tinubu also spoke about the growing wave of killings in the country, saying: “We are not the barbaric, blind human beings they think we are. They are setting us against one another. When you were born, you didn’t hear from the womb whether you would be a male or female, Christian or Muslim. You were born to your parents and you adopted their religions and continued.

“The Bible taught us to love your neighbour as you love yourself. It did not say kill your neighbour. It is in the two holy books; goodness for goodness. Learn to accept mistakes, not from gunshots or the destruction of lives and property because the life you take you cannot bring back, and they hate you spill cannot cure your hunger. We must build a new society and learn to think of a new way of life.”

He commanded all his fellow aspirants for the stiff and strong opposition they offered which he said made the party better and himself humble.

Tinubu particularly lauded all the seven aspirants who stepped down for him saying it was a very difficult decision that they made.

“The competition is now over. Those who did not support me, you have nothing to fear. I hold no grudges. Let us join hands to beat the PDP and beat back their retrogressive understanding of Nigeria. They had 16 years, they depleted our resources and left us with hunger. Let us dig their graves by defeating them in the next election because they are the agents of poverty, terror, violence and lying,” he stated.

We’ve displayed a total commitment to the ethos of democracy — AKEREDOLU

Tinubu’s victory elicited a deluge of felicitations in the polity, yesterday.

Chairman of the Southern Governor’s Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, said the APC has displayed a total commitment to the ethos of democracy and embraced the path of fairness and equity given the outcome of its national convention.

Akeredolu, who did not attend the Convention because of the terrorist’s attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, hailed the outcome of the special convention and the emergence of Tinubu as the flag bearer of the party for the 2023 general election.

Akeredolu said: “I congratulate our great party on the conduct of a successful primary election. I am particularly happy that our party displayed a total commitment to the ethos of democracy and embraced the path of fairness and equity.

“The contest was a brotherly scramble. The aspirants and leaders of our great party must now leverage our political strength to build the party and reposition it for even greater victory. We must identify and underscore our challenges for the greater good of the people. The time for strives is beneath us.

“As the dust settles, we must form a common front and understand that victory at the general election is our collective target.

“It is time to justify our zeal and passion for the party. The instruments of the party must be fully deployed for the rescue mission of the nation.

“Let us expand our strength and reach to replete the party with brighter prospects. Ours is to plough not to plunder.

“Our struggle for the service of the people must reflect in our support and incurable commitment to unity geared towards the good of the people and the country at large.

“I congratulate our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for clinching the ticket of our party. As a leader of the party, it is time to galvanize support and calm frayed nerves. The reconciliation process must start immediately. The time has come to be united for victory.

“We have a big task ahead. Let us put the past behind us for the greater objective of oiling the wheel of peace, progress and unity in our party. We must all win together.”

“We commend President Buhari, the patriotic 13 Governors from the Northern Region (P13), our great brothers who stepped down for Asiwaju Tinubu and indomitable members of the National Working Committee of our party, who have worked tirelessly to put this party on the path of democratic values.”

Amaechi congratulates Tinubu

The Amaechi Presidential Media Committee congratulated Tinubu on his victory at the just concluded presidential primaries of the APC.

In a statement by the Committee’s Chairman, Kingsley Wali, Amaechi called on all the aspirants to come together to work for the victory of Tinubu and APC in the 2023 presidential election.

The statement reads: “We acknowledge that his victory follows a highly charged contest, which as expected, could only produce one winner.

“It is, therefore, our hope that following the emergence of Senator Bola Tinubu as our party’s presidential candidate, all aspirants will now close ranks and work hard to ensure our party’s victory at the 2023 presidential election. “We thank all who in many remarkable ways supported the Presidential aspiration of Rotimi Amaechi and urge them to see the outcome of the primaries as a victory for democracy, which signposts the maturity and evolution of the political culture of Africa’s largest democracy, Nigeria.”

With Asiwaju as a candidate, APC is confident of victory in 2023 —Lawan

Senate President Lawan said that the emergence of Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the APC has reassured his party of winning the 2023 presidential poll.

In a letter of congratulation that he signed, Lawan who was also an aspirant in the primary said the outcome of the election process had shown that Tinubu is the popular choice of his party.

‘’The presidential primary of our great party, the All Progressives Congress for the 2023 General Election has come and gone. ‘I am elated and proud that the presidential primary was manifestly free and fair, and conducted within our APC Family under a most convivial atmosphere.

‘’The success of the event again demonstrates the capacity of our great party to run its internal affairs smoothly and devoid of rancour.

“As Your Excellency is aware, I offered myself alongside your good self and other patriotic members of the party to fly its highly coveted flag in the 2023 presidential election. ’I did so in the belief that I have the knowledge base, ideas, experience and desire to provide leadership for our dear country at these most trying times.

‘’However, the outcome of the election process has shown that Your Excellency is the popular choice of our party for that assignment. I do not have an iota of doubt in the wisdom of that decision by our party’s delegates from across the country.

‘’Your glittering track record of public service, foresight and grit in party building and administration, as well as the courage you continue to demonstrate in fighting for the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria make you worthy of the high esteem and trust of our party members everywhere in Nigeria as exhibited at the National Convention.

“It is on this note that I heartily congratulate you on your well-deserved victory at the primary. I do not doubt that with your credentials, experience, antecedents and political sagacity, our great party will go into the 2023 contest confident of victory.”

Orji Kalu congratulates Tinubu and urges deeper reflection about S/East, N/East zones

Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu also congratulated Tinubu on his victory, adding that the party won.

Kalu in a statement he signed also congratulated Senate President Lawan, who he staunchly supported for the presidential ticket, saying he had a wonderful outing though he lost to Tinubu.

The senator said that everyone who put up a contest in the APC primaries ran enough campaigns needed to win but only one person was needed to represent the party in the presidential election.

Kalu’s statement read thus: “To all the aspirants who participated in the concluded All Progressives Congress presidential primary election, especially my dear friend and the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, I congratulate you for the good and wonderful outing.

“Everyone did enough campaigning needed to win the primary election but it is only one candidate that will represent the party in the election.

“To my friend and colleague, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has been elected as our party’s presidential flag bearer, big congratulations to you; the APC won. As a faithful party man, I also congratulate the party on its victory and I encourage all other aspirants to accept this victory in the spirit of sportsmanship.

“We owe the party an open mind and total support. Most importantly, I hope this win brings a deeper reflection about South-East and North-East in the affairs of the nation.”Ganduje congratulates Tinubu, hails Buhari

Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Wednesday congratulated Tinubu on his victory, saying the Jagaban “can provide the needed leadership that would consolidate and continue to ensure the country’s democratic gains.”

The governor in a congratulatory message personally signed by him said the emergence of Tinubu as flagbearer of the APC in the 2023 presidential election would be a victory for the Nigeria project.

The governor also hailed other aspirants for their remarkable sportsmanship which they displayed throughout the painstaking consultation period up to the convention and particularly Vice President Osinbajo, who submitted themselves to transparent democratic exercise.

He also called on Tinubu, as party leader, to “bring his political and socio-economic experience to bear on party leadership and members to close ranks and work for its victory in the forthcoming election.”

Tinubu’s emergence, the collective will of APC members —Fayemi

Ekiti State governor and APC presidential aspirant, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has congratulated former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, describing his emergence as the flagbearer of the party as the collective will of members of the party.

Dr Fayemi also congratulated the party leadership and the convention planning committee for the successful conduct of the special convention and presidential primary and President Muhammadu Buhari for superintending over a free, fair, and credible process as national leader of the party.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, Dr Fayemi said Asiwaju Tinubu’s emergence represented the collective wish of the vast majority of members of APC, adding that the former Lagos State governor had proven his dedication and competence to lead the country at such an important time in history.

Fayemi, who stepped down for Tinubu at the convention, described the APC flagbearer as a “long-distance runner”, who could lead the country to greater heights in 2023.

“It is a great moment for our party. I congratulate Asiwaju Tinubu for the well-deserved victory and the leadership of the party as well as the convention committee members for a great job.

“Collectively, we shall move from this convention venue with greater determination to strengthen the party and work assiduously for the success of the party in the 2023 elections,’’ Fayemi said.

Buhari has provided leadership that OBJ couldn’t in 2007 — Keyamo

On his part, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for providing great democratic leadership which led to the emergence of Tinubu at the convention.

Keyamo in two tweets he authored and shared with our correspondent said Buhari has provided exemplary leadership in the twilight of his administration, a feat he said President Olusegun Obasanjo could not achieve for his party, PDP, in 2007.

Keyamo said: “OBJ are you watching? The kind of leadership OBJ failed to give @OfficialPDPNig in 2007 is what PMB just provided for the world to see: complete transparent process to pick a possible successor; no IMPOSITION; NO INTERFERENCE; who’s the democrat now? Congratulations @officialABAT”.

Keyamo also lauded the Northern Governors Forum in the APC for being very sensitive to the complexities of Nigeria by insisting on power-shift to the South.

“The heroes of APC Convention are the Northern Govs who reflected the extreme complexity of Nigeria in their decision to move power down South”, Keyamo stated.

Lead us to victory, Aregbesola charges Tinubu

Similarly, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, equally congratulated the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his emergence, charging him to ride on the crest of the momentum and lead APC to victory in next year’s election.

Aregbesola disclosed this in a congratulatory letter personally signed by him and sent to Mr Tinubu yesterday, read: “I write to felicitate with you on your hard-fought victory at the just concluded Presidential Primary election of our great party, the All Progressives Congress APC.

“You have demonstrated once again that you are a dogged fighter and in your quest for the establishment of a democratic society, you are willing to go the whole hog.

“It is my prayer that you will ride on the crest of the momentum of this triumph to lead our party to victory in next year’s General Elections. On behalf of my family and our associates, I heartily congratulate you on this well-deserved victory.”

We are excited Tinubu won —YCE

Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, described the emergence of Senator Tinubu as a positive development. Olajide, in a chat with Vanguard, said: “I’m particularly excited that a Yoruba man has emerged as the flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress, I’m particularly more excited that Yoruba man is my personal friend and compatriot right from childhood.

“It is a positive development for the Yoruba Nation, I will call on Nigerians to rally support for him and ensure he emerges the next President of this nation, I sincerely hope and pray that he emerges the President of the country.

“The Yoruba nation is part of this country, we have been responsible for keeping this country together as one nation, several efforts have been made in the past to divide the country through secession activities but we have been very consistent, we believe in one Nigeria and we have made enormous sacrifices to keep this country together and I’m very happy that through divine intervention we are being repaid now that our son has emerged as the candidate of one of the leading political parties for the highest position in this country.

“We appeal to all Nigerians to give him the support because we have the records and the reputation of being very sincere in our leadership of this Country. You can recall the achievements recorded during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure. We are appealing to all Nigerians to ensure that he emerges as the next civilian president of Nigeria.”

Why I shunned APC presidential primary, says Ex-minister, Nwajiuba

Meanwhile, immediate past Minister of State for Education and presidential aspirant on the platform of the APC, Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has revealed the reasons behind his absence from the primaries.

Aside from being among 28 aspirants who bought the presidential nomination form, he was also the first cabinet member to resign his position to pursue his ambition.

Giving reasons yesterday in a statement he signed and titled, “Statement of Appreciation and Thanksgiving”, the former minister said alleged “marginalisation of South-East” was responsible for his absence.

The statement read: ‘’I am issuing this statement after a careful review of our campaign for the presidential ticket of the APC. First, I thank our Almighty God, Creator and Giver of all things, for the gift of everything we are or have. I then will thank all of the many persons, those afar and those around, who through personal services, prayers, texts, advice, financial gifts, donations, and numerous other means, encouraged me.

‘’I thank my family, who have endured my incessant derision of their preference for a less public and risky lifestyle. ’I thank all my friends, well-wishers and even those who may not wish us all that well, but have played their parts in the national discussion.

‘’I would urge that no one should be despondent or disappointed. My approach to the Nigeria presidency hinged on being able to present a progressive vision of an inclusive, united and focused brand of energy to transform Nigeria into a wholesome economic powerhouse, whose citizens will be better secured to live more fulfilling lives. ‘’I choose to take the tedious path of following the law, meeting requirements and staying disciplined, in other to sell a paradigm of the same.

“I appreciate all the sacrifices of time, resources and emotions that have been invested by so many people, young and old, near and afar in this tedious path.

“I and almost all other aspirants agreed to a consensus approach to the selection of our candidate, to effectively maintain the outlook of a progressive family, away from an all for money by highest bidder image, which had already been assigned to another political party.

“I and other aspirants now of the southeast, wrote the leadership of our party to appreciate the commitment to move the presidential ticket to the south and requested a further deepening to the southeast to reflect our primary reason for seeking the office, which remains, “to build a more united and inclusive secured and prosperous nation.

“This much has been captured in the communique south east aspirants issued on 22nd May, the speeches of Mr President at his meetings with APC Governors, that of aspirants and stakeholders. ’Following the failure of all these entreaties, it became clear that the convention was headed away from these lofty ideals I subscribe to and will still pursue. I, therefore, declined to attend.

‘’These ideals reflected in what some of the southeast aspirants who choose to attend referred to in their pleas for justice or need to constitutionally require it, in the face of the absence of conscience.

‘’Even their elderly wailing on national television could not move a vote, if I had shouted the same in a more youthful voice, it may have become inciting in face of our current security difficulties in the southeast and may thus spite our efforts. Better to stay out.

‘’I am committed to pursuing the ideals of a more united, inclusively secured prosperous nation for us all, lending to our dear country, its citizens and those who may be positioned to use it, the experiences acquired, lessons learnt, and the various matrix that I may bring to bear.

‘’I am grateful for the opportunity to engage all strata of our society, all cadres of leadership both in our party and our country. I appreciate the luxury of your various audiences, in sharing this message.’’

Tinubu has our full, unwavering support —Buhari

Also yesterday President Muhammadu Buhari said that having emerged victorious in the All Progressives Congress, APC, convention, the former governor of Lagos State and leader of the ruling party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has the full and unwavering support of the party.

He also acknowledged the existence of factions in the party before the convention to pick its presidential candidate, stressing that as the convention was over, there was the need for everyone to unite and give the party victory in the 2023 elections.

The President in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Senator Tinubu was the right candidate for Nigeria’s aspiration because he was the APC’s candidate.

While congratulating the APC’s presidential flagbearer in the 2023 elections, President Buhari said: “Having emerged victorious he has our full and unwavering support.

“Now our party must unite behind our candidate to achieve victory at the 2023 elections so that our government will continue to secure our communities, grow our economy and continue the fight against corruption.

“During the Primaries, there were factions and disagreements amongst the contestants and now that the process has ended we must build a united front in our party.

“In this way, the APC will remain the party that can best deliver on the priorities of the Nigerian people. Now it is time to put the process behind us.

“Because what we can all agree is that the APC remains the party that can best deliver on the priorities of the Nigerian people. But the way to demonstrate that we can get on with this job is to unite.

“The movement we created in 2013 is beyond individuals. Together, we made history by becoming the first party in our country’s history to unseat a party in power and propel our candidate into the Presidency through a peaceful democratic transfer of power.

“We strongly believe that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will safeguard and improve on this democratic achievement and legacy. He is the right candidate for Nigeria’s aspiration because he is the APC’s candidate and under the continued stewardship of our party. Nigeria can achieve greatness and fulfil its destiny in Africa and the World.

“The high point of this extraordinary convention of our party was the energy of the Presidential aspirants and it is from amongst them that we have chosen the most popular leader.

“I recognize and commend the enthusiasm and self-confidence amongst our party men and women.

“I also thank the delegates for making the right decision leading to the emergence of our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Vanguard News Nigeria


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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.”

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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”.


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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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