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APC: How govs, NWC, others gave Tinubu victory

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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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2022: International Youth day:APC National Women Leader felicitates with Youths across the globe

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The National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr Betta Edu celebrates with the youths across the globe on the occasion of the International youth day with a theme *Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all ages*

Dr. Betta in a correspondence released by her Special Adviser on political matters, Seun Bosede Osamaye, noted the importance of Youth Day as an awareness day designated by the United Nations to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding the Youths.

Speaking as a mother in her goodwill message, the ebullient National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress Dr. Betta Edu appealed to the Nigerian Youths to continue to be law abiding, to shun social vices, and to embrace peace as they join their counterparts all over the world to observe the *2022 International Youth Day*.

Noting that the United Nations has made a day like this very important to provide an opportunity for youths to reflect on their voices, actions, and initiatives, Dr. Betta beckons on the Nigerian Government to make it a norm in celebrating this day for the youth by raising awareness and educating people about the importance of youth in the society because the *Youths* are the pillars and future of every country.

Speaking further, Dr. Betta stressed the utmost importance of promoting youth participation especially in politics so that they can help to create a better future. She wish all Youths across the globe a successful outing and a Happy International 2022 Youth Day!

#BettaforBetterNigeria
#APCNationalwomenwing

*Comr. Victoria Uko*
SA Media to NWL

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Tension mounts in PDP as crisis worsens; elders weigh options

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Amid tensions, some elders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, intervened in the crisis rocking the party by giving approval for the constitution of the presidential campaign council.

Vanguard gathered that while some PDP leaders are pushing for the party to wield the big stick against those engaged in anti-party activities, other leaders are more favourably disposed to ongoing reconciliatory efforts.

It was learned in Abuja yesterday that the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and other organs of the party, including the National Working Committee, NWC, the Caucus and the Board of Trustees, BoT, have agreed to go ahead with the constitution of the party’s presidential campaign council.

This came on a day former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, urged the PDP National Chair-man, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to honourably resign.

George, however, urged Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State not to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, despite misgivings over the choice of running mate to the PDP presidential candidate.

Party elders wade in, mull options

A top ranking member of the party, who is familiar with the issue but elected to speak in confidence, said: “We held a major consultative meeting on Tuesday and I can assure you that the membership of the council will be announced in the next two weeks.

“Campaigns start next month; we want to be up and running before this happens. We have been reaching out to our members nationwide, including our respected leaders in Rivers State.

“Details of our next steps are being worked out. You know the PDP, being a very large family, has a lot of tendencies and individuals and groups have egos that require massaging. We are doing that.

“There are those pushing for us to wield the big stick but the majority are more favourably disposed to ongoing reconciliatory efforts because we are in opposition; we need everyone more than the ruling party.”

Another party leader, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, said: “The PDP has dealt with bigger challenges; this one too has come and it will go. Governor Wike, whose name is being mentioned anytime our current challenges are cited, is a party man, he has said it himself.

“He has other party leaders who respect him and look up to him to protect their political interests. Whatsoever those interests may be, he feels an obligation to protect those who stuck out their necks for him during his bid for the ticket.

“It is the pursuit of this that has delayed us till now but we must make progress; we have an election to win and there will be positions of responsibilities to be given out. It is the patience component that is the issue at the moment.”

Substantial progress is being made — Atiku’s camp

When contacted, Mazi Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said: “Substantial progress is being made with regards to resolving outstanding issues. My principal has assured the party and all members that everyone will be carried along. That commitment has not changed.”

We’ll resolve crisis soon—PDP leader

Also speaking, a top PDP leader told Vanguard that leaders are making moves to resolve the crisis.

The PDP leader, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are making efforts to resolve the crisis.

All I know is that Wike will not leave the party. As regards inviting APC leaders to commission projects in his state, he has said it before that he would invite leaders across party lines to commission projects in Rivers. I can assure you that the crisis within the party will be resolved soon.”

Ayu should resign honourably —Bode George

Commenting on the crisis rocking the party, George, who addressed newsmen in Lagos, insisted that Ayu should honour his words by stepping down as national chairman of the party.

He, however, urged Governor Wike not to join APC, despite misgivings over the choice of Atiku’s running mate, saying “you don’t win all the time.”

Heis words: “In democracy, we must talk and exchange ideas. We must agree and disagree without actually being disagreeable. Any organisation with human beings will always have issues but the ability to manage that crisis will be the determining factor.

“I want to appeal to all sides to sheathe their swords. Nigerians are waiting for us and we must convince them that we can manage the resources of the country in an equitable manner.

“They should all cease fire. Statements of arrogance and innuendos that can destroy the party should stop forthwith.

“Zoning has sustained our democracy for this long because it’s the concept that established our party.

“My plea is that all should cool temper because if we don’t get it right this time around, this nation will never forgive us. Nigerians are waiting for the PDP.”

On 2023 general election, George said it was not yet uhuru.

While expressing worry over the security situation in the country, he said: “My fear is that if the insecurity continues, who will be bold enough to campaign or cast votes during election?

“These are serious issues we must consider. Are we thinking about it? It’s scary. How will people go out to vote on the day of election?”

Wike, one man balancing force —Mimiko

Meanwhile, former Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, yesterday, commended Governor Wike’s boldness to lawfully speak truth to power, saying he has averted bids by desperate politicians to force Nigeria into a one-party state.

Mimiko said this while performing the flag-off of Rivers State project for dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Noting that through bold legal challenges, Wike has deepened national consciousness by combating the defective federal system towards actualising true federalism.

Mimiko said: “Beyond the self-evident physical transformation, you (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculating the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one-party state down the throats of Nigerians.

“You were at one point virtually a one man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”

Hoping Wike remains committed to the struggle to entrench true federalism for just development across ethnic divides and religious persuasions in Nigeria, the former governor said: “Our party, the PDP, a party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from unsatisfactory performance of the past seven years will be built.

“It is a mission that must be accomplished, a mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role, a mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”

Speaking on the project, Wike said: “As a man who respects leaders, I have to honour them by making sure this road is awarded and completed within six months.

“This is the last project here in Port Harcourt I’m going to embark upon before I leave office. All promises I have made in Port Harcourt, I have fulfilled. Let somebody come and tell me which one I have not fulfilled. “Because you voted for us, we too will work for you by providing basic infrastructure. That is what politics is all about. It is about talking and doing, not giving of excuses.

“No right-thinking person in this state would want to mingle or identify with such people that would make promises without fulfilling them.

“Our campaign has always been operation show your report card. We are showing our report card. Tell anybody who comes to you to show his report card.”

VANGUARD

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Wike’s romance with Tinubu’s men rattles Amaechi’s base

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There are strong indications that the Rivers State All Progressives Congress led by immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is angry about the romance between the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu’s men; and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Wike has in recent times been meeting with some APC chieftains, including Tinubu’s allies. On Monday, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was invited by Wike to inaugurate a road project.

The Rivers governor also invited former Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to inaugurate some projects in his state.

Earlier, some APC governors led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi, had also met Wike in his state amid his feud with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.

However, sources close to Amaechi, told The PUNCH that the romance between Wike and Tinubu was disrespectful especially since it was public knowledge that Wike and Amaechi were political foes.

They also accused Tinubu of supporting Senator Magnus Abe who recently dumped the APC to run for governor on the platform of the Social Democratic Party.

An associate of Amaechi who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “The APC leaders have been coming to Rivers State to lobby Wike and make all manner of promises to him. These people never came to Rivers even when the party was having a crisis.

“They should not forget that Amaechi came second in that presidential primary and is still the leader of the APC in Rivers State. Rather than rally around him, they have been romancing Wike. Tinubu is among the sponsors of Magnus Abe who has defected to the SDP.

“Magnus Abe is Tinubu’s boy. He is always with Tinubu. Even after joining the SDP, he is still with Tinubu and has promised to work for Tinubu’s campaign. Yet they cannot caution him.”

The source stated that Atiku might begin to woo Amaechi soon if quick action was not taken.

Speaking with The PUNCH, an APC chieftain, Chukwuemeka Eze, said he was not aware if Atiku had begun reaching out to Amaechi.

Eze, however, said if Amaechi decides to join the PDP, then Tinubu should be blamed.

He added, “If Amaechi decides to rejoin PDP, it may not be of his own making but due to the acts and attitude of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and managers of his campaign team coupled with the new style of leadership of those currently running APC.

Amaechi’s neglect

“Let me state unequivocally that the manner and ways Amaechi and his political Team are being neglected both in the formation of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and most of the activities of the party since after the APC Presidential Convention is not the best way to treat a leader with the stature or status of Amaechi. You don’t do that.

“To worsen the situation, the manner in which Tinubu and his associates continued to associate with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State without any consultation with Amaechi or any member of his political family is not only sad but very unfortunate.”

Eze said Amaechi remained an institution in Rivers State politics and that anybody or political leader who feels he can undermine him is doing that at his or her own peril.

He recalled that Amaechi as the Director-General of the Presidential campaign that orchestrated President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat in 2015

“Based on his rating, I will not be shocked if Atiku Abubakar is wooing him based on the fact that the two leaders are not only very close associates politically and but have remain great partners in the progress of this country so I have nothing against such a union,” he said.

When contacted, the Rivers State APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, told The PUNCH that Wike was desperate for an alliance with Tinubu and the APC to remain relevant after 2023.

Commenting on the romance between Tinubu’s men and Wike, he stated, “In politics, the concentric circles of conspiracy are numerous. Sometimes they overlap and other times they are incongruent. But very often, the end result is one – how to appropriate political power at the expense of others or competitors. Therefore, in the instant case, whether it is Asuwaju that is going after Governor Wike or the latter that is courting Asuwaju, the end result is how to survive 2023 general elections and remain politically relevant thereafter.

We know that the desperate party or side in the entire calculation is Wike. Reason is that head or tail with Atiku, he’ll lose. Assuming without conceding that Atiku wins, he’ll surely put away Wike in a cold manner. Wike understands this. In a scenario where Asuwaju/APC wins, Wike deserves the grace of God to walk free. He needs the protection post 2023 so badly. Therefore, it is clear that Wike is the one chasing after Asiwaju/APC and not the opposite.

Whether asked if the romance was a slap on Amaechi, he stated, “I have a biblical verse as an answer. ‘Thou sayest!’

Also in a chat with The PUNCH, the Deputy spokesman of the APC in the Rivers State, Darlington Uwauju, said Amaechi was one of the few political leaders that could be trusted and that he would not leave the APC for the PDP.

The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the APC, Cornelius Ojelabi, said anyone was free to visit Wike as he was not Tinubu’s enemy.

On Tinubu’s alleged link to Magnus Abe’s defection, he said, “I don’t know anything about that. All I know is that politics is a game of numbers. When you are in a contest, you just have to approach all that is approachable and solicit support.”

On whether he sees the possibility of Wike forming an alliance or crossing over to the APC, Ojelabi responded, “It is all about passion and you know Wike has a passion for politics. Wike was part of the southern governors who came to Lagos State before now and said that the Southern governors won’t support any presidential candidate from the North.”

‘Wike a tactician’

Also speaking with The PUNCH, a former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who is also a Tinubu campaigner, said there was nothing wrong with the new romance with Wike.

Shittu said Amaechi should be happy that someone like Wike was being linked to the APC.

“Nobody will stop Wike if he wants to come to APC. Again, you know Wike is a tactician. If I were in Amaechi’s shoes, I would see Wike’s coming as an opportunity to settle reconcile with him. What he should be thinking of at that point is that with Wike coming into the party, will there be an in-fighting anymore?,” he asked.

Shittu also rubbished reports that Tinubu had a hand in Abe’s defection, adding that Tinubu could not be blamed for longstanding crisis in the party in Rivers State.

“Is it not a stupid idea for anybody to suggest that Abe is not intelligent enough to take a decision on his own? There are certain things that sound silly to one’s hearing, except that it is always news to the media.

“Abe has been running a battle politically with Amaechi. Even at the last governorship primary, he didn’t win the ticket to fulfil his ambition. Tell me, does he need anybody to tell him the next step to take if he fails to clinch the APC ticket,” he asked.

Shittu added that Tinubu was not fighting with Amaechi whom he described as a brother and friend. He noted that when Amaechi accused APC delegates of selling their votes, Tinubu refused to respond.

“Is he fighting Amaechi? Even when he alleged that some delegates were given bribes for vote-buying, did Tinubu say anything? That’s because he doesn’t want to join the fray. If you study Tinubu well enough, you will know that he doesn’t take issue with people. That’s why you see people who fight him coming back to him at the end of the day,” he said

When contacted, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe said reconciliation and discussions with Wike was still ongoing and declined further comment.

An analyst, Sunny Anyanwu, argued that it was almost impossible for Wike to defect to the APC, adding that he may have been hurt, but he would not dump the PDP.

‘’It will amount to a dog eating its vomit if Wike defects to APC. Yes I agree Wike has been hurt. The committee set up by the PDP to select a vice- presidential candidate recommended him but Atiku on his own picked Okowa. Now, it was like injustice was done to him. I don’t think Wike will finally settle for APC. I don’t think so. But if he does it, he has brought his personality to the mud, and he will have no political relevance again,’’ the lawyer submitted.

Amaechi could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. Calls placed to the ex-minister’smedia aide,Paul Iyiofor, rang out and he had yet to reply to a text message seeking his comment on Wike’s alleged romance with Tinubu’s allies and other APC chieftains.

Meanwhile, the crisis in the PDP worsened on Tuesday with tWike, attacking a former senator, Lee Maeba, an ally of the PDP presidential candidate.

Wike and Maeba traded words over the governor’s statement on the control of the votes in the state and the benefits which accrued to Rivers when Atiku was the vice-president between 1999 and 2007.

Speaking on Tuesday at the inauguration of the dualised Ogbunuabali -Eastern Bypass Road which was performed by the former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, the governor said Maeba was wrong when he quoted him (Wike) to have said he was in charge of Rivers State’s votes..

This was contained in a statement issued by Kelvin Ebiri, media aide to the governor and made available to newsmen..

He said, “Because some people went to school late, they don’t understand when somebody says I am in charge of this state. I never said I am in charge of votes in this state. But I know I can talk to my people and my people will listen to me. Some people say, I have only one vote, I agree. I can’t vote two times. I will only vote once. But because of the services I have rendered to the people of this state, the state will listen to me.”

The governor stated that he had remained a consistent politician, not playing double games and urged Rivers people to be happy that they have a governor who would always defend the state.

The statement said, “Leadership is not about party, leadership is about individual. Party is only a vehicle to actualize your ambition, to be able to tell your people I have this capacity, I have this quality to render services to you.

“If you take me away today from the PDP to another party, I will still perform. So, it is not because I’m in the PDP that I’m performing. It is because I have that passion for my people. It is because I have the commitment to serve my people. Take me to the YPP, allow me to become whatever I will become there, I will perform. Take me to any party, I will perform. So, it is not the party that makes you perform.”

He stated that the state did not benefit from some politicians’ closeness to Presidents and Vice-Presidents.

Maeba replies Wike

But reacting to Wike’s comment, Maeba told The PUNCH that Rivers State benefited from Atiku on account of his and a former House of Representatives deputy speaker, Austin Opara’s closeness to the former vice-president.

The former federal lawmaker explained that his relationship with Atiku brought Intels, a logistics company owned by the PDP presidential candidate, to the state.

He said, “It (Relationship with Atiku) brought Intels. Atiku established Intels which employed many people. It was because of us that he (Atiku) invested more in Intels Rivers.

“Must friendship bring something? What has his (Wike’s) friendship brought to me? His friendship to me has only brought me pains; his friendship to me has brought me more pains.”

Also speaking in an interview with an online television station monitored by our correspondent, Maeba disclosed how Wike threatened to collapse the party if he failed to secure the party’s ticket to contest the 2023 presidential election.

He said, “Wike told me during one of our campaigns that if he failed the primary that he will collapse the whole system if they do to him what they did to (Ex-Rivers state governor, Peter) Odili. He said he will collapse the system and everybody will go home. That is the fear here.”

He wondered why the governor had refused to move on like Odili did when he failed in his bid to become the president in 2007.

When contacted, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe said reconciliation and discussions with Wike was still ongoing and declined further comment.

PUNCH

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