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VP slot: APC govs insist on colleague as ‘compensation’

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Strong indications emerged, weekend, that governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are insisting on a sitting colleague to be picked as vice presidential candidate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 election, following the role they played in his emergence as the flagbearer.

Vanguard gathered that the governors are also pushing for Tinubu’s running mate to come from the North-East, particularly from Borno State, and that if on the other hand, it goes to the North-West, it should not be Katsina State.

They were said to have contended that since Katsina produced late President Umaru Yar’Adua and incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, it shouldn’t be considered.

It was also learned that another group in the Progressives Governors camp is pushing for the North-West geo-political zone to produce the vice presidential candidate, while looking in the direction of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, and Governor Atiku Abubakar of Kebbi State.

Tinubu’s push for Shettima

However, the problem at the moment is that Tinubu is said to be insisting on Senator Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State.

A source told Vanguard that the sitting governors want the APC presidential candidate to compensate them for the role they played before the convention where they killed the move by National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to have a consensus presidential candidate in person of the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, from Yobe State.

According to a source, the stakeholders want the North-East, especially Borno State, to produce the vice president in 2023, against the backdrop of the fact that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan from Yobe State, North-East, did not get the APC presidential ticket.

The opinion of the leaders from the North-East is that the North West produced late former President Umaru Yar’Adua from Katsina; incumbent President Buhari also from Katsina and former Vice President Namadi Sambo from Kaduna State.

The source said: “The APC governors are pushing that the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, should pick his vice presidential candidate from among them because of the role they played to stop the action of the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who had already settled for the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, as the presidential candidate of the ruling party.

“There are strong feelings that though the governors want one of them, Tinubu wants Senator Kassim Shettima as his vice-presidential candidate.”

From the look of things, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, despite the fact that they are strong supporters of Tinubu, are out of the scheming process as it appears that the race for the running mate may have been reduced to just two men.

They are the governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, and his predecessor, Kashim Shettima.

Dilemma

The dilemma at the moment, it was gathered, is that while the governors prefer a sitting governor in person of Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Tinubu is said to have zeroed his search on former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, who currently represents Borno Central in the Senate.

A source told Vanguard that Tinubu prefers Shettima because he had been in the forefront of his presidential struggle.

It was gathered that he wants to settle for Shettima because he is politically on ground, a formidable force and well-

accepted in the North-East in order to split the votes from the zone with former Vice President and the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who hails from Adamawa State, also in the North-East.

From the permutation on the ground, if Tinubu settles for either Zulum or Shettima, it will be a Muslim-Muslim ticket and if this fails, the party may also look in the way of former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, from Bauchi, North-East zone, who is a Christian or Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, North-Central, also a Christian.

Recall that Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, had submitted the name of Alhaji Kabiru Ibrahim Masari as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

Masari, who hails from Masari, a town in Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State, served as the National Welfare Secretary of APC during Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure as national chairman of the party. The former Edo State governor chaired the APC from 2018 to 2020.

Tinubu’s running mate was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and after the death of Yar’Adua in 2010, Masari defected to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, the party under which Buhari contested but lost the 2011 election.

Ahead of 2015, CPC collapsed its structure into APC and Masari joined the ruling party.

The APC presidential candidate must substitute the name of Masari with another running on or before the July 15 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Pick your running mate from N/Central, North-East APC tells Tinubu

Meanwhile, a coalition of stakeholders of the APC North-East has demanded that the party leadership and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, pick his running mate from the North-Central, rather than the North-West.

This, according to the stakeholders, will enable the party to win the 2023 presidential elections and position it as a party known for fairness, equity and justice.

The decision was taken at the end of an emergency meeting of the North-East APC Stakeholders Coalition, which held yesterday in Abuja.

Some stakeholders from the North-West had recently clamoured for the position of running mate.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, National Coordinator of North-East APC Stakeholders Coalition, Alhaji Abba Aji Suleiman, faulted the demand of their North Western counterparts, describing it as “not only misplaced, but a gross display of insensitivity to the relevance of other regions in the scheme of things in the party.”

The coalition argued: “The North-West had been within the corridors of power in the last seven years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, and for such demand to be made, indeed, speaks volume of gross insensitivity.

“It is the considered view of stakeholders in the North-East that it would only be fair and just if the vice-presidential slot goes to the North-Central, given the numerous contributions of the region to the growth and development of the party.

“The stakeholders must come to terms with the fact that the North-Central hasn’t had a shot at the highest level of governance since the return of democracy in 1999. This time has presented that unique opportunity that must be utilized in the party’s best interest.

“The North-West APC stakeholders must also realize that the overarching objective of the party is to secure a landslide victory at the polls, and if that is, indeed, the case, would it make any sense if a region that has been represented adequately in the last ten years, would also demand the vice-presidential slot?”

Speaking further, Alhaji Suleiman stressed that “unless the stakeholders of our great party in the North West want us to believe that the North Central is not deserving of producing the vice-presidential candidate, hence the demand for the vice-presidential slot.

“The stakeholders of the APC in the North East wish to use this medium to call on the leadership of our great party to ensure justice and fairness by providing that the vice presidential slot is given to the North Central.’’

He added that the North Central had not had the opportunity to produce either the president or vice president, “despite the array of credible candidates in the region with excellent profiles and broad appeal across the country.’’

Vanguard News Nigeria

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Politics

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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I never told Tinubu to give Peter Obi a chance, seek treatment for his health – Ghana President

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Ghananian President, Nana Akufo-Addo has denied writing a letter to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, appealing to him to give the flagbearer of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi a chance in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.

He said he never told Tinubu to seek treatment for his health as contained in the purported letter making the rounds on social media.

Akufo-Addo who is well known as a good leader, advised people via his verified Twitter handle to discountenance the story, noting that the letter is completely false and mischievous.

According to him: “My attention has been drawn to a disturbing post making the rounds on social media, where it is alleged I have written to the 2023 presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to “give Peter Obi a chance and seek treatment for his health”.

“This is completely false and mischievous, with no iota of truth whatsoever in it.

“I have written no such letter to the APC leader, and it will not occur to me to do so. Ghana and Nigeria boast of decades of cordial, strong and brotherly relations, and I am not going to be the one to interfere in the internal affairs and politics of Nigeria.”

 

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Governance: Outside PDP, I’ll still perform — Wike boasts

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GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike on Tuesday boasted that his widely acknowledged outstanding stewardship in office reflects his personal capacity and passion to deliver enduring development to Rivers state people and nothing to do with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he belongs.

Wike during Tuesday’s commissioning of dualised Ogbunuabali – Eastern Bypass Road project in Port Harcourt, bragged, “Take me away today from PDP to another party, I will still perform. So, it is not because I’m in PDP that I’m performing.”

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

“It is because I have that passion for my people, have the commitment to serve my people. Take me to YPP, allow me become whatever I will become there, I will perform. Take me to any party, I will perform. So, it is not party that makes you to perform.”

While comtemporaries use economic hardship as excuse for failing in rendering purposeful leadership and service to their people, Wike said he found same situation a more rewarding leverage for sustain delivery of projects to Rivers people.

Chiding perceived misguided Rivers politicians for twisting his assertion on Monday that the state was fully under his grips, Wike explained that, “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 on the occasion lifted the ban on youths activities in Ogbunuabali and released N2 billion he promised the community, praising their cooperation while the road project lasted, after initially objecting to it.

Special guest on the occasion and former Governor of Sokoto State, Sen Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko who inaugurated the road project joined the growing list of top political leaders who continue to acknowledge the leadership capacity of Wike in service delivery to Rivers people.

VANGUARD

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