Leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have expressed worry that the prospect of presenting a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2023 has become a thorn in the flesh of the party, Vanguard has learned.
This is even as former Special Adviser to Kaduna State governor on Islamic Matters and Hajj, Sheikh Haliru Maraya, yesterday, noted that those promoting the idea of a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian presidential ticket do not wish the country well.
It came on a day the Tinubu Support Organization, TSO, consulted with critical stakeholders of the APC in the North-West and endorsed Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna State as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s running mate.
A source privy to meetings on the choice of Tinubu’s running mate, said a Muslim-Muslim ticket remained a thorny issue in APC, disclosing that members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF, are pushing hard for one of their own to emerge as running mate to Tinubu.
The source said: “As regards the governors insisting on Tinubu picking one of them, it is give and take, given the role of the Progressive Governors’ Forum. It is not impossible that one of the governors will get it.
“The choice of the running mate is not entirely the decision of the candidate. He will have his preferences and then, look at some of the factors. So, if the governors say they want it and he knows the role of the governors, he might have to listen to them. Wisdom dictates that so many tendencies have to be carried along.
“Don’t forget that the governors wanted one of them to be the presidential candidate but it was their influence that produced the candidate.”
On the controversy trailing the Muslim-Muslim ticket, the source said it remains a herculean task before the party.
“A Muslim-Muslim ticket is a major issue. The northerners will not allow a northern Christian to be the running mate because that will be like scheming them out of power.
“They will not give it to a northern Christian, they will insist on a northern Muslim. Once you pick a northern Christian, forget it, they are no longer with you and that is the way the northerners do their thing.
“If Tinubu chooses a Northern Christian, he will lose the support of the Northern Muslims and that will be a major setback. Whoever emerges is someone that is acceptable across board but it is apparent that it will be a Muslim-Muslim ticket and even at that, it has to be a strong person,” the source said.
Promoters of Muslim-Muslim ticket don’t wish Nigeria well —Sheikh
Similarly, a Kaduna-based cleric, Sheikh Maraya, faulted those promoting a Muslim-Muslim ticket, describing it as a disheartening commentary.
The Islamic scholar in a statement, entitled ‘Islamic View On Same-faith Presidential Ticket in Today’s Nigeria, said: “I wonder what the country would be should the various agitations in the land assume a religious dimension.
“No religion has the monopoly of qualified people who have the capacity to serve as running mates to presidential candidates if merit should be the parameter for the nomination of running mates.”
The statement read: “I don’t think there is a Muslim who will support a Christian-Christian presidential ticket. Undoubtedly, the Muslims would cry out for the perpetration of injustice against them.”
“Nigeria is a multi-religious country of more than 200 million people who are Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence, one can say that the country is owned by more than 200million citizens who are of diverse religious background. In order to be just to all the citizens of the country, and also to balance the apparent religious sentiments prevalent in the country, Nigeria’s politicians and its major political parties have avoided fielding same-faith presidential candidates since the present political dispensation from 1999.
“In any event, the combination of people of different religious background, on a presidential ticket, appears to give vent to the constitutional requirement that the composition of the Federal Government and its agencies should reflect the federal character of the country, and the need to promote national unity, thereby ensuring that there is no predominance of sectional groups in the government, as enshrined in Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
“The combination of a Muslim and non-Muslim, in a presidential ticket, in Nigeria of today, also gives vent to the spirit of justice, fairness and equity as enshrined in the religion of Islam. Remember, the country is for the Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The religion of Islam orders the sincere administration of justice, on all, regardless of any distinction, be it religious, ethnic, geographical, tribal, inter alia.
The religion enjoins its adherents to always stand for justice as a matter of principle, whether for Muslims or non-Muslims, even if justice should side against them.
“I don’t think there is a Muslim who will support a Christian-Christian presidential ticket. Undoubtedly, the Muslims would cry out for the perpetration of injustice against them. Hence, it’s wrong for a Muslim to support a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as it is at variance with the spirit of justice which the religion of Islam promotes and defends at all times.”
Besides, he said: “Those promoting the idea of a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian presidential ticket, in today’s Nigeria, do not wish the country well especially now that it is divided along religious fault lines. I wonder what the country would be should the various agitations in the land assume a religious dimension. No religion has the monopoly of qualified people who have the capacity to serve as running mates to presidential candidates if merit should be the parameter for the nomination of running mates.
Undoubtedly, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in Nigeria of today, are endowed with capable and qualified persons for the offices of the President and Vice-President alike. Consequently, justice, fairness and equity, as enjoined by the religion of Islam, demand that a Muslim presidential candidate should nominate a non-Muslim as their running mate, and a non-Muslim presidential candidate should nominate a Muslim as their running mate, in Nigeria of today, for the sake of the promotion of national unity and cohesion.
“To balance the geographical and ethnic sentiments in the country, our politicians and major political parties have never contemplated fielding candidates of the same geographical and ethnic leanings. In other words, they have never fielded a north-north or a south-south presidential ticket. It is common sense and the appreciation of Nigeria’s religious diversity to abhor and discourage a same-faith presidential ticket. The unity of our beloved country, Nigeria, should be the priority of all Nigerians, not winning elections at all costs. It is a very disheartening commentary on our politics that some of our politicians are thinking of strategy and stratagem to win elections, even if they lose the country in the end.
There should be no desperation to use sophistry to win an election and lose the only country we have. Presently, the level of distrust and suspicion between the Muslims and non-Muslims, in Nigeria, has become very high as to make it implausible, unrealistic and unwise for any political party and presidential candidate to field a same-faith presidential joint ticket.”
TSO wants El-Rufai as running mate
Also yesterday, the Director-General of Tinubu Support Organization, Mr Aminu Suleiman, told journalists that the choice of running mate is a critical success factor for the victory of Tinubu.
Suleiman said: “APC has many outstanding individuals among its leaders that can serve as Tinubu’s running mate, but the North-West as the single largest voting bloc in Nigeria should be allowed to produce the next Vice-President.
“After due consultation with critical stakeholders especially in the North-West, it is of the fact that El-Rufai is Asiwaju’s best choice for Vice President.
“Tinubu Support Organisation is working tirelessly for the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the next President of Nigeria and believes that the choice of running mate is a critical success factor for the victory of Asiwaju.
“We are glad that the APC has many outstanding individuals among its leaders. But having assessed all the options, it is the view of TSO that the APC’s candidate for VP should be chosen from the North-West, the single largest voting bloc in Nigeria.
“It is our view that the person that can best compliment Asiwaju as Vice President is Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and we recommend that he should be chosen as the running mate.
“El-Rufai is a very experienced person. He has held office at the federal level and at the state level, and he has done well in every office. He has always stood for progressive policies. He is not afraid of difficult decisions. This is a man that is running a state government with appointees from all over Nigeria.”
2023: Fresh trouble for APC as group files perjury case against Tinubu
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday okayed a fresh suit seeking to compel the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba, to initiate a perjury case against the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1058/2022, was brought before the court by the Incorporated Trustees of Center for Reform and Public Advocacy, a civil society organization.
Cited as Respondents in the suit are the IGP and the Nigerian Police Force, NPF.
Specifically, the applicant is praying the court for “an order of mandamus, compelling the Respondents to comply with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in respect of alleged crime laid out in complaint of the Applicant encapsulated in the letter of June 16, 2022, received by the Respondents on the same date and titled: Demand for Criminal Prosecution of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu under Sections 191,192 and 463 of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 Consequent upon the Findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee, 1999”.
The group, through its lawyer, Mr. Mike Nwankwo, told the court that the suit was necessitated by the IGP’s refusal to take action on its petition against APC’s presidential candidate over an offence it said was established by report of an investigation conducted by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999. The group told the court that it earlier forwarded a petition to Police authorities, demanding further action on the said investigative report.
It maintained that by virtue of Sections 214 and 215, of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as Section 4 of the Nigerian Police Act, 2020, the Police, have the statutory responsibility to “prevent, detect and investigate criminal allegations whether brought to their notice by individuals, person or persons, corporate bodies, institutions etc”.
It further claimed that by Section 31 of the Nigerian Police Act, the Respondents, are duty bound to investigate alleged crime brought to them and report their findings to the Attorney General of the Federation or of a state, as the case may be, for legal advice.
The applicant added that by Section 32(1) of the Police Act, “a suspect or Defendant alleged or charged with committing offence established by an Act of the National Assembly or under any other laws shall be arrested, investigated and tried or dealt with according to the provisions of this Act, except otherwise provided under this Act”.
It contended that it has the legal competence to invoke the jurisdiction of the court to compel the Respondents to discharge their legal, constitutional and public duties in line with the law.
More so, the Applicant, decried that its two letters dated June 16 and 27, which it forwardes to the Respondents, wherein it demanded the prosecution of the APC candidate over alleged perjury, have until now been ignored.
It said the Respondents have also “not notified the Applicant of any action taken on the said letter”.
The Applicant told the court that following a letter by late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, in 1999, the Lagos State House of Assembly had set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged act of perjury wherein the Committee had in its report on page 13 stated that, “However, on question of providing false information on oath (sections 191 and 197) we are satisfied that the statement of the governor’s educational qualification which he has admitted were incorrect were not intended…”
The applicant in its petition to the IGP claimed that APC’s presidential candidate lied on oath in the form CF 001 he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Lagos State in 1999.
Applicant further claimed that Tinubu “forged all the educational certificates he listed in his INEC Form CF 001 which he admitted he did not posses in annexure C”.
“For purpose of clarity, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the said INEC Form deposed on oath that he attended Government College, Ibadan and University of Chicago, USA when in actual fact he did not.
“On the strength of the above, we demand that you initiate the criminal proceedings of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu consequent upon the express findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly as captured above”, it further stated.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the suit.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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SANWO-OLU PRESENTS SCORECARD AT RE-ELECTION RALLY
…APC Flags Off Governorship Campaign In Lagos
A mammoth crowd of Lagos State residents, on Saturday, converged on Onikan – a cultured neighbourhood in the heart of Lagos Island – for an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally.
Clad in branded yellow shirts and Ankara brocade, the crowd dominated the city centre with pockets of political carnival. Thousands of ordinary citizens and party stalwarts trooped to Mobolaji Johnson Pavilion, the venue of the inaugural rally flagging off the party’s governorship campaign in Lagos.
The 10,000-capacity stadium brimmed with APC supporters. They carried banners and chanted slogans to receive the party chieftains and members of the Governorship Campaign Council.
APC standard bearer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, made a grand entry into the venue, animating the crowd, which chorused: “Greater Lagos Rising” – the Governor’s re-election campaign slogan.
Reacting to the massive turnout, Sanwo-Olu said the vast attendance further confirmed the strength of APC as the only party of choice in Lagos.
The Governor mounted the rostrum to seek the mandate of Lagosians for another term in office, saying the “Greater Lagos” he promised at the inception of his government could now be visualised, given the achievements recorded during his first term.
Sanwo-Olu said the last three and half years had been challenging for his administration, pointing out that his Government traversed difficult terrains to deliver on its development objectives.
He said: “It has been an interesting and challenging journey for us in the last three and half years. Our administration has traversed difficult terrains and witnessed major disruption occasioned by global pandemic. Lagos had its fair share in the attendant socio-economic meltdown, but we provided strong leadership that protected the people and made the State come out better and stronger.
“Now, we can say ‘Greater Lagos Rising’ because our State is rising on all of our modest achievements through the THEMES agenda. In Transportation and Traffic Management, Lagosians are now living with the reality of the delivery of two intracity Rail Mass Transit projects that are on the verge of completion. These projects will be handed over in the coming weeks.
“We have also scaled up infrastructure in public transportation services by improving BRT services, injecting new taxi scheme and energizing traffic management agency for efficiency. People have seen the construction and commission of Lekki Deep Seaport, and massive road construction projects in the Eti Osa and Epe corridors. We have delivered and are still constructing more new roads in Ikorodu, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Alimosho, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Somolu and other areas.”
Sanwo-Olu said activities of his administration, since inception, had been about purposeful governance. He added that his Government had delivered new hospitals in Badagry, Epe, and Eti-Osa, pointing out that construction of new hospitals were currently being undertaken in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Island.
In the environment, the Governor said the State was currently constructing 210 new drainage channels to address the issue of flooding in vulnerable communities. He said his Government had also raised the level of infrastructure in emergency response agencies, mentioning the recently completed four fire stations, recruitment of new fire fighters and provision of fire fighting equipment.
The Governor said: “Lagosians can testify to our feats in education. Over 1,000 new classrooms have been added to public schools and we completed over 1,097 projects in schools. We trained our teachers in modern teaching techniques through Eko EXCEL and handed over tablets to them for teaching. Overall performance of Lagos students in WAEC has improved from 42 per cent to over 83 per cent.”
Sanwo-Olu said there had been laudable progress recorded across his Government’s development blueprint, noting that the State had become a model for good governance and development.
The Governor thanked residents for standing by his administration, pledging that he would not take their support for granted.
He urged party members to take back the Government’s achievements back to their communities and engage in door-to-door campaign to ensure APC candidates are elected in the general elections.
Director General of Lagos APC Campaign Council, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, said the party would have no problem taking its campaign to the electorate, given the “exceptional” performance of the party’s governorship candidate.
Solomon said the second coming of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat would bring the State to new heights of development and prosperity.
Leader of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi, said: “The combination of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are the best a democratic society can get in delivering results of good governance. Anyone who wants the development of Lagos to continue, Sanwo-Olu must be allowed to continue the good work he started.”
Sanwo-Olu, assisted by APC chairman, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, presented flags to party candidates running for legislative seats in the House of Assembly and National Assembly.
Osun Tribunal Admits Adeleke’s Certificates as Exhibits
— As Oyetola, APC Close Case
The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the State.
This is just as the Petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving respondents to state their defence.
The admission of the documents followed the appearance of INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.
It will be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the Commission had submitted blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, and to threaten to invoke Coercive Power if it fails to do so.
At the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday, Counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce the Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.
Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.
After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”
Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.
Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.
Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they have objection to the tendering of the said documents, but they would reserve their objections till final address stage.
Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages which are Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial, saying the CTC earlier produced has not been tendered before the court.
Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, “We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it”.
Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.
It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case”.
When the tribunal asked INEC to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said, it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.
The panel then asked the counsel to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel the outcome of the meeting.
Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.
Earlier, Oyetola’s counsel had informed the panel that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had reverted the judgement of a Federal High Court which disqualified Oyetola from contesting the election.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the sitting excited the members of the APC who witnessed the hearing, as jubilations erupted after the sitting of the panel. They chanted songs to eulogise Oyetola and the APC.
TINUBU WON’T SUCCUMB TO ARISE NEWS BLACKMAIL
We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.
We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.
The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.
The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.
Director, Media & Publicity
APC Presidential Campaign Council
December 3, 2022
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