The Labour Party and the Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation on Friday berated the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, for saying he will win the election next year.
Specifically, the Director-General of Asiwaju Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation, Adebayo Shittu, told Saturday PUNCH that the outcome of the 2023 general election would shock Atiku.
He said, “Talk is cheap. Tinubu will be waiting for him. Despite coming from Adamawa, Atiku’s people will prefer to vote for Tinubu.
“When people ask me why I think so, I tell them the evidence is there for all to see. What has Atiku done for his people in Adamawa since he became a politician?
“We in Tinubu’s camp have no fear and we will lose no sleep over the threat of Atiku. Our number one priority in the North-East is to beat him in his constituency in Adamawa. Our victory in 2023 will just be like the MKO Abiola’s election.”
Also, Valentine Obienyem, Peter Obi’s spokesperson, said Obi would win next year’s election.
“Things are not working well in Nigeria today, we have acute hunger in the land. Is it social media generated? We have many things going wrong in Nigeria, not because of social media.
“If it is not because of social media, you cannot say that it’s only those in social media that feel the impact. So, whether you’re in the social media, villages and wherever you are in Nigeria today, we are having the impact of hard times.
“Whether they’re in social media or not does not really affect the vote. I can tell you that 80 per cent of Nigerians believe that it is Peter Obi that will solve all these problems. So, his followership is not social media generated, but a product of the dysfunction that we have in the society today. Followers of Obi go beyond social media,” he added.
Earlier, Atiku had said although he is friends with the All Progressives Congress standard bearer, Bola Tinubu, he is determined to defeat him in next February’s election.
Atiku said these during an interview with Arise Television which aired on Friday.
“Of course, we are still friends but that doesn’t mean we will not have political differences. We have been having political differences since we became friends,” he stated.
When asked if he was determined to defeat Tinubu despite their relationship, the former Vice-President said, “Of course.”
He, however, disagreed with Tinubu for picking a Muslim as his running mate, adding that this would be a threat to Nigeria’s unity.
“I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe it is right for a country like Nigeria that is multi-ethnic, multi-religious and there should be balancing of interest,” Atiku stated.
He recalled that while he was running for President in 2007, Tinubu wanted to be his running mate but he dismissed the idea because they were both Muslims.
The former vice-president claimed that this made Tinubu to abandon him for the candidate of the PDP, Umaru Yar’Adua, who won the election.
“Remember I came out of the PDP on the issue of zoning and together with him we formed ACN and I was given a ticket in Lagos and he insisted on being my running mate and I said no, I am not going to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket. So he switched his support to the late Umaru Yar’adua. That was the departing point,” Atiku stated.
He also dismissed the argument that Tinubu’s choice of Kashim Shettima – who is also from the North-East like Atiku – could give him (Tinubu) an advantage.
Atiku noted that of the six states in the North-East, only Borno and Yobe are dominated by the Kanuri tribe of which Shettima is a part of.
“Certainly my prospects are much higher. If you know the composition of the North-East, you have Borno and Yobe. These are essentially two Kanuri states and then you have the other states which are essentially Hausa/Fulani. So, even if people are going to vote on that basis, I think I have a more favourable position from the North-East,” he stated.
The former vice-president also dismissed the chances of his former running mate, Peter Obi, who is now the candidate of the Labour Party.
Atiku argued that Obi’s popularity was mainly on social media and about 90 per cent of northerners are not on social media. He added that Obi’s candidacy would not split the votes of the PDP because he had no structure or politician to push his candidacy.
“I really don’t expect the Labour Party to take many votes from the PDP as people are speculating. They have no structure at all levels, with no governor, and lawmaker. It will take a miracle for the Labour Party with no structure at the grassroots to win the election.
“They had said through social media they have one million votes in Osun State but how many votes do they have in real life? In the northern part of the country, about 90 per cent of people don’t have access to social media. Most of the electorate are not on social media,” he said.
Atiku added that Obi never informed him of his intention to leave the PDP, adding that he was only informed a few days after.
When contacted for comment, the Director of Media of Tinubu’s Campaign train, Bayo Onanuga, said, “They are friends and Tinubu wants to reply to him (Atiku) personally. We’ll issue a statement tomorrow (Saturday) when Asiwaju replies him personally.”
But the LP said Atiku was restless over Obi’s growing popularity.
It said Atiku’s remark against Obi showed that the ex-Anambra State governor posed a threat to the PDP candidate’s presidential ambition.
The party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Arabambi Abayomi, said on Friday that the fact that Obi was being constantly attacked showed that he had become a threat to the APC and the PDP.
“All that the presidential candidate of the PDP and its candidate talk about now are Obi and the Labour Party because Nigeria’s structure has changed for the Labour Party.
“I say so because, for the first time in history, we have the NLC and the TUC declaring that workers are members of the Labour Party. Our popularity has sent shivers down their spine; they are not only jittery; they are also confused,” he said.
Meanwhile, Atiku has dismissed claims by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State that the PDP committee set up to select his running mate, picked Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Atiku, who said he was ready to make the recommendations public, said the committee listed three names, including Wike.
He, however, said efforts were on to address disagreements in the party.
On the claim that the PDP had become a northern party since all top leadership positions were being held by northerners, Atiku said the Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, who is from the North-Central, will step aside once the PDP wins the Presidential election.
When asked if his former principal, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, would support him, Atiku said he expected Obasanjo to support him because he was the only one that could carry on his legacy.
He disagreed with the 17 security agencies in the country being headed by people from the same section of the country.
Atiku also said there was an urgent need to remove petrol subsidy. He added that when he and Obasanjo were in government, there was a plan to remove subsidy but this was jettisoned by successive governments.
“It is inevitable (subsidy removal) but has to happen. It has to be accomplished through negotiations with the organised labour and other sectors of the economy. That policy should resume,” he said.
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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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