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Any party that picks a Northern candidate should forget about our votes — SMBLF declares

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Southern and Middle Belt Leaders 

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has called on political parties in Nigeria to give their presidential tickets to politicians from the South to produce the next President that will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

The leaders under the aegis of SMBLF said any political party which fails to do so will not have the support of the people of the Southern and Middle Belt of the country.

According to SMBLF, the structure and constitution of Nigeria is grossly deficient, which calls for restructuring and birth of a new constitution.

These were contained in a communique issued by the SMBLF after a meeting on Thursday in Abuja, under the Chairmanship of the Leader and Elder Statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.

In attendance at the meeting were delegations from the four regional socio-cultural organisations, Afenifere for the South West, Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the South East, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for the South-South and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) for the Middle Belt.

The delegations were led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, Prof George Obiozor, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President of the Middle Belt Forum and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE, National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.

Part of the communique reads, “The meeting extensively discussed various issues on the State of Affairs in the country, particularly, the security situation, Restructuring, preparations for the 2023 General Elections and Zoning.

“Arising therefrom, the meeting resolved as follows: That the extant Constitution and Structure of Nigeria are grossly flawed and lopsided, accordingly, Forum restates its demand for the fundamental restructuring of the country by enacting a new Constitution that would enthrone equity, fairness and justice. It must be One Nation, One System;

“Cites that the northern part of the country would have fully enjoyed the Office of the Presidency of the country for the full statutory period of 8 years by 2023, hence, the presidency should rotate to the South;

“Therefore, unequivocally and in full resolve, call on all political parties in the country to zone their presidential tickets to the south. Advices that any political party that does not zone its presidential ticket to the South should not expect support from the four regions;

“Notes that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of power;

“Condemns the continued senseless killings of innocent citizens across the country by terrorists and criminals, especially in the North West Zone; calls on the government and security agencies to redouble efforts to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians;

“Cautions the National Assembly to ONLY give consideration to Bills that would promote equity, justice, peace and national cohesion instead of issues that will exacerbate conflicts and crisis in the country.

“Urges Governors and members of the National Assembly of the four regions to commit themselves to the subject of Restructuring; Reaffirms commitment to the unity of Nigeria, situated on the tenets of Equity, Fairness, Justice, and the principle of federalism.”

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Politics

Oshiomhole distances self from tweet criticising Makinde as ‘overhyped gov’

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Adams Oshiomhole.

The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has dissociated himself from impersonating tweets tagging the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde as ‘overhyped’.

This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by his media aide, Victor Oshioke, who also listed some Twitter handles impersonating the former Edo State Governor.

According to Oshioke, the tweets and the handles were fake and did “not represent the opinions or sentiments of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”

The statement reads: “The attention of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has been drawn to a series of tweets from a Twitter account @A_Oshiomhole commenting on recent national issues. Specifically, there was a tweet that originated from this account on January 20, 2022, which seems to insinuate that H. E. Seyi Makinde, Executive Governor of Oyo State is an “Overhyped Social Media Governor.”

READ ALSO: I have no plan to return as APC chairman – Oshiomhole

“We wish to alert the general public that this Twitter account is fake as it is not operated by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole or any of his aides.

“Let it be on record that all tweets that have originated from this account or will originate from it in the future do not represent the opinions or sentiments of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

“Some of them are @adamsoshiomhole, @Oshiomhole, @adamsosh, @_adamsoshiomole, @adamsOshiomhol, @Adamsoshiomol4, @Adamsoshiomol5.”

The statement further disclosed that Oshiomhole’s official handle is @aoshiomhole “which will be verified soon.”

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2023 election: Only Atiku Will Stop Tinubu From Becoming Nigeria President, says Dokpesi

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High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, on Saturday, described the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as the only person with the capacity to stop Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu from becoming the president of Nigeria in 2023 Presidential election.

Dokpesi, who led delegation of Atiku Abubakar Campaign Caretaker Committee, stated this when it paid a visit to Valentine Ozigbo, the Anambra State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 6, 2021 election at his country home in Amesi, in Aguata Local government area of Anambra State.

Dokpesi said the visit was to inform Anambra people that Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President of Nigeria and 2019 PDP Presidential Candidate was once again aspiring to contest for the president in 2023.

He said “the Waziri( Atiku) is the right person that could match Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu” should he eventually emerge as the presidential candidate of APC”.

Read Also: Female Pharmacist cautions mothers against self medication of babies to protect vital organs

He said Atiku, if elected, would ensure that “South East’s interest would be highly protected”, as exemplified earlier by Waziri with the choice of His Excellency Peter Obi as his running mate”.

While making a rallying call to Igbo to mobilise massively and join the PDP, to boost the party’s membership ahead of the 2023 elections, Dokpesi said Anambra had been at the forefront of producing leaders of Nigeria and had shown commitment to PDP as a party over the years.

He said,” We have come to seek and solicit your support for the presidential aspiration of Waziri Atiku Abubakar and to assure you that Atiku Abubakar is in the best position to unify Nigeria and protect the interest of his in-laws (Ndigbo),” Chief Dokpesi said.

Dokpesi lamented that Anambra missed out on having “the services of a dogged fighter” by failing to elect Valentine Ozigbo during the 2021 gubernatorial election while declaring that the forces that worked against the PDP candidate “cannot stop his light from shining”.

Dokpesi expressed profound appreciation for the great hospitality extended to them and the reception, which he described as “warm and exceptional”, adding that Anambra was the 30th state visited by the group.

He said the concept of rotational presidency was meant to prevent the emergence of “Super Nigerians” by allowing people from every part of the country to lead. He also added that PDP had technically zoned the presidential ticket to the North by electing Atiku as its flag-bearer in 2019.

The Atiku team also had in the entourage Engr. Olajide Adeniji, who acts as the secretary to the team, Emeka Donald Nwachukwu and Chief Obunike Ohaegbu, Mr Olumide Opeewe, Hajia Hassana Dada Shuaibu, Mr Adai Edwin Adai, Mr Ado Datti, and Amb. Bin Abbas.

Speaking, Valentine Ozigbo thanked the Atiku campaign team for finding him worthy of their visit and expressed admiration for Dr Dokpesi’s commitment, noting that he was encouraged by his consistency for the PDP. Ozigbo also appreciated the media mogul’s support during the last Anambra State governorship election.

While commenting on his perception of Atiku Abubakar, Ozigbo said that he looked out for character and competence in a leader and considers the former vice president as “eminently qualified to vie for the presidency of Nigeria”.

He added that nobody would doubt Atiku’s capacity to lead, “but there is a need to note the sensitivity around the clamour for power shift”.

Touching on the issue of zoning and rotational presidency, Ozigbo described it as “sensitive” and called for “a high level of emotional intelligence” and “balance”.

He said by saying that credible South-East leaders would need to come together and agree on the direction after considering all factors.

Ozigbo was joined at the meeting by some PDP stalwarts, including his running mate in the November 2021 election, Dame Azuka Enemo (Owelle); two state lawmakers, Hon Onyebuchi Offor and Chuka Ezenwune; three former State Chairmen of PDP, Benji Udeozor, Ejike Oguebego and Pandola Okwuosa; former lawmakers at the Federal and State levels, including Hon CY Egwuatu, Hon KG Enemuo, and Hon Tim Egboka; some key stakeholders of the party including Chief Sunday Ezeobiora, Chief Tony Offiah, Chief Chike Ezechukwu, Chief Kenneth Ezeoke, Dr Richard Okechukwu, and several others.

Members of State EXCO of PDP were also present, including Sir Ejike Mgbemena, the Treasurer; Chief Okechukwu Okpala, the Financial Secretary; Mr Ogom Izukanne, the State Youth Leader; and Nze Sunny Umenne, the Chairman of PDP in Aguata LGA. Also, former State Youth Leader of APGA, Comrade Magnus Eziokwu, was present.

Several directors of the PDP Guber Campaign Council for 2021 and men and women Frontliners in the 21 LGAs were also present, including former State Woman Leader, Mrs Love Ebe, Dr Mariam Alike, Izuchukwu Oraelosi, Amaka Ofojebe, Hon Sylva Abasilim, Chinedu Ofomata, and several more.

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Ex-gov Goje’s loyalist and Reps member, Yaya Bauchi, others dump APC for PDP

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Member of the House of Representatives representing Gombe/Kwami/ Funakaye Federal Constituency, Yaya Bauchi and some other members of the the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Funekaye LGA of Gombe State have dumped the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Federal lawmaker who was believed to be one of the supporters of Sen Danjuma Goje in a resignation letter he sent to the party sometime in December 2021, a copy of which was leaked to Journalists over the weekend in Gombe cited the internal crisis bedeviling the party as a reason behind his resignation and dumping the party.

He also accused the party’s leadership of sidelining founding members including himself in the recent congresses lamenting that the party machineries were hijacked from them and that there was no resolution in sight.

According to the Federal lawmaker, “This decision of mine was arrived at after a careful observation of the numerous crises in the All Progressives Congress in our state without any resolution in sight” .

He stated further that, “All efforts made by well meaning members of the All Progressives Congress to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crises continue to meet brick walls as some individuals have hijacked all party machineries and have consistently refused some of us space to actively contribute to the development of the All Progressives Congress in Gombe state”.

In another development, some members of the APC in Funakaye local government over the weekend defected from the party to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A chieftain of the PDP in the state who was an ex member of the House of Representatives that represented the area from 2007 to 2011, Abubakar Abubakar who received the decampees told our correspondent that their defection was in view of their neglect by the APC after working towards its victory in the 2019 election.

READ ALSO: Gombe APC crisis deepens as Gov Yahaya, Sen Goje factions trade accusations

According to him, he was once an APC card carrying member but claimed that he deserted it due to lack of organization and non performance of the state Governor, Inuwa Yahaya.

He further alleged that the governor had not carried politicians along who were instrumental to his victory.

When contacted via WhatsApp and sms, Gombe State APC Chairman, Amangal simply replied, “Contact the State APC PRO for the reaction”.

In his reaction through a phone call and text message, the state Publicity Secretary, Mr Moses Kyari said that they (decampees) dumped the party for personal reasons.

According to him, “they acted thinking that they could not secure tickets in 2023, hence they opted for the PDP”.

By Yemi Kanji

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