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Lagos PDP Woos Gov Ambode

Peter Okunoren

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The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday said it would welcome Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode into its fold if he decides to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Taofeek Gani, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Gani spoke following reports that Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu, a former Commissioner for Training and Establishments in the state, had been adopted by the APC leaders to succeed Ambode.

The APC chairman in Lagos State, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, had told newsmen on Wednesday that the governorship ticket of the party was open to all aspirants.

NAN reports that the former Commissioner for Works, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, is another aspirant seeking the job of Ambode with Sanwo-Olu.

NAN also reports that all the aspirants have since obtained and submitted their nomination forms.

The PDP spokesman said that the party would be glad to receive Ambode into its fold if he decided to leave APC for whatever reason.

Gani said: “Any forward-looking party would not have rejected its main opponent joining it, especially a big personality like Ambode.

“We are ready to welcome him (Ambode) to our party if he decides to join for any reason. We are very ready to accept him if he decides to join us.

“You see PDP is a party for all, so far value will be added. We cannot turn down our opponents, especially a big personality like Ambode.

“Therefore, he is welcome. His joining us will definitely add value and boost our chances to win the state.”

He said the party would accord him all the rights and privileges with the existing members to realise his political ambitions.

NAN reports Chief Deji Doherty and Mr Jimi Agbaje are among those who have picked the PDP nomination forms for the governorship ticket. (NAN)

BIG STORY

I’m Ready For APC Primaries, Not Stepping Down For Anyone —- Jide Sanwo-Olu

Peter Okunoren

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Lagos governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu, has reacted to reports that he has withdrawn from the race.

The former commissioner has the backing of Mandate Movement, a group loyal to APC national leader, Bola Tinubu.

He had also been endorsed by the 57 chairmen of local government and council development areas, top party chieftains, PSP operators, and most recently all 337 ward chairmen in the state.

In a statement on Monday, by Comrade Sesan Daini, Director of Media, Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organisation (BOSCO), said the claim that the aspirant won’t contest in Saturday’s primaries was false.

“We hereby state unequivocally that the purported press statement did not emanate from our Principal, Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu, rather it is the handiwork of jittery members of the opposition to malign our Principal and mislead members of the public.

“For the umpteenth time, Mr. Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu has not and will not withdraw from this race and he is ready for the party primaries slated for Saturday, 29th of September, 2018.

“BOSCO is not oblivious of the fact that these cheap attempts to mislead and hoodwink members of our party and the general public will be made by these disgruntled elements but we will continue to repeal their falsehood with facts.

“Our Principal remains committed to his campaign while still consulting with party leaders and members and would not be distracted by cheap blackmails like this.

“We want to use this opportunity to urge our teeming party faithful to troop out en masse on Saturday, 29th September of 2018 to cast their votes for Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu to be the Flagbearer of our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC), in the forthcoming general elections in 2019.”

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Osun: PDP To Strike Deal With Omisore, Others

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There were indications in Abuja on Sunday that the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party might strike a deal with a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, in a bid to win the state rerun governorship election slated for Thursday, investigations by our correspondent have revealed.

Omisore is the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the election in which the candidate of the PDP, Senator Ademola Adeleke, came first with 254, 698 votes while the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, came second with 254,345 votes.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has, however, said there would be rerun in some polling units where elections were cancelled.

The units, which were listed by the commission, are two in Orolu Local Government Area, one in Ife South Local Government Area, one in Ife North Local Government Area and one in Osogbo Local Government Area.

It was gathered that the PDP had already initiated discussions with Omisore towards winning the two units in his stronghold of Ife.

Apart from Omisore, the PDP was said to be planning to meet with candidates of other political parties that had what a source described as a “worthy outing” during the election on Saturday.

Such candidates, it was gathered, are African Democratic Congress’ Fatai Akinbade and Action Democratic Party’s Alhaji Moshood Adeoti.

Already, it was gathered that a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, had spoken with Omisore on the need for the latter to support the PDP candidate in the rerun.

Fani-Kayode, who is also from Ile Ife like the former deputy governor, confirmed that he had spoken with both Omisore and Adeleke on the issue.

The former minister told our correspondent that there was a need for the parties to come together and “bury the ruling party in the state on Thursday.”

He said, “Yes, it is true that I have spoken with my brother, Senator Omisore, and our (PDP) candidate, Senator Adeleke, on the issue.

“I can tell you confidently that both of them are receptive to the idea and I can tell you that we are going to meet together to discuss working relationship before Thursday.

“We are not talking about any condition. We are doing all these for the love of our party and our people. We need to liberate the state from the vultures and invaders of our commonwealth. By the grace of God, we shall do it.”

It was gathered that a former Governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, would be involved in a discussion with Akinbade.

Oyinlola, it was learnt, would prevail on Akinbade, who served as the secretary to the state government while the former military administrator was the governor of the state, to support the deal.

Besides that, it was also learnt that the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, would personally speak with Akinbade, who was also a former state chairman of the PDP while Secondus was also chairman of the former ruling party in Rivers State.

Top sources in the PDP confided in our correspondent that the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who also heads the party’s 85-member governorship campaign council in the state, would be involved in the negotiations.

It was generally believed that Saraki’s efforts at bringing the runner-up in the party’s governorship primary in the state, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, with Adeleke, helped the party on Saturday.

The source said, “We will involve Saraki in our meetings with these men. We cannot afford to lose the election in the state.

“Then, don’t forget that we have a working relationship with all the opposition political parties under the umbrella called Coalition of United Political Parties. We will invoke the spirit behind that.”

Secondus, who also spoke with our correspondent on the matter, appealed to the aspirants to cooperate with the PDP to “rescue the nation, starting from Osun State, from the grip of a party that is not sensitive to the plight of the citizens.”

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Saraki Reacts, Blasts INEC For Declaring Osun Election Inconclusive

Peter Okunoren

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President of the Senate and Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Council on Osun State Gubernatorial Election, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has faulted the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the election results were inconclusive.

Saraki, in a statement personally signed, expressed dismay over the decision by INEC to declare as “inconclusive” an election in which a candidate won the highest number of votes and fulfilled the condition for the geographical spread.

“In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled. The decision of INEC to cancel the election in those areas after voting had taken place means INEC had already excluded the votes in these areas from the election process and therefore those units should have no place in the overall results. My opinion would have been different if the election in the affected units did not take place at all, maybe as a result of malfunctioning of the card reader machine or unavailability of the electoral materials. Since the voting took place and was cancelled, only the courts could reverse the initial decision by INEC to cancel the votes in these areas.

“That is why I call on our party and its candidate to seek a further legal interpretation on this decision by the electoral body. One cannot but wonder whether if the places were reversed and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one leading in the election; the INEC will take the same decision it has taken now.

“At this point, it is necessary to also call on INEC to display courage, boldness, independence, neutrality and patriotism so as to send signals to the world at large that Nigerian electoral system has come of age and that our democracy has matured. The electoral body needs to reassure all and sundry that the 2019 election and other elections will be free of manipulations and undue interference.

“The INEC should note that the Osun gubernatorial election is not only about that South-western state. It is about our country and the entire world is watching. Our national interest is at stake. The integrity of our electoral system is at stake. The reputation of the electoral body is at stake. The future of our democracy is on the line. The way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from our political process. It should, therefore, ensure that the wishes of the Osun State electorate eventually prevail.

“I praise the dedication and hard work of PDP supporters and the candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke. They have remained steadfast, resilient, focused and determined.

“Let me also commend all the other contestants in yesterday’s election for their gallant efforts because it is clear they are all working for the same objective from different perspectives and platforms to ensure that the era of misgovernance, pain, injustice and insensitivity to the plight of the common people comes to an end. It is our hope that they will all co-operate with Senator Adeleke to ensure that Osun State witnesses a development-oriented era.

“Let me remind our party supporters and the good people of Osun State that this INEC decision constitutes only a delay of the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP in Osun Gubernatorial election, as our triumph will come either through the judiciary or a further balloting.

“I thank PDP supporters and the general public in Osun State and note that we got to this point after many months of hard work, determination and focus. We should not despair and not lose our focus and determination to ensure that the final results reflect the will of the Osun people.

“Our party is ahead, despite the irregularities. Our people must remain resilient to see this through to the finish. Now is the time to re-strategize, reach out to all the other candidates and their supporters, build on our lead, and bring this election home.

“Our supporters and the entire people of Osun State should remain calm and maintain peace as we move forward to see the successful completion of the electoral process.

“Once again, I thank all supporters of the PDP and the people of Osun State who stayed up all night, both physically and on social media to monitor the numbers and protect our votes. We remain undeterred, and we all remain determined to ensure that Senator Ademola Adeleke becomes the next Governor of Osun State,” Saraki stated.

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