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Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has denied the allegation of being behind the shooting which occurred during Friday’s rally for the Ekiti All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

This is contained in a statement issued in Akure on Saturday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Segun Ajiboye.

The statement said the attention of the governor was drawn to a “ malicious’’ report by the campaign organisation of the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ekiti which alleged that Akeredolu was behind the shooting.

It also said: “The statement, signed by one Lere Olayinka on behalf of the Olusola Eleka Campaign Organisation alleged that the thug that fired the shot that injured about four persons in the rally, including an APC chieftain, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, was brought to Ekiti State by Governor Akeredolu.

“We wish to categorically state that though there was shooting in Ado-Ekiti by a thug today, Governor Akeredolu knew nothing about the identity of the suspect.

“Governor Akeredolu was in Ekiti State to show support for the APC and its candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi and none of the governor’s security detail fired a single shot throughout the rally in Ekiti.’’

The statement further said that “Once again, we condemn the incident that occurred in Ado Ekiti today and sympathise with the victims and their family. We also sympathise with the APC family in Ekiti and the nation in general.

“Governor Akeredolu is a man of peace who is known to have devoted unrelenting efforts at sustaining peace in his state. We are, however, relieved with the news of the arrest of the perpetrator by the police.’’

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APC Planning To Disown President Buhari, Will Change Name Before 2023 —- PDP Alleges

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has claimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is plotting to disown President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2023 elections.

The PDP made this allegation in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday.

According to him, the ruling party had begun campaigns for the 2023 general election one year into Buhari’s tenure.

PDP also claimed APC might change their name before the next poll.

“The PDP asserts that there are underground moves by APC leaders to disown the Buhari administration, given its failures; the conversation about a possible change of their party’s name as well as the plot to destabilize the PDP, are signs of desperation to hold on to power despite APC’s failures and explicit rejection by Nigerians.

“Our party and indeed discerning Nigerians have seen through the rambling of the APC, which is merely raising dust to foul the political firmament in a bid to cover for its lack of internal cohesion, failure in governance and reneging on the promises they made to Nigerians in other to have access to power,” the statement read in part.

 

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BIG STORY

2023:PDP Inaugurates 6-Member Committee To Woo APC Governors, Lawmakers

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has appointed a six-member committee to woo governors and lawmakers from the All Progressives Congress into its fold, Sunday PUNCH is reporting.

It was gathered that the PDP, in reaction to the defection of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to the APC, set up the National Reconciliation Committee, which was saddled with the responsibility of persuading members of the APC to join the opposition.

The committee, which is headed by a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also includes former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; former Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe); and former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande.

National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan, had in a tweet via the official Twitter account of the PDP, on Monday evening, announced the composition of the Saraki-led committee.

However, sources within the party informed our correspondent that the national leadership of the party had directed Saraki and members of his committee to scout for members within the ruling party.

One of the sources, who is a member of the National Working Committee of the party, told Sunday PUNCH that the PDP was planning to “harvest some governors” and lawmakers from the APC, adding that there were members of the ruling party who had contacted the PDP for possible defection. He stated that the APC was aware of the plan but that it had quickly asked Umahi to defect from the PDP to send a signal that the former ruling party was no longer attractive.

The source said, “We knew their game. They knew that their members, including governors, members of the National Assembly, and lawmakers at the state level, were contemplating joining us. That’s why they rushed to Umahi, asking him to defect quickly.

“They promised him that they would hand over the state (APC) chapter. That was why the party quickly dissolved the Ebonyi State chapter and picked a serving commissioner as acting chairman.”

The PDP NWC, at its meeting on Monday evening, was said to have also deliberated on the strategy aimed at repositioning the party ahead of the 2023 elections.

It was gathered that the six-party members saddled with the responsibility of poaching from the APC were also asked to approach “those who had stopped participating in political party affairs in the country or their respective states but are still respected for their views.”

When contacted, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, described the assignments handed over to the Saraki-led committee as “multi-dimensional.”

He said, “The committee is free to add any other job to its assignment. We want it to reconcile people at all levels. They are also free to talk to those who want to either return to the PDP or even defect to our party.

“I want to tell you that we have large numbers of lawmakers, both at the national and state levels, who are willing to join us. Also, there are some governors who are already talking to us. We just don’t like making noise about what we are doing. I wonder how this information also got to you. But in any case, we are not sleeping.

“If we had won elections in states such as Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara from the opposition without making a noise, I can assure you that we are going to do more positive things that will surprise many.”

In a related development, a former presidential aide, Dr Umar Ardo, called on the incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to declare the seat of Senator Elisha Abbo vacant, following the senator’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Abbo, who claimed that he left the PDP for the APC because of his 2023 governorship ambition in Adamawa State, had also accused the state governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, of not running the party well.

But Ardo, in a message titled ‘Don’t imperil our democracy’ and sent to one of our correspondents, said Lawan owed Nigerians the right to declare the seat of the senator vacant.

He said, “Given the expressed provision of Section 68(1)(g)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and the clear interpretation of this provision by the Supreme Court, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, owes the Nigerian state the inalienable duty to declare Senator Elisa Abbos’s seat vacant, in deference to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as a consequence of the latter’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Meanwhile, the PDP has paid Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State a visit at the Government House, Enugu to probably stop him from an alleged plan to defect to the APC.

It was gathered that the Friday visit, led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and ex-Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, was to reassure Ugwuanyi that the party remained committed to being fair to all sections of the country and individual members in their determination to seek political positions through its platform.

 

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Obaseki, Shaibu Sworn-In For Second Term

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Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, have been sworn in for a second term in office.

The Oath of Office was administered around 12 noon by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Esther Edigin.

In attendance at the inauguration which took place on Thursday at the Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, were governors of the Peoples Democratic Party including Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, and Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State.

PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, was also present at the event with some other party officials while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was represented by a government official.

Obaseki had defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress after he was denied the ruling party’s ticket in the primary election due to intra-party wranglings.

He later defeated the APC candidate in the September 19, 2020 governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to be re-elected governor of the state.

Speaking at the inauguration, Obaseki promised to consolidate on his first-term achievements.

He said, “We will also rapidly develop our critical energy, housing, digital and road Infrastructure, which provides a framework to drive inclusive growth as well as build the economy and drive industrialization, trade, and investment, to solidify our state’s status as the choice investment destination in the country.

“We will preserve the environment and public utilities, to make our state more functional and adapt to the challenges of climate change and rural-urban migration. Our major drive will be the clean and green Edo initiative and sustaining our campaign to plant trees and restore the forest.”

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