A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said on Thursday in Lagos that the party would send the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, into retirement on Saturday for the good of Nigeria.
Tinubu said this in a statement made available by his Media Officer, Tunde Rahman.
He said: “This election is more than a contest between two men, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, for that one exalted chair.
“Look, I have made no attempts to hide my friendship with Atiku. We are friends before this election and hopefully we will be friends after Feb. 16 when he goes into retirement.
“For the good of Nigeria and even the good of Atiku himself, we will do well to send him into retirement on Saturday.
“Perhaps, we should also send Obi into retirement along with his boss come Feb. 16. Perhaps together they might manage to discover the place where they might learn compassion for the common man.”
Tinubu said there was not much good that could be found in the policies and programmes announced by the PDP.
He said: “Atiku’s answers to our economic challenges are to shrink and restrain government from being the active catalyst toward a diversified economy that assured broadly-shared prosperity through the just allocation of wealth and reward according to sweat and toil put forth by the Nigerian people.
“They seek an unfair, unjust and unequal Nigeria. Their definition of Nigeria is a nation run by the greedy, for the profit of the rich, at the command of the mighty.”
Tinubu said the objective of the APC was to remake Nigeria into a great nation.
He said: “Our vision is the opposite of theirs, Unlike the PDP, we, the APC, are anchored to the proposition that every Nigerian is entitled to equal access and sufficient economic opportunity so that he may use his talents, skills and committed exertion to carve for himself and his loved ones the decent and good life every human being seeks.
“The ordinary person is not to be shortchanged of the fair dividends of his honest sweat and diligent labour simply because he may be poor or because the powerful and wealthy want more.
“Because of the APC’s concerns for the struggles of the average person, we launched beneficial social welfare programmes such as the school feeding programme, Trader-Moni and N-Power.
“As such, we have made progress caring for our most needy and vulnerable through these and other innovative and unprecedented policies. These programmes are of the type all great nations do for their citizens.”
Tinubu said the APC was not satisfied by what had been accomplished, saying what had been done was but the opening phase of a more ambitious undertaking.
He said: “We have just begun to fight poverty and reform this economy on the scale required. Though we have helped millions, several millions more are needed to end poverty’s stranglehold on their lives.
“We must expand the scope and reach of our social welfare programmes to encompass those other people who have been denied access to the productive economy through no fault of their own.
“Additionally, we must put idle hands to work to build a modern infrastructure that will energise agricultural output in rural areas and foster labour-intensive industrialisation in our growing cities.”
The former governor of Lagos State said the second term of President Buhari would be dedicated to changing the structure of the economy for the better.
He said: “We must amend our national economic architecture to unlock the full potentials of our people and our land. To me, this is the core mandate of government for and of the people.
“Throughout the campaign, we have talked about taking Nigeria to the Next Level. To me, this Next Level is informed by forging a new partnership between government and the governed to create a more just and prosperous economy for all.
“The beginning of this new partnership is already taking shape. As stated before, we have initiated a first phase of social welfare programmes.”
Tinubu urged the people of South West to join APC in implementing the Next Level agenda.
He said: “The South West has always been at the vanguard of progressive governance in Nigeria. Today should be no exception to this historic role we have played.
“I ask the people of the South West to join the APC so that we attain the Next Level by implementing this bold and good new partnership built on the following pillars: power, infrastructure, housing, industrialisation, agriculture and social security.”
Tinubu said that the coming elections were a choice between progress and retreat.
He said: “The future is uncertain until we enter it. February 16 is Election Day and on that day Nigeria shall step into its future.
“How you vote on that day will determine whether we walk into the future in a manner that guides our subsequent steps toward the national greatness that calls to us or will we walk into it backwards as if feebly trying to reinvent the past.
“One road leads to a certain replay of the economic injustices of the past. It is a road well-worn with familiar pitfalls and setbacks built into the very nature of it.
“The other road provides the truest, brightest chance for us to enter into our hopeful future but only if we are brave enough to believe in our capacity to improve our nation.”
Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for President Buhari for a secured future.
He said: “This is the future we must enter. This is the future the APC champions. This is future you must choose on Election Day. Vote for yourselves by voting for President Buhari.”
Tinubu urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections to ensure a violence-free exercise.
He said: “In the exercise of our civic duty at this historic and important moment, I ask that you conduct yourselves with utmost tolerance and in equal peace towards both political ally and political opponent.
“Let us show the world that we know the true meaning of democracy. On Election Day let not an angry hand be raised against any Nigerian.
“No matter our political differences, let us remember we are of one land and of the same national family.
“This election shall be free and fair and conducted without the arm of violence. For this is as Nigeria and our democratic exercise must be to achieve the excellent destination intended for us.”
Bode George Joins 2023 Presidential Race
Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, has joined the 2023 presidential race.
Freedom Online learned that the former governor of old Ondo State joined the race after three meetings held in Lagos, London in UK and Berlin, Germany.
George, the Director-General (D-G) of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Campaign Organisation in 2006/2007, is still in London “strategizing and meeting some prominent Nigerians on how to actualize the ambition”, said a source.
Although he is still a member of PDP, it is still not clear on which political platform George, the Atona Odua of Yorubaland, will launch the ambition.
Before leaving Nigeria for the London and Berlin meetings, Freedom Online learned that a former President and former Head of State had already endorsed the move to make George succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
This move is based on the partisan calculation that the presidency will move to the South-West.
Some members of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization led by nonagenarian Reuben Fasoranti, are also believed to be backing George’s ambition.
Freedom Online learned that present at the London and Berlin meetings were a former Senate President, a former Chief of Naval Staff, a retired General who had issues with President Muhammadu Buhari when he was Head of State between December 31, 1983, and August 26, 1985, a prominent power broker during the administration of a former president, a former governor of a state in the North-East and two ministers during the Yar’Adua administration.
Freedom Online learned that George, an experienced administrator, orator, and politician, will unveil his presidential plans in the middle of 2020 and “the real fireworks will start in 2021”.
A source disclosed that three committees – Finance, Strategy, and Contact – had already been set up, headed by the former Chief of Naval Staff, a former Minister, and a former South-South governor.
George is a prominent Lagosian, very close to the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.
A prominent Lagos Prince, Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, who also confirmed the development, declared that “people may believe it is a joke now but when reality dawns on them, they will wake up.
The truth is that some prominent Nigerians have resolved to back Chief Bode George in the race for 2023. This is real and authoritative. In fact, a group, The Pathfinder Consortium, is already working underground as a foundation for a bigger and more robust national platform to actualize this presidential ambition.
“We can say 2023 is still far away but at the same time, it is not too far. Many stakeholders want real change in the country, politically and economically. This is not about PDP or APC. This is about Nigeria.
“I only attended the Lagos meeting. I was not part of the ones held outside the country so, I can’t really give you details of what happened there. But, I can only tell you that this is a pan-Nigerian movement”.
APC Disclaims Suit to Foist Third Term On Buhari
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed a suit seeking an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to allow President Muhammadu Buhari to run for a third term in office, which was filed by one Charles Enya, whom it described as a self-proclaimed member of the party.
APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement yesterday said the party had initially chosen to ignore him but decided to disavow the suit to send a clear message to Enya and other troublemakers like him.
According to him, the president has said history would not be fair to party members if the APC collapses after his second term, stressing that what better proof is required of the president’s resolve to abide by the constitution on term limit than such a statement.
He said at the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, Buhari had assured party members that he would abide by the constitution and uphold the oath of office he took.
“The party is, however, by this statement sending a strong signal to such other busybodies like Charles Enya who may be contemplating testing the resolve of our government on our mission to work for the best for our country to be ready to face the law.
“We would follow this new enemy of our country, who is most likely being sponsored by the desperate and misguided opposition, every step of the way, using all legal means to thwart his devilish efforts to create chaos in our country.
“As a party, we would not take kindly to anyone or group causing an unnecessary distraction for this administration through anti-democratic actions. As a country, we are several years behind where we ought to be,” he added.
The party spokesman noted that the Buhari-led administration is focused on the onerous responsibility of delivering good governance, revamping moribund infrastructure, growing the economy, fighting corruption, creating the right environment for teeming youths to deploy their creative energies and providing adequate security for all.
“We have tried to find out the status of this character claiming to be a member of our party. If he turns out to be our member, we would ensure the party organ that has the responsibility to act on this matter promptly commence the process of expelling him,” he stated.
Issa-Onilu said APC as a progressive party would not tolerate anti-democratic forces and charlatans.
Bayelsa Decides: INEC Declares APC’s David Lyon Winner With Over 200,000 Poll Margin To PDP’s Flag Bearer
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate David Lyon was, early this morning, declared Bayelsa State governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Lyon, 49, will succeed outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson, who has ruled the state since 2012
The APC thus ended the 20-year political dominance of the oil-rich Bayelsa State by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Returning Officer Prof. Faraday Orumwense, the vice-chancellor of the University of Benin, declared Lyon winner with 352,552 votes in Saturday’s election. He won six of the eight local government areas
PDP’s candidate Senator Duoye Diri, who came a distant second, polled 143,172 votes. He won in two local government areas.
There was jubilation in Yenagoa as soon as the Returning officer declared Lyon winner at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre, INEC Office, in Yenagoa.
Many people trooped to the streets of the state capital in celebration.
Southern Ijaw which is fondly called the Kano of Bayelsa state, gave the APC candidate the boost with 124, 803 votes as against the 4,898 recorded by the PDP.
The APC got 21,489 votes in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, while PDP scored 18344.
Senator Douye Diri, also recorded massive win in the home council of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state with a total of 58,016 as against the vote of PDP of 13,763. The outcome according to political analysts is based on the open disrespect by the Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson against the former President.
Also massive was the 83,041 votes recorded by the APC in Nembe Local Government Area as against the PDP votes of 874. But the PDP had its share of massive vote at the home council of the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson in Sagbama with 60,339 votes and APC recorded 7,831.
At the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Council, where the PDP flag bearer hails from, the PDP defeated the APC with 15,360 votes as against the 8,934 votes recorded by the APC.
In Brass Local Council Area where the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva hails from, the APC defeated the PDP with 23,831 as against 10,410 votes.
Declaring the winner, the returning officer of the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa state, Mr. Faraday’s Orunmwense, stated that with the power bestowed on him, David Lyon, after scoring the highest number of votes is returned as the winner of the election.
But the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in a press briefing earlier on Sunday night addressed by its flag bearer, Senator Douye Diri accused the Nigerian Army of conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the polls in parts of the state.
According to Senator Diri, though results collated by the party agents showed that the PDP has won the Governorship election, ”members of the PDP were terrorized and arrested by soldiers on the orders of the General Officer Commanding the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army, General Sarham Jamil”.
Senator Douye Diri, who spoke in company of the National Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council and Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed and National Vice Chairman of the Party, Elder Emmanuel Ogidi, noted that what is playing out in Bayelsa confirms the earlier red flag the PDP had raised days to the election about plots by the APC to use Gen Sarham, who had since been transferred to the Nigerian Defence Academy to defy his posting to supervise the state election.
According to the PDP candidate, critical stakeholders of the party were harassed and prevented from accessing the collation centre in Ogbia, which is former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s Local Government Area.
Senator Diri said the Chairman of the Council, Hon Ebiyon Turner and a serving member of the state House of Assembly representing Ogbia Constituency Two, Hon Gibson Munalayefa were all arrested and detained by the Army operatives up till the time of the briefing.
In Southern Ijaw, he noted that PDP members who were travelling to their communities for the election including Dr Michael Amaegberi were also apprehended by soldiers at Ogboinbiri while their APC counterparts were allowed to go scot-free.
Senator Diri who commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and the media for their show of professionalism in the conduct and coverage of the election, however, urged them to maintain the tempo for the sake of democracy.
He called on the international community and lovers of democracy to prevail on the Nigerian Army to respect the rule of law and for democracy to thrive in Bayelsa and Nigeria in general.
His words, “The collation centre in Ogbia is under siege by the Nigerian Army and as we all know, this is against the laws of our land. It is an anathema because the Army has no business in determining who goes into a collation centre.
“Information available to us indicates that the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 6th Division has ordered officers and men from 6 Battalion, 343 Artillery, 5 and 29 Battalions were carrying out certain security functions to withdraw from the venue in Ogbia because they have failed to rig the election in Ogbia for the APC. It is totally unacceptable. For there to be peace, there has to be justice.”