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Goodluck Jonathan Calls For Peace, Urges Voters To Resist Vote-Buying

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Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan on Monday called on Nigerians to embrace peace and shun violence ahead the shifted general elections.

Jonathan was in Bayelsa his home state at the weekend for the polls earlier scheduled for Feb. 16 and March 2 and shifter by one week to Feb 23 and March 9 and called on Nigerians to remain peaceful.

Jonathan who made the call during a meeting with Niger Delta Youth Leaders also urged the electorate to shun vote buying and vote according to their conscience.

“Use of money to induce voters has become very prevalent in Nigeria.

“It is more pronounced here than many African countries I have been to monitor elections and it is unhealthy for our development and my NGO is working on advocacy against it.

“Politics should be about the people and anyone who wants to make quick money should go into business and quit politics which is all about service to the people.

“People should vote according to the dictates of their conscience and not be induced by money.

“I have said it repeatedly that no one’s ambition should be worth the spilling of the blood of any Nigerian, peace is fundamental to economic development and the reports of insecurity and violence scares away investors.

“Anytime someone is killed either by security agencies or by any other exra-judicial means it affects the reputation of the country adversely and that is why peace building is very essential especially with the youths.

“Our youths are critical in our democracy because the future belongs to them so my advice is that we should be patient and shun violence in the coming elections,” Jonathan said.

Earlier, Mr Kenedy Tonjo-West, a Niger Delta Youth leader, said that representatives of Niger Delta youths from across the region were in Bayelsa to applaud the former President for his efforts at peace building.

He said that the exemplary leadership style of politics without violence and bitterness was an inspiration to Niger Delta youths.

West, who is also a Senior Special Adviser on Niger Delta Youth matters to Bayelsa Governor, noted the Jonathan’s influence on the youths of the region was responsible for the prevailing peace in the region.

He said that youths from the region were in Bayelsa to seek counsel from the former president following the shift in election date.

Mr Peretubo Oweilaemi, President of Ijaw Youth Council, said that youths from the Niger Delta region remain proud of the former President who relinquished power in the interest of peace and development of Nigeria.

“The emphasis of our amiable leader, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on peace and peace building is very commendable despite his political persuasion he has chosen to always advocate peace and we the youths are learning from him.

“We have seen the region which is very crucial to the country’s economy grow in peace because you advocate and preach peace all the time since you left office as President,” Oweilaemi said.

Leaders of Non Violent Youth groups including Niger Delta Youths Coalition for Peace and Progress, Ex-Militant Leaders who embraced the Presidential Amnesty programme, amongst others, were at the meeting. 

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BREAKING : APC Takes Over Imo House of Assembly As Speaker, 7 Other Lawmakers Dump PDP

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At the plenary today in Imo State Assembly, 8 PDP House Members defected to the ruling party APC, thus enabling it to take control of the House leadership.

They are:

1. Hon. Dominic Ezerioha
Oru West State Constituency

2. Hon. Chigozie Nwaneri
Oru East State Constituency

3. Hon. Kanayo Onyemechi
Owerri West State Constituency

4. Hon. Kennedy Ibe
Obowo State Constituency

5. Hon. Uche Ogbuagu
Ikeduru State Constituency

6. Hon. Crown Micheal
Ihitte Uboma State Constituency

7. Hon. Eddy Obinna
Aboh Mbaise State Constituency

8. Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins
Isiala Mbano State Constituency (Speaker, Imo state house of Assembly).

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Bode George Joins 2023 Presidential Race

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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”.

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APC Disclaims Suit to Foist Third Term On Buhari

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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.

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