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Atiku’s Running Mate: PDP Raises Panel As Wike, Okowa Lobby For VP Slot

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The Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday stepped up moves to choose running mates for their presidential candidates.

The party set up a committee comprising its governors, the National Working Committee, and the Board of Trustees members as well as former governors with the mandate of picking its vice-presidential candidate.

The committee met on Wednesday and Thursday in Abuja. The PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, confirmed this last night.

It was gathered that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, had intensified lobby of the PDP stakeholders as part of moves to clinch the post.

On his part, the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, began the search for his running mate with a meeting with northern governors.

As Tinubu met northern governors, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday gave parties June 17 deadline to submit the names of their presidential candidates and running mates.

The commission had on May 27 extended the deadline for parties to conduct primaries from June 4 to June 9.

It also fixed June 17 as the deadline for parties to submit lists of their candidates.

At the PDP primary held on May 29, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who emerged as the presidential candidate, polled 371 votes while his closest challenger,  Wike, came second with 237 votes.

On Wednesday, Tinubu defeated aspirants including a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

It was earlier reported that Atiku met with the PDP governors as part of efforts to pick his running mate.

Ologunagba in the interview indicated that the PDP would announce its vice-presidential candidate next week.

He, however, declined to reveal the names of those being considered as the running mate.

He said, “Yes, we have set up a committee on the running mate; when it comes out with its decision, it would be announced. We don’t do things by speculations. There is a process, we don’t work without planning. We would follow due process, we consult, that’s what we are doing.

“When we are done with consultations, you would hear the outcome. Whether they met today (Thursday), whether they didn’t meet, that’s not relevant. When they have done their work, you would know the outcome.”

When asked about the names of the committee members, Ologunagba stated, “You don’t need the names. All the organs of our party are represented: the National Working Committee, the Governors Forum, the Board of Trustees, and the Former Governors Forum are all represented. All the organs of the party and relevant stakeholders are involved in the consultations.”

On the efforts to reconcile the aspirants who lost during the primaries, the party said a reconciliation process was ongoing.

Wike

It was gathered that Wike and Okowa had reached out to their fellow governors as part of efforts to clinch the post.

A close source to Wike told The PUNCH that the governor was in Abuja lobbying to be named Atiku’s running mate.

The source stated, “The governor is not in town as we speak. It is not out of place if he is pushing to become the running mate of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

“But it will be unfair if he (Wike) is not picked as Atiku’s running mate going by his contributions to the party, both in terms of finance and other levels of support.

“Don’t forget that he came second in the PDP presidential primary in Abuja, so that tells you his pedigree,” he stated.

Kelvin Ebiri, the Special Assistant on Media to Wike kept mum over the choice of running mate for  Atiku.

When contacted by one of our correspondents if his principal should be picked as the vice presidential running mate, although Ebiri picked his call, he did not speak. He also did not reply to a text message sent to him

Okowa

On his part, the Chief Press Secretary to the Delta State governor, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, confirmed that the governor was one of the people being tipped as Atiku’s running mate.

Ifeajika said Okowa was eminently qualified for the post. He said, “Yes, they (governors) met yesterday and today, Thursday, in Abuja. Of course, it is no longer news that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is among the people being tipped as the running mate.

“Okowa is one of those being considered. He is not only eminently qualified but acceptable by all. If there is an election, all governors, even those in the APC, will attest that Okowa is the best man for the position. He has worked hard for it.”

A source close to the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, told The PUNCH that the governor believed the party should pick somebody who could mobilize votes for the party.

Meanwhile, the PDP presidential candidate on Thursday met with some former PDP governors.

Those who attended the meeting included Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo); Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Theodore Orji (Abia); Celestine Omehia (Rivers); Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); Fidelis Tapgun (Plateau), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Boni Haruna (Adamawa)

Others were Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) Lyel Imoke (Cross River) Jim Nwobodo (Enugu); Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).

The meeting which was held at Jimmy Carter, Asokoro, Abuja, focused on how to strengthen the opposition party amidst the crisis rocking some state chapters of the party.

The PUNCH also gathered that Atiku was also scheduled to meet with former ministers who served under the PDP administrations as part of moves to present a formidable front and get the input of stakeholders on the choice of a running mate ahead of the 2023 presidential poll.

Atiku’s spokesman, Mr. Paul Ibe, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the Thursday night parley was part of the ongoing consultations by the former vice-president to build a formidable party ahead of the polls.

This newspaper could not confirm if the meeting slated to hold at the Legacy House in Abuja started at 8 pm as planned.

Meanwhile, a PDP chieftain, Chief Bode George, has said the running mate would be an individual that could assist the party to garner votes.

He said, “Definitely, it (running mate) must come from the South; South-West, South-East and South-South. They will be looking for the best man that will be able to assist the party; who will have character, respect for the rule of law, and be fair to Nigerians.”

On the choice of the running mate, a PDP presidential aspirant, Sam Ohuabunwa, said the party would choose someone who could give the party leverage.

He added, “PDP will choose whoever they want between the party leadership and candidate; they will choose whoever they think will give them best electoral leverage, that’s what I think.

“I don’t understand who they will pick; my consideration is whoever will give them electoral leverage to win the election because it has to do with what will make them win the election in 2023.

A former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi said Governor Wike as the running mate to Atiku would guarantee the party’s victory in the 2023 presidential election.

According to him, Wike could rally support for the party in the South-East, South- West and the South-South where he hails from.

Odeyemi said, “I will be categorical with my comment. The best bet for the PDP is to pick Wike. Apart from the fact that he is capable and has shown intention, he is the only one that can assist the party. I am very sure he will get votes in the South-East, South-South, and South-West. Their combinations would be good not only to get a victory for the party but to also bring development to the country.”

Meanwhile, the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and other members of the party’s National Working Committee on Thursday visited Tinubu.

The APC national youths leader, Dayo Isreal, also took to the official Twitter handle to explain the purpose of their visit in a series of tweets.

He stated, “Our National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, today led us on a courtesy visit to our Presidential Candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu this afternoon. The full NWC are behind our candidate.”

Tinubu’s running mate

In a related development, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has warned the APC against picking a Muslim as the running mate of Tinubu, who is also a Muslim.

Lawal pointed out that Nigerians were still conscious of ethnoreligious factors in politics. According to him, Tinubu would have been running mate to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, when the latter became the candidate of the APC in 2014 but for the discouragement of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

The ex-SGF, issued the warning while speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs program on Channels Television, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, INEC on Thursday asked the presidential and governorship candidates of the 18 registered political parties to pick and submit the lists of their running mates in the next one week.

The commission said that while the conventions and primaries of candidates by political parties for the 2023 general election, ended on Thursday, the nomination of the candidates and their running mates commenced the following day and would end a week later.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with the resident electoral commissioners.

He said, “For the next one week from tomorrow June 10, all political parties are required to submit their lists of candidates for national elections (presidential/vice-presidential, senatorial and the house of representatives) latest by Friday, June 17.

“For state elections (governorship/deputy governorship and state houses of assembly), the list of candidates shall be uploaded from 1st to July 15 as already provided in the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election already released by the commission.”

Yakubu also said that all political parties were required to upload the details of their candidates for each constituency to the INEC candidate nomination portal.

The INEC chairman said that to achieve this objective, four officials recommended by each of the 18 political parties were trained on the procedure for uploading the nomination forms to the dedicated web portal.

“Confidential Access Codes to the portal has already been given to each political party to facilitate the uploading of its nominations.

“For emphasis, the commission wishes to remind political parties that only the names of candidates that emerged from democratic primaries as provided by Sec. 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 shall be submitted to the commission,” he said.

He emphasized that the list of all presidential and governorship candidates must be accompanied by the names of their running mates (that is vice president and deputy governorship candidates) without which the nomination is invalid, warning that all nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines.

Yakubu said, “All nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines. The portal will automatically shut down at 6.00 pm (1800hrs) on Friday, June 17, 2022, for national elections and at 6.00 pm (1800hrs) on Friday, July 15 2022 for state elections.

“With this innovation, the commission has eliminated the physical interface between party officials and INEC staff for the purpose of submitting the list of candidates for the 2023 general election”, he said.

 

Credit: The Punch

BIG STORY

I Will Be Your Listening President, Tinubu Tells Edo Residents

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Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has assured the people of Edo state that he will be a “listening president” if elected.

According to a statement by Tunde Rahman, head of Tinubu media office, the APC presidential candidate said this on Sunday at a town hall meeting in Edo state.

Tinubu also said under his leadership, Nigeria will pipe gas to Europe and compete with Russia.

He also criticized Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and urged the people of Edo to “take back” their state from PDP government.

“Edo, take your state back. First of all, let us forge unity. Let’s find the way where they say there is no way,” he said.

“We must rescue Edo state. I am ready to work with you. Take lanterns, go from house to house. Don’t get angry; anger does not solve problems. Disappointment is an energizer for me. You disappoint me, I work harder. You betray me, I don’t get angry; I ignore you.

“The reason is because you are not my God and you are not my creator. My mother taught me if you are sad, I will share your sorrow with you, if you are happy I will rejoice with you. If you are poor, I will share the little I have with you.

“You see PDP, they are scattered; they don’t know the road. Atiku does not know how to lie again except falsify lie upon lie. Atiku cannot hold serious job for Nigeria.

“When they were privatising Aluminium Smelter Company at Ikot Abasi and privatising NITEL, I was negotiating Free Trade Zone in China. I negotiated Lekki Deep Seaport in Singapore and it is the deepest sea port now in West Africa. Edo people are extremely smart. You can do the job.

“Count on me at the federal level. I will be your listening president. Vote for me. Prosperity is here. When you put down ballot paper in the box, say it is for creating jobs. I will create jobs for you because you are not lazy.”

On the constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, he said the opposition party should be ignored.

“People who can’t give power to Nigeria say they want to come back. In only eight years, APC put the rail back,” he said.

“We are putting refineries back and we will produce for you. They can abuse Buhari from morning till night, he does not hear their abuse. Abuse him, rail he provided, second Niger Bridge he provided, Lagos-Ibadan expressway he provided. Benin-Ore port will be done so that you don’t need to come to Lagos to clear your goods.

“We must now begin to make use of all our nation’s endowments. Greater industrialization is a vital aspect of this. Through the production of more and better goods, we shall improve our standard of living, provide workers with a living wage, and establish businesses that will drive our national economy for generations.

“Our industrial plan shall encourage the establishment of new manufacturing concerns across the country. We see a future in which Nigeria is known as a nation that produces high-quality goods worthy of export to anywhere in the world.”

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New Naira Notes: Reps Committee Rejects CBN’s One Week Extension, Threatens Emefiele’s Arrest

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The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on the redesign of three naira notes has rejected the 10 days extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 bank notes.

In a statement on Sunday, the Chairman of the Committee and the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the green chamber will proceed and sign an arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before the committee.

According to him, the new naira redesign policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

The CBN on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed the January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

The CBN also pegged its weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.

Many Nigerians have lamented the scarcity of new notes as the January 31 deadline approached while the National Assembly demanded a six-month extension.

However, emerging from a meeting with the President on Sunday, the apex bank chief said Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10.

In its immediate reaction, the House of Representatives committee chaired by Doguwa rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.

The lawmaker said, “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.

“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the adhoc committee.”

Doguwa said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.

He described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed earlier by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the states level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.

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BIG STORY

UPDATE: 9 Confirmed Dead As Container Falls Off Truck In Lagos [VIDEO]

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An articulated truck conveying a 20ft container fell on a commercial bus at Ojuelegba, Lagos on Sunday killing nine persons.

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the truck lost control while ascending a bridge.

“Upon arrival at the scene, a truck conveying a 20ft container was found to have landed on top of a commercial bus.

“Investigation revealed that the bus was picking up passengers when the truck lost control and fell over the side of the bridge.

“A total of nine fatalities were recovered, comprising four adult males, three adult females, a girl, and a boy.

“After suspending the container load with the aid of LASEMA’s forklift, an adult woman was extricated alive and taken to the trauma center,’’ he said.

Oke-Osanyintolu said LASEMA’s heavy-duty ambulance and Lagos State Fire Service were on hand for a rescue operation, just as LASTMA and Nigeria Police were on ground to control traffic.

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