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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has chided the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for saying corruption will return to the country if President Muhammadu Buhari is voted out by Nigerians in 2019. The party asked the minister to face his “luckless task of marketing a bad product,” and stop appropriating sainthood to anyone solely because of partisan solidarity.

Amaechi had recently declared that corruption would return to the polity if President Muhammadu Buhari was not returned to office in 2019. But the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Friday said Amaechi ought to know that “the Buhari administration is swimming in an ocean of corruption.”Ologbondiyan challenged the former Rivers State governor to name one corrupt person in the PDP.

He maintained that many of the officials in the President’s administration including former state governors, who he alleged looted their states, but are now “being protected” by the Buhari administration were formally of PDP. He said, “It is unfortunate that Amaechi and others like him are yet to come to terms with the fact that Nigerians now know that the APC deceived them into believing that they were saints.

“Amaechi’s approach is typical of an overwhelmed salesman of a rejected product who must engage in a shouting bout to gratify his desperate paymasters. “By trying to re-enact the outworn APC propaganda of tagging others as corrupt while vainly posturing as saints, the campaign director has not only exposed their disdain for Nigerians but also the fact that the Presidency and the APC are now mortally afraid of the repositioned and re-oriented PDP ahead of the general elections.”

BIG STORY

2023: Atiku Will Win By 7 Million Votes Margin — Ayu

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The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyiorcha Ayu, has boasted that its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will shock Nigerians during the 2023 elections by winning with a landslide margin of seven million votes.

He stated this while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting held on Wednesday at the Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall, Bauchi.

Atiku had earlier received thousands of defectors from the All Progressives Congress and other political parties, at a ceremony held the same day at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.

It was gathered that Abubakar was flanked by his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa; the National Chairman of the party, Iyiorcha Ayu; Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Council and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal and former Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Governors of Bauchi, Bala Mohammed; Adamawa, Umaru Fintiri, and of Taraba, Darius Ishaku, and their deputies were also in attendance.

Former governors of Jigawa, Sule Lamido; Adamawa, Boni Haruna and Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; among other dignitaries, were also present.

However, none of the governors and the PDP chieftains loyal to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was in attendance at the rally.

Addressing the stakeholders from the North-East, Ayu said that the PDP did not want to be strong on social media nor did it want to be strong based on manipulated images on television.

He, however, confessed that he had fears that the venue of the rally would be empty with people refusing to attend.

He said, “While we were coming here today, I was apprehensive that perhaps, when we come, the North-East will not come out. A political party is the people, it is not just the leaders, sometimes, we lay too much emphasis on the leaders.

“Today, we see that the PDP is the strongest party in Nigeria. Those who have been building imaginary rallies; today, it was not a rally, it was a reception but we saw the number of people that came out like bees. That is to tell you that the PDP is strong on the ground, we don’t want to be strong on social media, we don’t want to be strong only on manipulated images on television, we want to see the real people.”

Ayu admonished the people to come out en masse and vote for all the candidates of the PDP from the State Assembly to the President in order to shame the enemies of the party who had been doing all they could to divide the party and had been lying that the party was divided.

“And today, it was clear that the PDP is a strong party. There are enemies of the party who are determined to cause division among us, who are telling lies about divisions in the PDP.

“I want to assure you that they will be disappointed because at the end of the day, this party will come up en masse and vote for all our candidates from bottom to top, not from top to bottom but from the bottom to the top – all our House and National Assembly candidates, and all our governors will come back to office.

“And of course, having stayed out of power for eight years, the PDP is marching massively to Aso Villa with President Atiku Abubakar. He will resume back to the place where he has experience there as a Vice President and assisted ably, by Vice President Ifeanyi Okowa,” he stated.

The PDP National Chairman added that: “In a presidential election, if you don’t win Bauchi, you can’t win the presidency, and we are very sure that with what we saw today; the massive mobilisation that has been done, we are certainly on our way to victory.

“Atiku is your son, the North-East has never had a President before, and yet, when democracy started, the North-East led the way with Alhaji Tafawa Balewa. Power is returning to the North-East, vote for your son, come out en masse, it is not enough to come for the rally.

“All of you should have a Permanent Voter Card make sure you campaign at your polling unit, don’t campaign only at rallies, we don’t want people in Abuja, everybody must go back home to his polling unit. On that day (election day), we will shock Nigerians, the victory margin is going to be seven million votes.

“Atiku Abubakar will move to the Villa and we will rescue the country from all the damages that the present government has done. We have suffered insecurity in the North-East, you are suffering from hunger, you are suffering from diseases. The PDP under the leadership of President Atiku Abubakar will correct these ills.”

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2023: APC NWC, Governors, PCC Members Unite For Tinubu

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC), members of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) yesterday resolved to work for the victory of the standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.

Also, the three organs agreed to set up a conflict resolution mechanism for resolving issues that may affect the presidential campaign and the chance of the ruling party at the poll.

APC leaders were in one accord at their strategy meeting at the party secretariat in Abuja, which was at the instance of the national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

It was gathered that the crucial meeting was meant to herald the campaigns.

The standard bearer, a source said, is also expected back in the country today from London where he held talks with businessmen, including Mr. Yemi Idowu, an accomplishment investor.

Ahead of the campaign kick-off, Southeast APC women have held a historic rally in Owerri, Imo State capital.

The event trailed the Lagos APC Women rally and the ‘Walk for Asiwaju, in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, organized by party faithful.

Also yesterday, Catholic priest and former President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), John Cardinal Onaiyekan, declared that the ruling party’s same faith ticket was, in the opinion of APC, the best option.

Addressing reporters after the meeting that lasted for about five hours, Adamu said the leaders, governors and the campaign council have resolved to forge ahead in harmony.

He said: “We are very comfortable. We have established machinery for resolving everything. We are together with the governor’s forum and NWC. I believe the meeting we had is more than useful to us. For us, nothing short of victory, and that is the spirit of this meeting.”

The chairman, who refused to disclose when the party will commence its planned nationwide campaign, however, said APC cannot run faster than its shadow.

Adamu said the party recognised the important role of all its organs, stressing that meaningful progress cannot be made in the 2023 elections without the support of APC governors.

He said: “Essentially, we want to interact with our governors who are the custodians of the fate of APC in their various states that they are privileged by God to lead at this point of Nigeria’s democratic dispensation.

“Being the chief executive officers of their various states, the onus lies in the hands of God and their hands because they are the commanders of the party fortunes in their various states.

“We can not make meaningful progress in the affairs of these states, particularly in an election year that is approaching. We can not plan without the buy-in of our governors so, that we can stand together, believing that we share the same aspirations. We will plan together to see how best we can deliver the interest of the party and ensure that victory is ours in the 2023 general election that is by the corner.”

PGF chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said the governors visit the secretariat to strategise.

On the composition of the campaign council, Bagudu, who described the release of the 422-member campaign list as unfortunate,  assured that it would be sorted out.

He said: “Governors are very proud of our party. We are very proud of our party leader, President Muhamadu Buhari. We are very proud of the conventions that produced both our national chairman and our presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima. We are very proud of the actions of the national chairman and the NWC. We are very proud of the actions of the presidential campaign council.

“We are happy that we are discussing, even though there was a list. It was a mistake. But I am happy that the party is solidly behind our candidate and our party and whatever lists that have come out erroneously, we believe it will be sorted out.”

Other PGF members at the meeting were Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Sani Bello (Niger), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and the deputy governor of Borno State, Umar Kadafur.

PCC members at the meeting were former APC National Chairman and Deputy Director-General of PCC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and former Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, Deputy Director-General (admin).

Women rally support for Tinubu/Shettima in Imo

Thousands of Southeast women yesterday converged on Owerri, Imo State capital, for a rally in support of Tinubu and Shettima.

The women gathered at Hero Square later marched through the Imo International Conference Center (IICC), to the Government House, where Governor Hope Uzodimma received them.

The governor said APC had done well, adding that it is a party to beat in the zone.

He stressed: “In the Southeast, APC is strong; we are in every nook and cranny of the zone and we are solidly behind our presidential and vice presidential candidates and all APC candidates in the zone.”

Uzodimma commended the women for their commitment, resilience, patriotism and for turning out to show solidarity for the party and its candidates.

He said after many years of the civil war, the second Niger Bridge had been completed and most of the federal roads have received face lift.

He expressed confidence that Tinubu would replicate the development he initiated in Lagos in Nigeria, if voted into power.

Uzodimma said: “In 1999, when there was no story of women inclusion and when the Chinese Beijing Conference has not taken resolution, he chose a woman as his running mate in Lagos. So, this is a man after the heart of women”.

The wife of the governor, Chioma, said the rally was organised to show solidarity and support for Tinubu and Shettima.

She said: “It is on record that the ruling APC in Nigeria of today has given women a lot of opportunities in politics and corporate governance more than any other party.

“In Imo State today, our performing governor has done a lot more to improve the standard of life by accommodating women in positions of leadership and governance.”

She said leaders should be courageous and push the boundaries to make things better.

Mrs Uzodimma added: “The best leaders know how to get the most out of people; they enable the full potential in others. These are the qualities we have found in Bola Tinubu right from when he joined politics and throughout the MKO Abiola’s struggle of 1993, the struggle and bustle for democracy and his eventually reign as the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.”

The governor’s wife described Tinubu as a “core democrat, a pan-Nigerian who gave different tribes a shot in his administration”.

The national women leader, Dr Bertha Edu, assured party faithful that APC would usher in peace and development in the Southeast.

She said: “We came with an agenda for the Southeast, that agenda is APC.

“As a people, we will continue to vote for APC.”

Same-faith ticket is winning strategy for party – Onaiyekan

Cardinal Onaiyekan said the APC Muslim/Muslim ticket was its best calculation for winning next year’s election.

Onaiyekan explained that the party should not be blamed for taking the decision because it was based on its winning political calculation.

The ex-CAN president spoke at Ede during the first synod of Catholic Church, Osun State tagged: “Faithful witness to dialogue and reconciliation”.

He said: “You will note that the Catholic Bishop Confrence has not taken any action on Muslim/Muslim ticket of All Progressives Congress(APC). The reason is that Muslim/Muslim ticket is a political decision taken by APC as a party on the calculation that is their best way to win the election or assure their victory in 2023 general election.

“There is no point telling them not to take such decision. All you can say is that they will have to accept responsibility for the decision they have taken. I only have one voter’s card and by God’s grace, I will use it.

“But since it is a political decision of a political party, what the church can do officially is to bring out this fact and tell people that they should take their political decision accordingly.”

Cardinal Onaiyekan added: “When the APC leadership appointed Governor of Plateau State, Solomon Lalong, as the Director of Campaign of APC, he accepted the decision politically.

“The only time when we called him to order was when he dragged the name of Pope into the appointment and political discussion. He tendered his apology, which was accepted by us because he is a member of Papa Knight.

“APC is still considered as a legitimate party in Nigeria. Many Catholic are in APC, not only as members, but they hold vital positions.  According to our church, we are not involved in partisan politics.”

Credit: The Nation

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Workout Video: Tinubu Has Nothing To Prove — Keyamo

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Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, says Bola Tinubu, the party’s flagbearer, is an “avid cyclist”.

Keyamo spoke on Wednesday during an interview with Channels Television.

Last Sunday, Tinubu shared a video of him cycling on a fitness bike.

The video came amid concerns over his whereabouts, following his absence at the signing of the peace accord for the 2023 elections.

The video elicited varied reactions as some Nigerians believe that it was published to prove that the APC presidential candidate is hale and hearty.

Responding to questions on the whereabouts of Tinubu, Keyamo said the former Lagos governor is not currently in Nigeria, and that he will return to the country in “a couple of days”.

“In my Twitter post on it, I said we are not trying to prove anything to anybody. Our candidate is not struggling to prove himself to anybody,” he said.

“People who are close to him know that he is an avid cyclist. He does that all the time. It is his routine. So, we are not trying to prove anything to anybody.

“This period of time, people make all kinds of enquiries — some mischievous and some genuine. To the mischief makers, we want to prove that the tail does not wag the dog; it is the dog that wags the tail.

“So, it is not at every point in time when you ask mischievous question that we will be struggling to prove ourselves. We are not dancing to the tune and music of the opposition.

“We have our own tune and music and we will play our music the way we want to play our music and dance the way we want to dance.”

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