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PDP’s Ihedioha Defeats Okorocha’s Son-In-Law, Araraume, Uzodinma To Emerge Imo Gov-Elect

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Emeka Ihedioha, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 governorship polls in Imo State, has emerged winner of the election.

Prof. Francis Otonta, the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced the final results at the Imo governorship election collation centre in Owerri, the state capital on Tuesday.

Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, won in 11 of the 27 Local Government Areas, polling a total 273,404 votes to defeat his closest contender and Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Mr Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) who won in 10 LGAs and scored 190,364 votes.

Other participants in the 70-man Imo gubernatorial contest include Mr Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), a former senator, who had 114,676 votes, winning in four LGAs.

APC’s Hope Uzodinma, a serving Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district garnered 96,458 votes and won in two LGAs to take the fourth position.

A former governor of Imo, Mr Ikedi Ohakim of the Accord Party, who polled 6,846 votes to trail alongside others, did not win in any of the council areas.

A total of 739,474 votes were cast with 25,130 of the votes rejected while 714,344 were valid.

Otonta, who is the Vice Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, thanked INEC officials, political party agents, security operatives and journalists for their patriotic commitment to national assignment.

In his words: “I salute your patriotism and commitment to this national assignment.

“I hereby declare that Emeka Ihedioha, having satisfied all the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes has won the election and is hereby returned,” he said.

BIG STORY

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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BIG STORY

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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BIG STORY

Atiku, Okowa In Bauchi, Receive 300,000 Defectors Into PDP, Wike’s Camp Absent

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa; and the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, were in Bauchi State on Wednesday to receive defectors from other political parties.

Speaking at a North-East stakeholders’ meeting held at the Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall, shortly after the rally at the stadium Ayu, said he had received over 300,000 defectors into the PDP in Bauchi State.

Others who attended the event were the 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 that 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; also attended among other dignitaries.

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

Ayu in a brief speech at the stakeholders’ meeting said the defectors were over 300,000.

He said, “I want to assure you, my brothers and sisters, that PDP is a united family, they will try to divide us but they will fail, stay united. If we were not attractive as a party, there won’t be so many defectors coming back to their party.

“Today, we received over 300,000 defectors into the PDP. I am to welcome all of them and to assure them that they will be treated as every other PDP member of the family, they will make us strong, and they will make us capable because Bauchi state, for example, is one of the key states in Nigeria.”

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