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2023:Southern Leaders Divided Over Zoning [LEADERSHIP]

Ahead of 2023 Presidential election, stakeholders in the country are divided on which region should produce the president along growing calls for merit based selection process.

With President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure expiring in 2023, stakeholders have begun clamouring for the presidency along regional lines with south west and south east in the fore front of the agitation.

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai early morning yesterday said the south should produce the president when Buhari vacates in 2023.

El-Rufai told the BBC Hausa Service on Saturday that he doesn’t support a taking over Buhari, based on Nigeria’s political arrangement.

He stressed that although the power shift arrangement among the various regions of the country is unconstitutional, it is, however, a political design that must be respected.

“I believe that (there is) no developed country across the world considers leadership based on where someone comes from. However, in Nigerian politics, there is an arrangement that we all believe in rotational leadership. We are aware of that, anyone who denies it is wrong,” the governor said.

El-Rufai said although he supports power rotation at the national level: “In Kaduna, I don’t work with people because they came from a particular zone, rather, I work with you based on your capacity to deliver on a task given to you and your ability to keep public trust.”

The governor also debunked the speculation that he is aspiring for the presidency, saying it has been there since he was a minister of the FCT. “It is a baseless speculation. I don’t want to be president; only God decides someone’s future whether you like it or not, I have never shown interest for the presidency,” he said.

Also speaking, a Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere said the Southwest geo-political zone has all it takes to produce the next president come 2023.

The state publicity secretary of the group, Chief Biodun Akin-Fasae told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the zone parades best hands with requisite experience to turn around the fortunes of the country. “It is easily predictable and established that the zone parades political characters who even prefer people from other zones to their own.

Edo 2020: Presidency Hits Backs At PDP [LEADERSHIP]

The presidency yesterday fired back at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over what it described as attack on the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration following the president’s endorsement of the the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.

It expressed shock that the opposition party “which has been struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States” has found the voice to attack the president.

The presidency was reacting to a statement by PDP in which it faulted Buhari’s endorsement of Ize-Iyamu, saying the president ought to have been aware that the Edo APC candidate was standing trial for corruption.

Hitting back at the opposition party, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, noted in a statement that forgetting its own history and antecedents, The PDP in a “garrulous statement went on rant against the government’s war against corruption, alleging its failure”.

The presidency challenged the PDP to first withdraw the governorship nominations it gave to some PDP governors before opening its mouth and “talk on the efforts of this administration in fighting corruption”.

Shehu said, “Both PDP governors were actually on bail from criminal trial on several counts of fraud and embezzlement. Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, July 1, 2016 granted bail to the former acting governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. He was charged on June 30, 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside his company, Mayim Construction and Properties Limited on a five-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N2.9 billion.

“In the case of Bala Mohammed, the PDP Governor of Bauchi State, the EFCC, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, arraigned the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, before Justice A. M. Talba of the Federal Capital Territory, High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja, on a six-count charge bordering on abuse of office, false declaration of assets and fraud to the tune of N864 million.

“Bala, while in office as minister, allegedly received N550 million as bribe from Aso Savings and Loans Limited with respect to some properties in the Asokoro area of Abuja.

“He is said to have corruptly abused his position as Board Chairman of Aso Savings by allocating four numbers fully detached duplexes and 11 numbers semi-detached duplexes valued at N314 million through the Presidential Taskforce on Sale of Government Houses, to himself. The former minister is also accused of making false declaration of his assets.”

Shehu further explained that Pastor Ize-Iyamu was already being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, PDP Chairman in Edo State and other leaders of the party in the state, Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.

Shehu continued: “Under the country‘s laws only the courts can convict. A suspect remains a suspect until conviction. But, if in the view of the PDP, a suspect is guilty as charged, then they must show examples by withdrawing the nomination of their governors and the party’s numerous Senators and other legislators standing trial in various courts of the country.

“A party which 16 years in office destroyed the country’s economy and infrastructure has no moral authority to criticize the accelerated infrastructure development drive, largely drawing its energy from the Buhari anti-corruption campaign”.

“Ordinarily, it could have been needless to engage in any argumentation on which zone of the country should produce the next president. But since some people seem to be playing political kite with the idea, we should tell them without any pretense that the president should come and will come from the South and specifically, from the South West.

“Afenifere Ilosiwaju Yoruba has no pretention  about the decision to promote the candidate from the zone since all criteria can be met. It is outrageous for anyone to suggest otherwise”.

In Jos the Plateau State capital, the President of Middle Belt Forum (NBF) Dr. Bistrus Pogu said although it is not a constitutional matter there was unwritten agreement that presidency should be rotated among the geopolitical zones of the country.

According to him, in 1999, because of the annulment of June 12th presidential election which was believed to have been won by MKO Abiola, the south west were allowed to take a shot at the presidency and President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled the country for eight years.

He said after Obasanjo, it was Umaru Musa Yar’adua from the north, but could not complete his tenure as a result of his demise, president Goodluck Jonathan comes on board from the South/South before the current dispensation of President Buhari also from the north.

Pogu argued that  “the South East should  take the presidency this time around,” he said.

COVID-19: Nigeria Strengthens Surveillance To Curb Spread – WHO [LEADERSHIP]

World Health Organisation (WHO) says that Nigeria as one of the African countries with high number of COVID-19 cases, is strengthening surveillance to help stem the spread of the virus.

WHO Nigeria stated this on the WHO Regional Office for Africa located in Brazzaville, Congo, official Twitter account @WHOAFRO yesterdat.

It stated that “Lagos State accounts for almost half of Nigeria’s infections, WHO is supporting health authorities by mobilising surveillance teams to help investigate and trace patients presenting COVID-19 symptoms at healthcare facilities.

“They dig through hospital records everyday looking for patients who may be showing COVID-19 symptoms who may have been missed by hospital staff.

“Officials are deployed in the 37 localities of Lagos State, who act as fresh eyes in medical centres and alert the state COVID-19 investigation teams once a case is identified.

“In Lagos State, 1,408 health facilities are covered by the surveillance officers, where a total of 720 health workers were infected by July 21, 2020.

According to WHO, Lagos State authorities say they are determined to safeguard the lives of healthcare workers who risk getting infected in the line of duty.

It noted that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had announced that a COVID-19 allowance would be made available to emergency healthcare workers in the state.

“The governor also said that health and life insurance had been procured for health workers.”

Meanwhile, the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said there are over one million confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa.

The office stated this on its dashboard that “there are over one million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent with more than 690,000 recoveries and more than 22,000 deaths cumulatively.”

It stated that South Africa had 538,184 cases and 9,604 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 45,244 confirmed cases and 930 deaths, while Ghana had 39,642 confirmed cases and 199 deaths.

It added that Seychelles, Eritrea and Mauritius were countries currently with the lowest confirmed cases in the region.

The office said that Seychelles had 114 confirmed cases with zero death, Eritrea; 282 confirmed cases with zero death, Mauritius had 344 reported cases with 10 deaths.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti@MoetiTshidi, in her tweets on Friday said Africa crossed an important threshold – one million COVID-19 cases on the continent.

“More cases are detected beyond major cities, WHO is supporting countries to decentralise testing, tracing, isolation and treatment,” she said.

Edo 2020: 11 govs, ministers storm Benin as Ize-Iyamu kicks off campaign [THE NATION]

Before a teeming crowd comprising 11 state governors, ministers, All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains and party supporters, the APC on Saturday got its campaign in Benin for the September 19 governorship election underway, optimistic of victory.

Speaker after speaker at the rally held at the Sports Complex of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) said the party’s flag bearer in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has all it takes to take the state to a higher level of development if he wins the election.

The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, told APC chieftains who paid him a courtesy visit shortly before the rally that the state deserves peaceful campaigns and election, and all the parties should play the game according to the rule.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would not shift the election because of threats of violence by the political parties and their candidates.

National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said although the commission is disturbed by the situation in Edo State, it is not considering postponing the polls.

The immediate past national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, hailed the APC governors at the rally for identifying with the great people of Edo State and to “show that we will have a governor who will return Edo to earmark from ‘eyemark.’

He said: “I will tell you why the outgoing governor (Obaseki) is gone. G.O. in Godwin Obaseki means go. Pastor Ize-Iyamu will come and rekindle, re-energise, digitalise, consolidate, advance and prosper Edo people.

“Never again shall we have a governor who will describe Edo youths as miscreants. We do not have miscreants in Edo State. It is the business of the governor and the government to empower the poor and elevate them to the position of dignity.

Why we will vote APC – Lagos Igbo traders [THE NATION]

Igbo traders in Lagos have said that they will vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in all elections that will be held in the state.

According to them, this is because of the leadership of the lawmaker representing Oshodi/Isolo constituency 2 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Jude Idimogu.

This declaration was made during a get together of sons and daughters of Igbo extraction at the palace of Eze Christian Nwachukwu, Eze Igbo of Lagos, recently.

Speaking at the get together, Okey Anorue, Babaloja of Tejuosho market, phase 2, said that the lawmaker had demonstrated love for his people by visiting them at their homes, places of business and markets, reconciling the people in a way, nobody had done before.

“Idimogu has been mediating over disputes. He has visited the markets and preached peace in areas where there were issues. No previous leader has done that. He has also marketed the APC to us in such a way that we would be attracted to the party. This I must tell you is leadership. He is a humble man and that is why we have chosen to support him. We will vote for APC because of Idimogu” he said.

Presidency blasts PDP over attacks on Buhari, Ize-Iyamu [THE NATION]

The Presidency has said the main opposition party the, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), lacks the moral right to query President Muhmmadu Buhari’s endorsement of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) candidate in the Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The Presidency’s reaction trailed the PDP’s comments on and condemnation of President Buhari’s endorsement of Ize-Iyamu on Friday, casting aspersions on the person of the ruling party’s candidate and querying the President’s avowed fight against corruption in the country.

In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency noted that it was improper for a party, allegedly peopled by persons with running and pending graft court cases to be raising questions on the choice of another party. According to the statement, before the PDP could be taken seriously and its admonisions taken seriously, it would first need to answer questions on corruption allegations plastered over its 16 years of rule, as well as disown some of its governors with suspended graft court trials.

“The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has been struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States has, to our surprise, found the voice to attack the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration following the President’s endorsement of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s dashing candidate for the governorship election in Edo State. Forgetting its own history and antecedents, the PDP said in a garrulous statement that ‘the President ought to have been aware that the Candidate is standing trial for corruption’, and then went on rant against the government’s war against corruption, alleging its failure.

2023 presidency: Fresh hurdles before Ndigbo [THE NATION]

Increased demands for Nigeria’s President of Igbo extraction and varying reactions to the call have elicited early interest in how Africa’s most populous country will likely chose its president in 2023. Though three years away, the demands and subsequent reactions have not only brought the politics of 2023 presidency to the fore, they have also raised the question of the chances of Ndigbo to produce the country’s president in 2023.

Chiedu Okoye, a poet, in his contribution to the chances of Ndigbo to produce Nigeria President in 2023, pointed out two critical issues of interest when he said: “In the Fourth Republic, the Igbos fluffed a golden opportunity to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction when they betrayed the late Alex Ekwueme at the PDP Convention in Jos in 1998. At that time, he was in a pole-position to emerge as the PDP Presidential candidate in the run-up to the 1999 Presidential election.

“Had he won that PDP Presidential ticket, he would have become the President of Nigeria as PDP was the most formidable political party in Nigeria, but his Igbo compatriots, who were top members of PDP, sold him down the river for pecuniary and selfish reasons.

“Since the end of the civil war, the Igbo people have not reached a consensus on an issue, not to talk of their fighting to achieve a common objective with single-mindedness and uncommon resoluteness. Now, they work at cross-purposes regarding issues that are critical to the development of the Southeast; this has become a   major drawback in their quest to produce a Nigerian President of Igbo origin,” he said.

As Okoye pointed out, it has become clear that the Igbo as a major ethnic group in Nigeria, with abundant high quality human resources, stands a very good chance of producing Nigeria’s president in a free and fair election. The challenge therefore seems to lie mainly on the attitude of Igbo political leaders and the kind of politics Ndigbo have chosen to play since independence. It is instructive that in spite of the foremost role Ndigbo, led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, played in the struggle for independence, when it was time to share political offices, they lost out because of reasons still being debated by political scholars.

Also, since after the bloody civil war, when Ndigbo lost their prime leadership position in government and public offices in Nigeria, some informed observers have blamed top Igbo leaders for alleged failure to reach out to other ethnic groups so as to regain their trust. They are also blamed for seeming clearly divided on things that concern their region and people, like the things that transpired in PDP Convention in Jos in 1998 where Ekwueme lost out mainly because his people allegedly dumped him at the last minute.

Whether these allegations are true or not remains to be seen. But two things many seem to agree on are that for an Igbo man or woman to emerge the president of Nigeria, Igbo elite must first unite and play the primary role of winning the trust and support of the leaders of other Nigerians.

11 govs storm Edo for Ize-Iyamu, PDP tackles Tinubu [PUNCH]

No fewer than 11 governors under the platform of the All Progressives Congress stormed Benin, the Edo State capital, on Saturday for the flag-off of the party’s campaign ahead of the September 19 governorship election in the state.

This was as the Peoples Democratic Party has taken a swipe at the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over his statement on Friday that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State was the brains behind the crisis at the state House of Assembly.

At the ceremony, held at the University of Benin Sports Complex, the Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee of the party, Mai Mala Buni, led 10 governors and one deputy to the  event, attended by many party supporters.

Also present were the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Muhammad Abubakar (Jigawa); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna); Hope Uzodinma (Imo); Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Abubakar Bello (Niger);  were present.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was represented by his deputy, Mr Edward Onoja, while the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi was also present.

Presenting the party’s candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to the supporters, Buni, who is also the governor of Yobe State, said the party would reclaim the state.

He said, “We are in Edo State to take back our state. Four years ago, we were here and you voted for the APC and we know that you will do it again. We urge you not to be violent because victory is ours and we are here to win.”

Ganduje, who corroborated Buni’s position, said the party would win by a large margin across the state. “With this crowd, we are confident that victory is ours. We will reclaim Edo State,” he added.

Ize-Iyamu said going by the massive turnout of supporters, it was obvious that the APC was not an opposition party in the state.

He added, “With the people we are seeing today, will anybody say we are in the opposition? Can anybody say we will be intimidated? I want to assure them that in this election, we will not only win; we will win the 18 local governments.

“Let me assure you that never again will we have a governor that is ungrateful. We will have a governor that will respect Edo people, a governor that you can access, a governor that can empower our people and by the grace of God I will do it.”

Also speaking, Oshiomhole, who expressed confidence that Ize-Iyamu would win the election, stated that the governor had failed to fulfil his promises to Edo people.

He added, “Never again should we have a governor who will describe Edo youths as miscreants. Do we have miscreants in this Edo State? No! The government has to impact on the poor and uplift them to a level of dignity.

“Never again should we have a governor who will invite the President to come and do a commissioning of a forest that he is going to have an industrial park and today the bush is there. Do you want a governor that will sign an MoU? No.”

Buhari absent over APC candidate’s graft trial – Obaseki camp

The Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, claimed on Saturday that the President was absent from the APC inaugural campaign because of Ize-Iyamu’s corruption trial. The APC candidate is facing N700m corruption charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He said in a statement, “Once again, President Muhammadu Buhari reaffirmed his commitment to his administration’s fight against corruption by staying away from the public unveiling of the corruption-scarred governorship candidate of the APC.

“Knowing the collateral damage such a gesture would have caused the anti-corruption war and its promoters, home and abroad, the President decided to stay away.”

He pointed out that the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and some other party leaders were also absent.

In a related development, Osagie has faulted the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Mudashiru Obasa, over his claim that Obaseki was the brains behind the crisis at the Edo State House of Assembly.

“It is sheer recklessness and a proof of dictatorship for a governor who is supposed to be the head of the executive arm of government to decide to take charge of another arm through questionable means like it happened in Edo,” Obasa had said in a statement.

But in his response, Osagie said, “Obasa lacks independence of thought as he is controlled by the Lagos godfather. Nigerians should ignore his views, because he is merely amplifying the views of his paymaster and godfather.

“We understand the frustration of trying to please an overbearing godfather, but the point must be made that posterity will judge everyone who occupies a position of trust. While the godfather will not live forever, our roles in history will remain indelible in the sands of time.”

He advised the lawmaker not to always pander to the whims and caprices of political godfathers, even when evidence showed that they were clearly wrong.

I won’t support a northerner as president in 2023 –El-Rufai [PUNCH]

The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has said he would not support a northern candidate for the presidency in 2023.

El-Rufai said this on Saturday in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service as published by The Cable.

According to him, the idea of zoning the presidential seat is necessarily not constitutional, but is based on the country’s political arrangement which he believes should be respected.

The President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is from the North.

El-Rufai said, “The southern part of the country is supposed to produce the president come 2023; I don’t support a northerner to vie for the seat after President Muhammadu Buhari, based on Nigeria’s political arrangement.

“That is why I came out and said that after President Buhari has been in office for eight years, no northerner should run for office. Let the southerners also have eight years.

“If you look at how I am, I don’t take anyone to work with me for the zone he came from. The eligibility I look at is if who is entrusted to the public will hold it properly.”

The governor, however, said he had no interest in becoming the president in 2023 and termed rumours around such as being baseless.

He added, “It has been said that I have loved the presidency since I was a minister in the FCT. This is nonsense. I do not want the Nigerian presidency. God gives power, whether you like it or not, if He wants it, He will give it to you, but I have never sought the presidency of Nigeria, no one can say I have ever sought it.”

President Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, had earlier in an interview said he was against the zoning of the presidency.

Kashamu evaded justice, couldn’t escape death – Obasanjo [PUNCH]

A former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has described as sad the death of a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2019 election in Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu.

He, however, added that Kashamu allegedly used the instruments of law and politics to evade justice.

In a condolence message titled ‘Letter of condolence,’ addressed to the state governor, Obasanjo said, “I received the sad news of the demise of Senator Esho Jinadu (Buruji Kashamu), a significant citizen of Ogun State.  Please accept my condolences and that of my family on this irreparable loss.

“The life and history of the departed have lessons for those of us on this side of the veil. Senator Esho Jinadu (Buruji Kashamu) in his lifetime used the manoeuvre of law and politics to escape from facing justice on alleged criminal offence in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.

“But no legal, political, cultural, social or even medical manoeuver could stop the cold hand of death when the creator of all of us decides that the time is up.

“May Allah forgive his sins and accept his soul into Aljanah, and may God grant his family and friends fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

Obasanjo had in 2014 resigned his membership of the party when he wrote to the then Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, that he would cease to be a member of the party unless the party dissociated itself from Kashamu, who appeared to be the leader of the party in Ogun State.

In the letter dated January 7, he said, “Buruji Kashamu has been so extolled in PDP in South-West geo-political zone which I personally find unsavoury. Politics played by any national political party must have morality, decency, discipline, principles and leadership examples as cardinal practices of the party.

“While I continue to remain a card-carrying member of PDP, I cannot and I will not subscribe to a wanted habitual criminal being installed as my zonal leader in the party; a criminal for whom extradition has been requested by the US government. In the meantime, I will consider withdrawing my activity with PDP at local, state, zonal and national levels until the anomalous and shameful situation is corrected.”

Obasanjo later tore his party card openly and left the party.












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