Governor Lamido Praises Buhari at PDP Rally in Jigawa

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State yesterday reversed his earlier criticism of  the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen Muhammadu Buhari, and sang praises describing Buhari as an incorruptible and honest leader.

Lamido who recently has been critical of the APC presidential candidate, surprised his audience when he showered praises on Buhari at a local government campaign tour in Maigatari, Jigawa State, where he presented the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Malam Aminu Ibrahim Ringim, to the people.

“I agree like every other person that Buhari is an incorruptible, honest, clean and patriotic Nigerian. I don’t have any problem with Buhari as is perceived in some quarters. My concern has always been the defectors who our party PDP had made ministers, governors, speakers and members of National Assembly who left us after benefiting so much from the PDP,” he explained.

Lamido called on  party supporters in the area to vote for PDP candidates in the upcoming elections.
He said the party has delivered on its electoral promises in the last eight years adding that the PDP governorship candidate and his running mate, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, would continue the developmental projects in the state if elected in the February polls.

 

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Stop Stealing From Nigerians, Buhari Tells PDP…I Won’t Jail Anyone – Jonathan

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APCPCC) has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led Federal Government to stop stealing from Nigerians and allow them to enjoy the relief that has come to consumers of petroleum products globally.

A statement from the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the APC presidential campaign said it was disturbing that in spite of the fall in the global price of crude oil, Nigerians still buy petroleum products at pump prices as if the global price of crude oil had remained at  $100 (USD) per barrel.

The statement reads: “The current attempt by the government to deregulate the prices of some petroleum products has been completely compromised to satisfy few money bags to the detriment of the Nigerian people and the economy.

“The price of diesel which has been deregulated since 2009 still sells at the pump price of N150 and N170 per litre, the same pump price when the international benchmark per barrel of crude was over $100. Now that the international benchmark has dropped to $47.5 (USD) per barrel as at Monday, we ask: where is the deregulation and the relief which it ought to bring to local consumers of diesel?

“For the Nigerian consumers, unfortunately the collapse of crude oil price since October 2014 has not translated into any change in diesel, kerosene and PMS prices across the country.

“We challenge the federal government to reconcile the information on the website of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, indicating the maximum open market price of diesel pay per litre in December 2014 as being at N111.6 and the fact that the price has come down to less than $50 (USD) as at Monday.

“We want to posit that that the maximum indicative benchmark open consumers of diesel should pay is at a margin below N100 per litre. Therefore, Nigerians are being short-changed by about N50 to N70 on every litre of diesel sold by government.

“The implication of this is that with average consumption of about 12 to 15 million litres, Nigerians are currently extorted of amounts between N600 Million to N1 Billion daily due to corruption-induced poor regulatory oversight of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. No wonder some few industry players are smiling to the banks and buying private jets while small scale industrialists who buy diesel on daily basis for power generation and transportation find it difficult to break-even with their businesses.

“Similarly on Kerosene, information available on the website of the PPPRA puts the Open Market Price at N114.71 per litre although the market price is anything above N150 per litre when the global price for a barrel of crude oil was $65 (USD). Now that international price of crude is at $47.5 (USD) per barrel, why are Nigerians still buying kerosene per litre at the same price? Why are Nigerians not benefitting from the global shortfall in the prices of crude by having a cut in the pump prices of petroleum products?

“We are aware that there are examples in other African countries where governments have cut the pump prices of petroleum products to reflect the changes in the global oil market. Countries like South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya have announced cuts in pump prices of petroleum products, why can’t the Nigerian government do same?

“Given the failure of government to do the right thing by announcing a cut in the pump prices of these products, we are compelled to draw the conclusion that the federal government is short-changing Nigerians ostensibly to fund the campaign of the PDP presidential candidate.

“The APC Presidential Campaign challenges the federal government to make explanations on why Nigerians cannot benefit pricing reliefs on petroleum products as occasioned by the fall in the global price of crude oil. Anything should of this is a fraud and Nigerians should take note.

“As for PMS (petrol) the only product the government agrees as regulated at N97 per litre, the irony is that it does not even cost much as in the United States, a country that was importing oil from Nigeria until recently.

“Moreover, even the current budget is still heavy on subsidy with an allocation of N458.68 billion, a scheme that has become a conduit pipe over the years for which the children of ruling party leaders have been beneficiaries.”

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he would not be sending people to jail and as such would not be building more prisons if elected for another term of four years. He stated this today in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during his presidential campaign, adding that instead of creating more prisons, he would create more schools and train young people to go to the moon.

The president condemned the decision of the APC presidential candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, to send people to jail saying over corruption, stressing that “those who call themselves progressives and planning to jail people are hypocrites, we will create about two million jobs every year to cater for over one million graduates and youths who enter labour market every year.”

 

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Buhari Gets Igbo Name, Vows to End Boko Haram Insurgency in Months

The presidential flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday christened ‘Okechukwu’ (God’s portion) by the people of Imo State and announced by Governor Rochas Okorocha.

According to Okorocha, the new name will guide Buhari to victory for him to turn Nigeria around.

Okorocha, who received the party’s flag for next month’s governorship election, promised to build more industries and employ youths if he wins a second term.

While urging the people of the state to vote for Buhari, he dismissed the rumour that PDP was planning to rig the elections, maintaining that the feat would be impossible for PDP in the state.

Governor Okorocha also dispelled the rumour that Buhari will Islamise the country if he comes to power.

“Buhari is not wicked, nor selfish, nor corrupt. They told us that Buhari will Islamise Nigeria, yet his cook for over 25 years is a Christian, his driver for 30 years is a Christian, his last daughter is married to a Christian, and he did not Islamise Nigeria when he was a general (military ruler); that is a fabricated fallacy,” Okorocha said.

Meanwhile, Buhari has said that his presidency will tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and bring it to an end within a few months of coming into office.

Buhari made this pledge yesterday during the grand finale of his rally at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, the Imo State capital, where he was received by a mammoth crowd.

He promised that his APC-led government, when actualised, would sign an undertaking of good governance with Nigerians.

According to Buhari, who has always avowed that his administration would solve the problem of insecurity in the country, he would also provide massive employment opportunities for the youths and other cadre of unemployed citizens in the state.

“If we are elected, in a few months, Boko Haram will be a thing of the past,” he declared.

Buhari attributed the rampant crimes in the country to the epileptic power supply which, he noted, would encourage a legitimate business.

The former head of state further carpeted the present Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, describing it as the worst leadership the country has had. He urged the electorate to vote en masse for the APC to give the country a chance to revive its moribund institutions.

“We will build roads, provide drinking water, power; in the last 16 years, the likes of good education, health care and security were not there. This government has been the worst, so on 14th of next month, vote en masse and make sure they (your votes) are counted. If you don’t do it, it’s a risk to your life and wellbeing,” Buhari said.

 

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Gunmen Invade APC Chairman’s Residence, Party Raises Alarm Over Leaders Safety

Some gunmen early yesterday invaded the Abuja residence of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, a situation which compelled him to be absent at the commissioning of the party’s campaign headquarters and inauguration of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

The director-general of the PCC and Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, made this disclosure during yesterday’s event, where he revealed that the attackers tormented Oyegun’s family members.

“I start this speech today on a sad note; our chairman is not here because armed robbers attacked him last night. They broke into his house and thoroughly tormented his family.

“I had to break the news because we were supposed to be protected by the federal government of Nigeria, and if Abuja is no longer safe, only God knows where else will be safe.

“If the APC chairman could be robbed like this in his house in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, what is the hope of the common man under this administration?”

Meanwhile, in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by the APC national publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that while it hopes that a police investigation will unravel what happened, it nevertheless asserted that the attackers were either robbers or assassins.

The party further revealed that while its national chairman was away attending a meeting in Abuja when the invaders struck, his wife who was at home was left deeply traumatised.

‘’The facts of the raid as available so far point to a sinister motive. For example, only Chief Oyegun’s room was ransacked in the whole house. Common sense dictates that if the invaders were robbers,

they would have ransacked the whole house in search of money and other valuables which they might have believed were in the residence.

‘’The invaders, two burly men, removed the window anti-burglar bars to gain access to the residence from the back, and then made straight for the bedroom of our national chairman. Police security was in place at the residence when the incident happened,’’ APC said.

The party said while it did not know who was behind the raid, it is worth noting that the “angry rhetoric and vitriolic personality attacks” that have been directed at the opposition by the top leadership of the ruling PDP and their spokesmen have heightened tension and put the lives of opposition politicians at risk ahead of the forthcoming elections.”

 

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Gov Ahmed To Kick Off Campaign In Offa Wednesday

The gubernatorial campaign for the re-election bid of Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed will kick off at Offa Township Stadium, Offa on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by Publicity Secretary of APC in Kwara State, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, the party expressed its readiness to organise a hitch-free, peaceful and successful rally.

“The flag off ceremony of the gubernatorial campaign of our governorship candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed will hold at Offa Township Stadium, Offa, Kwara State on Wednesday, 14th of January, 2015 by 7:00am prompt.

“The historic event would be utilised to intimate the good people of Kwara State that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed is still the best man for the job. The successes of Mr Governor’s first term in office would be highlighted while the manifesto for continuity would be well-articulated for the benefits of Kwarans.

“The APC and the governorship campaign committee have concluded arrangements to ensure a hitch-free, peaceful and successful rally.

“All APC members across the 16 local government areas of Kwara State are enjoined to attend and mobilise en-masse for the historic event.

The party said,  “other campaign schedule would be released to the public at the appropriate time”.

“We reiterate our commitment to an issue-based campaign devoid of hatred and bitterness throughout the period of electioneering campaign. And we urge the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate to embrace issue-based campaign in the interest of peace and healthiness of the electoral system.”, the statement read.

 

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2015: Jonathan Begs Obasanjo

Desperately seeking former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s support for his re-election bid, President Goodluck Jonathan last night met with the ex-leader at his Hilltop mansion in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The meeting, which started at about 9pm, ended shortly before 10pm when those at the meeting drove out of the ex-president’s residence in a convoy of nine cars.

At the meeting, according to unconfirmed sources, were two major Christian leaders –  Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) General Overseer Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye and Winners Chapel’s Bishop David Oyedepo. Both church leaders could not be reached for comments last night.

It was learnt that the church leaders attended the meeting at Obasanjo’s  instance. He, according to sources, insisted when the President proposed the meeting that the religious leaders must witness the discussion.

The former president, it was gathered, said the president did not honour their previous agreements, hence the need for high profile witnesses.

Other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu and former  PDP chairman Senator Ahmadu Ali, were also believed to have attended the meeting.

The relationship between Jonathan and Obasanjo has been frosty.  Obasanjo has been a fierce critic of the Jonathan administration, knocking it for alleged corruption and slow response  to the Boko Haram challenge.

Attempts by Dr. Jonathan to woo the ex-President, who is his political godfather, included a meeting last month with Obasanjo by some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, led by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio. In that team were Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido, Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke and Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu.

Although neither Jonathan, who passed the night in Abeokuta, to enable him continue his campaign in the Southwest today – in Osogbo and Ado Ekiti – and tomorrow in Akure – nor Chief Obasanjo, was available to speak to anxious reporters after the meeting, sources said Obasanjo planned to use the talk as an avenue to ask the president some salient questions, most of which he had publicly raised, before the religious leaders.

These included the security of the country, the weeding out of his loyalists from their positions in the PDP, the matter concerning the SouthWest organising and mobilisation committee of the party, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, who the former president said he could not accept as his leader, among others.

Addressing the rally in Abeokuta,  Jonathan who begged Ogun electorate to give him their mandate the second time, acknowledged the place of the state in the nation. Jonathan fought back, slamming elders who “talk like motor park touts”.

The President mentioned the late Chief MKO Abiola, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo  – all from the state.

He also cited the late woman-activist, Madam Funmilayo Kuti, saying all of them were great leaders who worked for the uplift the nation and to the citizenry.

Jonathan said: “You gave us your support the last time; we are asking for support now. Your mandate given to us was not a failure. We have built railways that pass through Ogun.

“Our industrial policy has favoured Ogun and about  56 new industries have been opened here and you can imagine the number of jobs created through that.  This government is a business-friendly government.

“The agro- cargo airport which was pioneered by Gbenga Daniel when he was partnering the Federal Government, will be brought back to you and the   Olokola Free Trade Zone and others,  everything will be restored.”

The President scored his administration high, saying it tackled stealing and corruption from fertilisers procurement, established over a dozen universities and empowered women.

According to him, if elected, the Federal Government  would create two million jobs yearly to absorb the 1.8million Nigerians, who are being into the labour market yearly.

 

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Fani-Kayode Dumps APC, Says He Just Realised Jonathan Is A Responsible Leader

Barely few days after he voiced opposition to the speculation that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is planning to field a Muslim/Muslim ticket for the 2015 presidential election, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, has dumped the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The former minister who was at the Presidential Villa in Abuja today to meet with Jonathan, says he has just realised that President Goodluck Jonathan is a responsible leader.

Addressing State House journalists after the closed door meeting, Fani-Kayode said he would never agree to the alleged plan by the APC to field two Muslims as presidential candidate and running mate for the 2015 general elections.

He said though he had been a critic of Jonathan’s administration, there was nothing wrong in resolving “issues” with the president.

Fani-Kayode later headed for the Office of the Chief of Staff to the president.

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APC Christian Leaders Threaten To Quit Over Speculations Of A Buhari/Tinubu Ticket

The speculation over the possibility of the All Progressives Congress (APC) fielding former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its presidential and vice-presidential in the 2015 general election has continued to generate heated reactions.

The reactions are basically because the party would be fielding a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket in the persons of Buhari and Tinubu.

As a result, some leaders of the party, who are Christians, are insisting that the party should present a Muslim/Christian ticket through a primary election or they would leave the party, Punch has gathered.

It also stated that the leaders also kicked against a consensus candidature, which they described as an imposition by a section of the leadership.

Even though the party, through its spokesman, Mr. Lai Mohammed, has denied the plan to present a Buhari/Tinubu ticket, which some top hierarchy of the party allegedly planned to field through a consensus arrangement, with the hope of helping the party sweep the North-West, North-East, South-West and Edo State in the South-South, it has not stopped prominent Christian members from protesting and threatening to quit the party.

It was further learnt that those angry with the leadership of the party included members who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC.

Five PDP governors, 37 members of the House of Representatives and members of the defunct New PDP, a breakaway faction of the PDP, had dumped the ruling party for the opposition party in 2013.

Majority of the Christian leaders, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday, described the alleged plan to field Buhari and Tinubu as the party’s candidates as “unfair and inconsiderate.”

A top Christian official of the party, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, said aspirants should go through a primary election and the party must present a Muslim/Christian ticket to the electorate.

“They have been nursing the plan for long and they are close to hatching it. Any Buhari/Tinubu or Muslim/Muslim ticket may mark the end of the party. It will be an insult to us the Christians and we will not hesitate to leave their party for them,” the source stated.

Another aggrieved top shot of the party, who also pleaded anonymity, said although Buhari and Tinubu had not made their intention to contest known, the alleged plan was already creating tension in the party.

“That is what they want to do and we will not agree with it. A lot of us are aware but nobody wants to speak out yet. It is an open secret; everybody is aware. There is a massive reaction against it from all corners. Even APC members in the United Kingdom and America are protesting. Christian leaders in Nigeria have been calling us to say they will not support a Muslim/Muslim ticket.

“They stand the risk of splitting this party if they are not careful. This is a very sad development. The Peoples Democratic Party will take advantage of it. Some people that joined us from the PDP are already threatening to go back because of this Muslim/Muslim ticket controversy,” the source stated

Similarly, the first civilian governor of Edo State, John Odigie-Oyegun, who is a prominent member of APC, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday, that a primary election must take place to elect candidates.

He said, “I know the party has been discussing this issue (ticket) and we are in the process of setting up our structures. It is for the people to decide; not even the national executive can take that decision. We must have primaries. Even if there is only one aspirant, we will still conduct a primary election to confirm the aspirant. It is impossible to impose. Who can impose? With the way the party is structured, it won’t be easy for anybody to impose.”

A former Minister of Aviation and member of the APC, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, had on Monday warned the leadership of the party against fielding Muslims as both its presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the election.

He said, “I have said it privately in countless political meetings and I will say it publicly today. Please mark it, the biggest mistake that my party, the APC, can make is to field a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the 2015 Presidential election. If we do that, we will not only offend the Christian community but we will also lose the election woefully.”

However, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Nasir el-Rufai, in his response to Fani-Kayode on social media, said the APC would present an integrity-competence ticket and not one based on religion. “Politics and governance are not to be mixed or dictated to by any religion,” he stated.

El-Rufai added, “The APC will present to Nigerians the best persons with the integrity, capacity and competence to create jobs, fight corruption and rebuild our nation without discrimination.

“How these persons worship the Almighty God is private to them and does not matter  to  discerning Nigerians, particularly young people that suffer most from bad governance, unemployment and the Jonathanian culture of impunity.”

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Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday, however, Fani-Kayode advised those nursing the plan to forget about it.

He said, “Presenting a Muslim/Muslim ticket for the 2015 presidential election no matter how cleverly rationalised, defended or justified in the pursuit of an ideal or in the name of political correctness, will be a terrible insult to the 80 million Christians that are part and parcel of this country and it will result in their voting, en masse, for another party.”

He said present-day politics was different from that of 1993, when a Muslim/Muslim ticket won the presidential election. He warned that Christians should not be taken for granted or sacrificed “on the altar of political expediency.”

“Any party that seeks to do that ceases to be a political party and can be better described as a religious cult and no Christian worth his salt can or will ever be a member of such a cult. I will not be a party to such and I will leave if they are not comfortable with the truth.” the ex-minister stated.

Another Christian leader of the party, who did not want his name mentioned, on Friday said the party risked disintegration, if the leadership decided to present its candidates through consensus arrangement. He said all aspirants should be offered a level–playing field.

“If they pick Buhari as the consensus candidate, or even if he wins in the primary contest, and he picks a Muslim running mate, what do you think would happen? Do you think the Christian leaders in the APC would sit back and take that?

“They know what the reaction would be but they don’t care. They believe they can attract Muslims from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC to support them; they will get the votes of Muslims in the core North and in the North-Central; and they believe they will add up the votes of Muslims in the South-West.

“The APC might lose in the South-West, where the votes of Muslims and Christians are almost 50-50. Yoruba Christians will not support such a thing no matter what. The electorate in the South-East, the South-South and Christians in the North-Central would not support a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“The PDP would attract all these people and President Goodluck Jonathan will come back. They think they can use religion to defeat Jonathan but every Christian will leave the APC.”

In a related development, the Christian Association of Nigeria has faulted a Muslim/Muslim ticket for the presidency. It said the norm was that a Muslim would pick a Christian running mate.

The General Secretary, CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, said, “If you look at the composition of the APC right now, they are strictly a Muslim party. When late Chief MKO Abiola ran for presidency (in 1993), he was a Muslim and he chose a Muslim running mate. Sections unanimously voted for him without complaints. But you won’t get such from the Muslims. They want us to follow them, whether we like it or not.

“They are changing the politics in Nigeria but we are not going to go in that direction again. They should be very careful.

Speaking through the former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, Buhari said there would be no imposition in the APC.

He said, “Everything is still very speculative. If you look at how late Chief Obafemi Awolowo played his politics, he didn’t take all these religious balances into account. He went for the best candidates in his time.

“It was during the 2011 elections that religious intolerance and religious politics was raised to a very feverish height in this nation.”

Efforts to reach the Interim National Publicity Secretary, APC, Lai Mohammed, were abortive as his telephone line was switched off, while a text message sent to him was not replied.

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“Religion Does Not Matter In Governance,” El-Rufai Speaks Again On APC Presidential Ticket

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and chieftain of the APC,  Mallam Nasir El rufai has declared that the religion of a person does not matter in his discharge of governance duties.

The Deputy National Secretary of the APC wrote on his facebook page that “If APC presents what you call a Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim ticket, I will support it providing the persons have a track record of integrity and competence. I would not care about their religion. I stand by that statement.”

“That is my opinion, not APC’s”, El rufai said.

There had been speculation that the APC was preparing to present a former Head of State, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and an erstwhile Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

Giving his views on the speculation Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had written on 1st April 2014 as follows:

“APC will present an integrity-competence ticket not religion. Politics and governance are not to be mixed or dictated to by any religion.”

“The APC will present to Nigerians the best persons with the integrity, capacity and competence to create jobs, fight corruption and rebuild our nation without discrimination. How these persons worship the Almighty God is private to them and dies not matter to discerning Nigerians particularly young people that suffer most from bad governance, unemployment and the Jonathanian culture of impunity.

“The PDP that has no record to show other than escalation in corruption, grand larceny, trillions missing, private jets and deaths of innocent people. The PDP’s only “winning strategy” is built around promoting and financing regional and religious division, and using the proceeds of corruption to buy the military, police and INEC officials rig the next elections.

“They will be defeated no matter what they think because Nigerians are wiser and will not be taken for a ride any longer.”

El rufai also yesterda today that “In my life time, I have seen leadership tickets like Yakubu Gowon-Akinwale Wey, Buhari-Idiagbon and Abiola-Kingibe giving me hope that these divisions are contrived. The religions of these Nigerian leaders did not affect my Islamic faith or practice one way or another.

“I am the Deputy National Secretary of the APC not because I am a Muslim, but because my legacy party the CPC nominated me as someone that can represent all Nigerians and have something to offer. Those that see my appointment any other way are simply divisive bigots but are entitled to their jaundiced views. It does not mean I will accept that.

“Nigeria needs honest, competent leaders to pull us out of the grave of corruption, impunity, hopelessness and joblessness that Jonathan’s dishonesty and incompetence has buried us. Such persons of any religion are welcome in my view. But that is only my view.”

Commenting further on APC leadership criteria El rufai referred to a statement by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State – himself a Muslim – that Nigerians “must decide whether you want someone who spends most of his time in church or mosque, or the man who is ready to spend his time on the job.”

Fashola’s name had been mentioned consistently as possible APC vice-presidential material before the Buhari/Tinubu ticket came up.

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PDP Crisis Depeens As Presidency Renews Verbal Attack on 5 Northern Governors

Goodluck4The reconciliation meeting held between President Goodluck Jonathan, former president Olusegun Obasajo and some prominent governors in the Peoples Democratic Party may have failed to achieve any result as the presidency yesterday renewed its verbal warfare with five northern states’ governors, describing their trips across the country and alleged consultations with some prominent Nigerian leaders as deceitful.

The five northern governors – Aliyu Babangida of Niger State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and Aliyu Wamako of Sokoto State have been criss-crossing the country and consulting with some prominent Nigerian leaders on the way out of the lingering crises in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

But the Presidency has faulted the governors’ move, saying that they were pursuing personal interests and using the challenges in the north as a cloak.

Speaking as the guest of the week at Liberty FM Radio yesterday in Kaduna, special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, said despite the moves by the governors, President Jonathan will “resoundingly” win re-election in 2015 in the event of him joining the presidential race.

Commenting on the newly registered All Progressives Congress (APC), Okupe said, it will not survive till election time in 2015.

Although he admitted that the election will be keenly contested, Okupe insisted that the opposition parties, which have formed a coalition ahead of the race, will collapse before 2015.

He told his audience, “The polity is being overheated today not because of anything but because people are positioning themselves for the 2015 elections, and, unfortunately, some people are looking for handicap match.  Whoever wants to take over power from Jonathan should come out and contest for it; we are ready.”

The presidential aide said the PDP will not lose sleep over the coming of the APC because it lacks foundation to match the ruling party in an electoral contest. “Who can be afraid of a thatched house that is being put together by some expired people? They won’t go far,” he said. “The coming together of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to form APC makes it easier for us to just chance them once and for all. APC cannot last more than a year. This is a party that is formed on faulty foundation, this is a party that has come together not for the interest of the country. APC is formed not because they want to help Nigeria but because they want power and self-aggrandisement. The leaders of the APC want to expand their frontiers and they want to expand their business empires.”

He further stated: “Nigeria is not in the dream of APC apart from cheap talk. They don’t have a manifesto; they only go around painting themselves as if they are serious.  They are a group of people who have no ideology except hatred or personal aggrandisement. This is not the change Nigerians want; they are not the messiah Nigerians want. APC is mega nonsense; it does not even look like a mega party.”

Okupe noted that the tension in the country is due to the fears that the president will run in 2015, adding that “nobody should stop anybody from exercising a right that is guaranteed under the country’s constitution.  Nigerians must wake up and decide on what they want”.

“The problem in the country is not far-fetched: President Jonathan came in under a controversial circumstance. The north felt that with the demise of President Umaru Yar’Adua, the region should continue to produce the leadership. And some people felt that having President Jonathan as a leader is like an affront,” he added.

According to the president’s aide, the problem with Nigeria is rooted in the fact that the elite and Nigerians have not decided on the nation’s state, whether they want to have a country.

On the political crisis in Rivers State, Okupe said: “What is happening in River State is an over-dramatization of the preparation for 2015 and nothing more.”

He said the governors of Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano, Niger and Sokoto states, who are on the forefront of the anti-Jonathan campaign, were using Governor Rotimi Amaechi to further their personal interests. He said: “These five northern governors that are so motivated and concerned about the destiny of Nigeria, why were they not motivated when the Boko Haram crisis was destroying the north? Why have they not gone around the country and the north on how to solve the problem? Why were they not concerned about the thousands of people that were being bombed in their mosques and churches under their watch? They are just joking. They are doing this for their personal interest.”

Responding to the claims by former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that Nigeria was sitting on a time-bomb, Okupe said if there was any time-bomb, “they are bombs that are being manufactured by el-Rufai and his cliques and God has not allowed those bombs to explode”.

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Gov Fashola Denies Presidential Ambition

Governor Babatunde FasholaLagos state Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola has has denied nursing any presidential ambition just as he dissociated himself from an advertisement published in Nigeria’s newspapers, rallying support for him to contest the 2105 presidential election.

A statement by the governor’s special adviser on media and publicity, Hakeem Bello described the advertisers as “unknown persons”

“This is to disclaim and dissociate the Governor and the State Government from this unsolicited and unwarranted venture.

“This is against the backdrop of the fact that Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is focused on sustaining the high tempo of development engendering governance right till the end of his second tenure in Office and therefore cannot yield to distractions by any individual or group of mischief makers.

“Members of the public are hereby implored to ignore the said advert and also be wary of the antics of people with such dubious intentions. Please be vigilant”, concluded the statement.

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Governors’ Forum Is Not Divided, We Know Ourselves, Says Akpabio

AkpabioAkwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio has said the Nigerian Governors’ Forum is not divided as being reported, assuring that the forum would come out of the present fracas as a stronger and more formidable organisation to foster development and progress in the country.

Akpabio who stated this when he received the executive members of Association of Movie Producers led by its President, Mr. Zulu Okafor at Governor’s Office, Uyo, added that the Forum was planning to merge soon.

According to him, “People think that Nigerian Governors’ Forum is divided, we are not because we know ourselves. We are His Excellencies, so we will come back in a very excellent manner than we were before because we are all committed to Nigeria.

“It is unfortunate that what is happening is attracting much attention and people are writing and writing. But maybe we will be able to put fact straight so that Nigerians can actually see the perspective. As leaders, our job is to ensure peace,” he said..

 

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