Godswill Akpabio, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, is putting all his papers together preparatory to heading to the Supreme Court to challenge Monday’s disqualification from the Akwa Ibom North West seat at the Senate, which he vacated to be a Minister.
The two-term former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was initially listed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the race next year, is contesting on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
He had earlier won the first battle at the lower court, with an order by a Federal High Court, Abuja that INEC should publish his name, a decision the appellate court upturned on Monday, as the challenge for the position intensifies.
The appellate court had set aside the earlier order, following the appeal by Udom Ekpoudom, former Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), who had reportedly won the APC primary for election into the district in May, while Akpabio was pursuing a presidential bid.
Reacting to the development, the former Minister, also a lawyer, said In a statement, that it was imperative to note that he was not joined in the case, adding: “Whilst awaiting a copy of the said judgment to be made available to me and any other interested party, it is important to state that I am a lawyer by training and a law abiding citizen of this country and I am bound by our laws and judgements emanating from our courts including the one under reference.
“My lawyers on my advice and brief have commenced the scrutiny of the contents of the judgment as read, for purposes of seeking appropriate legal redress. I am aware that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has the final say in these matters.
“I therefore strongly advise my supporters, APC members and all my constituents to remain calm and law abiding, as they continue their campaigns for the successes of the APC in Akwa Ibom north west senatorial district, Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria at large.”
BREAKING: North will make me President – Tinubu *I’ve a pact with N-governors
Amid permutations ahead of the 2023 general elections, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu is banking on his alliance with some outgoing northern governors to get votes in the region.
At the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos State on Saturday during a rally, Tinubu boasted that his alliance with the governors of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, and Plateau will deliver for him the bulk of the votes he needs to outsmart his main opponents including Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Tinubu’s statement comes five months after about 10 northern governors backed his candidacy at a keenly contested primary in June.
“Can you see the governors of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, and Plateau?” Tinubu asked a crowd of APC supporters decked up in party paraphernalia on Saturday.
“We won’t lose any of the states. We will govern this country together. They are here in Lagos to show their support for me,” he added in Yoruba.
The governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007 also urged the party’s supporters to get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote for him at the February polls.
In attendance at the rally include APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat; amongst other APC stalwarts.
Historically, since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, the northern region of the country had the highest voter turnout at presidential elections and the top contenders for Aso Rock’s top job in 2023 have since pitched their tents to win over most of the 19 states in the region.
For instance, Kano had over 1.8 million cumulative votes – the highest by any state in the 2019 presidential election. The state has witnessed some of the highest defections amongst PDP, NNPP and APC of late. Kano is home to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, a Tinubu ally; Ibrahim Shekarau, an Atiku supporter; as well as Kwankwaso, who relies on his base and socio-political movement, Kwankwasiyya to get votes in the north.
Also during the 2019 presidential election, Kastina and Kaduna polled 1.5 million separate votes, Plateau with over 1 million votes, Kebbi with a total of 650,000 votes, and Kwara with a paltry over 400,000 total votes – all mainly shared between the APC’s Muhammadu Buhari and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar. Other states with heavy numerical voter strength based on past elections include Jigawa, and Bauchi, amongst others.
At the last election, Kastina-born Buhari won 19 states, many of which were northern APC states while Adamawa-born Atiku won 18 states – with a total of 15 million to 11 million votes respectively.
According to Section 34 of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections, a presidential candidate can only be announced as the winner if he or she “has the majority of votes cast at the election; and has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.” This means that a candidate must get 25% of votes in 24 states across the Federation to win a presidential election.
At the moment, APC controls 21 states with the exclusion of Osun which will become a PDP state on Sunday, November 27, 2022, when Ademola Adeleke is sworn in. Similarly, PDP controls 13 states as of press time while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) controls Anambra State.
However, Tinubu is confronted with a major hurdle due to his choice of Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State, and fellow Muslim as running mate, a development that has been rejected by Christian groups and leaders.
Also, there are fears that the intra-party squabbles between the G5 led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Atiku over the chairmanship of Iyorchia Ayu would affect the chances of the PDP presidential candidate at the polls next February. A former national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole recently said the neutrality of the G5 is good for Tinubu’s chances.
On the other hand, Tinubu faces a new challenger in the game – Obi – a new bride and darling of many Nigerian youths who are tired of the two dominant parties – the PDP and the APC.
Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, have vowed to push out the APC from Aso Rock. “Whoever thinks that Labour Party or Obi-dient movement or Peter Obi as an individual is not being welcomed in the north, they are making a huge mistake,” Baba-Ahmed had said.
Although at least three polls have put Obi ahead of other candidates, only time will unveil the winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Culled from Channels TV
Obi’s plane didn’t crash – LP *FG yet to explain reason for grounding it
Peter Obi, his supporters and the Labour Party (LP), are currently in a situation of confusion as to the reason the Federal Government, refused its branded campaign plane was refused to take off on a day it planned campaign trip to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The government, is said to have remained silent n why it grounded the Obidient Aircraft or Obidient Plane, acquired by the Labour Party Presidential Candidate for the 2023 election, according to the media office, which disclosed this in a statement.
The statement, signed by Diran Onifade, Head of Media of Obi-Datti Campaign Organisation, however, quoted the leasing vendor as saying: “Federal authorities won’t allow the Obidient Aircraft to file a flight plan, because of ongoing regulatory investigations,” adding that the campaign was surprise over the development, as it was “not privy to the specific details or nature of the investigations.”
The statement reads: “The Obi-Datti Media Office has expressed surprise at the yet to explained grounding of its campaign aircraft. The action led to the inability of Labour Party and campaign officials, who had already gathered at Lagos and Abuja Airports, to attend the Ibadan rally.
“All we know is what the leasing vendor told us to the effect that “Federal authorities won’t allow the Obidient Aircraft to file a flight plan, because of ongoing regulatory investigations.”
“We are not privy to the specific details or nature of the investigations. Mischievous political operatives had cheaply seized the opportunity to spread the unfounded rumours of an air crash which was promptly dispelled. The Ibadan rally was however a huge success with the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, making a stop at Iseyin Town before joining a multitude of organic supporters at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.”
PDP no longer a national party, needs total rebirth – Chidoka
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has lost the status of a national party, for a regional outfit, Osita Chidoka, Former Minister of Aviation, said on Monday, warning that this situation could worsen if the party failed to win back the North in the 2023 elections.
Chidoka, also former Corp Mashal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), said during an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, that the former ruling party for 16 years, but now the nation’s main opposition lost the status gradually over the years.
He argued that the only way to go was for the party, which controlled power in many states of the North and South, which made it a national party at inception, gradually ceded the status, when it began losing many states in the North, saying the situation must be reversed.
The only way to do that he maintained was for the party to maintain power in the South South and South East, and focus on North, which he said must be its priority in the coming elections, where Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President, from the North is now the presidential candidate of the party.
His words: “The challenge is understanding the future of the party. PDP is going through a serious metamorphosis. In 1999, PDP was a national party made up of the North and the South East and the South South. In 2003, that changed, PDP became a South West, South East, South South, Middle Belt and some northern states party. By 2011, the country had divided into two, and PDP had become a southern party more or less, losing all the northern states in the presidential election.
“By 2015, we had lost including the middle belt, and the PDP was relegated almost to the South East and the south-south. What we have now in the PDP is what I called a northern strategy. Restoring PDP as a national platform that cuts across its base in the South East and South South and cuts across the North. Without us winning back the North into the PDP as a party, we will not be able to remain a viable national platform.
“What is at stake today is the mechanism of doing that. That ability to win back the North into the fold of the PDP must not be at the expense of losing our base. So, it is that conversation that is going on within the PDP. I believe we will find a middle ground in that.”
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