2023: Why Some Candidates Avoid Debates – Group
The Rivers Debate Group has said that candidates who do not appear for debates have nothing to offer the people.
Chairman, Rivers Debate Group, Mr Ibifiri Bobmanuel, who spoke on Arise Television programme, said candidates should appear before the people and explain to them their plans.
Bobmannuel, who emphasized the importance of debate, stated that politicians who aspire to hold one position or another in the country, should also go through the screening process of someone applying for a job.
“You could liken the scenario where we recruit our staff in the house or our office. You put them through a basic interview process.
“But I wonder why when it comes to the case of you employing or giving an opportunity for someone to serve you as a leader, be it a governor or be it a president of a country, you don’t put them through that leadership funnel.
“And generally in the country, we think that’s what we should do. In a case where you find out that you have an electioneering circle and you find out that some of the candidates are not showing up, it simply means they have nothing to offer,” he said.
While explaining that candidates of various political parties need to connect with the people, Bobmannuel reiterated that debate is an opportunity for candidates to share their blueprint.
He believes that debates help undecided voters make a decision.
“If you don’t put them through a basic debate process where you ask them questions and how they intend to bring all of that into fruition, obviously you’ll be having darkness.
READ ALSO: How I Escaped Assassination, Atiku’s Rivers Campaign DG Narrates
“We take our time, put them through the debate process and get the undecided make their choice, based on what the candidates say,” he added.
On the current financial crunch faced by Nigerians, Bobmanuel stated that certain policies initiated by the President would have been reconsidered if he had participated in the presidential debate.
He said the whole idea is to keep pushing for the country to get better, while also holding leaders accountable to their promises.
Opposition Planning To Truncate My Swearing-in, Tinubu Raises Alarm
…Tells, Atiku, Obi, ‘You Can’t Be In Court And On The Streets
The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has raised the alarm over alleged plots by some aggrieved partisans to truncate the transition process, particularly his expected swearing-in on May 29.
Tinubu in a statement by his Director, Public Affairs and Minister of State Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo SAN also warned the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and that of the Labour Party LP, Mr Peter Obi against taking to the streets while also pursuing their cases in court.
In the statement issued Saturday in Abuja, the President-elect noted that those who have taken to the streets protesting against his mandate are fixated on having an Interim National Government ING.
Part of the statement reads; “We have watched with great concern the condemnable activities of some persons and groups who are desirous of truncating our democracy.
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“For reasons best known to them, these persons have remained embittered that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared winner of the 2023 General Elections. Repeatedly, but unfortunately, these misguided individuals have called for either the cancellation of the results or that the President-elect should not be inaugurated on the 29th of May, 2023.
“We wish to reiterate and emphasise that these positions are not in tandem with our constitutional provisions or our electoral laws. We would have taken these as mere wishful thinking, however, because of their implications for national security and public order, we have therefore considered it necessary, if not expedient, to call them to order.
“We are aware of the intentions of those engaged in these treasonable and subversive acts. We also know those involved in the many plots being contrived to undermine the transition in particular and democracy in general. They are fixated on an Interim Government. They have done it in this country before and it threw the country into avoidable crises for many years and they want to do it again. They are bent on delegitimizing the new government. Some have made treasonable insinuations and openly called for military take-over. It is for these reasons that they are desperate to incite the people against the incoming Government.
“It is perplexing to see that those contesting the results want to be in the courts and on the streets at the same time. However, if their intention is to truncate the inauguration of the President-elect and Vice-President-elect, they should immediately bury the thought. It is gratifying to note that the President has set in motion steps for the actualisation of the swearing-in ceremonies. In this regard, the Presidential Transition Council has remained focused and committed to its Terms of Reference in respect of organizing a hitch-free handover”.
READ ALSO: BREAKING: Anti-Tinubu Protesters Ground Abuja, Demand Interim Govt, Fresh Polls
The statement noted that on many occasions after the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the election, his public speeches and utterances have centred on reconciliation, forgiveness and a greater vision for Nigeria.
It added that the President-elect knows those who are sponsoring violent protests against his mandate as well as their sponsors from within and outside Nigeria and shall be working closely with the security agencies to apprehend them and bring them to book
“He has pledged fairness as the basis for his present and future engagements. He has unequivocally stated that he would not accord favour to those that supported him, and neither would he mistreat those who did not vote for him. This is statesmanly and patriotic. We all watched the President-elect as Governor of Lagos for eight years. He never undermined any person or tribe. He championed people-oriented policies. It is common knowledge that he is a welfarist and a pacifist. This is even more so that millions of citizens have spoken through the ballot box in his favour.
“By being declared winners, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima are legally entitled to be inaugurated into office as provided for by law and as we have practised since 1999, whilst those who feel otherwise have the right to seek legal redress in court. Why should their situation be different from what we have practised since 1999?
“Those who are dissatisfied with the declaration must conduct themselves within the ambits of the law. Nigeria is not a lawless country and should not be portrayed as such no matter the frustrations as presently being exhibited by some bad losers.
READ ALSO: How INEC Deployed Device To Switch Results In Tinubu’s Favour — Atiku
“Those who are stoking the embers of hate, division and falsehoods as well as peddling misleading narratives through some compromised media outlets should detract from such. It amounts to campaigning after elections. Hate speeches, fake news and propaganda at a time like this are needless because Nigerians have already made their choice. Those who are bent on scuttling the process will ignite the fire of destruction and run away. But they should not even start.
“We simply wish that peace reigns in the country. It does not make sense that some persons who should know better are encouraging violence and are so determined to achieve that.
“We know these persons and their sponsors from within and outside Nigeria and we shall be working closely with the security agencies to apprehend them and bring them to book. Our concern is that everyday Nigerians who are unaware of the evil intentions of these persons should not be used as cannon fodders. Enough is enough. Their continuous determination to dare us should cease forthwith. We are not lacking in capabilities and capacities. Our silence should not be taken for cowardice. We should come together for the peace of our beloved country. It is better”, Keyamo added.
JUST IN: APC Denies Suspending Deputy Spokesperson
The All Progressives Congress APC has debunked reports that it suspended a member of its National Working Committee NWC and Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Murtala Yakubu Ajaka.
This was as it emerged that one of the signatories to the said suspension letter, Danjuma Sani Ejika had reportedly died in 2022.
The Kogi state chapter of the APC had been hit with a series of post-election crisis, a development that led to a raft of suspensions which affected nine state assembly members accused of terrorism and seven local government chairmen accused of anti party activities.
Ajaka was also purportedly suspended by the entire executive members of APC, Ajaka Ward 1, Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State, in a letter dated March 20, over “alleged anti-party activities, insubordination, gross misconduct, unguided statement, running parallel party structure and encouraging factionalism in the party”.
READ ALSO: BREAKING: Court Orders Service Of Petitions On Tinubu Through APC
In a swift reaction on Friday, ward chairman of the party, Omale Danladi denied authoring any letter suspending Ajaka.
In a sworn affidavit deposed to at the Kogi State High Court, Danladi said; “At the late hours of 23rd March, 2023, I was informed of a purported letter of suspension alongside a document containing names and signatures of party’s Ward Executive members purportedly present at the meeting whereat the decision to suspend our party leader, principal and Gubernatorial Aspirant, Alh. Murtala Yakubu Ajaka was reached. Copies of the said documents are herein attached and marked as Exhibit A and B respectively.
“The said letter, as appeared on the face, was purportedly signed by me alongside my Ward Secretary of the Party.
“That upon sighting the letter and the content, I was completely surprised, as I am completely unaware of the letter and the content contained therein.
“That I completely deny the letter along with the allegations contained therein, as same is entirely false.
“That the letter of suspension was not written by any member of the Ajaka Ward 1 Executives of the party.
“That there was no meeting of the Ward 1 Executive to suspend Alh. Murtala Yakubu Ajaka.
“That I unequivocally deny the letter along with the allegations contained therein, as same is completely false.
READ ALSO: PDP Floors APC At Government House Polling Unit In Kaduna
“That to make the falsehood more glaring, the said Danjuma Sani Ejika (Welfare Secretary) whose name appears on the attached Exhibit A, died in 2022.
“That I have no reason whatsoever to criticize Alh. Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, talk more of writing or signing a letter for his suspension. That the letter is only a ploy to denigrate my person and of the executive members of my ward.
“That the letter could only have been orchestrated by mischief makers who are out to cause mischief between me and my Excos and to frustrate the political ambition of our endearing brother and leader, Alh. Murtala Yakubu Ajaka.
“That I depose to this affidavit in good faith, solemnly and conscientiously believing same to be true and in accordance to the Oaths Act”, he added.
In a letter written to Ajaka and signed by Danladi alongside the Ward Secretary, Suleiman Abubakar, the party also denied suspending him.
Part of the letter reads; “We, the leadership of our great Party, the All Progressives Congress APC, Ward 1, Ajaka in Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State wish to and hereby deny the purported letter of your suspension alongside all the allegations contained therein in entirety, as they are completely frivolous, false and a calculated attempt by political enemies to tarnish the image of the generality of Ward 1 Party Excos and to distract and frustrate your selfless political ambition.
READ ALSO: Alleged Suspension Of 9 APC Leaders In Esan Central False – Inegbeneki
“The falsehood and mischief of the mischief makers becomes more glaring from the inclusion of the name and signature of our deceased Exco member by the name Danjuma Sani Ejika (Welfare Secretary) who died on 13th April, 2022 on a purported document containing the names and signatures of Ajaka Ward 1 Exco members present at the purported meeting whereat the decision to suspend you was reached.
“What is more, the place, date and time when we, the Ajaka Ward 1 leadership of our great party reached the purported decision to suspend you is not stated on the letter.
“While we regret all the inconveniences and pandemonium occasioned by this mischievous act of the political enemies, may we use this medium to reiterate our unalloyed support for you before, during and after the elections and to further assure you that, with your unmatched records and by the grace of God, your victory in the forthcoming elections is assured”.
BREAKING: Court Orders Service Of Petitions On Tinubu Through APC
The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, on Friday, ordered that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, should be served with copies of petitions seeking to nullify his election, through substituted means.
A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, directed that the petitions should be served on Tinubu, through his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The ruling followed separate ex-parte applications that were brought before the court by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
READ ALSO: Tinubu’s Victory: Peter Obi Ungrateful, I Never Worked Against Him – Wike
The duo accused the President-elect Tinubu, of deliberately avoiding the service of their petitions on him.
They told the court that several attempts they made to effect service of the petitions on Tinubu, proved abortive.
According to the petitioners, the President-elect deliberately made himself elusive with a view to frustrating their effort to hand him copies of the petition as required by the law.
Consequently, relying on Section 6(6a) and 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, Section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act, as well as Paragraph 8 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2022, the petitioners sought the intervention of the Court.
Both Atiku and Obi further supported their ex-parte motions dated March 23, with affidavits of urgency and non-service, even as they persuaded the court to hear the applications, outside the pre-hearing session of their substantive petitions.
READ ALSO: JUST IN: PDP Suspends Fayose, Anyim, Others, Refers Ortom To Disciplinary Committee
While Atiku’s application was moved on Friday by his legal team led by Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, that of Obi and LP was moved by Mr. Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN.
“Having heard the applications by counsel to the petitioners including the affidavit in support, the applications are hereby granted”, the Justice Ikyegh-led panel ruled.
The panel equally granted leave to the Allied Peoples Movement, APM, to also serve its own petition on Tinubu, via substituted means.
It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on March 1, declared Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the presidential poll, ahead of 17 other candidates that contested the election.
According to INEC, Tinubu, scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku who polled a total of 6,984,520 votes and Obi of the LP who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.
However, both Atiku and Obi rejected the outcome of the election which they insisted was rigged in Tinubu’s favour.
Aside from accusing INEC of acting in breach of its own electoral Regulations and Guidelines, the petitioners equally argued that Tinubu was not legally qualified to participate in the presidential contest.
More so, they argued that he did not garner the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election, adding that votes credited to the APC candidate amounted to wasted votes by reason of corrupt practices that marred the election.
READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Cash Scarcity: NLC, CBN Meet In Abuja
Atiku further alleged that the electoral body deployed a third-party device he said was used to intercept and divert votes to the APC and its candidate.
While both Obi and Atiku separately claimed that they won the election, they asked the court to either declare them winners or in the alternative, order a fresh election.
Both petitioners urged the court to compel INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return it earlier issued to Tinubu of the APC.
The court had earlier ordered INEC to grant Tinubu, who is currently out of the country, access to all the electoral materials it used for the presidential poll, to enable him to prepare to defend his election victory.
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