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Amid Wike Chaos, PDP Starts Atiku Campaign

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Considers Abuja, Asaba Or Yola For Flag-off

 

Despite the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the party is going ahead with preparations for the commencement of its presidential campaign for the 2023 general elections, without the embattled Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and members of his team.

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This is as the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, assured that disagreement among members would be resolved very soon.

Wike and his supporters had, on Wednesday, pulled out of the Campaign Council of the party’s presidential candidate and vowed not to play any role until the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigned.

However, Vanguard learnt that the PDP, which has fixed Wednesday, September 28, for the inauguration of the Campaign Council, is considering three states/ venues for the flag-off.

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READ ALSO: Wike: Strong Goliaths Will Be Defeated, Atiku Vows, Fires Tinubu

The presidential and National Assembly campaigns begin the same Wednesday, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) timetable, and will run through Thursday, February 23, 2023, while the elections proper hold Saturday, February 25, 2023.

A party insider familiar with the development said the PDP was putting finishing touches to drawing up the programme of events for the inauguration as well as logistics.

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“For now, Abuja, where we will be inaugurating the Campaign Council, Uyo, Asaba and Yola are among the venues being considered. We are taking a lot of things into consideration.

“We have not settled for a venue because our candidate is still moving around meeting zonal caucuses to hear from each one of them directly”, the source revealed.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, who is currently in Uyo with members of the National Working Committee and other party leaders, told Vanguard on the phone that the party was going ahead with its plans and programmes.

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He said, “Our programmes are going ahead as planned, nothing has changed. The date for the inauguration of our campaign council is already known, we will make the venue and time for the flag-off public when we are ready.”

The PDP has been enmeshed in internal rumblings since after its presidential primary election in May which Atiku, a former vice president, won.

The decision of Wike, who finished second in the primary, and his supporters not to be part of the presidential campaign has further widened the cracks in the party.

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Divided Party

While the PDP standard bearer is doing everything to unite the party for the forthcoming elections, the state chapters have remained divided.

It is understood that in Cross Rivers State, while a former governor and member of the reconciliation committee, Mr Liyel Imoke, is in the camp of Atiku, another former governor, Mr Donald Duke, is in Wike’s camp.

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Findings also showed that in Lagos State, while a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, is in bed with Wike who, he said, was fighting for justice and equity in the PDP, the party’s governorship candidate in the 2023 elections, Olajide ‘Jandor’ Adediran, is with Atiku.

And whereas the governor-elect in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is with the Atiku group, a governorship aspirant in the last election, Dotun Babayemi, has joined the Wike group.

In Ekiti, those in the Atiku camp include former deputy governors Kolapo Olusola Eleka, Dr Sikiru Lawal, and Senator Abiodun Olujimi. Others are the factional state chairman, Deji Ogunsakin, a former PDP chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, PDP State Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, state Woman Leader, Sade Akinrinmade, former Deputy Speaker, Segun Adewumi and former House of Assembly member, Hon. Samuel Omotosho.

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READ ALSO: Wike Reveals Why Atiku Won’t Be President

Those in Wike’s camp include former Gov. Ayodele Fayose, Mr. Lere Olayinka, all party candidates except Senator Olujimi, former acting Gov. Tunji Odeyemi and the Secretary, Elders Council, Mr. Idowu Odeyemi.

In Ondo State, while the two-term governor, Olusegun Mimiko, is with Wike, his political son and former governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Eyitayo Jegede, is a staunch ally of Atiku.

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Also, a former deputy governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi, who was in the same camp with Mimiko during the last governorship election in Ondo, is not on the same page with him this time around. Ajayi is with Atiku even as he’s contesting for the Senate seat in Ondo South.

Many leaders of the party in the state are not at home with the support Jegede is giving to Atiku and the make-belief that the party in the state is lining up behind Atiku.

Those who spoke with Sunday Vanguard in confidence recalled how Wike and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State bankrolled Jegede’s governorship election in 2020 and also supported the PDP while Atiku ignored the party during its trying times after Jegede lost the election to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Sunday Vanguard’s findings further revealed that in Edo State, while Governor Godwin Obaseki is undecided, the South-South zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, is on the side of Wike.

Sources said the Atiku camp and that of the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, desperate to win over Orbih from Wike by recognizing his faction against that of Obaseki, has yielded no fruit.

In Ogun State, the party’s governorship candidate, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, his running mate, Abdulkabir Akinlade, and the Sikirulahi Ogundele-led executive are with Atiku while others queue behind Wike.

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Whereas in Oyo, Governor Seyi Makinde is one of the arrowheads of Ayu must go and vicariously with Wike, many party leaders in the state are rooting for Atiku.

Disagreement will be resolved soon – Atiku

Meanwhile, Atiku has described it as family issues, challenges bedevilling the party and assured that they would soon be resolved.

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He gave the assurance on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, during the 35th-anniversary celebration of the creation of the state.

Represented by the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Governor of Sokoto State, Alh. Aminu Tambuwal, Atiku appealed to the people to support the PDP to return to power at the centre and also to remain in power in the state.

READ ALSO: wikeAyu: I Will Fight To Finish, Wike Insists

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His words: “I urge Akwa Ibom people to continue their support for the governor to finish strong. I believe also that with your support, Pastor Umo Eno, will emerge as your next governor. We believe that there should be continuity of PDP in Akwa Ibom while our party will return to power in 2023.

“Yes, we must acknowledge that we are having internal family issues, but be rest assured that we are not involved or engaged in the war of attrition.

“It is a political disagreement and very soon, all of that will be resolved and the PDP will remain stronger, until we win the election, by the grace of God, come February 2023.”
VANGUARD

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Buhari’s In-law Quits APC, Cites Impunity, Injustice

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Sani Sha’aban, a former governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna State and an in-law to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday quit the party.

Sha’aban, whose 17 children bought the N50 million Expression of Interest and the Nomination forms for him to contest the 2023 governorship election, cited impunity and injustice as reasons for dumping the ruling party in the state.

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He also added that he decided to dump the party because it has no regard for the rule of law.

The governorship aspirant shortly after the May 2022 primary of the APC in the state, approached the Federal High Court in Kaduna for exclusion from the election where the incumbent Senator representing the Kaduna Central, Uba Sani, was declared the winner.

But the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Garba Umar threw out the case in early November, declaring that the court has no jurisdiction over the matter.

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READ ALSO: FG Gives Reason For High Cost Of Fertiliser

Sha’aban, however, proceeded to the Court of Appeal where he vowed to pursue the case to a logical conclusion despite leaving the party.

While addressing a press conference through the Director of Sani Mahmoud Sha’aban Campaign Organisation, Mr Joshua Danladi Ephraim, the Governorship aspirant, insisted that he had no business with a party that has no respect for the rule of law.

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In the resignation letter dated November 28, 2022, and addressed to the APC Chairman of his ward, Hanwa,

in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of the state continued that recent developments within the party had compelled him to reconsider his membership of the party, adding that with “best efforts, admonition and best intentions, the party has become alienated from the masses.”

When asked about his next political move, he said he would have to consult “those who have to love us of where next to move to.”

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Sha’aban in the letter partly said, “Recent activities and events within the APC in Kaduna State, in particular, have compelled me to reconsider my membership of the APC. Despite all our best efforts, admonitions and best intentions, it is disheartening to note that the APC has become more alienated from the masses, and father than foster peace, social cohesion and integration in Kaduna State as we envisaged and worked for, the APC in Kaduna State is now seen as synonymous with hardship, division and with total disregard for human lives, communal and family values.

“Rather than work to bring the dividends of democracy closer to the masses, some few elements in the APC in Kaduna State have hijacked the party structure and turned it into their personal estate to serve their personal greed and avarice, for the benefit of only their families, friends and cronies. They have no regard whatsoever for the feelings, yearnings and sensibilities of even the many members of the Party who supported them, and the general populace of Kaduna State.

“As one who strongly believes in God, and in the belief that the commonwealth of the land is for the common benefit of all, I have found myself unable in good conscience, to sit back and allow this reign of impunity to go on without a voice of dissent. At various times, I have had cause to express my displeasure with the policies and actions of the APC in Kaduna State to you.

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“As you are aware, my stance on good governance, Rule of Law, Social Justice and Equity has caused us to be treated with disdain, and to be seen as a Pariah to those who are personally benefitting from the skewed realities present in the APC. My many admonitions, protests, actions and best efforts at salvaging the Party to bring it back into focus to achieve the set objectives of forming the Party have been severally ignored by you. There is, however, a limit to what I can do as a Member of the Party.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Requires $410bn By 2060 To Address Energy Constraints, Policy Flexibility – Sylva

“I believe I have in all conscience before God, done my possible best to stave off the inevitable but to no avail. I have come to the firm conclusion and resolve that in all good conscience, I cannot remain a member of the APC under the present state of affairs, where the interest of the majority of common folks is little regarded.

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“I cannot remain in a Party that has little or no regard for human lives, social integration, peace and our time-valued and cherished Communal and traditional values. I cannot remain in the APC when the Party has no respect for the Rule of Law and the simplest of the laws of the land.

“Therefore, effective immediately, I officially and formally resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress at all levels.”

 

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Osun LG Polls: OSIEC Withdraws APC Members ‘Certificates Of Return’

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The Osun State Independent Electoral Commission has announced the withdrawal of certificates of return given to all elected officials in the October 15 local government election.

The then ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, was the only party that fielded candidates contesting posts of chairmen and councillors at the polls and OSIEC returned all of them elected.

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Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, however, in his judgment in a case filed by the PDP against OSIEC, the APC and some of its chairmanship candidates, last Friday, nullified the election sighting noncompliance with the Electoral Act.

In a statement signed by the OSIEC Executive Secretary, Adedapo Adejumo, obtained in Osogbo on Monday, the Commission stated it would not appeal the judgment.

The Commission also admitted it did not comply with the provisions of Section 24 of OSIEC Law, 2022 and Section 28 of the Electoral Act 2022, which mandated it to give a notice of 360 days before the conduct of the election.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Adeleke Dethrones Three Osun Monarchs, Suspends OSIEC Chair, Members

The statement further read in part, “Consequent upon the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo in the case FHC\OS\CS\94\2022 involving the PDP VS the Independent National Electoral Commission and six others, delivered on Friday, November 25, 2022, which nullified the local government elections conducted by OSIEC on October 15, 2022, the Commission hereby announces its decision not to appeal the judgement of the Federal High Court, Osogbo.

“The decision of the Commission is coming against the backdrop of OSIEC’s failure to follow strictly the provisions of Section 24 of OSIEC Law, 2022 and Section 28 of the Electoral Act 2022, which mandate the Commission to give a notice of 360 days before the conduct of the election.

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“In view of this, OSIEC aligns perfectly with the decision of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, as the elections stand nullified.

“Consequently, the certificates of return already issued to the purportedly elected chairmen and councillors are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.”

 

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JUST IN: Senate President Lawan Loses In Court

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The Court of Appeal Abuja on Monday affirmed Bashir Sheriff Machina as the authentic All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District.

reports that a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State which held that the President of the senate Ahmad Lawan, is not the APC candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District in respect of the 2023 election.

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The court had submitted that Lawan did not participate in the legally-recognised primary election of the APC to select its candidate in the election held in May 2022.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Court Sacks Ahmed Lawan As APC Senatorial Candidate For Yobe North

Recall that while Lawan, picked the presidential form of the APC and participated in the primary election that was won by former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, Machina contested and won his bid to take over as the candidate of the party for the senatorial contest.

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Following his defeat at the presidential primary election, Lawan, allegedly backed by APC heavyweights, asked Machina to relinquish the senatorial ticket to him, a request.

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