A Town Hall meeting organised by a political movement under the aegis of New Dream for Grassroots Development kicked off, on Thursday, in Abuja with the presidential candidates of the major political parties, not in attendance.
Among the presidential candidates that neither came nor sent representatives were Bola Ahmed Tinubu (All Progressives Congress); Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party); and Peter Obi (Labour Party).
But during the event shown live on Television, other presidential candidates reeled out their plans for a better Nigeria.
The Director-General of NDGD, Dr Onwubuya Breakforth, said the presidential Town Hall meeting was created to assist the electorates to make informed decisions as to who to elect among the 18 presidential candidates and make room for direct communication between the people at the grassroots and the candidates.
He said, “The candidates will address us on various issues but the difference will be on who proves to know how to enthrone a robust productive new Nigeria where all nationalities are neither discriminated nor denied their rights as bonafide citizens.
“We want to know the how rather than the normal rhetoric that is neither pragmatic nor evidential.
As Nigerians head to the polls, with barely two months to elect a new president along with state governors and legislators, millions of our people are ready with their PVCs.
“However, we are not in support of any candidate but will move towards a candidate who proves to have answers and capabilities to build a new Nigeria.’’
Break forth, therefore, charged voters to make the right choice in electing their leaders because their decision would either make or mar the future of Nigeria.
According to him, the NDGD has more than 22 million valued voters across the 8,813 elective wards and would use its number to make the right decision in the 2023 elections.
The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, said his search for a better and new Nigeria was the reason he joined PDP and then later APC but however, said they were all bad government.
He said, “We believe in a new Nigeria, that was why when we started in this Republic, I started with the PDP. Unfortunately, when we were forming the PDP in 1998, we only had one issue kicking the military out.
“Then, when I became governor, we realized that we were completely different people in the same political party as people from the extreme right to the extreme left.
“We thought along the line that there should be a change especially as the party was failing, that was why we formed APC and now everybody believes it is even worse.
We thought it was necessary to bring an alternative, that was why we intended to register our party but INEC was not in hurry to do that. Therefore, we carefully selected NNPP based on its manifesto, beliefs and vision.
“We have a 152-page blueprint, we looked at all the issues and going by my antecedents as a civil servant and governor in Kano State, we believe our party is the best party to handle the crisis situation in Nigeria.”
Kwankwaso said he would tackle insecurity and increase the number of security agents and use technology and carry every Nigerian along in getting intelligence.
Kwankwaso promised to use his expertise as former governor of Kano state to bear in solving national issues.
He promised youth empowerment, scholarship and job creation to harness their potential and build infrastructure, quality healthcare delivery, and free anti-natal for women as well as boost the economy through various interventions.
“For our administration, no Nigerian child shall be denied the opportunity to write WAEC or NECO because of their inability to pay exorbitant registration and examination fees”, he said.
The presidential candidate of Action Alliance and for Chief Security Adviser to late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, said his party studied Nigeria and noticed that the nation does not require routines but something away from the norm to address its challenges.
He said, “We discovered that there are a lot of games around the Nigerian state and unless we work it out and unless you know it, you will spend 1000 years without making a deference but adopting routines.
“We are not coming to provide leadership from the routine point of it. We are realistic, we are down to earth, we will take painful decisions, and we will take courageous decisions for the common good of Nigerians today and in future.
“So for our security, one of the major mistakes was mixing the police with the military. 23 years today, everybody is talking about hopelessness when it comes to physical security.
“We succeeded in demilitarizing the military and succeeded on the other hand in militarizing the police. So we are not comfortable with the two.”
Al-Mustapha, therefore, said the AA would do surgery in the security sector transforming it scientifically for new direction, doctrine, vision and physiological reorientation among others.
Mr Osakwe Johnson, the presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement, Johnson Osakwe, said there was a need for the old leaders to take the back seat and allow the new generation to take over the affairs of the nation.
“Everyone will agree with me that in your wardrobe, we have what we call old clothes, the old clothes fade and you find it difficult to put them on. So, we are saying in 2023, old Nigerians, those who have governed us in the past should stand as advisers as lecturers, not forcing themselves on us so that Nigeria will continue the old ways of doing things.”
He said the NRM had a lot to offer the nation, adding that having been in the United States for 30 years and as a clergy, for 40 years he can govern Nigeria.
The presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party, Ado-Ibrahim Abdulmalik, said that although the nation was experiencing corruption, the greatest corruption was the corruption of other nations taking Nigeria’s best to their lands.
He said although the party would not be able to fix all the challenges of Nigeria in four or eight years, it could concentrate on fixing the electricity and boosting the power sector which is the bedrock of development.
“The world cannot work without electrical power, and we fool ourselves by saying we are going to do XYZ. But the basic human rights of power have not been given to us.
We must as a nation demand that from the next leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“In Adamawa, I built a stand-alone power plant with six megawatts, the job requires bravery, vision, empathy but above all, the job requires that we work together.”
Abdulmalik said everybody is running from the country but the party will bring Nigerians back home.
Edo 2024: LP Must Field Candidate Capable Of Giving Opponents A Run – Akpata
By Joseph Kanjo
A Labour Party (LP) governorship aspirant in the 2024 Edo State governorship election, Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata, Esq. has said that if the party must win the forthcoming gubernatorial election, “they must put forward a candidate that can match up to the opponents we know we will confront at the election.”
He said except the intention of the party participating in the governorship election is not to win, but if the intention is to win, “it must be palm-for-palm,” declaring that he is the only one who can make such match with the opponents.
The immediate past President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who stated this in Benin on Saturday shortly after being honoured as Guest of Honour at Edo NUJ 2023 Press Week, added that he expects the LP to make the right choice by picking him as the flagbearer of the party in the governorship election.
According to him, he has been going round the 18 local governments canvasing potential delegates with the expectation that when the time comes they will make the right choice by voting him at the primary.
He added: “I have been canvasing our potential delegates; I have been speaking to persons who belong to a pull from which delegates will be selected. I have been speaking to them, and I hope that the message that I have been passing across will not fall to the bear ground. I have traveled the 18 local governments.”
Akpata continued: “If Labour Party is ever going to win the election in Edo State, they must put forward a candidate that can match up to the opponents we know we will confront at the election. Except the intention is not to win, if the intention is to win, it must be palm-for-palm. We cannot compare apples and oranges, you must compare apples and apples.”
On the allegation that he is using his financial strength to make sure he gets the party ticket by all means, the former NBA President said: “I have been a Lawyer for 30 years, I have worked only as a Lawyer, maybe a few businesses on the side that have come out of the fact that I am a lawyer. So, I think I have succeeded. I am the type who spend in what I believe in. It is when you spend your treasure in what you believe in, that is when you can be taken seriously. The funniest thing is that those who are calling me money bag have been spending lavishly even before I came into the scene. I just wondered what the issue really is. When people feel uncomfortable, and they see a competition that they cannot really match up to, they must look for a fault. It is a case of give a dog a bad name so you can hang him.”
On allegation that he is being sponsored by Governor Godwin Obaseki, Akpata said: “this is an unfounded rumour, it is baseless. My relationship with the Governor for years has never been hidden.”
Lawyer Faults Ondo Commissioner’s Claim Of Forgery Of Akeredolu’s Signature
A lawyer, Femi Emodamori, has faulted the claim made by the Ondo State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Razaq Obe, that the signature of his boss, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, is being forged.
Emodamori, who questioned the authenticity of the claim made by Obe, stated that the series of loopholes in the purported forensic report allegedly carried out on the governor’s signature gave those behind the development out on their motives.
On Friday, Obe raised the alarm about the alleged forgery of the governor’s signature on some documents he received from the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
In a letter addressed to the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, to alert him to the development, the commissioner revealed that forensic experts had also confirmed the signature to have been forged.
According to the lawyer, in the report, the document with which the forensic analysis of the governor’s signature was carried out was not stated, and the individual or body that requested the analysis is fictitious, which he said cannot be entertained in law.
While emphasising that the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources might be playing out the ploy of one of the warring parties involved in political doldrums in the state, Emodamori stressed that Obe has for a while not been in the camp of Akeredolu but that of the deputy governor.
Emodamori, who stated that Obe is the first suspect in the alleged forgery of the governor’s signature, maintained that it is only Akeredolu who can say that his signature has been forged.
“Firstly, contrary to the Commissioner’s claim, the purported forensic report names the client who requested the examination as “Act for Positive Transformation Initiative” and not Engr. Rasaq Obe or the Ondo State Commissioner for Energy.
“This means that either the Hon. Commissioner or the purported forensic report is lying about who hired the services of the alleged forensic expert who supposedly produced it.
“I addressed the above observation first, because the source of any documents that a forensic expert claims to have examined is very crucial in determining the issue of forgery.
“And to call a spade a spade, Engr. Rasaq Obe himself would be the number one suspect in the course of such an investigation, while the purported forensic expert would also be very useful to the security agencies.
“The investigation should then be conducted on the owner of the alleged forged signature(s), who is the governor, as he alone could confirm whether his signature was forged on the subject documents or not.”
Move To Recall Anti-Fubara Assembly Lawmakers From Ogoni Thickens
Four members of the Rivers State House of Assembly may be the first casualties in the ongoing political war between the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara and the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike.
A group known as Ogoni Development Drive (ODD) said that it has begun the process to recall the four lawmakers over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Fubara.
The affected lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency); Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
Convener of the group, Comrade Solomon Lenu who made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt said the move was necessary to “save our democracy”, adding that other regions of the country would take a cue from them.
“ODD had on Nov. 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers, who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Gov. Fubara.
“The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” he said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed the advice by ODD engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Gov. Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called the bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmakers’ constituents to recall them. He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country. The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
It will be recalled that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency) and a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker. He insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
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