A coalition of Christians under the aegis of North Central Youths and Women Forum, in their number on Tuesday, took to the streets in Abuja to protest against the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, as the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council.
The protesters, who are members of the APC from the six North-Central States and the Federal Capital Territory, also marched to the Presidential Villa to submit a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the APC despite the national outcry.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Lalong is a Judas, Lalong is a betrayal, Lalong is on his own,’ ‘We say No to DGship, give us our VP slot’, ‘On North Central Christian vice-presidential candidate we stand,” and ‘Dear Asiwaju…keep your DG, give us a Christian VP, all Christians in the APC say no to DGship.’
The leader of the group, Dauda Yakubu, said various indices at play so far within the APC did not suggest that the Christians from northern Nigeria were considered in the party’s affairs.
While describing the appointment of Lalong as an insult to the North-Central region, the stakeholders said they would only accept the position of the Vice President.
He noted that the party had neglected advice from concerned stakeholders by nominating a northern Muslim as the party’s vice-presidential candidate.
According to him, stakeholders in the APC, especially northern Christians, felt humiliated by the actions of the party’s leadership in recent times, which, he said, did not demonstrate ethnic and religious inclusion.
He called on Buhari to clear his role and make his position known on the party’s same faith ticket.
Yakubu said, “We feel the appointment of Governor Lalong as the Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council is an insult to our collective sensibilities as a devoted party faithful in the North-Central.
“Mr. President may wish to remember that in the affairs of the party, the North-Central zone has demonstrated an unalloyed commitment to the growth and development of the party. But what has the North-central received in return?
“We came from far and near to witness first-hand, the news making the rounds that you indeed, sanctioned the Muslim-Muslim ticket of our party. There have also been insinuations that the vice-presidential ticket was not given to a northern Christian because you supported it.
“We know you to be an advocate of unity, ethnic and religious inclusion. But again, we are short of words with the news making the rounds, hence, this open letter in a protest march to hear from you that you were indeed in support of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“This is on the heels that as stakeholders of our party, we have consistently advocated for Governor Lalong as the party’s vice-presidential candidate because he possesses all the necessary qualities. But to our dismay, he was appointed as the DG of the Presidential Campaign Council.
“So many questions are left unanswered in our minds regarding the position of the party in the interest of northern Christians. We beg to ask the question that, if a northern Christian is good enough to lead the Presidential Campaign Council, why then is a northern Christian not good enough to be nominated as the vice presidential-candidate of our party?
“It is our considered position that the lines are not connecting for us as stakeholders of the party in the North-Central zone of the country. And consequently, we demand explanations as to why our interests have been jettisoned using a yardstick that defeats common sense.”
Yakubu said the APC was the only party that did not consider the country’s religious sensitivity in the composition of its presidential team, adding that it was not on the strength of a lack of qualified and credible candidates.
While insisting that there was something fundamentally wrong, Yakubu said the forum was convinced beyond doubt that the President could not sanction such a move, going by his antecedents as a unifier and an advocate of peace.
“Your fatherly disposition to all, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliations, has never been in doubt. You have been a great source of strength and support to all, and it is on record that you have treated all in the same manner since you assumed leadership of our great country.
“We know that you can’t be a part of religious exclusion under any circumstances; hence, our presence here in Abuja through this peaceful protest, to hear from you if you support the Muslim-Muslim ticket of our party.
“At this stage, we cannot rely on rumours and hearsay because we know your pedigree as a father and mentor to all party members across the country. Mr President, it is our earnest desire that you, in your fatherly manner,” he stated.
Yakubu asked the APC leadership to convoke an emergency meeting to reflect the wishes and interests of northern Christians in the composition of the presidential team of the party for the 2023 presidential election.
APC Plots To Shortchange Christians, Ex-SGF Lawal Alleges
Christian politicians in Northern Nigeria would remain steadfast in their stand for justice, equity and fair play in the 2023 political dispensation in the overall interest of the nation, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has said.
According to him, any nation or political dispensation built on injustice would crumble because justice and equity settle all other disputes.
Lawal in a statement he sent to The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday titled, “Why we are doing what we are doing”, was pleading with Nigerians to understand the position of the Northern Christian politicians on the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 presidential election.
He said neither the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, nor his running mate, Kashim Shettima and the political party has ever seen anything wrong in their choice of same faith ticket for 2023 to make peace or assuage the feelings of Northern Christian politicians.
The statement reads, “Quite a number of Nigerians have reached out to Rt Hon (Yakubu) Dogara and I and to some of the leaders in our eminent group of Northern Christian politicians to sheath our swords and instead go for negotiations with the APC.
“I now want to respond to this. We have so far not taken the road to reconciliation because, in the first instance, neither the APC as a party nor its presidential candidate has bothered to seek us out for reconciliation even though early on, our doors were left open for such.
“We only get to learn of their views through vile propaganda in the media courtesy of their rabid attack hogs whom they have procured in abundance.
“There are of course some “Christian” turncoats and “Judases” who, driven either by moral turpitude, poverty or greed, have hired themselves out as agents and spoilers of this noble Christian course.
“To this group, I wish to recommend the study of the biographies of Judas Iscariot and Ahithophel in the Bible. Be careful to note how their lives ended.
“It seems that Bola/Shettima’s preferred approach is to attempt to counter our position through insults and sponsored fake Christian organizations in order to create the impression that there is a division within the Christendom on this matter.
“Needless to say, this tactic has failed woefully. They are now the but of jokes in church gatherings all over the country. Unknown to them Church history emphatically records that Christians are more united in terms of adversity and persecution as now being propelled by this Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
“This approach has also portrayed the duo as arrogant and pitiable people while also exposing them to the public as people with unimaginable deficiencies of noble character.
“The reality is that for each minute that this same-faith ticket duo have spent on their goebellsian propaganda, they have ended up spending several hours more trying to rebut the controversies that they themselves create in the process.
“Everyone, including some notable Christian haters are now inviting false “Bishops” and “CAN” Leaders to meetings. They are busy fabricating overnight “Christian” organizations that churn out falsehoods to the public.
“It is such a pity that people who intend to lead our country could descend to such low levels of morality and deficiency of conscience.
“But belying this posture is the reality of their true intentions not to have any roles for northern Christians in their government.
“The unarguable fact is that they intend to offer nothing of significance to any northern Christian in an APC government anticipated to be led by Bola and Kashim.
“The reality of their zoning arrangement is that the North East region is already out of the equation for any other posts because it has the Vice Presidency while the North Central too is out because they have the party’s National Chairmanship.
“The other key positions, the Senate President, Speaker, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chief of Staff to the President, have been zoned to the North West, South South, South East and South West regions, respectively.
“Besides, we all know that there is and will be no ranking christian Senator or House of Representatives member from the North West that could occupy the seats of Senate President, Speaker or even their deputies.
“In any case, it is an open secret that they never allow Christians to occupy such positions in the North West Zone even if there is a qualified Christian.
“Who then do they think they are fooling with this their “there are other positions in government that could go to the northern Christians” mantra?
“If Kashim Shettima worked determinedly with Bola Tinubu’s acquiescence to deny the northern Christians the Deputy National Chairman (North) position during the party’s National Convention, what magic will then compel them to give a northern Christian any significant posts in their government?
“Let us make no mistake; these guys will persecute us to no end. They are very well practiced in this.
“My dear Christians, it has been clear to us from the onset that APC, Bola and Kashim never had the intention or plan that offers the Northern Christians any sense of inclusion through any tangible roles in their government.
“Those with major political influence on them are mostly religious bigots of the hegemonist flavor and some self-centered sycophants of the evil kind.
“So instead of reconciliation which would involve offering some important positions to Northern Christians, they have decided to go for broke and ignore the interests of Christians of the north.”
LP Rejects Defecting YPP Chairman Over Corruption Allegations
The Labour Party in Nasarawa State has refused to accept the suspended State Chairman of the Young Progressives Party, Bishop Namo, into its fold over corruption allegations.
It was gathered that Namo was suspended by the National leadership of the YPP for allegedly taking a bribe from a desperate politician to illegally substitute the name of one John Mark, who was the party’s candidate for the Akwanga/Nasarawa Eggon/Wamba Federal Constituency, in the 2023 general election.
The move by the national leadership of the YPP could be the reason Namo declared his support for the Labour Party on September 21, 2022, and claimed that he had been received into its fold.
But the Nasarawa State chairman of Labour party, Alexander Emmanuel, during a press conference in Lafia on Sunday, said Namo will not be accepted into the party until he is declared innocent of the allegations leveled against him in the YPP.
He said, “Labour party is a peaceful-loving political party. Our members here in Nasarawa state are known as peaceful people because we do not like trouble.
“We heard that Bishop Namo was suspended by the YPP over some corruption allegations. We do not know if they are true or false at the moment, but we will only accept him into the Labour party when we are sure that he is innocent of the allegations.
“On September 21, so many people called me on phone and said they read on social media that Namo has joined the Labour Party and I told them that the information was not true because none of LP’s electoral ward or local government chairmen across the state has intimated me about such development. So, the general public should disregard that information because it is not correct.”
On the 2023 general election, the LP State Chairman said the party was prepared to take-over power both at the federal and state levels, adding that citizens of the country were tired of bad governance, and are ready to vote out corrupt politicians with their permanent voter cards.
“It is a known fact that Nigerians are tired of bad governance in the country, and we are all going to use our PVC’s to vote out bad and corrupt political leaders in 2023. So, I am optimistic that candidates of the Labour party will emerge victorious in the coming elections,” the LP Chairman added.
APC Irresponsible, Doesn’t Deserve Re-election, Says Peter Obi’s LP
The Labour Party has discribed the re-election bid of the ruling All Progressives Congress as an attempt to further plunge Nigeria into the abyss of economic disaster.
It said Nigerians who have been on the receiving end of this corruption-ridden administration which has visited nothing but misery on the Nigerian populace, can ill afford to queue behind the APC that has failed on all indices of governance.
National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Comrade Arabambi Abayomi, said this in Abuja, on Sunday.
He said it remains an undisputed fact that in the first four months of 2022 by the Buhari administration’s revelation through the Budget and Planning Ministry, the cost of debt servicing by “the same stealing Govt has surpassed its revenue in the 4 months under review.”
Abayomi further said, “Remarkably, the clueless and confused APC Govt spent a total of N4.2 trillion between January and April 2022 from the earmarked N17.32trillion for the whole year.
“In these same four months, a sum of N285bn was earned as oil revenue, this represents a shortfall of 60.9% of the prorated figure of N730.12bn, this is even in spite of the marked rally in crude oil prices in these four months when the Government unabashedly retarded APC Govt casually mentioned that oil production declined to let the oil revenue fall short of the projection.
“It sounds very irritating, painful and annoying to keep hearing this dying and failed APC Govt repeatedly claiming that the untenable, questionable & unverifiable oil subsidy deductions were responsible with the twin criminal excuse of the inability to increase oil production was responsible for the failure at meeting the projected target of revenue growth in the 4 months.
“The dishonest and lying APC probably forgot that in 2021 it spent N4.22 trillion on debt servicing which was an increase of 29.3% over the sum of N3.27 trillion spent for the same purpose in 2020 while the revenue only increased by a marginal 9.3 % to N4.39 trillion revenue and in the last 16months APC led Buhari Administration has spent a whooping sum of N6.16trillion. “
He further noted that the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs Patience Oniha confirmed that Nigeria’s total public debt stock representing domestic and external debt stock profile as of March 2022, stood at N41. 60 trillion and N42.84TRN ($103.31billion as of June 30, 2022. “
This, he said, if divided by 200 million Nigerians including 50 million yet unborn totalling 250m population explicitly confirmed that every Nigerian as of June 30th 2022, is indebted to the tune of N170,000 naira each.
READ ALSO: 2023: Peter Obi Supporters March In Abuja
Abayomi noted that it is worth putting on record that though its Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi has for a long at many forums held that the Govt’s borrowing must be at a statutory 5% of the previous year’s revenue but “the highly clueless and grossly incompetent APC confused and rudderless Government at every juncture ignored this wise counsel.“
The LP spokesperson enjoined Nigerians to demand the immediate resignation of the APC from the seat of Government now that it is not in doubt that it has finally ruined a substantial part of the future of Nigeria with its avoidable act of running the Country into insolvency.
He further said, “The growing cluelessness of the APC in its incompetent management of the Country’s economy is easily observed from the silly and unending oil subsidy deductions choreographed calculated scam
“One can simply ask how much it cost Dangote to establish the about to begin operation oil refinery was built at a cost of $15bn.
“The Pacific refinery in Ecuador cost $12bn with a capacity to refine 500,000 barrels per day (bpd).”
“AL ZOUR REFINERY in Kwait was built at a cost of $16bn with a production capacity of 615 ,000 barrels per day.
“ Compare the foregoing against Nigeria with two / three refineries and a refining average capacity of 1.2 million of crude oil per day, how comfortable are you fellow Citizens?
“Presently, these same thieves in Governance, APC are yet proposing #6.7 trillion to fund the carefully hidden agenda called a subsidy.
“In exchange the $6.7 trillion is equivalent to $15.6 bn This is against the 2023 Budget. However, what will blow your mind is that the Government is planning to yet borrow #11 trillion to support the 2023 Budget expenses.
“LP has chosen to advise APC to immediately withdraw all it’s Candidates from the 2023 elections and safe itself the embarrassment of repeated public lies and falsehood that has become its main character in Government.“
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