The Chairman of Daar Communications, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi has said that the South East cannot be trusted with the presidency as a result of the activities and rising profile of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Reacting to a media report which criticized his insistence on the position of the presidency remaining in the North beyond 2023 as against the popular demand that the presidency should move to the South, Dokpesi insisted that his position was based on existing realities.
His words : “I have publicly come out to support and call on a South Eastern presidential candidate in the recent past, but the emergence of IPOB and its influence across the South East has complicated and undermined the agitation for patriotic Nigerians of Igbo extraction to lead this nation as far as the 2023 election is concerned. If nobody has told Ohaneze Ndigbo before, the concern today from some other regions is that if Nnamdi Kanu plays the role of Aguiyi Ironsi in leading a militant revolt against constitutional government in the south east under Igbo presidency, the president will be pressured by his base to facilitate the UN processes for the South East to call for independence from Nigeria. Thus an Igbo president may be compromised in protecting the political and geographic boundaries of Nigeria whilst Nigeria remains under the threat of IPOB’s secessionist activities”.
Below is the full text of his statement on Monday: ” 2023 PRESIDENCY: DOKPESI REACTS TO WRONG PUBLICATION BY A NATIONAL DAILY.
” I read with amusement an article published in the ThisDay Newspapers on Sunday 17th October 2021 with the headline ‘ IS DOKPESI SUFFERING FROM INFERIORITY COMPLEX?’ in which my statements pertaining to the PDP’s best chances of winning the 2023 election being tied to the PDP producing a northern candidate were alleged to be based on my ties and relationships with prominent northern businessmen and politicians and having an inferiority complex about Southern Nigeria’s political ambitions. The authors and sponsors of this piece will naturally feel incensed by my statement and would say anything to discredit me to continue to protect and promote the interests of aspirants from their zone. I can understand that and I have no love lost for any southerner who takes a similar stance. However, I believe we are in perilous and dire straits as a nation and for those of us in opposition to the ruling party, we must ask the bigger question of Nigeria before our personal or ethnic interests and have a frank conversation about what we need to do as a people to win back power from the APC in 2023.
“I unapologetically believe in one Nigeria and believe Nigeria can only remain united and in peace on the basis of fairness, equity and justice. I believe like-minded Nigerians understand the ideological principle of zoning as a form of affirmative action to guarantee the opportunity of leadership to every part of the country irrespective of the geographic and demographic dominance of any regions’ size or population. Since 1960, only 10 states have produced presidents or Heads of State in Nigeria, whilst some of these 10 states have produced more than one president. The entire South East region hasn’t produced President or Head of State since the First Republic and still another region, the North East, has never ever produced neither President nor Head of State since 1960 – date. Likewise until assumption of office by President Goodluck Jonathan, the South-South had never before then produced a president or head of state.
Clearly the politics that have governed how leadership is determined under both military and democratic systems of governments have been unfair to both the North East and the South East regions. I have both the belief and the confidence that both regions have more than eminent and capable sons for the leadership of this country, as indeed all regions (have), but in determining my position based on consultations across the country, I have found that going into the 2023 elections, the North East is better positioned to negotiate victory in 2023, given the peculiarities and national security challenges confronting Nigeria today.
“By the grace of God I will be 70 years in just a few days, so I have nothing to fear in saying what so many others may not have the courage to tell you. I have said my truth before and paid the price for it but that will not deter me from saying the truth as I know it and as I see it again, so let me indulge you in a short history lesson and correlate it to the context of present- day Nigeria against which the South East will be negotiating power with different regions of the country: On 14 January 1966, Soldiers of mostly Igbo extraction led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, an Igbo from Okpanam near Asaba, present-day Delta State, eradicated the uppermost echelon of politicians from the Northern and Western provinces. This and other factors effectively led to the fall of the Republican Government.
Though Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo, was purportedly slated for assassination, he effectively took control of Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (at the time). With President also an Igbo Nnamdi Azikiwe refusing to intervene and insure the continuity of civilian rule, Aguiyi-Ironsi effectively compelled the remaining members of Balewa’s Government to resign seeing that the government was in disarray, he then allowed the Senate president Nwafor Orizu, another Igbo who was serving as acting president in Azikiwe’s absence, to officially surrender power to him, thus ending the First Nigerian Republic.
“The events of that day ultimately led to the Biafra war and the persecution of an entire Igbo race on account of a seeming conspiracy between some politicians and military of Igbo extraction to pursue an ethnic agenda. On the surrender of Biafra to Nigeria, Yakubu Gowon, declared ‘no Victor, no vanquished’ but clearly, since, the regions that have determined leadership have used this against the South East and denied Igbos the opportunity to lead. Should that be used against the leaders and sons of the South East today? Of course not! I have publicly come out to support and call on a South Eastern presidential candidate in the recent past, but the emergence of IPOB and its influence across the South East has complicated and undermined the agitation for patriotic Nigerians of Igbo extraction to lead this nation as far as the 2023 election is concerned.
” If nobody has told Ohaneze Ndigbo before, the concern today from some other regions is that if Nnamdi Kanu plays the role of Aguiyi Ironsi in leading a militant revolt against constitutional government in the south east under Igbo presidency, the president will be pressured by his base to facilitate the UN processes for the South East to call for independence from Nigeria. Thus an Igbo President may be compromised in protecting the political and geographic boundaries of Nigeria whilst Nigeria remains under the threat of IPOB’s secessionist activities. Don’t shoot me I’m just a messenger. It is unfair but neither the south south nor the south east nor the north east have the votes combined to determine the presidency on their own. We have to negotiate with other regions and were prominent leaders express such concerns based on the similarities of our history and contemporary circumstances, it indicates to me that the South East is not trusted with the Presidency in 2023. It indicates to me that that the leaders of the South East have not done enough before now in dealing with and addressing the challenge that IPOB poses to their aspirations in leading Nigeria. Why and what to do to change this narrative is a question for leaders and politicians from the south east to determine but you can see and understand why we in the PDP must take a realisic, pragmatic and strategic approach towards supporting the North East zone for presidency in 2023.
” In Atiku Abubakar the South East not only has a friend and a detribalised Nigerian who understands the pains, frustrations as genuine aspirations of the people of the South East, but also is a believer in the restructuring of Nigeria, which both in the short term and in the long term, is necessary and critical to the growth and development of Nigeria in general and to the minority regions in particular. By supporting Atiku Abubakar from the North East to victory in 2023, the rotation of power across Nigeria will have come full cycle and I believe that the agitation for a South East presidency will be better accepted and appreciated by the incumbency and other regions in subsequent elections after 2023. So taken in totality I do not intend to offend the south east or any of its eminent sons who are more than qualified to lead this nation. The south south and south west regions have already produced PDP presidents in the forth republic, so we have had 14 years in the presidency, while the north has only had 2-years under PDP. The nomination of President Goodluck Jonathan at the 2014 PDP Presidential Convention weakened our support in the North and ultimately led to the APC and President Buhari taking over government in 2015. We need to retract our steps as a party. We need to consolidate our base in the South South and South East and we need to reach out across other regions of this country presenting a detribalised Nigerian that will be accepted and trusted to build the best “all-star” Nigerian team to get us out of our present quagmire without carrying the baggage of IPOB undermining their credibility.”
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Return Of Amosun’s Loyalists: Abiodun Displayed Exemplary Political Maturity – Group
A youth group within the All Progressives Congress (APC), APC Progressive Front, has commended Governor Dapo Abiodun for what it termed an exemplary attribute of political maturity he displayed over the weekend.
It would be recalled that hundreds of APC members, loyal to ex-governor Ibikunle Amosun, across all the 20 local governments in the State, led by the one-time Chairman of the party, Chief Derin Adebiyi, were on Friday received back to the mainstream of the party by Abiodun, alongside the Chairman of APC in the State, Chief Yemi Sanusi, and other party bigwigs.
In a statement signed on Sunday by its coordinator, Rasheed Sanusi, and made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the group lauded the leadership capacity displayed by the governor, saying it was unprecedented in the political space of the state
According to the statement, the governor has proved his capacity as a leading figure in progressive politics beyond every reasonable doubt, adding that it is now incumbent on the returnees to reciprocate the gesture and prove their loyalty to the party.
It opined that the action of the governor has given new hope of a better future to the party in the state and an undiluted testament that APC is truly a progressive party with clear-cut ideology based on popular interest.
“Prince Dapo Abiodun has truly proved himself as a leading democrat among his contemporaries. He has achieved what other leaders before him could not achieve; he has indeed redefined progressive politics in Ogun State.
“The Governor has exhibited unprecedented magnanimity in power and in governance. No one could have imagined that a governor of a state would navigate such a level of gang-up and conspiracy within the party to win an election, and after the victory, he decided to reconcile with those who worked against him and warmly received them back to the party.
“The Governor has taught us a big lesson of inclusive governance and purposeful leadership. He deserves an award in progressive leadership. He remains an institution to study,” the statement read.
The statement further noted that the party remains a formidable force in the state with focus on aggressive development of infrastructure and human capital through the ‘Building our future together’ agenda of the governor.
Thousands Dump Amosun, Re-Align With Abiodun
Thousands of loyalists of former governor Ibikunle Amosun from the 20 local government areas of Ogun State have rejoined the mainstream of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Receiving the returnees led by the factional Chairman of the Amosun-led party Executive at the Presidential Lodge, Abeokuta, the State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun commended them for their loyalty and being steadfast with what they believed in.
The governor said: “I want to congratulate your sense of loyalty to leadership, which I will say is not only commendable, it is enviable.
“This is a culture that we must promote and entrench. It is a culture that is fast eroding; it is a culture that we are fast losing. Loyalty is 100 per cent.
“For some others, they move once things are not working well, but for you, you stay put. This sense of loyalty is worthy of emulation. We must appreciate the fact that there can only be one leader in a party at a time.
“Even when we have ambitions and desires, we must subordinate ourselves 100% to leadership and believe that it is in that subordination that will allow us to flourish and achieve our objectives, our dreams, our desires and aspirations, not by forming factions or by breaking away.
“Because by so doing, it only weakens the fabric of that collective union that we call our party. You must appreciate that there can be only one leader of the party at a time in the state, and that leader is the governor.
“As the leader of the party, I appreciate the task bestowed on me and it is my duty to work towards individual and collective welfare of our members,” the governor noted.
The governor urged all members to put the past behind them and work towards repositioning the party to achieve its aims and work for the socio-economic development of the state.
“Let us put the past behind us. Let us promote what unites us as a family. I welcome you back. The future of Ogun State is in your hands and it is for us for the taking. The same joy with which the father of the prodigal son received his lost son back home, the same way I receive you today.
“To those who did not leave, please let us receive our brothers and sisters back. To those who are joining us, please let us display a sense of loyalty. I can assure you, you will be fully integrated. ”
The Chairman of the State All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Yemi Sanusi, said in every human relationship, there is bound to be disagreement, adding that even in time of war, there is always a place for peaceful settlement of conflict, calling the returnees to fully integrate themselves with other members of the party.
Leader of the returnees, Chief Derin Adebiyi, said they had all agreed to return to the mainstream to contribute to the development of the party and the state in general, thanking the governor and the party members for receiving them back.
BREAKING: Atiku Rejects Tribunal’s Judgement, Set For Supreme Court
The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election Atiku Abubakar has rejected the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal judgement .
The judgement affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Atiku said the tribunal judgement failed to restore confidence.
“Though the judgement of yesterday is respected, it is a judgement I refused to accept. I refused to accept the judgement because I believe it is bereft of substantial justice,” Atiku said while addressing a press conference at the PDP headquarters in Abuja.
The tribunal threw out the case of Atiku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, and upheld the victory of Tinubu.
Both Atiku and Obi rejected Wednesday’s judgment of the tribunal affirming the election of Tinubu. The Legal Adviser to the Labour Party, Kehinde Edun, vowed to challenge the judgment at the Supreme Court.
Also, Atiku’s Lead Counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, said he had received instructions from his client to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.
He said “The judgment has been delivered but we have not received justice. Luckily, the law has given us leverage to go on appeal to the Supreme Court. We have instructions from our clients to go to the Supreme Court. The struggle continues.”
The PEPT which began sitting at 9.40am at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, ruled that the petition filed by Atiku and Obi and their parties had no merit and unanimously upheld Tinubu’s electoral victory in the February 25 presidential election.
The five-member panel took turns to dismiss the petitions presented by Atiku and Obi against the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission on March 1, 2023.
The judgment was delivered by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsammani, assisted by other members of the panel-Justices Stephen Adah, Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Moses Ugo, and Abba Mohammed.
But addressing a press conference on Thursday, Atiku said he was not new to legal battle and he would continue to explore the judiciary for respite.
“However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary.
“Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which in this instance, is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
He added, “My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary.
“Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works. All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.
“The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe the courts have a duty to redress.
“Our gains in ensuring transparent elections through the deployment of technology was heavily compromised by INEC in the way it managed the last presidential election, and I am afraid that the judgement of the court as rendered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday, failed to restore confidence in our dreams of free and fair elections devoid of human manipulations.
“Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure that democracy is further strengthened through the principles and processes of fair hearing.”
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