The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) governors are set to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday.
The meeting scheduled to hold on Sunday, January 9, will decide a definite date for the conduct of the APC National Convention
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with the President, the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said the Sunday meeting would centre on the proposed date for the convention.
Lalong said that President Buhari’s admonition to the party that it risks losing power to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a signal for the party to have a seamless convention so that it will not disintegrate.
“Yes, I agree that all the times there are meetings, especially taking final decisions on the party, I’m always part of it and part of it was also why I visited the President and the President still stands committed that there must be an immediate convention.
“You know, when the convention is coming there are fears here and there, some people will tell you it will work, it will not work. I don’t want to jump to a conclusion, but the visit to the President has already assured us and you know that there is already a notice that all the governors are meeting on Sunday. By Sunday we will tell you when we’re doing the convention.
“We’ve taken a date already. I think our first date before Christmas we said we’re going to do a convention in February and we are still working for the convention, as far as I’m concerned, except things change from another angle. But as far as I’m concerned, we’re working for our convention in February.
“These are things that the President was raising his fears about, but we’ve already given him assurances that nothing will stop us from having a very peaceful election.
“Some parties have done their own, the PDP did their own, nothing will stop APC from doing their own.
“So, all the fears that we’re talking about, which the President also re-echoed, are also telling the governor’s please do more, and keep the party alive. So, by God’s grace, we’re going to put our party alive”, he said.
Governor Lalong said that steps would be taken to address all the contending issues affecting the conduct of the convention.
He said: “Well, these are things we’re going to discuss, but I’m not drawing conclusions, but I always tell you that a political party is a cumulation of interests. The interests may be the same, they may not be the same, but at the end of the day, what we’ll do is that we are going to elect people who are going to represent you.
“People will come with different interests and so when you are preparing like this, you have different interests and those different interests will be aired in different ways.
“But I just want to assure you that in so many ways, when we meet, we’ll harmonise all interests and we’ll come out as one APC and that’s what we’re hoping that whatever will be the interests that we’re going to discuss, I have a very great hope that at the end of the day, our goal is to elect people who will take care of our party because that will be the beginning of the process towards electing those who will take over from this present government.”
Asked whether the party can cause the withdrawal of ongoing court cases against the convention, he said the legal tussle may not necessarily affect the conduct of the exercise.
According to him, “There are procedures for holding court processes. Many of the court processes were there when we set up the caretaker committee, but up to this moment, if you go to take a census of some of the court proceedings, you will realise that a lot of them have been resolved out of court. So, it’s still the duty of the party, it’s still part of the functions of the party to resolve.
“But we must not wait to resolve all court presses before we go to the convention. I don’t think so because there is also machinery for resolving the court processes, even after the convention.
“I had a court process in my state, that did not stop me from going on and at the end of the day, we resolved the court process and we’re still going on, preparing and waiting for the convention.”
On whether the APC can meet the speculated February 5 date for the convention in view of the need for a mandatory 21-day notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he said: “Well, I’m not the chairman of the convention committee, but I want to assure you that we’ve called a meeting for Sunday and if there is a meeting on Sunday, and you’re thinking about next Friday, just wait and see what will happen before next Friday. I don’t want to draw a conclusion now.
“You’re already talking of litigation, you draw conclusions, somebody will go and file a case tomorrow. So, I don’t want us to draw a conclusion on that, but I want to assure you that we are meeting. We already sampled the minds of many of the governors.
“We’re meeting and we’re very hopeful that we’re going to keep and then with the admonition given by the President, it’s a warning signal to all of us to sit up and ensure that we have a seamless, very clean, fair and transparent convention so that our party will not get disintegrated.”
The governor also spoke on the security situation in his state, expressing delight that the military will now be able to deploy Tucano jets against terrorists following their recent re-categorization.
He lamented that kidnapping has become more prominent in Plateau State.
He said: “Well, in terms of security, some of the issues we raised with the president last year, we’re already beginning to see progress, especially you’ll recall that we mentioned that we are very eager to see the use of the Tucano helicopters so that we can have massive engagement with all the bandits.
“Part of it was also the status of some of these bandits around and you can see that already the federal government has described them as terrorists, the military is now going to do full engagement. These were some of the issues that were raised in our communique in Kaduna.
“So, we’re already beginning to see and we’re also getting prepared in the north for such action, that’s what we’re expecting. So, if we are going to …, let us do massive action that will ensure that within the first quarter of this year, people will have hope that we’re going to live with security and we’re going to live peacefully in all the parts of the north because we’re expecting these actions before the next rainy season.
“You recall that we’re an agrarian region and we want our people to go back to the farm and in most cases, it is this insecurity that is keeping them away.
“Those are some of the things and then addressed in collaboration with the security and also our vigilantes, the issue of kidnapping, which is now getting very serious. So, those are some of the issues that we’re also meeting and we’re preparing for.
“The last part of it is the engagement of traditional rulers. Of course, we’ve sent a bill to the National Assembly on the role of traditional rulers and we’re hoping that we’ll pursue that on behalf of Northern governors to ensure that this bill gets through so that traditional rulers will also complement the efforts of the government in addressing insecurity in their various states.”
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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.”
NNPP Suspends Kwankwaso Over Alleged Anti-party Activties
Irked by alleged Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s hobnobbing with President Bola Tinubu, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has suspended the presidential candidate in the last election.
The party’s BoT also accused Kwankwaso of anti-party activities with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, without the board’s authorisation.
The board also strips Kwankwaso of the title as the NNPP’s national and state leader, respectively.
It equally dissolved the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), and constituted a new one led by Dr. Agbo Major as the acting National Chairman, Comrade Ogini Olaposi as the acting National Secretary, and 18 other national officers.
The former NWC was dissolved for incompetence and failure of its members to follow the constitution and due process in filling the vacant positions.
The board also described as flagrant violation of the party’s constitution, the purported suspension of the Founder, Chief Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam, saying it amounted to recklessness and irresponsibility on the part of the incompetent NWC.
“The BoT Chairman Dr. Boniface Aniebonam resigned and a new BoT Chairman, Chief Tope Aluko was elected with Babayo Muhammed Abdulahi as new BOT Secretary, while High Chief Tony Obioha was elected as BoT spokesperson,” the board stated.
Part of the communique signed by the BoT’s Chairman, Temitope Aluko, and ratified by members at the party’s general assembly meeting on Tuesday in Apapa, Lagos, read:
“NNPP constitution has been amended severally without following due process and procedure by a clique of individuals within the system.
“The MoU document has been infringed upon and violated by the NWC members.
“About eight states chapters of the old NNPP were unceremoniously dissolved by the incompetent NWC.
“The letters of reinstatement of the suspended executive chairmen of the various states issued by the BoT chairman in accordance with the Board’s inherent power to call to order, stands valid.”
The board also warned Alhaji Buba Galadima to stop parading himself as the BoT’s Secretary, describing his conduct as a violation of the composition of the members of the BoT in accordance with the party’s constitution.
The former NWC was dissolved due to incompetence and failure of the members to follow the constitution and due process in filling the vacant positions.
While stressing that its Abuja office remains at plot 511, Herbert Marcaulay Way, Suite A1 to A3, Willian’s Plaza, Zone 4, Wuse, Abuja, the Board said the party had also withdrawn its earlier partnership with the Kwankwasia, The National Movement (TNM) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).
In his acceptance speech after the NWC was inaugurated, the acting National Chairman, Dr. Major promised that the new NWC under his leadership would not disappoint the Board and Nigerians.
He said: “We will extend the olive branch to all aggrieved members. We want them back in the party. We won’t shut anybody out. We want to prove to Nigerians that NNPP remains the party with the most people-friendly manifestoes in Nigeria.”
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