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South-South governors demand PDP presidential ticket, as party insists on open race for the ticket

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Uyo—The South-South leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) consisting of governors, federal lawmakers, former governors, and other stakeholders has demanded that the PDP presidential ticket is zoned to the region “in the spirit of fairness, equity, and justice.”

According to reports by the Nation newspaper, the demand was made in a communique of the summit held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, with the theme “Engendering a South-South agenda for 2023 and beyond.”

The south-south leaders warned that the party might lose the opportunity to retake power if it failed to allow its stronghold to produce the candidate.

Speaking at the meeting earlier, the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike asked the PDP to treat the south-south geo-political zone with fairness, justice, and equity.

The governor stated that the PDP ought to compensate the region with the party presidential ticket having consistently voted for the PDP since 1999 till date.

Wike said: “The South-South is the pillar of the PDP. If the South-South is the pillar of the PDP, they must be treated with fairness, justice, and equity.

“It is not only when it comes to working, it is not only when it comes to giving votes that we will all remember that the South-South is the pillar. When it also comes in terms of sharing, they should remember that this is the pillar of the party.”

Wike also charged his colleagues including National Assembly members and other stakeholders to unite in the overall interest of the PDP.

“We have all said that Nigerians are waiting for PDP to take over in 2023. That is true. But we cannot take over if we are not united. We cannot take over if don’t work together.

“It is for us to put our house together and make Nigerians proud because if we don’t take over in 2023, Nigerians will never forgive PDP. We must take this opportunity and make Nigerians happy,” he said.

Similarly, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, supported the position of the South-South governors.

He said, “The zone is fully in support of the position of the Southern Governor’s forum that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria.”

Also at the meeting were Governors Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Douye Diri (Bayelsa).

Other dignitaries in attendance included PDP National Vice Chairman (South-south), Chief Dan Orbih; Senator George Sekibo; former Deputy House of Reps Speaker, Austin Opara; former governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Celestine Omehia (Rivers).

However, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki was the only South-South PDP governor absent at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, who spoke with newsmen said the party cannot stop leaders from other regions of the country who have intentions to contest for the Presidency on the platform of the party.

He added that chieftains seeking to fly the flag of the party have not broken any rule and said Atiku and Saraki were exercising their fundamental human rights, which guarantee their aspiration to leadership positions in the country.

Ologunagba said: “They did not jump the gun as you inferred. The constitution of the PDP, and indeed the Nigerian constitution, did not empower the party leadership to abridge the rights of any party member or any Nigerian for that matter.

“Let me make it clear that Atiku, Saraki, or any other aspirant collecting the nomination form at this point, cannot stop the 37-man committee from doing its job.

“To make it clearer; even if the committee eventually zones the presidential ticket to a particular part of the country, it does not take away the right of other qualified and interested individuals to contest.

“The PDP is a party of laws and regulations. We do things following our laws and procedures, and in line with the constitution of Nigeria.

“You would recall that during our last national convention, there was a committee set up by NEC on issues of zoning, which made recommendations that were accepted and implemented by NEC.

“But there were some people who were interested in contesting and they still went ahead to contest for positions based on their convictions. So, there is nothing out of place in what is unfolding.”

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Buhari has reduced insecurity in Nigeria, says Tinubu

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England—The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari, has reduced the insecurity challenge he met on the ground in 2015.

Punch reports that Tinubu said this during an interview with BBC, which was published on Tuesday.

Questioned about how he would tackle insecurity, considering it has persisted, Tinubu said, “It has reduced. I will defend him.

“Then, 17 local governments and about four states where we had flags of foreign jihadists in Nigeria. That is no more. That is long gone.

“To start chaos is easy. To bring normalcy and redecorate is more difficult. Here we are, Buhari has degraded but not completely eliminated ISWAP.

“They will talk briefly of lethal weapons and ammunitions and technology equipment that could have helped with the clean up of those.

“The West is yet to feel comfortable enough with a Buhari administration to sell us the arms and technology necessary.”

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People want to use me to make money—Tinubu explains why he snubs debates

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London—The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said those inviting him for debates are only trying to use him to make money because he’s a marketable individual.

Channels Television reports that the former governor of Lagos State said this at Chatham House in London on Monday, barely 24 hours after he snubbed a town hall meeting attended by three other candidates in the 2023 presidential race.

Fielding a question from the audience on why he snubbed debates, Tinubu said, “I see myself as a marketable individual. You want to use me to make money and I’m saying no.”

On controversies surrounding his age, school and time in the private sector, he said, “At the time of birth, I was dated March 29, 1952, in the family record. Then, I don’t think I had decided to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not even that I would go into politics.

“I’ve had a very good record in life. My record is consistent in the university they questioned. They’ve now confessed that they wasted their money and their time. The record is there, and the transcript is there showing March 1952.

“I’m not claiming another father, I’m Tinubu and Tinubu proper. If they want a DNA, they could as well request for one.

“One of them was even accused of not being a Nigerian citizen, I didn’t touch that area.

“Equally, it remains the same. Chicago State University where I graduated has attested to that. Now, I can announce that I have received my original replacement degree certificate from them.

“Deloitte trained me as an accountant. Mobile Oil has attested to my outstanding record. I got to the pinnacle of my career in the private sector. Who among them can brag about that?

“Yes, you want to wrestle with the pig, you’ve got to live with the dirt. That’s what I’m doing. I got into politics knowing fully well that it is muddy water. Smog will come, and you will have to live with the dirt and make sure you are upright to finish the job.”

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Dogara joins PDP from APC after declaring support for Atiku

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Abuja —Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Channels Television reports that Dogara was received into the party during the presidential campaign by the party’s presidential candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos State.

This comes 48 hours after a group led by Dogara, the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum adopted Atiku as the preferred presidential candidate for the 2023 election.

On December 2, the group consisting of Christian and Muslim religious and political leaders in the north said after evaluation of all the presidential candidates, Abubakar is “the best”.

“It is evident that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is heading for implosion and extinction; hence, it cannot be the party for now and in the future, because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party,” the group said.

“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.

“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this country faces.

“Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, which is mindful of the federal character principle with a sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location, and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity, after a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we now recommend the adoption of the PDP to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria for the 2023 presidential election,” the group said.

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