Lagos—Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Deputy National Chairman Chief Olabode George has warned that the opposition party may lose next year’s presidential election to crisis.
He said the way and manner the protracted leadership crisis is resolved will determine the fate of the platform in 2023 polls.
George, warned that PDP may be polarised and fragmented into the Northern Peoples Democratic Party (NPDP) and Southern Peoples Democratic Party (SPDP), if the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, does not resign.
He said: “Let me declare categorically that the positions of presidential candidate and national chairman cannot come from the same zone.”
George, a Naval Commodore, spoke with reporters in Lagos on the consequence of politics of exclusion and inequality in the party.
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Accompanied by his wife, Rolly, Senator Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor and other party chieftains, the party elder advised Ayu to honour his promise to step down, if the presidential candidate emerges from the North.
He lamented that PDP has violated the principle of inclusion because the candidate, chairman and the campaign director are from the North.
George said it is desirable that the position of the national chairman should come to the Southwest to give the region a sense of inclusion, belonging, equity and justice.
To the party elder, PDP is facing a ‘clear and present danger’ that might thwart the window of opportunity for winning.
He said flawed personal interests are being sustained at the expense of party unity and cohesion.
According to him: “We should not allow any sentiment – ethnic or religious to divide us. Unfortunately, with what we are presently witnessing, our party may lose the next presidential election if we continue to disregard or fail to address the feeling and grievances of ‘alienation’ being presently experienced by the entire Southern population of this great country.
“If this issue is dismissed, we cannot expect votes from them.
“We should be seen to pursue noble causes and not ethnic agenda. Ethnic groups in this country are at the precipice of collapse. It has never been this bad historically and Nigerians are waiting for us to change the situation of things for the better.
“Until this party returns to the founding fathers’ principles of unity, with equity, fairness and justice being the pedestal for any political decision taken in this party; and ensuring broad-mindedness to accommodate the concerns of all zones in this country PDP becomes vulnerable to disaster in the 2023 elections. Unless we are united, with equity, fairness and justice, our party may be fragmented before 2023.
“In May this year, we elected our presidential candidate in the person of HE. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, setting aside the principle of rotation as enshrined in the constitution of our party in the interest of peace and unity of our party. Today, we are in a situation in which our National Chairman is from the same zone as our presidential candidate.
“Some people are insisting that there is nothing wrong with this present arrangement. Some have argued that this happened during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, where the candidate and the national chairman were from the same zone.
“Let the truth be told, there are remarkable differences in the scenario then and now. Then we had the leader of the party who was then a sitting president from the South and the candidate was from the North.
“In addition, the National Chairman, Dr Ahmadu Ali, was then on his way out. Today we have no sitting President from our party in Aso Villa so, that argument falls flat. We need to stop playing games and being zombified.”
People want to use me to make money—Tinubu explains why he snubs debates
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.”
Dogara joins PDP from APC after declaring support for Atiku
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.
My administration’s prudent with 13% derivation, other funds, says Diri
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the focus of his administration is to open up the riverine state by linking rural communities by roads.
The governor speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, on a Yenagoa-based radio station on Saturday, said Bayelsa was not in competition with any other state as all states had their peculiar needs and priorities.
According to the governor, one of the major challenges of the state is its riverine nature, which restricts access to rural communities by road as well as hinder agricultural produce from reaching markets in the state capital and other cities.
He said, “This is why our administration is focused on constructing roads to rural communities where the bulk of the poor people live.”
Diri further stated that his administration is prudently expending its 13% derivation funds and other refunds by the Federal Government on the construction of the three senatorial road projects as well as other people-oriented projects.
He listed some of the ongoing big-ticket projects to include the 42km Sagbama-Ekeremor road, which costs N34.4 billion with seven bridges and five already done by his administration.
He also said the 22.2km Yenagoa-Oporoma road will gulp N31.4 billion as well as the 21km
Igbogene-Elebele road expected to gulp N54.56 billion.
“Our administration has also embarked on the first phase of the Nembe-Brass road with 10 bridges at a cost of N54 billion as well as the 10.2km dual carriageway Glory Drive road from the Ecumenical Centre at Igbogene to the Tombia-Amassoma road.”
Some other infrastructure projects embarked upon by the administration were listed to include the 4.5km Igbedi road, the media complex, Elebele bridge, Nembe Unity bridge, phase one of the Igbogene-Elebele ring road, lecture halls and laboratories at the Bayelsa Medical University, which were all completed and inaugurated during the administration’s second anniversary in February this year.
Governor Diri further stated that his administration has equally carried out numerous training and empowerment programmes such as the ICT-focused Diri Digital Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (DDEEP) with 8,000 beneficiaries across the eight local government areas of the state as well as training in other vocational areas such as catering, fashion designing, shoe making and agriculture.
“No fewer than 500 of our youths and women have been trained at the CSS Integrated Farms in Nasarawa State,” stressing that the government is setting up those trained to own their farms and small-scale businesses.”
In addition, he said the administration initiated a social welfare scheme that captures small business in the rural communities.
According to him, under this scheme, 210 different beneficiaries from each of the 105 wards in the state get N200,000 each monthly to grow their small businesses.
While acknowledging that the state had received the crude oil, SURE-P and oil subsidy refunds from the Federal Government in installments in the last two years, Diri said the receipts had always been captured in the monthly transparency briefings and that the state had nothing to hide.
The Bayelsa helmsman insisted that insinuations in some quarters that the government did not disclose the receipt of the funds is false and urged the people to pay attention to the transparency briefings as the financial books of the state were always open.
He further explained that statutory allocations to Bayelsa and its internally generated revenue were not more than N3 billion monthly, saying it is the derivation funds that make it possible for the state to embark on the big projects as well as pay workers salary regularly.
He assured that his administration was determined to make a positive difference in the lives of people of the state.