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2023: Tinubu’s team kicks as Afenifere insists on Obi’s endorsement

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Lagos—The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Monday justified its decision to back the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the 2023 elections, the Punch newspaper reports.

The group’s leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, made its position known at a press conference in Lagos.

Justifying the decision, Adebanjo said the group would not compromise the principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is a Yoruba man.

He said, “The South-West has produced a President and currently sits as Vice President; the South-South has spent a total of six years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South, equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.

“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria while we, at the same time, continue to brutally marginalise and exclude them from the power dynamics.

“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back; he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.

“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is a frontline candidate. It is on this same principle we condemn the Peoples Democratic Party for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim.”

However, in his reaction, the APC spokesperson, Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, accused Adebanjo of promoting his agenda as the position of the pan-Yoruba group.

The Punch reports that Keyamo on Monday said that he stood by an earlier statement released by the council’s Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga.

He said, “We stand by the statement issued yesterday (Sunday) by our campaign council media director. Afenifere is not the mouthpiece of the Yoruba. The release comprehensively addressed the matter.

“The issue is that the Afenifere in question is just Pa Adebanjo trying to project his personal bias against Asiwaju. He is not pursuing any pan-Yoruba act of patriotism as claimed. No, he is not.

“Besides, his view is not the position of the entire Afenifere. He is just a factional member of the group. We are aware that there was no time Afenifere met to take such a decision.”

Onanuga had, in an earlier statement, described Adebanjo’s endorsement of Obi as a personal decision.

While admitting that he is free to support anyone he likes in furtherance of his democratic right, the media director stated that the elder statesman does not speak for the Yorubas.

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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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