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To Those Who Say We Cannot Win By Oby Ezekwesili

29 October 2018 - 9:21am

(Being a speech by Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria at a World Press Conference on Monday, 29 October, 2018, Lagos, Nigeria)

How can they say that we are finished
We have just begun
We have nowhere else to run to
We have nowhere else to go.


Ladies and gentlemen, you are welcome to this conference.

When the singer TY Bello released that powerful anthem in 2011, Nigerians were on the march to a historic election. It was an election that showed us a vision of what is possible in our country - that the son of a humble fisherman from a minority tribe in the Niger Delta can rise to become president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

The winner of that presidential election described his victory as “the renewal of hope” in Nigeria. And most Nigerians believed him.

Until a series of own goals crashed that hope down a slippery slope, and that beautiful Nigerian dream tragically became a nightmare.

In 2015, Nigerians were on the march again.

Citizens were so angry with the brand of failure posing as governance that we took a gamble and placed their hopes in today’s ruling party, the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari, a 71-year old former dictator who has now shown neither the capacity nor the aptitude for the highest office in the land.

If that campaign was a movie, the title of the movie would be: “The lesser of two evils.”

Everything the APC candidate did was justified and excused because he was branded as “the lesser evil.” He was given an easy ride. No serious questions were asked about his competence or track record or world view; he couldn’t even be bothered to attend a presidential debate to defend his ideas in a competitive environment. Yet he was promising CHANGE. And a majority of Nigerian voters bought what he was selling.

But where is this change?

I intend to do three things here today:

First, I will lay bare what is at stake in this election by telling you why the failed PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are not alternatives to the failed APC and its candidate, President Buhari. They are one and the same, siamese twins of failure and destruction.

Second, I will tell you why my candidacy under the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) represents the most prepared, most qualified and most formidable choice for 2019, and why you cannot afford to sit on the sidelines in this battle for the soul of Nigeria.

Finally, I will address the most frequently repeated concerns about my candidacy and then what exactly we need to do to take this movement from here to Aso Rock.

So let us look back briefly, to 2015.

Do you remember? The chant all across the country was “Anyone But Jonathan.” Sadly, that is how we ended up with this reprobate government.

This time it is: “Anyone But Buhari.” And by that they mean that we should reinstate the failed PDP and its candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar because they think Atiku is the only person that can defeat Buhari in 2019. And in 2023, when Atiku and the PDP inevitably fail again, because a bad tree cannot bear good fruit? We will hear new chants of “Anyone But Atiku.”

That is how we get looped in a cycle of insanity - repeating the same thing, and expecting a different result. That cycle of failure is unsustainable and it has to end NOW.

2019 cannot be “Anyone But Buhari”. Our country is not a recycling plant for uninspiring old men with their old ideas and old dubious characters. We deserve better than their aggressive mediocrity. And that is why I am running for president - to lead a people’s movement that will permanently terminate bad leadership, retire these incompetents and fight for every Nigerian.

For those of you considering the PDP as an alternative, I really want to ask you: what is the thing that you see about them that is any different from the APC. Really? These people are the same: Siamese Twins of Failure.

Fellow Nigerians, here is the truth of the matter: the APCPDP is not two parties. The #APCPDP is one single party fielding one single candidate, and that candidate’s name is #BuTiku. Yes, you heard me right – #BuTiku.

Buhari and Atiku are conjoined from head to toe as #BuTiku. There is no lesser evil in #BuTiku. #BuTiku are members of the same party.

Attempting to choose between these two is like asking one to choose between death by poison or death by gunshot. God forbid. We cannot reject one oppressor and hand over to another oppressor. We do not love bondage. We do not enjoy suffering. God in heaven forbid.

I just laugh when I hear some people say our citizens movement will split opposition votes. But the PDP is not in opposition to the APC. The candidate of the PDP has over the past 14 years gone from PDP to AC, AC to PDP, PDP to APC and now back to PDP. These people are brothers and sisters of iniquity and impoverishment, merchants of failure and disappointment. Don’t believe that 419! They are both part of a political ruling class that has held us bound, manipulated and diminished us for decades. Now they are auditioning to extend their streak of failure for another four years? God really forbid! The real opponent that the Nigerian people have in 2019 is this old political order that takes and takes and takes, and never replenishes anything.

I should know. I was headhunted from Harvard in 1999, asked to come and help as a technocrat to rebuild a country that had just been recovered from the wasted years of the military. I accepted, like many other brilliant Nigerian minds from home and abroad, and we worked together to bring due process into government, secure debt relief, open up our economy, rebuild institutions and attack poverty.

The things I saw with in those days really fired me up to insist on due process, fellow Nigerians. Because for these terrible Nigerian politicians, corruption is all fun and games. These people have no desire but for more power, power, power, power. They stay up at night conspiring to steal and pillage, to loot and destroy. Oh, my brothers and sisters, I served in that government with one of the candidates who is running under #APCPDP in this election. Kai! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Six and a half years after, in 2007, I had fought the fight that had to be fought from within, and then I left government knowing for sure that if this politicial order is not changed, the work of good governance that good people do within government will never last. I decided not to re-enter government, rebuffing every request made since, and instead made a decision to dedicate my life to activating citizens to push these blood-sucking political class out of office.

I returned from the World Bank five years later to do just that, and the PDP was still at it! Same incentives, same behavior. The political class was completely unchanged - and had in fact become completely worse.

For goodness sake, what has fundamentally changed about that PDP we have always known? What lessons did the party really learn after its defeat in 2015? Is this not the same PDP that looted the monies meant to equip our military, so that our soldiers had to run away at the sight of Boko Haram, because they had no weapons? The same PDP that spent precious days denying that our Chibok girls were kidnapped and so allowed the terrorists get away? Is this not the same PDP that conducted a recruitment exercise for the Immigration Service that killed scores of our young people and yet nobody was sacked or punished? Haba. How can we forget so easily!

So the question is: Apart from forgetfulness, why are some Nigerians suddenly considering the PDP yet again? I have heard some people say it is because the PDP candidate has run successful businesses and therefore will be good for the economy at a time like this.

That response just makes me shake my head in wonderment: Is it the same person we know, or are we speaking of another?

Perhaps you never read a 2005 email from the president of Atiku’s university which was obtained by US investigators.

Let me quote a small portion from that mail: “...The flow of revenue to the university will slow dramatically if Atiku’s political fortunes continue to wane… Construction delays on campus have also raised fears that the prospects for the university are linked to Atiku’s political success.”

Did you just hear what that email said? That the success of that man’s private business is dependent on our commonwealth?

And there was more!

A special report by a US Senate Committee on Foreign Corruption concluded that “over an eight-year period from 2000 to 2008, Atiku and his wife, Jennifer Douglas were able to bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States…”

This was at the very time that this person was the Vice President of this very same country.

And these are the people you want to put in charge of the national treasury? In charge of the money for your children’s education? Of the resources for our country’s hospitals? Of the budget for our depleted army and our impoverished police force?

If we dive into all the filthy issues involving the PDP candidate - from the PTDF saga to the $2.8 million Siemens bribery scandal - we may spend the entire day here today and I simply do not have that time.

So let us talk about the present administration, the evil twin.

What is the primary legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari? It is the destruction of our nation’s wealth, presiding over the worst economic recession Nigeria has seen in decades.

Even now that the economy has come out of recession, the growth is as sluggish as his government. 4 out of every 10 adults today are either unemployed or underemployed, and Nigeria is now the Poverty Capital of the World, the World Bank confirmining that we now have more extremely poor people than India which has a population six times our size.

And in the midst of this, his Vice President was celebrating last week at the Nigeria Economic Summit that handing bailouts to state governors to pay salaries is an achievement.

What a big shame!

President Buhari declared after his victory that he “belongs to everybody and he belongs to nobody.” It sounded like sweet music at the time, but it was a big scam. This is a man whose wife – and surely his wife should know him better than we do - laments that a mafia had hijacked her husband’s government.

There is no shadow of doubt: President Buhari is the most parochial, most nepotistic and most partisan president that Nigeria has ever seen.

This president talks about fighting grand corruption. Please, please, give me a break! Can corruption fight corruption? Does he think we cannot see? A president that looks the other way while his friends and cronies suffocate and strangle our country?

This is not a time to speak in parables. I shall name names.

Should we talk about his former secretary to the federal government, Babachir Lawal, who was accused of stealing hundreds of millions meant for Internally Displaced Persons. Imagine the depravity. And when this person was indicted by the Senate, President Buhari actually wrote to them to say he would not take any action against the man! He only grudgingly sacked this tainted person because citizens stood their ground and said NO WAY. Up until now, no other action has been taken against him by the government. And they do not plan to take any.

Should we talk about how this government recalled a former chairman of the Pensions Reforms Commission, Abdulrasheed Maina, who has an arrest warrant on his head for stealing billions from our nation’s pensioners? The Head of the Civil Service actually advised the president not to re-instate him, and what did the president do? He not only recalled this person, but he also promoted him! He only sacked Maina because citizens resisted and said NO WAY. Up till now, over a year later, the EFCC and Police have done nothing. And they do not plan to do anything.

As we stand here today, there are credible allegations against the NNPC of which the president is minister in charge and elaborate accusations against both the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and his Attorney General, Abubakar Malami. Has anything been done? No. Nothing has been done and the president has no plans to do anything.

If we dive into all the other issues involving the APC candidate - from the Air Nigeria nonsense to claiming in the morning that Abacha was not a thief, and then going in the night to beg for repatriation of Abacha’s loot - we may spend the entire day here today and we simply do not have that time.

As one of the founders of Transparency International, I often encountered rulers like the ones in charge of Nigeria. Their words and their actions are like parallel lines; they never meet. They say one thing publicly but their actions scream the opposite. I shudder to imagine the amount of corruption that will be uncovered about President Buhari and his government when they are kicked out by Nigerians next year.

I shudder to imagine.

I do not intend to dwell any further on these symbols of the past, but it is important that I define what #BuTiku actually represents so that citizens can easily identify and reject it no matter the packaging. It is important to let you know exactly what you are choosing on behalf of us and our children when you choose these icons of failure, disappointment and national poverty.

We must not pretend that we do not know what the stakes are. We know. You know. When your children ask you in a few decades what choice you made when faced between corruption and incompetence on one hand, and the ACPN candidate, Obiageli Ezekwesili on the other, what answer will you therefore give to them? That you chose corruption or incompetence over competence, capacity and character?

I decided to join this race because I wanted you, and me, to have no excuse. We have in this race a candidate who has excelled in Corporate Nigeria, excelled in national government, excelled in private enterprise, excelled in international development, and then dedicated her life to fighting for every Nigerian from Chibok to Jos, from Abia to Ikot Ekpene. A candidate who is one of the very small tribe of Nigerians who have served in government but who have no allegation of corruption against them. I don’t mean court case o. I mean allegation. Zero. None. Not one.

I want to be sure you know that the choice is between on one hand #BuTiku, a ticket which includes a man who insults your intelligence by asking you to go get his WAEC certificate from the armed forces of which he is the commander in chief and another man who cannot tell you where he got the start up capital for his alleged multi-million dollar businesses; and on the other hand a woman whose track record is filled with concrete achievenments in education, solid minerals, public procurement and international development; a woman who has been fighting for this country every day of her life for the past 30 years - from being attacked on the streets of Lagos fighting for the June 12, 1993 mandate to taking up the challenge of this government and, at great risk to myself, visiting Sambisa Forest personally to fight for our still missing #ChibokGirls.

That is why, with a heavy but resolute heart, with a deep sense of responsibility but a clear understanding that I am entering into uncharted waters, I decided that I had no choice, that we have waited too long, and it is time for us to get in and fix this country ourselves.

So don’t pretend you have no choice. You do. And it is not one between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I am often uncomfortable speaking about my record, but I am now a politician. I chose to get into politics myself, and so it is my duty to remind you of my track record.

I led the World Bank’s operations in 47 African countries for five years, delivering up to $40 billion that helped countries tackle development challenges across a range of issues. I am not talking about theories, or claiming to lead an economic management team when all of us who did the work knew you were very busy supervising leakages and patronage. I am talking about the actual work of rebuilding nations.

These people are so incompetent that they make issues like infrastructure and human development, agricultural production and productivity, private sector development and economic reforms look like mission impossible. They cannot even speak about Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things because they are busy trading and drinking oil. That Nigeria has not moved forward is not because its issues are complicated. It is complicated because these guys have zero capacity.

They enter into Aso Rock and they feel like they are now on top of the world. It is so easy for power and money to confuse them. Shame.

I was priviledged to be a cabinet member before I was 40, and a minister by the time I was 42, implementing the reforms that changed Nigeria’s broken and corrupt public contracting system to one of a global standard. Power doesn’t faze me. Power has never and can never confuse me.

Then people talk about the grassroots? I have crafted and implemented multi-sector policy to transform the lives of those at the bottom of the pyramid. I have visited around this country. I have seen the poverty, audited the opportunities, and created solutions that have kept us from crashing. These men don’t know the grassroots like I do. These guys only have experience in compromise and corruption. My own experience is in caring for people and rebuilding nations.

As minister of solid minerals I led the repositioning of our mining possibilities for private sector leadership, cleaned up the chaotic mining titles registry and had Nigeria commended globally for leading on transparency in the mining sector when we established the Nigerian Mining Cadastral Office. Then I terminated the power of the minister – my own power - to award mining licenses as he or she pleases. I supervised the comprehensive geophysical survey of the country that generated basic data on number of minerals (34) and number of locations (430) across the length and breadth of Nigeria, opening up massive opportunities that we as a nation continue to enjoy. These are verifiable facts; the records are available.

I was education minister for less than one year, but in that time, we embarked on the most comprehensive reforms Nigeria has seen since 1999. We revamped the Federal Inspectorate Service and began the first ever nationwide inspection of secondary schools. We built the Nigeria Education Management Information System, collecting data and using it to analytically plan and make education policy. We introduced the private sector supported Entrepreneurship Studies as a compulsory General Studies course in all higher institutions. We started work on structural reforms of our curricula to position education as a key driver of transformation by linking curricula at all levels of education to the nation’s social and economic imperatives. We introduced Public Private Partnership models for education service delivery and very importantly ensured that Innovation & Vocational Enterprise Institutions were accredited, certified (National Innovation Diploma and National Vocational Certificate) and regulated by the National Board for Technical Education. 

All these things I mentioned, and more I haven’t even mentioned, were done in just 10 months.

Trust me, this is not a noise making exercise. I know the work.

I don’t just know ‘business’. I know capital. I understand economies. I know nation building.

You can trust that when I say that under an Oby Ezekwesili presidency, we will get to work immediately lifting a minimum of 80 million Nigerians out of debilitating poverty, I mean business.

I don’t have issues obtaining visas or traveling to any country in the world -  whether it is the United States of America or the United Arab Emirates.

I won’t come into office struggling to find my feet on the global stage.

You will never hear any world leader call me lifeless or dishonest.

I will stand toe to toe, head to head, shoulder to shoulder and side by side with any world leader, anywhere in the world.

I have had the priviledge to work with nations from Rwanda to Liberia, advising governments across Africa - including my sisters Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Joyce Banda, and my brothers Paul Kagame and Alfa Conde. These leaders have implemented courageous, effective reforms so commonsensical that I became so ashamed of sitting on the sidelines and allowing Nigerians have only the choice of #BuTiku for president.

Kai.

We don suffer reach! And today, our mumu don finally do. 

My leadership will not be by trial and error, and I will not spend my time making excuses and blaming others.

Because I know that the poor mother whose children will sleep without food tonight does not care about excuses or blame games. The 4 million Nigerians who lost their jobs last year do not have time for excuses or blame games. Leah Sharibu and the several other young girls whose futures are being snatched by terrorists do not have time for excuses or blame games. The small business owner who spends half of his earnings on generating his own power does not have time for excuses or blame games. They want results, results, results. They want tried and tested leadership; a leadership that is data-driven, independent-minded and solutions-centred.

You know my record. You know that when I say it, I do it. You know that when I promise it, I keep my word.

Don’t we finally, at last, in our lifetimes, deserve that kind of president? Don’t you finally deserve a president you know can and will do what she says she will do – no stories, no hidden agenda, no dodgy friends; just working every day for you and our children?

Are we not tired of managing poverty, and death, and destruction?

The world is watching, my brothers and sisters, my children, my elders. They are watching to see what kind of country we will choose to become now that the kind of candidate wih the wide ranging national and international experience we have been asking for has finally joined the race.

How sad it will be if we choose to reelect incompetence, stagnation and mediocrity. How equally sad it will be if we elect a shady, unprincipled individual who hops from one party to another every election season and has a corruption file in the United States Department of State.

Look, there is nothing to fear in these old men.

There is nothing to respect about the power that they have. They do not know anything that you don’t know. These are not men worthy of your regard. All they know is how to grab power. And we can shake them off in 2019.

An Oby Ezekwesili presidency will not only work to create an enabling environment for our young people to explore their greatest potentials and be globally competitive, but they will actually power the government. Building our young human capital will be an urgent priority of our ACPN government. We have an agenda to transform 20 Nigerian universities into world class institutions with strong showings on the global rankings.

These people are still talking about oil when the world is counting down to the end of the oil economy? In fact, we should just give them the oil to drink since it is what they really want so that they can leave alone to focus on the work of rebuilding our economy.

Our agenda is about creating wealth - growing the pie exponentially, creating jobs, building shared prosperity and taking at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty. The agenda is to mobilize the energies of the people and our private sector, invest in upgrading our capacity capabilities to compete globally, and end the bad policies which have turned Nigeria into Poverty Central.

Importantly, our actions will center on mobilizing the youth, building and adopting science and technology to disrupt the status quo in every sector including governance, implementing the reforms and reorganization to reduce bureaucracy, and making government a partner instead of an enemy of progress. This will in turn create jobs, turbo charge businesses and fight inequality.

In fact, I cannot wait till December, after I have concluded my listening tour of the states of Nigeria. I am going to discuss our agenda directly with the market women, plumbers, mechanics, imams, deacons, truck drivers, accountants, teachers, civil servants - and after that disruptive, bottom-up, grassroots-driven process, we will then unveil our practical vision document that is broken written into language that everybody can understand, so that you people will know that this thing is not as hard as these old men think it is.

But the question people often ask me is actually not about policy, even though I insist that policy matters, because policy is what changes lives. Many people know my record and they know that this is the president they deserve. What they worry about is my politics – Am I seriously running? Am I just running to make a statement? Is a vote for me a wasted vote?

Since my public declaration for the presidency, I’ve had people come up to me directly, even my friends in the economic elite who are so afraid to speak the truth because they fear so much that this government will hunt them down, or even those who work at the highest levels of the government and the #APCPDP but who know that #BuTiku is a failed enterprise, or my young friends who reach out online: “We believe in you Ma,” they tell me. “You have the vision, you have the integrity, you have the experience and empathy, you have the knowledge and right judgement to become the president of Nigeria.”

Then they pause for a few seconds and say, “But…”

Everybody knows what “but...” means.

“But what?” I ask them.

Their response is usually one of three things:
1. But… why did you leave it until this late to declare? Why not wait until 2023 when you will stand a better chance? OR
2. But... you cannot win, and we need someone that can defeat President Buhari, OR
3. But... how would you govern even if you win when your party won’t have a lot of seats in the National Assembly?

I am going to end this speech by answering each of those “BUTs” one after the other so we can move those concerns out of the way and get to the serious business of you joining us, so that together we can win this 2019 election and begin the urgent marathon to remake Nigeria.

Now, why did I leave it until this late to declare?

The truth is that I finally decided that enough is actually enough. I waited long and hard, hopeful that #BuTiku would get the competition of ideas and strategy that it deserves. But a few weeks ago, after a number of young, vibrant, energetic candidates invited me to supervise an electon between them and as I watched the troubling outcome of that open process with a broken heart, it then occurred to me that I had no other choice. My hatred of politics was finally overcome by my hatred of the disdain that this political class has for the citizens.

And this is how nations are changed, not by people who run for office out of ambition, but by people who are determined enough to make a strong, powerful decision, no matter the odds – even money or time – to say, ENOUGH.

That is why I made this conscious and prayerful decision to run and win this election with Nigerians. I agree that the best time to have started running this campaign would have been much much earlier. But I have learnt enough from history and strategy to know that the next best time is now.

We are running this race because we can no longer wait.

There is no force in the world more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

And, forget all the drama, I have had enough conversations with those who know how this country works, who have run campaigns and mounted runs in the past, and what I know is what they confirm: Three months is a very long time in politics. One day is a very long time in Nigerian politics.

This moment, now that all of of us are plugged into what happens in 2019. Now that we are paying attention. Now that we know the choices we face. NOW is precisely the right time for me to come into this race.

Let me even ask those who say there is no time. You have had energetic young and older people who have been working to build structure and win the elections for more than a year - well how much have you donated to them? Have you volunteered for them? What resources have you given them? They started on time, but did the time that they had give them an advantage in numbers, in donations, in volunteers? Did it inspire you to do your part?

No.

So time is not the issue, fellow Nigerians. Time is not the reason you haven’t stepped up to sacrifice or fight for your country. Time is not the reason we haven’t yet joined a movement to defeat #APCPDP. It is not time that is the problem, it is fear.

You are afraid.

You are afraid.

You think we cannot defeat them. You think they are too strong. You think we have to manage, we have to negotiate, we have to concede defeat. You think we have no choice.

So I stand here today as a symbol of the courage that we all need to own. We. Have. Time! 

You ask me to wait till 2023? So that what will happen? So you will suddenly get courage, and you will suddenly be ready to do the work you should have been doing since? No way. I am not giving you that excuse. We cannot wait till 2023. #BuTiku is already scheming to continue ruining this country from 2019. Now is the time for us to ensure that all their scheming falls down flat.

And, if you insist that we must work towards 2023 instead, then let me ask you this: when is the best time to start that marathon? After the elections next year when you would have forgotten and returned to your daily bread, or now, right now, today; now that the rubber has met the road and the choices that are before us are clear and strong?

And if you don’t give your vote, your donation, your resources, your contribution right this minute, in this election, where will anyone find the momentum for this 2023 that you love so much?

Let me repeat: the time for that urgent marathon, that long term fight you want, it starts right this minute. You need to join us now.

This country barely has four months not to talk of four years to continue experimenting on this path of failure. Have you seen the indicators? We are at the very edge of destruction! The country is on fire and we are fiddling while it burns. You think this is a game? You think this is time to worry about what people say, what they think, how they will laugh? We are talking of our children, of our future, of our survival, and some people are talking about waiting and experimenting for four more years? No. Never. If we do not intervene now, we may not have a country to rescue in 2023.

And to those who swear that we cannot win, those who mock our hope, I have only this to say to you: get ready to be shocked when Nigerians finally get the message that they have the numbers, the power, and the last word.

You can keep trusting in the power of your purses which you have filled with coins from our common wealth; you can keep trusting in the power of the security agents you will commandeer, and the armies of godfathers you think you have. But you will not see us coming by the time we arrive, and the wealth and might and reach of our movement will be greater than anything you could ever muster. 

In case you don’t know, I know, because we have the data, that that there are millions of passionate and patriotic Nigerians, young and old, men and women, rich and poor, from the North and from the South, who sense that this current cycle of failure in our country is unsustainable, and who are eager to join a movement to disrupt this rigged political system.

If you are one of them, open to voting for us and supporting us, but you are genuinely worried about our chances when you look at the Goliaths standing against us, I say to you my friends - let not your heart be troubled.

So let me speak briefly on our path to victory. Our strategy is summarised in one short sentence: find every sleeping voter, and wake them up!

We know the sleeping voters who are yet to be activated, and our mission - through our massive data network - is to find each and every one of them, who have their cards but who have refused to vote, and convert them, one by one, community by community into voters, canvassers and small donors. It is already happening. Those sleeping voters – you know them; they are your friends, your family members and your people in the villages - whose data, whose addresses we have, whose home towns and voting habits we are tracking – ah, we will shock these old school politicians, because they don’t even know what is coming to them.

We are fighting for Lekki, as much as we are fighting for Kabong. We will fight for Asokoro with the same energy will fight for Ogwashi Ukwu; we will fight for Port Harcourt as hard as we will fight for Dutse. And by the way, enough is enough of those of you in the towns and urban cernters speaking about the grassroots alone as if you are not part of Nigeria. You cannot leave the burden to rural voters alone. It is time for those of you in the urban centers to WAKE UP and do your own part too. Stop sitting in your office arguing and whining. Enough! Stop it! The movement is now here.

Let me use this great state of Lagos, for instance. Alimosho local government area is the biggest in Lagos. 650,000 people collected PVCs there in 2015. But do you know how many people actually showed up to vote for president on election day? Only 146,000! That means just 1 person out of every registered 4 voters voted.

Whenever anybody tells you that this Jagaban or that Jabagone controls this place or that place, tell that person to stop spreading fake news.

You need to stop overrating these men. If after 15 years of politics, of voter intimidation and manipulation, these politicians still have a ceiling that is less than 40 percent of the voters (even with the inflated numbers), then where is this their power? Only 86,897 people voted for the APC in Alimosho out of 650,000 voters with PVCs! So where is this their control?

This movement needs to bring out just ONE EXTRA PERSON for us to win that one local government, but these politicians sell you lies about their power so that you get discouraged and sit at home while they pillage our country and the future of our children.

They have a lot of money yes, but they cannot buy everybody. Power is not served ala carte, not even to them. They don’t have enough money to even buy up to 50 percent of the voters. 504,000 voters in Alimosho 2015 simply did not show up to vote. They were simply unbuyable.

Most of them did not show up because they knew that voting for any of the status quo parties was a waste of time - so they chose to sleep at home instead. If you join me NOW to convince those sleeping voters with our record and our plans. If we knock on doors and take our message of hope, progress and prosperity to them. Then they will turn up for us. And that is exactly what we are going to do.

The politicians may own their party structures, but they do not own Nigeria, they do not own YOU.

This is how democracy works, fellow Nigerians: if enough of you vote for me, then we win. When you stay sounding wise and cynical at home saying it will not happen, just like people said about a black president in America, apartheid in South Africa, and evil taxation by colonial masters in Aba, then of course we will not. But when you vote and then you sit at the polling booth and ensure your votes are protected, or you donate NOW to ensure we hire the people to help us protect the votes, hold the security officials accountable, and supervise INEC with eagle eyes, then YES we will win.

When you vote for me we will win, when you convince 10 more people to vote for us, we will win. When you volunteer your skills and your resources by going now on Oby2019.com or joining Oby2019 right now on Facebook, we will win. That is how democracy works.

We have the structure across the states and LGAs, we have technology these guys are not even aware of, we have a detailed Polling Unit strategy. Now, ALL we need is YOU to work with us to activate this historic network.

Finally, there is one small thing people ask, when they want to mock us and pretend they are wiser than others who choose to fight. They say how will we govern without a majority in the national assembly? Well... I know someone who can answer that question. His name is Peter Obi. I hear he is with the PDP these days.

Maybe he can help explain to you how he managed to govern as an APGA governor in my home state, Anambra, despite the majority of lawmakers belonging to a different party, PDP. People who make this empty argument are blissfully ignorant of how elections are won and political parties are built in many nations across the world. They are also deeply unaware that across the world, wielding the presidency as a tool to reshape the entire political configuration of a country as well as strong third party and independent candidacy are a legitimate strategy that have won elections from Italy to Kosovo, France to Germany, Portugal to Russia – where in 2012, Vladmir Putin actually ran as an independent. These people don’t know. And yet they are so loud in their ignorance.

By the way, what has President Buhari’s legislative majority done for the country? Ask him what he has achieved with his party’s majorities in the two chambers of the national assembly. That argument about not being able to govern without a majority of lawmakers from your party is dead on arrival. But if they are still doubting, just chill, no problem - when we get into Aso Rock, when we start remaking our nation and banishing poverty from the lives of over 80 million people, we will show them what is truly possible.

My brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone deceive you with cynicism. These people told us we were wasting our time fighting for June 12. Well, here we are today. They told me, when I was in government, stop wasting your time Oby, Due Process cannot work here jare. Well you go ask the PDP goons what happened when the forces of darkness met Madam Due Process. They told me that not one single Chibok girl would be rescued. I ignored them, and we kept standing for our girls.

I am here again today, ready to stand with you.

Fellow citizens, we have reached the point of no return.

We have a choice before us. We can choose to maintain this upside-down, jaga-jaga, nyama nyama course that has been set by the #APCPDP. We can choose incompetence and corruption. We can choose to pretend that these two are not the same failed conspirators who have destroyed the last generation and now want to destroy the next one. We can even make jokes about it and even choose to sleep in on Election Day.

That is one choice.

If you choose that, then you have chosen failure. And you have chosen to give up on our future and on our children.

But there is another choice.

We can recognize that this is the most consequential election of our lifetimes. We can band together and say, “Enough is now finally Enough.” That failure is no longer acceptable. That we are tired of ‘managing’. That to accept this morass of failure is no longer an option. That we have all it takes as a country to compete and win amongst the comity of nations, and the only way to do that is to snatch 2019 from the hands of #BuTiku.

When the doubters tell you that we can’t win, you tell them we are already winning - just by refusing to be deceived, confused, and dissuaded.

When they tell you we cannot win, tell them that this is a marathon, and we are starting now. Tell them you will contribute your time, your money and your resources so that between now and February 2019, we will build a political structure that will shock Nigerians, that will not just win more votes than any non #APCPDP party has ever won, but will also win a big, beautiful victory that will make my children and yours believe in Nigeria all over again. Tell them that YOU are the structure that we have.

Fellow Nigerians, we have reached the point of no return.

The out-of-school children need a champion to fight for them. Our brothers and sisters in across the North and the South being slaughtered while our government watches need a champion to fight for them. Our small business owners whose businesses are not being funded with government loot need a champion to fight for them. Our army of unemployed young people, who are depressed and about to give up, need a champion to fight for them. Our patriotic fighting soldiers who are laboring under difficult conditions to keep us safe, need a champion to fight for them.

But we don’t need just one champion; this is not just about Oby Ezekwesili. We need many many champions. In fact, we need to be each other’s champions.

Some of you imagine that you have to donate millions to make a citizens’ movement like ours succeed. No. Donate what you have. People have given us N1 million, people have given us N100,000, some people have given us N1,000. If 500,000 Nigerians donate just N1000 each, we will disrupt the politics of this country forever! We want the small donations and we want the big ones. You have your phones and your laptops, visit www.oby2019.com and donate to the Hope Movement or volunteer to be a part of the movement. The process is so simple that you can literally volunteer or donate in just three minutes. You can take our message and go share it with families and friends, tell it to your colleagues, share it in your schools, in your churches and your mosques. Sign up now, on the website Oby2019.com, or on our Facebook group @Oby2019.

Sign up now.

You can even decide to organize amongst yourselves, drawing strategies and pullingg resources to make our mission possible. You can form Women for Oby groups, Students for Oby, Diaspora for Oby, Entrepreneurs for Oby, Tech for Oby, Bloggers for Oby, among others. Form Facebook and Whatsapp groups by yourselves. Set targets to reach 20 people or 50 people or as many people as you can. Take materials from oby2019.com and personalize for your purposes. Knock on doors for our party ACPN. Do everything doable by you. And then when that beautiful February morning comes, we all will go out to vote, knowing that we have done the right thing for our nation and its future.

There is too much at stake. We cannot #BuTiku again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been fighting for Nigeria all my adult life. My fight did not start today. It has been on for 30 years. Even at Transparency International, I was such a thorn in Abacha’s side that he began to call me “Conspiracy International.” I am committed to working hard every day throughout my presidency so that Nigerians can earn and grow. #BuTiku is all the power and largesse of being president, I am running to disrupt the old order and lead a new politics. #BuTiku is invested in perpetuating the old dismal outcomes. I am invested in building that New Nigeria of Our Dream.

Now, the new field of our fight is politics, and I have still got plenty of fight in me.

You already know that this lady is never for turning or giving up. But this is my toughest fight yet, and I can't win without your support.

Our party, the ACPN, cannot do it without your support. We need your help in this urgent fight for a new Nigeria.

Can I count on it? Can I count on your support? Will you join me in this urgent marathon to lift 80 million out of poverty and Fight for Every Nigerian?

I know your answer will be yes. Because yes is the only good choice that we have.

“Let me affirm my firm belief that the only thing we have to far is fear itself,” the great Franklin D. Roosevelt told frightened America in 1933. “Nameless, unreasoning unjustified terror which paralyses needed effort to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigour has met with the understanding and supprt of the people themselves, which is essential to victory.”

Fellow Nigerians, our time has finally come.

God bless you all.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

END.

 

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BREAKING: After 13 Days, Fayose Regains Freedom From EFCC

29 October 2018 - 8:56am


Ayodele Fayose, immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, has regained his freedom from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to his media aide, Lere Olayinka, he appeared at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, on Tuesday, and was granted freedom after fulfilling the conditions of his bail application.

He is expected to return for the continuation of his trial on November 19, 2018.

Fayose voluntarily submitted himself to the agency on October 16, meaning he was in detention for 13 days.

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Ezekwesili: Buhari Fighting Corruption? 'Please, Please, Give Me A Break!'

29 October 2018 - 8:06am

Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has indicted the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for shielding corrupt individuals. 

Ezekwesili said this on Monday while delivering a speech titled, ‘To those who say we cannot win: Unveiling the Oby Ezekwesili Roadmap to 2019’ in Lagos. 

“There is no shadow of doubt: President Buhari is the most parochial, most nepotistic and most partisan President that Nigeria has ever seen,” she said in her speech.

“This President talks about fighting grand corruption. Please, please, give me a break! Can corruption fight corruption? Does he think we cannot see? A President that looks the other way while his friends and cronies suffocate and strangle our country?”

Ezekwesili called on Nigerians to support her candidature saying she is one of the very small tribe of Nigerians who have served in government but who have no allegation of corruption against them.

"I don’t mean court case o. I mean allegation. Zero, none," she said.

The former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa has as a campaign cornerstone the lifting of over 80 millions Nigerians out of poverty into progress and prosperity. 

Ezekwesili is a graduate of the University of Lagos and Harvard University. She is a former Minister of Education, and then of and Solid Minerals.

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Osinbajo Meets With Governors Over New Minimum Wage

29 October 2018 - 7:53am


Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and members of the Economic Management Team are currently meeting with some state governors towards taking a position on the new national minimum wage.

The meeting, which is taking place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in attendance Abdulaziz Yari, Governor of Zamfara State; Atiku Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State; Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State and Simon Lalong, Governor of Plateau State.

Also present at the meeting are Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance; Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment; Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Service to the Federation; Richard Egbule, Director-General, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, and Ahmed Idris, Accountant-General of the Federation.

Details soon...

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Shehu Sani Lists Eight Things The Kaduna Govt Must Do To End Violent Killings

29 October 2018 - 7:36am


Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, has proffered an eight-point solution to address the violence in Kaduna State.

Among the solutions the lawmaker proffered is "strict application of security votes for security issues and not for politics", among others.

He highlighted these in a press statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, and made available to journalists.

The points are: "Addressing the problem of extreme and pervasive poverty and unemployment among our teeming young people; an institutional action against hate speech and intolerance by political, religious and community leaders; strict application of security votes for security issues and not for politics; respect for the constitutional rights of freedom to hold religious beliefs without discrimination or contempt, and equitable distribution of development and resources among diverse populace and Inclusiveness in governance."

Others are: "The elite bourgeoisie political class must end the exploitation and manipulation of religion for political ends; elected and appointed political leaders must not demonstrate that they are servants of all and not vanguards of their faith or conquerors of others; and Northern intellectuals, leaders of thought and patriots must convoke a regional conference to come out with a road map towards tackling religious intolerance and terrorism, in the face of apparent failure of the political class to address the problem."

Kaduna has been the centre of violent killings in the last week, prompting the state government to declare a 24-hour curfew, which it relaxed and again enforced before finally relaxing it on Sunday.

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Dickson Mocks Sylva As Four Bayelsa APC Chieftains Defect To PDP

29 October 2018 - 7:29am


Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, has mocked the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Governor Timipre Sylva over the "rising cases of defection into the fold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state".

He also predicted that the activities of APC in Bayelsa would soon "wind up".

Dickson was speaking during a state media chat after the defection of APC chieftains led by Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Chief Gideon Ekeowe, former Secetary to Government and the state agent of APC during the 2016 governorship poll; Chief Nathan Egba, former APC Governorship Campaign Director (Media and Publicity) and one-time PDP state chairman, Chief Rufus Abadi, popularly known as Barbaru.

Dickson labelled APC as "the other party", noting that the recent gale of defections witnessed was part of his mandate to the PDP to ensure that the APC "winds up" its activities in the state before the 2019 general election.

He said: "We are going to wind up the other party (APC); that other party whose politics is about violence and killings; that other party whose leaders are not interested in the development of our people and the state; that other party that does not have respect and regard for those that have worked hard for them; that other party that makes appointments based on man-know-man and percentage of votes; that other party that has never worked for the common good of the people of Bayelsa."

The governor commended the PDP leadership and the political desk of his administration, and explained that he agreed to personally receive the APC defectors because of his respect for their persons.

He said: "I am the only one that has ever defeated the ruling party at the centre with their federal might. They fought me very hard, but with God and the people we won. You can see what they did in other states with inconclusive and rerun elections. But I defeated them despite all they did.

"After all, with tribunal, and even shifting the tribunal to Abuja, the Appeal Court and Supreme Court, we won. We have no reason to fight in the game. People in opposition are not our enemies. I'm using the Bayelsa example to politicians at the national level to treat opposition with love and respect."

Dickson also announced that those who defected would be received at a mega rally slated for Tuesday.

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Shi'ia Accuses Army Of Fresh Plans To Kill Its Members

29 October 2018 - 5:23am


Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have accused the Nigerian Army of plans to kill more of its members during its march scheduled to continue on Monday.

The group disclosed this in a press statement signed by the spokesperson, Abdullahi Muhammadu Musa, on Monday in Abuja.

He stated that one of their members overheard a soldier attached to the Guards Brigade at Kubau checkpoint along Karu-Abuja expressway saying the military had been given an order from above to engage Shi'ites.

He noted that the officer made the confession while searching people at the checkpoint on Sunday October 28, 2018.

The statement read: "Our attention has been drawn to a statement made by a member of Guards Brigade at (his duty post) Kubau Check point along Karu-Abuja Expressway that they are waiting for the followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), because they have an order from above to engage them."

Musa said the group had noticed on Sunday evening — after they concluded the trek from Kubwa to Gwarinpa axis around 5pm — a battalion of Nigerian Army stationed at the Tipper Garage. He alleged that some of the soldiers were dressed like thugs, wielding guns, sticks and iron objects.

He also gave the names of those killed by the Army on Saturday in Zuba as Abdulaziz Dahiru Maigana, Mikailu Shuaibu Katsina, Rabiu Malumfashi, Said Khalid, Abu-Dajjana Ibrahim Manzo  and Ukasha Isa Madalla, noting that the movement will take legal action against the killers with the view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

"Despite the killing and intimidation by the military, we will continue to observe our religious beliefs and demand for unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) and his wife," he stated.

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Air Force Sends Special Forces To Quell 'Senseless Killings' In Kaduna

29 October 2018 - 4:52am


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed a detachment of Special Forces personnel to Kaduna to support security operations in the state.

Deployed on Sunday, the officers are expected to join other NAF personnel in Kaduna, and work alongside other security agencies in the state.

According to a statement by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, the officers were deployed to "ensure that the spate of senseless killings in some parts of the state is brought to a complete end and normalcy expeditiously restored".

The statement read: "The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday, 28 October 2018, deployed a detachment of Special Forces personnel to Kaduna in support of Internal Security operations in the State. The detachment will join other NAF personnel in Kaduna and other security agencies to ensure that the spate of senseless killings in some parts of the State is brought to a complete end and normalcy expeditiously restored.

"The deployment is in addition to the earlier deployment of 2 helicopters and a DA-42 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft on 22 October 2018, which have since been conducting aerial patrols over flash points in the state."

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Presidential Panel Arrests Delta Accountant General Who Is 'Richer Than State Governors'

29 October 2018 - 4:45am

The Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) has arrested the Delta State Accountant General, Mr. Cyril Agbele, for allegedly amassing wealth and assets corruptly, worth over N7 billion, SaharaReporters has reliably learned.

Our correspondent learnt that following a petition of corruptly amassing wealth and assets worth over N7 billion located in Delta state, Newcastle (UK), USA and other parts of the World, Agbele was arrested Thursday morning in Asaba, the state capital by officials of the panel and taken to Abuja for questioning.

According to sources in the office of the embattled Accountant-General, he was arrested based on a series of petitions written against him over his flamboyant wealth and assets scattered all over the state and across the globe.

A source told SaharaReporters: "The state Accountant General, Mr. Cy Agbele, is richer than some state governors both in wealth and assets. CY has always amassed wealth through frivolous means, which he uses to loot the state treasury. CY has committed a lot of financial crimes that if properly investigated this time around, he will rot in jail. How many times has the EFCC arrested him over corruption and financial crimes? But he will always find his way out of the hook with his money."

Speaking to our correspondent, an official of the panel who didn't want his name mentioned, said the arrest of the the state Accountant General is not unconnected to his involvement in money laundering, extortion and gross abuse of his office, especially "the corrupt manner he amassed wealth and properties across board."

"We have a petition that Mr. Cyril Agbele is pilfering funds from the state treasury using his office as the Accountant General of the state to siphons money," the official stated.

That he has a number of companies he uses to obtain millions of naira contracts and approve funds for himself while he forced other contractor to pay him as much as 13 percent in cash as kickbacks directly to him before processing their payment even after the governor's approval.

"The petition also alleged that the Accountant General has multimillion naira properties scattered all over Delta state, Newcastle (UK), and the USA. This includes hotels, schools, fast food joints, filling stations and countless numbers of exotic cars. That recently, some cash he stashed in a safe in excess of N500 million in local and foreign currencies where a $1,000 was carted away by his house maid, a Tiv indigene who conspired with the Accountant-General's wife brother named Frank Ugo."

SaharaReporters reliably learned among other things that the state Accountant General remits to his private bank accounts, VAT and taxes paid by contractors to the Federal government through him, and forgery of Delta state tax documents for politicians and contractors among others.

It was gathered that Mr. Agbele, who has been granted bail is expected back next week for more questioning where he will be charged to court at the end of investigation.

Reacting to the arrest of the Accountant General, a director in the state Ministry of Finance noted that Agbele is a billionaire who is known for corrupt and sharp practices, for conniving with some civil servants in his office to loot the state treasury.

"No civil servant in the entire Delta state since creation of the state is as wealthy as the Accountant General. That man is swimming in money. He takes his wife and children and few family members on holidays every summer season. Few years ago, the sum of $15,000 was found with his son, who is schooling in Infant Jesus {a secondary school in Asaba]. Mr. Agbele was called immediately, on arrival, he took the money back from his son immediately."

Calls and messages put to Agbele were rebuffed but when contacted, the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP), Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, confirmed the arrest, saying: "Yes he was invited for questioning yesterday, (Thursday) by the panel over the allegation contained in a petition we received that he has amassed huge assets that are above his legitimate earnings as a civil servant. He was released on bail."

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Reawakening The 'Dead' Certificate Saga Of President Muhammadu Buhari By Alao Abiodun

29 October 2018 - 3:23am


Given the sterling educational qualifications of other presidential candidates with the build-up to 2019 elections and the scholars the nation has prided itself in, it seems tempting for some to make a big issue of the alleged failure of President Buhari to produce a credible certificate. Despite the uproar in 2015 and with the build-up to 2019 elections, the issue has however been reawakened and has seemingly gotten a lacklustre response from the Presidency.

However, investigations revealed that Buhari had in the last three presidential contests he partook in, 2003, 2007 and 2015, had consistently used 'affidavits' in the place of the certificates. How the issue became topical this time around in the opinion of some stakeholders is essentially ahead of the next electioneering phase.

Down the memory lane in 2015, Buhari said "I had assumed all along that all my records were in the custody of the Military Secretary of the Nigerian Army. Much to my surprise, we are now told that although a record of the result is available, there are no copies of the certificates in my personal file. This is why I formally requested my old school the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina [which is now known as Government College, Katsina] to make available the school’s copy of the result of the Cambridge/West African School Certificate. This will be made available to the press the moment this is available".

Speaking further on the quizzing about his certificate, he said "let me say for the record that I attended Provincial Secondary School, Katsina. I graduated in 1961 with many prominent Nigerians, including General Shehu Yar’adua, former chief of staff at the Supreme Headquarters, and Justice Umaru Abdullahi, a former President of the Court of Appeal. We sat for the University of Cambridge/WASC Examination together in 1961, the year we graduated. My examination number was 8280002, and I passed the examination in the Second Division".

Interestingly, in the plot narrative of whole certificate saga, the military to which Buhari has constantly passed the buck already denied having custody of the said documents. In January 2015, Olajide Laleye, Director of Army Public Relations, announced before journalists in Abuja that the Nigerian Army does not have copies of Buhari’s ordinary level certificates or statement of results, adding that his entry indicated he obtained a West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961.

However, a few days ago the dead certificate saga got reawakened and Femi Adesina, presidential Spokesman, in his response said the military had admitted losing President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate adding that "The certificate saga is a dead issue", "only idle people will consider it. It is something that had been laid to rest before the 2015 general elections", this, however, got everyone befuddled and puzzled in contrast to the president's proof of integrity.

The academic qualifications or eligibility of Nigeria’s incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari especially ahead of the 2019 Elections has been one of the scathing issues that have engulfed social media wherein the issue has received exponential attention and review.

“Section 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states that: a person shall be qualified for election to the Office of President, if - (d) he has been educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent. “Section 177 (d) prescribes that candidates contesting election into the office of State Governor must have been educated up to at least School Certificate Level or its equivalent. By virtue of Sections 142 (2) and 187 (2), the provisions on educational qualification of President and State Governors also apply to the Offices of Vice President and Deputy Governors, respectively.

One of the many unanswered questions that seems running through the mind of an average concerned  Nigerian is why President Buhari should present a '2014 affidavit' instead of copies of his academic credentials, especially after almost four years in office as president, a position that affords him opportunity to retrieve copies of the credentials from the military.

Many Nigerians have continued to express their outrage over the President’s refusal to submit his educational certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission as required by law. The striking phenomenon over this issue has been centred on Nigeria Military inconsistencies in its statements as regarding Buhari’s certificate and the president's nonchalant attitude towards the sensitivity of possessing a credible certificate

While in 2015, The Army rigmarole like a barber's chair to Buhari’s statement that the Military Board was in possession of his academic credentials. While it initially said the documents were not in its custody, it made a volte-face later and declared it had the documents. The presentation of a '2014 affidavit' in lieu of academic certificates has thrown up critical issues on the criteria for eligibility into the office and the provisions of the constitution.

As usual, the narrative of the whole certificate drama is expected to be skewed in 3 dramatic acts just as it was witnessed in 2015, which could summarily be: Act 1, Scene 1 is "my certificate is with the Military" - Buhari, while Act 1, Scene 2 is "We don't have Buhari's Certificate" - Nigeria Army, and Act 1, Scene 3 is "We've found Buhari's Certificate" - Army. The End.

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Again, PDP Woos Ambode, Other APC Members

29 October 2018 - 2:57am


PM NEWS

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos has reached out to members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to join what they describe as the struggle to free the state from one-man leadership.

The party said the APC members should join the “free Lagos train” to be recorded as true progressives that returned the governance of the state to the people.

The PDP’s entreaty was premised on the inability of some members of the APC to get the party’s ticket to contest in the 2019 elections.

Spokesman of the PDP, Mr Taofiq Gani, in a statement said aggrieved members should be bold enough to dump the APC, adding that they should emulate their members in Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna, Imo, among others.

The PDP noted that such aggrieved members of the ruling party were in all the senatorial districts of the state, claiming that some of them were denied second term ticket for no just cause.

Governor Ambode leads the pack of APC members who could not get return tickets. The PDP had consistently expressed its readiness to receive Ambode if he chose to dump the APC.

The opposition party’s statement said: “To be fair to some persons in the Lagos APC, they have not done badly to warrant the disgrace of being denied another term. In order words, the APC rather sees them as being without any value.

“Such individuals are invited to assert their relevance in their voting areas by supporting candidates against the APC. This is a common struggle this time to free Lagos.”

 

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APC Senators, Reps Attack Party, Say ‘We’re Not Better Than PDP’

29 October 2018 - 2:50am


 

Ibrahim who was a three-time governor of Yobe State said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC was in many ways not better than the Peoples Democratic Party it defeated in 2015.

The APC senator spoke at a dinner to mark his 70th birthday and book launch at Barcelona Hotel in Abuja on Saturday.

Ibrahim said he, like most Nigerians, had a dream that the nation would be changed for the better when the APC took over in 2015, but that more than three years down the line, those hopes had been dashed.

He warned that unlike in 2015 when it had a smooth ride to power, the APC would have to do more to convince the people of the North-East to consider voting for it because a lot had changed.

The senator, who is a founding member of the APC, said, “Without mincing words, as an elder statesman, I must say that my dreams and hopes have been dashed.

“We have certainly not done what I dreamed we would do and in many ways, we are no better than the PDP that we seek to displace.

“As we move towards the elections, I have to give a dire warning to the APC. Things are no longer the way they were in 2015 when we rode to power on a cloud of euphoria believing that things will change.

Simply put, things have not changed and many things are worse and the people are bitter. We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.”

The senator, who is not seeking re-election following a political arrangement which saw him ceding his seat to Governor Ibrahim Geidam, said a lot of work was required if the APC was to return to power in 2019.

Ibrahim said, “The economy has gone down because of our actions and we are blaming the past too much rather than solving the present problems. I am going to give a dire warning.

“Let the North-East not be taken for granted that we must support the APC. Our interest in the North-East has always been progressive and I will personally be watching for improvement in the APC.

“Improvements that will guarantee us the victory (should) include respecting the rule of law and releasing political prisoners. If we are fighting corruption, let us fight every corrupt person and not select people in what may be seen as a one-sided witch-hunt.”

He added, “I shall sit back and continue encouraging my party to do the right thing. But if we don’t, I still reserve the capacity to ask my people to go our separate ways and do what must be done for good governance to reign in Nigeria.”

Ibrahim stressed that he had no reason to lie at his age. The senator described himself as a socialist progressive amidst politicians in the zone who were mostly capitalist conservatives.

Another APC senator who spoke on condition of anonymity because he claimed he did “not want to jeopardise ongoing peace efforts”, said the party was toying with its chances in 2019 with its poor handling of the fallout of the primaries.

The lawmaker said, “The party has not lived up to our expectations, the least one expects of a political party like the APC which promised change is for it to respect the principle of internal democracy.  A political party should respect the wishes of the majority of its members, not an individual.”

‘Our problems now worse than PDP’s’ –APC Rep

Similarly, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Kehinde Odeneye, has also expressed his bitterness over the turn of events in the APC.

Odeneye, who spoke on Sunday, warned that the party might be kicked out of office in 2019 if genuine efforts were not made to address the frustration of many loyalists.

Odeneye, who represents the Ijebu Ode/Odogbolu/Ijebu North-East Federal Constituency of Ogun State, told The PUNCH that National Assembly members were the most hit by certain developments in the party, lately, particularly their inability to get return tickets for 2019.

Odeneye alleged that many members worked for the success of the party on the promise that they would be compensated, only to have their hopes dashed.

He spoke more, “It’s very unfortunate where we have found ourselves today. If we are not able to resolve the issues, they may affect our chances in 2019.

“A lot of people are aggrieved, most especially National Assembly members, who stood by the party. There was the promise of compensation but that has not been the case. The National Assembly members are the grass-roots people working for the party.”

The lawmaker hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari too was disturbed and had summoned another emergency stakeholders’ meeting for Tuesday (tomorrow) to address some of the issues.

Odeneye added, “I understand Mr President is going to meet with the stakeholders on Tuesday to step in and discuss with everybody and see how to resolve all of these issues.

“My prayer is for him to have God’s enablement to assuage the grievances of people; else winning in 2019 will require a lot of work.

 “The way things are, we have to be very careful. Our issues are so much that even PDP now has fewer problems, compared to the APC. Ours is so much as in virtually all the states, there is one issue or the other.”

He noted that the APC came into power and failed to manage its success properly.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to manage our success. The same thing that happened to the PDP in 2013, 2014, is exactly what is happening to the APC. There is no equity and justice and fairness.

“The way the PDP is going, our own is even getting worse. There will be serious problems, there will be serious problems for us,” he said.

I fear for the APC –Imo Rep

Also a House of Reps member from Imo State, Mr Nnana Igbokwe, also criticised the APC for applying “policies not known to law” in picking candidates for 2019.

Igbokwe who cited the crises in Imo, Zamfara, Rivers and Ogun State, noted that the APC “deliberately” breached the Electoral Act, the 1999 Constitution, the electoral guideline and its own constitution in deciding who would become a candidate.

He said, “In Imo State, are we saying that a man, who introduced this party should not have to say in its affairs?

“Governor Rochas Okorocha brought APC to the South-East at a time they were calling it Hausa party.

“He went around the states to sell this party. Today, look at what is happening. Where on earth do you substitute someone, who participated and won the primary, with the name of another person?”

Igbowe stated that he was afraid for the APC in 2019 if it continued to hold to some of the decisions it had taken lately.

“Some of these decisions will be thrown out by the Judiciary. We had better be careful because I fear for us, I fear for 2019”, he added.

Igbokwe advised the APC to “retrace” its steps and correct some of the wrong decisions it had taken in the choice of candidates.

Buhari takes over the peace process

As the APC crisis deepens, President Muhammadu Buhari has taken over the process of restoring the confidence of aggrieved members of the party.

A top-ranking member of the party’s National Working Committee confirmed the development to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Sunday.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue.

The source said, “The President has chosen a different approach this time; he is meeting with the aggrieved persons directly so that he can deal with the situation.

“As you know, some of our party people go to tell him things and only the aggrieved can say what level of injustice they suffered. He even met with a delegation of aggrieved party members from Bauchi yesterday. ”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed this development in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Sunday.

 Shehu spoke amidst media reports that Buhari had set up a five-man committee to look into the post-primaries crises and advise him accordingly.

 Media reports had it that the committee had since submitted its report to the President and that he (the President) would be meeting some critical stakeholders on Tuesday.

 Although he did not give details of Buhari’s intervention, Shehu said the President was “deeply and directly involved” in the efforts aimed at ensuring peace in the party.

 The presidential spokesman added that Buhari’s involvement was evident in some of his recent activities.

 He said, “The President is aware of the urgency of the situation (the APC post-primaries crises) and he is dealing with the matter headlong.

“He is directly and deeply involved in how to resolve the issue as can be seen from his activities lately.”

Speaking in a similar vein, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, expressed confidence that with President Muhammadu Buhari as its standard bearer, the party would retain power in 2019.

He said the task before the APC was made easier by the candidates being paraded by the opposition PDP.

Nabena spoke in Abuja, on Sunday. He said the last minute declaration of support for former Vice President Atiku by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo would do nothing to stop Buhari’s victory because neither Obasanjo nor Atiku could match Buhari’s integrity.

He said “Throughout their second tenure in office, (2003-2007) and until a fortnight ago, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had described Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as a corrupt, disloyal and unpatriotic leader who was not fit and proper to handle the mantle of Nigerian leadership.

“Only recently, Obasanjo vowed that God would not forgive him if he supported the presidential aspiration of Atiku as ‘it would amount to handing Nigeria over to sharks and looters.’”

“It is this tendency towards indecision, insincerity, double talk and deception that has made Nigeria ridiculed in the eyes of the international community. A statesman is known for his principles and his statements are based on the strength of his convictions.”

This came at a time, the Senator Representing the Zamfara Central in the Senate is seeking the immediate expulsion of the state Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, from the party.

Marafa, who is seeking the APC’s governorship ticket to contest the 2019 elections, blamed the governor for the crisis which led to the Independent National Electoral Commission barring the APC from presenting candidates for the election in Zamfara.

The senator said expelling Yari was necessary “to stop the governor and his cohorts from their plot to pull down the APC and frustrate the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

He said, “The governor should be expelled for (alleged) gross indiscipline and violation of our party constitution. The measure becomes necessary to maintain party discipline and deter others that may be tempted to take similar actions to achieve their selfish objectives.”

Marafa listed 10 alleged offences committed by Yari to include “Frustrating the efforts of NWC to conduct direct primaries for Zamfara State; directing state officials to conclude an election that was cancelled by a panel that has legal authority to do so; announcing the result of an illegal election conducted by his faction in violation of subsisting court order.

“Blocking APC’s chances of fielding candidates by conducting and announcing (results of) an illegal election on 7th October 2018; causing disunity and disaffection among the APC family in Zamfara State; neglecting totally his primary responsibility of providing leadership in the face of wanton killings, raping and kidnappings of innocent people that he is being paid to protect, thereby portraying APC in bad light both locally and internationally.”

Another offence allegedly committed by Yari, according to Marafa, is “spending of Zamfara taxpayers’ money on the sponsorship of protests to remove the law-abiding National Chairman of our great party, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”

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Nabena: Obasanjo, Atiku can’t match Buhari on integrity test

29 October 2018 - 2:36am


Nabena said Obasanjo who had accused Atiku of corruption tendencies had contradicted himself by turning around to declare the ‘sinner’ forgiven and qualified to govern Nigeria.​

“Throughout their second tenure in office (2003-2007) and until last fortnight, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had described Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as a corrupt, disloyal and unpatriotic leader who was not fit and proper to handle the mantle of Nigerian leadership.

“Only recently, Obasanjo vowed that God would not forgive him if he supported the presidential aspiration of Atiku as ‘it would amount to handing Nigeria over to sharks and looters.’

“It is this tendency towards indecision, insincerity, double talk and deception that has made Nigeria ridiculed in the eyes of the international community. A statesman is known for his principles and his statements are based on the strength of his convictions,” Nabena said.​

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Campaign: We Are Learning `Shaku Shaku’ Dance Steps – Osinbajo

29 October 2018 - 2:28am


`Shaku Shaku’ is a popular and contemporary dance style common among young Nigerians.

The vice president said that his friend recently polled large number of votes just by dancing.

Osinbajo, who was the Chairman and Special Guest of Honour at the `Launch of Five Fascinating Books’ written by Funmilayo Braithwaite, in Abuja on Sunday, said that his friend recently polled large number of votes just by dancing.

According to him, nobody knows what will work in Nigerian politics.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the books — The Path of Fate, Echoes of Yesteryears, Politicrisis, The Golden Rules and Bonds of Destiny– were unveiled at Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

The vice-president said that he believed that reading the books would provide resolutions to a lot of the questions that were raised in the lives of Nigerians and in the lives of children.

He said: “And hopefully, we will be able to find resolution to some of questions raised in our political lives as well; I know that is one of the reason Alhaji Shittu Kabir, Chairman, Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) is here.

“As matter of fact, for those of us who are politicians, when you see `Politicrisis’; especially as elections approach, you might think there is a formula somewhere.

“Kabir and I and are the opposite sides but we are here to learn; I was saying the other day that politics in Nigeria is becoming very exciting; you never know what works.

“I can never forget my dear friend in one of the states who just danced his way through the campaigns; all he did was dance; he did nothing else but dance and he won 250,000 votes.

“So myself and Kabir are now learning Shaku Shaku; we have to learn; who knows what will win.’’

He lauded the author, saying she had very deep in reflecting on many of the difficult and wide range of issues.

According to Osinbajo, looking at what the author has done with the five books, it is very evident that a lot of her deep introspection has not left her.

He said that the author was constantly trying to answer the various questions of life.

The vice president said that some of the questions had to do with the value system in the society and how those values might appear to have collapsed over the years.

“When you look at the questions she raised about children; bringing up children bullying and all of that; children even been able to share their thoughts their visions with their parents.

“Going into `Politicrisis’ and all of that; you will find out that the issues are always the same; issues on integrity; how can we stand up for what we believe; competing and very difficult circumstances that we find ourselves.

“How can we truly be ourselves; how can we truly express ourselves? It is a sort of things that you hardly find these days.

“And, I am very pleased that despite all the challenges, Funmi continues to be the one doing a lot the thinking for us; a lot of the reflection for us; because society if guided by those who are able to think and reflect; those who are able to sit down and try to answer all these questions for us,’’ he said.

Osinbajo said he looked forward to seeing the books in private and public libraries across the country as well as in various ministries of education for distribution to children.

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Yoruba Youth Warn Tinubu Against Supporting Buhari

29 October 2018 - 2:17am


tribune

The statement said, “The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately wrote INEC to affirm his position as the APC national leader vindicates the former President Obasanjo who had sometimes challenged the former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to state his roles in the APC as the national leader of the party.

“Constitutionally, APC has no reasonable provision for him (Tinubu) in the party and he has been used and dumped.

“It would have been better and respectable, provided Mr Buhari did not write to INEC or talk about the issue. The letter he wrote to the electoral umpire to attest that he is the party’s national leader was aimed at ridiculing Tinubu.

“Yoruba people understand body language more than any other tribe in Nigeria. There is no sense in staying with people who do not appreciate your presence or feel your impact. The YYSA implores Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to think twice before supporting Buhari’s re-election bid. There is no difference between someone who steals your property and someone who shows no gratitude for all the favour rendered to him.”

A group of Yoruba youths known as the Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association has warned Asiwaju Bola Tinubu against supporting President Muhammadu Buhari reelection in 2019.

The President of the YYSA, Mr Olalekan Hammed, made the position of the group known in a statement made available to our correspondent in Osogbo on Sunday.

He said it had become obvious that the All Progressives Congress and Buhari did not value the contributions of Tinubu towards the party and the emergence of Buhari as the President in 2015.

 

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2019: Top Battles In Nigeria’s General Elections (I) By Saheed Animashaun

29 October 2018 - 2:08am

The 2019 elections are barely four months away and as expected, the next four months are bound to be full of intrigues, name-calling, allegations, counter allegations, and pure drama. Many political battles will be fought; many myths will be unravelled; many political gladiators will be retired, and many hypotheses will be proven or disproven.

I have picked out what I believe to be some top political battles at the national level, and in the different geo-political zones of Nigeria.

National

Buhari vs Atiku

No soothsayer is required to know that all other things being equal, the next president of Nigeria will be one of the two Baba 70s; Buhari or Atiku. While the possibility of Buhari losing his bid to win a second term in office was slim some months ago, many factors have changed since then. Many expected the PDP primaries to erupt into a bitter battle due to the high calibre of the contestants involved. Quite surprisingly, the primaries were hitch free and the major contenders have all congratulated and pledged to support the winner, Atiku. In fact, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who came third at the election, has been appointed the Director General of Atiku’s presidential campaign. In addition, Atiku is widely regarded to have scored a masterstroke in picking Peter Obi as his running mate. Add to the mix the fact that the influential former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) has endorsed Atiku, and you get a better idea as to why Buhari versus Atiku is bound to be tight.

In spite of the aforementioned, beating Buhari would require a near-miracle. He remains wildly popular in the North West and North East, and with Osinbajo as his running mate, it would take a lot for the APC to lose the South West at the presidential elections. In addition, Atiku will have a hard time removing the corruption tag on his neck, and the APC will harp on it as much as they can.

It remains to be seen who would win; the key deciders in my opinion would be the North Central, South West, and the share of votes Atiku is able to shave off Buhari in the North West and North East. 2019 will also reveal whether OBJ is as influential as he is commonly touted. Furthermore, it would also reveal whether the defection of popular South South politicians (Senator Godswill Akpabio and former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan especially) to the APC will give the party some in-road into the South South.

South West

Lagos: Sanwoolu vs Agbaje

Up until six months ago, even the staunchest of PDP members in Lagos would have expected the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Lagos to be a walkover for the APC. The PDP in Lagos was so much in disarray that it’s State Chairman, Moshood Salvador defected to the APC.

However, Governor Ambode’s running issues with his party leader(s) and party members, which culminated in his huge-gap loss to Babajide Sanwoolu in the Lagos State APC gubernatorial primaries, has created an opening for a different party to govern Lagos for the first time in 19 years.

The major strength of Sanwoolu is APC’s deep grassroots structure, which was evident during the primaries, and the support of arguably the most powerful politician in the South West, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

However, Jimi Agbaje has many factors going for him too. First, he is a three-time contestant and would have learnt a lot from his last two losses. Second, he only lost to Ambode in 2015 by 150,000 votes. Third, his major campaign selling point is his bid to free Lagos from the supposed stranglehold of one man.

Sanwoolu vs Agbaje may prove to be another Oyetola vs Adeleke.

Ogun: APC vs PDP vs ADP

While APC remains the party to beat, its internal battles could pave way for another party to win in Ogun. The governorship primaries in Ogun APC produced two winners, Dapo Abiodun and Adekunle Akinlade (Governor Amosun’s anointed candidate). While the former has been ratified by the party at the National level, as evidenced by the fact that his name (Dapo Abiodun) has been submitted to INEC as the valid APC gubernatorial candidate for Ogun State in 2019, it is unlikely that Amosun would ever accept Dapo Abiodun as the party’s candidate or campaign for him, judging by his recent comments. The battle is bound to be settled in court, which may pave way for opposition parties.

However, the PDP is not exactly in pole position to take advantage. It also produced two candidates in two parallel gubernatorial primaries organized by different factions; Ladi Adebutu and Adeleke Shittu. These controversies would most likely have to be settled in court.

The confusion in APC and PDP may pave way for two former PDP stalwarts Dimeji Bankole (candidate of ADP) and Gboyega Isiaka (candidate of ADC).  Dimeji Bankole is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, while Gboyega Isiaka was the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 elections. Another outsider is Rotimi Paseda of SDP.

Oyo: Seyi Makinde vs Bayo Adelabu

Oyo State is bound to have one of its most interesting governorship races in recent history. Seyi Makinde is a 51-year-old oil magnate and philanthropist and. He is a quite experienced politician with considerable following in Oyo State. He polled about 54,000 votes with the SDP to come fifth in the 2015 governorship election in Oyo. This was impressive then, given that the first four were political behemoths (A sitting governor, two former governors, and a senator; Isiaka Ajimobi, Rashidi Ladoja, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and Teslim Folarin respectively).

Bayo Adelabu, 48, is the grandson of the late influential Western Region politician, Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi. He is a technocrat per excellence, having worked at PWC (a Big 4 accounting firm), served as an Executive Director at FirstBank, and most recently served as a Deputy Governor of CBN. While the APC and PDP have lost many members due to internal bickering, the two parties are well positioned to produce the next Governor of Oyo State on the strength of their candidates.

South-South

Rivers: Nyesom Wike vs Tonye Cole

With federal might unavailable for a Rivers State governor for the first time since 1999, Nyesom Wike of PDP vs Tonye Cole of APC would prove to be an interesting face-off in 2019. Wike, in addition to the advantage of being the incumbent, comes across as being very influential, popular and having a solid grassroots connection. Tonye Cole on the other hand is a billionaire oil tycoon who co-founded one of the biggest indigenous oil and gas firms in Nigeria, Sahara Energy. He also has the backing of Rotimi Amaechi, who alongside Wike, is one of the most influential politicians in Rivers State. A major obstacle in his path is the “war” between Magnus Abe and Rotimi Amaechi that is threatening to tear the party apart. The courts will ultimately settle the dispute.

The biggest threat to what could be an interesting face-off is the unbridled violence which has characterized elections in Rivers State. Hopefully, all security agencies will act professionally and ensure unscrupulous elements in the APC and PDP are unable to thwart the will of the people of Rivers.

Akwa: Ibom Udom Emmanuel vs Nsima Ekere

This is quite an interesting one! Nsima Ekere of the APC was once the Deputy Governor to Godswill Akpabio, who is also now in the APC. The pair fell out due to the ambition of the former to succeed the latter as Governor. Akpabio instead threw his weight behind Udom Emmanuel and ensured his victory at the polls. In a weird twist, Akpabio is now in the APC, having left the PDP partly due to his bickering with Udom Emmanuel. In his support, Ekere has his achievements as Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and the support of Godswill Akpabio, Ita Enang, Umana Umana, and many other influential Akwa Ibom politicians.

Udom Emmanuel’s greatest asset is his incumbency and the fact that Akwa Ibom is traditionally a PDP state. It remains to be seen who would become victorious.

Delta: Ogboru vs Okowa

Will Ogboru be sixth time lucky? This will be the question on the lips of many, as Great Ogboru aims for the number one seat in Delta State for a record sixth time. This time, he has on his side key Delta politicians like former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Dr Cairo Ojuogboh, and Prime Minister of Warri Kingdom, Ayiri Emami.

However, APC’s infighting might make Great Ogboru yet unlucky the sixth time. The controversy surrounding the primaries that produced him does not look like it will die down any time soon. Two other aspirants, Hon. Victor Ochei and Prof. Pat Utomi have maintained that the primary that produced Ogboru was a sham. Another factor that may count against Ogboru is the unwritten power rotation agreement in Delta. The incumbent, Okowa, is from Delta North, and the district is expected to spend eight years in power; of which Okowa has spent 4. In addition, Okowa enjoys the support of the Supremo-General of Delta State politics, James Ibori.  

South East

Abi: Alex Otti vs Okezie Ikpeazu 2.0

In a repeat of the 2015 face-off, APGA’s Alex Otti (former GMD/CEO of Diamond Bank) will contest against the incumbent, Okezie Ikpeazu. Till date, many of Otti’s supporters believe he won the 2015 election and only lost in court due to technicalities.

Asides the incumbency power of Ikpeazu, Otti’s major obstacle is the campaign by proponents of zoning, who argue that Abia South should be allowed to complete 8 years in office just like Abia North and Abia Central.

Alex Otti would definitely have learned from his surprising loss in 2015, making for a tight race for the Abia State Government House next year.

Anambra: Andy Uba vs Chris Uba vs Nicholas Ukachukwu

Two brothers, who have almost always been at loggerheads, will directly go against each other in 2019, for the Anambra South Senatorial District seat. Chief Chris Uba of PDP, a godfather of Anambra politics, would be contesting for the Senate against his elder brother and sitting Senator, Andy Uba of APC. Victory is not guaranteed for either however, as Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu of APGA is also in the race. Prince Ukachukwu nicked the ticket ahead of Bianca Ojukwu (diplomat, lawyer, ex-pageant, and widow of Biafra secessionist, Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu). Who will win in 2019 - one of the Uba brothers or Ukachukwu? Time will tell.

Imo: Uche Nwosu vs Emeka Ihedioha vs Ifeanyi Araraume

The 2019 election in Imo will be interesting for many reasons. Despite stiff opposition from the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, and Senator Hope Uzodinma, Governor Okorochas’ in-law, Uche Nwosu was declared the winner of APC’s governorship primary election in IMO.

Asides from court cases by his opponents in his party primaries, Nwosu has to contend with influential former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, and perennial governorship aspirant, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of APGA.

Araraume’s chances may be adversely affected by the in-fighting in APGA over the controversial primaries that produced him as the candidate.

The bickering in APC and APGA may well pave way for Ihedioha, following PDP’s relatively peaceful primaries and the peace pact between Ihedioha and his biggest opponent, Senator Sam Anyanwu.

Many regard the governorship election in Imo as effectively a referendum on the performance of Rochas Okorocha in his 8 years as Governor. Who would emerge victorious?

The concluding part x-raying the battle of the Third Forces at the national level, and top political battles in the North Central, North West, and North East will be published next week.

Saheed Animashaun is a political analyst. He writes from Lagos and can be reached via saheed.animash@gmail.com

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OBITUARY: ‘Tony Anenih, Ex-Policeman, Former Rubber Trader Who Hated Being Called ‘Mr. Fix It’

29 October 2018 - 1:43am

There are very few human beings whose sobriquets are just as popular, or even more popular, as their real names. Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih, the Iyasele of Esan Land, was one. Widely known as 'Mr. Fix It', much to his disenchantment, Anenih breathed his last on Sunday, October 28, 2018 at Cedarcrest, a private hospital, in Abuja.

EARLY YEARS... HARD KNOCK LIFE

Tony Anenih was born on August 4, 1933 in Uzenema-Arue in Uromi in the defunct Bendel State (modern Edo and Delta) in the Mid-Western region of Nigeria — same town where Anthony Enahoro, journalist, foremost anti-colonial and pro-democracy activist, was born. 

His parents were of humble background. They were so cash-strapped that they could not afford the young Tony’s school fees of E5 when the brilliant child was offered admission into St. Thomas’ Teachers’ Training College in Ibuza. For this reason Tony became a teacher manqué.

However, determined to succeed in life, little ‘Tony decided to pull himself up by his own bootstraps, leaving the bosom of his kith and kin to live with Lance Corporal Alfred Omeben (father of Rtd. Deputy Inspector Of Police, Christopher Omeben) to be under his tutelage for rubber trading. But as fate would have it, Alfred, his foster father, advised him to try his luck with The Nigeria Police; he did and was chosen.

He juggled his work as a police officer with schooling and finished his secondary school education. He proceeded to the Police College in Ikeja from Benin on July 1, 1951 and was lucky to be one of the select few sent for further training at Bramshill Police College, Basingstoke, England in 1966 and International Police College Academy, Washington DC in 1970. Having become a full-fledged police officer, he had his first feel of the corridors of power when he was attached to the first Governor General of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, as a police orderly. He worked in various capacities as a police officer before he voluntarily retired on January 14, 1976 as a police commissioner.

After quitting the Nigeria Police, Anenih had a successful stint as a businessman investing heavily in drugs, electronics, frozen meat, oil palm plantations and import and sale of cars. The hubs of his business operations cut across the length and breadth of the country.

POLITICAL STRATEGIST, FINANCIER, KINGMAKER, ALL-ROUND FIXER
His political career spanned over three decades of the Nigerian political history. His was a political career that traversed the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic, Social Democratic Party (SDP) of the aborted Third Republic and the Peoples Democratic Party of the Fourth Republic. However, he joined partisan politics in 1981 or thereabouts at the behest of the then President Shehu Shagari. He was made NPN Chairman in the defunct Bendel State and through the deployment of his political acumen and strategy he caused a big upset on the political scene of Bendel State when his party's candidate, Samuel Ogbemudia, defeated the incumbent Governor, Ambrose Alli, of the Unity Party Of Nigeria (UPN). Unfortunately for him, Ogbemudia had hardly settled down in office when General Muhammad Buhari toppled the civilian administration and put paid to the Scond Republic. He would later resurface in the political firmament of Nigeria when Babaginda lifted the ban on political participation and came up with two political parties: Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC). 

Anenih the fixer served as a National Chairman of SDP. He is often said to have talked the Late M.K.O Abiola, winner of the SDP presidential ticket, into using Babagana Kingibe who came second in the presidential primary as his running despite sharing the same religious persuasion. In fact, he presided over the meeting where Kingibe was chosen as Abiola’s running mate. At the state level, he used his political clout to make John Odigie-Oyegun (former APC National Chairman) as Governor of the nascent Edo State over the influential Lucky Igbinedion, who was the standard-bearer of the NRC.

When the Fourth Republic kicked off in 1999, he became one of the power brokers of the PDP. He was formerly of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), which formed an alliance with PDP in the build-up to the 1999 election. It is believed he was instrumental in the emergence of Obasanjo as PDP presidential candidate, and he donated Atiku Abubakar, his former PDM member, as his running mate. This was against the run of play because Anenih used his strategy and brinkmanship to wrest the reins of power from Alex Ekweme, who was the purported leader of the PDP before they formed alliance with PDM. In his state, he supported the candidature of Lucky Igbinedion, whom he had made to bite the dust in the aborted Third Republic and Igbinedion won the governorship election. Anenih would later serve as Minister of Works and Housing under Obasanjo and as Chairman Board of Trustees of the PDP in the twilight of the Obasanjo administration.

'THAT N300BILLION ALLEGATION' AND OTHER STORIES

Though the late Anenih spent a substantial chunk of his years in the cozy corridors of power, his life was not a vast and beguiling bed of roses; he had his ups and downs. In 1983 when Buhari truncated the Second Republic, he was one of the politicians clamped in detention for the almost two years.

Also, in December 2009, the Senate debated a damning report detailing how he and some other ministers during the Obasanjo administration allegedly mismanaged billions of naira meant for the rehabilitation and construction of roads. The money mismanaged was close to N300billion in a period of 10 years (1999-2009). In fact, it is believed in some quarters that he acquired his 'Mr Fix it' sobriquet via this damnable act and not for his ability to fix politicians in positions of power.

He was unfavourably disposed to this sobriquet as well. In his autobiography 'My Life and Nigerian Politics', he said: “I am aware that some people call me ‘Mr Fix it’. I think such people call me that name, either in contempt or in admiration. It is possible that they are being mischievous. A few questions arise here. Am I 'Mr fix It' as a reformer or someone who always does things right? Am I being portrayed as one who gets things settled or fixed? Am I being held out as someone who, by hook or crook, achieves results with the belief that the end justifies the means? In any case, I do not enjoy this appellation. I have always believed in what I do and I always make sure I achieve successes, without listening to the crowd of voices. If I am called an achiever, that sounds more complimentary, satisfying and positive than the ambiguous impression, which ‘Mr Fix it’ connotes.”

Just recently, again, he was embroiled in the scandalous and outrageous Dasukigate. It was reported that he collected humongous amount from the money meant for the procurement of arms. In fact Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Federal Government during the Ibrahim Babangida regime, confessed to collecting N100million from Anenih.

On a personal note, his family was rattled — and ravaged — in quick succession by the gale of grief when he lost his wife and son within a spate of one month. His wife, Patricia Anenih, who was the first national woman leader of PDP (1999 to 2005) died on Easter Sunday April16, 2017 and his soon Eugene Anenih slumped and died barely a month after, on May, 15 2017, while playing lawn tennis.

Tony Anenih bestrode the Nigerian political space like a colossus in his lifetime. He was one of the prominent protagonists in the political drama of this country. For this reason, he will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in peace.

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