On 27th May 2022, I took a most important decision in my life to join great and patriotic Nigerians in Labour Party to rescue our dear country Nigeria from litany of leadership and governance failures. Later, I was most graciously elected as the Presidential Candidate to lead the crusade for a New Nigeria! I sincerely thank the members and leadership of Labour Party and other committed Nigerians like Professor Pat Utomi that made it possible. On deep reflection, I am eternally grateful to God for the decision to join Labour Party and to offer myself to serve and lead a New Nigeria!

As we campaigned across states, cities, towns and villages of our dear Nation, my heart was filled with great concern but also with joy and hope. We experienced genuine love and we felt overwhelmed by abundant and immeasurable blessings of God, on every part of our beloved country Nigeria. We felt the unparalleled zeal and energy for survival and the desire for a productive economy across the 36 states of Nigeria. I was equally very sad and most concerned! Sad as the above opportunities are being lost principally due to bad leadership and governance in a country of immense potential.

We saw real and multi-dimensional poverty, undeserving unemployment and living conditions; decaying and unavailable basic infrastructure; avoidable crises, accidents, deaths and unchecked criminality. Even with the lamentable state of our people, society and economy, we are most encouraged by the love, unity, patriotism, energy and productivity embedded in all parts of Nigeria waiting to be properly harnessed to create a secure, united and productive New Nigeria!
As we end the campaigns, Datti Baba-Ahmed and I fully reiterate our pledge and deep commitment to lead a New Nigeria where unity, peace, love and prosperity will reign. We sincerely thank all Nigerians particularly the “Obedients” and all our supporters across the country for their abiding faith in us. We commit and pledge to pursue and exceed all your expectations for a New Nigeria.

We console and pray for the repose of the souls of Nigerians particularly our supporters that died or were killed in our struggle for a New Nigeria. Notable among them are Mallam Lawal Garba, our Zonal Party Chairman in Kaduna that died in ghastly motor accident in October 2022, Mrs Victoria Chimtex, the Labour Party Women Leader in Kaduna State, who was murdered in Kaura, Kaduna State in November 2022 and Mr Christopher Elehu, Labour Party’s candidate for Onuimo Local Government Area constituency, Imo State House of Assembly that was killed in December 2022. Mr Isaac Dauda, our Labour Leader in Mangu Local Government Area, Plateau State that died in January 2023. May God accept their souls and perpetual light shine upon them!

We have also witnessed with great concern the unwarranted and uncivilized attacks on our supporters. We sympathize and pray for their quick recovery and again totally condemn such attacks that has unfortunately led to the amputation of one of our supporters in Lagos. We strongly and unequivocally demand that security agencies work round the clock to prevent any further attacks and bring the perpetrators to book. We equally call on INEC to conduct the elections with utmost professionalism and impartiality. Election materials must be delivered on time and conducted strictly in line with agreed guidelines. The choice of Nigerians must be respected and allowed to prevail! The elections must be free and fair and conducted in an atmosphere of peace.

Labour Party through Datti Baba-Ahmed and I represent the New Nigeria we all want. The overwhelming support we have received from all parts of Nigeria is evident that we represent the new energy and intellect needed for a New, United, Secured and Prosperous Nigeria. While the other candidates are free to contest, we believe that the task of engineering a new Nigeria requires a complete change in attitude, approach and style. Commitment, hard work and innovation are needed to move Nigeria to a position of relevance and power in the comity of nations. Our vision is a Nigeria that every citizen will be proud of and the one that works for all.

We implore all Nigerians of good will to troop out on Saturday 25th of February to cast and protect their votes for Labour Party (LP- Mama, Papa, Pikin) to birth a New Nigeria. Our desire is a New Nigeria where our versed arable lands particularly in the North, our cocoa in the South-West, coal in South-East and oil and gas in the South-South, our regional linkage location, the entrepreneurial spirit of Obafemi in Ibadan, Abubakar in Kano and Nnamdi in Aba, the unquenchable desire for human capital development, a just and moral oriented society of Mrs Seember in Makurdi are all harnessed, developed and sustained.

It will be a New Nigeria with the environment for high quality goats and rice of Alhaji Bagudu in Kebbi, the desire of Mallam Haruna in Gilani, Yobe State to harness their abundant Kaolin and gypsum and Mr Pwajok to develop Potato and rice plantations in Shendam Plateau State and Adani, Enugu State respectively are fully supported.

With a New Nigeria, both local and foreign investors will be attracted to build a power plant using our coal, gas, water and sun. MTN and Shell Plc excited to re- locate their technical support office for North Central to Jalingo, and our commercial banks inspired and secured to host their Annual general meetings in Maiduguri, Gusau or Damaturu. Kayode Omojawa from Ondo State and Helen Bassey from Ogoja, Cross-River State will be motivated to convince their parents to allow them to school in Offa, Kwara State due to the excellent infrastructure and secured Nigeria.

We will build agricultural dams and support every state in Nigeria to plant 10, million economic trees to generate additional N300,000,000,000 (Three Hundred Billion Naira) per state every year to eradicate poverty and enhance the human capital development of our children and youths.

Let me reiterate, securing and uniting Nigeria will be our number one priority and we will do whatever is required to achieve it. We will lead and task security agencies to locate and rescue all Nigerians still being held captive by bandits and criminals including Leah Sharibu, remaining Chibok girls and others. Our farmers must return to their farms to feed Nigeria. That is the New Nigeria that Datti Baba-Ahmed and I offer to provide and lead. With our soul, mind, and body, we pledge and deeply commit to A New Secured, United and Prosperous Nigeria! So, help us God!

The governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in Rivers State, Dr. Dawari George, and his campaign organisation, the Bridge Campaign Organisation (BCO), have endorsed the  presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, for the February 25 election. 

In a statement co-signed by George and Prof. Kiikpoye Aaron, in Port Harcourt Wednesday, the campaign director-general noted that prior to reaching the decision, a lot of issues were thrown up.

The BCO equally noted that it weighed the capacities of the leading candidates in the upcoming presidential election and the clarity of each candidate’s plans for the country.

The campaign organisation said: “Mr Peter Obi is distinguished as an experienced leader who has demonstrated his ability to create positive change in the lives of Nigerians.

“Ethnicity, religion and power rotation have topped the issues under consideration. Whether we consider ourselves, logical/rational or emotional/sentimental, these issues have occupied our thinking spaces significantly. Consequently, whatever we decide is informed by what these issues portend for us.

“For us in Rivers State, the decision on the direction we should go is impacted partly by these issues and by our understanding of equity and justice for our people. We believe that the concept of power rotation is an equitable and justifiable means of guaranteeing the inclusion of all parts of our country in determining the leadership of our nation.

“We also believe that by virtue of the multi-religious nature of the Nigerian society, political inclusion ought to accommodate members of different faiths in a relationship of mutual trust and singleness of purpose.

“Against the backdrop of these considerations, deciding who to support in Saturday’s presidential election, in the best interest of Nigeria and Rivers State becomes less ponderous. Having regard to the issues above, we are irresistibly and attractively drawn to Mr. Peter Obi for president. Consequently, we are endorsing his candidacy for president in the 2023 Nigerian general election. 

“We do not deny that the other candidates boast experience. However, Mr. Peter Obi is distinguished as an experienced leader who has demonstrated his ability to create positive change in the lives of Nigerians.

“As Governor of Anambra State, he made significant strides in improving healthcare, education and infrastructure at reasonable costs. He communicates his plans with clarity, and boasts a demonstrable track record of putting the needs of the people first. Most importantly he ticks the equity and justice ticket with a balanced running mate that is both humane and urbane.

“As Rivers people, we have a great opportunity to support Mr. Peter Obi. We, therefore, strongly urge you to go to elections and vote for Mr. Peter Obi for president.

“We strongly believe that Peter Obi is the right candidate to lead Nigeria to a brighter future. We urge you to join us in supporting his candidacy, and let us work together to build a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria.

“The Bridge Campaign Organization therefore supports Peter Obi for President, Dr. Dawari George for Governor, and all AA National and state Assembly candidates.”

Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has arrived in Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic center, to attend the final leg of the All Progressives Congress presidential campaign rally.

The Leonardo AW139 helicopter transporting Buhari from Murtala Muhammed International Airport landed at the National Stadium at 2:35 p.m., after which he was transported to the 25,000-seater Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, the rally’s venue.

Buhari is in Lagos to campaign for APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu and running mate Kashim Shettima.

Tinubu, who served as Governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007, was elected as the APC presidential candidate after receiving the most votes among 23 aspirants in the Party’s primary elections in June 2022.

A month later, he named Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State in northeast Nigeria, as his running mate.

Buhari will make his tenth appearance since the APC campaign kicked off in Plateau State on November 15, 2022.

He has so far visited the states of Sokoto, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Plateau, and Lagos.

The rally on Tuesday comes one day before the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission for all candidates to end their campaigns.

It also occurs four days before the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

For Saturday’s election, there will be 18 presidential candidates on the ballot.

However, only four of those candidates are recognized by the majority of Nigerians.

Bola Tinubu of the APC, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party are among those running.

Throughout the 96-day campaign, all four candidates have stated their intention to win the presidency and lead Africa’s most populous state.

Given the issues that have dominated the Nigerian psyche, Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, and Kwankwaso have all promised to revive the country’s struggling economy, combat widespread insecurity, and root out endemic corruption.

Contrary to a recent comment by the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo in which he had faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the old N200 be recirculated until April 10, 2023, while the old N500 and N1,000 cease to be legal tender, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), at the weekend argued that the directive of the president was not a direct affront to Supreme Court that had temporarily halted the move to ban the old currencies by February 10, 2023.

Speaking on Television Continental, the former Lagos State governor maintained that the president only took the step to help ameliorate the pains of Nigerians who were becoming the unintended victims of the policy.

Keyamo, who is spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, had in an interview on Channels Television, said the president was wrongly advised to make the pronouncement in a nationwide broadcast.
According to Keyamo, although Buhari had good intentions for the naira redesign policy, he was wrongly advised. He had also said he would have advised the president to comply with the Supreme Court order, which was to recirculate all the old notes until they decide on the matter.
“My view is that the president acted honestly, without intention to slight the Supreme Court, but he may have acted on wrong advice. I did not give that advice, it’s not my responsibility. I do not know who gave that advice.

“In his speech, he acknowledged that there were certain matters in court. So, he thought he was playing safe by saying okay, before you decide these matters in court, may I just provide some middle ground, so that the country is burning, there are riots everywhere, so let me just try and provide some succour for people, whilst acknowledging the matters are in court.
“Now, if I were to advise him, I would have advised differently. I would have advised him to comply with the terms of the order of the Supreme Court. All the notes should circulate for now, all the notes. All the old notes should circulate side by side with the new notes for now, because that is the order of the Supreme Court,” he had said.

According to him, the matter was not discussed at the Federal Executive Council.
The comments by Fashola came just as a viral video of some residents of Ogun State were being bribed ahead of Saturday’s election with the old N1,000 notes. Those who received the money in white envelopes with the logo of the state government, however, expressed concerns that commercial banks were no longer accepting the currency. But someone suspected to be a government official, who spoke in Yoruba, was heard assuring the beneficiaries that they should go ahead and spend the money, adding that the government had vowed to ensure that banks in the state collect the old banknotes.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, reflected on the current hardship faced by Nigerians in the wake of the naira redesign project of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and pledged to put an end to the pains the programme had inflicted on the citizenry.
But former vice president and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, described as comical the reaction of the ruling APC and its governors to recent developments around the naira redesign project.

Weighing in also on the debate around the currency policy, the presidential candidate of New Nigerian People Party (NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, knocked the APC governors who criticised Buhari over the naira policy, saying the governors’ loots are now useless.
The Supreme Court had temporarily halted a February 10 deadline to phase out the use of some old banknotes. But a day after the court adjourned the suit filed by some APC states and Sokoto in a move to stop the federal government from banning the use of old N1, 000, N500 and N200, Buhari in a nationwide broadcast, directed that the N200 should be returned as legal tender, while the N1,000 and N500 should be phased out.

The broadcast by the president generated reactions, with nine APC states and Sokoto State now asking the Supreme Court to void Buhari’s directive. Some senior lawyers had also argued that the directive by the president was a clear contempt of the court in a pending matter.
Fashola claimed that the recent nationwide broadcast by Buhari on the ongoing naira redesign policy was not a direct affront to the Supreme Court.
He stated that although the naira swap policy needed to be reviewed, the president took the decision because he had seen the suffering many Nigerians were facing and not to spite the apex court.

Fashola explained, “Let me say that in a democracy where there is a right to speak freely, there’s bound to be divergence of views, as you have had. But I think that the principle about respecting and awaiting the outcome of a court decision sometimes has been stretched, if I may use that word.
“There is also a lot of jurisprudence and scholarship about the boundaries of contempt in actions done and in things said. If I shut the door on your finger, and you went to court to say that the court should direct me to remove or open the door, do I say let’s wait for the outcome of court decision when you are in pain, and people are in pain?

“The question to ask is if I attempt to open that door, would you, the person in pain, say I was acting in contempt or would you gladly have me open the door and then go back to the court and say the matter we have resolved it?
“And that is another angle to look at this thing because I think that whatever interventions the president sought to make were interventions in response to the very palpable pain and I think he said that much in his speech about the unintended consequences of the policy.

Noting that his argument should not be misunderstood for misbehaviour while a case was pending in court, Fashola stated that the conversation around the matter had helped enrich Nigeria’s democracy. He explained that it had also shown the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, and others that had spoken up as people of courage who would not sit in their comfort zones when the people were suffering.

Fashola said the fact that recent central bank governors in Nigeria tended to get into trouble close to elections should spur a review of the system to look at how political the apex bank had become. He stressed that although the central bank had a right to implement the current naira redesign policy, some of the reasons adduced by the bank were outside the law.

“So the question to then ask is, has a law been used for a policy seeking to achieve an objective that is not within the law? And this is an invitation to parliament and I think this is the time to step up and say, has our politics left our central banking-related laws behind?”

The minister argued that what happened was a mop-up of Nigeria’s currency and not a swap, arguing that the central bank may not have expected the outcome.
“It seems to me that the central bank does not intend or contemplate a mop-up policy, it actually contemplates in my view, a swap of notes,” he added, pointing out that the central bank may have overreached itself.

Fashola said Nigeria changed notes some 15 years ago, stressing that it did not cause this much pain, but wondered why the present case was causing untold hardship. He stated that the current development might negatively affect the banking system in Nigeria. He said everyone must work together to ensure that the effect on the banks were mitigated.

Buhari Vows to End Hardship Faced by Nigerians Over Naira Scarcity

In the message he sent home from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, where he was attending the annual summit of the African Union (AU), Buhari said he was fully aware of the hardship some policies of government, “which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country,” had caused. He appealed for further patience, saying the government is taking appropriate measures to ease the suffering.
Buhari, according to a statement issued yesterday by his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, also expressed gratitude to Nigerians for electing him president for two terms. He urged the citizens to vote for the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, in the forthcoming election, saying, “He is reliable and I know he will build on our achievements.”

In a video recording to shore up support for Tinubu in the election coming up in a few days, Buhari, according to a statement issued yesterday by Shehu, expressed gratitude to Nigerians for electing him president for two terms. He urged the electorate to vote for the APC presidential candidate.
The president emphasised that Tinubu had demonstrated commitment to the development of the country and the well-being of its people.
In the campaign message to voters, Buhari called on “our traditional rulers, religious leaders and parents to warn their followers and wards alike, to not allow themselves to be used by a few to foment trouble”.

The president stated, “I want to assure you that the government has taken adequate security measures to allow everyone to come out and cast their votes. I am, therefore, appealing to everyone to give them the necessary support.
“Fellow Nigerians, I want to use this opportunity to once again thank you for electing me to be your president on two occasions.
“I am not a contestant in this election, but my party, the APC, has a candidate in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As I mentioned before, Tinubu is a true believer in Nigeria, who loves the people and the development of our country.

“I am calling on all of you to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is reliable and I trust he will build on our achievements.
“Finally, I want to once again assure you that I am fully aware of the current hardship you are facing as a result of some policies of the government which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country.
“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.”

Atiku: APC Governors’ Reaction to New Policy Comical

Atiku described as comical the reaction of the APC governors to the naira design project. In an email message he sent to out yesterday, Atiku stated, “In the last weeks of the campaign, it is comical to see the ruling APC in open disagreement about how their party has taken the country aback.
“The good part of it is that the APC governing elite has by itself admitted that the party has only brought pains and hardship on the country.
“But while the APC continues with their rumblings, I am very proud of the work that we have done together in bringing the Recover Nigeria message to every doorstep across the country.

“It is the determination and commitment by folks like you in pushing the campaign that gives me the confidence that we shall achieve victory on Saturday. In these final days, we have to do even more!
“We still have ample time to push harder in ensuring, first, that everyone around you with their PVCs comes out to vote.
“Secondly, we must rally our base by convincing our friends, colleagues, families, and spouses to vote for the safe choice, which the PDP represents. Governor Okowa and I are exceptionally proud of your terrific work and we both believe that you shall deliver your polling units for the PDP on Saturday.”

Your Loot Now Completely Useless, Kwankwaso Taunts APC Governors

Kwankwaso knocked the APC governors criticising Buhari over the naira redesign policy. The former Kano State governor said he was shocked that APC governors could act in that manner.
Kwankwaso said at an NNPP function, “In each state, you have branches of banks and in some states, you have even the national headquarters of those banks, on one hand we thought they (governors) would take all the billions from government houses and so on to banks.
“But we realised these same governors were abusing their leaders, insulting them, I was shocked. I never thought some of them could abuse Buhari to that level.
“On one hand, I was surprised that facts were coming out and we began to wonder what is wrong with them? Maybe the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was right that some governors are keeping billions of naira in their compounds across the country.

“Now the policy has made that looted money completely useless, I think that is why they are angry. So we are so happy with the federal government on that, the money they have collected is completely zero, it has expired.
“And I think all agencies should keep their eyes on that and I want to assure you that our party is going to assist the federal government, especially on election day, please tell all members of NNPP to join EFCC, to join the police and other security agencies that wherever they see them trying to buy votes, please stop them.”

Dogara Hails Buhari’s Move to Curb Vote-buying

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, commended Buhari’s efforts aimed at curbing vote-buying ahead of the 2023 general election.
Dogara said he was also affected by the hardship caused by the naira redesign and currency scarcity, but pleaded with Nigerians to endure this for a few weeks and see it as a sacrifice for free, fair and credible elections.

He spoke at the weekend in Kaltungo, Gombe State, at the gathering of over 15,000 Christian youth under the auspices of Evangelical Churches Winning All (ECWA) International Youth Conference, where he was honoured with the award of service to the youths, the church and humanity.
Dogara stated, “For those critising the president on the issue of timing, I want to remind them in the words of Dr King Jnr that time is eternally neutral and the time is always ripe to do right.

“Let me end by calling on the CBN to ensure the redesigned notes are made available to our people but even if the CBN failed to do so, my plea to all Nigerians is to endure the pains for few more weeks for our votes to count and for us to elect a president we truly deserve.
“Let me emphatically say that the president has the sole constitutional powers over currency matters and all those busy running their mouths because they have been denied the opportunity to deploy the ill- gotten naira they have stashed to buy votes, they are committing treason,” he stated.

The former speaker added, “The president is absolutely right not to have given in to the greed of the few against the needs of the many.  While the president is right to have acted on what he knows and in the best interest of the country, his traducers are petty, unpatriotic, treacherous and grossly irresponsible.
“I want to specifically commend President Buhari over the initiative to curb vote buying in the forthcoming general elections.  I am not uninformed of nor unaffected by the hardship caused by the naira redesign and swap policy, but I want to plead with Nigerians to endure it for these few weeks as sacrifice for a free, fair and credible election.”

The former speaker stressed that Nigeria needed a steady hand, not one that must always be steadied. He emphasised, “We need a hand on which nothing dies not the hand that spills everything that is placed on it if we do not want our collective national destiny to be spilled.
“We need a grounded leader not a feckless pretender who has become a perfect gift to every level of comedy both local and internationally. By our votes, let us send a strong and clear message to those who want to foist this tasteless joke on us that Nigeria is no comedy cellar or Viva Blackpool.”
Dogara urged Nigerians to vote for Atiku.

Kaigama Condemns Attack on Banks, Urges Free, Fair Election

Catholic Archbishop of the Abuja Metropolitan Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, condemned what he described as unruly acts of rioting in some parts of the country that saw protesters attacking bank ATMs, beating up bank staff, and destroying their property.
Regarding Saturday’s presidential election, the archbishop said his prayer was for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agents, and the judiciary not to bow to pressure from any quarter and compromise their work so that only true winners would emerge in the elections.
While delivering sermons at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church Parish, Dutse-Sangbagyi, in Abuja, yesterday, Kaigama said notwithstanding the hardship in the land, persons opposed to certain government policies should react in an enlightened manner.

He said, “The recent bank policy has plunged many Nigerians into untold hardship, because of very limited access to physical cash. However, when we are not comfortable with certain decisions, we should react in an enlightened manner.

“The unruly acts of rioting in some parts of the nation that attacked bank ATMs, beat up some bank staff, vandalised banks and destroyed bank properties, blocked streets, forcing businesses to close, etc., are not signs of maturity.”

Commenting on Saturday’s presidential election, Kaigama said Nigerians must play their role in creating a better country by participating in the exercise.
He stated, “This time we want an election of credible and competent candidate and not an election marred by manipulation or violence that scares away voters.
“Our earnest prayer is that INEC, the security agents and the judiciary will not bow to pressure from any quarters and compromise their work so that only true winners in the elections, who, as Philippians 4:8 says, are honourable, just, pure, lovely, can emerge and free Nigerians from the bondage of economic hardship, criminality and needless division based on tribe and religion.”
Quoting the communique given at the just concluded first plenary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Kaigama echoed the call on leaders to love the people they lead through good governance.

He said at the meeting that the bishops had decried the worsening insecurity caused by so-called unknown gunmen, and urged the government to do more to safeguard the lives and property of citizens. He emphasised the need for the government to improve the economy of the country and arrest the skyrocketing cost of goods and services.

President Muhammadu Buhari has reflected on the current hardship faced by Nigerians in the wake of the currency exchange policy and pledged to put an end to the pains the programme has inflicted on the citizenry.

He has, therefore, sent a message home from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, where he is attending the annual summit of the African Union (AU), saying he is fully aware of the hardship some policies of government, “which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country” had caused and appealed for further patience as the government takes appropriate measures to ease them.

In a video recording to shore up support for Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in next Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, the president, according to a release issued on Sunday by his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, expressed gratitude to Nigerians for electing him to be president for two terms, and urged them to vote for the APC flag bearer because “he is reliable and I know he will build on our achievements”.

The president emphasized that the APC presidential candidate has demonstrated his commitment to the development of the country and the well-being of its people.

In the campaign message to voters,  President Buhari specifically called on “our traditional rulers, religious leaders and parents to warn their followers and wards alike, to not allow themselves to be used by a few to foment trouble.

“I want to assure you that the government has taken adequate security measures to allow everyone to come out and cast their votes. I am therefore appealing to everyone to give them the necessary support.

“Fellow Nigerians, I want to use this opportunity to once again thank you for electing me to be your president on two occasions.

 “I am not a contestant in this election, but my party, the All Progressives Congress, has a candidate in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As I mentioned before, Tinubu is a true believer in Nigeria, who loves the people and the development of our country.

“I am calling on all of you to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is reliable and I trust he will build on our achievements.

“Finally, I want to once again assure you that I am fully aware of the current hardship you are facing as a result of some policies of the government which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country.

“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel”.

The Oyo State chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has denied adopting Governor Seyi Makinde as its gubernatorial candidate in the March 11 governorship election in the state.

This is just as it said Mr. Adewole Adeshina, who claimed to be the National Deputy Secretary, and addressed journalists in Ibadan Saturday, on the phoney adoption, is not a member of the party.

The party, in a statement by its gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Michael Lana, on Sunday, said the candidates of the party for the forthcoming elections are intact, adding that the fake adoption of Makinde was the job of desperate politicians who realizing there is no hope for them in the elections are now paying hungry agents to spread false information to the unsuspecting public.

He said Adeshina, whom he described as an unscrupulous man, is not known to the party, neither is he its officer, calling on members of the public to google SDP and would discover that he is nothing but an hungry man looking for crumbs from a sinking politician with his name not on the  website of the party.

The former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state disclosed that the mega rally of the party would come up in Ibadan on Tuesday, enjoining members of the public to come and see whether Adeshina would show his face and mount the rostrum at the event.

According to him, “Let the public also ask Engr Adewole whether the name of Chief Ayorinde (SAN) was the name published by INEC as the SDP’s candidate for Oyo State or he has not woken up from his slumber to realise that Chief Ayorinde was only the party’s candidate in 2019 and not for 2023 election.

“And he should tell us the National Convention witnessed by INEC as required by section 83 of the Electoral Act, where he and his co-dreamers were elected and at which congress his conjured candidate was elected.”

Lana maintained that it would be preposterous to suggest that he as the governorship candidate of the SDP would step down for a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor who is going to be expelled by his party in the coming days for anti-party activities.

Ambassador Ejike Eze is the Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Enugu North. A diplomat specialising in intelligence and security protocol, Eze served in Nigerian embassies in Germany, Portugal, Ghana and Cuba. He speaks to Kingsley Nwezeh about his campaign and chances of clinching the senatorial slot

How is your campaign to represent Enugu North in the Senate going?
So far so good. As a party, we started a joint campaign, the candidates, the Senatorial candidates, the House of Reps candidates, state assembly candidates and all other candidates. We went around all the wards in the state and that was the first time such campaign was ever done. After the tour of wards, we now relaxed and individuals started their own campaigns. For me, I have gone round the local governments and then talked to my people and discussed with the people in the six local government areas of Enugu North.

Beyond all these, I have also been talking to interest groups in Nsukka. The lawyers, the academics, the professionals and so many other areas, the artisans, the keke, the okada riders, Keke Napep associations and some distinct people with cultural festivals like the one in Igbo Etiti which I attended. It’s called Ochima. You know there is something they said about Ochima, being the eldest community in Nsukka. When they celebrated their odo festival, I was there and got the Ofo (title) from Onyishi Ochima (the eldest man in Ochima). These are the things I have done. Again the media, I have been visible in the media. All these have exposed my candidature to the electorate in Enugu State.

What has the response from the people been like?
The response has been overwhelming. You know, in our part of the country, our party, APC, is not a very popular brand, but now, due to the input of some of us, people are now beginning to talk about the individual, not the party which should be the actual thing. It’s not really the party per se and I also know that almost all the political parties have their own shortcomings, the APC, the PDP, which have been the two major political parties and the emergence of Labour Party and New Nigeria National Party.
People, who have been in these two parties are the bulk of these new parties that are emerging right now. Everything put together, people are no longer talking about party per se.

My candidature, I can tell you, has exposed me to the people. Before now, I was the only one that had the determination and courage to challenge the PDP’s ownership mentality of power in Enugu State because for 23 years, they have been there unchallenged. Now, they are beginning to feel there are people who are interested in what they have been doing which they have not done rightly. This is the situation for now.

What are the dominant issues they want you to address?
Issues of bad governance. This is the key issue they are looking at. For instance, I had a radio interview programme sometime ago and a woman called in to say she retired from government work three years ago and she has not gotten her gratuity or pension. When I asked why do we sell fuel in Enugu, N240 and Nsukka N340, they said because the road from 9th Mile to Nsukka is so terrible. That no trailer wants to pass through that road and because of this, they spend more money on transportation and that has made the price of fuel in Nsukka higher than most parts of Enugu State.
The issue of infrastructure is there and now the government, because another election has come, they think they can always deceive the people. Now if you go to all the roads, they are breaking all the roads, claiming to be building and constructing new roads. In all parts of Nsukka now, they have promised so many people roads. They are building roads for every tom, dick and harry and I asked them will they finish this network of roads they are constructing before February 25 election?

You see these things are deceit. I ask again if they had money to be building these roads, what have they been doing in the past seven years? And now that the election is at hand, they are doing panicky projects here and there.
The people are talking about lack of infrastructure, lack of innovative ideas. Look at the dirt in Nsukka. Nsukka is a university community and a university community is an international community.

As you enter Nsukka, the first thing you encounter is dirt. Just leave Opi Junction, drive some distance, you will see heaps of rubbish. A government that cannot even clean the environment, clean his house and a lot of things. Nsukka people are really dismayed about the performance of the governor. Look at Ogige market and what it looks like in comparison to what Gov Dave Umahi did in Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. Ogige Market should be turned into a modern shopping mall so that when you enter Nsukka, you will see modenity. For eight years, we have had our son in government and nothing has changed in Nsukka.
If you talk about human capital development, I wrote a memo telling the governor that Enugu Senatorial District has never produced a federal permanent secretary and most of them that come to Abuja as permanent secretaries come from transfer of service but he did nothing of the sort.

What kind of leadership are you seeking to provide?

Our people are yearning for new leadership, new crop of leaders to emerge so that the challenges we have in our area could be addressed. As a legislator, it’s not within my purview to begin to say I will change this policy or not but I can sponsor bills, move motions for good governance in the areas of local government system. The idea of a local government chairman that comes in, collects all the money, shares it and moves away is out of place.
If you begin to collaborate with them, you could initiate a bill that will promote an accountable system for the local government administration because it is an area that impacts directly on the people.

What are the chances of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, winning the February 25 poll?
You know I belong to APC and I will wish that my party wins at the presidential election. The chances will be determined by the Nigerian people and the political party but we are campaigning to win. Other parties are also campaigning to win. If you put the whole thing on a scale, I would say on the spread of our governors, they are 22. We are still the party to beat. I know there are sentiments and the advent of a new party, the Labour Party and their presidential candidate, who is reputed to have done well as a governor and espouses ideas that appeal to Nigerian youths. These are issues on ground.
Like in my state, I would wish that one party system comes to an end. At the federal level let the best candidate win. Let the candidate, who will lead Nigeria to prosperity win but you know I want my party to win and I tell you, we have what it takes to win.
I know it’s not going to be an easy election.

The Ladi Adebutu/Akinlade Campaign Organisation has described as ludicrous the claim by one Segun Showunmi that the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu, has not been campaigning for the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. 

A statement signed by the Director of Media of the campaign organisation, Mr. Afolabi Orekoya, said Showunmi does not deserve any reactions, except for the expediency of setting the records straight.

According to Orekoya, “We challenge Mr Showunmi to show us his followers. The Peoples Democratic Party, Ogun State Chapter is not crisis-ridden as he mischievously strives to project. The party is intact and peaceful. We won’t allow a man beclouded by selfish motives to draw us back.

“If Mr. Showunmi has any problem with the PDP, let him as an educated person endeavour to resolve it with the party leadership in an appropriate and civil manner. We won’t allow him to drag us to retrogression. Enough is enough!”

He said regardless of the self-defeatist shenanigans of Showunmi, the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Adebutu, would continue to lead the campaign of its presidential candidate, Abubakar, and all other PDP candidates across the length and breadth of the state. 

He said: “Finally, it should also be reiterated that Showunmi is just displaying what can be regarded as ‘folly’ by saying he is expecting a Supreme Court judgment against the candidacy of the party. This same folly was exhibited when the Appeal Court ruled on this same matter that he went to the media claiming he won at the Appeal Court and he was confirmed as the party’s candidate. But now, the truth has prevailed and the question Showunmi should answer is: why did he approach the Supreme Court on the same matter if truly he won at the Appeal Court as he claimed?

“It should be well stated that truly Showunmi was a gubernatorial aspirant because he obtained the nomination form and was screened but he did not participate in the party’s primaries; he was absent at the approved venue for the primary election.”

Orekoya said according to the Electoral Act 2022, Showunmi has no locus to challenge the primary that produced Adebutu, as the executive members of the party which he filed the suit against were not involved in the primary election processes, adding that therefore, he has no case against Adebutu as he keeps lying to the public.

“We appeal to the knowledgeable and discerning good people of Ogun State to remain focused and not be distracted with the folly but rather focus on how to vote out the ruling APC on 25th February and 11th March, 2023,” he added.