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Marafa Backs INEC, Says APC Has No Candidate In Zamfara |The Republican News

                                          Senator Kabiru Marafa

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

 

The lawmaker representing Zamfara-Central Senatorial District, Senator Kabiru Marafa, has expressed his support for the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission that his party, the All Progressives Congress, does not have candidates for the 2019 general election in Zamfara State.

Marafa, who is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC, stated that no primary was held and there was no consensus arrangement reached among the party’s aspirants in the state.

Fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on Thursday, Marafa said, “I read the letter from INEC where they quoted sections of the law that influenced their position. I also read the response made by the APC National Chairman (Adams Oshiomhole). I want to believe the chairman has been misled by the APC’s electoral committee that went to Zamfara. But as a stakeholder who was present and witnessed the whole process that happened, there was no election in Zamfara on Saturday, October 7, 2018.

“Also, there was no consensus from anybody or by anybody. So, the election committee reported in the contrary. I think that was absolutely wrong. I always stand by the side of the truth. I want to say the truth even if it is against me.”

Marafa, whose running battle with Governor Abdulaziz Yari led to the polarisation of the APC in Zamfara, stated that he was still a member of the ruling party but that if the party did anything wrong, he would not hesitate to point it out.

He said, “I’m an APC member to the core, and I’m still with the APC, notwithstanding that the chances are becoming bleak, maybe for me as a politician. But I believe in the party. If the party does anything wrong, I should have the courage to say this thing is wrong. If the party has any way within the law to fill in any candidate, I will be happy, but not when the issues are based on a wrong foundation. So, let us address the issues the way they are.

“We are going into elections and the desire of every party is to win and win without any litigation, divert attention and waste resources. I would not want to see one happening to me. So, by and large, the only thing I saw wrong in the letter is the assertion that there was a consensus.  There was no consensus. We are governorship aspirants but some people stepped down.

“For the remaining five aspirants, there was no consensus till the end of the exercise. The truth of the matter is that the APC electoral committee tried to achieve a consensus among the aspirants for the governorship and senatorial aspirants, but the two factions of the party could not agree.

“If you force any consensus or you claim there was one, there is going to be a revolt that there was no consensus, and anybody and some have the right to go to court. But if under the law, the APC has the right to field candidates, they can go ahead to do it without recourse to either election or consensus. Let us get one thing clear and correct. That there was no election, no consensus.”  (Punch)

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Buhari Hasn’t Run Any Successful Business Ever – Atiku |The Republican News

Buhari-Atiku2

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Preisdent Muhammadu Buhari

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

 

The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of never being a successful businessman.

In a statement from his media office in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku said, “The open, democratic and free and fair election (something alien to the APC, according to Buhari’s own wife) on Sunday of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, as the Presidential candidate for the PDP has clearly left the APC in a state of panic and confusion.

“On Sunday, the Buhari Campaign Organisation launched the first weak salvo. And on Monday, the APC’s National Publicity Secretary unleashed his own knee-jerk reaction, accusing Atiku of being desperate.

“Our response to the APC is to ask who is desperate between a Muhammadu Buhari who said, ‘If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood’ and an Atiku Abubakar who said, ,‘Love and peace should not only be preached, but must also be put into practice for the sake of sustaining the peace in our land’?

“It is left for Nigerians to judge, but even a blind person can see that Nigeria has been ‘soaked in blood’ ever since she was unfortunate enough to have fallen under the leadership of a man whose words are destructive and never productive.”

In his response to the APC’s demand for Atiku’s scorecard in public office, the statement said, “Some of Atiku Abubakar’s achievements as Nigeria’s Vice President are that as head of the National Council of Privatisation, he superintended over the GSM revolution that saw Nigeria go from 50,000 to 100 million GSM lines, has added 500,000 direct jobs to the Nigerian economy and attracted $27bn to our GDP. Our question to President Buhari and the APC is how many jobs have they created?

“Another of Abubakar’s achievements is the successful privatisation of many public enterprises that hitherto consumed government resources without yielding a profit. In response, we ask President Buhari how many loopholes in public expenditure has he plugged? The spectacular failure of the 419 Nigeria Air is still fresh in the memory of Nigerians.

“Finally, the APC spokesman had the guts to question His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar’s source of wealth.

“We wish to remind APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, that Atiku Abubakar is not like President Buhari who has never run a successful private business throughout his life.

“Unlike Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar is an expert job creator who has founded many successful and thriving businesses including the American University of Nigeria, Yola; a microfinance bank that has moved 45,000 families out of poverty and Rica Gado, a livestock feed company that has significantly reduced instances of herdsmen/farmers clashes by providing a business-friendly solution instead of asking Nigerians to give up their lands for cattle ranching or face death, as the Buhari government did.”

The statement added that unlike President Buhari, Atiku does not believe Nigerian youths are lazy. “How could he when 25,000 out of his 50,000 employees are youths,”? he asked.

It urged the Buhari Presidency and the APC to mention even one successful private endeavour that the President had successfully run.

“And by private enterprises, we are not referring to 150 cows that never increase in number, year in year out,” the statement added.    (Punch)

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Ambode’s Hope Fades As APC Governor Primaries Today Is Tension-Laden |RN

         Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode
  • GAC backs Sanwo-Olu after meeting with Osinbajo

  • Lagos gov refuses Tinubu’s call to step down

  • Parties shift exercises in Lagos, Imo to Monday

  • PDP plans peaceful, transparent primaries

Residents in states where the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party will elect their governorship candidates for the 2019 governorship election have expressed fears of possible breakdown of law and order during the primaries today

Investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH correspondents, who spoke with political party leaders, aspirants and some residents of the affected states, revealed that the exercises might not be without violence.

In Lagos for instance, supporters of the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode may on Monday clash with those of the APC leaders who are supporting the emergence of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

This situation may not be different in Oyo State where there are fears that APC members, who are loyal to a former governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala, may have a raw deal with loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who wants to install a successor.

Five Ogun aspirants battle Amosun’s choice

It will be a battle between the consensus candidate of the Ogun West Elders Council, Adekunle Akinlade, and the alliance of five aspirants, mostly from the Ogun East Senatorial district.

The five aspirants in the alliance are Senator Adegbenga Kaka; Dapo Abiodun; Jimi Lawal; Bimbo  Ashiru, and Abayomi Hunye, who is the only one from Ogun West.

These aspirants in alliance were dissatisfied with the decision to have Akinlade, who is currently representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency in the lower chamber, as the consensus candidate of the party.

Three of the aspirants, who spoke with one of our correspondents, called on the electoral team that would be sent from the national secretariat of the party to oversee the governorship primary to ensure a level-playing field for every aspirant, by making it free and fair.

The aspirants are the immediate past state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ashiru; a former Senator from Ogun East and former deputy governor of the state, Kaka, and businessman, Abiodun.

They are all from Ogun East (Ijebu-Remo).

Ashiru, who spoke to us while on a consultation train to Ogun Waterside, expressed optimism that he was the most qualified for the job, having been part of the current administration’s success story, especially in the area of attracting investors to the state.

He said, “I am confident of victory if the governorship primary is free and fair; if there’s no harassment.

“I have been part of the system; I understand the system because I have been part of the development of Ogun State. Ogun State is now attractive to investors. I believe I’m the most qualified for the job.”

On his part, Kaka said he would want the membership registers containing the names of old and new members to be presented at the wards and people should be allowed to line up behind the aspirants of their choice without any form of molestation.

Abiodun said he hoped for a good outing today (Sunday)

Speaking through one of his media aides, Olumide Lawal, Abiodun believed he equally would be victorious if the primary was transparent.

Lawal said, “We are expecting the team from Abuja, the national headquarters of the party, that will oversee the governorship primary in the state.

“We hope they will do the needful and be impartial umpires. I am sure if the primary is transparent, my principal will win.”

Another governorship aspirant from Ogun East, Jimi Lawal who is a former banker and currently an adviser to Kaduna State governor on Investment Promotion, also hoped for the best.

He said he had visited his supporters in all the local governments across the state three times, between last year and now.

Lawal added, “Tomorrow (Sunday), I hope for the best. I have visited the 20 local governments across the state about three times, between last year and now.

“I helped to revive about 14 offices of the APC that were moribund, including that of my local government, Ijebu Ode. I have done my best for the people, and tomorrow, (Sunday), I am hopeful of the best and hope that there won’t be imposition.”

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Command said it was well prepared for the governorship primary.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said all arms of security apparatus in the state had been mobilised for the exercise.

Oyeyemi said, “We are fully prepared. We have made our deployment. We will monitor the event from the beginning to the end.

“The Commissioner of Police has warned anyone that may want to cause the breach of peace to either leave the state or have a change of heart.”

Akala attacks Ajimobi, to boycott primary

A former Oyo State governor, Alao-Akala, on Saturday, said he would not be part of today’s governorship primary of the APC in the state, alleging that there were plans by Governor Ajimobi to impose one of the candidates, Joseph Tegbe, on the party.

Alao-Akala, according to a statement by his media aide, Jeremiah Akande, called on the party leadership to quickly step into what he described as a crisis in the state chapter of the party. He also asked his supporters to wait for his next move.

The statement noted that the ministerial slot of the state had been offered to Alao-Akala but he refused to accept it because of possible collision with Adebayo Shittu.

The statement said, “Alao-Akala wishes to state categorically and put the leadership of the party and the general public on notice that Ajimobi has perfected plans to impose one Joseph Tegbe on delegates as he has sent his foot soldiers around to coerce and intimidate delegates to vote for the said Tegbe against their free will.

“Alao-Akala, a true party man and committed loyalist to any cause he believes in, wishes to state categorically that he is not a pushover in the game of politics and as a well-grounded and groomed politician, who has occupied the number one seat of a politically-conscious state as Oyo, will not be part of any move or attempt to subvert the true will and wishes of the people by the selfish interest of an individual.

“He has therefore decided to stay away from Sunday’s macabre dance taking place at a yet-to-be disclosed venue due to the insensitivity and selfishness of Ajimobi who is hell-bent on imposing his stooge as his successor.”

Parallel excos to pick candidates in Delta

Despite efforts to resolve the leadership crisis in the Delta State chapter of the APC, the party is going into its primaries with a divided house beginning with the governorship primary on Sunday (today).

Four of the five governorship aspirants, who picked the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms, have been cleared to participate in the primary taking place in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

They are Prof Pat Utomi, Victor Ochei, Chief Great Ogboru and Dr Cairo Ojougboh.

The party currently parades two executive committees in the state. While the immediate past National Chairman of the APC, Odigie Oyegun sworn-in Chief Cyril Ogodo-led State Working Committee, Adams Oshiomhole, upon assumption of office as the party’s national chairman, sworn-in Prophet Jones Erue as chairman.

The former is loyal to Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Chief Hyacinth Enuha while the latter is loyal to the Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Ogboru faction.

Aspirants reject consensus candidate in Imo

Last minute move made by the APC governorship aspirants from the Owerri zone extraction of Imo State to have a consensus aspirant that would challenge governor Rochas Okorocha’s preferred choice, Uche Nwosu, during the primary on Monday, has failed.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the aspirants, consisting of the deputy governor of the state, Eze Madumere; immediate past Secretary to the State Government, George Eche; Okorocha’s brother-in-law, Chuks Ololo; the governor’s former appointee, China Anozie; a former SSG, Jude Ejiogu; business magnate, Chris Nlemoha; and a retired air commodore, Peter Gbujue, met in Owerri, the state capital, on Saturday.

A source at the meeting, which lasted for about seven hours, told one of our correspondents that none of the seven aspirants from the zone agreed to step down for another.

The meeting, our correspondent learnt, was called by the leaders of the APC in Owerri zone to ensure the aspirants reach an agreement that would made them to support one among them for the Monday’s exercise.

It was learnt that the people, who called the meeting, stated that Owerri zone would put the wrong foot forward going into the primary with seven aspirants while the other two – Nwosu and Senator Hope Uzodinma – are from Orlu zone.

All efforts made by the conveners of the meeting to persuade the aspirants to reach a consensus failed as all the aspirants preferred to head to the primary.

Confirming the development to SUNDAY PUNCH, the director of media of one of the aspirants (Nlemoha), Callistus Emeruo, said his principal was going ahead with the primary.

He said, “My principal, Chris Nlemoha, is very much in the race. The consensus candidate option failed. There is no clear criteria to measure which aspirant should be a beneficiary of the consensus candidate option.”

“The aspirants at the meeting said that the meeting was rather coming too late. Tomorrow is the primary and it is wrong asking an aspirant who has traversed the whole state in campaigns to step down.”

Ikenna Onuoha, a media aide to another governorship aspirant, Ejiogu, said his boss did not step down for anybody.

Onuoha added, “Jude Ejiogu did not step down for anybody. If there is any aspirant who should be a beneficiary of the consensus aspirant option, it is Jude Ejiogu. He is the most qualified. He has the capacity and contacts to make a good governor.”

Investigation by SUNDAY PUNCH revealed that Madumere, Nwosu and Nlemoha are the aspirants to beat in the primary.

Speaking to Sunday PUNCH ahead of the primary, the deputy governor said that he was prepared for the exercise.

Madumere, who sued for a free and fair process, said his campaign organisation rejected the plot by some members working for the state government to hijack the process at the grass roots.

The governorship aspirant, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Uche Onwuchekwa, said only accredited INEC collation centers at the wards should be used for the primary.

Also, Nwosu said, “I am ready and prepared for the primary. My campaign organisation and supporters across the state are ready. It is a popularity test election and Uche Nwosu is ready.”

23 gov aspirants to contest Kwara PDP, APC tickets

No fewer than 23 governorship aspirants, 38 senatorial aspirants and 199 House of Assembly aspirants are to contest the primaries of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State on Sunday (today).

The state APC chairman, Mr. Bashir Bolarinwa, said there were no fewer than 13 governorship aspirants in the state.

He said the aspirants include, Alhaji AbdulRahman Abdulrasaq; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore; Alhaji Lukman Mustapha, Alhaji Hakeem Lawal, Alhaji Kawu Modibbo, Alhaji Moshood  Mustapha, Prof. Oba Abdulraheem, and  Ambassador Seriki Yahaya.

Others are Alhaji Saliu Mustapha, Alhaji Shuaib Abdullahi, Mr. Tajudeen Audu, Mr. Kayode Abdulwaheed and Alhaji Yahaya Gobir.

He, however, said the lists of cleared or uncleared aspirants were yet to be released by the APC National Working Committee.

He added that there were 32 senatorial aspirants and 93 aspirants to the state House of Assembly.

In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Friday, the Head, Media and Strategy, APC, Kwara State chapter, Mr. Kayode Zubaire, said no about 250,000 APC members had registered in the state.

The state PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tunde Ashaolu, told one of our correspondents that the state PDP had 10 governorship aspirants; six for Senate; 45 for the House of Representatives and 106 for the House of Assembly.

The governorship aspirants include, Dr Ali Ahmad, Mr. Razak Atunwa, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Senator Mohammed Lafiagi, Alhaji Ladi Hassan, Aliyu Ahman-Pategi,  Alhaji Saka Isau (SAN),  Prof Sulaiman Abubakar, Alhaji Mohammed Ajia and Alhaji Zakari Mohammed.

While some emirs and aspirants from the Kwara North Senatorial zone argued that the next state governor should come from the zone, some aspirants from from Kwara Central disagreed with the emirs and some governorship aspirants over the demand for power shift.

Zakari Mohammed confirmed that emissaries had been sent to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on the need for him to intervene and ensure that Kwara North was allowed to produce the next governor.

He said, “It is a fact that we have been on the Kwara North agenda for long. I met the governor some days ago and asked him to discuss the issue with Saraki. We also went to see Saraki and we told him what we want.”

But Ajia, speaking on the sidelines of the unveiling of his blueprint for the state, said for PDP to retain power in the state, Kwara Central should produce the next governor.

He said, “As a political party, you must look for your best bait. Today, we have a challenge on our hands where the opposition is organising themselves to make sure they pull down the PDP. Looking at a particular section will not be the priority. The best candidate that the youth, women and the people will accept is what will be the principal and not the section.”

Saliu Mustapha, during his declaration, said though by morality, Kwara North should be considered, but for the APC to win the election and displace the current ruling political elite in the state, led by Saraki, it was strategically necessary for the APC to have its governorship candidate from the Kwara Central.

Meanwhile, there had been agitations by APC stakeholders over the mode of primaries in the state.

Bindow, opponents fight over delegates

In Adamawa State, accusations of plans to ‘house’ delegates trailed the last-minute scramble by Governor Jibrilla Bindow and his main challenger for the

governorship ticket of the APC, Mahmood Halilu, who is President Muhammadu Buhari’s in-law.

Most delegates participating in the primary today (Sunday) to elect the APC governorship standard bearer for Adamawa State, who have flooded the state capital, are allegedly being camped in various hotels in the state capital ahead of the exercise.

But a group, Mahmood Halilu Delegates Canvassers and Mobilisation, led by Promise Nashan, on Friday, accused party agents working for Bindow of planning to evacuate all delegates to the Government House.

Nashan said, who addressed journalists report reaching them indicated that the governor planned to ‘hijack’ all delegates in the Government House.

“We reject the unlawful imprisonment of delegates that shut out the door against others from a democratic tenets enshrining freedom of choice and participation,” the group said.

As of the time of filing this report, Halilu was meeting with delegates and canvassing for their support ahead of the Sunday’s primaries.

Borno battles allegation of ‘warehousing’ of delegates

Also, the delegates at the governorship primary of the APC in Borno State have allegedly been made inaccessible to aspirants.

A statement on Friday by the Alhaji Idris Mamman Durkwa Governorship Campaign Organisation, said, “Delegates’ fundamental rights of choice are being denied. They have been warehoused and restricted from meeting with aspirants so as to enable a level playing ground.”

The statement by the chairman of the campaign organisation, Alhaji Mala Othman, also alleged that “there is also a deliberate misinformation of our candidate to the good people of our party and the general public on his political aspiration.”

Fears pervade Benue aspirants

In Benue, fear has gripped governorship aspirants of the APC and their PDP counterparts as both parties hold their governorship primaries today.

Six aspirants — Emmanuel Jime, Benjamin Adayin, Arch Asema Achado, Titus Zam, Akanger Audu and Michael Iordiye — are contesting on the platform of the APC.

Contesting the ticket of the PDP are Governor Samuel Ortom, Telumun Nyitse, John Tondo, Felix Atume and Dave Iorhemba.

The aspirants were said to be making consultations with the delegates.

One of the aspirants was said to have asked his supporters to remember him in their prayers as he participates in the primary today.

Ortom told SUNDAY PUNCH that there was no cause for alarm as he prepared for today’s primary.

The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said that being made the leader of the party in the state would make the battle easier for him.

“The governor is not panicking at all; he is set for the primary tomorrow and the party has assured that a level-playing ground would be provided.

“And now that he is the leader of the party, he has assured other aspirants of a level-playing field, he has done enough to get the nod of the delegates,” Akase said.

Also, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC, Benjamin Adayin, said his team was confident of emerging victorious in today’s primary.

Adayin, who said he was in a crucial meeting, stated, “We are not afraid at all. We are confident of winning provided the primary is free and fair.”

Meanwhile, the police in the state said they were combat ready to ensure that violence did not mar the primary.

The spokesman for the command, Moses Yamu, stated, “The command is ready for the primary elections of the two main parties holding tomorrow (today).

“Already our officers early this morning (Friday) embarked on confidence patrol. All the venues for the primary elections are being taken care of.

“We have deployed our officers to all the venues, so there no cause for alarm,” Yamu said.

Masari set to clinch Katsina ticket

From all indications, Governor Aminu Masari looks set to emerge victorious in today’s (Sunday) governorship primary of the Katsina State chapter of the APC.

There are, however, loud murmurs ahead of the primary from the camps of the other two governorship aspirants battling Masari for the ticket.

The other aspirants are Abubakar Isa and Garba Dankani.

Isa, at a press conference in Katsina late on Thursday, expressed fears about the primary.

He said, “The so-called executive members of the party were illegally elected in a phantom congress of the party.

“Their so-called election, is now a subject at many high courts and the Federal Court in Katsina State and therefore ineligible to take decision on behalf of the party and its members”.

The APC state Publicity Secretary, Abu Danmusa, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the state executive of the party had always been carrying along the party’s national headquarters in all the steps so far taken.

He said, “As far as I am concerned, it is only the court of law that can declare whether an action is legal or not and up until now, we have not received any injunction concerning the governorship primaries.

“Please note, it is not Katsina APC that is organising the primaries, but the national body. And the party’s national working committee has cleared three aspirants including his Excellency, Governor Aminu Masari to contest the primary.

“We expect at least thirteen (13) delegates from each of the 361 wards in the state. Also expected at the primary are 13 delegates from each of the 34 local governments made up of the executives of each of the councils.”

The Akida group in Katsina APC, had earlier, publicly raised its voice against the state executive of the party, shortly after the state executive adopted indirect primaries to elect the party’s candidates for the 2019 election.

Now that the APC National working Committee had approved indirect primaries for Katsina State, and members of the Akida group had kicked against it, observers await how the party will handle anticipated issues that will definitely trail today’s(Sunday) governorship primary.

Yari meets aggrieved aspirants

Also, as part of concerted efforts to douse the uproar generated by the alleged imposition of Mukhtar Shehu by Governor Abdulazziz Yari of Zamfara State, as the APC governorship candidate, stakeholders held a marathon meeting on Friday.

It was learnt that Yari convened a last-minute meeting with the aggrieved aspirants on Friday to reach an amicable resolution of all contending issues.

A reliable source, however, said the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Ali (retd.), who is one of the aggrieved aspirants, was not at the meeting. Also, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who, though was cleared but will not be participating in the the exercise, was not at the meeting.

However, the meeting has yet to come out with a position, as at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, the arrowhead of the aggrieved aspirants, Marafa, had announced his non-participation in the party governorship primary, holding nationwide today.

Senator Marafa, while addressing his supporters, stated that he would not participate in the primary election, in adherence to a court order not recognising any faction of the party state executive committee.

Controversy over APC members’ list stirs anxiety in Abia

Ahead of the APC governorship primary in Abia State, one of the aspirants, Mr. Chidike Ukauwa, has announced his withdrawal from the race.

Ukauwa said he decided to step down for one of the frontline governorship aspirants in the party, Mr. Uchechukwu Ogah, who he described as his master.

He said, “I want to say that I am not withdrawing because I have been settled by Ogah. No, I have not been settled; he has not given me any dime. Ogah is my master and I do not want to fight him.”

But the chairman of the APC the state, Chief Donatus Nwankpa, said the party was prepared to conduct the primary on Sunday.

He said, “We are doing direct primary. All the validly registered members of the party will vote in their various wards, while the votes will be collated at local government headquarters.”

He said the party will ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.

However, the party register for members of the APC may cause a big challenge in the conduct of the primary.

Nwankpa said on Saturday that some wards and the Ohafia Local Government registers were not sent to the state secretariat from the national secretariat in Abuja.

He said the state executive council would allow members of the primary election committee to determine what would happen to such areas.

But the aspirants standing for election and other leaders of the party did not feel comfortable with the development.

It was learnt that some names of the party big wigs in the Bende LGA, including the leader of the party in the state, Chief Orji Kalu, were missing on the register.

Meanwhile, seven aspirants have obtained the nomination and expression of interest forms for the ticket of the APC in the 2019 general elections.

They include a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Chris Akomas; Chief Ikechi Emenike, and Ogah.

The others are Friday Nwosu, Pual Ikonne, Dr. Okey Emuchay and the former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Martins Azubuike.

Bauchi gov aspirants allege intimidation, inducement

In Bauchi State, three governorship aspirants have alleged that the state government has perfected plans to use thugs to intimidate voters at the governorship primary holding today.

The aspirants – Captain Bala Jibrin, Yakubu Lame and Dr. Ali Pate – made the allegations at a joint press conference in Bauchi on Saturday.

The aspirants also alleged that security operatives were being used to intimidate and coerce the voters by all means in favour of Governor Mohammed Abubabakar who is seeking reelection.

They jointly accused the state government of using state funds to buy votes by ensuring that all the card-carrying members of the party were forced to vote against their wishes. They added that the government was doing that  because the governor and his government had already lost popularity and this made the national secretariat of the party to order direct primaries in the state.

According to the three aspirants, they have evidence that the sum of N5m was given to each of the party executives at the local government levels for onward transmission to the party members at that level in order to vote for the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abubakar.

The aspirants further alleged that their supporters were being harassed, arrested and questioned by security operatives without provocation.

Also speaking to Sunday PUNCH, Shehu Ningi, a supporter of one of the aspirants, Dr. Ali Pate, said fake ballot papers had been printed, which would be used for the primary.

He said, “What we have heard is that fake ballot papers have been printed. In fact, I have seen some of them myself.”

Also speaking with one of our correspondents, Duke Dambam, said he was arrested by the police in Dambam on the directive of the Divisional Police Officer.

He said, “I was in my house in Dambam praying on Friday when three policemen came to my house. They said they got information from the Dambam Local Government Area chairman of the APC that the party’s membership cards were being distributed in my house.

“They searched but found nothing incriminating against me but they arrested me  and took me to their office, saying the DPO said they should bring me.”

Efforts to get the state government’s reaction to the allegations proved abortive.

The Press Secretary to the Governor, Abubabakar Al-Sadique, directed SUNDAY PUNCH to the Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali, who failed to return the calls of one of our correspondents.

The odds favour el-Rufai as sole candidate

Ahead of today’s governorship primaries of the APC in Kaduna State, the coast seems clear for the state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, to emerge as the candidate of the party in 2019 governorship.

The National Working Committee of the APC, conceded to the state to adopt the indirect primaries mode of election during Sunday’s governorship primary.

This was after a fierce battle with other party stakeholders in the state, notably among them, the lawmaker representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, and other stakeholders, who rejected the indirect primary mode of election.

Sani and his supporters preferred the direct mode of primary which they claimed was more transparent. But the NWC turned down their request.

Meanwhile, all is set for today’s governorship primaries of the PDP in the state after weeks of confusion among the governorship aspirants.

Those aspiring to unseat El-Rufai from the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna, if given the nod by party delegates in today’s primary, are a former governor of the state, Alhaji Ramallan Yero; former Director-General of the National Emergency Agency, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi; an ally of former Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, representing the Kaduna North Senatorial District; former member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Isa Ashiru; a former Finance Controller of the Economic Community of African State, Mohammed Sani-Bello; as well as a former Director of Human Resources, Dangote Group of Companies, Dr. Shuaibu Mikati.

Ihedioha, Anyanwu reach truce after Imo PDP marathon meeting

Ahead of today’s (Sunday) governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State, two political foes, eyeing the governorship ticket of the party, Emeka Ihedioha, and Senator Samuel Anyanwu have pledged their support for a peaceful outcome.

This is coming after a nine-hour closed-door meeting in Owerri, which was presided over by the state chairman of the party, Charles Ezekwem.

Ihedioha, who is the immediate past deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and Anyanwu, who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, have engaged themselves in volatile campaigns in the build up to the Sunday showdown.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, where neither of the two agreed to step down for the other, Ezekwem described the outcome of the meeting as very fruitful.

He said that the peace meeting was brokered by Imo PDP Integrity Forum.

Ezekwem, who was flanked by Ihedioha and Anyanwu, alongside other party chieftains, said, “We have invited journalists to let the world know that the immediate past deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, and Senator Samuel Anyanwu have agreed to bury their differences and work for the growth and success of our party after the primary election on September 30.”

“We have mandated their social media aides, who have been insulting these great politicians, to desist from that nonsense or else they will have the party to contend with.

“I want to state without missing words that the duo of Ihedioha and Anyanwu are eminently qualified to be governor of the state. I will be happy to have any of them as the next governor of Imo State. What is important is for PDP to reclaim Imo Government House in 2019 not these campaigns of calumny, bitterness and wickedness.”

Ihedioha told journalists that he had agreed to work with Anyanwu for the overall best interest of the party.

The former deputy speaker said, “I have agreed to work with my brother, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, in the best interest of our party and our state, Imo.

“We agreed that whoever wins the ticket would work with the other in order for PDP to win the general election. If I win the ticket, I will carry Senator Anyanwu along and if he wins the ticket, he will equally carry me along.”

Anyanwu, who collaborated what Ihedioha, maintained that the interest of the party must override personal expectations.

The lawmaker said, “We have agreed to work for a violent-free primary. We have agreed to work together so that we can reclaim Government House, Owerri, and provide quality leadership for our people.”

Curfew will not affect Plateau PDP primary — Sango

The dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on Jos town will not affect the Plateau PDP governorship primary today, says the state Chairman, Mr. Damishi Sango.

“The curfew will have no effect on our plans; from our arrangement, we shall be through by 5pm,” Sango told the NAN on Saturday in Jos.

NAN reports that the state government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the state capital on Friday, following skirmishes that trailed the killing of some people in Rukuba, a settlement on the outskirts of the city.

A statement by the state government said that the curfew would start at 6pm and end at 6am daily.

On the report of the Senator Nasir Mantu committee, which was set up to reduce the number of the governorship aspirants, Sango said none of the 13 aspirants stepped down.

“All the 13 aspirants are slugging it out for the ticket. The good thing is that they have agreed to support the winner.

“They have also asked the party to conduct a transparent election and have been assured of that,” he said.

Success Nwogu,  Chidiebube Okeoma, Hindi Livinus, Kayode Idowu, John Charles, Olaide Oyelude, Adeniyi Olugbemi, Ogbonnaya Ikokwu,  Armstrong Bakam, Godwin Isenyo   (Punch)

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2019: Foreign Investors Withdraw N435.41bn From Nigerian Stock Market |RN

 

The nation’s stock market has shrunk in recent months following the exit of foreign investors as the 2019 general elections approach, FEYISAYO POPOOLA writes

Foreign portfolio investors have pulled out billions of naira out of the Nigerian stock market in recent months amid bearish sentiments, primarily due to the approaching elections.

According to the latest data from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a total of N435.41bn was withdrawn from the market from January to July this year, compared to an outflow of N236.32bn in the same period in 2017.

The total value of equities listed on the NSE has taken a beating, closing at N11.88tn on Friday, as against a peak of N16.154tn on January 19.

The market capitalisation rose from N13.617tn at the start of the year as a result of greater impetus from the recovery in global oil prices, increased domestic reserves, greater foreign exchange market stability and declining inflation.

“Once there is any cause to fear, portfolio investors sell out their shares and they come back when the environment is better; all of these create a lot of volatility in the market and may be one of the reasons why we do not have a lot of initial public offerings in the country,” the Associate Director, Capital Markets, PwC Nigeria, Alice Tomdio, told our correspondent.

She said more focus ought to be placed on encouraging the participation of domestic investors in the capital market.

According to her, the current ratio of foreign investors to domestic investors is still quite healthy as foreign portfolio investors participate primarily in the secondary markets.

She stated that it was normal for earnings release or government action to cause a big swing in the activity of foreign investors.

With a significant decrease of 64.68 per cent in total foreign transactions from N102.41bn in June to N36.17bn in July, domestic investors outperformed foreign investors by 50.48 per cent in July.

The domestic transactions, according to the NSE, were largely driven by the 55.48 per cent increase in the retail domestic participation, which recorded N29.12bn in June and N65.42bn in July.

Between 2011 and 2015, foreign transactions consistently outperformed domestic transactions; however, domestic transactions marginally outperformed foreign transactions in 2016 and 2017, accounting for 52 per cent of the total transaction value last year.

Also, foreign transactions, which stood at N1.539tn in 2014, declined to N1.025tn in 2015 and N518bn in 2016, but increased significantly by 133 per cent to N1.208tn in 2017. This accounted for about 48 per cent of total transactions last year.

Over an 11-year period, domestic transactions decreased by 62.46 per cent from N3.556tn in 2007 to N1.335tn in 2017, meaning more foreign investors were dominating the market.

However, there was a significant increase in domestic transactions in 2017 by 111 per cent from N634bn recorded in 2016 as portfolio investors withdrew.

The President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, said the economic policies of the country were responsible for the exit of foreign investors.

He noted that if the policies were favourable, investors would come around and if otherwise, they would flee.

Nwosu stated, “It is not even advisable for them to stay at this point because there is no assurance we can give them as elections are approaching; they need to be very careful about their money. These investors have been in this country since and have enjoyed a lot; they are not willing to gamble with their money now.

“When the situation in Nigeria is showing a doom time because of the elections, they will all go away and wait until after the elections. They want to make sure that the economic situation does not affect their investments, whereby they will lose money.”

The Partner, Corporate Finance Practice, PwC Nigeria, Andrei Ugarov, stated that more emphasis ought to be placed on Foreign Direct Investment instead of Foreign Portfolio Investment, describing the former as more beneficial to the country.

He said, “When things are not so good and are shaky, portfolio investors leave immediately; it is very easy for them to sell off their shares and move out; whereas, if you have invested in a private company or industry, it is more difficult for you to leave because you have a longer-term view.

“So, from the development and sustainability perspective, the focus should really be on direct investment. Although it is also good to have portfolio investors, that should not be the end objective.”

According to him, currency control is also a major issue for portfolio investors because when uncertainty about getting their cash out exists, there will be uncertainty about putting cash in.

Ugarov stated that currency control and uncertainties could be the reason why there was a scarcity of portfolio investors as well as a lack of adequate foreign exchange.

The Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chuwku, said the only thing the government could do to reduce the exit of foreign portfolio investors was to reduce political tension in the country.

According to him, the government needs to give assurance that the coming elections will be free and fair, and that the two major political parties will not create war.

He noted that if the confidence of the public was not restored, there would be a problem.

Chukwu said, “The major thing driving portfolio investors is not necessarily that the economy is weak; the economy is still quite strong.

“The underlying thing is that quoted companies are performing very well. But because portfolio investors are always weary about tensions in third world countries, they are not willing to risk being caught in a crossfire of political parties.”

According to him, the only thing that can restore the confidence of the investors or give them the assurance to stay is if the tension is being moderated by ensuring that the outcome of the elections will be acceptable by the citizens.

He said another thing that could moderate the exit of portfolio investors was the increase in yield of Federal Government’s short-term instruments.

“If the yield spikes, it can attract those that have very high appetite for risk to come back into the country,” Chukwu added.

He stated that increase in yields could only be used to complement a moderated political environment, adding that a reduction in political tension remained key as increased yields could not sustain investors’ confidence on its own.   (Punch)

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PDP Asks Tambuwal, Atiku, Kwankwaso, Others To Accept Primary’s Outcome

                 National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

 

In a bid to have a rancour-free presidential primary, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party met with its presidential aspirants in Abuja on Wednesday night.

The PDP team was led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

Other members of the party’s National Working Committee and some members of the Board of Trustees were also in attendance.

Present at the meeting were the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; a former governor of Plateau State,  Jona Jang;  Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal,  a former governor of Sokoto State,  Attahiru Bafarawa and a former Chairman of the PDP  Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi.

Also in attendance were a former governor of Kano State,  Rabiu Kwankwaso and a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabir Tanimu Turaki (SAN).

Absent from the meeting were  Ahmed Datti, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo and a former governor of Jigawa State,  Alhaji Sule Lamido.

The meeting was held behind closed door.

It was gathered that Secondus told the aspirants that the party would conduct a free, fair and credible primary.

He was also said to have assured them that the NWC had no favourable aspirants among them, adding that the primary aim of the party was to sack the All Progressives Congress’ Federal Government in 2019.

He told them that the party and others leaders in the country would want the aspirants to cooperate with whoever emerged as the party’s candidate at the October 6 national convention.

A source at the meeting said, “Secondus, in his opening remark, thanked the aspirants for having confidence in the party and its national leadership.

“He also asked them to say whatever they have in mind and suggest to the party,  areas they felt that the NWC should work on in order to have a credible primary.”

Sources at the meeting told our correspondent that the aspirants demanded a free and transparent primary.

They were said to have also said that they would “cooperate with anyone that emerges so far the process is credible,  free and fair. “

Speaking with our correspondent on the outcome of the meeting, Secondus said he assured the aspirants of the party at all levels that there would be free, fair and transparent primaries where the delegates’ decision would prevail.

“Let me tell you that we the members of the NWC are assuring all aspirants of our party that the era of impunity or imposition is over in the party as a rebranded PDP under my watch would ensure transparency and fairness for all,” he added.

Secondus appealed to the aspirants to work harmoniously among themselves in the interest of the party “since it is only one person that will get the slot at the end of the day.”

He said, “I told them that we must not forget to put the will of God in all we do bearing in mind that nobody gets power unless as designed and approved by God.

“We are proud of all our aspirants, all of them are eminently qualified to rule this country and if we work in harmony we would chase away the APC out of the Aso Rock Villa by 2019.”

It was also gathered that all the aspirants in attendance were given time to speak. (Punch)

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Saraki Declares Presidential Bid, Promises Genuine Anti-Corruption War |RN

John Alechenu and Eniola Akinkuotu

Senate President Bukola Saraki has formally declared his intention to contest the presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Saraki made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja during his meeting with Not-Too-Young-to Run-Movement.

The Senate President lamented the poor state of Nigeria’s infrastructure and growing insecurity as exemplified by acts of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and sundry other crimes which he said he would tackle if elected.

He said, “I hereby announce my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming General Elections in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and Nigerians.

He said Nigeria was blessed with a relatively young country bursting with tremendous energy, ability and potential.

Saraki further observed that more than 70 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 40.

The Senate President lamented that Nigerians were crying out for succour because a large number of its population of women and children were hungry and dying of avoidable or treatable diseases.

He also said many had fallen below basic living standards and were among the 87 million that sealed Nigeria’s position as the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty.

Saraki said, “Our young people lack opportunities. The necessary education facilities and system to equip them for the future simply do not exist. We are not creating the jobs needed to usefully engage them in order to grow our economy. And too often, youths feel shut out, prevented from having any say in the direction of this nation.

“The harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuel the state of insecurity all over the country. Hunger, the lack of education and lack of opportunities, push many Nigerians into criminal activities including terrorism.

“Many of our communities are paralysed with fear due to incessant communal crises, kidnappings and other social ills, as well as the threat of terrorism. We are failing abysmally to tackle the problems of today and to prepare for the future.”

He expressed sadness that Nigeria had become increasingly divided along regional, religious and ethnic lines thus widening the nation’s fault lines.

Nigeria, he said, needed a new generation of leaders that are competent, with the capability to rise to the challenges of the 21st century, adding that it was time to pull the nation back together and rebuild.

“The choice we face in the forthcoming election is either to keep things as they are or make a radical departure from the old ways; to find a better way of doing things or keep repeating the mistakes of the past, to fix the problems or keep compounding them,” he said.

Saraki promised to, among other things, provide a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit.

Towards this end, he said Nigerian youths will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.

He said his administration will ensure that youths who have ideas and capacity will be funded in ventures that will be beneficial to the nation in order to create jobs.

On the war against corruption, Saraki said, “Ours will not be a selective fight against corruption. The emphasis will be on strengthening institutions, with a particular focus on deterrence.

“We cannot afford to compromise our institutions with proxy wars against perceived political opponents. We see the fight against corruption as crucial to Nigeria’s economic development.”

He said the leadership Nigeria deserves is one that will be a source of pride to all, one that will be respected and admired in Africa and around the world.

“It should be a leadership that can hold its own and stand tall anywhere in the world. That is the type of leadership I offer.” Saraki added.

Meanwhile, the Not-Too-Young-to-Run movement has distanced itself from the Presidential declaration of Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The group said it had only invited Saraki and other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party to a town hall meeting as part of efforts to ensure that youths were given some concessions ahead of the 2019 general elections.

It said it was shocking when Saraki seized the opportunity to declare his Presidential bid thereby compromising the event.

The statement read in part, “Whilst addressing participants at the town hall, Senator Saraki declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2019 elections. The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to hold dialogue with party leadership to advance his personal political ambition. We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate.

“The movement restates its commitment to sustain its engagement with political parties to ensure youth candidacy and democratic party primaries. As noted earlier, the movement reaffirms its identity as a non-partisan citizen-led movement dedicated to the defence of democracy, political inclusion and transformative leadership.” (Punch)

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BREAKING: Dogara, Lasun Absent From APC NEC Meeting |RN

John Alechenu, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and his deputy, Suleiman Lasun are conspicuously absent from the on-going National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress.

The two are currently the highest ranking members of the party in the legislature following the decision of the Senate President Bukola Saraki to dump the party to join the opposition. Saraki’s deputy, Ike Ekweremadu is a member of the PDP.

Although the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole offered their apologies party watchers note that Dogara and Lasun are among top party leaders who have at one point or another voiced their displeasure over happenings within the party.

Lasun was particularly unhappy with the adoption of the direct method adopted for the Osun Governorship primary which he participated in and lost. The APC NEC is expected to announce a decision as to whether this system will be adopted for subsequent primaries.    (Punch)

 

Details later……..

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