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Gov. Ambode Accepted Defeat To Avoid Impeachment – Sources |The Republican News

  Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Chief Bola Tinubu and Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Sesan Olufowobi, John Alechenu and Oladimeji Ramon

 

There were indications on Wednesday that the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, conceded victory to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his main opponent for the All Progressives Congress governorship ticket in Lagos, to calm frayed nerves and avert impeachment.

There had been expectation that the governor would fight the declaration of Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the state’s Tuesday governorship primary, which was initially cancelled by the APC National Working Committee panel that had promised to announce a new date for the primary.

The panel made a U-turn on Wednesday to declare Sanwo-Olu the winner, sparking speculations that the governor would reject the move.

A few hours after the panel’s new decision, the governor’s media team sent a press statement that the governor would host a “world press briefing” by 2.pm, causing more speculations.

In the briefing, which eventually turned out to be a broadcast by 4pm, Ambode accepted defeat and congratulated Sanwo-Olu.

One of our correspondents gathered through sources in both Ambode and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camps that the move was meant to remove the tension, as well as avert the impeachment move being considered by party elders.

One of the sources said before and after the broadcast, Ambode had contacted Tinubu and some party leaders in a bid to assure them of his loyalty to the party, and in order to avert the impeachment option.

“He (Ambode) did not want the matter to get to that level; that is why he accepted the defeat to reduce the tension in the state and stop any panicky action by the party elders. He also wanted them to leave him in peace to complete all his projects,” the source said.

The APC Publicity Secretary in Lagos State, Mr Joe Igbokwe, said he did not know about any peace move by the incumbent governor, as well as any deal.

He said, “I don’t know about that.”

One of Tinubu’s aides also said it was still early to say.

He said, “Ambode just made his speech, every other thing would flow from the governor’s decision to accept defeat and congratulate Sanwo-Olu.”

NWC bows to Lagos APC, declares Sanwo-Olu winner

Earlier on Wednesday, the APC panel changed its position on the validity of the primary conducted in the state on Tuesday.

The fresh stance was contrary to the position of the NWC panel, led by Mr Clement Ebri, on Tuesday that the primary did not hold.

The panel said on Wednesday that the primary held.

It went on to declare Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the primary with 970,851 votes ahead of Ambode, who recorded 72,901 votes.

The Ebri-led panel in a press statement, said, “After resolving some of the hiccups, the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee collated the results from the 245 wards in the 20 local government areas.

“At the end of the exercise, these are the votes scored by the aspirants: 1. Gov Akinwunmi Ambode, 72,901 votes. 2. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, 970,851 votes.

“Following these results, I, Clement Ebri, the Chairman of the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the winner.”

‘Why APC NWC upheld primary’

Another source said the decision to uphold the result was informed by the presence of relevant government agencies, including representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission at the primary.

A member of the party leadership, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity said, “Most people spoken to said the governorship primary was held in Lagos yesterday (Tuesday).”

Another party source confided in one of our correspondents that the President left the decision to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who had earlier said there was election in Lagos.

The source added that Ebri did not take directive from the NWC before announcing that no primary took place.

Ambode accepts defeat, congratulates Sanwo-Olu

In his broadcast on Wednesday, Ambode congratulated Sanwo-Olu, saying it was time for the state to move forward.

The governor said although events of the last few days had been characterised by intense political activities which created tension, the interest of the state superseded that of any personal ambition.

He, therefore, urged members of the party and all Lagosians to support the candidate of the party.

He said, “The APC is a great party and the interests of our beloved state must always supersede that of any person or group. It is in this regard that I wholeheartedly congratulate the winner of the Lagos State APC Primaries, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and urge all Lagosians to immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections.”

While assuring that he would work to ensure a smooth transition in 2019, the governor said the progress of the state was non-negotiable, as he would remain forever devoted to the development of Lagos.

The governor thanked Tinubu, the leadership of the party and all Lagosians for the support extended to him, and urged the people to continue to support the APC.

Lagos is under siege

However, the Convener of Lagos Solidarity Forum, Comrade Mark Adebayo, said on Wednesday that Lagos was being pushed in the direction of the precipice by enemies of democracy.

In a statement, the group boss said the state APC primary was “another hatchet’s job.”

He said, “Every society that has ceased to exist starts from the point of aggravated injustice that provokes intractable anarchy.

“Unfortunately, Lagos State is being pushed in the direction of that precipice by forces which can best be described as, not only enemies of democracy, but enemies of the people. These same forces have been responsible for the mobile retrogression of Nigeria since 1999 that we have moved into civilian governance. Their weapons have been domination, imposition and brazen overthrow of the people’s mandate.

“The shameful shenanigan orchestrated by the APC governorship primary committee chaired by Clement Ebri, the former Cross River State governor erroneously thought to be a man of impeccable integrity was another hatchet’s job executed in the service of merchants of inhumanity and derogation of all elements of societal value….

“The time has come for Lagosians to rise up through a mass action to liberate ourselves.” (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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No Rift Between Me And Tinubu, Says Ambode |The Republican News

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday played down speculations of a rift with a national leader of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, saying reports to such effect were untrue.

Both the social and traditional media have been flooded with news of a major rift between Tinubu and Ambode over an alleged disagreement on the second term bid of the governor.

Addressing party faithful in Epe during the election of delegates for the presidential primary election and national convention of the party, Ambode said the reports indicating a fight between him and Tinubu were out of place and that there was no fight anywhere.

“I want you to know that there is no fight anywhere. The National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and my good self, we are not in any fight, we are not in any controversy.

“We are praying to God that the best is yet to come and the best will be what Lagos State deserves and I want you to just continue with your prayers that at this time, God will show His hand and make sure that everything that is of blessing to Lagos State and also blessing of Epe will come to pass,” Ambode said.

He specifically commended all the leaders and party faithful who contributed to the success of the delegates’ election in Epe, saying APC remained the party to beat in Lagos and Nigeria.

“We have just concluded our Delegates’ Election in Epe Local Government and by consensus, we have picked our three delegates that will be going to the National Convention come October 6 for the Presidential direct primaries and the convention for all other people.

“I want to say a very big thank you to all our delegates that are present here; I want to say a big thank you to all our leaders that have also supported us to make sure that this event has come and is done very successfully.

“I want to reiterate once again that our party, All Progressives Congress (APC) remains the party to beat; we are the party at the national level and we are going to remain the party in the State,” the governor said.  (Punch)

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2019: Tinubu Dumps Ambode, Backs Sanwoolu For Lagos Governor |The Republican News

Jide-Sanwoolu

Jide Sanwoolu

All the leaders who spoke at the meeting, especially Odunmbaku and Olusanya, confirmed they were instructed by Tinubu to back Sanwoolu in the race.

Ade Alade

In a dramatic twist, barely 24 hours after Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode formally declared to run for a second term, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party’s structure may have been withdrawn.

Ambode had, on Monday morning, flown to Abuja to obtain his Expression of Interest and Nomination forms from the APC national headquarters, following what he interpreted to be greenlight from the National Leader of the party and godfather of Lagos politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

And, within hours, he was back to Lagos, to meet his cabinet members and some party leaders at a brief ceremony where he reeled off his achievements and the assurance of a second term.

Unknown to the governor, while his declaration ceremony was still ongoing, owners of the party structure he was relying on to realise his ambition had pulled off the rug under his feet.

By the time the ceremony ended, the party leaders present, including the 57 local government chairmen in the state were asked to return, yesterday morning, to endorse the governor’s forms.

But, the political tide turned against Ambode.

An Army of Tinubu’s political Generals, under the banner of Mandate Group, had been assembled at Watercrest Hotel, off Obafemi Awolowo way, Ikeja, where a former commissioner in the state and current Managing Director, Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC) Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, was handed over to them as Ambode’s replacement in the 2019 governorship race.

The facility where the meeting was held is owned by a former chief security detail to Tinubu, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, who was equally present at the meeting.

A leader of the party and veteran coordinator of Tinubu’s political machinery, Dr James Omolaja Odunmbaku led the meeting. Others included Dr. Tola Kasali and Mr. Kaoli Olusanya, who were commissioners in Tinubu’s administration and Alhaji Ganiyu Badmus; among several others.

All the leaders who spoke at the meeting, especially Odunmbaku and Olusanya, confirmed they were instructed by Tinubu to back Sanwoolu in the race.

In a dramatic twist, as soon as the meeting at Watercrest Hotel leaked, all the local council chairmen and party leaders who were supposed to gather at the governor’s office in Alausa, yesterday morning, to endorse the governor’s nomination form, simply changed route.

Instead, they joined the meeting at the hotel where, one after the other, they endorsed Sanwoolu’s nomination form and pledged their loyalty to the party and its leader, Tinubu, Jagaban Borgu.

One of the council chairmen told Daily Sun at the venue that, “Up till 7.30pm on Monday, when we were still with the governor, we didn’t hear anything; until this morning.

“By the time I got to Alausa yesterday),to join my colleagues to endorse the governor, the atmosphere had changed and the place deserted. That was when I knew there was a problem before I got information that there was a new direction.”

Party leaders who were taken unawares by the development, who could not attend the meeting began to call Odunmbaku, to pledge their loyalty and support for Sanwoolu’s candidacy.

Daily Sun further gathered that by yesterday evening, the team proceeded to Abuja, along with their candidate, to submit his forms at the APC national headquarters.

They are expected back in Lagos this afternoon when they will lead Sanwoolu to the Bourdillion Ikoyi home of Tinubu, who is expected to openly anoint the candidate as the party’s choice for the Lagos governorship race in 2019.

Governor Ambode may have found himself in a tight corner due what the party leaders regard as his many sins.

The last straw, it was gathered, may have been the petition from a former managing director of Alpha Beta Consulting, a tax collection firm with suspected links to the leadership of the party in the state, Mr. Dapo Apara who accused the firm of tax fraud and money laundering.

Apara’s sudden move, almost a year after he had left the company, is believed in Tinubu’s inner circle to be Ambode’s arm-twisting game of forcing the party leader to endorse him for a second term.

But, before now, the governor had been detached from the party and its leaders who consistently complained to Tinubu.

One of the party leaders told Daily Sun, yesterday, that, “the governor had, on three occasions, asked some of the party leaders to meet him in the office for interaction.

“On each occasion we spent a minimum of five hours waiting to meet him and at the end of the day, his aides would tell us the governor had gone out for other official engagements.

“Aside that, he promised the state party executive official vehicles. After a long wait, he then said he was going to give each N2.5 million to buy used cars; we accepted and till today, there has been no word from him.”

The governor is also believed to have lost the needed support due to some of his unpopular policies.
One of such is increment in taxes, especially the Land Use Charge by over 400 percent, a decision which impacted negatively on the image of the APC in the state.

Another is the sacking of private operators of the waste management sector.

Tinubu introduced the waste system in 1999; to address the problem of waste management in the state and also, empower party leaders and operatives who had been controlling the sector from inception.

The governor simply handed over waste management to a private firm, Visionscape, which has reportedly proven incapable of tackling the refuse problem in the state.

Several attempts by this newspaper, through telephone calls and text messages, to get Ambode’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan and the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, to respond to Sanwoolu’s endorsement by the state’s APC, up till 9:30 p.m., yesterday, went unanswered.    (The Sun)

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Fake Abduction: Ambode Deposes Baale Of Shangisha |The Republican News

Image result for Fake abduction by Baale Of Shangisha
Alleged suspects, Baale of Shangisha, Chief Yusuf Ogundare (right), with his brother and accomplice, Mohammed Adams (left), being paraded during a press briefing at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Thursday.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday deposed the suspended Baale of Shangisha in Magodo, Chief Yusuf Ogundare for faking his abduction which allegedly took place on July 5 along Center for Management Development Road in Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area of the State.

In a press release signed by the State’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Muslim Folami, the Governor ordered Ogundare to henceforth desist from parading himself as the Baale of Shangisha or discharge any duties attached to chieftaincy matters in the State.

The statement read, “This is to inform the general public that His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has authorised the deposition, prosecution by police of Chief Yusuf Mutiu Ogundare, Baale of Shangisha with immediate effect.

“This is in accordance with Section 38, subsection 1 of the Obas and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State inter-alia “The Governor may suspend or depose any Oba or Chief whether appointed before or after commencement of this law, if he is satisfied that such suspension or deposition is required according to customary law or is necessary for the interest of peace or good government.”

“Furthermore, he (Ogundare) is to stop parading himself, purports to exercise or discharge any of the duties attached to Chieftaincy Matters with immediate effect.”

Folami said the deposition follows the formal confession of the Baale to security services that he staged his own kidnap to blackmail the State Government.

The State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, while parading the suspects at the Lagos House in Ikeja, had narrated how they conspired to perfect the fake kidnap, all in a bid to implicate the Oba of Magodo, as well as rubbish the State Government and security agencies.

Owoseni said six days after the incidence, some men of the Rapid Response Squad on patrol in Alausa area at about 10 pm apprehended Ogundare after he was dropped in a suspicious manner by a car which sped off immediately. (Punchng.com)

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