“Voters will do great disservice to themselves if they were to vote into offices persons they know, or should know, have no capacity to perform well, or are persons with questionable character,” were the words with which the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), tried again to rouse voters in the North to look beyond ethnicity in Saturday’s presidential election.
ACF, considered to be the major socio-cultural group that speaks for the North, advised voters to shun tribal sentiments and choose leaders who will cater for national interests, maintaining that “a leader does not have to come from our tribe, zone, region or religious persuasion,” adding “in our search for good leaders, we must cast our nets far beyond our ethnic, religious or geographical interests.”
In a statement, entitled: Achieving success with the 2023 general elections signed by Murtala Aliyu, Secretary-General, the group said: “Though the principle of power rotation is still largely and somewhat controversial, nonetheless, under our democratic dispensation we must reconcile ourselves to accepting that Nigeria is a country for all its citizens, and each citizen has right to choose whatever he or she believes to be in the best interests of themselves and their followers. At the same time, however, they also have to accept the principle of power rotation between north and south.
“At times such as this when the nation is in election mode, the ACF has always taken the liberty to draw the attention of voters to the right qualities they should look for when deciding whom to cast their votes for. At each occasion such as this the key selection criteria we recommend to voters to consider are very clear and objective party manifestos and the character and track records of the candidates.
“Voters are also always advised to shun those unhealthy schemes whereby a president or state governor handpicks a successor. Nothing promotes entrenched corruption, cronyism and poor leadership more that such schemes as such dubious arrangements. The nation will never be able of identify and select good leaders among its people so long as some dubious people are allowed to manipulate the selection of candidates and the ultimate election processes.
“A cardinal and national goal of our great and dear country Nigeria includes the creation of a nation in which: “though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand” We, as a nation, believed so much in such slogan that at one time, it was a part of our national anthem! And in simple terms, it means that in our search for good leaders, we must cast our nets far beyond our ethnic, religious or geographical interests.
“A leader does not have to come from our tribe, zone, region or religious persuasion. We should seek for leaders that best cater for our national interests, and who are elected within the tenets of democratic processes. The tenents that allow people to choose leaders who will best cater for interests of the generality of the people, NOT their individual personal or the interests of their ethnic or religious groups.
“When 17 State Governors from Southern part of Nigeria and from different political parties met last year and demanded that a southerner must be elected as the President of Nigeria, the heavens did not fall. It was accepted that as we are in a democracy, they were entitled to their views and opinions. Quite recently also, some 14 northern Governors belonging to the ruling All progressives Congress Party, (APC) met and came out with the announcement that they had committed themselves to ensuring that a candidate of their party from the southern part of the country is elected president of the country. Their reason was that the emergence and subsequent election of a person from the southern part of the country will serve to entrench the principle of North/South power rotation in the politics Nigeria.”
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BREAKING: Atiku disowns Bwala! *Says, he never worked for me
Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday, formally washed his hands of Daniel Bwala, spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDP-PCC), who worked with him as the official spokesman for the 2023 presidential campaigns.
The former VP, spoke against the backdrop of what looks like a switch of loyalty to President Bola Tinubu, underscored by his first visit to the Presidential Villa, in Abuja on January 10 and most recently on January 29 in Paris, where the former Governor of Lagos State, and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was on a “private visit.”
A clarification statement from the Atiku Office, on Tuesday maintained that Bwala was a former spokesperson of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation and not a former aide to the former Vice President, adding: “It is important that the media and the general public take corrective note of defining Mr. Daniel Bwala as an aide to His Excellency Atiku Abubakar.”
The statement, continued: “Bwala offered his services and support to the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation as a spokesperson – and it was a position he held during the last presidential campaign. Subsequently, and after the election, the need for a campaign spokesperson has terminated, and Bwala has moved on with his career.
“This, therefore, serves as notice to the media and the interested public to desist from defining Bwala as an ex-aide of Atiku Abubakar. We duly urge the public to henceforth recognize, introduce, and define Daniel Bwala by his current vocation and alliance.”
Apata: I’ll never be a mole for a non-performer like Obaseki
“I want to clearly and unequivocally state that I have absolutely no knowledge of the protest of Sunday, February 4, 2024, at LP’s Edo State secretariat in Benin, nor have I sanctioned or approved it in any way. The baseless rumours and insinuations that have been mischievously circulated that the protesters carried out my bidding are totally false, unfounded, and quite frankly ridiculous.”
These were the exact words of Olumide Apata, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as he dismissed insinuation of being a mole, of Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State.
Apata, aspirant of the Labour Party (LP) for this year’s governorship election in the state, said he would never be a mole, agent, place-holder, or surrogate of the “poorly-performing” Edo state governor, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Labour Party (LP) in Edo.
Maintaining that the opposition LP was the party of choice in Edo, with many persons flooding it daily in the state and other parts of Nigeria, given its being people-centered, Akpata, an indigene of Benin Kingdom, told reporters that he would emerge victorious, both at the February 22 primary election and the September 21 governorship poll in the south-south state.
He stated that he would not be a political harlot, stressing that if he did not get LP’s governorship ticket this year, he would remain and join other well-meaning members to build the party, but declared that LP in Edo must put its house in order, for the best person to emerge the standard bearer of the party.
The governorship aspirant, who had practised Law for 30 years, stated that with his integrity, maturity, excellence and track record of impressive performance, especially as NBA’s president, his pedigree and antecedents, there was no way he could be the sponsor of last Sunday’s protest by some LP’s members at Edo secretariat of the party in Benin, and earlier attack on the National Youth Leader of LP, Anslem Eragbe, in the Edo state capital.
“As a loyal and dedicated member of LP, who has invested significant time, energy, and resources towards building and strengthening the party across Edo State since I joined, it is both laughable and utterly despicable that I would be linked to any kind of violent protest at the party’s secretariat in Benin. These bogus allegations and rumours are likely emanating from certain quarters within and even outside the LP that are opposed to my emerging as the party’s governorship standard bearer in the February 22, 2024, primary election.
“In their desperation, they have resorted to underhand tactics and smear campaigns to undermine my widespread credibility, acceptability, and support base within and outside the party in Edo State and across the country. This is yet another ludicrous attempt to unjustly give a dog a bad name, to hang it.
“I want to categorically state that I, my campaign organisation, supporters, and well-wishers do not engage in, encourage, or sanction any kind of violence or unwholesome conduct. These puerile allegations are the products of malicious minds that are aimed at unfairly and irreparably tarnishing my hard-earned reputation, image, and rising popularity as a foremost governorship aspirant of choice within the LP in Edo State.”
Emphasising that he was never and would never be a violent man or be associated with it he said: “As a lawyer of more than 30 years, I fully understand that peaceful protest is the fundamental right of every Nigerian citizen, guaranteed by the constitution and upheld by the courts of the land. Law-abiding citizens of Nigeria have a right to freely associate and protest, provided that this is done peacefully and legally, without threatening lives or property.
“If some persons have, however, acted unlawfully, in the course of the alleged protest, I strongly urge that they be promptly reported to the appropriate law-enforcement agencies for proper investigation and possible prosecution, as provided by our laws.
“I reject all insinuations and rumours linking me or my supporters to the purported protest. I remain focused and steadfast in the pursuit of my governorship aspiration in a lawful and peaceful manner, upholding the principles of tolerance and justice.”
The governorship aspirant also stated that he had confidence in the discerning wisdom of members of the LP, Edo people, and indeed Nigerians to reject all forms of violence, propaganda, and deceit while stressing that united in diversity, a greater Edo state would be built.
February 21, 2024 9:38 am
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