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PDP Zoning Arrangement, Not Rigid – National Auditor

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Auditor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has said President Goodluck Jonathan is free to contest the 2011 general elections. Ortom who is a member of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), said the party’s zoning arrangement is not rigid, calling on Nigerians to stop overheating the polity because of zoning to allow President Jonathan face Nigeria’s challenges.

He explained that the party’s national leadership is yet to decide on zoning arrangement, saying that the remarks of the former PDP National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, on the issue were based on past events. He said: “It has become imperative for me to make this clarification. Though there is the position of zoning in the PDP’s constitution, it is not a rigid arrangement. It is a flexible arrangement made for the forefathers of this party who wrote this constitution. But I want to let the public know that since 1999 when this party came into existence and started election and appointment of political offices, there has never been a time that anyone has been excluded who is interested in vying for any position in this party, whether you are from the south or east or from the north or  west.”

From 1999, you will recall that the election was keenly contested by Ekwueme and Obasanjo who come from different zones and in 2003, the election was keenly contested by the incumbent president, Chief Obasanjo and Barnabas Gemade who is from the North Central will at no time did the PDP screen them out. They were allowed to participate, they went through the process as enshrined in the constitution and the guidelines and a candidate emerged at the end of the day and we jointly worked together for the success of our party.”

Ortom added: “I want to make it very clear that the controversy about 2011 zoning or no zoning, Article 7.2 (c) of the PDP constitution talks about rotation and zoning but it is not rigid. And so, President Goodluck Jonathan is free to contest election if he so wishes or desires at any time. If he decides to contest, nobody can stop him. He is free to do that; the constitution allows him because the constitution of our party is subject to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

I am calling on Nigerians to put this thing to rest, that at no time did we as the NWC discuss and zone the position of presidency. What the National Chairman said last time was just a clarification on what was done before in the past regime and not during our current tenure

He appealed to Nigerians to stop wasting energy talking about zoning and support the President and Vice President, Namadi Sambo with prayers to ensure that they bring dividends of democracy to the Nigerians.

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Yiaga Africa Blames Govt For Voters’ Apathy

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Independent election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has expressed worry that increasing voters’ apathy as witnessed in the Anambra governorship election may not have been caused by insecurity but increasing loss of confidence in government.
A board member of the group, Ezenwa Nwagwu held the view in Awka during a post-election reflection meeting with leaders of Civil Society Organizations.
Nwagwu reiterated that the ugly trend was not necessarily occasioned by insecurity that had always heralded elections in the past, but growing disconnect between the government and the masses, saying it is time populace held government to account to bridge the gap.
He said: “Election is over. Now we have to watch governance and the only way to do that is to clearly design pathways through which we can hold the government accountable.
“One of the ways is for the citizens to engage the government with budget process. Government every year estimates what it uses the people’s resources to do for them.
“Unfortunately, the people involved don’t show any interest, and four years later, the same people will start complaining that government has failed, even when there was nothing to track.
“We need to see how the Media and Civil Society groups can collaborate and produce what I call a citizen charter demand that they can hand over to the new Governor-elect.
“They can liaise with other professional bodies to conduct infrastructural assessment in the state and use that as a document to organize a town-hall meeting to engage government officials.”
Nwagwu also identified what he termed “fear and complaint industries” as major impediments to the growth and development of the state, insisting that the two factors must be shut to enable people of the state enjoy democracy dividends.
He added: “We need to close up the two industries of fear and complaint that have gripped the state, especially after the election so people can leverage the benefits of governance.
“If we continue with this scare-mongering and complaints, we will only succeed in having few persons taking over the government and dictating the pace.”

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CVR: Fresh Registrations Hit 4.2m

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that fresh registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has hit 4,297,494.
The commission disclosed this in the second quarter, week seven, weekly update released by the commission in Abuja recently.
The commission said that as at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 1,856,771 persons have completed their online and physical registration.
According to statistics provided by the commission, 1,856,771 persons who completed their registration, include 941,098 males, 915,673 females.
It also added that 741,183 persons completed their registration online, while 1,115,588 completed it through physical registration.

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Saraki Visits Benue Over Presidential Ambition 

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A former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has visited Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his ambition to vie for President in 2023.
Saraki, after a close door meeting with Governor Ortom, also met with the State Working Committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to familiarise them with his intention to kick start consultations for his ambition to rule the country.
He said that the nationwide defection of party loyalists from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP was an indication that there might not be anyone left in the party before the next election.
“A party that cannot organise its affairs has no business leading this country. A party that has organised its affairs is ready in leading this country and that is the PDP,” he said.
Saraki added that the North Central Zone has paid its dues by working so hard in keeping the country together as one united entity just as he pointed out that, “this time we must stand for our own and charity begins at home.”
The ex -senate president, who was accompanied on the visit by former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former National Chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senator Suleiman Adokwe and Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, Chairman of Council, Saraki for President Campaign, thanked the Benue governor for standing out for the zone.
Earlier, Governor Ortom, eulogised Saraki for being one of those Nigerians that had contributed immensely to the development of democracy.
Ortom said it was time to rescue the country from bottom, a position it was placed by the APC government, to the top, adding that Saraki deserves the presidential seat to enable him salvage the country from its current mess.
On his part, the State Chairman of the PDP, Sir John Ngbede, represented by his deputy, Isaac Mfo, said the party in the state had remained intact even as he assured the presidential hopeful that they would back his ambition to rule the country.

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