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2023 And Emerging Challenges

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In preparation towards the nation’s general elections, the year 2022 is expected to witness a surge in array of political activities. Political permutation and scheming by political gladiators, parties and regional interests could upshot inflammatory statements, inter/intra party conflicts, assassination and thuggery.
Furthermore, internal conflicts within political parties, if not properly managed could lead to increased defections,new alliances and/or formation of political parties thereby overheating the polity.Inadvertently, underlining threats such as terrorism, banditry, kidnapping among others will be exacerbated while regional agitations, organised crimes, arms proliferation and activities of unknown gunmen are expected to escalate. And because political support for election in Nigeria is generally divided along geographical lines, the possibility of ethno-religious crises is imminent. The year could also witness rejuvenation of the civil society space and infiltration of these groups by opposition parties within and outside the country to advance subversive interests.
On a general note, gubernatorial elections in the South-West region, particularly in Osun and Ekiti States,scheduled for June and July, 2022 respectively, will mark the start of the 2023 elections.
In Osun State, with the incumbent governor on the ballot, it will be a close-fought battle due to the political infighting in the All Progressives Congress (APC) structure in the State.The region would also witness tense political wranglings between the camps/loyalists to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Vice President and Ekiti State Governor over speculated Presidential aspirations. In addition, heightened secessionist agitations by coalition of Yoruba Nation groups may evolve.
Likewise, the political arena in the South-East is expected to be dominated by increased unscrupulous activities of the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) leading to amplified acts of civil disobedience.
Also, unrelenting politicians may continue to exploit Nnamdi Kanu’s detention to attract sympathy and political gains. The power tussle between the erstwhile Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, his son-in- law, Uche Nwosu and the current Governor, Hope Uzodinma could worsen the security situation in the state and the region in general.Although the declaration of interest by the duo of Anyim Pius Anyim and the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, though in different parties, will no doubt pith their supporters against one another. This and the quest by the PDP in Ebonyi State to retake power from the APC may heat up political activities in the days to come.
Similarly, the South-South is rife with speculations on the return of former president, Goodluck Jonathan which is generating varied public reactions that could also overheat the polity in the region. The political atmosphere in Cross River State is envisaged to be tensed especially with the decamping of the state governor to the ruling APC. This is moreso that the PDP may intensify political gimmicks to clinch back power.
The rift between Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi coupled with the intra-party conflict in the APC may degenerate with implication for peace and stability of the State.
In the North Central, though Yahaya Bello has not formally declared interest to run for president, his posture and sideline campaigns, suggest that he is undoubtedly going to contest. The perceived intra-party squabbles between Bello’s loyalists and that of Tinubu could snowball into violence in the State.
The Nationalities Alliance for Self-determination Group (NINAS) may also intensify clamour for secession in the region premising on perceived marginalisation and inequitable distribution of resources. On the other hand, activities of bandits in Niger, Nasarawa and Benue States may disrupt electioneering processes and public order/ and safety.
Equally, considering that all the Governors in the North West except the Governor of Zamfara State will be finishing their tenures, it is projected that some of them may vie for National Assembly positions, which may cause major disaffection between the governors, serving Senators and party loyalists. Similarly, the issue of anointing a successor may likely generate clashes between the Governors and party executives in the States.
Lastly, though the political arena in the North East is relatively peaceful,the threat of terrorism in Borno, Yobe and part of Adamawa could affect electioneering process. Also, the APC may attempt to reclaim power in Adamawa and Bauchi States, which may heat up the political atmosphere.
That aside, it is worthy to note that as political factors shape the year’s activities, citizens remain the most viable tool for manipulation by some political actors to pursue self-centred motives. At this stage in Nigeria’s democracy, citizens must adopt and demonstrate an awakened attitude, taking into cognizance the fact that sustainable growth and development of the country lies in electing credible leaders.
By 2023, Nigeria’ democracy will have advanced to the point where citizens should not allure current manipulation by some politicians to use them to promote electoral malpractices and other acts of civil disobedience.
In the interest of peace and national stability, politicians must strictly play by the rules and have it at the back of their minds that rulership is only possible if the country is peaceful. Like wise,the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the electoral umpire, should be conscious of its actions as it will dictate the tone of the nation’s socio-political atmosphere before and after the elections. Security agencies should remain professional in discharging their duties and also properly analyse emerging threats and come up with measures to manage them. Therefore, a strong collaboration is recommended for the critical stakeholders.

By: Gani Abdullahi

Abdullahi, a veteran journalist, resides in Abuja.

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2023: Former SSG Emerges Bauchi PDP Guber Candidate

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A gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bauchi State, Mr Ibrahim Kashim,has emerged as the party’s governorship flagbearer for the 2023 general election.
The Tide source reports that Kashim, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government was only governorship aspirant in the party’s primary election.
Mr Hassan Grema, Chairman, PDP Governorship Primary Election Committee, announced this at the end of the exercise on Wednesday in Bauchi.
He said that 656 delegates participated in the exercise, adding that only one vote was declared invalid.
“Ibrahim Kashim was the only aspirant of the party in the state and that the delegates had to vote to complete due process in line with the electoral law,” he said.
He commended the delegates for their orderly behaviour during the exercise held across the 21 local government areas of the state.
Responding, Kashim said: ‘“I want to thank you for bestowing the honour on me, this is just the beginning, we will have a great task ahead.
“We need to unite our party faithful ahead of the 2023 general election in the state.
He lauded Gov. Bala Mohammed for providing purposeful leadership and execution of developmental projects in three years of his administration.

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Why Governor Wike Deserves PDP Presidential Ticket

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A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” — John C Maxwell.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike needs no introduction to Nigerians. Maverick, fearless, courageous, pragmatic, articulate and very conscious of his rights and constitutional authority in every situation and circumstance.
He has emerged over the years, as a modern leader whose all round capacity and dynamism has astounded and unsettled many.
His tactical audacity has often flummoxed adversaries, his strategic acumen has wrong-footed opponents. He always seem to anticipate measures and counter measures before they unfold and his administrative astuteness has set him apart as a visionary leader whose navigational compass has already configured futuristic challenges.
Governor Wike’s charismatic mien and outspoken advocacy in the face of perceived marginalization and criticism of even some activities in his own political party, have positioned him as a true champion of the people and has no doubt, transformed him into one of the most admired and referenced political figure in the country today.
The dynamic nature of this extraordinary man , has unearthed a whole new vista of phenomenal and exemplary manifestations of courageous, focused, determined and pragmatic and humane leadership trajectory.
Therefore , when Governor Wike declared his intention to contest for the office of the President of Nigeria under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Makurdi, Benue State after a meeting with PDP stakeholders on Sunday, March 27, 2022, after months of considerable speculations, many of his peers, colleagues and indeed a vast spectrum of the Nigerian populace heaved a huge sigh of relief.
At last, an honest, unique politician, who already has an excellent track record of delivering landmark and legacy democracy dividends, speaks truth to power fearlessly and understands the suffocating plight and monumental challenges, facing Nigeria and Nigerians at the moment, has finally picked up the gauntlet to serve his people with the same result oriented zeal, commitment, focus and determination he has served his state.
Rivers State is a microcosm of the Nigerian nation; a convergence of diverse ethnic cleavages, a potpourri of multi-sectoral engagements, a bustling existential hub of socio-economic, ethno-religious, post-modern metropolitan enclave, proudly homogeneous, yet admirably accommodating. Governor Wike has successefully woven a reassuring halo of sustainable peace, security, safety around this connundrumatic tapestry to the amazement and genuine applause of Nigerians.
Several important points have defined and propelled Governor Wike’s declaration to run for the Presidency of Nigeria.They include the issue of Security, the adherence to the rule of law, as well as encouraging national restructuring which promotes fiscal federalism and comparative advantage; contentious and potent posers which have continued to resonate loudly with Nigerians and reverberate with alarming consistency across the polity in the last seven years.
But one critical point which the Rivers Governor has harped on with unwavering emphasis is the need for the PDP to reward the loyalty of those who have been been the solid pillars of support and sustenance for the party, both in the season of harvest and in the locust years.
Speaking directly to consideration of this germane patriotic advocacy on his declaration day, Governor Wike said: ”Those who want to be President now were the problems of the party in 2015. They ran away when the party needed them the most. But I have stood and worked for this party. I have nowhere to run to because I take it personally that the party should not die. And I challenge anyone in a debate what they did for PDP.”
Loved by his people and buoyed by the desire to prevail against forces which threaten our collective existence in a united country, Nyesom Wike’s identity and crusade has metamorphosed into an unstoppable movement, which was birthed in the monumental electoral warfare waged for the soul of Rivers State in 2015 and 2019 respectively, and is now sweeping across the entire country with amazing acceptance.
Governor Wike’s administration in Rivers State, defined by his single minded determination, focus and firm leadership agenda to re-organize, re-strategize and re-order the socio-political and infrastructural priorities of the state, has undoubtedly transformed the entire landscape of Rivers state and its capital city, Port Harcourt.
The marvelous legacy infrastructural projects, ranging from dual carriage unity roads and expressways, to solid bridges and flyovers, as well as state of the-state-of-the-art health, educational, agricultural, sports projects, the robust, breathtaking urban renewal agenda in the capital city, and indeed the determined drive to achieve interconnectivity across the length and breadth of the State and expand the landmass of hitherto waterlogged riverine communities to provide much needed space, through massive sandfilling and land reclamation, have not only progressed and accelerated with amazing results, but have also referenced Rivers State as the reliable index for development in Nigeria.
The transformational trajectory has seen the State being re-positioned to become a beautiful, stable, safe, secure, dynamic and bustling modern hub for commerce and sustainable entreprise, as well as the destination of choice for progressive activities.
There is no doubt whatsoever that in the last seven years of his administration as Governor of Rivers State, Nigerians have come to embrace and admire Governor Wike’s tactical audacity, strategic acumen, his sure-footed administrative astuteness and indeed the fearless, courageous, pragmatic, articulate and very outspoken advocacy, which Governor Wike has displayed with competent authority and which have set him apart as a visionary leader and made his leadership model iconic.
Governor Wike’s massive influence in the political terrain is no less formidable, both at home and at the national arena. He has redefined electoral attitudes and governance responsibilities in his own home PDP and ensured that the state remains one of the most peaceful political theatres in the country, which has resulted in the unending massive defections of notable and respected opposition figures into PDP.
His defining legacy at the national level has not only been to embrace the role of a vibrant people’s champion with the resonating voice of public advocacy against the unbearable mis-governance of the ruling party, but he has also emerged as the beacon and catalyst in the rejuvenation of the PDP into an intimidating force which Nigerians are earnestly yearning for.
In the area of consensus building in multiparty democracy, no Governor or political leader in this country has done so much more to build consensus, entrench bipartisanship and embrace friendly opposition, like Governor Wike has done.
He is the foremost Governor in this present political dispensation , who has invited opposition Governors and leaders like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (who christened him „Mr. Projects”), Governor Kayode Fayemi (Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum and Ekiti State Governor), the Minister of Works, Raji Fashola, former Governors of Imo and Abia states (Sen. Rochas Okorocha and Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu) respectively and amongst others, to come and Commission projects all over Rivers State, in true celebration of bipartisanship.
Governor Wike is also the first Governor in Nigeria who visited more Northern States and identified and empathized with them in their times of human and natural devastations and catastrophes. It is even on record that he reconciled two Northern Governors in Port Harcourt, brokered peace in the PDP in several states, and even brought two top retired military leaders to embrace each other, after many months of bitter malice in Plateau state.
These are real Nigerian stories in the public space and it is on record that he has been warmly received with grand receptions wherever he has visited and this has opened the door wide for other presidential aspirants to visit hitherto feared and dreaded states and regions.
And most recently, we are proud to note the wonderful reception which Governor Masari of Katisina, the President‘s own State, gave Governor Wike. This completely nullified the lie that Governor Wike and President Buhari are ‘enemies‘ and his humble visit to pay respectful homage to the matriarch, Hajiya Aya Dada Yar‘Adua, the mother of Late President Umaru Yar‘Adua, opened a vista for other presidential aspirants to pay homage to the matriarch.
Indeed, no presidential aspirant in the history of this democratic dispensation has embarked on the kind of pre-Primaries marathon tour across Nigeria to meet and interact with Nigerians in over 30 states across the six geopolitical regions of the country. This is indeed incredibly impressive and we must celebrate the fact that Governor Wike has actually united Nigeria and bonded with Nigerians in the North, South, East and West.
Through him, Nigerians are now putting their hopes on the PDP to salvage whatever is left of the country, after the unfortunate and hapless APC misrule comes to an end, and turn the fortunes of the country around for the better.
Nigeria today needs a President who is brave, courageous, bold and is not afraid to visit any part of Nigeria, even without presidential toga of authority and paraphernalia. We need a President who will tell Nigerians the truth, call out those who are misleading and deceiving Nigerians, encourage Nigerian leaders to explore and exploit their comparative advantages in practice of true federalism.
We need in the Presidency someone that will vocalize our problems and challenges and address them frontally; someone who will lead by example, celebrate our victories and successes even as he is setting up functional structures and delivering quality infrastructure to consolidate and ensure more victories which will define our place as a proud, safe, secure and economically viable nation, in the comity of nations.
Nigeria needs a strong, visionary, compassionate, astute, strategically articulate and pramagtically driven leader at this point in time in our history and Governor Wike has provided sufficient proof, that he is the man to lead Nigeria at a time like this. He knows the way, he will show us the way, and he will lead us all the way to the place of greatness where Nigeria belongs.
The defining characteristics of the APC era have been underlined by an epoch where the only things rising to the ‘Next Level’ are rates of unemployment, prices of food and other consumables, kidnappings, abductions, insurgency, and the terrible vices of a hobbesian society, replete with hitherto unknown dimensions of human miseries.
But, Gov Nyesom Wike has emerged with the very solid credentials that offer real solutions and a positive change in our fortunes. He has demonstrated consistency, standing out as an outstanding example of people-compliant leadership in Nigeria and the sterling qualities which have shaped and moulded his leadership have not only injected hope and purpose in our collective existence as a people, but have most importantly, defined Governor Wike as “A leader who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, captured the Wike essence, during a recent visit to his Ota country home by Governors Wike, Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and Samuel Ortom of Benue state, amongst others. Speaking with newsmen shortly after the meeting, he admitted that Wike had informed him of his presidential bid.
“Of course, Governor Nyesom Wike as a presidential aspirant with Governor of Oyo, Governor of Benue, former Governor of Cross River and former Deputy Senate President and former Minister, to express to me the desire and of course I made the point that I have always made that, I have ceased to be a partisan politician, I don’t belong to any political party, but if politics is the welfare of the people, I cannot cease to be a politician because I must always seek the welfare of the people…
“Courage, he (Wike) doesn’t lack it, and if you have courage and you have conviction to speak your mind, well we have a saying in this part of the world that a person who speaks the truth all the time, may not even get a mat spread for him because you will incur the displeasure of people, but you need the truth to be spoken and to get ourselves move Nigeria on the path of unity.
“Of course, we cannot get unity if there is no justice, if there is no fairness, if there is no equity. And when you have the basic ingredients that will bring unity and inclusiveness, then all other things will take their position. You will remove conflict, you will be able to deal with this pernicious issue of insecurity and of course the issue of economy and the wholesomeness of the society.
“The issues Governor Wike raised are the issues that are dear to my own heart for unity and stability of Nigeria. There is one thing that I believe in and I have always said it over and over again, Nigeria is a complex country, but Nigeria is not a difficult country, if we are sincere and fair to ourselves, it is not a difficult country to manage if you are courageous and I wish him well,” the former President said.

By: Paulinus Nsirim

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Lawmaker Representing Kwankwaso, Others Dump NNPP

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A member of the Kano State House of Assembly, representing Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso’s local government area, Madobi, Hon. Kabiru Yusuf Isma’il, has defected from the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) to the ruling All  Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State.
A statement issued by the Kano State Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, revealed that another member of the House, representing Dawakin Kudu State constituency, Hon. Mu’azzam El-Yakubu, has also dumped Kwankwaso’s NNPP for the APC.
He said the gale of defections has recently swept across the NNPP, particularly involving members of the State and National Assemblies.
Garba said already a member of the state legislature representing Bagwai/Shanono, Isa Ali, has also rejoined the APC days after decamping to the NNPP.
Another member of the Assembly representing Dambatta State constituency, Hon. Murtala Musa  Kore, also renounced his membership of the NNPP to remain in the APC.

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