Recently, the Rivers State chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PEN) addressed a press conference in Port Harcourt to inform the public of some of the activities of the group in Rivers State, especially.
Among others, one of the key disclosures made by the state Chairman of the PFN, Rev (Dr) Minaibi Dagogo-Jack was the organisation’s preparation towards playing active roles in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
At that occasion, Rev. Dagogo-Jack declared that the Christian organisation had started the process of sensitising and mobilising its members to be actively involved in the political activities that will culrninate in the general polls next year. To this end, he said the PFN had, in fact, set up a Directorate of Poliltics and Good Governance to organise and coordinate activities that would educate and encourage members to engage in partisan politics at all levels and in all ramifications.
Discussing this development and other trending issues in the polity in an exclusive chat with The Tide in his office in Port Harcourt earlier in the week, the leader of the Pentecostal group in Rivers State said the move by his organisation was informed by the need to enthrone righteousness in the society, emphasising that the political class in the country had largely failed the citizenry.
He said the situation where the church remained detached from the process through which political parties selected candidates for elective positions could no longer be allowed to subsist, arguing that several times, the quality of candidates emanating from the party primaries were not good enough.
“Before now, the church had been so far from real politics and the church would wait until the political parties had selected their flabearers and then we start praying to God,’’ he said, adding that praying when the decision had been made was defective in that sometimes it would mean asking God to make a choice among all bad alternatives.
Dagogo-Jack said, ‘’ I think if parties A,B,C had chosen their flagbearers and you start praying, if for instance, they all chose monkeys, it means one of the monkeys will emerge. So, what we are saying is that we should be involved in the process of selecting flagbearers of the parties. We must also be genuinely involved in the entire electioneering process.’’
According to the state PFN boss, who was one time governorship candidate of Fresh Democratic Party in the state, Christian politicians have no choice but to take up membership of any of the existing political parties in the country since the Constitution empowers only political parties to present candidates for an election in Nigeria.
The clergyman said he was convinced that the social political and economic woes of the country could not be resolved until righteous people ascended the throne of leadership at all levels in the country. He called on true Christians to take on the challenge of rescuing the nation from lurking disaster by getting registered in political parties and also putting themselves up for election into positions of power and authority.
“I’ still called on the Christian body, particularly those under my superintendentship to go get themselves registered, get their Permanent Voter Cards and also be involved in partisan politics. The constitution requires that you must belong to a political party before you can be elected,’’ he admonished , reiterating that the present generally bleak and gloomy atmosphere in the country presents a golden opportunity for Christians to demons trate their identity as light and salt of the world.
“After prayer, prayer and prayer, we must partake in politics,’’ he insisted, submitting that it was erroneous for Christians to continue to think of politics as a dirty game and therefore should be left for less decent and dignified persons.
According to the Christian leader, from the conceptual stage, politics was meant for decent characters and people of honour, pointing out that even the Nigerian constitution envisions only clean people will be involved in politics when it bars convicts and such others of questionable character from contesting or occupying sensitive public offices.
“ So if you think that because we are church leaders and therefore we should not be involved in politics, you are making a big mistake.
‘’ Thank God that one of our prayers has been answered, that is the deployment of electronic devices in the electoral process. We believe that if we mobilize our people and tell them to vote party A or candidate B and they move, it will show the politicians that the church is out for something. 85per cent of Nigerian politicians don’t have the fear of God in them and therefore treat the people with so much disdain. There must be change and we are ready for that,’’ he said.
When reminded that the country had not fared significantly better even when Christians had been in power, the clergyman retorted that a Christian may not necessarily be a righteous person and that only righteous people could effect the desired turn around in the fortunes of the nation.
“ A man may be a Christian but not a righteous man. It is only by righteoness that the nation can be exalted. We will look for the righteous people and the church will point hands at them. At the end of the day, the church will look at those who emerged and point hands at the righteous ones.
“We believe that if an environment is dirty, it will take a righteous man to clean it up. In a great house, there are vessels of honour and vessels of dishonor. The vessels of honour are the carriers of righteousness and those are the ones we will direct our members to,’’ he maintained.
Asked if the PFN was going to form a political party or already has a particular political party it would support and therefore direct its members to go and register in, Dagog-Jack said ‘’ There are existing political parties right now and we have asked our members to join any one of their choice. We’re asking them to join in the process leading up to selection of candidates and at the end of the day, we will see who and who have emerged and we will look out for the spirit of righteousness in them and then make our choice. However, the formation and registration of a political party is a good thinking but we have not started anything in that direction.’’
On his outlook towards the 2023 general elections, the religious leader expressed optimism that 2023 holds better and brighter prospects in the country’s electoral history and urged Nigerians, especially the political class to brace up for a rude shock.
“What I see is that God will shock the people. God will shock Nigerians in 2023,’’ he said, explaining that just as God surprised the world in the way the COVID-19 pandemic affected the developed countries more severely than the less privileged countries with weaker and more vulnerable health systems, He will greatly disappoint the powerful and entrenched politicians in the country.
“Some people think that they have the political power, the political where withal, the political strength and money, they will be disappointed,’’ he said while expressing the view that the 2022 Electoral Act will make a lot of difference in our electoral system.
“ Number two, a lot of things are not going to be the same in 2023 with the deployment of technology in the election process. Rigging is going to be minimised, if not eliminated. Issues of over bloated results, ghost names in the voters register and sundry irregularities like thuggery, ballot box snatching and ballot box stuffing will be eliminated.
“ Under the new law, political parties have as much as six months instead of the previous three months to canvass for votes. This is ample time for parties to take their campaigns to all the nooks and crannies of the country. We therefore expect that the result that will come can be said to be a result that truly reflects the wishes of the people, especially with the electronic transmission of results from the polling units. So, I think there will be a great difference in our electoral system in 2023,’ he said.
“Our national leaders have decided and I speak only their decision here, that the next president of Nigeria must come from the South. That is the position of PFN all over the world, the state Christian leader said emphatically.
He said members of his body will also not be kindly disposed to a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the 2023 presidential election while they are whole heartedly out for a Christian as president.
“Our brothers, the Muslims,through Muhammadu Buhari, have produced the President covering eight years. For justice and fairness sake, we the christians are asking for a Christian President this time around. That is what we stand for and we have not moved from that stand,’’ the Charistian clergy man said.
On whether he himself was interested in any elective office come 2023, the one time gubernatorial flagbearer said he had no such plans but that his organization would encourage, support and assist its members who cared to contest for office at any level.
“ PFN can’t sponsor any candidate. That is for only political parties to do . However, PFN can assist in their prayers and also assist in directing our people to vote a candidate. You say endorse, I say we will point our hands at particular candidates for our people to vote. This is what we will do,’’he said, claiming that a research indicates that the Pentecostals are as much as 65million and they are prepared to delploy that strength to good advantage in the 2023 general elections.
By: Opaka Dokubo
2023: Former SSG Emerges Bauchi PDP Guber Candidate
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.
Why Governor Wike Deserves PDP Presidential Ticket
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
Lawmaker Representing Kwankwaso, Others Dump NNPP
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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