The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Monday, formally withdrew from the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari next year.
Kalu, in a statement personally signed by him in Abuja, however declared his support for the candidature of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, for the top job.
The Senate President had on Monday, received the N100 million All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential forms purchased for him by the National Stability Project led by Chief Sam Nkire, who is the chairman of the movement.
Kalu, in his statement, said: “I congratulate my friend, former roommate and boss, Senator Ahmad Lawan, as he picks form to run for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC). I am most glad because he is from the North-east, the only zone alongside South-east that is yet to produce president of Nigeria.
“I have always maintained an unambiguous stand that for justice, equity and fairness in our country, the next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari should come from the South-east or the North-east.
“I have also told Nigerians that I would only run for president if the two major political parties (APC and PDP) zone their tickets to the South-east.
“That is why I was disappointed with our southern brothers who are talking about fairness and equity but has zero tolerance for the same fairness and equity in the South.
“In the absence of a South-easterner being president of Nigeria in 2023, I have my full support for a North-easterner. This is because it would be the closest to the equity, fairness and justice everyone is talking about. It further means that the justice is on its way to the South-east.
“I thank those who said they have picked presidential forms for me because they meant well for Nigerians.
“However, since there is no zoning and the contest is open to all Nigerians, I officially withdraw from presidential contest in 2023. I have also picked ticket to run for Abia North Senatorial zone and to complete the good work I started in Abia North.
“I urge all my friends, allies and supporters in the APC to toe the line of justice by supporting Senator Ahmad Lawan, a North-easterner for the presidential ticket of the APC.”
2023: Bayelsa PDP Delegates To Support Pro-Restructuring Aspirants – Diri
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri has said People’s Democratic Party (PDP) delegates in the state would support any presidential aspirant of the party that will restructure Nigeria if elected.
Governor Diri spoke on Friday when he received former Senate President and presidential aspirant, Senator Bukola Saraki, in Government House, Yenagoa.
According to the governor as an oil and gas producing state, which contributes huge revenue to the country’s economy, restructuring would ensure equity and fairness to the oil-producing Niger Delta region, the state and the Ijaw nation in particular.
The governor, while stating that the Federal Government, as presently constituted, does not encourage productivity and competitiveness, but has turned the federating units to beggars where states go cap in hand to Abuja on monthly basis for revenue sharing.
He said there is too much concentration of power at the centre, which has prevented the country from functioning effectively, adding that devolution of power would enable states to develop at their own pace.
The Bayelsa governor restated his call on aspirants to place the interest of the party and country above their ambition, saying that as an opposition party, what is required to wrest power from the ruling party and rescue the country from total collapse is unity among members.
“You talked about certain things that touch us as a state. You talked about the restructuring of this country. The Ijaws have always talked about justice and equity. As a state that produces oil and gas, which has been the mainstay of our economy, we subscribe to any aspirant that has included restructuring of this country in his manifesto, to ensure equity and justice.
“The Federal Government is too centralised and nothing will work. Certain powers have to be devolved to the states and let the Federal Government face only common issues that are central to all of us. So this blame game of the previous government will stop.
“Let us go back to the foundation of this country where we had regions that took responsibility for their economy and policies. Allow the states to carry some of the responsibility.
“The present structure does not make room for productivity and competition among our states. State governments go cap in hand to our Federal Capital Territory in the name of federal allocation.”, he said.
Earlier, Senator Saraki said Nigeria was moving towards becoming a failed state in terms of security and its poor economy and needs a competent person to reverse the drift.
2023: NNPP Vows To Spring Surprises
The National Chairman of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, says his party will shock those taking it for granted.
He said this Saturday during a media briefing held at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
Alkali said the party leadership had commenced the process of repositioning NNPP into the political landscape of the country by offering Nigerians an alternative platform to save democracy and rescue the nation from the stranglehold of the “two old, hegemonic and visionless political parties”.
On NNPP primary election, he said the party had begun the process of electing candidates for the 2023 general elections, stating that, “This will start on Monday 16th May 2022 with the screening of state Houses of Assembly aspirants culminating in the presidential primary in Abuja on June 2nd 2022.”
He said the party was equal to the task as it had put in place all measures to avoid rancour during the forthcoming primary election.
“Let me assure you, and through you the Nigerian public, that come 2023, NNPP will spring surprises in the polls.
“And when by the grace of God we come into government, we shall tackle all the issues of insecurity (by whatever name called), restore the value of the Naira, create job opportunities for millions of our youths, accord women their rightful place in government, revive moribund industries, including the textile, manufacturing and SMEs as well respect the rule of law and fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.
“Let me once more assure Nigerians that unlike what is happening now, the NNPP administration would give every Nigerian a sense of belonging as nobody would be treated as a second class citizen or discriminated or marginalized on the basis of tribe, religion or sex.
“Given the massive support we have received and continue to receive so far from people across the country, we are very confident and optimistic that very soon and in no distant future it would move from its current ranking as the ‘third force’ to the top in Nigeria’s political space….I can assure you that NNPP will soon be the number one force in the country,” he added.
On zoning controversy, Alkali distanced NNPP from the arrangements, saying the party would not carry “excess baggage” of other political parties as it was not founded based on ethnicity and religion.
He, however, promised that the party would provide inclusive governance and ensure balancing along geo-political zones.
2023: NSA Puts Top Politicians On Watch List
Ahead of the 2023 general elections and other off-season elections in the country, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has placed politicians who exhibit tendencies to subvert the electoral process on the watch list.
Accordingly, the ONSA said heads of security and law enforcement agencies have been tasked to step up close monitoring and profiling of political actors no matter how highly placed.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), disclosed this in his remarks at the meeting of the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.
Monguno said that his office had noted with utmost concern, the growing uncertainty heralding the conduct of party primaries for the 2023 general elections.
“This is in addition to the unabated spate of violence that threatened the upcoming off-cycle gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states, arising from internal party wrangling, increasing acrimony and bickering among political actors as well as the inability of various contending political blocs to amicably resolve differences in line with democratic tenants,” he said.
Mungono who was represented by Sanusi Galadima, said the disturbing development had already culminated in intense power play capable of heightening unnecessary political tension across the country.
More worrisome according to him is the unguarded utterances by some highly respected individuals and groups which, more often than not, amplify divisive narratives to the detriment of national security and stability.
Accordingly, he said, “Heads of security and law enforcement agencies have been tasked to step up close monitoring and profiling of political actors no matter highly placed who exhibit tendencies to subvert the electoral process, even as thugs and their sponsors would equally be trailed for possible arrest and prosecution.”
He emphasised the need for INEC to enjoin political parties to consistently abide by prescribed rules as outlined in their respective manifestoes.
Earlier in his remarks, the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, lamented the general security situation in the country and its impact on the electoral process which according to him is a source of concern to the commission.
Yakubu said the commission was however confident that with nine months to the 2023 general election, there was enough time to respond to the security challenges and secure the nation for elections to take place nationwide. He said the timetable for the election has also been released.
“Let us not wait until a few weeks to the election before we realise that time is not on our side and begin to seek for extension of timelines. The time to act is now.
We wish to reassure the security agencies that we will continue to work cooperatively with you to ensure the success of all forthcoming elections and electoral activities,” he said.
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