The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, Dr Ekong Sampson, has stated that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has no defense for parading a Muslim-Muslim ticket “in this critical time in Nigeria’s history when the nation has witnessed widespread polarization based on religious and ethnic sentiments.”
A former two-term member of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and one time State Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Dr Sampson, stated this while speaking as Chairman at the inauguration of the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of ‘PDP Ward 2 Ward Group’ which held at Cityview Hall, Watbridge Hotels & Suites in Uyo, Friday.
Recall that the ruling APC’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima are Muslims and the same faith pairing in a multi-religious country like Nigeria has so far generated heated debates.
Offering his perspective on the issue, Dr Sampson, famous for his in-depth views on matters of national concern, said he would not also support a Christian-Christian ticket in the country.
According to him, ‘the present scenario is different from that of June 12 in character and context’, adding that the personalities involved in the June 12 elections and the times are far apart from the present.
Dr Sampson said some influential bigwigs in the Babangida regime were apparently not comfortable with the same-faith pairing, a concern which could have contributed in no small measure to the debacle that ensued afterwards.
Dr Sampson, a lawyer, charged Nigerians to focus more on winning democracy instead of winning election through desperate means.
He said his concern was borne out of his deep sense of patriotism and his well-known disposition to bridge building.
“What we need to do in Nigeria now is to build a stronger framework for national cohesion and we can’t do this by pushing for a same-faith ticket in the country. This is one issue that can undermine and weaken the fabrics of unity in the country.
“This is a time for Nigerians to come together and promote issues that can rather bring us together and deepen bonds rather than for us to exhibit such desperation that poses threats to our mutual coexistence. We should be interested in winning democracy and not just in winning election. What is more important is the survival of Nigeria and our democracy,” he maintained.
Praising the organisers of the programme, Dr Sampson said that he was happy that the initiative came in good time, and that the group would offer ample opportunity for Nigerians to come together to rescue the country from the present situation.
He charged the group to encourage Nigerians to come out and get registered for their Permanent Voters Cards, which he described as ‘visa to democracy’.
Hailing the PDP, Dr Sampson further said the party has entrenched itself as a value-driven item for Nigeria.
According to him, the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakka, ‘cuts across, readily as a bridge builder’, adding that this attribute was shown in the choice of his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to balance the country’s delicate ethno- religious mix.
Dr Sampson who praised the obvious improvement in the country’s electoral reform process, however, said more needed to be done in terms of ownership mentality and participation.
On his part, the South-South Co-ordinator of the group, Hon. Onengiye Tamuno, expressed profound gratitude for the level of hospitality accorded him and his team by Akwa Ibom people.
He added that this was a pointer that ‘our preparedness for an all-out South-South bloc vote for our party is secure and intact.’
Hon. Tamuno hailed Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for his giant strides in the areas of development, tenacity in project execution and policy implementation.
NGO Tasks NASS On Fiscal Responsibility Law Amendment
The Growth Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Nigeria says there is an urgent need for the national assembly to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) amendment bill into law.
The executive director, Order Paper, Oke Epia,said this on Saturday at a media briefing in Abuja.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 is primarily designed to checkmate wastage and corruption.
Epia said the financial crisis faced by the country is as a result of corruption in the oil sector, which could be resolved through the passage of the amendment of the Act.
“Nigeria is in a fiscal crisis because certain things are not being done right, especially in the petroleum sector which accounts for over 60 percent of revenue earnings and over 90 percent of foreign exchange due to the country,” he said.
“It is the mainstay of the economy and that is where you have the poster child of corruption in this country.”
He said the slow amendment of the fiscal responsibility act gives room for the non-remittance of revenue by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“On the side of public finance management, that is what we want to alert your consciousness to, so that we can mount pressure on the national assembly to pass this fiscal responsibility amendment bill, so it will help get monies that are due to government paid to the government without much ado,” he added.
Alleged 2019 Guber Poll Rigging: Ogun APC To Probe Amosun
The state leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State may likely quiz the immediate past Governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, over his claim that the 2019 governorship election in the state was rigged in favour of the incumbent Governor, Dapo Abiodun.
There were indications that the party’s leadership may take a hard step on the Senator’s claim when the party’s leaders from the 20 local government areas of the state had a closed-door meeting in Abeokuta on Saturday and expressed their displeasure over the allegation.
The state Chairman of the party, Yemi Sanusi, who berated Amosun over his claim, described such outburst as un-senatorial and unbecoming of a supposed statesman.
It was learnt that after the meeting, the party’s leaders called for disciplinary measures against such anti-party acts, which they likened to the ex-governor’s support for All Progressives Movement’s governorship candidate in 2019, resulting in his suspension.
Sanusi declared that, being the acting chairman of the party in 2019, he observed that the election that produced the incumbent governor was the most credible in the history of the state.
He said the electorate trooped out and overwhelmingly voted for Governor Abiodun and protected their votes from being overturned by riggers.
Sanusi, therefore, called on the party’s leaders and members to reciprocate the kind gesture of Governor Abiodun by working hard to ensure his re-election in 2023.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the general election, Governor Abiodun donated a bus to the party’s state executive council with a view to enhancing their operations ahead of the 2023 poll and in appreciation of their contributions towards the growth of democracy in the state.
He described the party’s state executive as a partner in progress, commending them for their sterling leadership which made it possible for them to keep the party united.
The governor, therefore, promised support for the party to sustain its membership drive, emphasising that all hands mist be on deck as the party gets prepared for the forthcoming general elections.
APC’s Case Challenging My Victory, Waste Of Time – Adeleke
The Governor- elect of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, on Saturday disclosed that the case filed by the All Progressives Congress APC, challenging his victory in the July 16 election is dead on arrival and a mere waste of time.
According to Adeleke, the people of Osun state have spoken and no amount of court cases can overturn his election as governor.
Adeleke, speaking at Ijebu-Jesa, headquarters of Oriade local government, where a former commissioner for finance under the administration of Aregbesola, Dr Wale Bolorunduro officially decamped to the PDP, said his major focus is how to move Osun forward, promising a massive impact in his first 100 days in office.
“The whole world knew that the election was free and fair. APC are just wasting there time. They have the right to go to court but I can tell you, it is dead on arrival.
“Osun people who have voted massively for us should keep calm and not worry. This time around, the people of Osun have spoken and it is the will of God.
“The only thing I’m concerned with now is how to make Osun great and I’m promising that in my first 100 days in office , Osun State will witness a massive change,” he said.
Speaking on why he defected, Bolorunduro said he left APC because the party is full of deceit and lack ethos of Obafemi Awolowo.
His words: “I and my followers are decamping today to PDP because it is the party for the progressive. It is a party that is transparent and not deceitful as the former party I was.
“I left APC because my glory was being covered and my contributions trampled upon. APC is full of deceit. There is nothing called progressivesm in that party.
“The party lack fairness, justice, transparency and the ethos of our avatar, Obafemi Awolowo. I had no choice than to leave APC and come to the party of light”.
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