Prominent Nigerians, Christian political leaders and the Christian Association of Nigeria on Wednesday raised fears that February 25, 2022, presidential election would either make or destroy the future of the country.
They are a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; the Senator representing Adamawa North District in the National Assembly, Elisha Ishaku Abbo; outgoing President of CAN, Samson Ayokunle and the leaders of various Christian blocs and denominations.
They also faulted the All Progressives Congress (APC) for presenting a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 election, describing it as “reprehensible and ungodly”.
They stated these during a symposium on the leadership crises in Nigeria, which held in Abuja as part of activities marking the 12th General Assembly of CAN and the leadership transition ceremony with the theme, ‘The role of the Church in times like this’.
The clerics and politicians called on critical stakeholders, particularly Christian youths and women to ensure that a candidate who values justice, righteousness, and inclusivity as well as respects the diversities inherent in the country emerges as Nigeria’s next leader in order to avoid polarising the country.
Senator Abbo said, “I am known for frankness. Sometimes, it sounds insulting to some people, because when I speak the truth in its raw form without adulteration, people say I am insulting them.
“Nevertheless, the 2023 election is a make or mar poll, especially for the Christians and for everyone who loves and values the unity of Nigeria.”
He lamented the worsening spate of insecurity in the country, saying the country may not survive the next eight years unless concerted efforts are made to pull it from the brinks.
According to him, the country is still held together only by God’s grace through the continual prayers offered in the various worship centres.
“They (terrorists) have entered Abuja. We used to think that the Federal Capital Territory is safe. That’s why many politicians no longer visit their villages again, but the bandits have entered Abuja.
“Nigeria cannot survive another eight years like this. However, the decision is for you, the youths and women, to save this nation (through the ballot).
“There is power in the hands of the Nigerian Christian youths and women to change things, particularly in the affairs of the nation.”
He urged CAN to fully activate its structures and networks ahead of the 2023 elections to ensure there is a positive change in the affairs of the nation, saying the apex Christian body already possessed the most mature and organised structures in this country.
Dogara said that the country was experiencing shame, disgrace and reproach on many fronts because many of those saddled with the country’s leadership was not doing the right thing.
He said, “I want to say emphatically that CAN’s position on the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in this country, at this moment of national peril, is not just CAN’s or that of Babachir David Lawal, whom many have accused of being the only one who has turned it into an issue.
“I believe it (the rejection of same-faith ticket) is also the Almighty’s own position, because we serve a God of justice. He is the righteous One as well as the author of diversity, and he wants us, as diverse as we are, to come together.
“So, CAN’s stance is the position of all of us (Christian political leaders) who love righteousness, justice as well as diversity and are working to harness these for the advancement of this country.
“In as much as what we are fighting for is a godly position, every other position is ungodly. There’s no middle way. It’s either you are for righteousness, justice and inclusivity or you are working against the unity of this great country.”
On his part, Ayokunle raised doubts about the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a transparent election in 2023.
“I don’t think INEC is ready for credible elections. I relocated from my former residence to a new one in the same town and reported to INEC last year, but up till now, the commission has not effected any update in my polling unit.
“I went again in February this year and was told that approval has to be given from the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja. Is Abuja in heaven?
“Many Nigerians perceive this as just a ploy by INEC to disenfranchise qualified voters. INEC should not be the problem between us and credible election in 2023”, he said.
Ahead 2027: Pro-Tinubu Group Sets Up Structures In APC
The Mandate Movement (TMM), a pro-President Bola Tinubu group in the All Progressives Congress (APC), has set up 37 structures in a bid to enlarge its membership base across the country.
The structures consist of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The national leader of the movement, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, made this known in a statement, explaining that the move became necessary for the ease of administration.
Cardinal Odunmbaku, in the statement, noted that this move was a precursor to the preparations for the 2027 general election.
He stressed that the move aims at ensuring that the APC has strong dominance across communities and towns in every part of the country.
He advised those to be appointed as state coordinators to be more effective in mobilising new people into the ruling APC.
The APC chieftain also used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, assuring that the government was taking steps to address the harsh economic challenges.
Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Acting State Chairman
The recently suspended Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Austin Agada, has been reinstated by a Makurdi High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese.
Recall that Mr Agada was earlier in the month suspended from office by another Benue High Court in Aliade presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba following an ex parte motion filed by Mr Moses Agaba against him and the APC after his Ihaje Ward I Executive in Ogbadibo Local Government Area had passed a no-confidence vote on him and also suspended him for alleged anti-party activity.
The suspension was immediately followed by the inauguration of Mr. Benjamin Omakolo from Igoro Ward, Apa LGA as the acting State Chairman during a State Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by Governor Hyacinth Alia.
However the crisis in the party took a dramatic turn Monday when Justice Ikpambese reinstated Mr. Agada while ruling on a motion by the embattled chairman seeking to set aside the interim order restraining him from parading himself as Chairman.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Moses Agaba, Mr. Johnson Usman, and that of Innocent Daagba, who appeared alongside Richard Ayilla, George Ushongo, Daniel Sorkaa and John Ifer who appeared for Mr. Agada, Justice Maurice Ikpambese vacated the order restraining him from parading self, function and acting as the Chairman of the APC in the State.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that “under Order 39, rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on February 2, 2024, it has elapsed by law.”
Justice Ikpambese nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as acting Chairman and any other appointment made from February 2, 2024.
He accordingly struck out the motion seeking to set aside the interim order of February 2, 2024, as “it has been overtaken by events.”
The matter would be assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge who would hear it on its merit.
Reacting, the APC State acting Chairman, Mr. Omakolo dismissed the reinstatement of Mr. Agada saying “whether the order restraining him (Agada) from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not, the fact that he has been suspended by his Ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC Chairman in Benue State. “And it will interest you to know that in the court ruling today, no matter concerning my person or role as the acting Chairman was mentioned.
“So, I still remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting Chairman of APC in the State.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the High Court has already been appealed. The person that took him to court has appealed the judgement because it is not correct in law for a High Court to restrain another High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction. I have long assumed office as the acting Chairman of APC in Benue State.”
There’s No Changing Bayelsa Gov’ship Result – Diri
Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the November 11, 2023, governorship election in the State has been won and lost and cannot be changed through subterranean moves of his main rival in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner of the election and presented certificates of return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on November 17, 2023.
Diri, who spoke on Monday during the first year memorial service of his late father, Pa Abraham Diri, at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, said the subpoena to the police to testify as witness at the election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, was diversionary, a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
He said the acceptable standard was the election result declared by INEC and not that of the police.
His words, “they are bringing a police report. They are bringing a police commissioner to come and testify in the election tribunal. We have crossed that bridge long ago. Just as we stopped them from rigging, we will stop them again.
“If you want to subpoena anybody, let it be INEC, which conducted the election and declared the results. The police are in charge of security.
“Let us be steadfast. Our second tenure will be better than the first.”
The governor eulogised his father for laying a solid foundation for him and his siblings.
According to him, his father was being celebrated a year after his death because he left good legacies that were speaking through him and his siblings.
He said: “His impact upon our lives, his children and relatives, is unspeakable. That is why I believe in giving the best education to children, so that whether you are alive or not, they can stand anywhere. I urge fellow Bayelsans to give their children good education.
“What we are doing today is to appreciate God and celebrate the life of our father for what he has done in our lives. Our father guided us very well. All his life was how to discipline and give what he had to society.
“Those of us in leadership as president, governors, Speakers and other positions, let us know that there is a legacy we should leave, which will speak for us when we leave this world.”
Speaking on the topic: “What will you be remembered for?” Rev. Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Izon of the Anglican Communion, noted that Pa Diri was being remembered a year after his death because he impacted positively on his children and the society.
He admonished all to live a life worth remembering by maintaining their integrity.
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