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2023: Don’t waste your votes on APC, Dogara cautions Christians

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*Says Tinubu ignored CAN’s warnings

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Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has asked Christians in Nigeria not to waste their votes by voting for the Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 election.

Mr Dogara stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at a summit tagged “Meet the Church” organised by the Nigerian National Christians Coalition (NNCC).

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The position of the former speaker was contained in a statement by his media aide, Turaki Hassan.

The APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, a Muslim from the South-west, was expected in some quarters to pick a Christian northerner as his running mate to balance his ticket.

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However, the former Lagos State governor opted for Kashim Shettima, a Muslim and former Borno State governor, as his running mate.

Mr Tinubu had justified the choice of Mr Shettima as a matter of competence.

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Since the announcement of Mr Shettima as running mate, Mr Dogara and some other Christian Northern APC leaders, including a former secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal, and Elisha Abbo, a senator representing Adamawa North, have openly expressed opposition to the ticket.

Perhaps, to address the grievances of Christians, Mr Tinubu appointed Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, a northern Christian, as the director general of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

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Mr Dogara said Mr Tinubu did not only ignore the advice of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) against the same faith ticket but also dismissed it.

He said the church must be awakened from its complacency and resist the decision of the ruling party.

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“Every Christian knows that our God does not tolerate waste. It is unchristian for the church to waste anything given to us from above as we own nothing except what is given to us from above,” Mr Dogara said.

“These warnings were not only ignored but dismissed in one fell swoop by the APC presidential candidate who strangely believes that he can build a strong, secure and viable nation-state without first forging a shared identity, vision and values for our people thereby enabling us transit from citizens of a country into a nation of people with strong shared identity and values.”

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Mr Dogara said the fact that some Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders condemned the same faith ticket shows that the church is right to have opposed the ticket.

He noted that it is a good omen that elites are united in opposing the same faith ticket presented by the ruling party.

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“To demonstrate that the church is right, it is not alone in condemning the same faith ticket, other prominent Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders have also spoken in the same light.

“It is a good omen that both Christian and Muslim elites are not complacent over this matter. To this end, it will be easy to generate the needed elite consensus that is key to nation-building.

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All nations are built by elite consensus while all countries that failed at nation-building were destroyed by elite complacency.

“Granted that the Christians and Muslims will always disagree on some issues, there are, however, many things over which we are agreeable. It is enough to forge ahead with the task of nation-building based on those common issues we agree on.

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“It must be noted that just as Muslims alone cannot build a nation out of Nigeria so also Christians alone cannot. We have to work together on “nation formations,” he said.

He charged the church to awaken from the “beast of complacency” and resist the same faith ticket.

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Politics

2023: Election Campaign starts on Wednesday as INEC lifts ban

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Another political transition in Nigeria is in the offing as political campaigns for the 2023 general election commence officially tomorrow.

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This entails that candidates contesting in the general polls can now seek votes formally from Wednesday, September 28, in line with the time table released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Accordingly, officials of INEC and leaders of the 18 registered political parties will meet in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, to discuss ways to ensure issue-based campaigns that will lead to violence-free polls next year.

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2023 Polls: Afenifere shuns Tinubu, declares support for Peter Obi

Ohanaeze, Obi
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Apex Yoruba group, Afenifere has declared support for the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, as the next President of Nigeria.

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The leader of the group, Ayo Adebanjo, made the declaration on Monday at a press conference in Lagos.

The group leader said both South-West and South-South have tasted the presidency which produced Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

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Adebanjo explained that the body of Yoruba leaders decided after agreeing that the South-East was yet to have a fair share of the presidency.

Afenifere stated that it would support equity and fairness above ethnic affiliation in reference to All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu.

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Obi, from South East and a former governor of Anambra State, is running under the Labour (LP).

The 62-year-old popularity has since surged, with huge followership among youths across the country.

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Apart from Tinubu, Obi will face Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) next February.

Afenifere’s open support is the first endorsement by a leading sociopolitical group in Nigeria ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

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Full text of Adebanjo’s speech:

“Before the political parties conducted their primaries, a journalist asked what is my view about the 2023 general election? I answered and said the country should be restructured before the general election, and he followed up by asking if there should be an election, which zone should the Presidency come from? And I unhesitatingly said, of course, the South East.

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“After the primaries and the candidates emerge with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South West, APC, Atiku Abubakar on the platform of PDP and Peter Obi on the platform of Labour Party and I announced Afenifere’s support for Peter Obi, not a few Yoruba leaders question why I should be supporting Peter Obi a candidate of Igbo extraction against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba.

“I took my time to explain that the presidency is not a contest between the Yorubas and the Igbos and to a large extent I was able to convince many.

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But ever since social media has been filled with comments tending to ethnicize the campaign instead of making it issue-based.

Afenifere has therefore decided to address you today and through you educate the public on the ideological and equitable principles which have influenced our decision.

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“Let me state here for the benefit of those who may not know that Afenifere is the Yoruba interpretation of the social welfarist ideology of Action Group, a political party founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues in 1951 with strong advocacy for federalism as the best form of government to give the federating units the requisite autonomy to thrive and peacefully compete among themselves for the ultimate development of Nigeria.

“The system was eventually agreed to by our founding fathers, Sir Ahmad Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and endorsed by the Colonial Secretary, Sir Oliver Littleton in 1954 and embodied in the 1960 independence constitution.

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This is the modest contribution of Afenifere in shaping Nigeria into a federation where no person or ethnic nationality is oppressed.

“In the countdown to the 2023 General elections, long before the parties conducted their Conventions to elect their National Executives and candidates, we had insisted and still advocate restructuring before the elections proposing a synthesis of the identical Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the APC El Rufai 2018 True Federalism Committee. We did this as Afenifere and on the wider spectrum of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF).

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“We did this, when politicians, in spite of the monumental crises confronting the nation, carried on as if the attainment of power was all that mattered, the SMBLF unanimously proposed that the minimum condition for a peaceful transition from the disastrous 8 years of Buhari’s government headed by a President of northern extraction was to have the next President from the South.

“This position was also supported by all the southern governors, irrespective of their political parties at a meeting held in Asaba, Delta State.

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Incidentally, this North/South consideration which is at the very root of our amalgamated federation is also the most important testament of all political parties in Nigeria.

The principle of federal character enshrined in the constitution dictates that the government of the federation or any part thereof shall not be concentrated in any ethnic group or a combination of such groups.

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“It is, therefore, preposterous to adopt this principle for employment in public service admissions in educational institutions, political appointment, the composition of the executive committee of a political party only to jettison it in the most important question of rulership of the federation.

In this quest for peace, based on equity and inclusiveness, the Yoruba took the first turn at the zoning arrangement in 1999, and that led to the emergence of Chief Obasanjo, the current Vice President is a Yoruba man and equity forbids us for presuming to support another Yoruba person for the presidency in 2023.

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“The current President is a Fulani from the Northwest and by virtue of the zoning arrangement that has governed Nigeria since 1999, power is supposed to return to the south imminently.

The southwest as I have pointed out has produced a president and currently sits as VP, the South-South has spent a total of 6years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.

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“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalize and exclude them from the power dynamic.

Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back, he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.

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“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate.

It is on this same principle, we condemn the PDP for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim who will soon complete 8 years of uneventful and disastrous rule. One can imagine such a high degree of political insensitivity.

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“On our part, we are certainly not alien to sacrificing personal interests in the quest for a National coalition to put Nigeria on the proper pedestal.

In this regard, the starting point is Southern solidarity for which we first enacted a handshake across Niger, which had dovetailed to the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum.

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“We enjoin the labour movement, students, youth organisations, women associations, and every institution whose foundation is built on fairness and justice to join hands in this task of enthroning a democratic government by supporting Peter Obi.

If we are sincere and honest about keeping Nigeria together in peace, the slogan henceforth should be ‘To keep Nigeria one, everyone should be Obi/Datti compliant.’

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“In the final analysis, let it be said that we have no apologies but due courage of our conviction that Nigeria can only prosper in righteousness.

For me, in the twilight of my sojourn on earth at 94, it is too late to derail me on the track of true federalism and National inclusiveness on which I have travelled for over 70 years of my life as one of the few surviving initial prophets, I prefer to ascend on a chariot of fire, fueled by justice and equity.”

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BREAKING: Fresh crisis brews in APC as NWC rejects campaign council list

Osun, APC
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National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has disassociated itself from the recently released comprehensive Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) list.

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NWC hinged its decision on several factors, ranging from its failure to give final approval to the list, to the collapse in the consultations between the eggheads of the presidential campaign council and the three man Committee set up by the NWC to harmonise the list.

A member of the NWC, who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja, argued that for the fact that the PCC released the list instead of the national leadership of the party confirms that something is fundamentally wrong with the list.

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Meanwhile, the PCC has defended the exclusion of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in the list, announcing that it was not an indication that something is amiss within the family of the APC.

“Nothing can be farther from the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari, is the Chairman of the Campaign Council.
As a result, President has specifically directed that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha should be left out of the Campaign Council to concentrate on the governance of the country and administration of Government.

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“As a responsible party and government, all the key functionaries of government cannot abandon their positions for electioneering campaigns.

The APC has the mandate of the Nigerian people to administer the country on their behalf at least till May, 29, 2023, and this we intend to do with all sense of responsibility.

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“We will not toe the path of those who governed the country in an irresponsible manner before us and our Party is not in total disarray like those who wish to ‘rescue’ the country, but cannot simply manage their own internal affairs,” the statement signed by the PCC spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, read.

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