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2023: Retrogressive Elements Frustrating PDP’s Quest For Presidency – Integrity Group

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The five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), known as the ‘Integrity Group’ have again in Abia State blamed some people that they called retrogressive elements frustrating the party’s chances of winning the 2023 presidential election.

On Wednesday’s night, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike led the governors of Benue, Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) to Abia State ahead of the flag-off of campaign of the State’s chapter of the PDP.

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They were received on arrival by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State Governor, who after the welcome formalities, organised a gala night event for them in his country home, Umuobiakwa.

He treated them to delectable rich cultural performances, music rendition, dances, and comedy. The Integrity Governors also had their session and danced.

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Traditional Rulers of Obiakwa, led by the Chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM Eze Joseph Ndubuisi Nwabeke made special presentation to the five governors. Some of the items included traditional wrappers, warrior matchet plus prayers said on them.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Dr. Samuel Ortom, reiterated that they are committed members of the PDP.

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He stressed that as governors of States controlled by the PDP, they are working assiduously while deploying political strategies, to make sure that the party is delivered in their States during the 2023 election.

“All our States from Abia to Rivers, to Oyo to Enugu, to Benue, all of us are PDP States, and we are very strong in all these States, and we are committed to our party.

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“We have teamed together to build this party to make it very strong and our intention was that we will take over governance in 2023 and build Nigeria again from bottom to top.”

Governor Ortom noted the enormous encouragement, support and leadership that governor Wike has provided the group in its battle against forces that are frustrating the PDP from winning the 2023 election.

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He said, the five governors are men of integrity who believe in equity, fairness and justice will never succumb to any intimidation.

“One notable person that has made this party what it is, is governor Wike. Since he joined PDP, he has never left PDP.

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“In 2015, when I was denied the ticket, l left, went to APC and grab the governor, came back to PDP, because PDP is home.

“So, we appreciate PDP. It is the platform we are working for in our various States. We are not going to be intimated. We appreciate the traditional rulers. You charged us not to be intimidated but stand for the truth. That is what we stand for.”

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Governor Ortom expressed regret that some of those who were part of the accord on the demand that the next Nigeria’s president should be a southerner eventually “chickened out”.

“Unfortunately, enemies of progress came in. Because one thing that we believed as men of integrity, as men who believed in equity, fairness and justice was our resolve.

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“All of us and many others who chickened out, especially from the South resolved that after eight years of rule in the North, we all know that in the unwritten constitution of this country, that it was only right for the sake of justice and equity that presidency should come from the South. And that is what we have stood for.”

Ortom said further, “Unfortunately, we have found ourselves where we are. But, we told ourselves, we are not going to leave the PDP. You cannot build a house and when a snake creeps into your house, do you abandon that house and run away to go and build another one?”

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In his welcome address, the Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu informed that the Integrity Governors think, operate and execute their strategies and programmes in one accord.

He noted that beyond, their States, which they support mutually ahead of the 2023 elections, they are beefing up firm support for the PDP in Cross River where the moral tenets of equity, fairness and justice are deeply rooted.

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“We have come under serious attack and very serious propaganda from all quarters but we are undeterred. We are determined to stand firm for the truth and soon, as the needful is done, I assure you that all of us will work assiduously to make sure that PDP wins election in 2023.”

Dr. Ikpeazu asserted that Nigeria is in dire strait and the Integrity Governors understand what should be done, which is why they are putting the right feet forward with a conviction that the country must be rescued.

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“What we are preaching is not about our individual comfort but rather for you to see that we are saying the truth, laying a solid foundation for Nigerians today, and for our children in the future.

“I am an incurable optimist and I believe that soon, the voice of reason will sound in the ears of those who are yet to realize and see the wisdom behind our position and the things we are saying.”

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Doyin Okupe was broke when he joined Obi’s campaign; stole N100 million party funds: Ogun LP

Okupe
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The Labour Party in Ogun State insists that expelled member Doyin Okupe was financially handicapped before joining the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

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Party executives, Michael Ashade and Abayomi Arambambi, claimed on Saturday that Mr Okupe went on to steal N100 million campaign funds after joining the PCC.

Mr Ashade, state party chairman, said they were levelling charges of “financial impropriety” against Mr Okupe who until his expulsion served as the PCC’s director general.

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Mr Arambabi said Mr Okupe initially lobbied to be made the state party chairman on the basis of using the position to raise money for Mr Obi’s presidential campaign.

“He came to ask us at the initial stage that we should give him state chairman so that he would be able to mobilise funds for the party,” asserted Mr Arambabi, Ogun state’s Labour Party spokesperson, on Arise TV Saturday morning.

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In response to questions about whether Mr Okupe had actually given the Labour Party four million naira, Mr Arambabi revealed that the expelled member – who always complained about Mr Obi’s tightfisted nature – said he also had no money to contribute to the party.

“Let’s be very categorical here: Dr Okupe does not have any N4 million to spend on Labour Party,” said the Ogun state party spokesperson.

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He challenged Mr Okupe to “come here to tell us how much he gave to the 24 members of the state executive. He complained about Mr Obi, it was on the record, that he doesn’t give him money, so he has no money to give.”

The state’s spokesperson further disclosed that Mr Okupe had not given the party a “kobo” in the past seven months.

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“He has not committed his kobo to that party for seven months. It was when he started campaigning for Peter Obi that he came to us to say that he has some money to spend into the Labour Party,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Okupe did not immediately respond to calls and messages of enquiry seeking comments on the matter.

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Tinubu Accuses Arise TV Of Blackmail Over Townhall Meeting

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Kayode Sanni Arewa

The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has again said he would not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday.

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Tinubu said Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against him, stressing that he doesn’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.

The APC presidential flag-bearer vowed not to participate at the town hall meeting slated for Sunday, and any other Arise News may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.

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The two-term former governor of Lagos State said this via a statement issued on Saturday by the Director, Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga.

Onanuga said Tinubu has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria, noting that the APC presidential candidate has already departed Nigeria and would be at Chatham House in London on Monday, where he will speak on Security, Economy, and Foreign Policy.

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He stated: “We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.

“We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.

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“While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.

“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.

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“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election. We want to equally stress that Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against Asiwaju Tinubu and we don’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.

“The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.

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“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.

“We seize this opportunity to warn our spokesmen and supporters to steer clear of this station over its consistent unprofessionalism and bias against our candidate and party,” the statement read.

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Gov Yahaya Bello visits Wike in Rivers

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By Francesca Iwambe

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Governor Yahaya Bello, of Kogi State has paid a visit to his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, at his private residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Friday night.

Bello, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is the most recent high-ranking politician to pay a visit to Governor Wike’s Rumuepriokom home.

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The purpose or outcome of the visit, however, was not disclosed to journalists after both governors concluded their closed-door meeting.

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