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*VP to delegates: I’m well prepared for the job, choose the right leadership

*Visits scene of Kano explosion, condoles with victims, families

*You’re a loyal, committed deputy to President Buhari, a successful vice president – Gov Ganduje to VP

Nigeria has all it takes to become a truly great nation more than it is now, and efforts must be made to choose the best leadership for the country in the 2023 elections, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this yesterday during his meeting with stakeholders and delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State, continuing his nationwide consultations.

Earlier Tuesday morning in Abuja, the Vice President was formally presented with the award for Leadership Person of the Year 2021 at this year’s Leadership Newspapers’ Annual Conference and Awards ceremony.

Before he proceeded to the venue of his interaction with the APC delegates and stakeholders in Kano, the Vice President stopped by the scene of Tuesday morning's explosion in Sabon Gari area of the State, to commiserate with the families of victims and people of the State.

During his interactions with APC stakeholders, the VP observed that the delegates can make the difference in setting the country on the right course for 2023 while emphasizing his capacity and readiness to make a difference as president if elected.

“Nigeria can be really truly greater than this. We have everything to be great. Anything that you want in this country, you can get it. But we must make the efforts ourselves to choose the right leadership. All I can say to you is that your role as delegates, is important, especially in the coming primaries and elections

“All the experience that God has given me, having served as Vice President for seven years, is so that when the opportunity arises, I will use it for the service of this country. I am very well prepared for the job. And you are the people that are going to make that difference. You and I working together can make a difference in this country.”

Noting that Nigeria has the potential to be among the greatest countries in the world, the VP said, “If God helps me and I become president, we will change this country for good.”

Speaking at the explosion scene earlier, Prof. Osinbajo condoled with the governor and people of Kano over what he described as a very sad and unfortunate development.

Commiserating with the families of victims and the injured, the VP said, “we are here just to say how deeply regrettable this incident is, and to pray that the Lord God Almighty will comfort the families of all of those who have lost their lives.  And to say that the peace and security of all individuals and all residents in our States are the responsibility of all.  We pray that this sort of terrible incident will not repeat itself.”

Prof. Osinbajo received a warm welcome to the State on arrival by the State Governor, Umar Ganduje, and other State government officials, as well as an exuberant reception from residents on his way to the venue and at the venue of the delegates' meeting.

The VP’s convoy was heralded on the streets of Kano, amid singing, dancing and supporters hailing the Buhari administration and the VP. Residents waved and supporters lifted their banners, everyone in a joyful mood as the VP acknowledged cheers every step of the way and at every stop with an impressive turnout everywhere.

Welcoming the VP to the State, Governor Ganduje described him as a “committed second in command” and loyal deputy to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Having been a deputy governor for 8 years and now governor for seven years, I know it all, what it takes to be a deputy. I congratulate you for being a successful deputy of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” said the Governor.

Advocating for zoning, the Kano State Governor added that Nigeria’s next president in 2023 should come from the Southern part of the country. “We believe in that and respect that and we shall vote for that.”

*“Your Excellency, thank you for coming to Kano, which I can say is your home, because you have visited here several times," the Governor said.

Similarly, the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, added that the vice president is renowned for his commitment, dedication, and for patriotism.

“Above all, we have known Osinbajo for loyalty. He is a loyal deputy to our own father, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is, therefore, my wish that Allah will continue to guide you, protect you, and keep the APC united,” Doguwa stated.

The Vice President also visited the homes of the revered late nationalist, elder statesman and politician, Mallam Aminu Kano, and Alhaji Yusuf Ali, former ANPP  Chairman.

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Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed

Bauchi State Governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant Bala Mohammed yesterday said the success of Amotekun in the Southwest has dispelled the fear of restructuring.

He and Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal were in Gombe to lobby for PDP delegates’ support.

Mohammed said if elected President, he would embark on restructuring that will ensure devolution of power to the states and the local government to improve the quality of lives of the people.

“Some of these issues of mistrust and suspicion will be done away with if we discuss. Let’s take for example, the state police.

“It has nothing to do with shortchanging any section of the country; it is just about delegating power to the states.

“It has been done in the Southwest. The Amotekun is improving their quality of life. What has it got to do with encroachment on the power of the federation? Nothing.

“In fact it will reinforce the structure of the federal government because it will make life and property safe and secured and it will not remove anything from the federal government,” he said.

He said as a bureaucrat, he will bring his experience to bear, in terms of making good policies and programmes and will not be doing it blindfolded because he is tested and trusted.

Mohammed said: “I will bring policies and programmes that will create wealth, that will open up the economy, and that will look inward, rather than outward.

“That is what we need and I will do that with humility and with tact and knowledge.”

On the separatist agitations, Bala said he would make them see the futility of breaking away from the country.

“I will make them contribute even more to the centre. I will restructure the country, reinvent the country, reconstruct the country. In the sense that the periphery will be powerful,” he said.

Tambuwal said if elected as president, he would ensure protection of lives and property.

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives Speaker spoke at the PDP secretariat in Gombe.

“I have provided all that needed to be provided for security agencies. So far, I have provided over 500 vehicles for the security agencies.

“Whatever support they require we give them. Under my leadership (as president), I will do all that it takes to support security services in the states.”

Tambuwal said as one who has transversed various communities in Nigeria, he has the magic wand to turn things around for the better.

“Poverty is all over and it is ravaging our land; we have the men, women, youth, we have the human resource and in Gombe we have the natural resources in abundance.

“Why are we wasting time to explore the oil that we have in Gombe and so many resources that we have underneath?

“Why are we not utilising the Dadin-Kowa dam that can generate hydro-electric,” Tambuwal said.
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Chief Rotimi Amaechi

An All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, has promised to grow the nation’s economy by revamping the agricultural sector if he wins the primary and gets elected in 2023.

Amaechi, the immediate past Minister of Transportation, in a statement, said one of the woes of the nation’s economy was the shift from agriculture by successive governments to service economy.

He spoke at a consultative meeting with delegates of the APC in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

He also met with the State Governor Abdullahi Sule to inform him of his plans to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Amaechi, a revamped sector will in turn help in creating wealth and employment opportunities for the masses.

“I will fight to change the economy by focusing on agriculture. I will also invest in the manufacturing and productive industries.

“The problem of Nigeria is that we moved into the service industry and we have refused to pay attention to production.

“So, you see somebody producing chicken, he doesn’t have a processing factory, he doesn’t have an abatoir that will kill the chicken, process it and sell it as a finished product.

“If you have a processing factory you will employ more hands. So, we will depend on states like Nasarawa that have very high level of practice in agriculture, and that will change the face of Nasarawa State,” Amaechi said.

Amaechi further appealed to the delegates to shun politicians with deceitful tendencies who would come to them for votes.

He appealed that they (delegates) should consider his (Amaechi’s) track record of achievements over the years in public service and vote for him for a better Nigeria.

“I have come to beg you to elect me because you are the most important politicians now in APC. Don’t be deceived by politicians who would come here to speak English.

“I have worked with two of your governor.  I have the capacity to deliver. Check my work in the ministry of transportation, I delivered Abuja-Kaduna railway.

“I started the  Kano-Kaduna railway, I started the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, I completed the Warri-Itakpe railway and completed the Lagos-Ibadan railway.

“I changed the face of the maritime sector, so I am tested and I am trusted. All I can say to you is to go out on that day and vote for me,” Amaechi said.

Earlier at the Government House, Lafia, Amaechi recounted his achievements as Rivers Governor in the area of security, noting that he would replicate the feat if elected.

Responding, Gov. Sule, who extolled the virtues of the former Minister, said, “Sir, you don’t have to sell yourself to me at all. I may know you more than you think I do.

“One introduction about you that was not done is the doggedness of who you are, you are a dogged fighter.

“You fought to emerge as the chairman of the governor’s forum,  you fought to become the Rivers Governor,  everything about you, you fought to get them.

“So, today you are fighting to be the President of Nigeria, I wish you well.  The most amazing thing is the intimidating team you have been able to put together, a lot of people in your team are well known to me.

“And one thing about our party is that we have competent aspirants and I was happy when you mentioned that even among the aspirants in the party you are the most competent,”  Sule said.

Politicians and associates who accompanied the former Minister included Sen. Ayogu Eze; former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; former DG NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside and former Acting Governor of Abia, Stanley Ohajuru.
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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has visited Kaduna in furtherance to his campaigns, seeking delegates and peoples support in actualising his ambition of becoming Nigeria’s president in the coming 2023 elections.

Abubakar, interacting with the Peoples Democratic Party’s delegates on Tuesday at the party’s secretariat, promised to address issues of power devolution to states and local government areas (LGAs).

He explained that the Federal Government was over burdened and too strong, which he believed by devolving power to states and LGAs, would ease its pressure and ensure effective administration.

“There is need for powers and resources to be devolved to states and LGAs for them to effectively do their work.

“My view is for the Federal Government to be small in size,” Abubakar said.

He promised to work with state governors, national and state assemblies that would be elected, to amend the constitution for more powers and resources to states and LGAs.

He also promised to end insecurity and revive Nigeria’s economy through resuscitating moribund industries.

He urged the delegates to support him in the primary elections.

On behalf of the PDP elders, former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, said PDP believed Atiku had the ability to deliver Nigeria.
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Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has promised to navigate Nigeria’s way to prosperity, if elected in 2023.

Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, made the pledge on Tuesday in Ilorin while addressing Kwara delegates at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Ilorin.

“We are coming up with a lot of programmes, just make me your President. I know better how to do it. I know the way. I can navigate the way to prosperity for people and the nation.

“I can mentor your children for a progressive future. It’s your turn to produce the President. We’ll succeed in this one.

“You have shown me love and that you’ve made up your mind to give me your support.

“I’m here to show appreciation for your support. You have responded to the governor when he asked you where you would stand and you chorused your endorsement.

“I am just too thrilled. I appreciate your endorsement of my ambition,” Tinubu said.

He also promised to settle the lingering political crisis among factions in the state chapter of the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that members of the APC in Kwara have been embroiled in crisis since the inauguration of the present administration in 2019.

Tinubu appealed to all aggrieved members of the party to sheathe their swords for an amicable resolution of the crisis.

“We will settle the crisis. This is a family affair. We call on all aggrieved members to sheathe their swords and come back to the fold. We will settle it as soon as possible,” he said.

He appreciated the APC members in the state for endorsing him as their preferred choice, saying that he will not disappoint them if given the mandate.

Tinubu was received by the governor, his deputy, the three serving APC senators from the state, the state and federal lawmakers, among other personalities and party chieftains.

Earlier, Tinubu had earlier visited the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, in his palace.

The APC presidential aspirant, who commended Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara for leading a progressive government, promised to work with him to win a second-term ticket.

“The governor, a private person recommitted himself and became a politician that came to rescue the state and put the state on the path of recovery. It’s sure that he would be returned.

“We’ll continue to work together. Never will Kwara State slide back into the hands of termites. We know how to do it,” he said.

On his part, AbdulRazaq thanked Tinubu for being a worthy instrument that made it possible to take power at the centre from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“This is the first visit of the APC national leader after my inauguration as governor.

“We can’t thank you enough for helping us to take over power in the state. One good turn deserves another.

“It’s not about money, it’s about commitment. We thank you once again. Asiwaju, we’re very grateful.

“You’re different from some other presidential aspirants in another party from the state. Now, we are in good standing from the mess inherited from the past government in education, health, workers’ welfare and so on.

“Asiwaju did well in Lagos and captured the whole of South West. Do you remember how he fought Obasanjo. With Buhari he captured the whole of Nigeria,” he said.
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Senator Bola Tinubu

Former Lagos state governor and Presidential hopeful on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Tinubu has concluded plans to dump the ruling party, if the May 30 primaries are schemed against him, an associate of the former Lagos state government has said.

The associate who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Vanguard that the development was the reason former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal stated recently that Tinubu had plan B if APC primaries are manipulated against him.

Although, he noted that APC remains the primary platform Tinubu intends to actualize his dream of presiding over the affairs of the nation; other options including the SDP would be explored if the primaries come short of transparency and credibility.

“It is too early to ask if Asiwaju would leave the APC for another party. He is a big factor in APC, a party he helped formed, financed and nurtured into what it is today. We are not unaware of recent developments and attempts to insult a man who has paid his dues in the political evolution of this country. But that is not important for now. What I can tell you is that our leader, like other contestants, is looking forward to a credible process that would lead to the emergence of our flag bearer. But if that process is compromised, I can tell you for free that we will encourage him to explore other options.

“Yes, a lot has been said about SDP and Asiwaju. When we get to that bridge, we will cross it. SDP offered him a platform to become a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria years ago but for now, he is in APC and will remain there until circumstance dictates otherwise,” he said.

Tinubu is gunning for the sole ticket of the party alongside other formidable contestants such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonayya Onu, Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello among others. In an interview with the media a few months ago, President Muhammadu Buhari had said that he would not reveal the identity of his preferred successor, lest he be eliminated.

Only recently APC chieftain and until recently a Presidential aspirant, Moses Ayom called on Babachir Lawal to withdraw his comment on Tinubu’s possible defection, labelling same as a threat to the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee, saying “right now, the NWC is the leadership of the APC and it should be given all kinds of support to succeed. The idea of indirectly threatening the NWC that Tinubu has another option if he is not given ticket should not arise at all. As a committed APC leader from the Middle-Belt, I call on Babachir to withdraw the comments and apologize to the party immediately.”
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*Nigeria needs a President in 2023 with experience - VP

*You're a visionary leader, Kwara Governor to Vice President

In a display of their admiration and support of his aspiration, the people and residents of Kwara State on Monday lined up the streets, all the way from Ilorin airport to welcome Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN to the State.

Prof. Osinbajo was in Ilorin yesterday in continuation of his consultations and interactions with delegates and stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the party Presidential primaries on May 30.

The boisterous crowds were at the airport, on the streets, at the Emir's palace and at the venue of the Vice President's meeting with the delegates, singing, dancing and many bursting out in delighted surprise on citing the VP inside the Coaster bus that conveyed him and the State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

At several points, the Vice President’s convoy stopped briefly as the VP acknowledged cheers from the excited residents and groups displaying banners, showing support for the VP, much like in a festive mood.

On his arrival at the State capital, the VP's first port of call was to pay courtesy to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Dr. Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, to get the royal blessings and to also formally inform him (the Emir) personally of his aspiration to run for President in the 2023 elections.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that he is running for President because he believes the country needs a leader who has the experience and would be able to get the job done right from day one when sworn in on May 29, 2023 by God’s grace.

“Everything that has been given to me by way of knowledge and experience has been given to me by the grace of God and by the benevolence of this same country that we owe so much. So, this is why I am running for the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am mindful of the challenges that we have…, but I believe that the time comes for steadiness in resolving these issues. This is not the time for experimenting,” the VP stated.

He also thanked the Emir for his warm hospitality, his counsel and great affection over the years, even as he prayed for the Emir’s long life, peace and prosperity of his kingdom.

While receiving the VP, the Emir lauded the credentials of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo saying his track record is something to be proud of.

According to the Emir "your track record is something to be proud of, your track record is enough to give you success," adding that the VP has what it takes to do the job. The Emir then prayed for his success, while noting that the VP has a lot ahead of him.

"May God guide you and protect you,” the Emir prayed as he encouraged the VP saying, "we know you can do it."

The VP was accompanied to the Emir’s Palace by the Kwara State Governor Abdulrazaq, who had earlier received him, alongside other state government officials, at the Ilorin airport.

In the same vein, Governor Abdulrazaq praised the VP for his leadership qualities and for championing the welfare of ordinary Nigerians, including his role in supervising the Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari administration.

Noting that the SIPs have positively impacted the lives of many Nigerians across the country, the Governor said the Vice President is a man with great vision.

During his interaction with the APC delegates and stakeholders later on, the Vice President restated that, "today our country requires some experience (to run), it is not just enough to have capacity. You must also be able to hit the ground running from day one because we don’t have time. Our country now needs everything it can get to make sure that we are able to make progress quickly.”

Prof. Osinbajo further stated that "the only reason I am running is to serve this country. And I will be completely transparent and honest. And I will do the work, God helping me, every single day without any other desire but to make sure that our country succeeds.”

The Vice President urged delegates to make their choices with utmost consideration about "the destiny of our children. "This is (about) our future," he added.

His interaction with the delegates and stakeholders featured mainly a question and answer session where the Vice President responded to the many questions and comments of the stakeholders. He also took time to snap one-on-one photos with all the stakeholders present as has been the case in every one of his meetings in all the States.

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied adjusting the timetable for its primaries for the 2023 General Elections.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, made the denial in a statement on Monday, urging the public to ignore reports making rounds on social media.

“Our attention has been drawn to a story of purported adjustment to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Timetable/ Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Elections which is making the rounds on social media,” the statement read in part. “The story should be disregarded as fake news.”

Morka said the party’s activities for the 2023 elections would hold as earlier scheduled.

According to him, the governorship primaries will hold on Friday, May 20, 2022; state house of assembly – Sunday, May 22; House of Representative – Tuesday, May 24; Senate – Wednesday, May 25 and Presidential – Monday, May 30 to June 1, 2022.

Morka added that any change to the schedule would be communicated via the party’s official channels.

Based on the schedule released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 general elections, all political parties are to have held their primaries by June 3.
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Aminu Tambuwal

Ahead of the May 29 presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a presidential aspirant, Aminu Tambuwal has wooed Niger delegates, pledging an all-inclusive government if elected as Nigeria’s President in 2023.

Addressing PDP delegates in Niger State on Tuesday, Tambuwal, who is also the Sokoto State Governor, said he will ensure that all the 774 local government areas in the country benefit from his administration should he succeed President Muhammadu Buhari next year.

The governor stated that he possesses the requisite experience and qualities of being a unifier, adding that his records in the House of Representatives can testify to the fact that he has the capacity to bring Nigerians together to enhance the development.

Regretting that Nigeria is divided along ethnic and religious lines, Tambuwal advised the electorates to vote for someone that has the confidence and technical know-how as well as the tenacity of purpose to move the country to a greater height.

He described the commissioning of the Baro Port by President Muhammadu Buhari as dubious, saying “Buhari played you 419.”

On his part, the PDP Chairman in Niger State, Tanko Beji, noted that they will only consider presidential aspirants that visited them in Minna as a mark of respect during the party primaries in Abuja.
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Members of the APC screening committee in Abuja.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday inaugurated Screening Committees for State House of Assembly aspirants across the 36 states of the federation.

This is coming about two weeks before the conduct of the party’s primary elections slated for May 30 ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The committee, inaugurated by APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, is in charge of elections of the ward and state delegates that will elect governorship candidates and the presidential candidate of the party.

According to members of the committee, there are over 3,000 aspirants contesting for state house of assembly seats.
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Senator Orji Uzor Kalu

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has said that nine aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are seeking to bear the party’s flag in the 2023 presidential election, are ready to step down for Senate President Ahmed Lawan. 

Kalu disclosed this on Monday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“I want to tell you, I have spoken to nine candidates running for president, and they are ready, already discussing to step down for Ahmed Lawan,” the lawmaker stated.

Adding that he has told them to come with him and meet with the Senate President as to negotiate face to face.

While refusing to list the names of the candidates in question, Kalu said he is certain that the candidates are ready to quit the race for Senator Lawan, and will bring along all their delegates.

Kalu who is also Chief Whip of the the Senate, further noted that he cannot tell what the negotiations and demands of the other candidates will be when they meet with Lawan, however, he quashed the suggestion that the Senate President will refund each individual the 100 million naira which they paid to obtain their nomination forms.

“I made that one clear to them, nobody is returning any money to anyone” Senator Kalu buttressed.

Chickened Out? 

When asked if he chickened out of the presidential race just so he could become the running mate to Ahmed Lawan, the former Abia State governor replied with a “No!”.

“It is not true, I have already purchased my Senate form, I am very happy being in the Senate,” Kalu argued.

He added that what Nigeria needs at this time is leadership, and that that quality can be found in the candidate which he has adopted.

“I have known him since 41-years-ago, we were roommates at the university, he is strong enough to give the Nigerian people what they are looking for.”

Speaking further on the qualities Lawan possesses, Kalu went on to say that the Senate President played a vital role in stabilizing the Nigerian parliament, ensuring that several highly important bills were passed, a standard which he says will be replicated when Senator Lawan is voted in as President of the Federation.

Southerners Betrayed the South East

In defending his resolve to stand down his presidential ambition, Kalu said he has all it takes but does not have the delegates and the numbers from the South East, adding sadly that the South South and the South West betrayed the Igbos.

“We have supported South West, we supported President Obasanjo, we supported Vice President Osinbajo, we supported Vice President Jonathan for five years and we supported President Jonathan for 6 years, why can’t they support us?” the lawmaker bitterly questioned.

Kalu reiterated his earlier stand which is that if the presidency is not zoned to the South East in the ruling party, then let the North East have the mandate.

“Any southerner that is not from South East and is coming to run for president is a betrayer, they are the ones betraying us,” the parliamentarian submitted.

Nevertheless, the Senator went on to assert that the Igbos are wiser now than ever before. He further remarked that nobody can make the Southeasterners quarrel with the North.

“To be President of Nigeria, it is advantageous to be with the North, so I am not pretending about it,” he stressed.

The Chief Whip in his recapitulation maintained that if the 2023 presidency will not be given to the South East, then it would only make sense that the North East gets the position.
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A file photo of Senator Kalu and Ahmed Lawan.

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has re-echoed his support for Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s presidential ambition, noting that he is ready to be a “sweeper” at the Presidential Villa if the dream becomes a reality. 

The Senate Chief Whip said this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“With Ahmed Lawan, I am ready to be the sweeper of the place (Aso Rock). I don’t need to have a position if Ahmed Lawan is the president,” the former Abia State governor noted.

“I can sweep the Villa; my house is very close to the Villa. I can be the sweeper of the Villa; it is just a stone’s throw. I am not joking.”

According to the former governor, Lawan’s presidential ambition is gathering steam with some candidates ready to step down for the Senate President.

“I want to tell you, I have spoken to nine candidates running for president, and they are ready, already discussing to step down for Ahmed Lawan,” the lawmaker added.

Kalu, who said Nigeria needs strong leadership, believes that Lawan is the one that can give the country such.

“I have known him 41 years ago,” the Senator said. “We were roommates at the university. He is strong enough to give the Nigerian people what they are looking for.”

As far as he is concerned the Senate President played a vital role in stabilizing the Nigerian parliament. He said several bills have been passed by the lawmakers under Lawan’s leadership, a development Kalu said will be replicated at the Presidential level if Lawan wins.

While defending his decision to step down from his presidential race, he reiterated that the position ought to be zoned to the South East.

“We have supported South West. We supported President Obasanjo, we supported Vice President Osinbajo, we supported Vice President Jonathan for five years and we supported President Jonathan for six years. Why can’t they support us?” he asked.

“Any southerner that is not from South East and is coming to run for president is a betrayer. They are the ones betraying us.”
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Peter Obi

A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi has pledged to turn Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing economy if he is elected the president of the country in the 2023 presidential election.

Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State, made the pledge when he met with PDP delegates in Kaduna State to solicit for their support and vote during the forthcoming primary.

Addressing the delegates, Obi who lamented the rising insecurity in the country, said his administration will tackle insecurity by pulling millions of citizens out of poverty through job creation and providing a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

He also said that his administration will revive the moribund textile industries that used to be one of the nation’s revenue earner and also improve the agricultural sector for farmers in the north through the provision of incentives and other farming implements to farmers.

He however appealed to Kaduna PDP delegates to vote wisely and ensure they elect a presidential candidate that has the capacity to address the numerous socioeconomic and developmental challenges confronting the country, adding that he is best man for the job.
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*Stakeholders optimistic

Stakeholders and delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Jigawa State interacted with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Saturday in Dutse, the State capital, in what the VP described as very fruitful conversations.

Prof. Osinbajo’s Saturday visit to Jigawa is in continuation of his nationwide consultations with APC stakeholders and delegates, and his main message was that for the 2023 elections, decisions should be based on what is in Nigeria’s best interest.

On arrival in the State capital, Dutse, the Vice President was received by a crowd of supporters, at the airport and on the streets, APC Chieftains and senior state government officials led by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Abdulkadir Fanini Adamu, who represented  Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, who was out of town at the time of the visit.

At the townhall style interaction with the delegates, which also featured a Questions and Answers session, the Vice President restated his view that decisions about the 2023 elections be  based on what is best for the country, its destiny and future as a nation.

According to him, " we should make a decision based on the future of our children… We can make progress; we can move on. All I ask you to do is what is in the best interest of Nigeria; vote in the interest of our children.”

He also restated how his training and experience in governance serving as VP under President Muhammadu Buhari, would help him to lead the country effectively as president in 2023, if given the ticket and elected under the APC platform.

“As Vice President, the President has given me an opportunity that I do not think any other vice president has been given.”

Later while speaking during a brief chat with the media after the meeting, Prof. Osinbajo noted that that he was happy with the interactions with the Jigawa delegates.

“Obviously, all the issues that we discussed are issues that concern the country very significantly. We talked about agriculture, we talked about youth empowerment, education, technology and a wide variety of issues.

“I think it was extremely fruitful, and at least we all understand where we are coming from and where we ought to be in the few years ahead. All of us are very happy that we were able to have this engagement.”

Delegates who spoke during the interactive session, included members of the State House of Assembly, Local Government officials, grassroot leaders and women leaders. 

Many of the delegates spoke about the successes of the Social Investment Programmes (SIP), especially the National Homegrown School Feeding programme, which the delegates recalled offered first time jobs for several women. They also commended the contributions of the VP in that respect, while praising other achievements of the Buhari administration, including the efforts to make fertilizer available and affordable, a benefit much enjoyed in Jigawa State.

Others at the interaction highlighted the reputation of the VP as "a man of proven integrity and fear of God," and his "excellent track record, loyalty and support of Mr. President."

Generally, several delegates expressed the wish that if and when the VP becomes elected as President he should expand the SIP, ensure youth and women engagements in government, while providing Federal support to Jigawa State agrarian economy.

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Mrs Aisha Buhari

The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari has asked the All Progressives Congress not to grant free nomination forms as a strategy to relegate or sideline aspiring women from attaining higher elective positions.

Aisha made the comment on Saturday at a summit for over 700 APC female aspirants at the State House conference centre in Abuja.

Women interested in the ticket of the APC for elective positions are expected to only pay for the expression of interest form while the nomination form is free.

Addressing the aspirants, Mrs Aisha acknowledged their courage vying for various elective positions across the country.

She affirmed her support to all of them.

She said it was important for women to rally round all the contestants and confront any marginalization in the political space.

Mrs Buhari also urged the aspirants to eschew violence, jealousy and hatred, which according to her is critical to excelling.
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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has promised that there will massive improvement in infrastructural development within the country if he is elected President in 2023.

Governor Wike, a Presidential Aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party stated this while canvassing for delegates’ votes from members of his Party in Lagos State.

He said his ability to make good his promise is not in doubt, following his achievements in the past 7 years in Rivers State.

“Go to Rivers State, go and see, it’s not a question of you are just making promises; mine is talk and do, that’s why they call me ‘talk-na-do’,” the governor vaunted.

Buttressing his point, Wike said, his claims of delivering on promises made to the Rivers people, was affirmed even by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President.

“For him (Osinbajo) to say – look, let’s say the truth, this is really Mr. Project. That is the Vice President of a ruling party who ought not to but sincerely said we must not play politics with everything, this man is Mr. Project.”

Wike said he is willing to replicate that which he has done for his people, but this time on a national scale.

He, however, was of the opinion that to replicate such a feat, there must be peace and there must be security.

The governor lamented over the spate of violent attacks recorded in Nigeria almost on a daily basis. According to him, the issue of security is one area in which the present government has failed exceedingly.

Speaking further regarding his political ambition, Wike reiterated that he is not in the race just to become a Vice President as some have speculated in various quarters, adding that anyone who has such thoughts should bury them.

“I will be President, not Vice President… I am running to be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Wike affirmed.

The Rivers State governor revealed that if he is elected president, he will channel the resources needed to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.

In his view, Nigeria needs a strong leader who can adequately protect the lives and properties of its citizens.
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned as reckless, irresponsible, and unpardonable, the comment by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, that he is “having a lot of fun” in his actions which are in violation of the CBN Act 2007 and the Public Service Rules.

According to PDP’s spokesman, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, this comment by Emefiele, who also stated that Nigerians can go ahead and “have heart attack” over the widespread anxiety in the country arising from his involvement in partisan politics, is provocative and enough to trigger a nation-wide restiveness, pitch Nigerians against the CBN, shut down the economy and destabilize the polity.

The PDP in its statement on Saturday asserted that despite Mr. Emefiele’s alleged withdrawal from the presidential race “due to the pressure by our party, he still cannot continue as CBN Governor having become partisan as a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“The CBN which keeps all sensitive materials for elections cannot be trusted with the custody of such materials with a biased Mr. Emefiele at the helm of affairs.

“It was despicable to watch Mr. Emefiele on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the Presidency, brazenly and derisively spit at the concerns of millions of Nigerians, the International Community, and the Corporate World when he said of Nigerians, “let them have heart attack. It’s good to have heart attack. I am having a lot of fun.”

“Mr. Emefiele has crossed the red lines; he is provoking and daring Nigerians to do their worse, especially in the face of huge allegations and revelations of massive looting, manipulations, and doctoring of the books in the CBN under his watch as recently exposed in a leaked phone conversation and for which he ought to be behind bars.

“His unthinking and insensitive comment further establishes that he is not a fit and proper person to hold public office and continue the coordination of our national commonwealth as the CBN Governor, having exposed his lack of the required professionalism, code of conduct, and regard for public concerns on issues that affect our economy and the electoral process.”

The party said: “It also underpins the thoughtlessness and endemic corruption in the Buhari-led APC government and further shows the decadence in the CBN under Mr. Emefiele.

“The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to decisively rebuke and sack Mr. Emefiele only confirms that impunity is an official policy of the APC administration.”

PDP further stated that “Emefiele should know that Nigerians will never have a heart attack because of APC’s impunity. Instead, they are now, more than ever before, ready and resolute to confront the situation and rescue our nation from the stranglehold of the APC.

“Now that he has been confirmed to be a card-carrying member of the APC, Mr. Emefiele must forthwith steer clear of the CBN as he cannot continue as the Governor. Anything short of that amounts to testing the will of the people and the PDP will not hesitate to call out our members and teeming supporters across the country to, within the ambit of the law, defend and protect the integrity of the CBN and our electoral process”.

The opposition party urged Mr. Emefiele to be ready for investigation, prosecution, and possible conviction for the atrocities allegedly superintended by him as the CBN Governor.
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*He is eminently qualified for the job, says Ewi of Ado-Ekiti

*Osinbajo visits Ondo, Ekiti States

*Has held consultations in 15 States & FCT so far, visits Akwa Ibom later today (Friday)

With 15 States and the FCT now covered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, in continuation of his consultations with stakeholders and delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the groundswell of support for the VP’s aspiration to become president in 2023 continues to gain steam.

The Vice President has since visited Bauchi, Enugu, Anambra, Oyo, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Nasarawa, FCT (Abuja), Ondo and Ekiti.

Prof. Osinbajo was yesterday in Ondo and Ekiti States, where he was warmly welcomed and received support for his bid from traditional rulers and people in the States.

This was evident in the state capitals, where he was welcomed by a large crowd of people on the streets, at the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, and the venues of the meetings with delegates.

In Ado Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, the VP met the Ekiti Traditional Council and then, the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, alongside his chiefs.

On arrival in Ondo and Ekiti, the Vice President was received by the States’ Deputy Governors; Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa – Ondo, and then later by the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, at the capital city of Ado– Ekiti.

The VP emphasized that his sole objective for running for president is the desire to serve the country and its people with zeal, knowledge and the experience he has garnered in public service, especially as Vice President in the last 7 years.

In Akure, Ondo State capital, where he spoke briefly to the media on his ongoing consultations with APC delegates, the Vice President stated that he was pleased with the great reception he has been receiving from Nigerians and delegates across the states.

“I am happy for the opportunity to interact with the delegates and to share with them the vision for the future. I’m extremely pleased. And I'm sure the delegates had a very good time interacting with me and trying to interrogate what my views are about what the future should look like,” he said.

In his meetings with the delegates in both states, Prof. Osinbajo restated the commitment of the Buhari administration to address the country’s security challenges and his vision for the country if elected in 2023.

Speaking earlier at the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti,  where he met the Ekiti State Traditional Council, and Ewi- Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, the VP thanked the traditional rulers for always being there and ready to give sound advice and counsel, as well as his warm hospitality and time.

Prof. Osinbajo further said that, having served in office as vice president and worked under a transparent President that has given him every opportunity to participate in governance and fully understand the issues, “God has given me this knowledge and exposure so that in due course, and I believe the time has arrived, I will be able to put myself forward and use all that God has given me, through learning and experience, in the service of our country.

“I must add that my sole objective is to serve this country and the people, with everything I have learnt and that I have.”

In his remarks, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe noted that Prof. Osinbajo was “eminently qualified for the job” (to become president).

“The Bible says "Paul plants, Apolo waters; but increase is by the grace of God. So we are praying that by the grace of God, you get there and when you are there, remember the traditional institution. 

“We (traditional rulers) should have a role in the constitution of this country, not advisory position alone, so that when there are challenges, like we have now, we can have a voice that will be respected. I pray God Almighty will direct your thoughts, protect you, guide you and take you back to Abuja safely.”

As he often does in his interactive meetings with the APC delegates and stakeholders, the Vice President spent time in each State taking questions and exchanging ideas on major national issues and also discussing political issues.

Before he departed for Ondo and Ekiti States yesterday, the VP had represented the President at an Infrastructure Solutions Summit in Abuja. Today he has also received the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, and is expected to meet with APC delegates in Akwa Ibom later today (Friday).

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President Buhari receives Outgoing members of the Federal Executive Council in State House on 13th May 2022

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige has dropped out of the 2023 presidential election.

The Minister said he took the decision after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and consulting widely with his family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers.

Ngige’s decision to drop out of the race followed the directive of Buhari to his appointees vying for public office to resign on or before May 16.

In a statement he personally signed on Friday in Abuja, the Minister said his decision to withdraw from the race has been communicated to the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF).

The statement reads: “Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the President in the 2023 general elections.

“As a result of this, I will NOT be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primary. I took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation, in order to enable me concentrate on my job, and assist the President and the Government, weather the difficult last lap, in the life of the administration and secondly for other family reasons.

“My constituents, political associates and well-wishers across the country are by this statement informed of this latest decision, which also has the blessing and support of the overwhelming majority, hence supersedes any other interest, personal or otherwise.”

Ngige, on April 19, declared interest to contest for the office of the President following the constitutional provision that precluded Buhari from seeking re-election to the office

The Minister made the declaration in his home town, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
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*VP meets with APC delegates in the State, attends Nasarawa Investment Summit

*Adds: States collaboration with FG, private sector will boost investment 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, continued his ongoing consultations and engagements with stakeholders and delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday in Nasarawa State, with the State Governor and Emir of Lafia commending his leadership qualities,  describing him as the best among the aspirants to become Nigeria’s next president in 2023.

Also, in Nasarawa State yesterday, the Vice President delivered the keynote at the inaugural Nasarawa Investment Summit, with the theme "Diamond in the Rough: The Making of a New Investment Frontier."

Prof. Osinbajo was warmly received in Nasarawa State by Governor Abdullahi Sule, the APC National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu and other senior state government officials, with much dancing and singing from supporters and residents in the State. 

In their remarks, both Governor Abdullahi Sule and the monarch, HRH Rtd Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad I, praised Osinbajo, with the Emir recalling that the VP is the “Madugun Jihar Nasarawa (The Captain/Leader of Nasarawa State).”

According to the Emir of Lafia, the best should be put in positions of leadership, adding that “Mr Vice President, you are the best.

“I wish you all the best. For us here, the little we can do is to put you in our prayers and the best should come out of you.”

Also, Governor Sule noted that the Vice President was the best person to lead Nigeria as its next president in 2023.

Noting that even though there are several aspirants who have now declared their intention to run for president in 2023, Nasarawa State Governor stated that “in reality, there is no better candidate or aspirant” than Prof. Osinbajo. 

“Your Excellency, we believe in you, we strongly believe in you. For that reason, we pray for you. We pray that good things will be done for you,” Governor Sule added.

During his interactions with the APC delegates in the State, Prof. Osinbajo restated that his decision to run for president was because he wanted to give the best of his service to Nigeria.

The VP addressed various issues raised by the delegates, including restoring the confidence of ordinary Nigerians in the judiciary, and the representation of women in government.

“I think that any country that wants to take itself seriously cannot afford to ignore half of its population; about half of our population are women. God helping us, if I am president of this country, there is no question in my mind that women will play very active roles,” Prof. Osinbajo stated.

He also highlighted the efforts of the Buhari administration in tackling issues in security, education and the power sector, among others.

Earlier at the inaugural Nasarawa Investment Summit, the Vice President noted in his remarks that States must explore concrete ways of collaboration with the Federal Government and private sector so as to further boost and harness their investment potential.

The VP pointed out the “strong public-private partnership models being promoted by Nasarawa Investment and Development Agency (NASIDA), so the private sector is able to bring resources, expertise and motivation to the table, to fill in capacity and resource gaps on the part of the government.”

In boosting the investment drive, the VP added, “I think it is also quite clear that Public sector reform, especially capacity enhancement, is crucial to the delivery of public goods. especially health, education, potable water, sanitation and housing and the success of the other giant strides being taken by Governor Abdullahi Sule and his team.”

“Reform of the civil service is one of the reform areas indicated in the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) document. Current successes include the rationalization of ministries to 13 and the introduction of compulsory computer literacy training. Ongoing reforms must be institutionalised to ensure a lasting legacy.”

The Vice President also commended the foresight of the State Governor in developing the NEDS, which has seen the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) boosted by 66% from N12.48 billion in 2020 to N20.8 billion in 2021 despite the severe economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

He also referenced the State’s “Ease of Doing Business Reforms, and, especially the establishment of NASIDA, a one-stop-shop for the initiation, promotion and facilitation of investments in the State. 

Focusing on the theme of the summit, which he described as pragmatic and forward-looking, the VP stated that just like there are many facets to a diamond, there are many sides to the potential for investment in Nasarawa State.

He pointed out the State’s potential in solid minerals and agriculture, among other areas to attract investments.

Noting the State’s slogan as the “Home of Solid Minerals”, the VP stated that there is great scope for building a successful mining industry in Nasarawa State.  

Prof. Osinbajo observed that the national success recorded in the cement industry was “based on the plentiful availability of limestone deposits which  is positive proof of the potential of value-adding activities in the mining sector in Nasarawa State.”

The VP also pointed out the potential in increasing the State’s Internally Generated Revenue, noting that “Nasarawa State shares borders with six States and the FCT. I expect that this and future investment summits will showcase the potential of the State as a logistics hub for the movement of people and goods between its neighbours.”

The Vice President commended Governor Sule and his team for their great vision, hard work and efforts in transforming Nasarawa State in the last three years.

In his remarks, Governor Sule stated that "the summit is aimed at positioning Nasarawa State as the investment destination amongst the top three most competitive States in Nigeria, in terms of accelerated growth, increased economic opportunities, social inclusion and improved quality of life of the citizenry."

He further stated that "in line with the NEDS documents, we have also attracted additional investments from Dangote Industries Ltd, Azman Rice Ltd, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, as well as utilisation of our various assets, including markets, fertilizer blending plants, packaging company, as well as exportation"

"As a State Government, we are looking forward to the resolution of this summit for implementation and we shall closely monitor implementation."

Dignitaries who spoke at the Summit include former Ghanaian President, John Mahama; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, and former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

Others are the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole; President, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Director-General, Nigeria Governors' Forum, A. B. Okauru; and Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi, SAN.