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Atiku meets presidential aspirants as PDP NEC holds today



The Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday, held a meeting with some PDP presidential aspirants whom he defeated during the party’s presidential convention in May.

The meeting, which was held in Abuja, was attended by Dele Momodu, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Tari Oliver, Charles Ugwu and Kalu Chikwendu.

Other aspirants – Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, and a former President of the Senate, Pius Anyim, were absent at the meeting.

Atiku emerged the winner of the presidential primary after scoring 371 votes to beat his closest rival, the Rivers State governor, who polled 237.

The aftermath of the primaries resulted in the rift between Atiku and Wike after the appointment of Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

In his remarks, Atiku pledged to work in harmony with all the former aspirants, adding that they would play various roles to ensure his victory at the polls.

Shortly after that meeting, the PDP caucus meeting was also held at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.

The party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; former Vice President Namadi Sambo; Atiku; governors of Bayelsa, Bauchi and Sokoto States as well as the deputy governors of Edo and Benue States attended the meeting.

PDP NEC meeting

Meanwhile, the PDP National Executive Committee will on Thursday (today) hold its meeting where the crisis in the party is expected to take the centre stage.

The opposition party had been enmeshed in a crisis following Atiku’s emergence.

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Wike’s loyalists have been demanding the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, stating that the chairman of the party; the chairman Board of Trustees, Walid Jibrin and the presidential candidate should not hail from the same region.

There were reports on Wednesday that Jibrin may resign in a move to douse the crisis.

Jibrin, who had expressed worries over the situation in the opposition party, was said to have confided in two National Working Committee members about his intention to leave his position.

An NWC member confirmed the development to The PUNCH in Abuja on Wednesday, adding that he was personally briefed by Jubrin.

Jibrin had said it is unfair for the PDP to have its presidential candidate, the national chairman and BoT chairman from the northern part of the country.

Confirming Jubrin’s decision to leave office, a credible source close to the BoT chairman stated, “Mr Jibrin said he was disturbed by the way things are going in the party; having him, the national chairman and the presidential candidate from the North. He sought advice that he wants to tender his resignation but he has not disclosed when he would put in his resignation letter.”

The BoT chairman could not be reached for comment as calls to his phone rang out. He had yet to respond to a text message on his decision to leave office.

The PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, said he was not aware of the BoT chair’s planned resignation, adding that he could only comment on it if he submitted his resignation letter to the party.

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Regardless of Jubrin’s reported decision to resign, allies of the Rivers governor said only Ayu’s removal can placate them.

A former member of the House of Representatives and PDP chieftain, Ogbonna Nwuke, said it was the resignation of the party chairman that matters.

Nwuke, who stated this in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, recalled that Jibrin had earlier decried the party’s lopsided leadership structure.

The former lawmaker said, “We have heard so too (that Jibrin wants to resign). The BoT chairman has continued to show that the future of the PDP matters more than an individual’s interest. He has come out to say the lopsidedness in terms of positions in the party held by the North is unfair.”

PDP gov candidates

It was learnt that at a meeting with 17 PDP governorship candidates in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Wike insisted that the candidates were not in a position to resolve the crisis and therefore referred them to the party’s National Working Committee.

But the Kaduna State governorship candidate of the party, Isa Muhammed, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said they decided to visit Wike on the crisis, having previously heard from Atiku’s side.

While describing their deliberation with Wike as fruitful, Muhammed said they would present all the issues to the NWC to decide on the matter and possibly come up with a solution. (PUNCH)

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SDP begs President Tinubu to halt attacks, carnage in Kogi



• Kogi SDP Governorship candidate, Alhaji Muritala Ajaka

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Wednesday begged President Bola Tinubu to stop the incessant attacks and carnages occasioned by the governorship electioneering in Kogi State.

The Director General, New Media, SDP Campaign Council, Mr Isaiah Ijele, made muricthe plea during a news conference in Lokoja on Wednesday.

Ijele said that innocent citizens are being maimed and killed across the state by sponsored political thugs.

He alleged that members and supporters of the SDP Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Muritala Ajaka, were constantly under attack, allegedly sponsored by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

But the APC Campaign Council’s Spokesman, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, had denied sponsoring any attack against SDP supporters in the state.

Ijele, in his recounts, said: “There were gun shots through the night of Tuesday in Anyigba and Ankpa towns where houses and property of innocent SDP supporters were vandalised and destroyed.”

“Our campaign Coordinator in Anyigba and his family were victims as they were chased away from their house and property destroyed, including his motorcycle in Tuesday night attack.

“As it’s now two persons are missing as a result of the attacks being unleashed on Ajaka’s supporters across the Kogi East.

“We are under siege, given the intimidation, harassment and attacks on us simply because of the humongous support our governorship candidate is enjoying in the state.

“As law abiding citizens, we are appealing to the President and the Inspector General of Police to come to our aid by calling Gov. Yahaya Bello to order.”

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The spokesman added: “Election is not a war nor do or die affairs, but a game of numbers based on candidates’ pedigree and acceptability before the electorate.”

According to him, nobody has the monopoly of violence but that courtesy demands that people of Kogi should be allowed to peacefully choose the person they want to govern them on Nov. 11.

The director general said that Bello’s administration has failed the citizens, who he claimed has decided to vote in Muritala Ajaka to rescue the state from poverty and hunger.

“We want the quick intervention of the President to save the lives of innocent citizens before they are brutalised and destroyed by sponsored political thugs,” he pleaded.

Responding to the allegations, Fanwo, the APC spokesperson, debunked the SDP’s claims, saying: “We are a Government and our priority is to protect all the people of Kogi State, irrespective of political leanings.”

Fanwo said that all allegations without proof are as good as no allegations.

“As a Government, our concern and responsibility is to create an enabling environment for all to pursue their normal businesses.

“The SDP is a nest of funny birds that cry by the pain of their losses rather than the action of anyone.

“We won’t glorify them and we won’t be dragged into their frivolities, gasping lies and lack of direction,” he said.

On its part, the Kogi Police Command’s Public Relation Officer, SP Williams Ovye-Aya, said that he was yet to be briefed on the alleged Tuesday night attacks by the Respective Divisional Police Officers in Anyigba and Ankpa towns.

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He however promised to furnish the public on the development. (NAN)

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Nnamani loses as tribunal affirms election of LP Senator, Kelvin Chukwu



•Former Governor of Enugu state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani
National Assembly election tribunal sitting in Enugu has struck out the petition filed by the former Governor of Enugu state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, challenging the election of Senator Kelvin Chukwu of the Labour party.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Chukwu, who replaced his late brother murdered during the campaign ahead of the February 25, 2023, as the winner of the Enugu East Senatorial district election. He scored over 69,000 votes to defeat Chimaroke Nnamani who secured about 49,000 votes.

Not satisfied, Nnamani alleged that the election was marred by over-voting, irregularities, election malpractices and non-compliance with the electoral guidelines and petitioned the tribunal and urged the tribunal to declare him the rightful winner of the election or cancel the election.

Giving its ruling today (Wednesday), the tribunal which consists of 3-man panel led by Justice Nusirat I. Umar unani upheld Chukwu’s victory and awarded a cost of N500,000 against the petitioners in favour of the three respondents, Kelvin Chukwu, Labour Party and INEC.

The three man honourable Justices unanimously dismissed the petition for being vague, lacking in merit, incompetent, generic and academic exercise.

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KOGI GUBER: Former Dep. Gov Achuba endorses Muri, urges Kogites to reject Gov. Bello’s violence, 3rd term agenda



Former Kogi Dep Gov, Hon Simon Achuba

…Says Bello brought his cousin, Ododo of APC, to elongate his grip on Kogi resources

Ahead of the November 11 governorship poll, a former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, has declared his support for the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Yakubu Murtala Ajaka.

Achuba, who served under Governor Yahaya Bello, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), told journalists in Abuja at the weekend that he decided to back Ajaka because of his pedigree and capacity to retrieve the state from maladministration.

He charged voters not to be intimidated by the spate of kidnapping and killings that has permeated the state since the commencement of the electioneering.

Also, he tasked the people of Kogi East in particular to desist from causing mayhem against the people because of political gains.

Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, Kogi SDP Governorship Candidate

According to him, Governor Bello brought his cousin, Ahmed Ododo, of the APC, to elongate his grip on the resources of Kogi State without any commensurate development.

“If this is allowed to go through, his wife may become our Governor in 2027. God forbid!!!. We call on all well meaning Kogites irrespective of political ethnic and religious divide to rise up and resist the evil seed being plotted in Kogi State.

“It has been 7 years and 8 months of reckless plundering of our state resources without any tangible legacy to show for his two tenures.

“Rather, all legacy projects by his predecessors has been sold off without reinvestment. I know as a matter of fact that about fourteen billion was paid to Kogi State by the Federal Government for a road constructed by his predecessor.

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“Can the successor of Bello expect such legacy fund? It is like daydreaming to think so. He had the opportunity to write his name in gold but turned it down. He will be remembered for bad governance and violence perpetrated in Kogi State.

“Kogites have mastered your tactics and are at the game wisely. The result of the election come November 11 will prove to you that you have so much to learn.

“As you continue to receive decampees, we wish you state the disappointment that follows. Take note that your antics of violence and manipulation not withstanding, this time around will fail.”

He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to be diligent in the discharge of their functions.

“We wish to call on INEC to be free and ensure that the election is free and fair. Thank God we have BVAS, Glory to God.

“Anywhere there are votes beyond what the BVAS has accredited the agents are expected to protest.

“On the issue of security, we wish to call on the inspector general of police and the chief of army staff to keep a close eye on Kogi.

“When I was a still the deputy governor in 2019, the State House of Assembly raised the alarm over importation of military software. What concerns a civilian government with military software? Sincere then, there has been killings and kidnappings. We cannot continue like that.

“We urge Kogites to face the evil and terminate it. November 11 is by the corner. We urge the people to reject bad administration through the ballots.

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“We call on INEC to check what is happening. I want to ask the youths in Kogi East why have they accepted to be agent of the devil? They should stop destroying the property of their brothers and sisters. The intention of this is to make sure that the votes in Kogi East are suppressed.

“If you endorse it, your children will suffer it . You may enjoy it for now but later you will suffer it. Instead of using the money to develop the state, he has pocketed it. This time the voices of the people will be loud and clear,” he added.

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