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2023: Tinubu, APC see nothing wrong with Muslim-Muslim ticket – Ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal

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“How any one expects APC to win the 2023 presidential election under this climate befuddles the mind. I do not know why this saying keeps coming to mind: “those whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad” but it bears restating”

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Babachir Lawal, has clarified that northern christian politicians remain steadfast on their stand for justice, equity and fair-play in the 2023 political dispensation in the overall interest of the nation.

The renowned technocrat insisted that any nation or political dispensation built on injustice would crumble because justice and equity settle all other disputes.

Lawal in a statement he released to the media on Saturday, is apparently pleading with Nigerians to understand the position of Northern Christian Politicians on the Muslim-Muslim of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 presidential election.

He explained that neither Bola Ahmed Tinubu as APC presidential candidate and APC as a political party has ever seen anything wrong in the choice of same faith for the presidency of 2023 to make peace or assuage the feelings of northern christian politicians.

The statement made available to our correspondent read in part, “Quite a number of Nigerians have reached out to Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara and I and to some of the leaders in our eminent group of Northern Christian politicians to sheath our swords and instead go for negotiations with the APC.

“I now want to respond to this.

“We have so far not taken the road to reconciliation because in the first instance, neither the APC as a party nor its presidential candidate has bothered to seek us out for reconciliation even though early on, our doors were left open for such.

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“We only get to learn of their views through vile propaganda in the media courtesy of their rabid attack hogs whom they have procured in abundance.

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“There are of course some “Christian” turncoats and “Judases” who, driven either by moral turpitude, poverty or greed, have hired themselves out as agents and spoilers of this noble Christian course.

“To this group, I wish to recommend the study of the biographies of Judas Iscariot and Ahithophel in the Bible. Be careful to note how their lives ended.

“It seems that Bola/Kashima’s preferred approach is to attempt to counter our position through insults and sponsored fake Christian organizations in order to create the impression that there is division within Christendom on this matter.

“Needless to say, this tactic has failed woefully. They are now the but of jokes in church gatherings all over the country.

“Unknown to them Church history emphatically records that Christians are more united in terms of adversity and persecution as now being propelled by this Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.

“This approach has also portrayed the duo as arrogant and pitiable people whilst also exposing them to the public as people with unimaginable deficiencies of noble character.

“The reality is that for each minute that this same-faith ticket duo have spent on their goebbelsian propaganda, they have ended up spending several hours more trying to rebut the controversies that they themselves create in the process.

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“Everyone, including some notable Christian haters, are now inviting false “Bishops” and “CAN” Leaders to meetings. They are busy fabricating overnight “christian” organizations that churn out falsehood to the public.

“It is such a pity that people who intend to lead our country could descend to such low levels of morality and deficiency of conscience.

“But belying this posture is the reality of their true intentions not to have any roles for northern Christians in their government.

“The unarguable fact is that they intend to offer nothing of significance to any northern Christian in an APC government anticipated to be led by Bola and Kashim.

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“The reality of their zoning arrangement is that the North East region is already out of the equation for any other posts because it has the Vice Presidency while the North Central too is out because they have the party’s National Chairmanship.

“The other key positions, The Senate President, the Speaker, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chief of Staff to the President positions have been zoned to the North West, South South, South East and South West regions respectively.

“Besides, we all know that there is and will be no ranking christian Senator or House of Representatives member from the North West that could occupy the seats of Senate President, Speaker or even their deputies.

“In any case, it is an open secret that they never allow Christians to occupy such positions in the North West Zone even if there is a qualified Christian.

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“Who then do they think they are fooling with this their “there are other positions in government that could go to the northern Christians” mantra?

“If Kashim Shetima worked determinedly with Bola Tinubu’s acquiescence to deny the northern Christians the Deputy National Chairman (North) position during the party’s National Convention, what magic will then compel them to give a northern Christian any significant posts in their government?

“Let us make no mistake about it; these guys will persecute us to no end. They are very well practiced in this.

“My dear Christians, it has been clear to us from the onset that APC, Bola and Kashim never had the intention or plan that offers the Northern Christians any sense of inclusion through any tangible roles in their government.

“Those with major political influence on them are mostly religious bigots of the hegemonist flavor and some self-centered sycophants of the evil kind.

“So instead of reconciliation which would involve offering some important positions to Northern Christians, they have decided to go for broke and ignore the interests of Christians of the north.

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“And, broken they will be indeed. We noticed this trend in APC right from its registration in 2014 up to the 2022 convention where the overriding goal seemed to have been to exclude northern Christians from all the organs of the party.

“How any one expects APC to win the 2023 presidential election under this climate befuddles the mind. I do not know why this saying keeps coming to mind: “those whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad” but it bears restating.

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“It is a pity that Bola has chosen to throw away the Presidency which was within his reach to grab.

“As for us northern Christians and other Nigerians who share in our vision of a united and peaceful Nigeria devoid of tribal and religious exclusion, we will continue with our struggle and are very very confident of victory.

“After all, the God who allowed Nigeria to be inhabited by a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society intended that we all should live in peace and harmony as brothers and sisters all created in the image of God.

“We are on a mission from God and are confident of victory. So, we fear no one and can be intimidated by no one. We are confident that Nigerians, especially sensible Northern Nigerians, will come to appreciate this fight for justice, equality and peaceful co-existence. We are buoyed by Psalm 2:1-4 which reads thus:

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The Kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying ‘let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derisions”, the statement said.

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Kogi Election: Appeal Court reserves judgment in SDP, Ajaka’s appeal against Ododo

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Ajaka and Ododo
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The Court of Appeal sitting on Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP), in the November 11, 2023 Kogi State governorship election, Murtala Ajaka, challenging the judgement of the State Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed Ahmed Ododo of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the elected governor of the state.

A three-member of Justices of the appellate court reserved judgment on Thursday to a date that would be communicated to parties after the adoption of all their briefs they filed in the matter.

While adopting the processes filed on behalf of the appellants, Pius Akubo, SAN, urged the court to set aside the judgement of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and declare Ajaka as the governor of Kogi State.

According to Akubo, the judgement of the Tribunal which affirmed Ododo’s election was a serious miscarriage of justice.

He said the expunge of the evidence of the first petitioners’ witness (PW1) by the Tribunal was a miscarriage of justice.

According to him, the appellants have demonstrated that election in three local government areas of Kogi state was contaminated by over voting.

He argued that Ajaka would have won if the election was properly conducted in accordance with the Electoral Act.

“Having regards to Section 134(1)(3) of the Electoral Act, the 2nd respondent was not qualified to contest in the election, having submitted forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” he stated.

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Akubo urged the court to hold that the the issue of qualification of the 2nd respondent is not a pre-election matter and pleaded with the court to set aside the decision of the Tribunal and declare Ajaka winner of the November 11, 2023 Kogi state governorship election.

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In his own submission, Kanu Agabi, SAN, while adopting the briefs filed on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), prayed the court to dismiss the appeal filed by Ajaka and his party for lacking in merit.

He said there were inconsistencies in the case of the appellants and further argued that the Appeal Court had decided that if the grounds of a petition are inconsistent with one another, and are not consistent with the reliefs, it should be struck out.

Agabi also argued that the evidence of the petitioners were grossly insufficient and submitted that, once the evidence called is grossly insufficient, there is no evidence.

He said the petitioners only called 25 witnesses out of the scores listed and further argued that, out of the 25 witnesses called by the petitioners, there was no single polling unit agent among them.

Agabi also argued that the PW1 did not file any witness deposition before hand as required by law and as such cannot give evidence in an election petition.

Joseph Daudu, SAN, in his own submission on Ododo’s behalf, said no single evidence of PW1 was admitted as evidence by the Tribunal on the ground that he failed to front load his witness statement before hand.

Daudu said the Tribunal was right to have expunged the evidence of PW1, having declared it inadmissible and added that the appellants failed to prove the allegation of over voting in their petition.

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He also urged the court to dismiss the allegations of forgery against his client, saying it bordered on pre-election matter, which the apex court had decided in Gbagi’s case against INEC.

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Daudu, who said the appellants failed to prove allegation of over-voting, also argued that Section 137 of the Electoral Act cited by the petitioners on allegations of over-voting did not apply in the petition.

He urged the court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgement of the Tribunal which upheld the election of Ododo.

Corroborating Daudu’s argument, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, who appeared for APC, prayed the Appeal Court to dismiss the petition for being incompetent.

Ajaka and his party, in the appeal, hinged on 31 grounds, insist that they are the winners of the November 11, 2023 governorship election and should be declared the rightful winner.

The appellants who are dissatisfied with the decision of the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Ado Yusuf Birnin Kudu, are praying the court for an order setting aside the judgement of the Tribunal, an order restoring the testimony of their first witness (PW1) as well as all the documents they tendered that were expunged from the records of the Tribunal.

The appellants also want that Appeal Court to hold that Ododo was not even qualified to have contested the election into the office of Governor of Kogi State and that all votes ascribed and or allocated to him and the APC are wasted votes.

It would be recalled that the tribunal had, on May 27, affirmed the victory of Ododo of the APC in the November 11, 2023 Kogi governorship poll.

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The three-member panel of justices, held that the petition was bereft of substance and accordingly dismissed it.

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The tribunal held that SDP and Ajaka failed to prove the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022 in the petition.

The panel, in a unanimous, decision held that all the witness evidence filed before it were incompetent and full of inconsistencies.

It also agreed with the submissions of the respondents that the allegations of forgery raised in the petition were pre-election matter, which ought to have been raised 14 days after the documents were submitted to INEC.

Kogi had, on November 11, 2023, held its off-cycle election in which Ododo of the APC was declared winner by INEC.

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Anambra 2025: Moghalu confirms guber interest

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Dr George Moghalu
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By Chuks Collins, Awka

The guess work concerning the immediate past Director General of the National Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu’s next political move is now over.

Speaking to journalists in his Nnewi country home yesterday afternoon, Dr Moghalu used the opportunity to put to rest the speculation about whether he would run for the 2025 governorship election of Anambra State.

In answer to a question from one of the journalists who besieged him on the issue and also the pervading insinuation that he has dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the former NIWA boss confirmed his interest to run for the governorship seat. But on the issue of the party platform, he said he was still consulting .

“Yes, am interested in vying for the governorship of Anambra state. But I must stress that am not desperate.

“Power belongs to God and He gives to whomsoever that pleases Him at any time. If it pleases Him, using the people of Anambra State to make me their Governor, well, to Him be the glory.

“I am willing and ready to serve,” he added.

When reminded of the experience of the last governorship primary of APC in the state which has remained unresolved and had dragged on till the Supreme Court; and if he’s confident that the party will get it right this time, Moghalu  said he was still consulting widely.

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Moghalu pointed out that two issues are germane and usually critical in every election; that is the candidate and the platform.

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Consequently, he was taking his time to choose the platform to use this time around.

According to him, “…am still consulting widely, across party lines.”

Taken up to assess the APC-led Federal Government, in view of the festering economic difficulties being faced by the citizens, Moghalu pointed out that despite not having the mandate to speak on behalf of the FG, he would appeal to all to remain a little more patient.

“I sincerely acknowledge that things are quite rough presently; and even the government acknowledged it. But there is a plan/program being put in place to see they alleviate the difficulties and address the challenges. That’s why there are governmental interventions!”

The politicians said he was just speaking as an ordinary Nigerian citizen, because he’s part of the system. “After all I live here in Nigeria. I have family here, relations, dependants and therefore I have my own personal experience.”

On the mounting insecurity in the country, especially the South East geopolitical zone, the guber hopeful described it as “a major concern, especially when viewed from the angle of the colossal damage it has done to the people, the zone and nation.

” It’s difficult to expect outside investors to come to invest in an area that is not secure. Security is the primary responsibility of any government in concert with the citizenry. Both have roles and duties.”

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He declined to share his blueprint at this level.

The Advocate reports that in all his political career, Dr George Moghalu has remained a very consistent party man and he commands respect among his people in Anambra and political associates across the country.

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Steve Oruruo-led 15-man Ebonyi PDP Caretaker Committee inaugurated amid protest by stakeholders

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Members of Ebonyi PDP caretaker committee after their inauguration in Enugu on Monday.
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Barrister Steve Oruruo has been sworn-in as the chairman of the 15-man caretaker committee that will pilot affairs of the crisis -ridden Ebonyi Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Oruruo from Enugu state was appointed to lead the Ebonyi caretaker committee as a strategic move by the party leaders to restore probity and reposition the party  in the state.

But  some  PDP stakeholders in the state  have rejected the constituted Caretaker Committee approved by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

The aggrieved stakeholders and their supporters have threatened to resign en-masse from the party if the caretaker committee is not replaced by the agreed list emanating from the stakeholders in the state.

Their protest was, however, ignored by the NWC as Oruruo and other executives were sworn in by the zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Ali Odefa at the PDP’s zonal office in Enugu.

Odefa described the committee as unique because, according to him,  the national working committee has demonstrated uncommon determination to solving the political imbroglio in Ebonyi.

Chief Odefa while congratulating the committee members, reminded them that they emerged “through a struggle which I believe is needless considering the huge risks we took defending the party against a tyrannical government in Ebonyi State.”

He expressed optimism that the committee will live up to the task considering the class of people therein, while thanking the NWC of the party for their interventions.

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“Today, I’m deeply impressed with the calibre of persons that have been nominated into this caretaker committee, especially the Chairman and Secretary that come from Enugu State. They’re people of impeccable character that are well known in the party, they’re not greenhorns.

SEE ALSO:  Anambra 2025: Moghalu confirms guber interest

“I want to also thank the NWC that tried to mediate in the crisis without taking side. I’m very confident that going forward, there will be peace in Ebonyi Chapter. While inaugurating them, I charged them to be loyal to the party first, uphold its constitution and not to pander to me or any other stakeholder.”

While promising to supervise the activities of the new committee, Chief Odefa said they’ve learnt their lessons and they’re working so hard to ensure those mistakes aren’t repeated.

In his remark, the member representing Afikpo North/Afikpo South federal constituency in the House of reps, Rt. Hon. Iduma Igariwey thanked the NWC for taking a bold step in solving the problem of Ebonyi PDP.

“This is the first time that the NWC made frantic effort to understand the problem of our party which I believe led to our humiliating loss in the last election. I think that for the first time, a Daniel has come to judgement.

“If we handle this process very well, we can begin to restore the foundation of the PDP which has been lost.

Hon. Igariwey charged all the stakeholders of the party to join hands in building the party because “Ebonyi State since 1999 has been a PDP state. We’ve always won our elections under PDP.”

In his acceptance speech after the inauguration, Barr. Oruruo, a former secretary of the PDP in Enugu state while acknowledging the enormous task ahead, said he’s confident with the team that has been assembled and very certain they’ll rescue Ebonyi PDP.

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“I understand the enormity of the task but we’ve made up our mind to reorganise the party, get it rejuvenated, create a new order and a semblance of peace and galvanise the spirit of the members of the party and place us on the platter of conquest.”

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“This intellectuals brought together for one single purpose of getting the party resuscitated are willing and committed to the task ahead.

“Our mandate is very simple; to re-establish orderliness in the party, reinvent the spirit of unison among the stakeholders and also get us ready for the congresses of the party and the convention. We will reintroduce intergrity, fairness, rule of law and commitment to repositioning the party and respect for the constitution,” he added.

The committee has Barr. Pascal Ukwuani as the secretary while the following persons from Ebonyi state  will serve as members. They include Barr. Jude Omoha, Francis Ibiam,  Ude Akaji, Chief Godwin Nwode, Hon. Amechi Oken, Chief Christopher Elechi Ngwuta, Dave Odey, Hon Ezekiel Igede, Hon. Chika Nwoba, Hon. Emmauel Uka A., Engr. Edward Ifeanyi Odanwu,  Okoro Monday Ogbonnaya and Hon. Mark Onu.

Meanwhile, a statement signed by 71 members and stakeholders of the party in Ebonyi, which was made available to The Advocate last weekend, seriously kicked against the composition of the caretaker committee.

According to the statement, “The NWC mandated the PDP stakeholders and members present to nominate a candidate each from the 13 local government areas of the state to serve in a new Caretaker committee to be immediately inaugurated.

“The Ebonyi State PDP members subsequently made nominations, while the NWC announced that it reserves the right to appoint the Chairman and Secretary from any part of the Southeast.”

However, when the party released the new Caretaker Committee list last Friday it was discovered that the earlier submitted list had been replaced by the National Working Committee.

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The stakeholders declared that “From the above conduct of the PDP NWC, it is now crystal clear that they are either working as undertakers for the final burial of the PDP in Ebonyi State, or they are being misguided by arch-enemies of the PDP in Ebonyi State.

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“We hereby state categorically that if the NWC reneges on the collectively agreed-upon list of new caretaker committee as submitted by the various local government chapters of the PDP in Ebonyi State, we may not have any other option than to resign from the PDP.

“We have sacrificed personal and individual resources and comfort to stay true and loyal to the PDP in Ebonyi State in the face of organised intimidation, harassment and subterfuge plots. It is, therefore, curious that the National leadership of our great party looks reluctant to help the party stay strong in Ebonyi State.”

Among those who signed the letter were Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu, the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the party in the 2023 general elections, Sen. Michael Amah Nnachi, Barr. Onwe S. Onwe, former Acting National Secretary of the PDP, Lagos-based business mogul, Chief Julius Amah and Dr. Paul Okorie a former governorship aspirant.

Others include Hon. Chris Usulor, Hon. Franca Okpo, Hon Victor Aleke, Chief John Igboke, Chief Ekuma Igbota, Chief Amah Ugo Orji, Chief Abia Onyike, among many other stakeholders of the party in the state.

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