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2023: Obasanjo declares support for Obi

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Rallies support of Nigerian youths

Says seven years of APC led government brought so much stress to Nigerians

Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

Just as Nigerians were busy celebrating the new year 2023, former President of the country Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday, wrote to declare his support for the presidential candidate of Labour Party and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.

Obasanjo, specifically, in the letter addressed to Nigerian youths tasked them to make Obi’s presidency happen saying that it was either they rise up to the occasion or ever regretted the missed opportunity.

The presidential election hold on February 25. Other top two contenders in the presidential race are Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar running under the umbrella of PDP.

Obasanjo said that the last seven and half years of APC led government under President Muhammadu Buhari have no doubt been eventful and stressful years for many Nigerians.

He said “We have moved from frying pan to fire and from mountain top to the valley. Our leaders have done their best, but their best had turned out to be not the best for Nigeria and Nigerians at home and abroad. For most Nigerians, it was hell on earth.

“Those of us who are alive should thank God for His mercies, brace ourselves for the remaining few months of this administration and pray and work very hard for an immediate better future – future of liberation, restoration and great hope and expectation”.

Obasanjo said though the presidential candidates have told him of their resolve to take back the country to where it was when he (Obasanjo) was in charge between 1999 and 2007 but he said that they have failed to realise that “Nigeria of today had been dragged down well below where at the beginning of his Presidency in June 1999.

He explained that “Although at that time, Nigeria was in very bad shape and was tottering on the verge of collapse and break-up. Even then, Nigeria was not faced with the level of pervasive and mind-numbing insecurity, rudderless leadership, buoyed by mismanagement of diversity and pervasive corruption, bad economic policies resulting in extremes of poverty and massive unemployment and galloping inflation”.

Obasanjo said, while all the presidential candidates are claiming to be their mentors, he would certainly not deny that having worked directly or indirectly with all of them in the past but the job of rescuing the country from its near collapse required much more than being his mentee.

The former president said that from experience and interaction he has had over the years, there are four attributes and characters someone to be a good leader must have and these he said are “Track record of ability and performance; Vision that is authentic, honest and realistic; Character and attributes of a lady and a gentleman who are children of God and obedient to God; and Physical and mental capability with soundness of mind because leading the country could be a very tasking assignment that should be done at the best of times”.

Obasanjo said that the task of rescuing Nigeria from its woes is not one to be determined on the basis of “Emi lokan” (it is my turn) or that “I have paid my dues” but rather on competence and ability to help deliver on so many challenges confronting the nation

He said “let me say straight away that ‘Emi Lokan’ (My turn) and ‘I have paid my dues’ are one and the same thing and are wrong attitude and mentality for the leadership of Nigeria now. They cannot form the new pedestal to reinvent and to invest in a new Nigeria based on an All-Nigeria Government for the liberation and restoration of Nigeria.

“Such a government must have representation from all sectors of our national life – public, private, civil society, professional, labour, employers, and the diaspora. The solution should be in ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not in ‘me’ and ‘I’”.

“Mind you, I reiterate that no human being is an angel let alone a Messiah, but there are elements of these attributes and on comparative basis and by measure of what we know of, and what some of us have experienced from the front-runners, we must assess judiciously and choose wisely. If anybody claims he or she has anything to the contrary, it will be up to him or her to prove to us”

The former President has therefore rallied Nigerian youth to wake up as the next presidential election is less than two months away urging them to use this rare opportunity of chosing for themselves leader who will deploy the resources of the country to make life much better and give them a very bright future.

Obasanjo said “I challenge the youth to arise. Let nobody pull wool over your eyes to divide you and/or segregate you to make you underlings. Nigerian youth, wherever they come from, North or South, East or West need education which is now denied to over 20 million children; Nigerian youth also need skills, empowerment, employment, reasonably good living conditions, welfare and well-being.

 

“My dear young men and collectively and women, you must come together and bring about a truly meaningful change in your lives. If you fail, you have no one else to blame. Your present and future are in your hands to make or to mar.

“The future of Nigeria is in the same manner in your hands and literally so. If for any reason you fail to redeem yourself and your country, you will have lost the opportunity for good and you will have no one to blame but yourselves and posterity will not forgive you. Get up, get together, get going and get us to where we should be. And you, the youth, it is your time and your turn. ‘Eyin Lokan’ (Your turn).

“The power to change is in your hands. Your future, my future, the future of grandchildren and great grandchildren is in your hands. Politics and elections are numbers game. You have the numbers, get up, stand up and make your number count”

The former President declared that “Nigeria has no business with insecurity, poverty, insurgency, banditry, unemployment, hunger, debt, division and disunity. We are in these situations because advertently or inadvertently, our leaders have made the choices. They have done the best they could do. Let them take their rest deservedly or not and let them enjoy their retirement as Septuagenarians or older.

“I became Head of State at 39 and at 42, I had retired into the farm. When it was considered necessary, I was drafted back into active political life after twenty years of interregnum. I came back at 62 and by 70, I was on my way out. Others like General Gowon and Enahoro became national leaders at 33 and 27 respectively and General Gowon at the helms of leadership of Nigeria at the highest level.

“The vigour, energy, agility, dynamism and outreach that the job of leadership of Nigeria requires at the very top may not be provided as a septuagenarian or older. I know that from personal experience. And it is glaring out of our current experiences. Otherwise, we will be fed with, “The President says” and we will neither see nor hear him directly as we should.

“Yes, for some, age and physical and mental disposition are not in tandem. But where and when they are with obvious evidence, they must be taken into account for purpose of reality. And yet it is a job in our present situation where the team leader or captain of the team should be up and doing, outgoing inside and outside and speaking to the nation on almost daily basis visibly and as much as possible interactively and meeting his colleagues all over the world on behalf of Nigeria.

“Youth of Nigeria, your time has come, and it is now and please grasp it. If not now, it will be never. I appeal to you to turn the tide on its head and march forward chanting ‘Awa Lokan’ (Our turn) not with a sense of entitlement, but with a demonstrable ideological commitment to unity and transformation of Nigeria.
Leave The Past, Face The Future”.

“I appeal to the young Nigerians to stop inheriting other people’s prejudices and enemies.
Let’s stop criminalizing and demonizing one another on the basis of the civil war on which we are all wrong. And let’s praise and thank God for preserving the oneness of Nigeria. The Scripture says that if God would take account of all our wrongdoings, nobody would be able to stand before Him.

“While not suffering from amnesia, let us stop still fighting and reacting to the civil war in our hearts, minds, heads and our attitude acrimoniously. Let’s stop living on our different wrongs or mistakes of the past: treasonable felony, Tiv riot and its handling, first military coup and its aftermath, second military coup, araba, pogrom and the civil war, all in the 1960s. And more recently OPC, Egbesu, MASSOB, IPOB, Boko Haram and banditry. No region can claim to be innocent or to be saintly. And no justification will suffice.

The former president warned that “we can only continue to play politics of ethnicity, religion, region and money bags at the peril of our country and to self-destruction. We need selfless, courageous, honest, patriotic, in short, outstanding leadership with character and fear of God beyond what we have had in recent past”.

Picking Obi as his preferred presidential candidate in the coming February 25 presidential election, Obasanjo said “none of the contestants is a saint but when one compares their character, antecedent, their understanding, knowledge, discipline and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge.

“Others like all of us have what they can contribute to the new dispensation to liberation, restoration and salvaging of Nigeria collectively. One other important point to make about Peter is that he is a needle with thread attached to it from North and South and he may not get lost.

“In other words, he has people who can pull his ears, if and when necessary. Needless to say that he has a young and able running mate with clean track record of achievement both in public and private life”.

Politics

Ortom expresses willingness to submit to probe of his administration

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

The immediate past Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom has welcomed the inauguration of two Judicial Commissions by his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia, to probe the activities of his administration between 2015 and 2023.

In a press statement signed by Terver Akase media Aide to the Ortom, the former Governor expressed his willingness to cooperate with the probe panels as long as the investigation is carried out in line with the law and stressed that his administration was built on transparency, accountability, and good governance.

He emphasised his readiness to provide any information or clarification, as may be required.

Chief Ortom also urged his former appointees to equally make themselves available whenever called upon to provide clarifications.

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Ortom, Suswam preach unity at PDP expanded caucus meeting

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

Immediate past governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, former Governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam and Senate minority leader, Senator Patrick Moro on Monday urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), in Benue State to work for the unity of the party in the state.

The PDP leaders made the disclosure at the PDP expanded caucus meeting, held at the party’s Secretariat in Makurdi.

In his remark, Chief Ortom told party members that there was no friction between him, Senator Suswam and Senator Moro.

He urged PDP members to discountenace the rumors that he was decamping to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Chief Ortom further said while members support those in authority at the state and federal level to provide dividends of democracy, they must not lose sight of the fact that they are PDP members, and must play their role as a credible and constructive opposition.

Earlier, Senator Suswam called on party members not to dwell on the mistakes of the past, but learn from the mistakes of the past in order for the party to move forward.

He stressed that leaders of the party in the state have closed ranks in order to build the party and ensure it returns back to power in 2027.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Patrick Moro urged party members to remain steadfast and committed as the good old days of the party were coming back.

The Senate Minority Leader disclosed that those waiting to see quarrel between the PDP leaders in Benue State will be disappointed as Chief Ortom, Senator Suswam and himself have resolved to work together for the party.

He assured party members that the PDP was going to bounce back, adding that the leadership of the party was going to be returned to the people in line with the party’s slogan ‘power to the people.’

The governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2023 elections, Rt. Hon Titus Uba appreciated party members for finding him and his running mate, Sir John Ngbede, worthy to fly the Party’s flag, and added that the party needs to be united  to be a credible and formidable opposition.

The Minority Leader of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Audu, disclosed that members of the PDP in the State Assembly are united and ready to support the party anytime.

Chief David Amo, who spoke for Zone ‘A’, Elder Laha Dzever who spoke for Zone ‘B’ and Rt. Hon Hassan Saleh who spoke for Zone ‘C’ all stressed the need for party unity and expressed optimism with the fortunes of the party as leaders of the party have resolved to work together.

Former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and member of PDP Board of Trustees, Chief. Mrs. Margareth Icheen, Benue State Women Leader of the PDP, Mrs. Abeje Ewa, Idu Banke who spoke for the youths all commended the leaders of the party in the state for coming together to ensure the party returns to power in 2027.

The State Chairman of the party, Sir John Ngbede also announced vacancies for the position of National Ex-Officio from the state and Zonal Chairman of the PDP for Zone ‘B’ Senatorial

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Aggrieved APC Governorship aspirant vows to take legal action against APC

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By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

One of the aggrieved governorship aspirants in the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Edo State, Hon. Dennis Idahosa has vowed to take legal action against the party.

Idahosa made this known while partaking in a demonstration at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, calling for “fairness” in the just concluded APC primary election in Edo state.

Idahosa, who was earlier announced as the winner of the primary election by the former chairman of the APC primary election Committee and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has also stated that he will take legal action against the party if fairness is not upheld.

He said, “I am not here to make trouble, I am a lawmaker but one thing that we want is justice. Today, I might be a young man but it might be the children of NWC members tomorrow. We have to do the right thing. If we continue to do what is wrong as a country, we are not going to move forward.

“So I am calling on Mr. President to call NWC to order. Elections were held on the 17th of February. What they did on the 22nd was just selection.”

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