By Olaseinde Gbenga, Abuja
As the 2023 election campaigns kick off, Asiwaju Project Beyond 2023, party stalwarts and teeming supporters gathered to conduct inter-faith special prayer programme for Tinubu/Shettima presidential ticket on Wednesday at the group headquarters in Maitama, Abuja.
The event which had in attendance clergies and political leaders such as: Senator Ajayi Boroffice, the Senate Deputy Leader, Barr M.Y Lawal who is the Chairman, Presidential Support Committee, a former senator from Lagos State, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, Mallam Mustapha Aliyu, Chief Imam, Nepa Mosque,Bauchi, Sheikh Musa Aliu,Chief Imam of Yoruba Mosque, Galadimawa, Abuja, Pastor Aregbesola Emmanuel Taiwo, Minister, Heaven Focus Mission, Pastor Michael Ogala, Christ Favour and Deliverance among others.
The Director General, Project Beyond 2023, Barr. Realwan Okpanachi stated that the campaign body as a group had been propagating Asiwaju’s philosophy eleven years ago to Nigerians, before the All Progressives Congress(APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu even declared to run for the President of Nigeria, which birthed Asiwaju Project Beyond 2023, as Asiwaju grass root foundation, and as a vehicle through which we can raise Nigerians to canvass votes for Asiwaju.
According to him, “we’ve been doing a lot and we will continue to do more. The reason why we decided to form Asiwaju Grass Root Foundation which has metamorphosed to Asiwaju Project Beyond 2023 is that we saw all the qualities needed in a leader to utilize our diversity to transform Nigeria. The only way we can take advantage of our diversity is to have a leader who understands the advantages embedded in our diversity and can harness those advantages”.
“Look at his antecedents as a governor in Lagos State”, he went on. “He appointed commissioners and leaders neglecting their religious differences in every nook and cranny of our regions. This shows that he’s a patriotic leader and a true Nigerian. When you look at the major problems we’re confronted with today, which have brought us thus far, it is either religion or ethnicity colouration. In Asiwaju’s government, every religion was effectively represented. He’s a technocrat, and never in the history of Nigeria have we had this opportunity. God has really blessed us as a party to have someone like Asiwaju who is capable, sagacious and willing to deliver us good governance after 2023 elections”.
He further revealed that for Asiwaju to win election in 2023, the efforts of the support groups must be taken seriously. What made Asiwaju the presidential candidate of our great party was the effort of the support groups complementing the efforts of the party stalwarts, and because of that, we’ve decided to organize a capacity building for all the support groups who have registered under the umbrella of Asiwaju Project Beyond 2023 come Saturday, to know their strength, to sensitize them and to let them understand that they are unifiers.
He noted that, the group has hired technocrats from Lagos and Abuja to train the support groups to understand the brand called Asiwaju/Shettima and how to market them so as to discharge their responsibilities that will complement the efforts of the party and the presidential campaign council .
Meanwhile, in his good will message, a former Senator from Lagos State, Musiliu Obanikoro lauded the efforts of the group, adding that it was a right step in the right direction.
He said, Asiwaju is not a religious bigot, he has carried everyone along when he was the governor of Lagos State. Look at his performance, his experience and transformational mechanism. People come to Lagos and they thrive not only economically but politically. He urged Nigerians to shun all forms of religious interferences in the forth coming elections and to pray for free, fair and credible elections.
In his words, the National Head of Media and Publicity, Adeboye Adebayo disclosed the importance of the event to the group, Asiwaju and to the campaign council at large.
He said, we are the foremost support group who understands there’s nothing we can achieve as a body, as a party and as far as 2023 elections is concerned without God’s endorsement, and that is why we deem it necessary to commit this project into the hands of God for him to take absolute control.
For us, “there’s nothing Asiwaju has achieved before now, and he will ever achieve without God. If you look at his antecedents, you will agree with me that there’s hand of God in everything he’s doing.
God has used him tremendously to bless Nigeria and Nigerians. Asiwaju believes so much in God. His wife is a senior pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). We know and believe that without God there’s no way Asiwaju would succeed come 2023 elections.
We have decided to commit Asiwaju and the campaign into God’s hand, today being the first day of the campaign, therefore, we deem it necessary to bring clergies from churches and Islamic tradition for an inter faith special prayer to commit Asiwaju and the project into God’s hand .
In his remarks, the Director of Welfarism, Adekunle Badu, applauded the group for a successful event. You can see the massive turnout all for Asiwaju and Shettima. Evidently, he’s a man we can trust. We believe so much in him and that is why we are here all for him. We’ve seen the vision ahead that he’s the one that can give us the progress we want at a time like this in Nigeria. We pray that God will give him the capacity and the energy to make Nigeria great.
Concerned Benue APC Stakeholders pass vote of confidence on Alia’s Govt
By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
Benue State Concerned APC Stakeholders arising from a closed door meeting disassociated themselves from the position of the All Progressives Congress (APC) local government party chairmen and the State Executive Committee over their media attacks on governor Hyacinth Alia and his administration.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting in Makurdi, the State Capital, the leader of the stakeholders and former president of the Senate, Senator Ameh Ebute, advised Governor Alia to discountenance all distractions and continue his focus on developing the State with the diligence so far employed.
“You are by this communiqué requested to desist from further actions and retreat to allow elders and major stakeholders to wade into the matter and seek appropriate answers to all issues,” Senator Ebute said.
Senator Barnabas Gemade, General Onoja, retired, Senator Joseph Akaagerger, and Senator Ebute, thanked the entire Benue APC family and also assured Governor Alia of their continuous support; passing a vote of confidence on Alia’s administration and his team.
“We the concerned stakeholders of APC in Benue state are worried by the recent attacks on the Governor and Government of Benue state, particularly, the content of the communiqué we saw on social media under the hands of the APC LG chairmen, as well as the resolution of the state working committee, in respect to leadership, meeting and party activities.
“We see this as a deliberate attempt to distract the Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia-led administration from fulfilling his campaign promises to the people. This unfortunate incident by the APC LG Chairmen has opened a vista for the opposition to take full advantage, culminating in a recent motion sponsored by an opposition (PDP) senator from Benue against the government of Benue state,” he stated.
According to the former Senate president, the APC leaders are not in support of the actions of the Local government party chairmen and the party executive committee, particularly for their inability to explore all necessary avenues for proper engagements before resorting to unnecessary media outings that have further escalated what would have easily been managed internally by the party.
“We acknowledge and have participated in critical as well as strategic stakeholder’s meetings to include but not limited to two expanded stakeholders meetings held in government house, Makurdi and a mini state congress to herald the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal victory of His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and His Deputy, Barr. Sam Ode at the IBB Square, Makurdi, all at the instance of His Excellency, the Governor of Benue state,” he said.
He maintained that at several meetings and other fora, elders of the party as well as the executives of the party had caused to pass a vote of confidence on the Governor of Benue State and applauded his inclusive leadership style.
“It is on the basis of these and many more that we the concerned elders have found it necessary to address the public and ask all concerned party members to desist from further public outings and stop any impending action that will further cause disunity in the party,” he stated.
Responding to a question, senator Gemade charged members of the public to ignore social media practitioners that turned to publishing falsehood against personalities.
He expressed shock that a social media platform reported that he held a zoom meeting to lobby Governor Alia to decamp to the opposition PDP in Benue state.
“I can’t blame them because they are looking for food but should be ignored. Benue APC is intact and Alia administration is doing well so far,” Gemade said.
Osun APC, PDP clash over Adeleke’s plan to extend Ilesa water contract lifespan
By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State are currently embroiled in a heated exchange of words over Governor Ademola Adeleke’s proposal to extend the duration of the Ilesa water financing agreement with the Islamic Development Bank.
The Ilesa Water Project was commenced by the former Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola which is due for closure by December 2023.
The Osun APC berated Governor Ademola Adeleke for allegedly bungling the multi-billion naira Ilesa Water Project, describing his current eye-service to regularise the project as fathom and deceit designed to save face from the embarrassment.
“Before Adeleke, like a bull in the China shop, mindlessly ordered for stoppage of work on the water project last December, his predecessor, His Excellency, former state Governor Adegboyega Oyetola CON, now Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, had completed the reticulation component and laying of water pipes, setting a stage for the final component of the work, which is water treatment.
“Until few days ago when they began to run helter skelter to save the day, Governor Adeleke and his lousy yes-men had intentionally and practically ignored all entreaties from the sons and daughters of Ijesaland to get the project back to track so that their dream of getting potable and healthy water to drink in their lifetime would come to reality.”
The APC Chairman, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi, Tuesday, questioned the soundness of the thought-process of the state governor and his advisers, pondering why Adeleke would choose to punish a whole generation of Ijesa because their elites gave unwavering support to the government of ex-Governor Oyetola, which prioritised the welfare of Ijesa people above mundane and reckless politics.
Lawal said, “It is painful that the clumsy government of Senator Adeleke, having wasted almost one year without accessing the balance of $37.9 million Islamic Development Bank(IDB) loan meant for the completion of the water project, is now belatedly begging profusely, claiming to be ramping up actions to extend the life span of the Ilesa water financing agreement with the bank which is due for closure in few days’ time.”
Lawal cautioned that unless men of good intention at the federal level were mobilised to remedy the situation, Osun State might suffer a double jeopardy because “the project might not only suffer misfortune as it did 30 years ago when the fund meant for it was brazenly converted for personal use, Osun State could equally run into further financial headache on account of court case instituted against it by the project contractor, who is seeking compensation for a breach of contract.
“The Osun APC is using this medium to appeal to all Nigerians of means and clout to come to our aid by saving the state from the current logjam inflicted on us by the confused and tactless Governor Adeleke and his coterie of political jesters.
“One, we need the Islamic Development Bank, the financing bank, to extend the financing agreement on the Ilesa Water Project beyond December 2023.
“Two, the project contractor should be placated to settle out-of-court as being requested by the state government so that the state does not lose money and suffer unduly over the indiscretion and lack of seriousness of some political mal-administrators,” Lawal pleaded.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slammed APC in Osun over its thoughtless remarks on the Ilesa Water Project saying, “The recent remark from Osun APC chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, calling Adeleke’s action about the project ‘political pettiness’ shows that APC is not remorseful for the atrocities it committed while in office.
“The challenges the project is facing were caused by the Oyetola government. It was Oyetola who terminated the contractor’s contract leading to the litigation that the state is battling.”
In a statement from the Media Office of the party, the State Chairman, Hon. Sunday Bisi, while commenting on the Ilesa water project and the recent reaction from the opposition, described the APC as an anti-people association and a clueless party.
“Governor Adeleke’s action exemplifies the responsible oversight expected of a government committed to inclusive governance.
“The mismanagement of funds and allegations of corruption during the previous administration demanded a reassessment of the project’s trajectory, which Governor Adeleke duly acknowledged.
“Since Lawal has decided to mislead the public through false accusations on Governor Adeleke, there is a need to remind the public of the atrocities of the APC on the water project. Lawal and his fellow grievers should be informed that it was Oyetola who terminated the water project contract with the contractor thereby resulting in the Contractor’s court action.
“This added to the several messes of the Oyetola government that Governor Adeleke has been left to clear. The Governor has initiated an out-of-court settlement with the contractor which is currently ongoing.
“Lawal seems preoccupied with deflecting attention from the glaring failures during his party’s tenure. The massive corruption under the last administration concerning the project is another challenge. Despite the staggering billions of naira spent on the project, it is still far from completion.
“The Governor after meeting with the then Minister of Water Resources was advised to relieve the project consultant who was accused of squandering several billions of naira which resulted in more revelation on the corruption under the last administration.”
“The project consultant accused the House of Assembly led by an Ijesa man and an APC stalwart, Timothy Owoeye, of demanding a 5 million dollar ($5,000,000) bribe. This highlights the corrupt practices that derailed the project’s progress. This unacceptable diversion of public funds for personal gain reflects a dire lack of empathy and accountability within the previous administration.
“Lawal should call Owoeye to address the public why he apparently neglected his community’s welfare in favour of personal enrichment, an act unbecoming of an elected representative entrusted with safeguarding the public interest.
“The termination of the project’s contract by Oyetola’s administration resulting in legal actions added complexity to an already convoluted situation. Governor Adeleke’s proactive measures in clearing the aftermath of these decisions reflect his dedication to rectifying the evil perpetrated by the previous governance.
“The ongoing discussion for an out-of-court settlement with the contractor was also borne out of the current administration’s efforts to mitigate potential financial repercussions stemming from the clumsy actions of the past actions. This indicates a strategic approach aimed at safeguarding the state’s interests, a commendable display of maturity in handling a challenging situation.
“The claims by Lawal and his cohorts regarding Governor Adeleke’s involvement in the Ilesa Water Project lack substance when juxtaposed against the prevalent mismanagement, corruption, and neglect witnessed during the tenure of Lawal’s party.
“Adeleke’s administration’s focus on transparency, community welfare, and accountability in public spending stands the governor out as a beacon of impeccable integrity. It is imperative to prioritise the truth over baseless accusations and hold to account all those responsible for the mismanagement and malpractices that hindered developmental projects, including that of the Ilesa water project,” he added.
Bayelsa APC accuses Diri of pressuring EFCC to arrest Sylva
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri of allegedly pressuring the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute Timipre Sylva over “trumped up charges” from the State Governor, Douye Diri.
The party spokesperson in the state, Doifie Buokoribo, made the allegation in a statement on Monday.
The APC spokesperson in the State, Mr Buokoribo, said Mr Diri was instigating the anti-graft agency to arrest and prosecute Mr Sylva to frustrate the APC candidate from pursuing his case at the election tribunal.
He said Governor Diri and the PDP adopted the strategy because they know they are holding a “stolen mandate.”
Mr Buokoribo said, “We are aware of Senator Diri’s devious activities at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission aimed at sponsoring invented petitions against Sylva, and the pressure he is mounting on officials of the commission to initiate arrest and prosecution against him on trumped-up charges, particularly, bordering on his tour of duty as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.”
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