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Presidential Ticket: Okowa didn’t betray anyone – Spokesman

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Mr Olisa Ifeajika, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, on Monday said that Okowa, Vice-Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not betray anyone in the party’s presidential primary.

Olisa stated this at a news conference in Asaba.

He said that as a loyal partyman, Gov. Okowa heeded PDP’s directives and decisions in all matters concerning the presidential convention.

He recalled that the Southern Governors’ Forum at a meeting in Asaba, resolved and later reiterated in subsequent meetings in Lagos and Enugu, to work towards the realisation of Southern Presidency.

According to him, when members of the forum returned to their various parties, decisions varied as each political party had different plans to approach the process of electing a presidential candidate.

“For us in PDP, the party told the governors that it may not go with their position because we are in opposition and in order to get it right, the party set up a committee headed by Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, to advise it appropriately on zoning of the ticket.

“The Ortom committee, in its wisdom, recommended that zoning be jettisoned to allow all aspirants to participate in the primary to enable the best to emerge.

“The committee presented its report to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) where it was agreed to open the presidential ticket to enable for the best hands to emerge as recommended.

“As far as we are aware, no member, including the governors or group, protested the party’s decision. They all acquiesced and accepted the party’s decision on zoning.

“There was no treachery anywhere because no agreement was reached. The party’s position prevailed and delegates at the Presidential Primary voted as they wished,” he said.

Ifeajika said that long after the primaries, some persons were still talking about betrayal, and wondered where the G-5 governors were when the Ortom Committee presented its report.

“Why didn’t they raise their voices against the party’s decision not to zone the ticket to any part and rise against it?
“They agreed to it, participated, only to start an agitation without foundation after a candidate had emerged.

“I see the G-5 Governors agitation as a distraction and I appeal to them to sheath their sword and beat a retreat as quickly as possible to join the party’s rescue mission.

“They remain very senior members of PDP and they remain an important factor because the next election is a low hanging fruit for the PDP to pick if we close ranks. We believe that Nigerians would vote for the party,” he added.

On the G-5 governors agitation for the sack of Ayu, Okowa’s spokesman said it was a constitutional matter which ought to be addressed at the appropriate time.

“In Rivers state where Wike holds sway as Governor, the Governorship candidate is from Rivers South and the Chairman of the party in the state is also from Rivers South.

“We didn’t see Wike tell the party Chairman to step aside because a governorship candidate emerged from same senatorial district with him.

“It becomes germane if Atiku emerges President and the party Chairman remains in office. There is no law that compels Ayu to resign because the North has produced the Presidential candidate, unless he decides to step aside on his own volition.

“One would have thought that having pursued the agitation without yielding results, that they will beat a retreat but if they go ahead to endorse another candidate aside the PDP Presidential candidate, appropriate steps will be taken,” he stressed.

On Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi, he said Obasanjo merely exercised his constitutional right, adding that Nigerians might not listen to him.

“You will recall that sometime ago he tore his party card and said he wants to remain a statesman. What he has done is the exercise of his constitutional rights.

“He was against Buhari in 2019 but he later won and that means that many Nigerians didn’t listen to him and that may also play out this time around,” he said.

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Politics

Ignore Ganduje’s purported suspension – Kano APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC), Kano State chapter, has urged the public to ignore the purported suspension of the national chairman of the party, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje.

The secretary of the party in the state, Alhaji Zakari Sarina, told the newsmen on Monday in Kano that the supposed suspension of Ganduje by any group of individuals was null and void.

He said the suspension, which was announced on Sunday by a faction of the party, came from non-members of the party.

“It is impracticable for non-members to slam a national officer with suspension without recourse to laid down procedures as enshrined in the party’s constitution.

“I must make it clear, that we are undeterred by the activities of these impostors because.

Their style lacks finesse and sophistication and has further exposed their political naivety where Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is an acclaimed master.

“From available records, those behind the latest oddity are political jobbers who have offered themselves for pecuniary benefits at behest of dignity“, Sarina alleged.

According to him, they don’t belong to progressive because a good thing party member will not work towards destroying a legitimate member who was governor for 8 years and rose to become a national chairman.

“It is because they are outsiders, they are simply not aware of the internal workings, or ground rules of the APC on disciplinary actions, hence they resort to poor strategy that cannot stand logic, and reasons.

“We from ward, local government level and state are solidly behind our leader who has contribute positively towards the political growth of our party’’, he told NAN.

Sarina alleged that leader of the group who announced the purported Ganduje’s suspension was a member of New Nigeria People’s Party who contested but lost the counselorship election in Ganduje ward.

He advised the media to be cautious of those who seek to use their platforms to promote falsehood.

“The media should, as a matter of fact, scrutinise issues that are of paramount to the growth of democracy by being the driver of democracy’’, he said.

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Thugs attack Edo APC meeting, former lawmaker, woman leader, husband injured

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By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

A meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, yesterday ended in violence as thugs allegedly loyal to one of the leaders attacked a former federal lawmaker, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, woman leader, husband and injured many others.

The attack was said to have been carried out by the thugs at the installation ceremony of a former federal lawmaker as the ‘Apex Leader’ of the APC in the Local Government.

Hardly had the meeting started when the suspected hoodlums and political thugs struck, inflicting injuries on those present, with the woman leader of the local government and her husband currently hospitalised.

They also damaged vehicles and chairs and carted drinks and other items away from the venue of the meeting, which took place on Dumez Road in Benin, the Edo State capital.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the attack, Agbonayinma said, “The APC local government chairman, Sunny Ogbewe, called me that the leaders of Ikpoba-Okha were coming to meet with me to rub minds with me on the way forward for the party in the local government area.

“However, it was a sad story. People who are close to me led many others to the venue, destroyed, and beat up the woman leader and her husband. Both of them are in the hospital as I speak.

“They also vandalised vehicles, broke chairs and tables and carted away drinks. This is not how politics should be played. Going violent and beating up elderly persons?

“For some time, the people of the local government have been appealing to me to come and take a leadership position. But I have not shown interest because of what I have gone through. I lost my son and I am still going through trauma.

“They came here to appeal to me to be the apex leader of Ikpoba-Okha.”

Agbonayima, while addressing the meeting after security was beefed up at the venue, vowed that those who carried out the attack “will pay dearly for all they have destroyed,” even as he disclosed that the attackers also left with a generating set brought to power equipment for the meeting.

He said it was tough for him to accept the honour the APC members of the local government bestowed on him to be their “Apex Leader.”

“This opportunity is given to me, I will not take it for granted. I will not disappoint you,” he said, adding that he would consult before making decisions, urging party members to respect their leaders at all levels.

Participants at the meeting condemned the attackers and called for severe sanctions to serve as a deterrent to others who might want to take such action in the future.

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APC declares Ondo primary inconclusive

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The All Progressives Congress 2024 Governorship Primary Committee in Ondo State has declared the Saturday primary inconclusive.

This is contained in a statement by the Chairman of the Committee, Gov. Usman Ododo on Sunday morning.

The statement said that rerun election would take place in all the 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government with total validated registered party members of 9,515.

“Having received reports of the primary election from the 203 Wards in the 18 Local Governments of Ondo State, the Primary Election Committee has decided that election will be conducted in all the 13 Wards of Okitipupa Local Government with total validated registered members of 9,515.

“ We have validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the local government due to late arrival of electoral materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

“Election in Okitipupa Local Government shall be conducted 12 noon on Sunday 21st April 2024.

“The final collation of the results will be done thereafter”, the statement said.

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