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Senate President urges issue-based campaigns in election season

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has urged all political actors to focus on issue-based campaigns as the nation urshers in the electioneering season.

Lawan made the appeal in Abuja on Monday while declaring open a “High-level forum on political communications and issue-based campaign in the 2023 general elections.”

The forum which was also attended by the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, was organised by the National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies(NILDS) in partnership with The Kukah Centre.

The Senate President told the forum, “I wish to passionately implore all stakeholders to be conscious of their messaging and focus on issue-based campaign that shuns violence and hate speech.

“As the most populous black nation and the largest democracy in Africa, the burden is on us to deliver credible and peaceful elections.”

The Senate President said many had pointed out the extreme and prejudicial dimensions that political conversations had assumed in the last few weeks.

“Rather than emphasise discussion on policy positions to address many of the social and economic challenges we face, we are engaged in frivolous, illogical and sensational exchanges.

“For the first time since 1999, our campaigns have moved from substantive issues to inconsequential and sometimes vile vituperations.

“We have shifted our focus from the core issues of governance to irrelevant and frankly nonsensical attacks on the personalities of the various candidates.

“By so doing, we, the politicians, have once again distracted Nigerians from assessing those who seek political office based on the merit of their positions.

“Inadvertently, we are also exploiting primordial sentiments for political purposes, not minding the danger this poses to our democratic journey.

“I expect this forum to enable us reflect on the seriousness of governance and the need to make our campaigns more issue-based.

“It is easy to dwell on trivialities and engage in a shouting contest. What should occupy our minds and discussions in the coming weeks and months include tackling insecurity and building on the gains made by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in this regard.

“Other issues include economic consolidation and diversification, addressing rising unemployment, especially among our youths, lowering inflation and managing diversity.

“Our democracy is hard-earned, and we have a collective responsibility to protect and preserve it.

“We are way past the time for posturing and political subterfuge. The growing political awareness on the part of Nigerian youths who are disenchanted and angry at the ruling class means that we cannot continue with business as usual.

“We in the 9th National Assembly have taken deliberate measures to strengthen our democratic process particularly through the passage of the 2022 Electoral Act which makes numerous innovations aimed at improving transparency and voter confidence.

“We have also ensured that the needed funds are provided to INEC to deliver a hitch-free elections. I have personally championed a people’s-based lawmaking that responds to the actual need of Nigerians rather than the narrow interests of a few.

“Even on controversial issues and legislative proposals, we have insisted on holding public hearings and ultimately respecting the voice of Nigerians.

“I will consider this Forum successful if, at the end, we can agree on guideline for political campaign and a commitment to issue-based campaigns rather than attacking personalities,” Lawan said.

Politics

PDP appoints Chinda as Chairman for Ondo LG Congress, ahead of primaries

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appointed Rep. Kingsley Chinda as the Chairman, Local Government Congress Electoral Committee for Ondo, ahead of Saturday’s governorship primaries.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba said this in a statement in Abuja.

Ologunagba said that the constitution of the committee was approved by the National Working Committee (NEC) of the party.

“The committee members are to serve on the local government Congress Electoral Committee to conduct National Delegates Congress for the purpose of electing one national delegate per local government area in Ondo,” he said.

Ologunagba said that the congress would hold at the Collation Center of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in each of the local government areas of the state.

Ologunagba advised all the governorship aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders and members in Ondo to take note and be guided accordingly.

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Ondo 2024: Don’t field wrong candidate for us — Odimayo tells APC

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By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

The National Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been called upon not to make the mistake of fielding a wrong candidate in the forthcoming April 20th governorship election in Ondo state.

Jimi Odimayo, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC, who made the call on Thursday at the official declaration of his intention to run for the office, held at the NUJ Press Centre, Akure said the leadership of the party should ensure that the South senatorial district whose turn it is to produce the next governor of the state is not prevented from spending its eight years in office.

According to him, the law does not permit the incumbent governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to be sworn in as governor thrice if he intends to run for two terms because he was sworn-in as deputy governor alongside his late principal, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on 25 February 2021.

Odimayo who is the current Chairman, House Committee on Population in the House of Representatives, said he believes that it will be right for any aspirant who by law will be deprived from spending a two-term of eight years to jettison his governorship ambition in the best interest of Ondo South senatorial district.

He said; “If you attempt to bring anybody that is short of eight years we would struggle in the next election, if you flag off anybody who is not up to task, especially someone who would not do eight years, people would not support him. Our leaders should not be sentimental because people are watching

“We the Southerners, will ensure that APC doesn’t produce anybody that would be questionable or challenged by the opposition party. We are going to address our challenges as a party, we are not going to make a mistake, APC is a predominant party in Ondo State.

“Basically, it is the turn of the South, and the party would not play with it, we want the party to utilise this opportunity, we have eight years, we will not tolerate anything less than eight years for the south. So, we should be very careful not to fall into the trap of our enemies.”

Speaking on his vision for the coastal state, Odimayo said he’s fueled by a passion for service and a vision for a brighter future for Ondo while his aspiration is rooted in a commitment to unity, progress, and inclusive governance that prioritises the needs and aspirations of every indigene.

“Ondo State is endowed with immense potential, from its rich cultural heritage to its natural resources. However, we cannot ignore the challenges that have hindered our progress and prosperity.

“Issues such as inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, healthcare disparities, and educational gaps require urgent attention and innovative solutions.

“As a son of Ondo State, I am acutely aware of these challenges, and I am prepared to tackle them head-on with your support. My aspiration is not just about winning an election; it is about ushering in a new era of progress and development for Ondo state.”

The aspirant said he envisions a state where every citizen has access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities as he believes in harnessing the state’s natural resources sustainably to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“I pledge to prioritise the safety and security of every resident of Ondo State. I am committed to strengthening Amotekun and fostering seamless collaboration with other security agencies to ensure a safer environment for all.

“Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right, and no indigene of Ondo State should be denied this essential service. As Governor, I will prioritise healthcare reform aimed at expanding access to primary care, upgrading healthcare facilities, and recruiting and retaining skilled healthcare professionals.

“I will also champion initiatives to address public health challenges such as maternal and child mortality, infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases. Recognising the pressing healthcare needs of our people, particularly in the face of chronic diseases like hypertension, I vow to provide accessible and free healthcare services, placing the well-being of every resident of Ondo State at the forefront of my administration’s agenda.”

He emphasised that, if given the APC ticket and eventually emerges as governor, he will declare a state of emergency on education, with a firm commitment to resetting the educational system to ensure quality and accessible education for every child in Ondo State.

“Our youth are the future of Ondo State, and investing in their education and empowerment is paramount. I am committed to revitalising our educational system, from primary schools to tertiary institutions, by improving infrastructure, enhancing curriculum, and providing scholarships and vocational training opportunities.

“Additionally, I will prioritise youth empowerment initiatives that equip young people with the skills and resources they need to succeed in a competitive global economy.

“Agriculture,” he said, “is the backbone of our economy, and rural communities play a crucial role in sustaining our agricultural sector. I am committed to implementing policies and programs that promote modern farming techniques, provide access to credit and markets, and improve rural infrastructure such as roads and irrigation systems.

“By prioritising agriculture and rural development, we can enhance food security, create employment opportunities, and reduce poverty in rural areas. I aim to revolutionise our agricultural sector by mechanising it by 80 percent, thereby boosting economic growth, ensuring food sustainability, and creating employment opportunities for our youth.”

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APC shifts screening of Ondo governorship aspirants to Friday

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has shifted the screening of its aspirants for the Nov.16 Ondo State governorship election to Friday, following the declaration of Thursday as public holiday by the Federal Government.

This is contained in a message on the party’s official X page, @OfficialAPCNg on Wednesday.

“Due to the inclusion of Thursday, April 11, as a public holiday by the Federal Government for ELd el-Fitr, all aspirants are requested to attend the screening on Friday, April 12, at the party’s national secretariat,” the party said.

A total of 16 aspirants were expected to be screened, ahead of the April 20 primary election.

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