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Nigeria cannot afford another Buhari in 2023 —Northern Elders

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THE Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said the North will not make the same mistake it made by voting for another president in the mould of General Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. 

Rather, NEF said the region would only vote for a competent president regardless of where he comes from. 
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the northern leaders of thought held at Arewa House Kaduna on Saturday, the Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, was emphatic northerners will not vote for just any candidate based on sentiment as it did in the case of Buhari in 2015. 

NEF described Buhari’s tenure as a disaster not only for the region but also for the entire country. 

The Northern elders said Northern and southern politicians have equal rights to vie for the nation’s exalted office in the 2023 presidential race. 

He also said that the North would vote for a competent president in 2023 whether from the North or South, adding that the region would go for a competent ‘Nigerian president’ only. 

Baba-Ahmed warned that no northern presidential candidate should take the region for granted in the 2023 race, pointing out that the North would not condone what he called “another Buhari mistake.” 

He noted that the North was deceived into voting for Buhari believing that the country would be better off. 

He lamented that “the reverse was the case today, as the North and the entire country are worse than when Buhari took over in 2015.” 

“A northerner and a southerner have equal rights to contest, but northerners should be very careful about who they vote for in 2023. 

“No northerner should take us for granted. That’s how we ended up with President Buhari. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake. If you are a northerner, you must be better than all the candidates; for us, that’s the bottom line. 

“It’s not enough to be a northerner. You have to be the best. You have to be the best for the North and you have to be the best for the rest of Nigeria. 

“We are looking for a Nigerian president. If it comes from the North, fine. But he must be voted for by Nigerians and he must be good and he must be better than all the others. That’s what we are looking for,” he said. 

Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Professor Ango Abdullahi, boasted that the North has always been the kingmaker in determining who becomes president. 

He was apparently reacting to the statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Bola Tinubu, who said nothing barred him as a kingmaker from aspiring to be a king. 

Ango said, “I heard that somebody was saying he is the kingmaker and now wants to be a king. It is not that I want to be seen to be arrogant, but the North has always been the kingmaker.” 

Ango, who is also the convener of NEF, admitted that the region was facing serious problems, saying, “we feel we have to converge here in Arewa House to discuss and exchange views and ideas on what to do in order to be out of the quagmire. 

“As leaders of thought, we can offer something. Today’s meeting is perhaps the first of its kind to see leaders from Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), NEF, dozens of other groups discuss the problems of the region. 

“Even though, we are supposed to be resting. We should not be here. My generation has overstayed its welcome or is overstaying its welcome. 

“I told myself that the time has come for me to rest. The time has come for the younger ones and our children to take up the challenge. I am 84 years old,” he said. 

In a communiqué issued after the meeting with the theme ‘Rebuilding the North’ and read by Professor Danjuma Doknan Decent, NEF said “The current state of insecurity in the North is unprecedented and unacceptable.” 

While commending the efforts of the nation’s defence and security forces in rolling back sundry threats that have weakened the Nigerian State and made life almost valueless, the meeting advised Buhari, governors and legislators to revisit and re-prioritize spending on security and address poverty. 

The meeting said “the fundamental rights of all political parties to field candidates of their choices, and the right of voters to freely exercise choices over who leads them cannot be compromised. 

“Northerners have equal rights to aspire to all offices, but they must raise competence, evidence of personal integrity and commitments to the rule of law above all other considerations. 

“Northerners should ignore provocative statements from groups in the South of Nigeria who appear to believe that command democracy in which threats and hate campaigns are their hallmarks or defining elements will work in Nigeria. North should vote for the best leader.” 

The forum advised the Federal Government to postpone the planned 2022 national population and housing census in view of the large numbers of displaced Nigerians and the proximity of the exercise to the 2023 elections.


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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park

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Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member

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Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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