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PDP slams Okogie over comments on Jonathan

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated a former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Cardinal Anthony Okogie, over his comment that Yoruba monarchs deceived former President Goodluck Jonathan during the election.

The party was reacting to a recent interview granted to a national daily by Okogie, where he said the picture of Jonathan squatting in the midst of some Yoruba traditional rulers, who were pointing sticks at him, was deceptive.

He had said, “Did you see the photograph I saw; you saw him in the midst of Obas; you saw the way they pointed their sticks (at him). If you are a Yoruba man, do they (monarchs) pray with that kind of thing? No way! ‘You want prayer? We will give you prayer.’ This means they were deceptive.”

Reacting to the statement, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos State, Mr. Taofik Gani, flayed the cleric, describing the accusation as a deliberate attempt to embarrass the person of Jonathan and his party.

Gani noted that it would have been a disrespect to the monarchs if Jonathan had visited their domains without paying a courtesy visit on the royal fathers.

“With due regard to Cardinal Okogie, it may be coincidental that he is a progressive but a hidden politician in religion, who believes that the people in the APC are progressives. But I want to say without any iota of contradiction that it has always been convenient for Cardinal Okogie to support the APC and we know all these people. We also have them in the PDP who support us.

“So, we wouldn’t blame Cardinal Okogie. We have professionals, activists, religious leaders, who are also sympathetic to the PDP cause. What Okogie said, therefore, was deliberate; just to embarrass the PDP and the former President. The royal fathers have their traditional role which is not to have anybody as beloved. Everybody in their dynasty is regarded as their subjects.

“That Jonathan accorded them that regard of being royal fathers and that he consequently got their blessings was not wrong of the ex-President. On the contrary, they (the APC) were malicious against some royal fathers, which the PDP cautioned against.”

The PDP spokesperson further noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had also visited some royal fathers.

The party, therefore, queried Okogie for not criticising the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, for supporting a candidate of the APC during the last governorship election in Lagos State.

“We know the role the Oba of Lagos played. Is Cardinal Okogie oblivious of that fact? Why didn’t he generalise that all the Obas misled all the politicians? In fact, the xenophobic statement made by the Oba of Lagos could have destroyed the country.

“It is now the same xenophobia that the APC is quick to impose on our leader, Bode George. But it was the APC who influenced the verbal attacks through the Oba of Lagos, who was an obvious member of the APC by his actions.

“Cardinal Okogie should please maintain his role as a religious leader. He is someone who is respected; he should be wary of coming into the murky waters of politics. What has happened has happened,” Gani told Punch.

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POLITICS

Presidential Primaries: Disquiet as PDP loses Eagle Square to APC

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may now be forced to use the MKO Abiola Stadium in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for its May 28 presidential primary according to new developments.

The APC was said to have used the influence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammed Musa Bello, to quickly reserve the Eagles Square for its presidential primary scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1.

The PDP had during its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting ratified the conduct of the presidential primary (special national convention) to elect its presidential candidate on Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, May 29, 2022 in Abuja.
The venue, has, however, become an issue as the APC had already fixed the venue of its convention at Eagle Square, Abuja, where PDP had its special convention to elect its national officers in October, last year.
In its letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, it was learnt, stated that it will hold its convention at the MKO Stadium, Abuja.
The venue, some stakeholders of the party, who do not want their names mentioned, said the place is too small for where the presidential primary should take place.
It was noted that the party is expecting about 3,700 delegates with about 10,000 supporters and staff, while the capacity of the facility, where the primary will take place at the MKO Stadium, is about 7,000.
The party stakeholders have expressed sadness that the venue will not be able to accommodate the delegates, supporters and friends of aspirants.
Of more concern, the stakeholders said is that, according to the schedule of PDP activities, the party was supposed to publish the names of delegates on Tuesday and that has not been done.

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POLITICS

Shekarau dumps APC for NNPP

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Ibrahim Shekarau

Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Kano State Governor, has officially dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

This was confirmed on Tuesday via a terse statement on the official Twitter account of the NNPP.

The statement, which reads: “Finally: Sen Ibrahim Shekarau Join Us”, was shared alongside a photo of Senator Shekarau and Senator Ibrahim Kwankwaso.

Recall that there had been some back and forth about Shekarau’s planned defection to the NNPP, with some power brokers in the APC said to be negotiating with the former governor not to leave the ‘broom party.’

However, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso has been at the helm of the vanguard, working to ensure Shekarau’s defection from the APC to the NNPP.

On Sunday, Kwankwaso stormed the residence of Shekarau in Kano to work out details of the defection.

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INEC gives APC, PDP, others deadlines

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INEC

Ahead of primaries, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given deadlines to political parties on nomination and withdrawal of candidates.

The electoral commission also foreclosed the adjustment of election timetable.

In line with its guidelines, INEC has directed the parties to submit lists of delegates for elective offices to it, seven days to the date of the primary.

Both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) submitted designated centres for their national conventions to INEC yesterday.

APC opted for the Eagle Square while the PDP chose the Velodrome at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

It was learnt that unlike in the past, the commission decline to bend the rules so as not to distort the timelines for the 2023 poll.

The commission has fixed the last day for withdrawal of candidate(s) and the replacement of withdrawn candidate(s) for July 15 (Presidential and National Assembly) and August 12 for governorship and Houses of Assembly.

Also, while the last day for submission of nomination forms for presidential and National Assembly election is August 8, the curtains will be drawn for governorship and Houses of Assembly on August 18.

The publication of final list of nominated candidates will be on September 20 (Presidential and National Assembly elections) and October 4 for other strands.

But the public campaign for the presidential and National Assembly elections will kick off on September 28 and that of the governorship and Houses of Assembly is from October 4.

According to a top official of INEC, the parties have been notified of the timelines for appropriate guidance.

The guidelines read in part: “In compliance with Article 4.5.1 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party Primaries, a political party that adopts the indirect primary mode, shall make available to the commission not later than seven days to the date of the primary, the list of persons that will form the delegates that are eligible to vote for nomination of the party candidate to contest every elective position. “

“The list of delegates shall be accompanied with the list of aspirants and the list of the party Electoral panel conducting the primary.

“In compliance with Section 84(9-11) of the Electoral Act 2022, a political party that adopts the Consensus Primary mode shall make available to the commission copies of the written consent of all aspirants cleared for the position indicating their endorsement of the consensus candidate who shall then be ratified by a special congress or convention

“In compliance with Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, primaries and voting by members or delegates of a political party to nominate candidates for elective positions shall hold at designated centres within the respective national, state, senatorial, federal and state constituencies.

“Primaries held outside designated constituencies shall accordingly be invalid.”

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