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2 Dec 2018

Atiku’s coronation, Osun’s new governor, Ganduje’s controversial endorsements, others dominate politics last week

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, a major presidential candidate assumed a traditional title while Osun State got a new state governor.

Below are some of the politcal stories that made the headlines in the week.

SUNDAY

Former military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, urged Nigerian youth to stop criticising the failures of government and misrule of bad leaders but “rise up and vote out incompetent governments”.The retired general also urged Nigerian parents to dissuade their children and wards from being used for violence in the general elections in 2019.

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, dismissed the chances of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019. Mr Lawan said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will not only retain power but also secure majority at the National Assembly. The lawmaker from Yobe State said the next National Assembly will be dominated and led by legislators from the ruling party.

Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan joined some PDP state governors on a visit to the palace of the Lamido of Adamawa in Yola on Sunday. Those at the event said Mr Obasanjo showered praises on Atiku Abubakar, his previously estranged vice president with whom he had reconciled since the latter became the candidate of the PDP for the 2019 presidential election.

Leaders of the APC in the six North-east states, led by their state governors and National Assembly members, met in Bauchi to strategise for what they called a total victory for their presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari. APC governs four of the six states in the geo-political zone where Mr Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP and Mr Buhari’s top challenger, comes from. APC governs Adamawa, Bauchi. Borno and Yobe while Gombe and Taraba states are run by the PDP. The APC leaders said defeating Mr Abubakar has become a task they must accomplish. Mr. Abubakar is from Adamawa, one of the six states in the zone.

MONDAY

The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, formally endorsed Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, for a second term in office despite an unresolved bribery scandal surrounding the governor. Mr Ganduje was caught on videos that have gone viral receiving money in dollars from an unidentified contractor. He has denied the allegation despite the overwhelming evidence from video clips first released by online news medium, Daily Nigerian, which was also vetted by PREMIUM TIMES in-house experts.

The PDP accused President Buhari of reneging on his promise to “lead the fight from the front” against Boko Haram terrorists. The opposition party also challenged the president to a debate with its presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar.

The PDP presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar, lashed out at President Buhari and the ruling APC, accusing them of failing Nigerian troops on the frontlines against the Boko Haram sect. APC had on Sunday chided Mr Abubakar for accepting a traditional title and embarking on a jamboree with discredited politicians barely a week after scores of Nigerian troops were killed by insurgents during a raid on their battalion. Yekini Nabena, the deputy national spokesperson of the ruling party, said Mr Abubakar had shown that he has no leadership credentials amid repeated longstanding allegations that the former vice-president is wanted in the United States on corruption charges.

President Buhari stressed that if any member of the APC is displeased with the way and manner anything has been done and feels deprived of his/her rights, then such a person is at liberty to approach the courts for redress. Reacting to the position of the APC, which recently forbade members from dragging the party to court, the president said: “We can’t deliberately deny people of their rights. We agreed that party primaries should be conducted either through direct, indirect or consensus methods, and if anyone feels unjustly treated in the process, such a person can go to court. The court should always be the last resort for the dissatisfied. For the party to outlaw the court process is not acceptable to me.”

TUESDAY

Gboyega Oyetola took over the position of Governor of Osun State from Rauf Aregbesola at a handing over ceremony in Osogbo, the state capital. Both men are of the APC. They were both based in Lagos and are staunch loyalists of APC national leader, Bola Tinubu.

 Gboyega Oyetola, the Chief of Staff to the outgoing Osun State Governor. [Photo credit: Tropic Reporters]
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Nigeria will not go back to the era when money meant for the development of the country was pocketed by a few individuals. Mr Osinbajo stated this in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, while launching the sixth phase of a youth empowerment initiative. He said the APC administration is not stealing Nigeria’s money, adding that all monies accruing to it will be judiciously used.

The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, accused a senator, Godswill Akpabio, of being responsible for the crisis rocking the state House of Assembly. Mr Akpabio, however, dismissed the accusation, saying “the brazen act of lawlessness by the governor” was responsible for the crisis. The state House of Assembly has been in an intractable since five lawmakers were sacked from the assembly for defecting from the PDP to the APC.

WEDNESDAY

A senator of the PDP, Joshua Lidani (Gombe South), announced his defection to the APC. The Senate Leader, Mr Lawan, made the announcement on the floor of the Senate.

The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party (ACPN), Oby Ezekwesili, picked the chairman of the party, Abdul-Ganiyu Galadima, as her running mate. According to her campaign organisation, Hope ’19, Mrs Ezekwesili announced Mr Galadima, a former presidential candidate of the party, while unveiling her manifesto in Ilorin. She said the selection of Mr Galadima, a businessman, would bring to the ACPN ticket an experience at grassroots politics at the local, state and national levels.

 The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Oby Ezekwesili in Premium Times office.
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, asked Nigerians to vote based on competence and capability and not based on tribe, ethnicity or religion. He said this when he visited Daura in Katsina State as part of the SoworeRufai2019 campaign organisations 100-city tour. Mr. Sowore said, “This is Daura, the hometown of the President but as you can see the roads are terrible, there is no electricity, people are poor here, the street lights don’t work and people here have welcomed us as you can see.”

THURSDAY

Adekunle Akinlade, the man Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, selected as his successor, on Thursday dumped the ruling party and announced his defection to the Allied People’s Movement (APM).

Mr Akinlade, a member of the House of Representatives, defected alongside three other members of the House. The other members are Rabiu Kaugama (Jigawa) who moved from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mohammed Ajanah (Kogi) from APC to PDP and Salisu Koko (Kebbi) from APC to SDP.

 Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State [Photo: The Guardian Nigeria]
National Assembly members from Kano State elected on the platform of the APC declared their support for their embattled governor, Mr Ganduje, who is accused of receiving bribes. The lawmakers at a press briefing at the National Assembly said the governor has performed well and deserves reelection.

The PDP inaugurated a 154-member presidential campaign council with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, as its Director-General. At the inauguration of the council at Legacy House, Maitama, the party’s presidential campaign office, were chieftains of the party. Inaugurating the council, National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, said it is expected to steer the affairs of the campaigns of the PDP presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar. Speaking at the event, Mr Abubakar called for the sack of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, ahead of the 2019 general elections. “We must demand the removal of the IGP, members of the campaign council have the responsibility of ensuring that this is done in good time,” he said.

FRIDAY

The PDP said its presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar, possesses the qualities that Nigerians will use to determine who they will elect in the 2019 presidential election. The President of the Senate and Director-General of PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Saraki, said this at a news conference in Abuja. Mr Saraki said that Nigerians need a president who understands the economy, can drive investment and also secure lives and property. He said that PDP had a candidate who understands what it takes to move Nigeria forward, drive investments, unite Nigerians and run an inclusive government.

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