• Tinubu to address APC campaign crisis
• Rivers Assembly de-recognises Atiku’s ally, Omehia as former governor
• Atiku will win by a 7m votes margin, Ayu boasts
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, returned to the country after spending 12 days in the United Kingdom (UK), ending speculation about his rumoured ill health.
Tinubu, clad in a jacket and a cap to match, was received by hundreds of party stalwarts after his plane landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Among party stalwarts on hand to receive Tinubu were his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; the Director General of the APC Campaign Council, Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong and APC former national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The Guardian gathered that owing to the crisis surrounding the announcement of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) amid rejection by the party hierarchy and some APC governors, the former Lagos State governor had to return to the country to attend a ‘crucial meeting’ today in Abuja, before the party’s flag-off of its campaign.
A source close to the presidential candidate said Tinubu has been busy tidying up his manifesto. “He has been resting and busy as well, holding crucial meetings, receiving strategic briefings and reading up materials and finalising work on the manifesto. He has been very engaged.”
According to the source, on arrival, Tinubu would go straight to a meeting with some aggrieved stakeholders, especially governors and presidential aspirants to get them involved in the party’s campaign scheduled to commence on October 10 in Kwara State.
Amid reports of ill health, the APC presidential candidate released a workout video via his Twitter handle on Sunday. Tinubu had travelled abroad on September 24 unexpectedly, days after the INEC flag-off of campaigns, generating controversies, particularly about his health status.
Prior to Tinubu’s arrival, Keyamo had said the candidate was not trying to prove any point while speaking on Tinubu’s viral video of him cycling on a fitness bike. Keyamo described cycling as a regular routine for the APC presidential candidate.
MEANWHILE, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, currently in the United States of America in continuation of his international consultations with Nigerians in the Diaspora, has unveiled his policy thrust if elected President, vowing to unite and leapfrog Nigeria from oil to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Obi gave a vivid picture of what his government would do in all critical areas as he responded to questions from Harvard eggheads on Wednesday evening at the university’s Fireside chat on what he called the ‘Prospects of Transformative Governance in Nigeria.’
On what his top priorities will be if elected president, Obi said production-centred growth for food security and export, securing and uniting Nigeria and leapfrogging Nigeria from oil to the 4IR, effective legal and institutional reforms (rule of law, corruption and government effectiveness), expanding physical infrastructure through market-driven reforms (unleashing growth-enabling entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations), human capital development that empowers competitiveness, and robust foreign policy that restores Nigeria’s strategic relevance.
“Our total commitment to transparency and accountability in government business is the only credible way to achieve limited to zero corruption. The policies required to fight corruption already exist; it is the political will to implement them that has been lacking. My governance modalities have always been forward-looking and will remain so. We will negotiate the return of our stolen national wealth from the custodial countries,” he said.
However, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) begins its presidential campaign rallies on Monday, some of its National Executive Committee (NEC) members have called for an urgent resolution of its crises.
At press conference in Abuja, on Thursday, the NEC members who spoke under the umbrella of the forum of elected national ex-officio members of the PDP said they were “greatly alarmed by the effect of all these controversies on the morale of the generality of our teeming supporters across the length and breadth of Nigeria and the diaspora.”
Chairman of the forum, Yunana Ilya, who presided over the press conference, said the forum has resolved to appeal to all party members, especially those who have expressed contrary views and opinions to please sheath their swords and join hands in ensure the victory of PDP in the general elections.
“We implore all our leaders and members who have one issue or the other to avail themselves of internal differences resolution mechanism as provided for in our party Constitution.
“The aggravating circumstances being thrown up by conflicting accusations and counter-accusations of who is right and who is wrong is a matter of concern, which the forum feels is not necessary at this electioneering period.”
AMID the crisis within the major opposition party, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, will today sign the official de-recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia, as a former governor of the state. Omehia is an ally of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The cancellation follows Thursday’s adoption of a resolution by the Rivers State House of Assembly to de-recognise Omehia as such. This was contained in a statement issued by Wike’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday evening.
The statement reads: “The governor is to sign the instrument on cancellation of the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of Rivers. The signing will take place in Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday, by 12 noon.”
Earlier, the state House of Assembly passed a motion to delist Omehia. The motion entails that the portrait of Omehia in Government House as a former governor will be removed and all the financial benefits that accrue to the former governor will be withdrawn.
The House also asked Omehia to refund all the monies, especially the sum of N600 million as benefits in addition to the receipt of N96,520,359.40 only, as monthly pensions as of September 2022.
House Leader, Martin Amaewhule, representing Obio/Akpor Constituency I, had yesterday presented a motion to “Rescind the Rivers State House of Assembly Resolution on the Recognition of Omehia as former governor of Rivers State and the restoration of all benefits and entitlements due to him.”
Amaewhule, in the motion, which he addressed to the Speaker and members of the House, recalled that on June 30, 2015, a motion was moved, seconded and argued upon and a resolution was passed in favour of recognition of Omehia as former governor of the state and the restoration of his privileges and entitlements.
Amaewhule said, based on the resolution of the House, the Rivers State Government through an instrument published in the Official Gazette of the state, No. 5, Volume 52, of March 2016, under the hand of Governor Nyesom Wike, recognised Omehia as a former governor and restored all the privileges and entitlements accruing to former Rivers governors.
The House Leader yesterday urged the House to reverse an earlier resolution of the 8th Assembly on June 30, 2015, which compelled the executive arm, headed by Wike to recognise Omehia as a former governor and be accorded all entitlements, privileges and benefits.
Omehia governed the state from May 29, 2007, to October 25, 2007, when he was ousted by the Supreme Court and replaced by former governor Chibuike Amaechi as the authentic governorship candidate of PDP during the 2007 general elections.
According to the judgment, Omehia was never a governor in the eyes of the law as he only held brief for Amaechi, who was seen as the rightful candidate.
Sequel to the court’s decision, Amaechi throughout his eight years in office as governor never recognised Omehia as an ex-governor with no benefit given to him.
But Wike upon resumption in 2015, directed that Omehia be reinstated as former governor of the state, stating that his official portrait is fixed at the Executive Council Chamber of Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike, who served Amaechi as Chief of Staff, described his predecessor then as “playing bitter politics.”
Wike also promised to refund all the monies and benefits that accrued to him (Omehia) from the day he was recognised as a former governor.
During the period, APC faulted the decision and reminded the governor that he was attempting to overrule the Supreme Court judgment.
However, Omehia recently fell out with Wike as a result of his (Omehia) alliance with Atiku, who has been at serious loggerheads with Wike following an internal party crisis that began immediately after the party’s presidential primary.
Omehia’s alleged support to Atiku has also robbed him of his position as the PDP leader in his area, Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
The delisting of Omehia as former governor has caused a stir in the state as some political analysts described the motion as laughable, childish and reckless, wondering why the state legislators would allow themselves to be used to execute such extreme vindictiveness.
Despite the ongoing crisis, the PDP National Chairman, Iyiorcha Ayu, has boasted that Atiku will shock Nigerians during the 2023 elections by winning with a landslide margin of seven million votes. He stated this while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting held on Wednesday in Bauchi State.
Atiku had earlier received thousands of defectors from APC and other political parties, at a ceremony held the same day at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.
Addressing the stakeholders from the Northeast, Ayu said that the PDP did not want to be strong on social media nor did it want to be strong based on manipulated images on television.