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Still on Maintaining Balance in Choice of Running Mates

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By Golu Timothy 

Last week, melting point focused on the likely choices of running mates of the different political parties after the conduct of their respective national conventions. While the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, quickly and calculatively settled for Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Labour and other parties are said to have quietly submitted dummy names to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, subject to final decisions by the respective flag bearers in conjunction with the leadership of the parties.

Timelines have been allotted for such and all other political activities by INEC and last Friday 17th was the dateline for the submission of the names of the running mates. The Electoral Act also provided windows for replacement of names earlier submitted and therefore all the parties have opportunities for proper consultations.

That’s why the APC and LP could submit dummies to INEC and get them comfortably replaced before the dateline for replacements . But for the PDP, it’s a decision taken and sealed, ready for campaigns.

Within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC which has produced former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu as its presidential candidate, growing indications that former Speaker of the 8th House of representatives, Bauchi born Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara is the preferred choice of vice president, is fast gaining momentum. Everyone knows the electoral value and political reach and spread of Dogara having served as one of the best few Speakers the nation has produced. The nation has been agog in debate as to whether Tinubu should pick a Christian or muslim running mate and each religious divide is putting pressure to get the slot.

It is very imperative to give objective consideration for the choice of a VP from a wider perspective and not from a politically inclined position. If Atiku who is a muslim northerner can pick Okowa a Christian southerner, then it is only proper for Tinubu, a southern muslim to pick a Dogara or any other northern Christian to balance the religious equation. Tinubu, a muslim, from Lagos South West Nigeria, is expected to pair with Dogara, a Christian from Bauchi, North east Nigeria. On the PDP side, Atiku, a muslim from Adamawa in North East Nigeria has already paired with Okowa, a Christian from Delta, South South region of Nigeria. The need for a balanced ticket is not out of place considering the sharp dividing lines of region, religion and ethnicity in the country. That some northern muslims are making strong case for a muslim-muslim ticket is enough for Christians to make a case for balance. Why can’t the Apc and labour tow the line of the PDP? In the submission of their dummies, Tinubu is said to have submitted the name of a fellow muslim from Katsina, Kabir Masari while LP’s Peter Obi has submitted a fellow Christian, Doyin Okupe as running mate. This to me, should be corrected in the final consideration before submission. Its not whether a muslim muslim or Christian Christian ticket can bring victory or not. The most important consideration here is the future of peace, trust, confidence and mutual respect for each other as the nation peruse the next 4 or 8 years as the case may be. As governance takes off with such sentimental affiliations, people will begin to read and define every government policy and action, not on any merit but base on who is saying them and the leadership promoting them.

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If all things being equal ,the polity is not supposed to be divided along ethnic and religious lines, but realities on ground have made it very important for such considerations to hold sway. While some people believe that competence and not where you come from should be the guiding principle, the nature of power dynamics and allocations in politics must have boundaries expressed in such sentiments. We cannot assume otherwise , but must work with the realities in our hands, and the realities are that we are a secular nation dominated by two major religious groups which requires mutual consideration and respect for mutual coexistence. Since we have separate states and constituencies across the nation, one cannot wish away such considerations which are aimed at acquiring power.

Some people keep making reference to the Abiola/ Kingibe era in which both the presidential candidate and running mate were muslim. Such can not be easily applied now in view of the glaring suspicions and differences that exist. One can imagine if Obasanjo who is a Christian had picked a fellow Christian in 1999 or that the late Yar’Adua as a muslim, could have picked another muslim as his vice instead of a Christian. Political crisis and conflicts of monumental proportions could have been created, but for the way the balancing was done, there was peace and stability in governance all through. Why then must we change from the status quo since we have enjoyed doing so in the past and even right now. Buhari could have picked Tinubu as was speculated in 2015 but everyone opposed it then for peace to reign, why now?

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Those who are opposed to such balancing now are not fair to the system. They are self serving and greedy political players who wants to use religion to get what they could not get by merit and who don’t believe in mutual respect or coexistence. If the country can share power between the north and south, why can’t it look at the composition of the two zones in order to also balance the power equation? The choice of Dogara , a Christian to deputise for Tinubu, a muslim is one of the best options of balancing for the nation. It shows he has respect for Christians who in turn will feel a strong sense of belonging in the government.

As it is now, the nation is warming up for the most critical elections in the political history of the people, especially as the country confronts a transition from the outgoing Buhari administration to a new one. Nigerians of all shades and opinions, most especially those at the leadership levels should not divide this country by promoting unpopular and divisive tendencies of Muslim -muslim or Christian- Christian tickets for whatever reasons. While we appreciate PDP’s Atiku for setting the pace, we urge Tinubu, Obi, Kwankwaso and other presidential candidates to, in the same spirit of mutual respect and understanding, balance themselves for the sake of God and a peaceful country. We must look at the nation beyond our personal prisms and calculations. We must know that diaris God oh.

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Peter Obi Promises to Change the Country for the Better

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Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi has asked Nigerians to hold him accountable if a new Nigeria fails to emerge with him as president.

Obi threw the challenge in Abakaliki on Friday at his campaign rally.

He pledged to reform Nigeria back from consumption to production.

The LP candidate assured that the country would be restored when most qualified candidates with character, trust and competence were elected.

He maintained that the 2023 general elections must be based on character and not on or and tribe.

“We will offer you a new Nigeria and also secure and unite the country.

“Let no one deceive you with religion or tell you it is their turn. Just vote people that understand governance.

“I am not contesting as an Igbo man, a south-easterner, but as a Nigerian who is most qualified and competent to revive the country,’’ Obi said.

He commended the people of Ebonyi for their solidarity and support for the Labour Party.

He urged the electorate to vote for Mr Edward Nkwegu, the gubernatorial candidate of LP in Ebonyi to build a better nation.

In his remarks, National Chairman of Labour Party, Mr Julius Abure, appreciated the people of Ebonyi for their show of solidarity, support and commitment to the party.

Abure said the LP would produce most intelligent and credible candidates to fight poverty and insecurity in the country. (NAN)

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Alia Polls 219,009 at  APC Governorship Re-run in Benue 

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From David Torough, Makurdi

Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has again, won the gubernatorial primary rerun election conducted by the Sen. Bashir Lado led rerun committee. 

Alia polled a total number of 219,002 to defeat 12 other aspirants to emerge winner.

Recall, that the court of appeal sitting in Makurdi while delivering judgement in a case filed by one of the gubernatorial aspirants, Prof.

Terhemba Shija directed the party to conduct a primary re-run election in eleven(11) local government areas of the state.

While announcing the result at the APC Secretariat Makurdi, which also served as the collation Centre for the rerun, Sen. Lado, Chairman of Benue State Rerun Election Committee stated that the primary election rerun which was won by Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia was not only free, fair and credible but represented the wishes of  APC members in Benue State.

Chairman of the party in the State, Comrade Augustine Agada while commending APC members in the state for a peaceful primary election, thanked them for their show of maturity during the rerun and termed the results of the election as no victor no vanquish, explaining that the winner in the election is not only Fr. Alia but for the entire Benue APC family.

In a good will message, Amb. Prof. Stephen Ugba who spoke on behalf of party Stakeholders, commended Benue APC for a successful exercise and called on all those who participated in the primary election to see themselves as winners. 

The party immediately after the declaration of results went into a Special Congress to ratify the primary elections. 

The Congress unanimously ratified and adopted Rev. Fr. Dr Hyacinth Alia as the candidate of APC  Benue state for the position of governor.

The Special Congress was attended by members of the State Executive Committee of the party, Critical Stakeholders, teeming members of the APC in Benue state and members of the press.

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Man Slumps, Dies At FCMB Bank In Rivers

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Man has allegedly slumped and died in front of a branch of the First City Monument Bank at Ikwerre Road, Mile 1, Rivers Stateon Tuesday.

The man’s death, according, to a Twitter user, Dokubo, Kenneth Promise #EndSARS, who posted it on his Twitter handle @dokubo_kenneth, was due to frustration resulting from hostile treatment meted out on him by the customer service officials of the bank.

According to the report, the man (whose name was withheld) had been trying to withdraw money but could not, as the bank asked him to do an affidavit in order to have access to his money.

Dokubo further said the victim went with his next of kin to the bank as judicial workers had been on strike, jeopardising any process of swearing an affidavit.

Man dies at @MyFCMB in Port Harcourt due to frustration and unfriendly treatment by the customer service attendants of a bank,” Dokubo tweeted.

 

The man was said to have been vomiting and begging having been in the queue for five hours before he collapsed and died.

“An eyewitness at the scene of the incident disclosed that a man who hails from Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, a customer of (First City Monument Bank) FCMB died in front of the bank.

“He was refused access to his own money since Friday even when he came with his next of kin. He was asked to go to the court to get an affidavit knowing the court is not in session.

“Narrating the event, she added, ‘The man was vomiting and at the same time begging for him to have access to his own money yet he was denied. After he was left unattended to for more than 5 hours, he just died now a few minutes ago at FCMB, Education Bus Stop, Ikwerre Road, Mile 1, she said,’” Dokubo reported on Twitter.

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