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Tinubu Doesn’t Need to Resubmit Certificates – Uzodinma

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Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state has taken a swipe at Nigerians for raising what he termed unnecessary controversy over the basic school certificates of the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Uzodimma who was reacting to the controversy, said if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has a functional server, that information should be domiciled in the server which could be reproduced for all to verify.

The former governor while reinforcing his claims, said for a person who served as governor of Lagos State for two terms and ran as a Senator and won, the  issue of his primary or secondary school certificates shouldn’t even arise.

However, the former senator said given the timeline available for their candidate, INEC would be presented with the necessary documents before the time elapses.

Uzodinma spoke with newsmen after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Tuesday, shortly before the President left for Portugal for a state visit.

Recall that the APC Presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu has been facing backlash from the public over his failure to submit details of his basic school education.

Uzodinma said; “Well, all the things so mentioned are entire party challenges that will be resolved. But for my presidential candidate, the issue of certificates shouldn’t even arise.

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“In 1999 he contested elections and became the governor of Lagos, in 2003 he contested election second-term governor of Lagos. He ran and won as a senator in the country, where record keeping is efficient, and the INEC server is functional, he doesn’t need to do a fresh submission. However, if whatever he is supposed to submit is not handy, it is not late yet. I’m sure before the time he will submit whatever is required of him”.

When asked why it appears to be difficult for Tinubu to produce a running mate, even with INEC’s deadline running out, he said; “What do you mean by difficulty? Who told you? The deadline is not yet here until the period of submission is over and we are not able to put a running mate, that is the only way you can ask this kind of question.

“However, I know because of the strength of character in our party, being the ruling party and how important the party is to us including you here, I appreciate your concern but be rest assured that we will fill a complete ticket for the presidential contest”.

POLITICS

Will Keyamo Help or Hurt Tinubu’s Campaign? 

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By Niran Adedokun

I watched Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo’s two recent television interviews with absolute bewilderment. And if the situation in Nigeria was not so grim currently, one would laugh at the Minister’s posturing during these conversations.

For starters, his appointment as a spokesperson for the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu/Kashim Shettima Campaign Council is confounding.

Keyamo is the junior Minister for Labour and Employment, which is an all-time important portfolio anywhere in the world. It is more so in Nigeria, which is currently ravaged by all forms of unemployment, serial industrial actions and brain drain challenges. Unless the Minister is as redundant as he makes the Office of the Vice President look in recent arguments, how does he plan to hold these two roles together without dropping the ball?

Spokesman-ship for a presidential campaign is a critical role requiring round-the-clock intellectual and emotional vigour.

Without this, the holder of the office will succumb to cheap sentiments and become a cry-baby running after trifles. He or she will ultimately lose the plot and the grand opportunity to persuade. So, how does a minister of the federal republic, who should attend cabinet meetings and lead policies for national re-emergence, play these two roles effectively?

Even if we would not have this predictable role conflict, there is the question of how ethical it is for a minister, appointed to serve all Nigerians regardless of what they represent, to take this new role. It is untidy that successive governments in Nigeria mix public office with partisanship. This abuses the sensitivities of millions of Nigerians who don’t belong to political parties but fund public offices.

Beyond Keyamo’s qualifications, however, is his disposition and the responses that he gave to two key questions.

From the outset of these interviews, Keyamo came about with the usual arrogance of office that you find in the average Nigerian leader. If as untoward as it is, Nigerians have come to terms with arrogant political officeholders, the spokesperson for a political campaign impairs his message when he fails the humility test.

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The politics of elections is such that a majority of the voters have already made up their minds about whom they will vote for. So, a spokesperson’s principal job is to convince undecided voters. Now, it is preposterous to imagine that you can come to these people with the superiority that Mr Keyamo displayed in the said interviews. If you do, you will be de-marketing rather than selling your candidate.

Even if things were all rosy for Nigerians, citizens would evaluate the government in power during elections. They also react to social issues of the day. People will appraise you and ask questions that may irritate you. In this unavoidable reality, a spokesperson must remain calm and collected, and explain what the extant government is doing and what the candidate plans to do, meekly.

He must persuade citizens that government see things from their perspectives and cannot afford to dismiss every point raised as mere “opposition” rhetoric. Only a minority of Nigerians have party affiliations, so spokespersons must speak to Nigerians like someone concerned about their future, rather than trivializing every question by attaching political sentiments that profile a critical person as a disgruntled political opponent. This is regardless of what your party may have achieved. You owe the people this as their servant and someone seeking their votes.

But then, can we say that Nigerians are happy currently? Are things the best they could be? Has this regime lived up to the expectations it raised in people during its campaign?

This leads us to Keyamo’s reactions to two of the issues raised in the interviews. The first is the embarrassing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU). After throwing in details of how far the government has gone to negotiate with the union, Keyamo did two things: He tried to reduce the ASUU struggle to a selfish fight for survival and then appealed to parents to “beg” the lecturers.

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There are too many things wrong with his take here. To give the faintest hint that a government, elected to solve problems, is helpless, steals hope from the people. It also detracts from that government’s legitimacy. It is, therefore, irresponsible to invite parents (who are victims of Nigeria’s plaque of misgovernance), to solve a problem that is a referendum on the capacity of the government to deliver a worthwhile future to Nigerians.

This call on parents also validates the widely held view that the government has reduced public universities to the exclusive territory of the poor. Or would the rich, who can send their children to private universities or fly them to prestigious foreign universities, join the colony of “begging parents” that the minister is convening?

In inviting Nigerians to see university lecturers as a selfish, insatiable lot, he said that the government spends N412bn (according to him more than half of the overhead on education) and that ASUU is now making demands that will cost N1.2tn, without considering government’s many other responsibilities. This is laughable considering that this same government (buckling under the burden of too many demands from ASUU) approved nine new federal universities just a few months back. So, how does it want to fund these new institutions?

Keyamo was not also entirely upfront about the reasons for the ASUU strike. More than just issues of subsistence, as he painted, the union is talking about the standard of Nigerian universities. ASUU complains that the university system cannot compete globally and that this is not because of a lack of human capital but the country’s failure to plan! This position is hard to contradict. Would Keyamo proudly send his child to Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, where he graduated 30 years ago? Solicitors

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concerning insecurity, the tendency of government functionaries to insult Nigerians’ intelligence by manipulating facts is exhausting. When they claim they have solved the problem of Boko Haram, you marvel, because it doesn’t look like that. What has happened is that, while the fire got too hot in the North-East, these guys moved to other parts of the country. The government itself has attributed three recent events (the Kuje Prison break; the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo and the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train) to the Islamic State’s West Africa Province, a Boko Haram offshoot. This situation without the national security apparatus foreseeing it. Yet, Nigerians should be grateful for this?

Keyamo claimed that the regime had solved the farmer herders’ crisis. This is also debatable. While reports of incidents have decreased considerably, some of the violence in Zamfara, Kaduna and Benue states resulted from disagreements between farmers and herders. But even if the government has resolved these, the level of insecurity Nigeria has witnessed in the past couple of weeks is unprecedented, and any attempt to suggest otherwise would amount to lying to and insulting the intelligence of those you get paid to serve. A report published by The PUNCH in June showed that 3,478 people had been killed in violent attacks while 2,256 others were abducted across the country between December 2021 to June 15, 2022.  Regardless, government people want to argue that Nigerians are safer than at some other time. How is that even relevant in the circumstance? 

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POLITICS

Obi Not a Threat to Tinubu– Kogi Group

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The forum of Kogi former political office holders says Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) is not a threat to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 2023 poll.

Alhaji Abdulmumin Sadik, the chairman of the forum said this when he spoke with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

Sadik said that the achievement of Tinubu when he was governor of Lagos State was yet to be beaten.

“It is there for all to see. Lagos State is like combining the entire South East as one state, the economy of the entire South East is like that of Lagos State.

“If Tinubu can transform Lagos State in eight years, he can transform Nigeria, all it takes is the political will which he has, following his antecedence as governor.

You can’t compare what Obi did in Anambra as governor to what Tinubu did in Lagos State as governor which had been very consistent.

“Obi for me, may have his qualities, but I think for now, he is in the market at the wrong time, because the APC candidate is more credible and has a better credentials,” he said.

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He said that Tinubu as APC presidential candidate, has been tested and proven, following his antecedence as governor of Lagos State for two-terms.

He, however, expressed optimism that with the manner the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government had been addressing corruption in the country, the degree of menace would be curb soon.

“Am sure that Tinubu will address it head-on if he takes charge of the country’s leadership come 2023 with the support of all Nigerians,” he said.

He said that the forum plans to create a directorate for youth mobilization to mentor them on their roles as future leaders of the country.

He said that youths constituted over 60 per cent of Nigerian voters and would be given a voice and be allowed to take their place to contribute to the country’s development.

He said the forum which membership cut across the 21 Local Government Area (LGAs) of Kogi, had decided to work together to ensure that opposition parties don’t have a place in 2023.

He said although Gov. Yahaya Bello contested the APC presidential ticket with Tinubu at the primary election, the group was 100 per cent behind Tinubu presidency in 2023.

“We intend to get up to 200 votes from each polling units, up to the wards and the 21 LGAs of the state.

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“If you aggregate all this together, it means we won’t have less than 1million votes for Tinubu in 2023.

“Kogi is ready for Tinubu/ Shettima ticket and we have decided to come together on one platform to work together for the enthronement of Tinubu presidency in 2023.

“Members of the forum include all former and serving government appointees in Kogi from wards to polling units to LGAs, starting from the time of Prince Abubakar Audu, the state’s first executive governor to date who are grassroots mobilisers. 

“We intend to get in touch with our colleagues in other states to form same structure to galvanise votes for Tinubu in their respective states to ensure a resounding victory for him in 2023,” he said.

He faulted criticism against the party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket, saying it was unnecessary.

He said Nigeria was literally in a state of coma and under intensive care unit, adding that all that was needed was to salvage it and bring it out of the present challenging situations, irrespective of tribe or religion.

“What is important is to get our people out of poverty and insecurity and to ensure that our people got what they wanted.

“What we should be looking at the moment, is who can bring the country out of its challenges.

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“Poverty and insecurity do not know if you are a Christian or a Muslim, Tinubu maybe a Muslim, but he has been married to a Christian for over 40 years and religion had not separated them.

“Our principal has the credentials to show following his antecedence in Lagos and how he transformed the state and this should be the determinant, not religion,” Sadik said. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Forgive Us – PDP National Begs Aggrieved Members in Ekiti

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has apologized to the members of the party in Ekiti state over the past actions and irregularities that pushed them out.

Deputy National Chairman, Southwest Zone, Alhaji Taofik Oladejo Arapaja, tendered the apology while receiving thousands of the aggrieved party members who had joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) prior to the Ekiti State governorship election.

Arapaja appealed to the party members to let go of the past and work together as one towards securing victory for the party in the 2023 presidential election.

He said: “We need to vote out APC for the sake of the progress of Nigeria because the APC lacks the capacity to bring any positive change.

“We can’t achieve anything in a state of disunity, because we need to be united to move our party forward. I apologize to you to let go of the past and join hands together to strengthen our union.

“On behalf of all the leaders of PDP, I plead that you find a place in your heart to forgive us,” he said.

In his address of welcome, the coordinator, PDP Ekiti Progressives and leader of the returnees, Mr. Wale Ayeni who led the supporters back to the party said they left because they were treated with disdain.

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He said, “In various activities of the election including the primary election we were treated like strangers as if we were never members of the party.

“The process that led to the primary election in Ekiti State was irregular but the leadership looked away and that was the basis for the break in the party.

“We lost the majority of the party bigwigs to APC due to lack of sense of belonging and because the party failed to uphold justice, fairness and inclusiveness.”

Earlier, the Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Biodun Olujimi and the PDP House of Representatives Candidate for the Ekiti South Constituency, one Henrich Akomolafe, who facilitated the return of the aggrieved members, noted that PDP had learnt from its mistakes and urged the returnees to return to their wards and begin mobilization for the party.

Senator Biodun Olujimi welcomed the party faithful and saluted their courage for returning to the party saying they made the right decision.

She explained that the party members who left in anger could not be blamed because the level of irregularities in PDP at that time was at the height of it.

Olujimi said, “We all have our blames because some of us didn’t do well, some of us kept mute when they were supposed to speak and say the truth while some of us were chanting Osana even in the face of impunity.”

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Also Henrich Akomolafe urged the returnees to begin massive mobilization for Atiku and Okowa saying PDP remains the solution to Nigeria’s problem.

Akomolafe also urged the people to support his ambition to win the House of Representatives election with a promise to live up to expectation.

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