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Nigeria Politics

WHY I DUMPED PETER OBI – OKUPE, LABOUR PARTY DG

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL: JANUARY 7TH, 2024

Doyin Okupe, a former director general of the Peter Obi 2023 Presidential Campaign Organisation, has resigned from the party, citing ideological differences.

Mr Okupe announced his resignation from the party in a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure.

In the letter, dated 8 January, Mr Okupe said the party was only used as a “special purpose vehicle” to actualise the presidential ambition of Mr Obi during the last presidential election.

Mr Okupe, who claimed to be on the centre-right of the ideological spectrum, said the lefty leaning of the LP does not conform with his own ideological stance.

“I have been a rightist and a Liberal Democrat all my entire life. It is therefore this ideological conflict that makes me seek an exit so that I may continue my political activities with liberalism, sincerity and freedom,” he said.

Messrs Okupe and Obi left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the LP shortly before the presidential primaries.

Mr Obi was given the presidential ticket of the LP. Mr Okupe served as the campaign DG and temporary running mate until the selection of the eventual running mate, Ahmed Datti.

In December 2022, Mr Okupe, a former presidential spokesperson, resigned as the campaign DG following his conviction in a money laundering case.

In a sitting of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Ijeoma Ojukwu, the presiding judge, sentenced Mr Okupe to two years imprisonment after he was found guilty of 26 out of a 59-count charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However, he was given the option to pay a N500,000 fine on each of the counts — totalling N13 million. He subsequently announced his resignation as the campaign DG.

Push News 24 International …we speak your mind!

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Nigeria Politics

CONFUSION: EDO LP SUSPENDS NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, NEC DISMISSES ACTION

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : April 1st, 2023

The Executive Council members of the Labour Party (LP) in Ward 3, Arue in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State have suspended the national chairman of the party, Julius Abure, over alleged forgery and anti-party activities.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the Ward Chairman, Martins Osigbemhe, claimed that Abure connived with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to truncate the chances of the party in the February 25 presidential poll.

Osigbemhe added that Abure was suspended by the executive, pending the determination of the numerous petitions and cases against him in courts.

He said: “We, the Labour Party Ward Executive Council in Ward 03-Arue, in Esan North East Local Government Area O4 of Edo State (12), do hereby suspend Barr Abure Julius Odianosen indefinitely as the National Chairman of the Labour.”

The Labour Party on Friday dismissed the purported suspension of its national chairman, Julius Abure, by its Ward Executive in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State, saying the masterminds were being sponsored by opposition parties.

The LP said no reasonable party member would be thinking of suspension when they are pursuing their presidential mandate in the Election Petition Tribunal and all other mandates including the Governorship, Senate and House of Representatives that were brazenly stolen.

The National Secretary of LP, Farouk Umar, in a statement, also blamed the purported suspension of Abure as the handiwork of opposition parties plotting to distract the party.

According to him, the party’s constitution was clear on who can suspend and who cannot suspend the national chairman.

Umar directed that “they should go and read the party’s constitution.”

Some members who claimed to be ward executives of the party had slammed suspension on Abure over alleged forgery and anti-party activities.

The Ward Chairman, Martins Osigbemhe, at a press conference, explained that Abure was suspended by the executive, pending the determination of the numerous petitions and cases against him in courts.

Martins while reading the statement of Abure’s suspension signed by seven out of 11 member ward executives, accused him of illegally substituting candidates of the party in the recently concluded general elections.

But Umar in a statement clarified that it is only the national convention that can suspend the national chairman of the party, adding that it must also be through such a convention called for the suspension of the national chairman.

He said, “The attention of the leadership of the Labour Party was called to the press conference held today Friday, March 31, 2023, by some unknown faces assembled in one room in Abuja wherein they pronounced a suspension on our national chairman, Julius Abure. They also made some spurious allegations against him which are untrue and concocted by the sponsors of the press conference. We however deemed it fit to make some responses.

“The young men we saw on that visuals are not anybody from Labour Party in Edo State as claimed. The executives of the party in the State, Local Government and my ward are well known to the party. None of them was at the press conference. We make bold to say that they are people assembled and rented from some Abuja slums and paid to read a prepared speech given to them.

“Again, our party’s constitution is clear on who can suspend and who cannot suspend the National chairman. They should go and read the party’s constitution. It is only the national convention that can suspend the national chairman of the Labour Party. It also must be through such a convention called for the suspension of the national chairman.

“We think that the sudden suspension was an afterthought of some opposition parties purely to distract the leadership of the Labour Party at this time. There is no reasonable party member at this point who will be thinking of such a thing when we are pursuing our presidential mandate in the court and all other mandates including the Governorship, Senate and House of Representatives that were brazenly stolen.

“Who will be contemplating the suspension of any national party official at this point? It is on record that for the first time in the history of the party, the Abure-led leadership has succeeded to change the political narratives in the country. A party from the blues competing with the top two political parties and in the process, won eight Senate and 34 House of Representatives as well as numerous House of Assembly seats. We also won a governorship seat while we are in court to retrieve other mandates including the presidency.

“This is certainly not a matter that should be given serious attention by the media. We ordinarily should be talking to our lawyers by now but the fact that you are dealing with faceless individuals who are been sponsored is.

“We are also calling on Nigerians to distance themselves from politicians who take pleasure in maligning political leaders, especially, politicians who are afraid of the rising profile of our national chairman, Julius Abure.”

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Nigeria Politics

LABOUR PARTY PUBLIC INCITEMENT: CHANNELS TV FINED #5M

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : April 31st, 2013

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5 million on Channels TV for breaking the broadcasting code in an interview programme with Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate.

The fine was revealed in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the television station and dated March 27.

The letter was exclusively obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

The letter, with the title: “Broadcast of an Inciting Interview, A Sanction”, was signed by Balarabe Ilelah, the commission’s Director-General.

It read in part:” The NBC monitored the broadcast of a live interview of the running mate of the Labour Party Vice presidential candidate, Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, by the anchor of Politics Today, Seun Okinbaloye, on Wednesday, March 22.

“Dr Baba-Ahmed said it will be unconstitutional to swear in an elected president on May 29, 2023, because of election irregularities,” Ilelah said in the letter.

He noted that the broadcast was volatile and capable of inciting public disorder and therefore violated some sections of the broadcasting code.

This, according to him, includes the section that said no broadcast shall encourage, or incite, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.

Ilelah added that according to the broadcasting code, broadcasters shall ensure that no programme contained anything which amounted to subversion of constituted authority.

He recalled that the NBC had engaged Channels Television several times to consider public interest before any programme is broadcast.

This, he said, was to ensure that the country was not plunged into anarchy.

“Consequently, on the following infractions, Channels Television is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N5,000,000 (five million naira) only in the first instance,” he said.

He added that any further infraction by the television station would attract higher sanctions.

“You are advised to pay within two weeks from the day of receipt of this letter or the penalty will be graduated,” the NBC Director-General said.

On Thursday the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council petitioned the NBC over the same programme, drawing attention to several violations of the Broadcasting Code.

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Nigeria Politics Security

LABOUR PARTY IMO GOVERNRSHIP CANDIDATE FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : March 25th, 2023

LABOUR PARTY IMO GOVERNRSHIP CANDIDATE FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME

A Labour Party governorship Stalwart in the forthcoming governorship primary holding in Imo State, Humphrey Anumudu, has been found dead in his house.

Anumudu was reported dead in his home after returning from a meeting at the LP secretariat in Abuja.

The deceased was a native of Mbieri Ancient Kingdom in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State.

A family friend who spoke to The media on the condition of anonymity confirmed the death saying the auto merchant died on Friday evening.

He added that his death came as a shock.

Until his death, Anumudu was a multi-billionaire businessman cum politician who had been contesting the governorship seat of the state since 1998.

He was said to be the winner of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship primary in the state in 1998 before the ticket was ceded to Achike Udenwa who went on to rule the state between 1999 and 2007.

Since then, he had been contesting for the number one seat of the state.

In 2019, he was the Zenith Labour party governorship candidate.

He was also a respected legal luminary and the Chief Executive Officer of Globe Motors

Earlier, the LP Stalwart had launched his campaign with the several donations.

The joy of the members of Imo State Labour Party knew no bounds as an illustrious son of Imo State from Owerri senatorial district, Hon. Humphrey Anumudu, through his Humphrey Anumudu Foundation Imo State, donated campaign vehicles to Party executive and to all the Local Government Areas of Imo.

The vehicles were presented last Tuesday at the Party Secretariat in Owerri , Imo State capital.

Humphrey Anumudu while donating the vehicles said that “this invitation is specifically to assign these vehicles to Imo State Labour Party for the presidential campaign of Mr. Peter Obi.”

“Labour Party has existed and has been supported by Imo people without great showing of its existence in the State. Considering that our presidential flag bearer, Mr. Peter Obi is greatly and massively supported by Nigerians, I, Humphrey Anumudu therefore support his presidential campaign with these vehicles. I expect that the recipients of these vehicles will put them to maximum use in the overall interest of the campaign of Mr. Peter Obi and our great Party, the Labour Party.” He advised.

Responding, the State Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Ambrose Onyekwere thanked Humphrey Anumudu for his passionate commitment towards the emergence of Mr. Peter Obi as the next Nigeria President and Labour Party in general.

The chairman charged the Labour Party LGA chairmen to make judicious utilization of the vehicles especially for the general interest of Nigerians and Imo State people in particular that are yearning for good governance through Mr. Peter Obi. He urged the ward chairmen to henceforth show commitment to the party via making efforts that are capable of making the party and her candidates popular in various localities of Imo State.

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Nigeria Politics

OBI LOSES SUIT, AS COURT RULES THAT INEC IS AT LIBERTY TO DECIDE MODE OF TRANSMISSION

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL: March 21, 2023

JUST IN: Court Dismisses Labour Party’s Suit, Rules That “Only INEC Can Determine Mode Of Collating, Transmitting Election Results”

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that it is only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that is empowered by law to determine the mode of collating and transmitting election results.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a judgment, also held that it is only INEC that has the prerogative to direct how Polling Unit Presiding Officer should transfer election results, including the total number of accredited voters and results of the ballot.

Before dismissing the suit, Justice Nwite held that the collating and transferring election results manually in the 2023 general elections is in line with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 filed by the Labour Party (LP), with INEC as the only defendant.

LP had prayed the court to declare that INEC has no power to choose manual method other than the electronic method provided for by the relevant provisions the Electoral Act, 2022.

The Labour Party urged the court to issue an order directing INEC to comply with the Electoral Act, 2022 on electronic transmission of result in the forthcoming general election.

The judge said: “From the argument of the learned plaintiff’s counsel, I am of the humble opinion that the bone of contention or the sections that seeks for interpretation are actually sections 50(2) 60(5) and 62(2) of the Electoral Act, 2922.

“Section 47(2) as cited by the learned counsel to the plaintiff only deals with accreditation of voters using a Smart Card Reader, but not collation or transmission of result as postulated by the learned counsel,” the judge held.

Justice Nwite said that Section 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides for the transfer of election result, including the total number of the accredited voters from the polling unit.

He noted that Section 62(2) of the same Act provides for compilation, maintenance and continuous update of the register of election result as distinct database for all polling units’ results as collated in all elections conducted by the commission.

“The said Section 62(2) has mandated that such register of election results shall be kept in an electronic format by the commission at its national headquarters.

“Now a close reading of Section 50(2) of the Act has provided for voting and and transmission of result to be done in accordance wit the procedure to be determined by the commission.

“This is to say that the commission is at liberty to prescribe or choose the manner in which election results shall be transmitted.

“In same ambit, Section 60(5) empowered the Polling Unit Presiding Officer to transfer the election results, including the total number of accredited voters and results of the ballot in a manner to be prescribed by the commission.

“This is also to say the commission is again at liberty to prescribe to the Polling Units’ Presiding Officer the manner in which to collate and transfer the election results as well as the accredited number of voters in an election under the Act.”

“In view of the foregoing, can the act of the defendant (INEC) in collating and transferring election results manually in the forthcoming 2023 general elections be said to be contrary to the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022?

“The answer can only be in the negative as there is no where in the above cited sections where the commission or any of its Agents is mandated to only use an electronic means in collating or transferring of election result.

“If any, the commission is only mandated to collate and transfer election results and number of accredited voters in a way or manner deemed fit by it.

“In view of the above, I am finding that, by the provisions of Sections 50(2) and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 the correct interpretation of the said statutes is that the defendant (INEC) is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which election results could be transmitted and I so hold.

“Consequently this matter is hereby dismissed,” Justice Nwite said.

INEC declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election, after he defeated Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.

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Nigeria Politics

CONFUSION : AS LABOUR PARTY IN LAGOS DISQUALIFIES CHINEDU RHODES-VIVOUR, OBI FUMES

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL: March 17th, 2023

The main issues that are currently trending amongst us lawyers include whether or not the Labour Party candidate is qualified to contest the forthcoming gubernatorial election and whether the questions of qualification of a candidate are both pre- and post-primaries issues.

This legal conundrum has suffered several commentaries from lawyers and political analysts. This intervention is to interrogate the legal issues involving the qualifications of candidates; compliance of the political party to the Electoral Act and its party constitution and guidelines in the nomination of candidates and presentation of forged/false documents to the INEC.

In answering questions of qualification of a candidate to contest election, we need to discuss the roles of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in monitoring political parties. It is the law under section 29 (3) of the Electoral Act that once INEC publishes the names of candidates nominated by the political parties in accordance with section 84 of the Electoral Act; such publication is presumed correct and authentic.

The news reaching Push News 24 International confirmed the disqualification of the Labour Party Governorship Candidate for Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour from contesting Saturday, March 18, 2023 Governorship election in the State.

The Court ruled that Professor Ifagbemi Awamaridi is the legitimate candidate to contest the election under the banner of the Labour Party (LP).

The Press Release emanated from the Lagos State Chapter of the party was signed by the State Secretary of the party, Sam Okpala.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the LP, Mr Peter obi has been saddened by this decision as he has continually campaigned for Vivour despite been advised earlier about the electoral act and other provisions.

The doctrine of presumption of regularity and correctness ensure in favour of INEC under Section 168 of the Evidence Act. See the case of CPC V. INEC (2011) LPELR – 8257 (SC). However, given that the presumption is rebuttable, any aspirant who participated in the primaries of such political party who has reasonable grounds that information submitted by the candidate is false, may file a suit at the Federal High Court within time frame to challenge the candidature of such person. This is done at pre-election stage.

Moreso, a candidate or political party who participated in an election where a candidate of another political party was elected may question the result announced by INEC by way of a petition at the tribunal or court under Sections 133 and 134 of the Electoral Act, 2022. This is done at post-election stage.

The question that may follow is: what are the grounds upon which the conduct and/or outcome of an election may be questioned by an aggrieved party? Section 134 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides as follows: (1) An election may be questioned on any of the following grounds: (a) A person whose election is questioned was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election; (b) The election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of this Act; or (c) The respondent was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.

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Nigeria Opinion Politics

NIGERIA ’23 : STATES ATIKU, TINUBU, KWANKWASO AND OBI ARE PROJECTED TO STRONGLY WIN

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL: February 2023

In less than 12 hours, Nigerians will vote for the next president of the continent’s largest nation.

The nation has been presented with 18 presidential candidates; however, if campaign spreads and activities are any indication, the race is shaping up to be a four-horse race.

The candidates who have been campaigning across the country are Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

In this analysis by the main stream media firms we will examine the factors that will determine the outcome of the election in each state, taking into account the party structures and historical voting patterns of the states

The campaigns have been plagued by ethnic and religious tinges; for instance, the Labour Party candidate has been criticised for visiting churches, while Tinubu and Atiku have been criticised for making ethnically-tinged remarks.

For a candidate to win, he or she must obtain a simple majority of the votes cast and 25 percent of the vote in 24 states and the FCT, as stipulated by the constitution of 1999.

South East

The region has five states- Abia, Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu and Imo states and due to ethnic colouration, are expected to go to the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, who is a former Governor of Anambra State. However, these states are traditional PDP voting states and the Labour party has no single governor in the region.

Poor turnout may be expected in the region due to the activities of the unknown gunmen and IPOB. It would be recalled that Simon Ekpa, the factional leader of the group, declared a sit-at-home order in those states.

Anambra State

In Anambra, Peter Obi is expected to perform well because of home advantage. In 2019, as the running mate to Atiku, they polled 524,738 votes representing 86.63% of the total votes. However, that may be a bit hard now because PDP has some strong senatorial candidates like Chris Uba, Stella Oduah and Mary Ekwunife. Also, the governor of the state, Charles Soludo openly opposed the candidacy of Obi, saying there is no path to victory for him. But that being said, Obi is expected to pick the state. Likely parties PDP, APGA/APC

Abia State

This traditional PDP voting state is faced with the obedient movement and the G5 governors’ influence. Governor Okiezie Ikpeazu is a member of the rebellious PDP governors that have refused to endorse the presidential candidate of the PDP, although the governor has refused to endorse anyone. The reason could be that the Obidient movement threatens his political structure, as voters may vote LP across the board, a decision that may affect his senatorial ambition and others in the PDP.

Also, there is former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu in Abia North, whose effort in the last election afforded the APC over 25% of the total votes. LP, PDP, APC That said, Obi is expected to win the state.

Ebonyi State

Ebonyi is also another state that Obi is expected to win, but he will have to battle with the structure of the APC, where governor Dave Umahi, for the very first time, is running on a platform that is not PDP.

The PDP is suffering from internal conflict in the state, but with strong National Assembly members and historic voting prowess, PDP cannot be totally written off. LP is expected to carry the state, but not with blown out margin In this order LP, APC, PDP

Enugu State

If Obi had not been in the race, this state would have been called for the PDP, but fortune is not smiling on the PDP in the state. The governor is a PDP member but also a member of the G5, and like all other G5 governors, he refused to campaign for Atiku. Even though Sen Chimaroke Nnamani is supporting Tinubu openly, the Labour Party is projected to win the state.

However, security remains a major concern in the state, considering that a Labour Party senatorial candidate was killed barely 72 hours before the election. LP, PDP, APC

Imo State

In Imo State, Governor Hope Uzodinama has a top job to deliver the state for the APC, a tall order considering the circumstances of his emergence as governor of the state through the Supreme Court. PDP won the state during the last presidential election with 65% of the total votes cast, while APC got 27.5 percent.

As in most other states, Labour Party can be considered a disruption in most southeast states, therefore, the party is expected to win this state. However, if Uzodinma keeps traditional APC voters, they may maintain second, but the second position is too close to call between APC and PDP, but the odd favours PDP. LP, APC/PDP

Northcentral

No one has won the presidential election without winning the Northcentral. Although the region does not boast of bloc votes like the Northwest, however, because of the diversity of the people there, it tells of the acceptability of a candidate.

The region is not homogeneous— not united by language, culture or religion; to show how competitive the region is, all the candidates are popular here. Another thing is that it appears PDP and Labour are going after the same sets of voters

Benue State

A number of polls have called the state for the Labour Party and the endorsement of Obi by Governor Samuel Ortom have been seen as significant. However, several factors make the state too close to call. While Ortom is the governor, however, other PDP bigwigs like former Governor Gabriel Suswan and Senator Abba Moro are on the ballot on Saturday as candidates of the PDP, including the governor himself. Even the national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu is from the state. However, the anti-Fulani rhetoric of the Governor may present a challenge, as the PDP will have to market Atiku to voters. On the part of the APC, there is the factor of Father Hyacinth Alia that appears to be some sort of movement in the state; he has equally been campaigning for the candidate of the APC, Tinubu.

Even the daughter of former Senate President, David Mark is in the APC, and it is hard to underestimate her; she defeated her uncle in the last election when she contested on the platform of APGA. It could be any of the candidates: APC/PDP/LP

Plateau State

Labour Party candidate is expected to win Plateau State particularly due to the enthusiasm of the young people; however, there is a common thread when analysing supporters of LP, they are mostly urban youth and women. His ability to win the state depends on the work done in rural places outside the capital because the PDP is also strong in the state and there is the APC factor, where governor Simon Lalong is a senatorial candidate in Plateau South. The APC may get backlash due to the party’s Muslim/Muslim ticket. Even in the Muslim community, the votes will be between PDP and APC. LP but with a slim margin— APC/PDP

Nasarawa

This state is another clear example of LP and PDP chasing similar voters. In Nasarawa State, PDP will have to rely on party structure to deliver the state, as voters in Mararaba, Masaka and other places close to Abuja in Karu Local government area of the state may vote Obi. APC will rely on the National Chairman, Abdulahi Adamu, Governor Sule Abudulahi and Tanko Almakura to deliver the state for the ruling party. Because of the division in the opposition, APC is projected to take the state by a slim margin, while the second place is too close to call. APC, LP/PDP

Kogi State

In the last election, APC won Kogi State by a slim margin with 54.8% of the total votes cast; with the recent economic situation and the Naira scarcity, the state should have been a battle ground, however, there is the impact of Peter Obi in this election that may take youths that ordinarily would have voted Atiku and the PDP.

There are also concerns about electoral violence in the state and the incidents of bomb blasts in Okene. All these may discourage some voters in the state.

Natasha Apoti and some PDP bigwigs are expected to make waves for Atiku, but the APC may enjoy some enthusiasm in Kogi West— particularly in the Okun speaking part, who may sympathise with Tinubu. It will be a battle between Dino Melaye and James Faleke in Ijumu LG. Because of the Obi factor, APC may win the state. APC, PDP, LP

Niger State

Niger state, a state that is always mentioned at every presidential election, because any serious candidate must visit Abdulsalam Abubakar and Ibrahim Babangida at their hilltop mansions.

Niger State is currently a battleground between the APC and the PDP, where both held rallies with massive crowds. Ordinarily, APC would have been the favourite because of its structure in the state. In the last election, the state cleared every single elective position, and APC won with over 71% of the total votes cast in the election during the presidential election. And there is the incumbent governor of the State, Abubakar Sani of the APC. However, many believe that all is not well within the APC in the state. Umar Bago, the governorship candidate of the APC emerged despite not being the candidate of the governor. Although the governor claimed that he did not anoint any candidate for the primary, however, there were indications that the governor backed Mohammed Idris, the publisher of Blueprint newspaper, but was defeated.

The odds still favour the APC in the state, however, it is fair to state that it is too close to call. APC/PDP and LP.

Kwara State

The state will be facing the review of the “O to ge” movement that displaced the Saraki Dynasty in the state. The PDP, led by former Senate President Bukola Saraki is proposing “O su wa” a Yoruba phrase that means “we are tired”. The APC in the state has gone through internal combustion that broke it into three— APC, SDP and YPP.

Also, Saraki has intensified his campaign around the state on a ward to ward level, and the decision of his party to zone the governorship ticket to Kwara North, a zone that last produced a governor in 1992, may be a huge advantage for the party ahead of the election. Both SDP and YPP have fielded strong senatorial candidates that may affect the party in rural areas. All these factors favour the PDP, however, there is the factor of Tinubu’s name in the state. It is a household name. APC is projected to win, but after a strong battle. APC, PDP

FCT

Because of the cosmopolitan nature of the FCT, the LP candidate has been projected to win the FCT, a good call considering the factor on the ground, however, FCT has large rural components across the territory. LP will be getting votes from traditional PDP voters and first-timers. LP is expected to take the FCT but it will be hard to underestimate long-term senator, Philip Aduda of the PDP and Zakari Angulu of the APC, both running for senate seats. APC is expected to pull some numbers in Abuja South— Gwagwalada, Kwali, Abaji and Kuje, although Hassan Sokodabo, the PDP rep member in the constituency and urban voters in Gwagwalada may further hurt the APC.

That being said, LP is projected to win with a slim margin, the second position is too close to call.

South-South

South-south is another battle ground in this election that many would not have envisaged 12 months ago. The political map of Nigeria has tremendously changed in the last 12 months.

There are the G5 governors and the Obi factor. These two factors turned the zone into a battle ground. Ordinarily, PDP would have swept this region leaving the APC to fight for 25%. Edo State In 2019, APC polled 47% of the total votes cast, however, the fortune of the party has changed since then; it lost the governorship seat after the governor defected to PDP before the governorship election.

Now, the APC has been reduced to Edo North Senatorial district where Adams Oshiomhole is the senatorial candidate of the party. Unfortunately for the PDP, the party will have to share its fortune with the Labour Party, particularly among the youths. While Governor Godwin Obaseki is always quick to dismiss the movement, his prediction that the movement will fizzle out is yet to be seen.

Then, there is the internal crisis within the PDP where a group led by Dan Orbin receives orders from the Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. The State is hard to call, a candidate with less than 35% of the total votes cast may win the election. Ordinarily, APC should not be in consideration, but in a three-horse race, if APC keeps its traditional voters while LP and PDP share spoils—a surprise may not be far away. LP/PDP—Not ruling out APC completely.

Delta State

State of the vice presidential candidate of the PDP is one interesting state in this race. This state will go to the PDP because the party is obviously strong and there is more incentive for voters to turn out because of Okowa. Among the young people, the LP has significant sympathy. Also, there is the APC, where the party polled 26% of the total vote cast in the last election. But in the current cycle, it is hard to see how the APC can flip the state, particularly with its Muslim/Muslim ticket and the naira policy. Meanwhile, there is the reported cold war between Okowa and former Governor James Ibori over the governorship seat, however, not much movement has been observed from that quarters to suggest PDP losing the state. One question that remains- will the total vote cast in Delta State cross a million votes? PDP, APC/Labour

Akwa-Ibom State

Governor Emmanuel Udom is the Chairman of the Atiku Presidential campaign team, and he is expected to deliver the state. To do so, he will have to outmatch the Obidient movement, while keeping in mind former Governor Godswin Akpabio of the APC. In 2019, Akpabio was able to get 30% of the votes cast in Akwa-Ibom, but the recent crisis in the APC presents a challenge for him; however, there is a great deal of uncertainty hanging over the PDP, particularly as regards the governorship candidate. That said, the PDP is expected to win the state. PDP, LP, APC— it will be a close contest between LP and APC for the second position.

Bayelsa State

This state is going to be a strong battleground between the PDP and APC as some sort of a litmus test for the governorship election. Governor Diri Douye will have to use this election to establish his status in the state considering that he lost the governorship election in November 2019 against David Lyon; it took the intervention of the court for Douye to emerge. As it stands, Lyon and the minister of petroleum resources (State), Timipreye Sylva have already procured the N50 million nomination and expression of interest forms. Local politics will determine the outcome of this election, but odds favour the PDP to win the state, however, the race is too close to call.

Cross River State

Governor Ben Ayade will fancy his chance to for the first time deliver the state for the party; however, like most south-south states, Cross River has consistently voted PDP, and with Labour Party making waves among the young people, it is going to be an interesting battle. To exercise caution, it is best to declare that the state is too close to call.

Rivers State

There is a serious battle going on in Rivers, it is PDP vs PDP, so the question remains, who is going to reap from the division, is it APC or LP. Events in the past couple of weeks show that there is a deliberate attempt by Governor Nysome Wike to deliver the structure of the state to Tinubu, however, there are people still loyal to Atiku. Wike appears not to be taking chances against them. It would be recalled that a member of the House of Representatives, Chinyere Igwe was arrested by the police on Friday with about $500,000. But while this battle is ongoing, LP may take the state due to popular support. Therefore, Rivers is too close to call.

North West

This region has the highest block votes and the famous KKKK states (Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi and Katsina), that can alter the fortune of any candidate. Without Buhari not on the ticket, PDP, APC and NNPP are in serious battle to take the states.

Jigawa State

In Jigawa State, the battle is between Governor Abubakar Badaru and former Governor Sule Lamido. Whoever wins the battle will take the state. APC had to grapple with post primary election defections, and there is the entry of the NNPP into the picture. Although APC remains strong, it is hard to call. APC/PDP could take it to the wire— while NNPP will be close by Kano State Kano State has essentially turned into a two-horse race between APC and the NNPP, a rehearsal of the last governorship battle between Ganduje and Rabiu Kwankwaso’s inlaw. It will not be strange if the two parties get 1 million votes apiece.

NNPP is strong in Kano Central, while the APC is strong in North and South. PDP has not been able to cause enough stir in the state, even the decamping of former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has not caused sufficient excitement. Too close to call, but odds favour Kwankwaso, however, it remains a tough battle.

Zamfara State

Every single power bloc in Zamfara seems to be in the same party, APC, except perhaps Gen Mohammed Gusau who remains in the PDP. The feelers from the state show that APC will probably win the state, but the margin is not that clear as the impact of the Naira redesign policy has to be put into consideration. APC is projected to win, PDP and NNPP are to follow closely.

Katsina State

It may sound crazy, but Katsina State may go with the PDP due to a number of factors, one is the anger over insecurity and economic hardship. Secondly, the crisis in the APC has led to the migration of several members of the party. The question is, is the president’s influence sufficient to get the win for the APC? Therefore, PDP may likely take the state, however, PDP is equally battling with its challenges, particularly the former Governor of the state, Ibrahim Shema, who has refused to endorse the governorship candidate of the PDP, in response, Governor Aminu Masari and the state decided to discontinue the N11 billion corruption case against him. PDP, APC, NNPP

Kebbi State

The situation in Katsina is similar to what is happening in Kebbi; former Governor Adamu Aleiro and former Senate Leader, Yahaya left the APC over ticket, and they were given the tickets in PDP. Although APC remains strong, the fight remains tough and therefore difficult to call. APC/PDP, NNPP

Kaduna State

Kaduna State is historically divided into North and South, and for the past two election cycles, APC has retained the North, while PDP is strong in the Southern part of Kaduna. With LP making strides in the South among Christians, this could further divide the votes of the PDP. This development tilts the election to APC. APC, PDP and LP/NNPP

Sokoto State

StateIf incumbency and ethnicity were the only factor in Sokoto, then PDP would be the obvious choice, but the local politics in Sokoto State, particularly the rivalry between Governor Aminu Tambuwal and his predecessor, Wamakko has turned the state into a battleground. This state could swing in any direction, therefore, the state is too close to call.

North East

The NorthEast geopolitical zone presents the battle between APC Vice Presidential candidate, Kassim Shettima and Atiku Abubakar.

Borno and Yobe.

These two states have similar voting patterns and are expected to go in the direction of the APC because of the influence of the vice presidential candidate, who is a Kanuri man. But the PDP is expected to do better in this election now that Buhari is not on the ballot. However, with Peter Obi trying to poach minority voters in Southern Borno, the PDP may be concerned.

It is yet to be seen how Muslim/Muslim ticket of the APC will cause dissatisfaction in those states, but the APC will win by a considerable margin. APC, PDP, LP/NNPP

Adamawa State

Adamawa State, the state of Atiku, should deliver a large margin for the PDP, unlike in 2019 where Buhari got substantial votes, this time around, APC may have to target the 25% requirement. The Labour Party will depend on Babachir Lawal to get Christian voters, however, the target will be 25%.

Bauchi and Gombe

In Bauchi State, Governor Bala Mohammed has the popularity to deliver the state; Atiku is also popular in the state, and with Buhari out of the way and Yakubu Dogara seeking to punish Tinubu for the Muslim/Muslim ticket, PDP will definitely take Bauchi.

In Gombe State, it is a battle between Atiku Abubakar and the Governor of Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya of the APC. The state is too close to call.

Taraba State

This is one state many expect Peter Obi to win because of religious sentiment, however, the structure of the PDP and APC is strong in the state. The odds favour the PDP because of the internal crisis in the APC; however, it will be a close contest. It is LP, PDP, and APC.

Additional reports NAN, EyesGist, Vanguard

Categories
Finance/Industry Nigeria Politics Security

AFTER 5 YEARS OF DELAYED JUSTICE PETER OBI DG GOES TO JAIL, TO SERVE 2 YEARS

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : December19th, 2022

AFTER 5 YEARS OF DELAYED JUSTICE PETER OBI DG GOES TO JAIL, TO SERVE 2 YEARS

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, jailed Doyin Okupe, for two years with an option of fine.

The court jailed Mr Okupe, who is the director-general of Peter Obi’s Labour (LP) presidential campaign council, for money laundering offences.

He was also a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Delivering the judgment on Monday, the judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, held that Mr Okupe was guilty of contravening sections 16(1) and (2) of the Money Laundering Act, for receiving cash payments without going through a bank, in excess of the threshold statutorily allowed.

Mr Okupe was found guilty on a total of 26 counts – from counts 34 to 59 of the charges.

The judge sentenced Mr Okupe to two years in prison on count 34 with an option of a fine of N500,000.

The court also sentenced him to two years imprisonment on counts 35 to 59 with an option of a fine of N500,000. The option of fine is to run consecutively on each count while the sentence is to run concurrently.

The judge refrained from making any custodial order but said the convict is the property of the state.

In January 2019, the EFCC arraigned Mr Okupe alongside two companies – Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd, over allegations of N702 fraud.

He was charged with 59 counts bordering on “money laundering and criminal diversion of funds” to the tune of N702 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), which was headed by Sambo Dasuki.

While closing its case, an EFCC witness, Shuaibu Salisu, a former director of Administration and Finance at the ONSA, said in 2012, he was directed to make a payment of N50 million to him.”

He further said he was also directed by the ONSA ”to be paying N10 million monthly to Okupe for over two years”, which he said was reduced to a monthly N5 million towards the end of 2014 due to paucity of funds.

Also, Mr Salisu recalled paying another N50 million in cash to Mr Okupe on the orders of Mr Dasuki, who equally faces charges at the Federal and FCT High Courts in Abuja.

Mr Salisu told the court that “sometime in 2012, Chief Okupe came to the Office of the National Security Adviser, and after their discussion, I was directed to make a payment of N50 million to him.”

According to him, “Okupe provided his account details, where I paid the amount into the bank account of Value Trust Investment.”

Categories
Nigeria Politics

2023 : APGA CANDIDATE CAN’T STEP DOWN FOR PETER OBI – SOLUDO TO BULLIES

PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : November 17th, 2022

As 2023 general elections beckons politicians have been caught in several frenzy hitting one another in a bid to project their candidates.

Latest is the recent banters between erstwhile CBN Governor and now Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi over what has been described as a reality check between two brothers of different political ideologies.

Push News 24 International while monitoring the various comments and interviews from both players observed that the ideological differences are premised of enticing the support base of both actors towards the 2023 Presidential elections.

Charles Soludo who have not failed to show his displeasures in the administration of former Governor Peter Obi administration in Anambra State, made a recent release where he declared that it’s absurd for anyone to ask APGA Presidential candidate in 2023 elections to step down for Labour Party Candidate, Peter Obi.

Below release available to Push News 24 International detailed the press statements by Prof. Charles Soludo.

History Beckons and I will not be Silent (Part 1)

Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR

My attention has been drawn to some of the tirades on social media following my frank response during an interview on Channels TV regarding the “investments” Mr. Peter Obi claimed to have made with Anambra state revenues. Sadly, several of the comments left the issue of the interview to probe or suggest motives, inferred from my response on “investment” that I am opposed to Peter Obi’s ambition and therefore committed a “crime” for which the punishment is internecine abuse and harassment even to my family. Some people even suggest that the gunmen who went to attack a checkpoint at my hometown on Saturday 12th November but were gunned down was part of the mob reaction. I used to think that for decent people, certain conducts are off-limits, and that in Anambra, politics is not warfare.

Of course, as a Christian, I know that telling the truth can be very costly, even suicidal. Our Lord and saviour was crucified simply for telling the truth the people did not want to hear. I promised that I won’t be the usual politician, and will not knowingly lie to the people. I am not an Angel but rather than knowingly repeat the same deceitful character that politicians are known for, I would leave public office. It is a vow I made to my God and to my family. Only God knows how many days I will be on this seat but whether I am on it or not I will always say it as it is— knowing fully the suicidal consequences of telling the truth in a political arena, especially in a country where lying and deceit by politicians have become culture and celebrated as being “smart”.

Ideally, I should just have laughed off the infantile exuberances as many friends advised (I am used to this, having been in the ‘Arena’ for a while). I always re-read the quote “The Man in the Arena…” by President Theodore Roosevelt (1910) to remind myself of the burden of public office. Several well meaning Nigerians and Ndigbo called to advise that I should just ignore them. A respected Igbo elder-statesman who called, advised that I should just ignore what he described as “Peter Obi and his social media mob”. According to him, “everyone knows that he is going nowhere, but they are looking for who to blame”. After some 20 minutes of discussion, he advised that I should personally author a response— just for the records.

Everyone knows that I don’t follow the winds nor one to succumb to bullies, nor shy away from a good fight especially when weighty matters of principles and future of the people are involved. One lesson I learnt from my former boss and mentor, President Obasanjo, is never to be on the fence. I learnt that one must always take a stand: for better or for worse. I do so with every sense of humility, and leave history to judge. Most people have commended me for “tactfully avoiding being drawn into the Peter Obi issue” until now. Since I am now being forced into the Arena on this matter, I have a duty and a right of reply, if only for the records, and to also give the social media mob something substantive to rant upon and rain their abuses for weeks. In this preliminary response, there are some things I will refrain from saying here because, in the end, February/March 2023 will come and go, and life will continue.

At the outset, let me state that this exhibition of desperation, intolerance and attempt to bully everyone who expresses the slightest of dissent is reprehensible. This is Hitler in the making. When the revered Arch Bishop Chukwuma stated that in Enugu State, they were not obedient, he was ferociously bullied on social media. Any dissent is tagged a saboteur or, in my case, it could be that I want to contest for president after office or that I am envious of Peter Obi. Soludo envious of Peter Obi? Totally laughable! But this is the same person I was asking to return to APGA in March 2022 and contest for president and yet envious or doesn’t want him to be president. This is madness! Seriously speaking, the obdurate attempt to muscle the republican Igbos to maintain the silence of the graveyard is antithetical to everything Igbo. It is not who we are. Insulting other ethnic groups and religions or denigrating others is certainly not the path to Aso Rock. If this is not checked, it may indeed endanger the future political and economic interests of the Igbos.

In his time, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the undisputed all time leader of the Igbos but he had his arch rivals and even independent candidates won landslide elections against his party, NCNC, in Igboland. Obafemi Awolowo had stiff opposition among the Yorubas while Ahmadu Bello had his share of opponents in the Northern region. Today, no one has accused Afenifere or other strong presidential candidates from the South West of being “anti Yoruba” because Tinubu is a frontrunner, nor has anyone accused Kwankwaso and several other Northern candidates of being “anti-North” for not supporting Atiku. As a full blooded republican Igboman and democrat, I reject this despotic intolerance.

Yes, I fully understand the anger of some urban and Diaspora youths and some Nigerians who are dissatisfied with the trajectory of the country or with the candidates of the major parties and wished other options. Not knowing much about others, some see Peter Obi as the contrast they wished for. I get the point. But this is a democracy: the minority will have their say, but the majority their way. Translating anger and social media agitation into political outcomes requires humongous work.

For full disclosure, let me state that Peter Obi and I are not just friends, we call ourselves “brothers”. But we have political differences: he left APGA for PDP after his tenure as Governor while I have remained in APGA since 2013. During the last two governorship elections in Anambra in 2017 and 2021, he led the PDP campaigns but APGA won landslide in both elections. By the way, in 2016, he visited and proposed that I defect to PDP and contest the 2017 election against the incumbent Willie Obiano, but I declined. After my victory in November 2021, he called to congratulate me as I did to him in 2010. That is the Anambra way: we fight fiercely during campaigns but share drinks at the next social events. After all, it was the great Zik of Africa who taught us that in politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies but only permanent interests.

We sat next to each other during the Emeka Anyaoku lecture at Nnamdi Azikiwe University on 8th March, 2022 and I made an offer for him to return to APGA and contest as its presidential candidate. Yes, I did. In my mind, it was time for Igbos to organize their region politically before stepping out to bargain power with other organized coalitions. On his part, he tried to convince me that he expected APC to unravel while PDP would be the “only one” standing. We debated and he proposed that we could meet later to discuss further. He attended my inauguration on March 17. A few weeks later, he requested and I obliged him to use the Anambra State government house facility to launch his presidential bid under PDP. I was surprised to read in the news later that he had defected to LP (a party with literally zero structure), thereby attempting to weaken the same PDP he saw as the saviour a few weeks earlier. He paid me a courtesy call as the presidential candidate of LP, and we had frank discussions.

During our meeting, I reminded him of my proposal to him to come and contest under APGA. More importantly, I told him (possibly to his surprise) that I did not make the proposal in the belief that he will win in 2023 but that it would give us the opportunity to get our people organized as a bargaining force, with him leading the effort since I was busy as Governor (my immediate predecessor, Willie Obiano had indicated to me that he was not disposed to contest an election). We noted that we were in opposing political parties and in response to my direct question as to how I might help him, he requested that I should just ensure a “level playing field” and let the people decide. In fidelity, my government has provided the atmosphere for him and his supporters to operate freely in Anambra without any molestation (compare with treatments to LP even in other South East states), and allowed his billboards which are, in many places, wrongly placed almost on the roads. As a person, I have several shortcomings but being petty is not one of them. We have shown him tremendous goodwill—which he did not extend to the same Labour Party when he was Governor (Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, as LP governorship candidate in 2013 was denied the use of Ekwueme Square for his rallies).

Someone reminded me that a mob has no head and hence cannot reason. The same Peter Obi was one of those who told Ndigbo that APGA was the vehicle through which Igbos would organize to engage the rest of Nigeria politically. He was said to have sworn to Ojukwu and publicly that he would quit politics the day he leaves APGA. The rest is history. When he was the Vice-Presidential candidate under PDP in 2019, the emotive train then dubbed the ticket “the Igbo project”. As then chairman of planning and strategy committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, I cautioned for a more pragmatic approach but the emotive blaze of the time held sway. We were vindicated afterwards.

By the way, APGA is Nigeria’s third largest political party today (after APC and PDP, it is the only other party with a state governor and third largest presence at the National Assembly). And some people have the temerity to suggest that APGA’s candidate should “step down” for Peter Obi as the “Igbo candidate”. I wonder when Igbos met to choose a candidate. They even argue that afterall APGA supported President Jonathan and did not field a candidate then. Well, the fact as I was told was that no candidate showed interest under APGA then. Besides, APGA’s unwritten rule then was to support the party at the centre — which, if we apply this time, should actually be APC. But we have our own candidate. Recall that all the political parties had their primaries during the same period. Once Peter Obi realized that he won’t get the presidential or vice-presidential ticket of PDP he ran to Labour Party (a political party known as a transit camp for aspirants who lost primaries in APC, PDP and APGA), and the chorus by a vociferous minority now is that LP has become the “Igbo project”, and the APGA candidate who emerged the same time as Peter Obi should “step down”. Ridiculous! Now I truly understand that a mob cannot reason.

When will Ndigbo understand and learn politics, especially of Nigeria? When Bola Ahmed Tinubu defied the political wind of the time and stood out as the “only man standing” in AD and later AC (before ACN) against a sitting president of Yoruba descent, no one accused him of being “anti-Yoruba”. Indeed, everyone recalls that both Tinubu and President Obasanjo disagreed politically, and probably still disagree—but none is being accused of being “anti- Yoruba”. Under Tinubu, the South West strategically organized under a different political party, the ACN and went into a formidable alliance that kicked out a sitting president (in Africa?), and that alliance is not broken yet. Igbos, in their frenzied Nzogbu nzogbu politics, have sadly found themselves in a political cul de sac. Tragic indeed! When will my people smell the morning coffee?

Let me now address the substance of my response during the interview, and I stand by what I said. On record, I doubt that any governor in Nigeria has paid as much tribute to his predecessors as I have done during campaigns and in office. I always said that ALL of them did well and to the best of their abilities. Yes, Peter Obi was governor for 8 years (2006 -2014) during a period of unprecedented oil boom and prosperity in Nigeria (Nigerian economy was growing at average of 6-8% per annum, and oil price was highest during this time). I have seen all kinds of funny comments and interpretations regarding what I said about the value of his “investments”. Some refer to SabMiller and bandy all kinds of figures as to how the investment of $12 million is now worth less than $3 million. Of course, there is room for legitimate debate about the logic or quality of the investments. For example, people might differ as to the propriety of using taxpayers money to promote a company in which one is a shareholder in the name of “investment”, or even whether so called “savings” are warranted when there were dozens of schools without roofs or classrooms, or local governments without access roads or hospitals without doctors/nurses. A Bishop recently publicly advised that I should please try to construct the “Ngige type of quality roads”, stating that the ones done by his successor (that is, Peter Obi) had washed off, while Ngige’s remained. I promised and we are delivering quality roads that Anambra has not seen before.

For sure, prudence in public resource management is desirable and we are opening new frontiers in that area. People will however differ as to whether saving money in the bank account is a KPI (key performance indicator) for a government where poverty is escalating except where its institutions for absorption are weak or where the government has no robust/big agenda for transformation. Governments exist to save lives, not to save money. We can debate and differ on this— (by the way, I know when/how it is appropriate to “save” as I built Nigeria’s foreign reserves from $10 billion I inherited to all time $63 billion, and even after paying $12 billion to pay-off Nigeria’s external debt and going through unprecedented global financial crisis, I still left behind about $45 billion— Go and verify!).

Funny, in the rabid frenzy to grab every straw, they cut a clip during our governorship debate where I was stating vital statistics and they claimed that I was “praising” Peter Obi then while committing a crime now by “criticising” him. Hahahaha! Well, it is true that I said during the debate that, according to National Bureau of Statistics, poverty in Anambra actually grew (from less than 25% in 2005) to about 53% under Peter Obi in 2010/2011 but fell under Willie Obiano to 14.78% in 2020. Yes, poverty more than doubled under Peter Obi and more than 50% of Ndi Anambra were in poverty under him. Go and verify! I am Governor, and sitting on privileged information which I will not want to use against a political opponent. But on matters of facts, I will always state same as is. As the saying goes, you can fool some of the people some of the time but never all the people all the time. Enough said for now!

Where do we go from here? I listened to my friend Gov El-Rufai on TV explaining why the northern governors decided that power should shift to the South. According to him, they asked themselves what would their founding fathers—Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa or Aminu Kano have done in the circumstance. Today, I ask my people, Ndigbo: do we ask what Azikiwe or M.I. Okpara or Akanu Ibiam would do in the present circumstance? I worry that Ndigbo as Nigeria’s foremost itinerant tribe and with the greatest stake in the Nigerian project does not yet have a strategy to engage Nigeria—politically! Every four years, we resurface with emotive Nzogbu Nzogbu political dance (“it is our turn dance” but without organization or strategy) and fizzle out afterwards while others work 24/7 strategizing and organizing.

Let’s be clear: Peter Obi knows that he can’t and won’t win. He knows the game he is playing, and we know too; and he knows that we know. The game he is playing is the main reason he didn’t return to APGA. The brutal truth (and some will say, God forbid) is that there are two persons/parties seriously contesting for president: the rest is exciting drama! That many Americans may not like the fact that Joe Biden (79 years) and Donald Trump (76 years) are two frontrunners for president in their parties does not remove the fact that if both of them emerge as candidates, definitely one of them will be president in 2024.

As my brother, I wish him well and even pray for him. I told him during his courtesy call that my prayer is that himself or Prof Umeadi of APGA would win, why not? That is from my heart, but I also told him that my head and facts on the ground led me to know that it’s probability is next to zero (what I cannot say before you, I won’t say behind you). So I already told him my opinion. Indeed, there is no credible pathway for him near the first two positions, and if care is not taken, he won’t even near the third position. Analysts tell him you don’t need “structure” to win. Fantasy! Of course, LP won governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun on social media and via phantom polls, while getting barely 2,000 votes on ground. Creating a credible third force for presidential election in Nigeria requires a totally different strategy and extreme hard work.

Of course, Peter Obi will get some votes, and may probably win in Anambra state— as “home boy”. But Anambra is not Nigeria. If he likes, I can even campaign for him but that won’t change much. From internal state by state polling available to me, he was on course to get 25% in 5 states as at August this year. The latest polling shows that it is down to four states, and declining. Not even in Lagos state (supposed headquarters of urban youths) where Labour Party could not find candidates to contest for House of Reps or Senate. The polls also show that he is taking votes away mostly from PDP. Indeed, if I were Asiwaju Tinubu, I would even give Peter Obi money as someone heading one of the departments of his campaign because Obi is making Tinubu’s pathway to victory much easier by indirectly pulling down PDP. It is what it is!

The current fleeting frenzy, if not checked, will cost Ndigbo dearly for years. The South East has the lowest number of votes of any region, but it is also the only region where the presidential race might be a 4-way race (it is a two-way race in the other 5 regions) thereby ensuring that our votes won’t count in the making of the next president of Nigeria. Afterwards, we would start complaining that we don’t get “what we deserve” or cry of marginalization. During the 2019 presidential election, the five South East States were united for PDP but contributed merely 1.6 million votes to PDP which was about the votes that Kano state gave to Buhari. The emotions might run to heavens but politics-power is about cold calculations, organization and building alliances for power. In a democracy, it is a game of numbers. So far, I don’t see any of these— and 2023 might again be a wasted opportunity for Ndigbo! What is our Plan B when Peter Obi loses in February 2023? Some people prefer that we should play the Ostrich while Peter Obi toys with the collective destiny of over 60 million Igbos. Yes, you pray that he wins, but what if he fails as he is certain to? The Bible says that my people perish for lack of knowledge. As the saying goes, only those who Plan can control the future. Ndigbo, wake up and smell the coffee!

What would Zik of Africa or M.I. Okpara do in this circumstance? Our founding fathers understood that in politics, you don’t get what you deserve but what you bargain/negotiate, and you negotiate with your organization and VOTES. Not social media militancy or bullying (where over 90% of actual voters are not on social media)! Our fathers built alliances with other major political parties in other regions (not with socio-cultural groups that don’t command any votes), and Ndigbo were in the reckoning in the first and second republics. After the elections, we will see how many votes any of the leaders of the socio-cultural groups will get for Peter Obi from their wards. Sometimes I even sense a conspiracy to nudge us on a path to nowhere thereby further pushing us into irrelevance, and I pray that I am wrong. Just my two cents!

It is not too late for Ohanaeze Ndigbo and progressive Igbo leaders to pre-emptively start charting a pragmatic future for Ndigbo in Nigeria after the elections. Armchair social media analysts can have the luxury of fantasizing with wild speculations. Right or wrong, they earn their pay and with no consequences. For us as leaders, the lives of tens of millions are at stake. We have a historic duty to act and being silent or politically correct is not an option. For starters, Ohanaeze should study the report of my committee (planning and strategy) in 2019. It may still be relevant today. Second, Ndigbo should seriously study the MoU signed at the Yar’Adua Centre in 2010. The leader of Igbo Political Association, Chief Simon Okeke and our members are still there. Thirdly and for me, Ndigbo should strategize and bargain especially with the TWO candidates likely to be president on at least four central issues:

A) Lasting peace and security in the South East, including the release and engagement with Nnamdi Kanu.

B)South East Economic transformation agenda and the FGN’s Marshall Plan for the South East as promised since the end of the Civil War (the post war ‘reconstruction’). We appreciate the Second Niger Bridge and recent contract for MTN to reconstruct the Onitsha-Enugu expressway. But the rail-lines to the five state capitals, speedy access to the sea, highways linking South East to the North and South South, addressing our existential threat as gully erosion capital of Africa, Free Trade and Export Processing Zones, etc.

C) Restructuring Agenda for Nigeria that devolves powers/resources to the subnational entities and in which it would no longer matter where the President comes from.

D) Levelling the playing field for the unleashing of the private sector and the full participation of Ndigbo in the economic and governance space; etc.

To conclude, let me once again wish my brother Peter Obi good luck. He should have fun and enjoy the fleeting frenzy of the moment. But he must moderate the desperation as exhibited by his social media mob. There is a limit to propaganda. A mob action often reflects the character of its leader. No one has a monopoly of social media violence, and no one should play God. Life won’t end by February/March 2023.

I hope that after February 2023, Peter Obi will return to APGA (the party that made him everything he is politically) as I offered him on 8th March, 2022 and begin the hard work, if he truly wants to be president of Nigeria. It won’t happen by desperately jumping from one party to another or by unleashing a social media mob on everyone who slightly disagrees with you. I decided to pen my views personally — again for the records. On this, I don’t mind being a one man minority. As history beckons, my conscience and sense of duty to my people dictate that I should never be silent. I will happily accept the judgment of history for standing by the truth!