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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, political parties are set to commence their campaign on the 28th of September, in what appears to be a four-horse race.

The leading candidates in no particular order are Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party.

All the candidates are spread across four geopolitical zones. Obi from the Southeast, Tinubu from the Southwest, Atiku from Northeast and Kwankwaso from the Northwest.

Both Atiku and Kwankwaso have their running mates from the South-South, Obi’s running mate is from North-Central and Tinubu’s Vice is from the North-East.

How are the candidates heading into the campaign

Bola Tinubu

The candidate of the ruling party is still struggling with the controversial Muslim/Muslim ticket, and some Christian politicians from the Northeast, Babachir Lawal, Yakubu Dogara and Elisha Abbo have insisted that they would work to defeat the party from within.

In the past week, Dogara had during a Christian conference in Abuja on Tuesday, warned Christians not to waste their votes on a Muslim/Muslim ticket. He urged the church to rise from complacency and oppose Mr Tinubu.

Meanwhile, Lawal also spoke on Thursday during an interview on Arise TV, where he revealed that there is an ongoing campaign in the North to defeat Tinubu.

Not surprising that these men were excluded from the Presidential Campaign Council of the APC. During the week, Tinubu met with some Bishops from the north, perhaps to checkmate the politicians.

Christians in the Northeast have considerable voting power in Taraba, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe. This could cause the ruling party considerable headaches in that region.

The exclusion of two other Christian officials, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Boss Mustapha, also raised eyebrows. Although, Festus Keyamo issued a statement that President Muhammadu Buhari requested exclusion of the Messrs Osinbajo and Mustapha to allow the two to focus on governance, the fact that the two are high-profile Christians continues to fuel speculation that the party may be heading into the election with a divided house.

Atiku Abubakar

The former Vice President is struggling to get his campaign running over internal implosion within the party.

The ongoing rebellion by the Nyesom Wike-led camp has almost divided the party into two, and the decision to pull out of the campaign council has caused enormous embarrassment for the candidate.

The Wike group has insisted that Ayu must step down for a southern chairman to balance the ticket. However, Atiku has taken a position that he will not force Ayu to step down.

On Friday, before jetting out of the country, Governor Wike held a media parley and made some remarks challenging the party to dare to suspend him, adding that “PDP cannot win Rivers State without him.”

While Atiku is battling with Wike and his group, there is the rise of the Labour Party movement in the traditional PDP enclave, the South-East.

This region has voted PDP since 1999; however, the popularity of Obi, not just in Southeast but in Southsouth and some north-central States like Plateau, Benue and FCT means that the PDP candidate will be fighting on all fronts, even internally.

Most of the places Labour Party has been gaining ground are places that voted PDP in the last election.

Unless Mr Atiku is able to fix the party within 72 hours, he will be commencing his campaign with a party fighting against itself.

Peter Obi

The so-called ‘structureless movement’ of Peter Obi has been flexing muscles with its “one million” march movement, which has witnessed massive turnout in several States, including the FCT.

However, as at the point of filing this report, the party is yet to set up a campaign council, including a spokesperson.

Pat Utomi, the leader of the National Consultative Front (NCF), had announced the appointment of Charles Odibo, however, Arabambi Abayomi, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, announced that only the National Chairman of the party, Julius Abure has such right.

In addition, the list of candidates released by INEC shows that the Labour Party did not field candidates for a number of seats in the parliament.

While the structureless approach has been working thus far, having candidates for elections helps with mobilization in the rural areas. The Labour Party may be popular among urban youths, but elections are different from rallies.

Rabiu Kwankwaso

The former Governor Kano State is counting on his popularity in the Northwest, however, his running mate appears not to have much political experience.

Also, the defection of Ibrahim Shekarau means that Kano State will be a three-horse race between Atiku, Tinubu and himself.

Unlike previous election years, the 2023 election campaign may be marred by the activities of the bloodthirsty bandits and unknown gunmen who have been unleashing terror on unsuspecting citizens of the country.

DAILY POST recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had slated September 28 for the commencement of the 2023 election campaign.

The security crisis rocking the entire nation may, however, mar the campaign activities in several States, particularly the Northern and Southeastern parts of the country. 

While the Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP fighters continue to wreak havoc in the North, the daredevil unknown gunmen still remain a big threat to peaceful gathering in the Southeast. 

DAILY POST recalls that amid declaration by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, that there would be no elections in the Southeast over their agitation for secession, several government facilities belonging to the electoral body had been attacked and destroyed by the unknown gunmen. However, the IPOB continue to dissociate themselves from the activities of the unknown gunmen.

According to INEC, in the past two years, about 41 offices of the commission have been attacked with several properties destroyed across Nigeria by armed non-State actors.

The attacks, according to the data recently published by the commission, occurred in 14 States between February 2019 and May 2021. 

Southeast, especially Imo State topped the log with the most attacks during the period under review.

“These are attacks as a result of election-related violence, protests unrelated to elections and activities of thugs and unknown gunmen,” INEC chairman, Mahmud Yakubu said.

Similarly, terrorist groups, including armed bandits had threatened a showdown with politicians as the country prepares for the 2023 general elections.

DAILY POST had reported that there was panic among Taraba State politicians less than a month ago after some bandits warned them not to embark on any campaign activity.

The Chairman of Gassol Local Government Area, Musa Abdullahi Chul, who confirmed the threat, said some parts of the local government had been tagged as ‘no go areas’, stressing that the bandits have sacked residents and taken over their properties.

Admitting that politicians, especially those from the area, have been receiving threats, he said “the activities of these bandits have taken another dimension.”

He said, “they threatened us on a daily basis and now they said they are waiting for political campaigns to commence so that they would kidnap some of the candidates for the 2023 election to make quick and much money.”

Speaking with DAILY POST on Saturday, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja, John Akpehe warned politicians against jeopardizing lives of citizens during the campaign.

According to him, “we have seen several times when politicians were attacked and we discovered that nothing happens to the politicians, it is always the ordinary Nigerians that usually pay the price.

“So I am appealing to all candidates to put the lives of Nigerians first. Where you know that an attack is likely to happen, there is no need to hold a rally in such a place.”

Also, a human rights activist, T. Patric Moha expressed fear that cases of ritual killings and kidnapping may rise as a result of the coming elections.

He said, “All I will say is that everyone should just be careful. We all know how politics is played out in this part of the world. It is mostly a spiritual battle, sacrifices upon sacrifices.

“You will soon start hearing how people, especially children, will be missing mysteriously here and there. So everyone should be vigilant ‘no let anybody use you'”.

Efforts by DAILY POST to reach the Nigeria Police Force for comment on their preparedness for the electioneering activities proved abortive as the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi could not take his calls.

The leadership of Labour Party on Saturday expressed appreciation to supporters of its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who had continued to render financial assistance and converted their buildings for political campaigns across the country.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Labour Party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, in Abuja.

Abure’s appreciation is coming in the wake of the Labour movement rallies that took place in Abuja, Plateau and a number of other states.

The LP chairman stated that he did not find the unprecedented crowd that turned up for solidarity march for the party’s presidential candidate surprising.

This is even as he acknowledged that supporters of the movement went out of their way to contribute as little as N1,000 and N10,000 to hold such rallies.

 

He said, “The rallies are not surprising. It is because the Labour Party has a people-oriented candidate that will work for the people and that will effectively serve the interest of the party.

“Of course, the people must own the process. The people will fund the process because they say he who plays the pipe dictates the tune. Therefore, the people are the owners of the party and that is why they are funding these activities.

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“People are contributing money, N1000, N10,000 and so on to carry out rallies for themselves. People are donating their buildings and the people of Nigeria are gradually owning the Labour Party.

“The Labour Party is a party for the poor, the artisans, students, market women, the down trodden, civil servants, hewers of wood and fetchers of water and the ordinary man in the street. They own the party and they form more that 90 percent of Nigerians.”

An elated Abure said he was optimistic that when the time for campaigns commenced, people would troop out for the party and own it. 

According to him, Nigerians find it hard to believe that Labour Party could change the political narratives in Nigeria within a short space of time.

“All these movements and activities you are seeing all over, Labour Party has no contribution to it. The people are mobilising themselves, printing logo and campaign materials of the party from their pockets.

“They are driving the process of the campaign by themselves and that is what we are seeing. The people are now asking questions about how they are being ruled. They want to sack the looters and change the status quo.

“They want to put an end to activities of some people who have stolen from the common purse. The people have always been at the recieving end, but all those scenario are about to change. The party is the voice of the voiceless, and that is what you see in those rallies, that is what is replicated all over the nation,” he said.

FECAFOOT President, Samuel Eto’o, has admitted he wanted Cameroon to lose against Uzbekistan in Friday’s international friendly.

The Indomitable Lions were defeated 2-0 by a team they are ranked 39 places above by FIFA.

Oybek Bozorov and Oston Urunov both scored the goals in Goyang, South Korea.

Eto’o has, however, insisted the five-time African champions are still aiming to reach the final at the 2022 World Cup.

 

“We really wanted to see the reaction of the team, and for the first time — I hoped for Cameroon to lose.

“Our objective is still the same; to depart Qatar on the evening of December 18, the date of the World Cup final.

“We won’t lose sight of our objective,” Eto’o told CRTV.

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki has responded to the PDP crisis that is roiling the party.

The former presidential candidate claimed in a post on his social media accounts on Saturday that he had been working quietly behind the scenes to ensure the party’s return to normalcy.


Earlier this year, following the party’s primary election, which took place on May 29 in Abuja, the main opposition party experienced an unusual crisis.

Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, and his supporters demanded the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, the PDP National Chairman, on the grounds that he had orchestrated Wike’s demise.

However, the crisis has worsened as a result of Ayu’s refusal to step down because Wike and his group have vowed to work against the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the upcoming election.


Recall that Wike and some PDP stakeholders a few days ago, pulled out of Atiku’s campaign council, insisted that Ayu must resign before the party could get their support.

But speaking on the developments, Saraki, who was also an aspirant during the primary election, said Atiku remains the best option for the country.

He wrote, “I just returned from my annual vacation and went straight to Akwa Ibom to join the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the state’s creation.

“As I moved around the country in the past few days, I got the feeling that many people are concerned over my seeming silence on recent developments in our party, the PDP.

“My response is that there are times to speak and be heard and there are times when working silently behind the scenes is more productive. This is such a time.

“PDP and Atiku Abubakar remain the best option for Nigerians in the 2023 polls”!

Alhaji Mohammed Modi, an indigene of Zamfara State and a trader has lamented that the rate of killings, kidnappings and maiming of innocent citizens in the state has become so embarrassing and perplexing.

In an exclusive interview with DAILY POST in Gusau, the state capital, Modi stated that it is not clear exactly what these bandits want, pointing out that all efforts being made for them to reason and surrender their arms have proved abortive.

“The State government has initiated dialogues with the bandits for them to embrace peace but they rejected the reconciliation move by the government”

“Now, nobody is free to move around in the state, even in the broad daylight as people are afraid of being killed or kidnapped.”

According to him, the state government has adopted various security measures to arrest the dastardly acts but all to no avail.”

He lamented that the security operatives were trying their best but from all indications, the terrorists are more organized and powerful than the security agencies in the state.

Modi further explained that the only way to end all killings and kidnappings in the state is for the federal and state governments to find out the source of support for these criminal elements operating in the state.

“All these security measures will never solve the problems until both the federal and state governments come to their senses by exposing the big shots behind the banditry activities in the state.

“As you can see, many business people are fast relocating to other states due to insecurity and you cannot blame anybody for running away for his or her life.

“Just now, I received a report that some police operatives were killed in Shinkafi axis of the state which was said to be a reprisal attack following the bombardment of their camp in the area by the Nigeria Air Force last week.

“Also in Bagega district of Anka Local Government Area of the state, bandits were said to have invaded their weekly market, preventing business men and women from their legitimate endevours.”

France midfielder, Paul Pogba, has admitted that he indeed hired a witch doctor.

However, according to the Mail on Sunday, the 29-year-old insists he paid the sorcerer to help him with his injury-plagued career.

Pogba denies it had anything to do with international team-mate, Kylian Mbappé and says he “never intended to harm anyone”.

The player, who moved to Juventus this summer, explained to investigators working for France’s Central Office for the Fight against Organised Crime (OCLCO) that he was “looking to be protected against injury” and “also to help poor kids in Africa” he was in connection with through an aid organisation. 

Two judicial sources in Paris confirmed the revelations and the transcript from interviews completed last month.

Pogba’s confession comes after his brother, Mathias, claimed ‘The Marabout’ who calls himself ‘Ibrahim the Great’ was paid to cast evil spells on Mbappé.

Five suspects including Mathias, have been charged with trying to blackmail Pogba out of more than £ 11 million. 

They are now on remand and facing up to 20 years each in prison over a range of charges including “extortion in an organised gang”.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday in New York, United States, told African leaders that fighting corruption was no longer a choice but a necessity for the continent’s prosperity.

Buhari, who stated this at an event co-hosted by the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the AU Champion on anti-corruption since 2018.

He spoke at a high-level side event on ‘Food Security Response: Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Securing Asset Returns for Sustainable Development’, on the margins of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

He said, “As you are all aware, this will be my last official participation at the United Nations General Assembly as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I remain honoured and privileged to be the President of Nigeria for two terms and I am grateful to the African Union for making me the continental organisation’s champion on efforts to eliminate corruption nationally and continent-wide.


“This fight is a necessity and not a choice to give our citizens a better life through economic prosperity, social peace and security.”

A statement signed by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the President, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘At UN, President Buhari rues corrosive effect of corruption in Africa, urges leaders to fight it 24/7’, quoted him as telling fellow African leaders that fighting corruption was no longer a choice, but a necessity for the continent’s prosperity..

Buhari lamented that the continent remained at the far end of the global development index because of the effects of corruption.

He stated, “Over the years, we came to the painful realisation of how deeply embedded corruption has become in our countries and continent, as well as how corrosive it can be.

“Corruption has dwarfed our growth and tainted our nations and continent. Africa remains at the far end of the development index and concerted efforts made in the last few years need to be sustained, deepened by good governance and accountability that are guided by the rule of law.

“I have strong faith that Africa and our national governments can do this with strong resolve and commitment to eliminating illicit financial flows.”

He challenged his counterparts that for the continent to rise to its full potential, ‘’we must work tirelessly to get rid of corruption or by fighting it 24/7.’’

“Our national resources must not find safe-havens around the world. This fight is a necessity and not a choice to give our citizens a better life through economic prosperity, social peace and security,” Buhari added.

Buhari also told his Irish and Grecian counterparts that Nigeria was on the way to overcoming its security challenges.

“In the past few months, with new platforms and boosted morale among the security forces, Nigeria is moving steadily in the direction of overcoming its insecurity. We will continue to partner with nations across the globe, especially in the use of technology, so that Nigeria can learn something useful,” Buhari said during an audience with the Prime Minister of Ireland, Michael Martin.


According to a separate statement by Adesina, the President added that insecurity in Nigeria would soon be a thing of the past seeing the renewed efforts of the military.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, Buhari told Martin that the world was better off working together rather than independently.

This, he said, would enhance progress for humanity with the hope that the lessons from the pandemic would impact on other areas so that Nigerians and indeed the world could have sustainable peace.

The President assured his guest that Nigeria would continue to do its best to sustain the relationship with Ireland and improve on it, especially on the level of education, knowing that many Nigerians were doing well in Ireland, schooling and working there.

Before the 1999 presidential primaries, crisis engulfed the All Peoples Party (now part of the All Progressives Congress, APC) over the ambition of the late Dr Olusola Saraki. He was bent on running even though the slot had been zoned to the south. The late Chief Arthur Nzeribe, who played a major role in the annulment of June 12, was working with other APP chieftains to stop Saraki. I went to interview Nzeribe at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja. I asked him: “Chief, people say you always play the spoiler. Why?” He looked at me disapprovingly and retorted: “Do I spoil for nothing?” That day, I learnt Politics 101: you may think politicians are stupid, but they know the game they are playing.

You must have seen the video of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), warmly embracing Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, after the party’s presidential primary in May 2022. Tambuwal had withdrawn from the race at the last minute and directed his supporters to vote for Atiku, who went on to defeat Chief Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers state, by a margin many attributed to Tambuwal’s game-changing move. “You are the hero of the convention,” Ayu told a grinning Tambuwal. If you ask me, the gloating by a presumed neutral party leader fertilized the PDP crisis. Now that Wike is “spoiling”, I don’t think it is for nothing.

 

Wike, confident of winning the presidential ticket, had promised to support whoever won the primary election. But after the party’s northern elders worked tirelessly behind the scene to get Tambuwal to withdraw for Atiku so that power could remain in the north after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, the open celebration of Atiku’s victory by Ayu was bound to generate bad blood in Wike’s camp. My sense is that Wike did not react immediately because there was still a chance he could be Atiku’s running mate, despite previously not showing interest in it. But after Atiku settled for Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the Delta governor, the peace of the graveyard disappeared.

When Atiku visited Wike in Abuja after the primary, I saw it as good politics. But I was wrong. It appears the visit unwittingly ended up widening the chasm between them. Wike said Atiku made certain promises at that meeting that he did not fulfil. He said Atiku was the one who told him Ayu would have to leave as party chairman since the presidential ticket had gone to the north. Wike had already been hurt twice — first by the Tambuwal game that took the ticket to the north and second by Ayu’s gloating over Atiku’s victory. Wike even accused Ayu of collecting N1 billion from a presidential aspirant. This and other allegations have not yet been denied by the PDP or Ayu himself.

 

But a third development was loading: Atiku’s choice of running mate. Wike said Atiku had told him during the visit that he wanted him as the VP candidate. Wike said he then asked Atiku about the story that Okowa was his preference and Atiku denied, saying Okowa was Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s candidate but he did not consider Okowa “fit” for the job and would not make the same “mistake” he made in 2019 when Peter Obi was “forced” on him by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Atiku reportedly told Wike that he had wanted Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance and current director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), but Obasanjo had his way.

Deciding not to choose Wike was one thing, but by rubbing it in so smoothly in his ARISE interview that it was Okowa he could work “amicably” with, Atiku only succeeded in pouring petrol into the fire. Wike erupted in anger, accused Atiku of telling lies and threatened to reveal “the truth” in due course. Atiku’s chosen adverb, “amicably”, apparently touched a raw nerve in Wike. Some northern elders, we heard, had declared that Wike would be a dangerous man to have in the presidential villa in any capacity and must not be allowed anywhere near the seat of power. Atiku’s interview obviously rubbed insult on injury as we can now see. That is the matter we are still trying to settle.

 

In a televised media chat on Friday, Wike accused Atiku of going back on his word that Ayu should no longer be chairman — a claim the presidential candidate has yet to deny. All negotiations have been around the major demand by Wike’s allies: that Ayu must go. Meetings have been held home and abroad and the demand of Wike and his allies remains the same: Ayu must go. Ayu has remained unshaken, or unshakable, describing those calling for his resignation as “children” at the time the PDP was founded in 1998. This defiant statement riled many in the party but Ayu has neither withdrawn it nor apologised. The ordinary meaning of his demeanour is that he is going nowhere.

Atiku, an experienced politician for that matter, has not been sleeping even if he has appeared to be slow. He has carried on with some calm confidence. His children do not call him “Daddy Cool” for nothing — he reputedly always handles pressure with a mien “as cool as a cucumber”. The counter strategy from Atiku’s camp was to get Senator Walid Jibrin to step down as the chairman of the party’s advisory Board of Trustees (BoT). He was replaced by ex-Senate President Adolphus Wabara to dilute the perceived northern domination of the hierarchy. The party’s highest organ, the national executive committee (NEC), also passed a “vote of confidence” on Ayu — another counterpunch.

 

Also, instituting the presidential campaign council and putting Wike and his allies on board was a strategy to put the ball back in their court. But rather than budge, the pro-Wike group met in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, on Tuesday night and rejected the campaign council, insisting that Ayu must go first. Appointing a campaign council without resolving the outstanding issues, they said, amounts to putting the cart before the horse. In the whole “melee”, however, there is yet no sign that Wike’s allies will do anti-party. That may well be the card they are holding close to their chests, but they have so far indicated publicly that they will not pull out of the PDP. That is an opening for Atiku.

Meanwhile, Atiku has stood his ground that Ayu can only be removed in line with the PDP constitution and a decision to resign is personal. Ayu, it must be noted, is his longstanding associate who incidentally was the director-general of his presidential run in 2007. I admit that I am not a politician and I may need to learn more Politics 101, but what is the big deal in asking Ayu to go if it will bring peace to the party and allow the factions to unite? More so, Wike’s camp is growing by the day. Those who never attended meetings with him and who never spoke openly against Ayu are now doing so and with venom. I believe this should worry Atiku, except he has a secret super strategy.

What then? Why does Atiku appear to be courting Wike but is, at the same time, not giving any concession? I have a theory. It would appear to me that Atiku’s overarching strategy for 2023 is built on the assumption that being the biggest northerner in the race, he would sweep northern votes and would only need to score a highly achievable 25 percent in just five southern states to fulfil the constitutional requirement of spread. Where Wike comes in, I suppose, is funding. Every bundle of naira will count. After all, Wike reportedly contributed a significant amount to Atiku’s campaign in the 2019 poll despite the failure of Tambuwal, his preferred candidate, to win the party’s ticket.

 

Wike, however, now seems to be saying: “Love me, love my dog.” If you say I am too dangerous to be vice-president, if you say you did not pick me as your running mate because you cannot work with me, then go the whole hog: reject me, reject my war chest, reject the votes at my command. That, as far as I can see, is the message Wike is passing to Atiku. Wike also said the northern leaders supporting Atiku against him cannot even deliver their states to the PDP. He may have a big point there: the APC controls states like Niger, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe, where Atiku’s major backers such as IBB, Dr Babangida Aliyu, Gen Aliyu Gusau, Sule Lamido and Adamu Maina Waziri, come from.

I also think Atiku should not take northern votes for granted. Nigeria’s electoral history is a bit more nuanced. One, the battle up north may not be totally sectional or regional. It may also be partisan. It could turn out to be a battle for supremacy between APC, which controls 14 of the 19 northern states, and PDP, which has only five. Any APC governor who does not deliver the presidential election to his party in his domain risks being swept out — or his anointed successor being crushed — in the subsequent governorship poll. It is called bandwagon effect. In 2015, APC swept northern governorships after PDP lost presidential power. That is one factor Atiku cannot afford to ignore.

Two, as we have seen in the past, the north is not monolithic. Northern voters have always shared their votes, even if a fellow northerner is running. In 1993, Bashorun MKO Abiola and Alhaji Bashir Tofa won eight states each in the north, which had 16 states then. In 2003, despite the homeboy popularity of Candidate Muhammadu Buhari, Obasanjo still won nine of the 19 northern states, with Buhari taking the rest. The assumption that northerners will automatically and overwhelmingly vote for a northerner against a southerner may be an exaggeration. That is the more reason why Atiku has to redo his math and put his house in order. Every vote will count in this uncertain election.

 

From the media chat, I also smelt something: Wike thinks Atiku is not a man of his word. He further said key positions in Atiku’s “government” have already been shared at a time reconciliation is ongoing. This leaves Wike’s allies in limbo. I think it will, therefore, be too simplistic to say Wike’s “return match” is solely because he is not the running mate. I can see issues of distrust, bruised egos and fear of vendetta if Atiku wins. Atiku really needs to change gear. If he cannot manage the PDP crisis, how would he manage Nigeria — a country of one week, one trouble? Not that the Labour Party and APC would be complaining though: they can benefit from PDP’s festering friction. Politics.

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…

BACK TO SCHOOL

The federal government on Wednesday secured a legal victory over the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) whose members have been on strike since February. The national industrial court, in declaring the strike illegal, also ruled that irreparable damage was being done to the lives of students. While a legal victory will not solve the problems, it is a welcome relief for those of us whose wards have been stuck at home for seven months. I have never seen perennial and indefinite strikes as the solution to the myriad of problems facing the universities. What we need is an honest conversation on the way forward, devoid of utopian ideological dogmas. Pragmatism.

SELECTIVE OBEDIENCE

Some people’s reaction to the court ruling asking ASUU to suspend its strike did not surprise me, but I hope they are listening to themselves. Attacking the court because its ruling does not favour your position is equal to spitting on the rule of law. Some went to the extent of saying ASUU should not obey the order and should instead continue the industrial action indefinitely. In other words, people should decide what court order to obey and the one to disobey. Some of these people criticise the government whenever it does not obey court orders but are now quite eager to recommend same to the university teachers. It’s good ASUU has filed an appeal — that is the lawful way to go. Civil.

BUHARI IN NEW YORK

I got a WhatsApp broadcast last weekend criticising President Buhari for choosing to go to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) while other presidents were in the UK for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Hmmm. If he went to the UK, he could be criticised for prioritising funeral above the UN. If he attended both events, he could be criticised for wasting Nigeria’s resources at a time we are groaning under debt. If he decided to stay put in Nigeria, he could be criticised for “indifference” and for relegating Nigeria on the global stage. Truth is: with some people, Buhari can never do anything right. When criticism becomes a hobby, it gets done only for fun. Amusing.

IT’S ALL POLITICS

As my debut book, Fellow Nigerians, It’s All Politics, is set to go on general sale on October 3, I have been having a feeling of déjà vu with the frenetic politicking ahead of the 2023 elections. With old enemies becoming friends and old friends becoming enemies, with presidential candidates promising us heaven on earth, with supporters falling over each other to sell their candidates as our saviour, and with crises rocking the parties, I have been asking myself: haven’t I seen these before? The book, which is a collection of fresh as well as selected articles from 2003 to 2022, should help refresh our memories and put some familiar theatrics in perspective this interesting season. Replay.

 

Chimaroke Nnamani, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator, has been listed as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council.

Nnamani was included in the 422-member list released on Friday.

However, the senator representing Enugu east senatorial district is a card-carrying member of the major opposition party.

In August, Nnamani, in a Twitter thread, expressed his opposition to the criticisms of the health condition of Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC.

 

Nnamani, a medical doctor, had criticised the “shameless campaigns and parodies” aimed at the APC standard bearer.

The senator said he was appalled by the “extreme and unprofessional” attacks directed at the former Lagos state governor.

“I vigorously oppose, protest and detest the shameless campaigns and parodies targeting Tinubu’s health,” he wrote.

 

“As a health worker, I am amazed by ignorance, foolishness, wickedness and callousness of these idiotic operators. I believe they are unwarranted, extremely unprofessional, and have no place in our polity.”

Nnamani cited Tinubu’s works in criminal justice, education, and health, adding that he left a “lasting legacy of hard work in Lagos infrastructure”.

The senator did not answer or return calls and SMS sent to his mobile phone by TheCable.

Meanwhile, Felix Morka, APC national publicity secretary, said he would respond later to Nnamani’s inclusion in the APC presidential campaign council list.

 
 
[TheCable]
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