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‘I will never join APC’, Gov Bala tells supporters amid defection rumour.

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Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state has denied speculations that he was negotiating to defect from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the platform on which he was elected as state governor, to the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).

The denial was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi on Friday by Mr Mukhtar Gidado, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media to the governor.

“In its front-page lead story of 20th November 2020, Thisday newspaper alleged that the Bauchi State Governor, Gov. Bala Mohammed was among three Governors, elected under the platform of PDP that are negotiating to join the ruling party, APC.

“We wish to state that the story is a disingenuous speculation driven by a clear marketing urge, to feed the appetites of readers whose hunger for salacious political news has been fueled by the movement of the Ebonyi State Governor, Engr.

Dave Umahi, to the APC and the spate of political alignments and realignments in the country.

“We also wish to state that Gov. Bala Mohammed has never contemplated leaving the PDP, let alone joining the APC.

“Rather, he is presently preoccupied with fulfilling his campaign promises, on the basis of which the good people of Bauchi State-supported him, to defeat an incumbent administration.

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“It is to the credit of the Bauchi political elite that, despite the division between the Legislature and the Executive in the State, each controlled by a different political party, they have constructed a novel bipartisan arrangement whereby the government of the State is jointly run, in the war against hunger, infrastructure deficit, the near-collapse of education and petty crimes,” Gidado said.

Gidado further stressed that the governor considered any talk about defecting to another party and all the permutations about 2023, as unwholesome distractions.

He added that it was Mohammed’s considered opinion that, not only are speculations premature but that it was the height of insensitivity, to the yearnings of the electorate for transformational change that would lift them from their despair to a new era of guaranteed security of lives and property, economic prosperity, political stability and national unity.

“Gov. Mohammed, therefore, asks his supporters, members of his political family and all the good people of Bauchi State to ignore the report as it has no substance whatsoever.

“The Governor also wishes to reassure the good people of Bauchi State that his Administration is firmly focused on ensuring a good life for all, irrespective of party affiliation, gender, tribe or creed.

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Nobody can undermine Rivers in quest for Nigeria’s presidency – Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that anybody jostling to be president of Nigeria would also need to secure votes in Rivers to combine with either Kano or Lagos to emerge victorious.

Wike said such pivotal position establishes the importance of Rivers State in the political scheme of the country, stating that nobody would be allowed to undermine it.

He made the assertion at the grand finale of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Local Government Election Campaign that held at Ulakwo in Etche Local Government Area, yesterday.

The governor said: “I keep telling the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that no state has given more votes to the party than Rivers.

“And it is only in Rivers, in the whole of South-South, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) didn’t get 25 per cent votes in 2019 general election.

We thought them a lesson.

In Nigeria, nobody wins presidency, if you didn’t win either Rivers and Lagos or Kano and Lagos together. Rivers is not a state anybody can joke with. Some states went to negotiate with them. Rivers didn’t do it.”

Governor Wike took a swipe at Senator Andrew Uchendu for his uncanny comments in the media, and wondered what courage he has to talk against PDP administration that is ending the suffering he inflicted on his people.

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He noted: “I was watching Arise Television the other day, and I heard Senator Andrew Uchendu and the Chief Medical Director of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. The CMD said I asked him to indict the former governor. I don’t know that he has such judicial power. I don’t also know his basis.

“He (CMD) set up a target. The man was lobbying to be a Commissioner where our former party chairman comes from without even doing due consultation. Because I didn’t give him commissioner, he ran and started to abuse me”.

The governor said it was regrettable that Senator Andrew Uchendu spent several years in the National Assembly and close to the former administration in the State, but couldn’t fix the road leading to his village.

“I am going there to flag off the road and to tell his (Uchendu) community, see what your son couldn’t give you. He (Uchendu) has collected the contract from NDDC every year, he abandoned it. I am going to shame him by doing that road”.

Speaking further, Governor Wike said the fortunes of Etche people have improved under the PDP-led administration in the state.

According to him, under his administration, Etche sons have been appointed as Vice Chancellor of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education and also as a judge.

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He said his administration has established a campus of the River State University in Etche and awarded contracts for the Igbo-Etche -Rumuokwurushi Road, Olakwor-Nihi Road, and the Chokocho-Ozuzu Road that was abandoned by Ogbonna Nwuke, despite being paid for the project.

Governor Wike said Etche will continue to be relevant in the political scheme of the State and be part of the process of discussion among stakeholders in deciding the next governor of the state.

“If I say I will do something, I will do it. Ordinarily, if Nigeria is a place of true democracy where votes count, no party can campaign in this state. Their hope is to use security?

“Have you seen second tenure governor working as we are doing? It is because of the love we have for this state. We all own this state together. All those threats of what they’ll do in 2023 are all foul talks”.

The governor urged the people of Etche to continue to work in unison ahead of 2023.

Leader of PDP in Etche, Prince Emma Anyanwu said the people of the council have no regret associating with Governor Wike.

Another chieftain of the PDP, Mr. Allwell Onyesoh, lauded the governor for the numerous developmental projects his administration has done in Etche

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2023: Northern students endorse Atiku, support his apprenticeship program

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Ahead of the 2023 elections, the Association of Northern Nigerian Students (ANNS) which is the apex students body in the 19 northern states, has endorsed former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as the next president.

The association made the endorsements Thursday at a press conference addressed by its national Vice President, Comrade Sani Adamu, and representatives from northern states, held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Tomb, Bauchi.

According to him, the idea of endorsing Atiku for the exalted seat was in consideration of his good manifestoes.

He hailed Atiku’s national apprenticeship program in his 2019 policy document that proposes the training of one million youth and women every year on different skills.

“The association describes Atiku as a bridge-builder, strategist per excellence and person with the best mind in terms of practical ideas in youth development and nation-building”. He said.

Sani who claimed that there are 12.1 million students of northern extraction in the country promised to embark on the massive mobilisation of them on the need to register and vote in the forthcoming 2023 elections.

He decried that in the past elections, the turnout of students to vote was low, promising that as an influential association, ANNS will be in the forefront and vanguards of entrenching democracy, development, and education in the nation.

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S’West PDP Congress: Be a man of honor, stand by the truth Makinde Urges Fayose

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Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State, has been cautioned against making unguarded statements and spreading falsehood against the person of the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, over the just-concluded South-West PDP zonal congress held in Osogbo.

The former governor, and a zonal chairmanship candidate, Dr. Eddy Eniola Olafeso, who earlier promised to abide by the outcome of the congress, have been quoted in the media making contrary statements in the past few days.

A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, however, admonished the former governor and other leaders on the need to stand by the truth, be men of their words and give the necessary support to the new zonal chairman of the party, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja.

“We implore all stakeholders in the South-West PDP to accept the outcome of the Osogbo congress in good faith and join hands with other leaders to build a virile party that is ready to return the glory of the PDP in the zone,” the statement said.

The statement noted that Governor Makinde had already regarded the Osogbo zonal congress as a family matter, having declared that there would be neither a victor nor a vanquished, warning that Fayose and others should not take that liberty to blackmail him.

Adisa maintained that Governor Makinde remains open to the idea of collaborating and cooperating with all leaders to rebuild the PDP in the South-West zone, with a view to turning it into a winning party again.

The statement comes on the heels of press interviews by former Governor Fayose and Dr. Olafeso, which presented some distorted versions of the outcome of the Osogbo congress.

The statement added that it was unfair for any stakeholder to go to a national television to attack Makinde and impugn the integrity of the peaceful and transparent congress.

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According to the governor’s aide, the allegations by Fayose and especially his reference to Governor Makinde as being ‘quiet but deadly’ were baseless, made in bad faith and should be discountenanced by all well-meaning individuals.

He also stated that it appears that those raising unfounded issues against the congress might be smarting from ‘failing in an art they thought they had perfected.’

The statement added that the orchestrated media blitzkrieg against Makinde is a misguided and untoward development, adding that those involved should desist from trying to tarnish the governor’s image.

The governor’s aide wondered why the former Ekiti governor, Dr. Olafeso and others are trying to impugn the integrity of the peaceful, transparent and fair congress, by citing developments unconnected with the congress.
He noted that the claim that some members of a Road Transport Union followed Governor Makinde to Osogbo was spurious and puerile.

Adisa added that the governor is a peace-loving man and that he should not be accused of something he knew nothing about.

He stated that any individual could have found his/her way to Osogbo and claim to have been in the governor’s convoy but that such claim should not be taken as sacred.

The media aide further wondered why despite the claims by Fayose and Olafeso, there was not a single case of violence or arrest of anyone loyal to Governor Makinde at the congress.

Adisa added that if some individuals decided to explore their freedom of movement and expression by travelling to Osogbo for sight-seeing and then made a video, which is deemed offensive, Fayose should have reported to the appropriate authorities instead of seeking to defame the character of Governor Makinde.

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“The South-West PDP zonal congress held in Osogbo has come and gone and there is no doubt that it will go down the history lane as one of the most peaceful PDP congresses in the zone.

“The peaceful conduct of that congress, one must say, followed the body language and actions of the leader of the party in the zone, Governor Makinde, a man renowned for being a peaceful politician.

“Despite the desperation and provocations from the Fayose camp, the governor maintained his calm and guided the zone to a peaceful congress that has now produced worthy leaders for the party.

“The governor made it clear from the outset that the congress was about rebuilding and strengthening the South-West PDP and he worked hard to ensure that the party puts its best forward, as, according to him, whatever happened in that congress had ramifications for the national polity.

“Governor Makinde had equally described the congress as a family affair, promising to work with anyone who emerged winner, with the climax of the Monday, April 12, 2021, event being the eventual acceptance of Governor Makinde as the leader of the South-West PDP by former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

“One is, therefore, surprised that less than 48 hours after that acceptance and the commitment to work with Governor Makinde to build the party, the former governor is masterminding an assault against Governor Makinde over the peaceful congress in which the latter made it clear that there would be ‘no victor, no vanquished’.

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“One can see the ungodly pattern Makinde’s critics are following by trying to build a false narrative around the congress with a view to rubbishing it.

“It should, therefore, come as a surprise to the public that the same camp that claimed that it had conceded defeat and was ready to work with Arapaja, is now engaging in media warfare against the governor.

“In the morning of Wednesday, Mr. Eddy Olafeso was on national TV to lay the foundation for what would be a sustained effort to tarnish the image of the governor. By evening, the cycle was completed by Mr. Fayose, who also appeared on the same medium.

“This has proven that false alarm and deliberate falsehood are being deployed to rubbish an otherwise peaceful congress.

“While we would not like to join issues with Mr. Fayose and those who contested against Ambassador Arapaja, over the outcome of the congress, we would like to caution that no one should attempt to impugn the personality of Governor Makinde, a peace-loving individual, who has never got anything by violence. The peaceful conduct of his campaign while running for office as governor of Oyo State is an attestation to this fact.

“Therefore, going on air to say that Governor Makinde is “quiet but deadly” is not only unstatesmanlike, it is also unguarded, malicious and wicked.

“We make bold to say that while those who lost the election at the congress are allowed to rue their loss despite the assurance by Governor Makinde that there will be no winner or loser, it is expedient that they guard their utterances and avoid any descent into the gutter.”

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