Politics

APC, Tinubu At Last Over Running Mate

APC, Tinubu At Last Over Running Mate

Naija News House says that APC, Tinubu At Last Over Running Mate

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have narrowed down the search for a vice presidential candidate to the North East geopolitical zone, LEADERSHIP Friday can authoritatively reveal.

A dependable source within the camp of Tinubu told this paper that two individuals from the zone, a serving governor and a former governor, had been penciled as the final pick for running mate to the APC presidential flag bearer.

This is even as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has picked Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

Tinubu from the South West had clinched the APC presidential ticket after a contest trailed by intrigues, horse trading and political maneuverings that initially played up Senate President Ahmed Lawan as the consensus candidate.

The APC flag bearer is expected to unveil his running mate today before INEC deadline elapses.

Atiku Picks Okowa

Meanwhile, presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, said yesterday he picked Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate because he believes he is a fighter who personifies the seriousness of the current moment in the country.

He stated this at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja while unveiling his running mate to the party leadership.

He said Okowa’s choice as his vice president is a product of wide consultations with various party stakeholders, including governors, National Working Committee, Board of Trustees, and other leaders.

Recalls that Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, was recommended by an advisory committee, comprising party leaders, as running mate to Atiku.

But after a high powered meeting with some northern leaders, the former vice president picked Okowa.

Apart from Okowa and Wike, Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, was also in contention for the position.

Explaining why he settled for Okowa, Atiku said he told party leaders in the course of his consultation that his running mate would have the potential to succeed him at a moment’s notice, as a president-in-waiting.

Atiku said, “Accordingly, let me state that the person I have chosen as my Running Mate possesses all those identified qualities. He personifies not only the seriousness the current moment represents for our country but also the future that our young people yearn for and deserve. He is a serving State Governor who has demonstrated, in his state and through his conduct, that governance is about service to the people.

Atiku Unveils Okowa As Running Mate

“I know that he will not only add excitement to our already energized ticket and campaign, but will also help to bring focus, discipline and stability to our government come 2023. I am pleased, therefore, to announce here my choice of running mate who will help to lead us to victory next year not only in the Presidential election but also in the governorship and legislative elections.

He however maintained that party unity is critical to prosecute a winning campaign and also to provide good governance that the country seriously deserves.

The PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF) congratulated Delta State governor, Okowa, on his emergence as the vice presidential candidate of the party.

The PDP-GF noted that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, promised to select a serving PDP governor as his running mate, ostensibly not just because of the contributions of the governors to the effective running of the party and its stability, but because of their experience and executive capacity. He kept his word.

A statement by the chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said, “Governor Okowa has distinguished himself as Governor of Delta State. He also has cognate legislative experience as a former Senator. He has what it takes to be an effective Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Wike Unfairly Treated By PDP – Okah

But there was uneasy calm in Rivers State following the decision of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku, to pick Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.

A former commissioner for Information and communications in the state, Hon Emma Okah, said Governor Nyesom Wike was unfairly treated by the leadership of PDP, following his inability to become the party’s vice presidential candidate.

It was observed that most top government functionaries had their phones either switched off or refused to respond to calls when our correspondent called to get their reactions on the development.

But speaking with our correspondent via telephone yesterday, Okah called on the PDP to always remember Wike’s contributions to the growth and development of the party.

He said, “First of all, I want to say that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has been unfairly treated even though he never asked to be made a Vice Presidential candidate.

“If the party had decided to offer him that in acknowledgement of his contributions to the growth and development of the party, I think that should have been the case.”

Gov Wike Won’t Be Disappointed, Says Okowa

But speaking after his screening, Okowa described Wike as a strong party man, adding that he does not believe he is disappointed by Atiku’s choice of vice president.

He said, “I know Governor Wike is a very strong party man, he has great love for our party, and I believe he is also a good democrat and he understands that when several pluckers are in the race for a particular position, only one person will be at the front in time.

“I want to assure you that Governor Wike is a very good man and his interest for this country and party to be able to rise up to the challenge at the moment is strong. I do not feel he is going to be disappointed.”

The chairman of the PDP screening committee for the vice presidential candidate, High Chief Tom Ikimi, described Governor Okowa as a cool headed person.

Running Mate

Ikimi who stated this while handing over the report of the committee to the national leadership of the party also described Okowa as highly qualified for the position, adding that he is healthy.

The screening committee met with Okowa shortly after he was picked by the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Ikimi however explained that the committee had to screen the vice presidential candidate in order to ensure that a repeat of certificate scandal issues does not arise.

We Had No Input In Okowa’s Emergence – Ayu

Speaking at the event, PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, gave insight into how Okowa emerged as vice presidential candidate, saying the party leadership made no input on the emergence of the Delta governor.

He said the committee set up for the purpose of choosing a presidential running mate recommended three names to the party leadership.

“And we transmitted those three names to the candidate. Contrary to all the speculations in the social media, the NWC did not select one name for the candidate.

“The choice of running mate who will be working with him is largely his. But he graciously consulted the party, which is how it should be. And the party has made inputs and narrowed it down to three people for him to select. Also, I want to clarify one misrepresentation in social media. Throughout the committee meeting, there was no voting. It was all by consensus.”

Okowa, in his acceptance speech before he met with the screening committee, thanked Atiku for picking him, stressing “I will ensure that we will be able to begin the rebuilding process of this nation right from May 29, 2023.”

Meanwhile PDP has said it will screen all deputy governorship candidates of the party ahead of the election.

The national organising secretary of PDP, Umar Bature, disclosed this while receiving the report of the party’s Vice President screening committee led by High Chief Tom Ikimi.

We Will Support The Lesser Evil ­- Arewa youths

Meanwhile, the apex northern youths organisation under the auspices of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) yesterday vowed that it will support the lesser evil among the presidential aspirants in 2023 polls.

Speaking with our correspondent over the nomination of Atiku Abubakar’s presidential running mate, Okowa, president of the AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said after the nomination of Tinubu’s running mate, the northern youths would assess all the presidential aspirants and take stand on who to support for the presidential elections.

AYCF said, “It is left for Nigerians to decide Atiku Abubakar and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s faith in 2023 through ballots. We don’t have much to say about PDP ticket as we are waiting for other political parties to announce its vice presidential candidates too”

“After all the nomination of running mates, we will decide on who to support for presidency in the 2023 elections. We will definitely support a lesser evil among the presidential aspirants.

On Muslim/Muslim ticket, AYCF said, “We call on politicians and Nigerians to be very careful because what we need now is someone who can safe this country. We should not throw this country into a crisis.”

NNPP Screens Candidates, Names Choice Today

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Sen Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso, will today announce a Southerner as his running mate.

LEADERSHIP Friday reports that as of last night, three people from the Southern part of the country were screened as possible running mates to Kwankwaso.

It was gathered that Kwankwanso had earlier expressed his interest to choose a competent person from the South to be his running mate.

Sources in the party told LEADERSHIP Friday that three people had already been screened and one would be selected as Kwankwanso’s running mate.

Reacting, the national publicity secretary of the NNPP, Major Agbo, confirmed that some persons have been screened, adding that one will be selected as running mate to Kwankwaso today.

According to Agbo, all the people screened are from the Southern part of the country.

“Three people have been screened so far by the screening committee. The party and the candidate will unveil the running mate tomorrow (today),” he said.

Meanwhile, the publicity secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Ambassador Rufus B Ayenigba, said his party would soon announce its running mate to their presidential candidate, Adewole Adebayo.

Ayenigba, who hinted that his party will pick the running mate from the North, said SDP is united and the party to beat in the 2023 general elections.

Angry Candidates Protest APC Secretariat Over Alleged Substitution Of Names

There was palpable tension in the All Progressives Congress (APC), as aggrieved candidates and their supporters from Enugu, Kogi, Abia and Imo States yesterday stormed the party’s national secretariat threatening fire and brimstone over alleged substitution of their names.

This is coming as the deadline for the submission of candidates to the independent national electoral commission (INEC) expires today.

The angry protesters comprising youths from the said states besieged chanting slogans against the party’s national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

Adamu and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were in a meeting when the aggrieved candidates and their supporters arrived at the party’s headquarters threatening that the national chairman will not leave his office until the names of the substituted candidates are returned.

Security operatives quickly locked the entrance gate of the secretariat to prevent supporters of the candidates who were chanting slogans from forcefully gaining entrance to register their anger.

They hurriedly sneaked the national chairman, Adamu, out of the party secretariat.

Initially, the security operatives asked journalists to leave the secretariat but later asked them to return under the condition that they must identify themselves for security reasons before they are allowed to remain at the secretariat.

One of the candidates who won the primary in Enugu State, Ejike Okoli, spoke on behalf of four other House of Representatives candidates.

He alleged that they were denied the opportunity to fill INEC forms over their eligibility to contest the 2023 poll.

He accused the party leadership of perfecting plans to substitute their names with their favoured aspirants for inexplicable reasons.

“We were invited through an SMS to come to Abuja to collect and fill INEC forms only to be given the withdrawal forms which we rejected. And they have since refused to give us the INEC forms,” Okoli alleged.

Also, one of the aggrieved supporters of a candidate from Kogi State alleged that the ticket of the House of Representatives candidate was given to another person.

He said, “We don’t expect this in the party at this critical time. We thought we will never hear of this kind of illegality but it is happening in the party. How can somebody emerge winner at the primary only to be denied the ticket of the party?”

Deputy chief whip of the House of Representatives, Nkiruka Onyejiocha; spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu, were among some National Assembly members seen at the party secretariat.

It was gathered that they were at the APC secretariat to ascertain their eligibility to seek reelection under the party’s platform.

We’re Yet To Receive Names Of Presidential Candidates, Running Mates – INEC

Meanwhile, the chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Barr Festus Okoye, said he was yet to receive the report that the candidate of the APC has submitted his form secretly with the name of a placeholder.

Okoye who disclosed this while speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP Friday yesterday in Abuja, said he is yet to receive the names of vice presidential candidates from the Candidates’ Nominations Centre.

He added that further inquiries about the presidential candidate would be made public after the deadline for the submission of names of running mates.

Tinubu Takes Over Buhari Campaign Office

Meanwhile, presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has inherited the campaign office used by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

The office was donated to the APC flag bearer several days after he was elected at the convention in Abuja, according to a House of Representatives member and leader of the Tinubu Support Group, Hon James Faleke.

Faleke was Tinubu’s agent at the APC convention where the former Lagos State governor was elected by delegates as the party’s presidential candidate.

A statement by director, Media & Communication, of the

Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, noted that the office in the Central Area of Abuja is equipped with ICT data base, call centre and furnishings.

The statement quoted Faleke as saying the donated office will become the Tinubu campaign headquarters, while other offices currently in existence will become annexes.

“The Buhari Campaign Office was the second space donated to the Tinubu campaign. Governor Yahaya Bello also donated his presidential campaign office to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,” the statement noted.

 

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