APC Presidential Ticket: Yahaya Bello, Nwajiuba Pick Forms,Thief Carts Away $75,000 - OLAMORE
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APC Presidential Ticket: Yahaya Bello, Nwajiuba Pick Forms,Thief Carts Away $75,000

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Kogi state governor and one of the presidential aspirants of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Wednesday said all ethics, rules and regulation of the party were in his favour, and therefore not afraid of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s entrance into the race.

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Governor Bello stated this while picking the party’s N100 million Expression of Interest and Nomination forms at the Muhammadu Buhari House of the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.

Similarly, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, also obtained the forms to contest for the nation’s top job on the party’s platform.

And as the two presidential aspirants were obtaining the forms, about $75,000 was stolen within the premises of the party’s national secretariat in the midst of a mammoth crowd of aspirants and their supporters.

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The incident, according to Blueprint’s findings, happened when an unidentified chieftain of the party was struggling to gain entrance into the premises of the Buhari House at the main gate of the secretariat located at 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 11 Wednesday morning.

In the process, it was further gathered, his GSM phone and the brown envelope containing the money fell off him, following which an unidentified person in the crowd picked them up and disappeared.

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An eyewitness told our correspondent that the party chieftain who lost the money was seen shouting and running helter-skelter without getting any attention from anybody.

Blueprint further gathered that the incident led to the dismantling of tents arranged for the party officials in charge of the nomination forms, and their subsequent relocation to the International Conference Centre (ICC) for the continuation of the sale of forms.

Bello speaks

Speaking to journalists shortly after picking the forms, Governor Bello promised to unite and secure the country.

He said: “Nigerians are happy and the party is happy. Right now, what we have ahead of us is the task of canvassing and consulting all party faithful, leaders, stalwarts, members and even all Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. Give us your support to emerge as the flag bearer of this great party come 30th and 31st of May 2023 and by the grace of God, I shall become victorious and the party shall become victorious.

“Yahaya Bello is coming on the table and restoring hope to entire Nigeria and the entire black race, Africa, as a continent and the entire black people across the world. That is the hope we are bringing on board to unite, to secure, and to put our country and its people on the path of progress and prosperity.”

When asked to speak about the alleged plot to adopt former President Jonathan as the consensus candidate of APC, Bello said: “That is the beauty of democracy. In democracy, anybody can support anyone but I am assuring you that our great party, the APC is a party that has its own ethics, rules and regulations and I know surely that all of these are in my favour and I am not in any way scared of the pedigree of anyone whatsoever.

“I am confident that I am in the majority, I have the women, I have the youth, I have the people living with disabilities and they are all behind me. I have leaders, I have followers and above all, I have God Almighty.”

Nwajiuba

Also speaking, a House of Representatives member, Hon. Chidi N. Wogu, who picked the forms on behalf of the minister, described the presidential aspirant as one of the oldest and most reliable politicians.

“Not oldest in terms of age, he’s actually a young person. And you can see a young group who are supporting him. This is actually a young group because of the not-too-young-to-run act.

“The president promised that this time around anyone who is going to run for presidency must be under 60 and these young people come together. When I saw their seriousness, I decided to coordinate with one group we put together the money and we have come today to show the seriousness by being the first to purchase this form and they find him credible, they find him hardworking,” Wogu said.

Jonathan gets ultimatum

Meanwhile, days after the Youths Network for Nigeria Union (YNNU) urged former President Jonathan to declare for the 2023 presidency, the group has handed the former president a seven- day ultimatum after Sallah to join the APC and declare his ambition or face over 20,000 youths who will picket his office.

Members of the pro-Jonathan group who turned up in their numbers Wednesday at a rally in Suleja, Niger state, threatened not to vacate the ex-president’s office if he fails to concede to their demand, adding that the future of Nigerian youths depends on his decision.

Chairman of the group, Ibrahim A. Saiki, while addressing the media at the rally said: “You may recall that on Friday, 22nd April, 2023, we led over 7,500 members of our Network to ‘a private meeting’ with former President Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to contest the 2023 presidential election.

“While responding to our plea, former President Jonathan urged the youths of Nigeria to get more involved in politics and asked us to “watch out” his next move.

“Since then, the media space has been awash with reactions to ex-President Jonathan’s comments, with several persons giving different interpretations. To us in YNNU, what Nigeria needs at this period of our national life is a unifier. That unifier is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

“To this end, we have been mandated to, most respectfully, urge President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately progress to pick a membership form of the All-Progressives Congress, APC, from his ward in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, within seven days after Ramadan.

“If at the end of seven days after Ramadan, President Goodluck Jonathan remains undecided, we shall most respectfully repeat our visit to his office for a Second meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan. It should be noted that over 20,000 of our more than 500,000-strong members across the nation have expressed the unreserved desire to participate and encamp at ex-President Jonathan’s private office, and we shall remain there for as long as it may take for him to decide.

“In furtherance of our position, we have written President Goodluck Jonathan a letter to this effect, which was acknowledged and received by his office yesterday, April 26th, 2023.

“We earnestly hope that President Goodluck Jonathan fully understands that our future depends on his decision. Therefore, we do not intend to relent in our pursuit of the true desire of Nigerians at this time- which only him can anchor.”

Some of the placards been displayed at the rally was emphatic on their demands. They include; ‘Jonathan you are wasting our time’, ‘Maigidan Goodluck Jonathan, our destiny in your hand’, ‘President Jonathan declare for President Now’, ‘Goodluck Jonathan You must run’, ‘We don’t care about party, any party is Ok’, ‘Jonathan run under APC Now’ etc.

Also speaking, the secretary of the youth network Jonathan Akumobi and Women Leader, Mrs. Ozi-Bello Sadiq said they had been protesting since morning because they wanted Jonathan to understand the urgency of their request and the need to answer them without further delay.

According to Akumobi, “Goodluck Jonathan is a custodian of freedom of speech; he is a man with good heart. When he was the president the economy was good, the youths were employed and Nigeria was in the right direction that is why we are urging him to run.”

‘We need person not very old as president’

In a related development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Forum of former Ministers, has insisted that the party’s presidential flag bearer in the 2023 election should not be very old.

Speaking on behalf of the Forum while hosting the former Senate President and PDP presidential aspirant, Senator Pius Anyim, recently in Abuja, chairman of the forum and former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki (SAN) lamented that leadership failure had affected development of Nigeria.

He said: “We need a person that is not very old. He (Anyim) has acquired sufficient experience and maturity and he is not also very young. So, he can relate with some of us that are young.

“We need somebody that has the courage to take decisive decisions because Nigerian needs a very strong and powerful president. We need a man of integrity, a person that will listen, a person that will be compassionate, a person that will show sympathy and empathy to Nigerians.

“The greatest problem we have had in this country is leadership failure because leadership has failed in this country and because the head of the fish is rotten; ultimately and quite invariably, the body of the fish will also be rotten.

“We have resolved that we must take special interest in what happens to our party in the build up to this election. We will play a very active role, we will liaise with the leadership of the party in selecting a credible candidate that will win election for us and win election for Nigeria and in the process, salvage Nigerians from the twin evils of hunger and poverty.”

Turaki, who stressed that Nigeria needed Anyim’s experience, added: “Between the experience you have gathered both from the legislative and executive arms of government and of course while you have never had the opportunity of heading or playing a pivotal role in the judiciary; your qualification as a senior lawyer now fills that gap and makes you one person that has the opportunity of gravitating and serving from both arms of government in this country.”

Addressing the former ministers, Anyim, who was also a Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said he had the required experience to rescue and rebuild Nigeria.

He said: “When I worked as a civil servant, it was in two parastatals in the Presidency. I worked as President of the Senate, working along with the President to move the country forward.

“I worked as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the engine room of the Presidency. My experiences are cognate. I am not going to learn on the job; I am going to continue from where we stopped.

“Let me also say that today in Nigeria, we are concerned about things that are not going well. There is insecurity, there is economic downturn. The first commitment I want to offer Nigerians is to stand on the framework of consensus and reunite Nigerians and reduce mutual suspicion,” he pledged.

“When we are able to redirect the nation on the path of unity and eliminate mutual suspicion, all of us will come together, pick the right hands based on competence and capacity and work together to refocus the economy, rescue the country and rebuild our society.”

Present at the meeting were Elder Godsday Orubebe, Labaran Maku, Solomon Ewuga, Sanusi Dagash and Josephine Anenih.

Others included Ina Ciroma, Mukhtar Shehu Shagari and Osita Chidoka among others.

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