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SOUTH EAST AND 2023 PRESIDENCY: Of ‘kindergarten’ President and analogous political permutations

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Labour Party Presidential Candidate Peter Obi
By  Chuks Collins, Abuja
When Pastor Paul Osaromen dropped an usual prophetic message to the nation about four years ago in 2019 -that the Igbos of Nigeria should prepare to take over the rein of leadership of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari, not many were too surprised.
Yes, because any discerning mind simply know that it was about time. About time to give these dogged never-say-die sons of the East opportunity to contribute their committed quota to the growth of this nation, Nigeria.
About time to get those who have practically and truly demonstrated their implicit belief in this nation by turning every hamlet of Nigeria into home and dwelling place, to lead the way. To lead the way, nurture our economy back to life again and encourage the rest part of Nigeria do same.
But in addition to the prophecy, Pastor Osaromen then shocked the wits off his congregation when he added that, the only major problem with an Igbo man mounting the saddle in Aso Rock for Nigeria to rise again would be his brethren, “the Igbo people”, to use his exact words.
In plain language, that it would be the Igbo sons and daughters that would block, blackmail, hinder and sabotage the chosen one!
That was four clear years ago. And today, from being a former running-mate to Alh Atiku Abubakar, Mr Peter Obi, an Igbo man has moved from the shadows to become the man to beat in the fast approaching February 25,2023 presidential election. His rise and popularity was actually meteoric. No one really saw it coming.
His initial challenges came from his party men and women, who expected him to fork out between ten and twenty-five thousand dollars, or even more, for each of the delegates to the party’s Presidential Convention to elect the presidential flagbearer.
But the truth is that when the hand of God Almighty is involved, no one would hinder or stop His anointed. Obi read the mood accurately and instantly took a dignified walk, leaving behind all the political chicanery.
He didn’t just take a walk, he instantly resigned from the party having found out that the leadership has been taken over by people with insincere tongues/lifestyles. People who draw up laws and Constitution they won’t adhere to. And as the good book had charged us, -to run away fast from such persons, Obi ran. And even took away the heart and soul of the party and the people with him. And the G-5 Governors on our minds.
From what has been going on since his departure many months ago, he left behind a cacophonous bunch of irreconcilable persons, most of who believed that money is everything. People who apparently believed that the old ‘system’ would last forever and that the people would equally continue to be hoodwinked ad infinitum.
However for those who know Obi well, he’s someone who will never disobey God Almighty! So, he simply ran away from the party knowing full well that inconsistency had become the hallmark of her leadership. It means that no one knows what other chicanery they would come up with next.
He then landed in the ‘barely known’ Labour Party(LP), as described by his traducers.
Almost immediately, the characters he left behind in PDP, with their visible uncharted course instantly raised alarm, claiming that Obi’s Labour Party was unknown; and that he has no ‘structure’. Whatever that means.
Doesn’t it then surprise the world that barely ninety days after all these, Obi and his tornado-like Obidient Movement powered by the teeming Nigerian youths has kept both Atiku of the PDP and Alhaji Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) sleepless, restless and disconsolate, day-in, day-out! It has remained same for all their parties’ other candidates and political minions nationwide.
Consequently, anything any of these opposition candidates could hold on to shoot Obi or any of his LP party’s candidates down, even if it’s mere blanks, have not been spared.

Senator Uche Ekwunife and Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo

Why not, when the nations everyday people, the youth, the mothers, their fathers, artisans, professionals and even the classless have taken over the whole Nigerian streets, the streams, the shops, the markets, the mosques, the churches, the schools, the salons, the boutiques, the bars and restaurants to identify with Obi and the message of hope that he represents as well as his recovery plans for Nigeria. This was while his opponents continued to embarrass the nation locally and overseas with hitherto unknown and unheard sleazy deals and outlandish roguery they had made of themselves and the economic life of Nigeria and even some other nations like Singapore too. They were so audacious and bold at the accusations and counter-accusations that observers started wondering whether that was their agenda to use to pull Nigeria from the debilitating economic doldrums the nation has found itself.

Yet they brook no shame at all still walking the streets. Yet some Nigerians still follow and identify with them, apparently because of the crumbs they pick from under the tables of these wicked masters and lords.
As the seeming helpless supporters trudge on with these cash lords no one or opportunity was then spared. Not even the LP’s senatorial candidate for Anambra Central, Chief Victor Umeh. He was dragged to court, and even allegedly sponsored other persons to drag him about in other Courts too.
Most analysts believe that all these were ultimately targeted at Peter Obi! More like the maxim of ‘delinda eh Cathego'(Carthage must be destroyed), of the mediaeval Roman Cathagenian wars era.
Obi must be destroyed. Completely destroyed! All in the name of politics. Really? What about the age long saying that blood is thicker than water.
Furthermore, Obi was consequently, described in many demeaning adjectives, tones and languages, all in the name of dirty politics and selfish-driven permutations. Many have described some of these permutations as analog, selfish, vain, shameful and awful.
Else, how could men, women, youths and electorate from all profession, tribes, tongue, social, economic, political all and religious persuasion clamour for Peter Obi as the President the nation needs at this particular time, then his own Igbo brothers like Governor Chukwuma Soludo and Senator Uche Ekwunife lead the pack to drag him about and down. It’s awful! It’s reprehensible! It’s condemnable! Especially when viewed from the filial consideration that the all come from same Anambra state.
Its even more shocking to note that both Soludo and Ekwunife are hitherto beneficiaries of mass appeal from same political territory with Obi in Anambra state.
Correct or not, Soludo and Ekwunife had variously remained in the nation’s political terrain since the return of democracy in Nigeria, mid 1998. So is it not time both take a sabbatical?
Today, barely 200 hundred days in the saddle as the governor of one of the richest and critical State in Nigeria, Soludo is already scheming on how to become the only known Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. While Ekwunife want to lift the National Assembly’s sit-tight championship.
Unfortunately, both officers had been enjoying chummy relationship with the citizens of Anambra state until now. It’s no longer so, and would likely never be so again.
If it were in the South West, their career, whatever it used to be, would have instantly simply gone down the political drain. They are free to inquire from the Jakandes and the Babatopes! Because once these two names consciously or subconsciously put themselves on the wrong side of the South West political configuration, it became their eternal nonc dimitis till date.
While Soludo has not done three-quarter distance of his maiden term of four years, he has already truncated his governorship history. It’s almost certain he would join the inglorious club of one-term governors. Some political watchers believed it would not be a bad idea if only to teach others a lesson or two on how not to be a traducer to the one God has chosen.
Ekwunife, was accused of openly working to undermine Peter Obi, saying that Nigeria do not need a kindergarten President! Whaaaat? If it’s true, then that would be a brand new case study in ingratitude.
Surprisingly if there’s any politician closely related to Obi, that person is Ekwunife (Iyom, Ada Igboukwu) and Victor Umeh. They all hail from same genealogical and political origin. While Obi comes from Agulu, Umeh comes from Aguluzoigbo and Ekwunife comes from Igboukwu. Their ancestors were brothers. And the trio have remained very close to each other, until political subterfuge now tore them apart. Such that Ekwunife would be alleged to publicly refer to Obi as a kindergarten president! Tufia kwa!
So, apparently in her calculation nothing would be held sacred or spared to favour Atiku and the PDP, not even blood that was known to be always thicker than water. This is sad. And no one from any other zone in Nigeria would do it. But South East.
It’s even disturbingly scandalous to realise that Ekwunife remain a sure bet among the few greatest beneficiaries in a Peter Obi presidency. Why is she then doing this? Was it because they sold a hilarious dummy to some inarticulate people of the zone that ‘Atiku remains the fastest route to an Igbo President’, or that he would do only one term?
The idea is shamefully childish, ridiculous, funny and baseless, and anyone who believes such political nonsense would simply believe anything. What about the constitutionally stipulated zoning issue that was copiously enshrined in the PDP constitution. Yet, Atiku muscled the party into truncating it. He bought his way through and ended up making the party leaders look simply like guns for hire any day.
That unfortunate decision clearly dealt heavy blow to heir individual and corporate image and perception, because of one man, Atiku. It made them look as politically unreliable characters who could waver and turn their laws up-side-down any day, any moment. People who have no regards or respect to their words, laws or agreement. Just because of one man, Atiku.
If he could thrash the party’s constitution so arbitrarily to satisfy his personal ambition, before assuming executive powers unchallenged, who in his/her right senses would believe he wont do worse things as an executive president with executive powers?
And this is the same man who as a Vice President forced a sitting President down on his knees in tears to support his reelection!
President Buhari, from the North, according to a generally known understanding took over from a Southern Nigerian president and did eight years that wrecked all the aspects of Nigeria’s political, economic, social, religious balance/cohesion unperturbed. Instead of all men of goodwill from the North to stay clear and allow the South East as the only zone yet to have a shot, Atiku and some few others in apparent show of arrogant display of political rascality derided the arrangement and all those who adhere to its upkeep, by jumping into the presidential election arena, including Atiku. It shows and means that he cares less about rules and feelings of anyone, not even the whole nation, but himself.
Anyone trying to rationalize the right of the South East, particularly the face of the zone in the coming February 25, 2023 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi, is certainly an enemy.
Not just enemy to Obi, but to all Nigerians of good conscience. They have become enemies to our welfare, our health/educational, economic/social recovery plans that he represents.
And the only way to show our anger is through our votes. Let’s turn our back on all those who have made themselves our enemies.
Let all Nigerians vote massively for Peter Obi for the future of Nigeria and coming generations as anything else may signify an end to our dear nation.
Atiku was the second in command for 8 full years, and only helped himself, family and friends. So the question is, why didn’t he use that opportunity to unleash the eldorado he and his foot-soldiers like Soludo and Ekwunife have been mouthing about now.
Let them name one single project he facilitated in the entire South East zone as a mark of his fair mindedness. Little wonder Soludo was counselled by the President of the Imo General Assembly in Nnewi, Chief Chinedu Igwe “not to be distracted by promises by Abuja to make him president after his tenure as governor…”
But in his seeming feeble attempt to defend his administration’s pulling down of Labour Party’s and Obi’s campaign billboards in Anambra, Soludo accused Obi of doing similar things too earlier while he superintended the state as governor years back.
Because many others before him were similarly given such fake and unfulfilled promises like that.
The masses, youths and the downtrodden of this nation, opinion polls and even prophecies have consistently named Obi as the next and incoming president of Nigeria. Therefore any direct or indirect attacks on him will only mean attacking God Almighty who sent him. Hence we can simply wish Gov Soludo and Sen Ekwunife and other enemies within well in their enterprise.
Only time will tell.

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Why tribunal sacked Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke

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Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke-led administration in Osun State came to a hurting halt on Friday as the Osun Election Petitions Tribunal sacked him from office. His stay in office lasted a mere 62 days!

While annulling the July 16 Osun governorship poll results, the tribunal held that the Independent National Electoral Commission did not comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Electoral Act as amended.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, the winner of the July 16 election.

The Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, announced that Adeleke got a total of 403,371 votes, beating the incumbent Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC, who garnered 375,027 votes in the keenly contested race.

In the election held across 3,763 polling units in the 30 local government areas in Osun, the PDP won 17 of the LGAs, while the APC recorded more votes in the remaining 13. The PDP won in Ede North, Ede South, Ifelodun, Boluwaduro, Egbedore, Odo Otin, Osogbo, Ila, Atakumosa West, Olorunda, Ilesa West, Obokun, Oriade, Orolu, Ife North, Irepodun, and Ejigbo LGAs.

The APC, on the other hand, won in Boripe, Ilesa East, Ayedire, Ifedayo, Ife Central, Ayedaade, Iwo, Olaoluwa, Isokan, Atakumosa East, Irewole, Ife South, and Ife East LGAs. Out of the 1,955,657 registered voters in the state, 1,479,595 Permanent Voter Cards were collected before the election.

Adeleke’s victory raised the PDP-governed states’ tally to 14, with the ruling APC states dropping to 21.

But the hope of Adeleke, known for his dancing skills and fondly referred to as the ‘Dancing Senator’, was dashed on Friday after the tribunal annulled the result of the July 16 governorship poll.

While delivering a majority decision vote, Justice Tetsea Kume ruled that INEC did not comply substantially with the constitution and the provisions of the Electoral Act.

He subsequently deducted the over-voting observed from the votes scored by the candidates and declared that Oyetola won the election, having polled 314, 921, while Adeleke’s score came down to 290, 266.

He directed INEC to withdraw Adeleke’s certificate of return and issue another one to Oyetola who won a majority of the lawful votes.

Meanwhile, Governor Ademola Adeleke has reacted to his sacking by the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo.

In a statement signed by his spokesman, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, the governor described it as a miscarriage of justice.

The statement read: “The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has described the judgement of the governorship tribunal as ” a miscarriage of justice”, vowing to challenge the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

“Reacting to the verdict of the Tribunal from his country home, Ede, Governor Adeleke faulted the resolution of the over-voting question in favour of Mr Oyetola, calling it “an unfair interpretation against the will of majority of voters”

“While urging his supporters to remain calm, Governor Adeleke vowed to appeal the judgement at the Court of Appeal, insisting he remains the rightful winner of the July 16 election.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done. Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate”, Governor Adeleke declared.”

PUNCH

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Fresh trouble in Enugu APC over campaign funding

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The crisis tearing the All Progressives Congress (APC) apart in Enugu State has taken a new twist as the candidates of the party in the state are set for a major showdown with the state chairman, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah and the governorship candidate, Chief Uche Nnaji, over camapgn funds.

Sources at the State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting of the party, which held on Wednesday, 25th January 2023 said trouble started when Agballah directed candidates to bear the cost of logistics for the campaign.

“The state chairman briefed us that 2023 campaigns in the stage would hold on the basis of State Constituencies. That is based on the House of Assembly seat constituencies. You know there are 24 State Constituencies in Enugu State.

“He gave the various dates and venues for the campaigns, which will begin next week.

“However, trouble started when it was announced that the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial candidates would be responsible for the logistics of the campaign in each of their State Constituencies, while the governorship candidate would be responsible for stipends for the people that would attend.

“But that is the problem. Where is the money released for the campaign by our party, particularly a South East governor of APC extraction?”, the source said.

The party source said majority of the candidates were also angry that the remainder of the sum of N238 million given to Agballah and Nnaji to field candidates for all the elective positions in the State was not accounted for.

“Ordinarily, there should never have been trouble in the Enugu APC, but for the decision of a few to shortchange the majority.

“When Dr. Ben Nwoye was there, did we ever have any arguments over money? Did we ever hear about the embezzlement of allowances given to presidential primary delegates? But today, $1.5 million given to delegates at the 2022 APC national convention and presidential primary have ended up in the pockets of two people. But we will ensure that they cough it out.

“Under Nwoye, did we ever hear that nearly N300m was released to buy nominations forms and field candidates for all elective positions, but missing? Did we hear that money released for APC rallies or campaigns got missing? But today, every money that comes to Enugu APC grows wings and flies into two pockets.

“But we won’t allow them to digest it. We will make sure that they cough every bit if it out”, an aggrieved State House of Assembly candidate stated.

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Ebonyi PDP raises alarm over APC’s alleged plans to attack Campaign DG

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•Ebonyi PDP 2023 Campaign DG, Austin Igwe Edeze

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi State chapter, has raised the Alarm over plans by the ruling All progressives Congress (APC) to attack its Campaign Director-General, Chief Austin Igwe Edeze.

Edeze, who contested the PDP primaries and lost out to Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, the party’s gubernatorial flagbearer, hails from the same lzzi Local Government Area of the state with APC governorship candidate, Hon. Francis Nwifuru.

A statement signed and made available to newsmen by Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, PDP campaign council, Comrade Moses Idika, said: “Our attention has been drawn to a clandestine plot by some miscreants and hoodlums hired by the APC Government in Ebonyi State to attack the Director-General of the PDP Campaign Council, Chief Austin Igwe Edeze.

“The DG, a popular politician in the state was appointed by the PDP Governorship Candidate and was inaugurated on Thursday last week alongside other members.

The statement said that information at the disposal revealed that the APC led-government in Ebonyi State was bitter of Edeze’s solid profile which would help to boost the main opposition’s strength.

According to the statement, “An attempt by yet to be identified hoodlums had failed two nights ago when they stormed the house of the PDP Campaign DG but were repelled by vigilant security operatives attached to him.

“We are aware that these evil doers are now planning a fresh attack on Chief Edeze.Whereas Chief Edeze, a former member of the APC Board of Trustees left the party in February, 2022. He contested the PDP Governorship Primaries and lost to Dr. Ifeanyi Odii.

“Since Chief Edeze was appointed to lead the PDP campaign in Ebonyi State, the APC top hierarchy in the state has been downcast and jittery following the popular upsurge of support being enjoyed by the PDP with prospects of mass decampings troubling the APC.

“Therefore, we want to state categorically that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Those who resort to violence and hooliganism should count the disastrous consequences to themselves if and when we decide to play at their tuff.

“We seize this opportunity to alert security agencies, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director General State Security Service and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), to checkmate the evil machinations of the hired hoodlums whose planned destruction of lives and property may herald another round of bloodshed in the state.”

The party requested that the security agencies to use their good Offices to nip the evil plot in the bud, so as to frustrate the hands of the enemies of democratic governance in Ebonyi State.

As at the time of filing the report, all efforts to reach Mr. Leo Oketa, a member of APC media campaign council for comment proved abortive.

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