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Your ambition not worth life of any Nigerian, Jonathan reminds Tinubu, Atiku, others

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Terhemba Daka, Sodiq Omolaoye, John Akubo (Abuja) and Waliat Musa (Lagos)
10 June 2022   |   3:22 am
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated winners of presidential primaries across various political parties, stressing that “no ambition is worth the life” of any citizen.

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle (left); his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Sani Bello; AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara); Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); Simon Lalong (Plateau); All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential flag bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe); Bello Masari (Katsina); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) during their visit to Tinubu on his victory at the APC primary, in Abuja…yesterday.<br />

• As APC Northern govs, party chairman hold closed-door meeting with flag bearer
• Pick running mates before June 17, INEC reaffirms
• Osinbajo, Fayemi, Amaechi, others congratulate Tinubu
• Adebayo, Sowore, Al Mustapha clinch SDP, AAC, AA presidential tickets

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated winners of presidential primaries across various political parties, stressing that “no ambition is worth the life” of any citizen.

In a message he personally signed and posted on his social media handle, yesterday, he wrote: “I congratulate the winners of the various primaries across the political spectrum, particularly Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who has won the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the flag bearers of other parties that have also concluded their primaries.

“They include Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Malik Ado-Ibrahim, Young Progressives Party (YPP), Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Dumebi Kachikwu, African Democratic Congress (ADC), as well as Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP.”

He told the flag bearers that their emergence, after submitting themselves to rigorous selection and election processes demonstrates, their belief and interest in the progress of Nigeria.

He expressed optimism that they are indeed democrats who believe that Nigeria is common heritage, which should be protected and preserved for future generation.

Jonathan charged them, as they begin campaigns, to prioritise issues confronting the country and proffer credible solutions. He also urged them to conduct their campaigns in a manner devoid of acrimony, divisiveness and treachery, so that at the end of the day, Nigeria would win, democracy would triumph and humanity would be better for it.

The statement reads in part: “As I have always said, no ambition is worth the life of another. As candidates, you must eschew violence and acts that will encourage any form of bloodletting or exacerbate the national fault lines. We live in a season of unprecedented violence and all political leaders have a responsibility to de-escalate the tension in the country. The candidates, by conduct and language, must prioritise non-violence and peaceful coexistence.

“I also salute the sportsmanship displayed by other aspirants who have continued to lend their weight to the democratic process, despite the fact that they did not emerge victorious in their various party primaries.”

THIS was as APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, yesterday, pledged to ensure Tinubu’s victory, following a closed-door meeting he held with the flag bearer at his Abuja residence. Adamu, alongside his colleagues in the National Working Committee (NWC), described the task of ensuring Tinubu’s victory as a duty that must be accomplished by the entire party machinery across the country.

He said: “For us, action speaks louder than voice. We are here to join our brother, congratulate him, and assure him that we are together. This is our project, and by God’s grace, we will succeed.”

Northern APC governors also met with Tinubu behind closed doors, in an apparent bid to have a say in his choice of a running mate before the expiration of INEC’s June 17 deadline.

Governors at the parley were Ahmad Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano) and Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina). A source noted that Tinubu might be left with no choice but settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket due to political expediency.

“This is not about sentiments; it is about winning election. Who is that Christian that Tinubu would pick that would please the overwhelming Muslim population in the far north; that can also swing votes in his favour?

“If Tinubu is not careful, he will give Atiku the opportunity to make political capital out of it, and it would be costly to the APC.”

AHEAD of the June 17 deadline for the submission of lists of presidential candidates by political parties, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said the names of presidential candidates must be accompanied with the names of running mates or the lists would be considered invalid.

This means that all presidential candidates, including Tinubu of APC and Atiku Abubakar of PDP must comply, on or before the deadline.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during a meeting with State Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja, yesterday.

MEANWHILE, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has congratulated Tinubu in a statement he personally signed, saying: “For many decades, our flag bearer has shown passion, patriotism, courage and determination in the cause of nation-building. His sterling contributions to our democracy and its progress stand him out. His wealth of experience will certainly be critical in our party’s continued efforts to attain a more secure and prosperous Nigeria.”

Osinbajo urged party members, regardless of who they voted for at the primaries, to “unite behind” Tinubu to ensure victory for the party.

He added: “As true progressives, we must remain strong and united in pursuing our collective vision as a party toward building a country that can provide a decent life and livelihoods for all our people.”

EKITI State Governor and APC presidential aspirant, Kayode Fayemi, also congratulated Tinubu, the APC leadership and convention planning committee for successful conduct of the presidential primary. He also praised President Muhammadu Buhari for superintending a free, fair and credible process.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi said Tinubu’s emergence represents the collective wish of the vast majority of APC members, adding that the former Lagos State governor has proven his dedication and competence to lead the country at such an important time in history.

Fayemi, who stepped down and endorsed Tinubu at the convention, described the APC flag bearer as a “long distance runner”, who has the capacity to lead the country to greater heights in 2023.

ON his part, former Senate Leader and Director General of the Rotimi Amaechi Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mohammed Ali Ndume, promised to work for the success of the party in next year’s general elections, urging Tinubu to be magnanimous in victory and carry every member of the party along.

He said as an advocate of power shift to the south, he is satisfied with the outcome of the primary, although his candidate, Amaechi, didn’t clinch the ticket.

He further urged aggrieved APC members to put the past behind them and collectively ensure that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) doesn’t return to power next year.

Ndume added: “We did it in 2015. We replicated it in 2019. We can do it again, if we remain united. PDP will not pose a threat to us and I’m very optimistic that we will emerge victorious next year.”

MEANWHILE, the publisher of Sahara Reporters and Convener of #TakeItBack Movement, Omoyele Sowore, has picked the presidential ticket of African Action Congress (AAC) unopposed

Members of the party unanimously elected Sowore, yesterday, at a convention in Abuja monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Court of Appeal in Abuja recently upheld Sowore as national chairman of AAC. Sowore, a pro-democracy activist, had been locked in a leadership dispute with some former members of the party.

The appellate court faulted the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which approved his suspension and eventual sack as national chairman.

Just before commencement of the primary election, Sowore stepped down as chairman, yielding space for his deputy, (North Central) Mohammed Bako.

Sowore said other parties have elected their “thieves”, stressing AAC must elect its own “police”. He added: “The people of Nigeria now have a clear choice and we are warning, now, that you had a choice in 2019 but you looked the other way. Now is the time to make the right decisions for your future and for the future of your children, the future of our country, the future of Africa and the future of the world.

“This is 2022. Nigerians are crying for freedom, liberation and prosperity. Our party, the African National Congress, will deliver this to you. And I want to assure you that we are prepared to deliver a disgrace to our opponents.”

ALSO, a lawyer and founder of KAFTAN Television, Prince Adewole Adebayo, was elected as presidential flag bearer of Social Democratic Party (SDP).

In a keenly contested election, which drew delegates from the 36 states of the federation to the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Adebayo polled 1, 546 votes to defeat his closest rival, Kadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, who polled 83 votes.

The Segun Oni-led convention planning committee declared 44 votes invalid. Adebayo, while responding to his victory, promised to run an all-inclusive government and attract the best brains in various spheres of human endeavours to make the country great again.

He said SDP remains the only democratic alternative left for Nigerians “who are tired of the broken promises made by the PDP and APC.”

The exercise, which lasted over nine hours, was monitored by INEC’s delegation, led by National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, and other independent observers.

SIMILARLY, Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, also emerged as the presidential candidate of Action Alliance (AA).

He contested the presidential primary with Samson Odupitan, following the withdrawal of two others, Felix Osakwe and Tunde Kelani, who pledged their support for Al-Mustapha.

The retired major polled 506 votes to defeat Odupitan, who had 215. Chairman of AA, Kenneth Udeza, had, while addressing delegates, said 842 delegates were accredited to elect the four flag bearers using the Option A4 method.

Al-Mustapha told the delegates that his experience as a military officer for 35 years and a top aide to Abacha would enable him to tackle the nation’s security challenges.