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Buhari absent as APC begs women to back Tinubu/Shettima ticket

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Terhemba Daka, Adamu Abuh (Abuja), Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh and Ayoyinka Jegede (Uyo)
11 October 2022   |   4:20 am
President Muhammadu Buhari and First Lady, Aisha, yesterday, appealed to women to massively support the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and running mate, Kashim Shettima, to win the 2023 presidential election...

Wife of the President, Dr. Aisha Buhari (right); wife of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard-bearer, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and wife of the vice presidential candidate, Hajia Nana Kashim Shettima, during the inauguration of Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign Team at the State House, Abuja… yesterday.

• Tinubu: Dogara, Lawal are APC impostors, promoters of hatred
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• G-5 governors absent as PDP flags off presidential campaign in Uyo
• Emmanuel, Okowa, Diri, Obaseki, PDP South-South stakeholders unite

President Muhammadu Buhari and First Lady, Aisha, yesterday, appealed to women to massively support the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and running mate, Kashim Shettima, to win the 2023 presidential election, in continuation of the gesture extended to Buhari in 2015 and 2019.

The President, who acknowledged the role of women that saw him emerge victorious in his two terms, made the appeal at the inauguration of the APC Women Presidential Campaign Committee held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, President Buhari further noted that throughout his political journey and his tenure as President, women have remained the most loyal and supportive group in his mission for a better Nigeria despite the challenges.

“They should extend this same support to our presidential and vice presidential candidates. As we prepare for the general elections, my administration has continued to listen to the strong voices of our women for gender justice, social inclusion and adequate participation in the affairs of their country and in accordance with global, regional, and national conventions, agreements, protocols, and policies to which Nigeria is a signatory,” he said.

The President further directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in conjunction with the Minister of Women Affairs to partner with the Office of the First Lady to ensure speedy passage of legislations that would effect constitutional as well as legal change aimed at creating a level playing field for women to be carried along and take the APC to greater heights.

In his remarks, Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, charged the women to dwell on issues and avoid character assassination, hate speech and propaganda.

He advised the women team to “go all over Nigeria, particularly into the grassroots and sell the agenda and vision of Tinubu and Shettima, whose pedigree for women empowerment is widely known.” He said the idea of a women campaign wing, which is a unique innovation of the party, was not to create a parallel body for the campaigns.

According to him, the group is, rather, a complementary strategy that the PCC has devised to ensure that women are fully involved throughout the campaigns.

APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, expressed confidence that with the women team now in place, there will be no stopping the party’s victory in 2023.

He said if the women, who are larger in number, stand by their avowed support, APC was ready to tap from their potential and ultimately deliver victory to Tinubu and Shettima during the presidential election.

In her remarks, the Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District and wife of the presidential candidate, Oluremi Tinubu, said a Tinubu-Shettima presidency would be the ‘best option’ for Nigerian women.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, however, called on Tinubu to allocate 40 per cent of appointments to women if he clinches the presidency. The former Plateau State deputy governor said with women occupying 40 per cent of appointive positions, the country would be set for a balanced leadership.

The women wing presidential campaign team, comprising over 1,200 women drawn from across the country, is specifically to boost the party’s quest for equitable gender representation in the electioneering process. The team is headed by Aisha Buhari.

Also speaking amid shouts of ‘Jagaban’ and ‘City boy’ renting the hall, Tinubu assured that the country, under his presidency, would experience prosperity, security, destitution and break away from the shackles of poverty that has characterised the nation, when elected.

Reacting to the outcome of a meeting convened at the weekend, Tinubu described former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and the group they represent as a band of impostors.

Tinubu insisted that the duo lacks the capacity to speak on behalf of Christians and Muslims in the country. He particularly frowned on the duo for promoting hate speeches and whipping up emotions, with the aim at setting the country ablaze.

MEANWHILE, Atiku said PDP would rescue Nigeria from its myriad of problems and restore unity to the country. He made this vow during the flag-off of his presidential campaign at the Nest of Champions, yesterday, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Atiku, who pleaded with Nigerians to vote for him and the party, said PDP would rescue Nigeria from hunger, poverty, insecurity, lack of jobs and disunity.

Dedicating the launch of the campaign to the achievements of the Akwa Ibom PDP, he said the APC-led administration brought change as they promised in a negative way.

“Nigeria wants to be like Akwa Ibom. You know why, because since 1999, you have not changed party, but you can see the development that is taking place here in Akwa Ibom. You can see the prosperity that is taking place, you can see the security that is available in Akwa Ibom. So the rest of Nigeria would like to be like Akwa Ibom.

“ When PDP came to power in 1999, we met Nigeria in a state of poverty, insecurity, hunger, lack of education. We lifted Nigeria from bottom to top. We became the biggest economy in Africa, we had peace, we had progress. But when Nigeria said they wanted change, they voted for change in 2015.

What we have seen is poverty, insecurity, lack of jobs and disunity. Our children are no longer going to school. Is that what we want to continue in?

“I want to appeal to all Nigerians, I am standing in Akwa Ibom today to ask them to vote for PDP. If you vote for PDP, it would be a return to prosperity, it would be a return to unity, it would be a return to your safety.”

Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, who said he was impressed at the crowd of supporters, tasked Nigerians to take the ongoing mission by PDP to rescue the country, seriously.

“This campaign is a very serious business. There is a great problem in Nigeria and we have been looking for a rescuer. PDP has offered to rescue Nigeria. We believe that PDP is the only party prepared to rescue Nigeria. We want a nation where people can once again trust each other, we are ready to take the bull by the horn,” he said.

While speaking, Chairman of PDP PCC and Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, said the campaign will restore hope and faith in the common dreams of the people.

“Poverty today has got to misery indices. When PDP handed over power, the exchange rate was N186 to a dollar. Today, the exchange rate is almost N800 to a dollar. When PDP handed over power, Nigeria had the largest economy in the entire Africa, today, all those indices have been battered. Today, we want to flag off the hope for Nigeria, we want to flag off the rescue mission to Nigeria, we want to flag off the restoration mood to Nigeria.”

On his part, National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, commended the people for the support, saying the crowd showed that the PDP train was more than a party.

The Director General of PDP PCC and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, said the duo of Atiku and Okowa would rescue Nigeria from its problems.

EMBITTERED Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and his allies of four other governors, Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Samuel Ortom (Benue) boycotted the event. Their absence is due to Wike camp’s insistence on the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Ayu.

The Wike camp had argued that it is unethical for PDP to have a Northern presidential candidate and National Chairman, noting that it does not reflect the national character of the party.

EARLIER, Governor Emmanuel called on PDP South-South governors and leaders to form a common front that wold ensure the party reclaims power as well as revive the ailing economy in the country. He made the call on Sunday, while hosting the PDP South-South zonal meeting.

Emmanuel harped on the need for South-South leaders of the party to demonstrate unity of purpose and strength as a party that wold make a difference in revamping the economy again.

In his remark, Okowa emphasised the need for unity and cooperation of South-South governors and leaders, noting that his strength as a vice presidential candidate for the party lies in their collective support to rescue Nigeria from its harsh economic crunch.

Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and his counterpart in Bayelsa, Douye Diri, in their goodwill messages, called for support and mobilisation from ward and unit levels across the country, noting that with the strength of PDP in the South-South, the party is set to restore the country to its glory days.

Obaseki expressed confidence that PDP would emerge victorious, noting that the party will deploy technology to ensure victory at the polls. He said the waters had been tested in Edo and Osun states, where the party leveraged technology to ensure victory in the governorship elections. 
 
He said: “This will be a very different election as we have seen in the past. This zone will make the difference. Our election in Edo redefined the face of election in this republic. This will be a technical election as we used technology to win our election in Edo.

“We repeated the same in Osun and now we can tell how elections are being run with the new Electoral Act. In this zone, we have the skills and knowledge in supporting one another in running and winning elections. Election is not won on election day but a battle for election at the polling unit level.”

Diri said the feud in the party would soon become a thing of the past before the general elections. The Bayelsa governor described PDP as a big family that has held sway in the South-South. Diri also noted that in such large families, there were bound to be disagreements.

His words: “South-South is the only zone that has a preponderance of PDP governors. Therefore, it should be the zone to kick off the PDP presidential campaign. We have also been lucky to produce the vice presidential candidate.

“PDP will continue to demonstrate strength in the six states of the South-South. Our party is a big family and in any such family, it is normal to have differences. I strongly believe that the differences would be settled soon and we will come back as one indivisible party.”

Other stakeholders drawn from PDP across the six states in the zone, who presented messages of goodwill included former governors Liyel Imoke of Cross River State, Celestine Omehia of Rivers, Chief Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State, as well as Chief Tom Ikimi, Senator Gershom Bassey, Senator George Sekibo and Senator Stella Omu.