Let’s reclaim stolen mandate, PDP’s lost glory, Atiku tasks party members
• G-5, Fayose, Mimiko, others shun reception for governors-elect
• Damagum: Action of judiciary will determine stability of democracy
• Hearing in Atiku’s petition holds May 18 as CNPP backs broadcast of proceedings
• LP worse than APC, PDP, says ex-Lagos chairman
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has charged the party to remain determined and focused on retrieving his mandate at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) insisting that PDP won the election. He also called on leaders and stakeholders of the party to reflect on prevailing challenges and come up with strategies that will enable PDP to take its dominant place once again.
Atiku gave the charge in Abuja yesterday, at a reception organised for returning and newly elected governors on the platform of the party.
“We have a number of challenges. We started as a dominant political party in 1999, but since then, we have been receding. It is time to take stock and find out why we are receding and how we can make sure our position as the leading political party in the country can be regained.”
Urging party faithful to be hopeful of a favourable outcome in the presidential election petition, he said: “We all know that the PDP did not lose the last election. We should be determined and focus on retrieving our mandate that has been stolen.”
Earlier in his opening address, acting National Chairman of the party, Umar Damagum, said Nigerians are resolute in seeing justice done to the petition filed by the PDP at the tribunal. The action of the judiciary will determine the stability of democracy.”
Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, also expressed confidence that Atiku would be victorious at the tribunal. On the crisis in PDP, Damagum said: “The party has the capacity to settle its internal crisis,” but added, “we must ensure the party remains strong and vibrant.”
Also expressing worries about the crisis in the party, former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, condemned a situation where party members were being suspended arbitrarily, particularly in the Kaduna State chapter.
Signs of a persistent crisis in the party became obvious with the absence of members of the group of five governors who had engaged the party’s leadership in a serious face-off before the general elections.
The meeting had been planned to formally send forth outgoing PDP governors among whom are four members of the G5: Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Sam Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), who all failed to turn up.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who is the only returning governor in the G5, was also expected at the event but did not also show up. Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State and their Taraba State counterpart, Darius Ishaku, who were all scheduled to be honoured were also absent.
The presence of the G5 members would have brought them face to face with Atiku for the first time since they began opposing his candidacy before the presidential election.
Also absent were the PDP governors-elect of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, Siminialayi Fubara and Umo Eno, respectively. Their counterparts, Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Calab Mutfwang (Plateau), Agbu Kefas (Taraba) and Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), however, graced the occasion.
The reception had the theme: “Good Governance at the Subnational Level: Issues, Perspectives, Expectations and Outcomes.” The lecturer at the event, Dr. Muda Yusuf, advised the party to focus on fiscal resilience, leveraging on devolution of powers and performance management. He said: “If outcome is positive, it means the performance has surpassed expectations and the people will be happy. If the outcome is negative, it means performance has fallen short of expectations and the people will not be happy.”
Yusuf also condemned the country’s rising debt from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to about N77 trillion at the moment. He expressed fears that before the end of the year, the debt profile may climb to over N80 trillion.
With specific reference to the N23.7 trillion loan taken as Ways and Means from the Central Bank of Nigeria, he said the practice was wrong
MEANWHILE, former Lagos State Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Olukayode Salako, yesterday, said that the culture of operation in LP is worse compared with other political parties such as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and PDP.
Salako, who stated this yesterday at the unveiling a political association, Passion Alliance Forum (PANFO), said he voluntarily resigned as a member of LP out of persecution because his wife, Daramola Kayode Sakako, is a committed member of APC and for their claim that he was a mole of APC and Bola Tinubu.
Salako said many were made to believe other political parties were bad, which endeared them to join LP as succour to their grievances, not knowing that it was a deceit.
FURTHER pre-hearing in the petition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar against the election of Bola Tinubu has been shifted to Thursday, May 18, 2023.
As it was with Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, Atiku’s petition was adjourned at the instance of lawyers, to enable them put their house in order on issues relating to the petition. His lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, informed the court that all the lawyers agreed to next week Thursday, to allow their teams sort out documents to be tendered during hearing of the petition.
Following no objection from Chief Wole Olanipekun who stood for Tinubu, Charles Edosomwen who represented All Progressives Congress (APC), and Abubakar Mahmoud who stood for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani shifted the matter.
Also, the court fixed hearing for next Thursday in the application by Atiku for live telecast of the court’s proceedings. Tsammani said the application would be heard alongside others by the respondents, including those seeking dismissal of the joint petition by Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has thrown its weight behind calls for live broadcast of the court’s proceedings, saying this would give credibility to the outcome of all cases.
In a statement by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the group said: “Not only will the live broadcast douse tension associated with ongoing proceedings and high expectations by the electorate, it will also promote transparency.”
CNPP said: “There is no way INEC, the ruling APC and its candidate in the presidential election, Bola Tinubu, will oppose live broadcast of the tribunal’s sittings, up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where the matter will eventually terminate, if any of the parties proceeds to appeal the verdict.
“Objecting to the application will not be in the interest of any of the parties to the petitions and their supporters, as a live broadcast is the best way to erase any possible misconception about the outcome and minimise dissemination of false information, especially on social media, which could lead to breach of the peace.”
The group added: “Granting the popular request will enable Nigerians, at home and in the diaspora, who are interested in the outcome, to follow the proceedings live and be better informed, instead of relying on hearsay.”