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2023: PFN Distances Self From Northern Bishops’ Meeting With Tinubu As More Disquiet Rocks APC’s List Of Presidential Campaign Council



After a spell of seeming harmony within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), discordant tunes are coming to the fore ahead of a long four-month campaign stretch for 2023 general elections, which officially kicks off on Wednesday, September 28.

Barely two days after the visit to presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has disowned the ‘Pentecostal Bishops’ Forum of Northern Nigeria,’ which met with Tinubu on Friday in Abuja. This is fallout from the uproar over the single faith ticket adopted by the ruling party for next year’s presidential polls.

Denouncing the clerics’ parley yesterday, the Deputy National Secretary of PFN, Bishop David Bakare, said such group does not exist within the PFN, saying, “there is nothing in PFN that is regional based like Southern or Northern Pentecostal Bishops.

“The PFN was not part of the meeting with the presidential candidate that was highly politicised. We are, however, aware of the ripples in the public domain about this matter. I am speaking officially to clarify that PFN has nothing to do with that,” he stated.

Continuing, Bakare said: “The PFN is an arm of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the position of the fellowship on the same faith presidential ticket of the APC has not changed. I am speaking to you officially and authoritatively that the ranks of the Christian community and of course, the PFN, which I represent, is not broken at all.

“The Pentecostal Bishops’ Forum of Northern Nigeria is not known to the PFN. The forum does not have any affiliation or relationship with the PFN that is registered with the government of this nation. The position of the PFN on same faith ticket still stands as it was in the beginning and we have not, for any reason, shifted our position on that matter.

“I looked at the photos and the names. I could recognise about two who are our members, but they speak for themselves. All Pentecostal leaders in Nigeria, from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Living Faith, Mountain of Fire, House on the Rock, among others, speak with one voice.

“Finally, I wish to let you know that there is nothing in PFN that is regionally based like Southern or Northern Pentecostal Bishops. As a matter of fact, the PFN does not have any settings for Bishops. What we have is PFN, we do not separate Bishops of Pentecostal from other clergies of Pentecostal. PFN is just one body under which all Bishops, Pastors and members are lined up behind Bishop Francis Wale Oke, the President. We stand by our decision, we have not and will not bend to the dictate of any political group.”

Meanwhile, more dispirited reactions are trailing the publication of the APC Presidential Campaign Council released at the weekend. Former aspirants of the ruling party under the auspices of APC360 have urged Tinubu to ensure that all aggrieved members of the party are genuinely reconciled.

According to them, this should start from proper inclusion of the party’s former aspirants in the party’s Presidential Campaign Council.

National Secretary of the group, Chris Enoch, in a statement yesterday, warned that any ‘window dressing’ reconciliation would be counterproductive.

He advised the APC not to ignore such stakeholders of the party, but put efforts in place to ensure that their strength is galvanised to bolster the party’s chances at the polls.

Enoch observed that there are still frayed nerves arising from the 2015, 2018 and 2022 primaries of the party, adding that APC needs the aggrieved members to ensure a successful outing for the party at the presidential, governorship, senatorial, Representatives and Assemblies election.

According to Enoch, in 2018 and 2022, its members spent an estimated N10.226 billion and N18.061 billion respectively on direct purchase of nomination and expression of interest forms alone.

It was also gathered that some APC governors, under the aegis of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), are displeased over failure to nominate their preferred candidates into the presidential campaign council.

On Saturday, Secretary to the APC campaign council, James Faleke, unveiled a list of 422 members, including many who are to work at the regional and state levels for Tinubu’s success in the presidential election in February.

Before then, sources said the party’s leadership had contacted the governors through the PGF secretariat to nominate individuals in their respective states to be members of the presidential campaign council, with the governors requested to nominate five persons each.

It was, however, gathered that the governors were stunned to see that Tinubu and the party ignored their nominations and replaced them with others from their states without consulting them.

“For instance, in a state in North Central, the governor submitted five names, none of them made the list of seven from the state and to make matters worse, all seven of them are from the same local government,” the source said.

Controversies had trailed the release of the party’s campaign council list. There were speculations that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo declined membership of the committee due to his opposition to his party’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.

But the APC campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, said it was President Muhammadu Buhari who advised that Osinbajo be exempted from the campaign council due to his important role in administering the country pending the handover of power.

Also, some Southeast chieftains of the party have lamented their exclusion from the presidential campaign council, saying their flag-bearer may be unwittingly pushing them to campaign for Labour Party (LP)’s candidate, Peter Obi, with their massive exclusion from the list.

Reacting to the exclusion of many prominent members of the party in the Southeast geopolitical zone, a chieftain who spoke on condition of anonymity argued that the few names that made the list and the inconsequential positions assigned to them are confirmation of lack of regard Tinubu has for the party’s members from the zone.

While commenting on the list, the party’s chieftain claimed that the former Lagos State governor has inadvertently facilitated what he described as the possibility of many of them secretly campaigning for the LP presidential candidate, expressing disappointment over Tinubu’s action.

“It is clear that Tinubu has no regard for the Igbo members of this party. Why did I say so? If you divide the composition of the 422-member council into the six geopolitical zones, it should be at least 60 persons each, but how many party members from the South East made the list?

“They are not up to 35 or at most 40 persons. Does that show respect? Again, he reduced the presidential aspirants of Igbo extraction that contested against him to mere observers with the kind of positions he gave to them,” he argued.
SPEAKING on insinuations in some quarters that the President may be working behind the scenes for the emergence of a Northerner as his successor in 2023, National Officer of Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), who doubles as the South-South woman leader, Lauretta Onochie, has dismissed such claims.

Speaking at an enlarged meeting of ward and local government coordinators of the organisation in Asaba at the weekend, Onochie said: “We all know that President Buhari will not be on the ballot in 2023 but he will be in the background. So, the essence of it is to let members know that PMB stands with Tinubu and all members of BSO also stand with Tinubu.

“PMB has no tribal or ethnic or religious bone in his body. He does not do religion, he is spiritual, he does not do tribalism, he is a very fair-minded person. People just think that if they say he is nepotistic, that he is rooting for the North, it will not stick because that is not who he is.

“PMB is a trusted man who follows due diligence and he respects those who have been working with him and have supported him,” she stated.

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2023: We’ll Reproduce Burnt PVCs, Attacks Can’t Stop Elections, INEC Assures



A former Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mike Igini says attacks on the offices of the electoral umpire are attacks on democracy but non-state actors can’t stop the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

He also said the electoral commission will reproduce all Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) burnt by hoodlums during attacks on its offices.

“I am very concerned about the attacks on INEC offices across the country particularly in the areas that have been identified,” Igini said on Channnels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Attacks on INEC offices have surged in recent times with at least three incidents recorded only in November. 65,699 uncollected PVCs were destroyed by hoodlums who attacked two of its offices in Ogun and Osun states while several PVCs and other electoral items were also burnt during an attack in Ebonyi State.

However, Igini said INEC has the information of all PVCs at state and national offices and it won’t take it days to reproduce them.

“INEC has the capacity to respond to these challenges, particular in respect to the PVCs that have been burnt. INEC has the number of all the PVCs…It is a matter of days, INEC will produce those PVCs,” he said.

He urged Nigerians not to be discouraged but to ensure they get their PVCs and exercise their franchise in the next general election.

The former REC also decried the inability of security agencies to bring perpetrators of violent attacks on INEC offices to book.

“Why should extra-constitutional actors, why should non-legitimise actors continue to attack INEC. It is an attack on democracy. My pain is that we have not been able to track anybody.

“It is a big challenge to all security agencies in this country that for these years, we have been unable to track those who attack our democracy.

“Look at what happened in the US, all those who attacked the Capitol Hill have been brought to book everyday but here we are in a state of anomie,” Igini stated.

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‘APC Made Nigeria, The Poverty Capital Of The World’, Charly Boy Fumes



Nigerian entertainer, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy or Area Fada, has accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, of paying people to attend the party’s campaign rallies.

The popular activist shared a video which captured a man in a vehicle giving out N1,000 each to those on board who were wearing APC caps and T-shirts on his Twitter handle.

He also accused the ruling party of crippling the nation’s economy, saying APC made Nigeria the “Poverty Capital of the World”.

He wrote, “APC paying money to rent crowd for their rallies. What a shame. They first made the country the Poverty Capital of the World, and now they’re shamelessly renting crowds for their rallies openly.

“Anyways, collect your money but wake up
You should use your power to serve the people, not Oppress them!! Free Aminu!!!”

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Femi Kuti Frowns At Tinubu, APC Over Unauthorised Use Of Fela Song For Campaign



The family of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti frowned at the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate Bola Tinubu for the use of the late artiste’s song for the 2023 election campaign.

Femi Kuti in a “disclaimer and notice of use without consent” for the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti family said the use of Fela’s popular song “Eko Ile” during one of its campaign activities for their 2023 presidential campaign was unauthorised.

The Kuti family said it wished to continue to be politically neutral.

“We the administrators of the estate of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti issue this disclaimer. We wish to state here for clarity, that the permission of the estate was not sought for the use of Fela’s music, Eko Ile, in the All Progressives Congress social media campaign currently making the rounds,” Fela Anikulapo-Kuti family said.

“We do not involve Fela’s music in any political campaign at home or abroad and choose to remain neutral.

“While we wish all candidates the best, we demand that the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are abided by and intellectual property rights are duly respected. Signed the estate of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”

Tinubu and the members of the APC presidential campaign council held a rally last Saturday at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State.

Fela’s popular song “Eko Ile” was used in a video recap of the rally by Tinubu on Twitter.

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