Connect with us


THEPLEDGE BIG STORY: 2023: As Nigerians Await The G5 Choice, What Are The Likely Implications?



By Augustine Akhilomen

As the G5 Governors move to make their final decision on which of the presidential candidates to support in the 2023 presidential election, speculations are rife that they are divided between the All Progressive Party (APC), candidate, Asiwau Bola Tinubu and the Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

The G5 Governors led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

The governors had travelled out of the country to London on Monday for what is considered a “strategic meeting” ahead of their plans to unveil who the group will back in the February presidential election.

While in London, the Integrity Group as they are also called, with enlarged members like Chief Olabode George, Former Plateau Governors, Jonah Jang, Ayodele Fasoye, Donald Duke, amongst others, met briefly with the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

Although details of the meeting were not disclosed, there are however indications that the former Lagos Governor and the former Anambra State Governor have become the two major spotlights for the Wike-led G5 governors.

It would be recalled that Obi with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, and four of the G5 governors met in London last August and the major issue on the table was who the G5 should support.

The aggrieved governors have been working against their party for months since Wike failed to clinch the PDP presidential ticket and also failure to be the vice presidential running mate to Atiku Abubakar. They have been insisting that Iyorcha Ayu, the national chairman of their party must quit for a Southerner to take his place, arguing that it was the irreducible minimum for peace to reign in the party.

Wike had specifically boasted that Atiku would not win the election if he and his allies did not support his presidential ambition. Top on the agenda for their meeting in London was therefore who they would support for president in the 2023 election.

Last week, Wike said he would reveal the presidential candidate to mobilise votes for in the forthcoming 2023 general elections in January.

Even so, many have urged the party to move against Wike and his group by expelling them for anti-party activities, but the party has refrained from taking such actions. But observers are of the view that the more the party tolerated the excesses of the governors, the more emboldened they became. Wike in particular has been boastful about his capacity to do damage to the party. Just recently, he shut down Atiku’s campaign office in Port Harcourt, a move which further highlights his readiness to fight dirty.

Thepledge learnt that measures have been considered by the leadership of the main opposition party to dissolve the party structures in the respective states of the G-5 governors, and establish caretaker committees to run the affairs of the party in the five states.

It was gathered that taking such action would also affect the political ambition of Makinde, who is seeking re-election as governor as well as Okezie, Ortom and Ikpeazu, who are all contesting for the Senatorial seats in their respective states.

Reacting to the development, Atiku on Thursday said he is not perturbed by the plans of the five aggrieved governors of the party, identified as the G-5, to endorse presidential candidates of other political parties.

Atiku in a statement released through his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said anybody planning to stop his presidential bid should first make himself president.

He said, “Atiku will be president. Whether the cock crows or not, the sun must rise. Power belongs to God Almighty; no man can arrogate to himself the powers of God Almighty. Any man who can boast of stopping Atiku should first make himself president of Nigeria.”

“Atiku is an elephant. Even when an elephant walks on thorns, it does not limp. And when you have seen a snake, it cannot bite you anymore. In this case, we have seen the snake, how can we be taken by surprise?”

Meanwhile, President of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria (CRCN), Sen. Shehu Sani, has urged the G5 governors to sheathe their swords and support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, to win the 2023 election.

Sani said: “The G5 governors should sheath their swords and support Atiku Abubakar. Better the devil they know than the devil they don’t. Wherever they go, they are going to be strangers, and whoever wins other than Atiku would not take them as priority over the people who are already there.

“Politicians don’t respect accord. One thing the G5 governors should know is that if any candidate, other than the one from their party, wins the presidency, it is impossible for their candidates in the Senate, House of Representatives, Houses of Assembly and even governorship to win elections.”

“Once they endorse a candidate, the room for reconciliation has already closed. Another thing is that they can never be sure that the people of their states would vote for the candidate recommended outside their party, based on the fact that, apart from Makinde, they are all outgoing.

“What they should also know is that it is not about the presidential candidate of APC, Bola Tinubu; but people who surround Tinubu. Do they think that the Northern governors (who stepped down for him) would allow Tinubu to make them, G5 governors, a priority?”

Also speaking on the matter, a member of the PDP Campaign Council, who does not want to be mentioned, said the G5 can even travel to the moons to take whatever decision they want to take, insisting that their decision won’t change anything.

“Well, whatever they announce now is not new to Nigerians. Nigerians already know their decisions. You will be surprised only if you have not been following the political development since after the presidential primary. They can go anywhere.

“They can travel to the moon to make their worthless decisions. Nigerians have decided that Atiku is their next President and you think Wike, Ortom and others can change that? They may be governors but are they bigger than the electorate? Let them hold their meetings after which Nigerians will decide.

Also reacting to the threat posed by the renegade governors, the PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba said the party would apply relevant provisions of its constitution when the need arose.

He said all PDP members, including the aggrieved governors, are aware of this. “The PDP is a party of constitution, rules and procedures. We don’t react to speculations. In making decisions, we look at our party constitution in relation to issues. Whatever happens, it is the constitution that will guide the action we will take.

“These governors are conversant with the PDP constitution having sworn to uphold it. If they take that action (endorse a rival presidential candidate), we will take a decision in line with the provisions of the constitution.

“They have contributed to the success of the party and they have also benefited immensely from the party. They should know that the provisions of the constitution are applicable to every member of the party.

“Reconciliation is not a 100m dash but a marathon. We hope they will realize this and embrace the party for good,” Ologunagba added.

The Director of Strategic Communications, National Election Management Committee of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Dele Momodu, also chipped in his opinion. He said there was nothing new in the governors’ threat to endorse a presidential candidate of their choice.

He, however, urged the Wike-led group to make good its promise to enable the election management committee to react appropriately.

“There is nothing new in this speculation. The party has done its best to resolve these issues all to no avail. So, what I can say now is that they should make their position official.

“We can’t continue like this. They have been issuing this threat since Governor Wike lost the primary election to Atiku Abubakar. As a party, we did our best to reconcile and forge a way forward. Atiku embraced the peace option but you can’t say the same of the other group.

“Talk of Iyorchia Ayu, the chairman of the party, is an old story. Nobody is listening anymore. We are preparing for a major election and we are confident of victory. The PDP is too big to be distracted.

“We can’t respond to ‘ifs’. They should come up with their position on who they are supporting and then, we can address the issue. Let us wait for them and see what they come up with,” Momodu said.

The media adviser to the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Ike Abonyi, while also speaking on the issue, however, noted that “the endorsement remains in the realm of speculations.”

Abonyi noted that the governors were weighing all options, adding that they will go for whoever is ready to protect their interest.

“They are weighing all options and making demands from everyone that they are romancing with. So, if they do not want to support Atiku Abubakar, as they have vowed not to, the only option available will be Peter Obi.

For sure, there are interesting times ahead before the all- important election in February. Nigerians are fervently watching to see who the G5 will support, but whoever they decide to support will change the dynamics of a race that is becoming increasingly unpredictable. The PDP is likely to wield the big stick against them and that will affect both the party and the G5 in the affected states.

It will surely not be a zero-sum game by the PDP and the G5 governors are also going to bear the brunt of a desperate Atiku Abubakar, who will want to be ruthless in dealing with the renegades. Whoever is the beneficiary, between Tinubu and Obi, will be at an advantage against the PDP weeks before the election. But will it be a joker card? Only time will tell.

 36,004 total views,  3 views today


Tinubu: ‘Big Lie, I Can’t Endorse Feb 25 Illegitimate Outcome Of Flawed Process, Atiku Clears Air



Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar has denied endorsing Bola Tinubu’s victory.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential flagbearer defeated Atiku and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.

In a statement on Saturday, Atiku said his attention was drawn to a fake press release attributed to him, “purportedly giving legitimacy to the widely rigged presidential election”.

Atiku stressed that it did not emanate from him and should be treated with repudiation because it was contrived “by those who illegally appropriated the mandate of the people”.

The former Vice President said his lawyers still have been mandated to challenge the outcome of the February 25 poll.

Atiku reiterated his outright rejection of the “pre-determined outcome of the February 25 election” and vowed to continue to challenge the legality.

Calling it the “worst election in our democratic history”, the Wazirin Adamawa said his fight was not for personal interest but for the interest of Nigeria and its citizens.

“It is aimed at deepening democracy and ensuring that we do not confer legitimacy to an outcome of illegitimacy,” the statement added

 1,152 total views,  1,152 views today

Continue Reading


INEC To Issue Certificates Of Return To Governors-Elect, Others From March 29



INEC has fixed Wednesday, March 29 to Friday March 31 as days for the issuance of Certificates of Return to governors, deputy governors-elect and states Houses of Assembly members-elect.

Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye made the declaration in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday.

“By the provisions of Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission is mandated to issue a certificate of return within 14 days to every candidate who has been returned elected under the law.

“Pursuant to the provision, the Commission has fixed Wednesday March 29, Thursday, March 30 and Friday, March 31 for the issuance of Certificates of Return to those elected on March 18.

“The presentation will take place in INEC offices in each state of the federation,’’ Okoye stated.

He added that specific dates for the issuance of the certificates would be communicated to those elected by the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries of the various states. (NAN).

 995 total views,  995 views today

Continue Reading


#ENDSARS: Sanwo-Olu Orders Payment Of N5m To Assaulted Uber Driver



The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has ordered the payment of N5 million compensation to an Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, who was assaulted by security operatives during an #ENDSARS anniversary rally in the state in October 2021.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had on March 14 ordered the state government and Nigeria Police Force to pay the sum while ruling on an application filed by the driver.

Clement was assaulted by police operatives and members of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency during a rally to mark the first anniversary of the #ENDSARS protest near the Lekki Toll Gate in the state.

The governor, who confirmed the development on his Twitter handle on Saturday, said he had directed the state’s Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) to set up a meeting with the driver and pay him the compensation awarded by the court.

He reaffirmed his commitment to the rule of law in the state.

Sanwo-Olu wrote: “Good evening Lagos, as governor, I’m committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting citizens’ rights with empathy and authority.

“I recently became aware of the case involving Mr. Clement Adedotun and the judgement by the Federal High Court, and I understand the impact this legal battle has had on him.

“After reviewing Mr. Clement’s case, I’ve directed the Honorable Attorney General to set up a meeting and pay him the compensation awarded by the court.”

The governor, who confirmed that the state government has appealed the ruling, said he ordered the payment of the compensation for the good of the society.

“Although the State Government has appealed the ruling, I’ve interceded in this instance in the interest of the public good and requested that the State’s Attorney General comply with the court’s ruling.

“As a strong advocate for the rule of law, I commend all parties for seeking justice through the appropriate channels, and I remain committed to upholding the rights of all Lagosians,” he added.

 3,765 total views,  1,627 views today

Continue Reading

Recent Posts