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.
“I Am Getting Better And I Feel Better” Jayboogie Gives Update On Health Post BBL surgery
Popular Nigerian personality Jayboogie has recently addressed the serious accusations of scamming Nigerians.
These allegations centered around Jayboogie’s health issues and the supposed need for a kidney transplant following complications from a BBL surgery.
In a candid statement on social media, Jayboogie set the record straight. He explained that he never claimed he needed a kidney transplant. The rumors, he says, were not started by him. His real ordeal began with an injury to his kidney, which was a consequence of the BVL surgery. To lend credence to his story, he shared images of himself both in the surgical room and during his painful recovery.
Jayboogie recounted the harrowing experience of not being able to urinate for 12 hours post-surgery, which led to panic and an urgent referral to Lagoon Hospital on October 31, 2023. Despite undergoing a plasma exchange in an attempt to resolve the issue, his condition did not improve.
The situation was further aggravated by intense media scrutiny, prompting Zenith Hospital, where he was admitted, to discharge him and advise dialysis from home. Jayboogie highlighted the mental toll the controversy and public backlash took on him, including receiving death threats. This led him to take a break from social media and limit communication for his mental health, supported by his family’s decision to ensure his privacy.
In his statement, Jayboogie categorically denied allegations of scamming the public. He affirmed that he did suffer from sepsis and acute kidney injury, which necessitated a period of dialysis. However, he joyfully shared that as of November 28, he was discharged and is currently recuperating. He is still under medication but is optimistic about his recovery.
Jayboogie concluded his statement by expressing his sincere gratitude to everyone who supported him financially and emotionally during this difficult time. His response to these allegations sheds light on the complexities faced by public figures when their personal struggles become intertwined with public perception and misinformation.
‘Waste Of Resources Amid Hardship’, Peter Obi Faults Number Of Nigerian Delegates At COP28
The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, on Sunday, faulted the number of Nigeria’s delegation at the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
President Bola Tinubu had on November 29, 2023 departed Abuja for Dubai for the summit expected to end December 12, 2023.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the ex-governor of Anambra State, described sending over 1,000 persons to the summit as a waste of scarce resources by the Tinubu administration.
Obi lamented the “huge contingent” in Dubai at public expense at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs.
“Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totaled 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents. While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria’s budget is about $33 billion, about $165 per head,” Obi said.
“Nigeria has more people living in ‘Multi-Dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times our population.”
Obi said majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non-relevant civil servants or relations of high government officials.
“This huge contingent is out at public expense at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship.
“As we have kept emphasizing, we must stop waste as a a tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.
“We need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour. We need to tie spending to necessity and national Priority. A New Nigeria is possible. We only need to do the reasonable and the necessary.”
Meanwhile, a presidential aide, Temitope Ajayi, in a comment on Sunday, defended the delegation of the President to the summit, saying that “President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business not jamboree”.
COP28 Delegates: Analyst Doubts FG’s ‘Compassion’ For Suffering Masses
A Professor of Political Science, Jideofor Adibe, has knocked the Federal Government over its “bloated” number of delegates at the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Adibe, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said, with about 1,000 delegates sponsored by the government to the two-week summit, the compassion of the President Bola Tinubu administration to the hardship faced by Nigerians was doubtful.
The President had on November 29, 2023 departed Abuja for Dubai for the summit expected to end on December 12, 2023.
Controversy has since surrounded the number of Nigerian delegates at the summit which ranked that of China, with many Nigerians on social media berating the government for being “insensitive” to their economic sufferings occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy mid-2023.
Adibe lamented that with the harsh economy, the Tinubu administration should lead by example and cut cost of governance.
He said, “Amid the binge on loans and borrowings, and the increasing hardship and increasing emigration of Nigerians, these things happening, is not just that it raises the question about fidelity to cutting down the cost of governance, but also the question of whether there is even compassion for suffering Nigerians because if there is compassion for what is going on in the country at the moment, people (government officials) should also be sensitive to the optics about the whole thing.”
The analyst said not just costs of flights of the officials in Dubai were funded by the government but their “Estacodes of about $900” daily and hotel costs for about two weeks of the summit.
The professor said the size of the President’s delegation should be on specific roles and it should not be more than three ministers.
He urged the President to set the tone that his administration abhors waste by sanctioning officials responsible for the large delegation in Dubai.
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