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“You’re not my leader,” Prof Sulaiman tells Saraki, as Congress produces parallel excos in 16 LGAs

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The friction within the ranks of the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara state may not simmer down for now, with the reaction of a party chieftain, the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies , NILDS, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, who debunked Saraki’s leadership status.

Sulaiman, in reaction to a media which ascribed his current position to Saraki’s patronage, allegedly debunked the claims, asserting that he knows those who qualifies as a benefactor, rather than the former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

This frightening development is coming after the local government congress and ahead of the state congress of the party.

Recalled that, the crisis rocking Kwara State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), further deepened, as two factional ward executives across the 193 wards emerged from two parallel congresses, held in different locations in Kwara state, recently.

However, the Local Government Area congress held exposed the schizm in the party, with the emergence of parallel executives in sixteen local government areas.

Prominent among the causes of this division, is the power play between the former President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and a former Minister and current Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman.

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2023: Saraki eyes Senate in Kwara as Presidential bid suffers setback

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The presidential ambition of the former President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has suffered a serious setback with the endorsement of another former President of the Senate, Iyorchia Ayu as the national Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

Ayu’s emergence followed hours of continuous meetings by PDP stakeholders of Northern extraction in Abuja.

With consensus endorsement of Ayu as the national Chairman from the North Central zone, ahead of its October 31 national elective convention, possibility of Saraki emergency as the party’s presidential candidate is hopeless.

Investigations revealed that prominent political actors in the PDP have schemed Saraki out of recognition in view of the presidential contest given his perceived unpopular status in his home state, Kwara, where he has lost hold of the political space.

According to a reliable source, Saraki has settled for the return to the Senate from his home state. If he returns he will be eyeing the Senate President seat again as part of a gentle man agreement to solidify the party.

Moments before the commencement of a caucus meeting at the Benue State Governors Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, Saraki’s closest political ally, Abubakar Baraje, issued a statement rejecting the zoning of the position to the north central.

In the statement titled, “We Want North Central to Produce President, not Party Chairman,” Baraje who was a one time acting National Chairman of the party, said irrespective of which zone in the north produces chairman, qualified persons from the north central will contest the presidency come 2023.

The former PDP chairman accused party leaders outside of the north central of trying to foist the chairmanship position on the zone for reasons best known to them.

He noted that the people of the zone would aspire to produce the next President of Nigeria and that it has produced five national chairmen already for the party while there is a zone in the North that is yet to produce a substantive national chairman.

“We have noted that some leaders outside the North Central zone are scheming and exerting a lot of energy to push the national chairmanship position to the North Central Zone to ensure that the post is not in their zone. If the chairman eventually comes from the North Central Zone, it is just an extra for us. Presidential aspirants from the zones will still vie for the post.

“Let it be noted that it is our position in the North Central zone that we stand by the earlier announcement by the party leadership that the presidential ticket will be free for all qualified aspirants to seek. We believe the party should respect its publicly declared position.

“It is not in the interest of the party for leaders to impose their will on the people. Leaders must consult widely and ensure that their decisions reflect the will and aspiration of the people on any issue.

“The issue of how we source the leadership of our party and who flies the flag of the party in the general election should reflect the wishes and aspirations of the people. Leaders must act in the best interest of the party and the nation. Anything short of that is courting needless crisis,” the statement said.

However, the caucuses of the party in the three geopolitical zones in the North had on Wednesday produced three zonal consensus candidates – Ayu (North Central), Ibrahim Shema (North West) and Suleiman Nazif (North East).

But at an enlarged meeting of the Northern caucus held at the Bauchi Lodge in Abuja, yesterday, Ayu was picked as the consensus candidate of the region a decision the Saraki camp sees as a plot to scheme the former Senate President out of the presidential race.

Announcing the emergence of Ayu, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State said the stakeholders were united on the consensus candidate to win the 2023 general elections.

“There is no vanquished, there is no victor in this meeting. We all came out united,” he said.

In his remarks, Ayu assured stakeholders that he would run a purposeful party.
He called on the party leaders to join him to reposition the PDP with a view to ensuring that it bounces back stronger and takes over the Presidential Villa in 2023.

He said that under his leadership, no one could use money to buy his conscience and no single man would own PDP.

Another source in the party said Ayu emerged based on a gentleman agreement that his selection won’t preclude anybody from the zone from contesting the presidency. Whoever loses out of the contest also has an offer of either Senate ticket or a political appointment that will be discussed with the eventual Presidential candidate in a bid to neutralize bad blood.

The source also said it was after the agreement was reached that Ayu’s endorsement for the chairmanship position was sealed. He is from Benue state in the north-central of the country.

Contenders for the presidential ticket of the party from the North include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Waziri Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, former Senate president Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido.

According to the report, with the northern region on the verge of producing the PDP’s national chairman, political analysts speculate that the party may zone its presidential ticket to the south not without Atiku Abubakar giving a fight.

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Breaking: Anambra Deputy Governor Dumps APGA for APC  

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The political configuration of the South East states in Nigeria is attaining an interesting dimension with the defection of prominent political actors in the south east ahead of the 2023 elections.

The latest in the series of defection is the defection of the Deputy Governor of Anambra state, Dr. Nkem Okeke from the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA), to the All Progressives Congress, (APC).

Dr. Nkem Okeke, an experienced politician who has been the Deputy Governor of Anambra State since 17 March 2014, first served as Anambra State Commissioner for Economic Planning, and later as Anambra State Commissioner for Works and Transport in the administration of Governor Peter Obi and later went back to immerse himself in academia as lecturer and head of department of economics at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Born into the family of R.N. Okeke, in Enugwu-Ukwu, Okeke holds a Ph.D in Monetary economics. He attended Dennis Memorial Grammar School Onitsha and went abroad to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he got his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and Howard University where he got his MBA and Ph.D respectively. He was until recently Head of Department of Economics Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Nkem is married with five children.

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Kwara Is On The Path Of Progress

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By Bashir Adigun

It’s been two years of glory, two years of steady progress and a clear departure from the inglorious past.

The Administration of Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq assumed office at a time the people of the state were in despair. It was a time when civil servants in both state and local governments were owed salaries for several months.

Some civil servants became beggers on the streets and motor parks because they were not credit worthy in the markets and grocery stores.

Some women, badly affected in the service, did the unthinkable for survival while some men became commercial Motor cyclists and farm labourers.

The three Colleges of Education were not spared. Workers were owed up to Fifteen months salaries and they went on protracted strikes, bringing shame to a state that was once a pride of the nation.

The Universal Basic Education Commission blacklisted Kwara because the State did not pay its counterpart fund.

Public Schools- primary and secondary- were eyesore. They were dilapidated as a result of lack of maintenance by the past administrations.

Development Partners! Unicef, WHO, Global fund and others left the state because the state government failed to fulfil its obligation. It was a time Kwara was rated as one of the worst hit by poliomyelitis.

The Nigeria Airforce and Navy revoked their MOU with the Kwara Aviation College on training of their personnel because the government failed to honour the agreement.

Roads in the state capital, major towns and rural communities were left unattended.

All these mismanagement and neglect were going on at a time most states received bail out and when there were huge federal allocations. it was at the time a barrel of crude oil was selling above $100 in the international market.

Our exemplary Governor, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq, came to office and took the bull by the horns. Salaries of civil servants in both state and local governments were cleared.

All the salaries of workers in the three Colleges of Education were paid.

The administration has paid about N16Billion in Pensions and N3Billion in Gratuities for civil service retirees.
The process of injecting fresh blood into the civil service is also on going.

The Governor, on assumption of office, also paid the UBEC counterpart fund and the state government has been able to draw about N7 Billion from UBEC for the resuscitation of the collapsed education sector. And this has reflected in the massive renovation of schools and recruitment of over 4,000 teachers in the state.

The development Partners in the health sector are also returning, having realized that there is a new dawn in the state.

At the moment, Kwara state can be described as a construction site going by the numbers of road constructions and repairs going on across the state.

The Governor was also concerned with standard of living of residents in the state especially the aged and the teeming unemployed youths. He introduced the Kwara State Social Investments programmes KWASIP, Kwapreneur and Kwarafarm, thus replicating Federal Government programs with deeper state impact and flavour.

He has also been a champion of gender affirmative action, thus setting a record of the largest number of female appointees into the executive cabinet of sub nationals .

The Governor also has big plans for youths with the on-going construction of an Info Tech Innovation Hub and Visual Arts Center ;Coupled with the continuous Information Technology training sessions for Kwara youths , these initiatives will enhance the capacity of Kwara youths to secure jobs placements in the highly
competitive markets within and outside the country.

Infrastructure wise, there are many road constructions in every local government in the state. This will no doubt stem rural-urban migration and open up the state for Investments whilst giving farmers easy access to markets .

Already, BUA has taken advantage of ease of doing business in the state and is working at a frenetic pace to deliver on its multi-million dollar Sugar complex ethanol plants in Lafiaji, Edu local Government Area of the state. We anticipate the employment of thousands of Kwara youths through this massive investment.

The relative peace and security in Kwara coupled with the determination to ensure the ease of doing business is already yielding results through the enhanced internal revenue results recently recorded. The anticipated doubling of the number of airlines and frequency to Ilorin within a fortnight today is evidence of the impact of the new Administration.

There’s no doubt that Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq has put Kwara on a strong footing by rebuilding the basic foundations of a modern Kwara . He refuses to be distracted by politics and focuses primarily on governance in his determination to restore the lost glory of the state.

Alhaji Bashir Adigun is the Special Adviser on Political Communication to the Kwara State Governor

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