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Obasanjo’s support for Atiku on shaky grounds – Arewa

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The Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF) has disclosed that Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo may withdraw his support for the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar before the 2019 elections.

Atiku Abubakar reconciles with Olusegun Obasanjo

Secretary-General of the forum, Anthony Sani said, “Former President Obasanjo is a factor in national politics having governed the country under both military and democracy.

“His commitment to one united Nigeria cannot be taken away from him, but whether such attributes can translate into electoral value is in doubt. More so that Obasanjo has been a product beyond himself”.

“When the late Murtala Muhammed was assassinated in 1976, the military hierarchy at that time asked Obasanjo to take over as Head of State.

“It was not his efforts that got him the position. Also in 1999, the retired Generals and Northern leaders went and brought him out and made him the president. These are not his personal efforts. So, Obasanjo is a product of forces beyond him.”

He pointed out that despite Obasanjo’s endorsement, the Atiku camp is not rejoicing yet because the former could change his mind at any moment.

“As to whether Nigerians will pander to the former president’s endorsement of the presidential candidate of the main opposition party is also in doubt, precisely because of his inconsistency that does not accommodate conviction and vision expected of a statesman of his status.

“Consider the former president tore his party card of PDP and wrote off both APC and PDP as unserviceable. He then formed a nonpartisan Coalition Movement which he later transmuted to a political party called ADC against his earlier ‘new year resolution’ not to be partisan.

“Former President Obasanjo said God would not forgive him if he endorsed his former VP for president, only for him to now leave his ADC and endorse Atiku.

“I believe not only Nigerians but even Atiku himself cannot bask in the glow of the endorsement by Obasanjo out of the fear that the manifest inconsistency can make him change his mind before the elections,” he said.

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APC wins Kwara,Katsina bye-elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared Alhaji Abubakar Kusada of the All Progressives Congress(APC) as the winner of the bye-election into the House of Representatives.

All Progressives Congress

The election was conducted in the Kankiya/Kusada/Ingawa Federal constituency in Katsina state on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kusada was the speaker of Katsina state House of Assembly before his election today.

Prof Adedayo Hamza, the returning officer who announced the result on Saturday in Kankiya said Kusada scored 48,518 votes to emerge a winner.

Alhaji Abdussamad Yusuf of PDP came second with 20,193 votes, while Nasiru Kankiya of the Peoples Redemption Party scored 1,810 votes as second runner-up.

Abdullahi Umar of the Yes Electorate Solidarity (YES) got 221 votes.

According to Hamza, the total number of registered voters in the constituency is 193,904, while the number of accredited voters was 74,242.

The number of valid votes cast was 70,742 and rejected votes 2,331. The total number of votes cast was 73,073.

Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner, advised political parties to intensify voter education and management of polling units.

He commended the political parties, security agencies, media and other stakeholders for the peaceful conduct of the bye-election.

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Buhari, Atiku to kickstart campaign today

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All is set for the 2019 presidential battle with President Muhammadu Buhari launching his campaign tagged “Next Level” today. He is beating the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the game.

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Presidential Candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar will on Monday unveiled his Policy Document.

Also, the President may by Monday announce members of the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Although the list of members of the Council was kept under wraps last night, our correspondent gathered that it may be chaired by the President who will be assisted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, co-chairman and governors as coordinators.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi retains his portfolio as the Director-General of the campaign.

This is coming as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will today lift the ban on the campaign for 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections slated for Feb. 16, 2019.

A statement by Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC Director Of Voter Education and Publicity, yesterday in Abuja said that political parties which fielded candidates for both elections would commence campaigns across the country.

President Buhari has adopted “Next Level” as the theme of his campaign in order to give Nigerians a peep of where he is taking the nation to in the next four years.

It was learnt that all APC governors have been invited to the launching of “Next Level” at the Presidential Villa by 4 pm today.

As at press time, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha was busy with logistics for the launch which is being coordinated by the Vice President.

A top source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “Next level is the theme of President Buhari’s campaign. It is about the next set of ideas and programmes we are taking the country to.

“The President will on Sunday reel out all his achievements; he will present his scorecard and manifestoes coded the “Next Level”.

“The launch of Next Level is to prepare the ground for a nationwide comprehensive campaign. We will surely take the battle to the PDP and other parties.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has been constituted with the President as the chairman, supported by Osinbajo, many co-chairmen, APC governors, the National Chairman of APC, ministers including Adamu Adamu (Education) and Hadi Sirika (Aviation) and other party leaders like Farouk Adamu.

“Hopefully by Monday, the list of the PCC members will be out. We have kept the list under wraps because we know PDP has been spying on us.

“Even the launch of Next Level has caught many unawares because we felt we should beat the opposition to its game.”

A source in the PCC of PDP said the party’s presidential candidate will on Monday unveil his Policy Document.

Although Atiku was in Yola last night, he was being expected in Abuja on Monday to present his manifestoes allegedly drafted by a 400-man team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about three weeks ago.

The source in PDP said: “The Policy Document is more of a farewell to disunity, poverty, unemployment, insecurity and underdevelopment in Nigeria.

“It contains practical and measurable solutions to all problems facing this country.”

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC will meet on Wednesday on the setting up of a reconciliation committee and work on campaign structure for victory in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A member of the NWC said: “We actually scheduled a meeting for Tuesday but due to the public holiday, we may meet on Wednesday.

“The NWC will use the session to raise a reconciliation committee on issues arising from the primaries and how to keep the party united for 2019 poll.

“We know there are some challenges but we will try as much as possible to appease the aggrieved in order to move forward.

“We are expected to consider proposals for campaign structure in a manner that APC will be in good stead for a resounding victory in all the 36 states and the FCT.”

The Next Level document obtained yesterday gave insights into Buhari’s new economic drive with employment as a major thrust.

Some of the highlights include the following:

*Engagement of 1m N-Power graduates

* Skill up 10 million Nigerians under a voucher system in partnership with the private sector

*Anchor Borrowers Scheme to support input and jobs to 1m farmers

*Livestock Transformation Plan to create 1.5million jobs

*Agriculture Mechanization Policy to create 5m jobs

*Provision of $500m innovation fund to tech and creative sector to create 500,000 jobs

*To train 200,000 youth for outsourcing market in technology, services and entertainment

The document said: “Soft loans of up to N1m to small traders, artisans (carpenters, tailors, mechanics, hairdressers, barbers, plumbers, vulcanisers etc) and commercial drivers (Taxis, Keke, and Motorcycles).

“Next level will take the current number of 2.3million traders, farmers, artisans under Trader Moni, Market Moni and Farmer Moni schemes to 10million Nigerians under the People Moni Scheme.

The President also pledged to raise power generation to 11,000 megawatts.

The document added: “A minimum of 1,000 MW new Generation Incremental Power capacity per annum on the grid to bring a total of a minimum of 11,000 MW.

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Governor who did not collect salary for eight years

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The outgoing Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday said that he did not earn salaries throughout the eight years of his administration.

Speaking during an interactive programme tagged ‘Ogbeni Till Day Break’, the governor who is handing over to his successor Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola on November 27, said since it was the state that was feeding him, fuelling his cars and provided him with accommodation, there was no need for him to be paid.

Aregbesola also said that he did not have bank accounts where money was kept in any part of the world.

He said, “I have not collected salaries since I became the governor of the state. The state feeds me, fuels my car and provided me with accommodation. With all these, I don’t need money. I have no money and bank account anywhere.

“I have no house except the one I built before I became the governor. Anyone can go out there to investigate if I have bank accounts.”

He said he would vacate the government house tomorrow adding that the decision to leave the government house earlier was to give his successor enough time to do necessary renovations.

When asked what his regrets were as a governor in the last eight years, he said he had no regrets.

He said, “If you give me another four years to rule again, I will still do what I did before and I will not do anything differently.”

On his next political plans after office, Aregbesola said he was going to rest for a while from politics.

“I have been in politics since my secondary school days. I have been an absentee husband for many years because of politics but for now, I want to be with my wife,” Aregbesola said.

On his achievements, the governor said he was happy that his social investment programmes supported and transformed the lives of the people in the state.

He also said that the infrastructure development his administration embarked upon would continue to be a reference point in the state, adding that all the roads he built would last for the next 50 years.

Aregbesola, however described his successor as a silent achiever and a goal-getter expected to build on his legacies.

He said “Oyetola is not radical like me but he is a silent achiever. He contributed immensely to the success of my administration and I know he will do well in office.”

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2019 Elections: Atiku is set to officially address Nigerians on Facebook on Monday

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Following the official commencement of presidential campaigns by November 18, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will kick-start his campaign with a special address to Nigeria.

Abubakar Atiku waving after emerging as PDP Presidential Candidate

This will be done on Facebook at 12 noon on Monday. This will also mark the launch his policy document.

In the address, the PDP flag bearer will present his vision for Nigeria and his action plan to achieve it as encapsulated in his policy document. The document will promptly be uploaded on his website (www.atiku.org) for all Nigerians to access at no cost, a statement by the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation revealed yesterday.

“The decision of Atiku Abubakar to kick-start his Presidential campaign with the launch of his policy document is to reiterate his commitment to run an issue based campaign.

“The intention is to take our policy directly to Nigerians and to register the belief of Atiku that it will take the collective efforts of every Nigerian to rebuild the country. That is why we want Nigerians to access the policy directly and ultimately take ownership of it.

“Our campaign offers a simple message: united, the people of Nigeria can begin anew, creating a prosperous and secure future and a better life for every Nigerian.

“On the first working day of the campaign, the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar will put forward his plan to get Nigeria working again.

“We have chosen to do this by having the PDP Presidential candidate speaking directly to the Nigerian people on Facebook. This medium came about as part of the telecommunications revolution that he helped start as Vice President in 1999-2007.

“We have also chosen to have our candidate speak online as it facilitates the ability for anyone to download a copy of his policy document at no cost, as we intend this to be the policy of every Nigerian,” the statesment read in part.

Atiku, the statement added, will focus on creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how we will empower women.

“Our policies outline the goals and methods for developing and revitalising Nigeria as the foundation of our campaign.

“This policy document is being launched to encourage a dialogue with the people of Nigeria, inviting everyone to join us in helping to get Nigeria working again.

“The PDP presidential candidate looks forward to conducting vital discussions as he travels across the length and breadth of Nigeria, meeting and talking with stakeholders: famers, small business people, workers, students, mothers, and children,” the statement continued.

While acknowledging the long route to victory, the campaign organization said it was confident of its chances nonetheless at the polls.

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