2023 senatorial ticket: Uncertainty in APC over Umahi, Lawan, Akpabio
Uncertainty has returned to the All Progressives Congress APC) over the 2023 senatorial bid of the president of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan; erstwhile Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, following the nullification by a court of the latter’s bid.
Nigerian Tribune noted at the weekend that the party appeared indifferent to the claim of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that APC has no valid candidate for Yobe North.
The incumbent Senate president has been embroiled in a tussle for the ticket with Bashir Machina, who was declared winner of the May 23 senatorial primary conducted in Gashua headquarter of Bale Local Government Area of the North-East state.
It was learnt that the INEC had last month declared that the seat was left vacant because the APC did not submit Machina as the validly nominated candidate.
it was also gathered that at the primary supervised by Alhaji Danjuma Isa, Machina scored a total vote of 289 out of 300 to emerge the APC candidate in the zone.
The Senate president, who bought the nomination form to contest the election, however, stayed away.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune in a telephone interview, APC national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, said he was in the dark about the fate of the party in Yobe North senatorial district.
He said: “I don’t have any update to give you. We have submitted the name of our candidate to INEC. That’s all I can tell you.”
Asked to offer the name of the candidate submitted to INEC, Morka who declined asked the Nigerian Tribune to check back during the week.
Investigation revealed that Machina had vowed not to surrender the ticket to President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, as he noted that the latter sought for the APC presidential ticket and lost out to former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu who emerged as the APC standard bearer.
He maintained that having failed to participate in the primary, Senator Lawan should not bother to show interest in the senatorial ticket.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Iginni had disclosed in a Channels TV monitored interview, Sunrise Daily that politicians who contested for more than one elective office risked jail term.
The ruling party had cleared the way for Umahi and Akpabio by cancelling the primaries held in the constituencies, while was expected to step aside for Lawan in Yobe State.
While the name of the younger brother of the Ebonyi governor, Austin Umahi was forwarded as APC choice for Ebonyi South, to INEC as winner of the primary, the ticket of the Akwa Ibom North West was conceded to Akpabio.
APC had rescheduled a primary for June 9, where Umahi emerged as the new candidate, just as Akpabio won by 478 votes out of 512 to clinch the ticket for his constituency.
In a judgment by the Abakaliki Division of the Federal High Court delivered on Friday, it struck out a suit by Governor Umahi seeking to be recognised as the candidate for Ebonyi South.
It declared that the APC erred in conducting a fresh primary without including the name of the runners-up in the first primary after the winner of the previous primary withdrew from the contest.
Justice Fatun Riman ruled that the commission was right in rejecting the governor’s name, stressing that the APC could not conduct a valid second primary without including the name of Mrs Ann Agom-Eze who came second in the first primary.
But the Special Assistant on Strategy to the governor, Mr Chuks Oko, accused the plaintiff of misleading the court on the facts of the case concerning the primary.
A source in the APC told the Nigerian Tribune that there was still suspense over the fate of Akpabio, as well as the gubernatorial slot of APC in Akwa Ibom State.
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The PDP spokesman recalled how the opposition party had on various occasions alerted that the APC government had ceded sovereignty over a large portion of our country to terrorists, “many of whom were imported into our country by the APC.”
He further stated: “From the video, in a brazen manner, terrorists as non-state actors boldly showed their faces, boasting, admitting and confirming their participation in the Kuje Prison break, some of whom were former prison inmates who were either jailed or awaiting trial for their previous terrorism act against our country.
“Nigerians can equally recall the confession by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the APC government knows the plans and whereabouts of the terrorists but failed to act.
According to Ologunagba, about 18,000 Nigerians have been killed by terrorists between 2020 and 2022 “as the criminals continue to be emboldened by the failures and obvious complicity of the APC and to which the PDP had always drawn attention.”
“This is not politics; this is about humanity and leadership, which leadership sadly and unfortunately is missing in our country at this time,” he said.
The PDP added that it is appalled by “the lame response by the apparently helpless, clueless and deflated Buhari Presidency, wherein it told an agonizing nation that President Buhari “has done all and even more than what was expected of him as Commander in Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military…”
“This is a direct admission of incapacity and failure by the Buhari Presidency and the APC. At such a time, in other climes, the President directly leads the charge and takes drastic measures to rescue and protect his citizens.
“In time of adversity, the President transmutes into Consoler-in-Chief to give hope and succour to the citizens. Painfully, Nigeria does not have a President who cares and can stand as Consoler-in-Chief to the citizens.
“It has now become very imperative for Nigerians to take note and realize that the only solution to this unfortunate situation is to hold the APC government accountable. We must come together as a people, irrespective of our political, ethnic and religious affiliations to resist the fascist-leaning tendencies of the APC administration.
Ologunagba called for an urgent meeting of the National Council of State to advise on the way to go over the nation’s worsening insecurity.
“Our nation must not fall. The resilient Nigerian spirit and ‘can-do- attitude’ must be rekindled by all to prevail on the President to immediately and without further delay, accede to the demand by the PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians to convene a special session of the National Council of State to find a lasting solution since the President has, in his own admission, come to his wit’s end,” the PDP spokesman declared.