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Middle Belt leaders adopt Olawepo-Hashim

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People’s Trust (PT) presidential candidate Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim yesterday move closer to achieving his aspiration with the Middle Belt Forum adopting him as its candidate for the February 16 election. Leaders of the forum, at a meeting in Abuja yesterday, ratified the choice of Olawepo-Hashim, capping a process that started some six months earlier.

The forum’s leader, former Plateau State Military Governor Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (retd), who announced the news to a gathering of its elders in Abuja, said the choice of Olawepo-Hashim has been ratified by the forum.

The forum has a presence in 12 of 19 Northern states, its leaders said.

The leaders added that the new development could alter the calculations ahead of the 2019 election.

According to him, the journey for the ratification of a common Middle Belt candidate started, when the Southern leaders asked the Middle Belt to produce a common candidate that would be supported for the Presidency by the Southern and Middle Belt Forum.

He said the forum identified many aspirants from the Middle Belt and later shortlisted three of them, who met with the leaders at the home of former Kwara State Governor Chief Cornelius Adebayo in Lagos.

Suleiman said the forum had assured the three shortlisted candidates that a final choice would be made and that all of them must be ready to work together.

He also stated that the Middle Belt would continue to network with Southern leaders on the adoption of the common candidate.

“What we are doing here today is to tell you that the Middle Belt has completed the exercise and we have settled for a candidate and that candidate is you (Olawepo-Hashim),” the retired Air Force officer and former Chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) said.

Air Commodore Suleiman then asked Olawepo-Hashim, who was in attendance to respond.

Olawepo-Hashim, who expressed gratitude to leaders and members of the Middle Belt Forum for the adoption, said he was a candidate with the capacity to unite Nigeria and bring prosperity to the land.

He said his adoption was not just because he hailed from the Middle Belt, but more of a recognition of his capacity to keep the country safe and united, a role, he said the Middle Belt has always played.

He said the Middle Belt has remained the mainstay of Nigerian unity, adding that Middle Belters fought in the front lines as soldiers, policemen and forces that keep the country united.

Olawepo-Hashim said: “That Nigeria is still standing as one today is due to the sacrifices of all of you. Most of you were not just soldiers in the mouth, you also led in the battlefield to keep Nigeria one. The forces that fought either as Air Force officers or as combatant soldiers and Police officers are all from Middle belt.

“Today, the country is facing an existential threat. Eleven out of 19 Northern states are today ravaged by cross border banditry and all manners of criminality. The South is threatened by kidnappers, armed robbers, you can hardly travel from Port Harcourt to Lagos on road without major incidents. So, the country is facing an existential threat.

“And it is not surprising to me that you have done what you are supposed to do as leaders. At this point in time, by agreeing to support somebody who can bring the country together. I am sure you have done this not just because I am a Middle Belter, but because you believe that we are able to keep the job done. And this job is to keep Nigeria one, secure the country. Secondly, bring prosperity to the land and three guarantees all round socio-development that would bring our people quickly out of poverty.

“The next election is not just about choosing a President, it is a battle for the soul of Nigeria.”

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Politics

There is no reason to dump PDP – Jimi Agbaje

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate in Lagos state, Jimi Agbaje, has debunked reports that he has left the party.

Jimi Agbaje

According to the three-time governorhip candidate of the party, no one can force him to leave PDP.

His position was made known in a statement by Felix Oboagwina, his Director of Media and Publicity.

“I have never discussed with anyone any plan to dump PDP, neither has such a prospect crossed my mind…“There is no reason for it. It is uncalled for,” he said.

According to Agbaje, rumour mongers who want to tarnish his reputation, are responsible for the claims. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t leave the party, despite his disagreement with some party leaders.

“For a party that has twice accorded me the honour of running on its platform, I should be regarded as uncharitable to say I am abandoning PDP now,” he added.

“Suffice to say that Chief Layi Ogunbambi’s claim of being denied funds as Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council in Lagos State amounted to attempting to build something on nothing. For starters, the position he lays claim gives him no locus standi as no such formal position existed in the entire campaign structure of PDP in Lagos or any of the other 35 states.

On campaign funds disbursement, and allegations of pilfering funds, Agbaje said:

“I, as the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Lagos, was Chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign in Lagos. Mr. Leke Osikoya was the State Campaign Director. The national body recognised and related with us accordingly. The title of Director General was reserved for the national campaign council. If there was an Atiku/Obi Presidential Campaign it would have, at best, been a Support Group.

“Dr. Ogunbanmbi also went to the extent of stating his contributions financially and policy wise to my campaign. This is news to me. May be he should tell the world his financial contributions to my campaigns. There is no time I have ever sat with Dr. Ogunbanmbi to discuss policy issues.”

“I was not given one kobo by the party or the PDP Presidential Candidate for the gubernatorial elections. We ran our campaign from beginning to end on a shoe-string budget. You cannot steal or divert what is not given.”

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Presidential Election: Atiku vows to reclaim mandate

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The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has vowed to reclaim his stolen mandate.

 

Atiku had approached the Electoral Tribunal, claiming he won the Presidential Election.

The PDP Presidential candidate, who spoke in Abuja during a visit to the leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt regions, said the struggle to reclaim the mandate would be achievable with support of the elders.

He was optimistic that justice will be done eventually.

He thanked the various leaders for their support before, during and after the election.

Meanwhile, the South-Sourh leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has assured Atiku of the support of the group in the struggle to reclaim his mandate.

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Gbenga Daniel resigns from politics, says he will “take on some new challenges”

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A former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party.

Daniel, in his letter to the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, dated March 14, 2019, also announced his resignation from partisan politics.

He said the decision to quit partisan politics was personal to him.

Daniel was the Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organization before the former Vice President emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP in the election conducted a few weeks ago.

“This is to inform you of my intention to resign from active and partisan politics with effect from today, the 14th day of March, 2019.

“My decision in this regard is entirely personal to me and having served in various capacities, including as Governor of Ogun State, I have resolved to immerse myself in some other vocations and take on some new challenges,” he said in the letter.

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Obasanjo urges people of Oyo state to support Makinde

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the people of Oyo State to cooperate with Mr Seyi Makinde, the governor elect of the state.

Olusegun Obasanjo

A statement issued by Obasanjo’s Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, said that the former president made the call when the Oyo State governor-elect visited him in Abeokuta on Thursday.

According to Obasanjo, the love and votes of the people of Oyo State have ensured the emergence of Makinde, adding that their continued support was necessary to make him succeed as a governor.

“He cannot do it alone and since you have supported him before and during the elections, you need to continue to be together to make him successful,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying in the statement.

He urged Makinde to jettison the type of democracy that only targeted or benefited selfish interests of selected few.

“You have a onerous task ahead in improving the status of the capital of the old Western Region and you have to work to unite them all.

“You need to shun corruption, be transparent and embark on developmental projects which would be a delight to the people of Oyo State.

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