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Jega, Utomi, Abdulfatai, Duke, Others Form New Political Party

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections prominent Nigerians have established a third force, Rescue Nigeria Project, RNP, to give Nigerians alternative platform to the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Founders of RNP include former governor of Kwara state, Ahmed Abdulfatai, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke,

Senator Lee Maeba, Usman Bugaje, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Yomi Awoniyi, Dr. Rose Idi Danladi, Dr. Sadiq Gombe among others.

Delivering his keynote address, Abdulfatai lamented the state of the nation, noting that the high level of nepotism and lack of inclusiveness have given rise to agitations by different ethnic groups.

He recalled that in 2015, Nigerians embraced change, adding that today, “that change appears to be what we didn’t expect, as insecurity has taken over the nation.”

He said, “It is based on this that we decided to set up this Rescue Nigeria Project. We want to salvage this country and see how we can fix the mess. We want to set a template and key criteria leaders must have before they can attain any political position.

“Despite the great opportunities of the past, Nigeria has failed to live up to the dreams of its founding fathers and the hopes of successive generations of its citizens.

“Perhaps, at no other time have these failings become more apparent than in the past decade or so.

“In 2015, Nigerians overwhelmingly embraced the promise of change. These hopes have not only been dashed, but they have arguably turned out to be the worst political statements ever to  be made in this country. Nigeria today appears set to fulfill all the prophesies of doom.”

He further noted that “Unprecedented nepotism and political exclusion have left the country more divided than ever as evident in the various separatists agitation that are threatening the corporate existence of the country itself.”

Also speaking, Adeniran noted that there is disaster at hand, hence the move to rescue the nation.

He said: “You only rescue when there is disaster and when you fail to rescue during disaster, it is more dangerous.

“We have a disaster in our hands and we need to rescue the country. We need to look back and see how we get here. We know where Nigeria was before now. We know the task is not going to be easy, but we have to determine how to rescue the nation.”

In his opening remarks, the RNP national coordinator, Usman Bugaje, explained that the Rescue Nigeria Project was founded on the premise that the challenges bedeviling the country were largely derived from poor leadership.

Chiding the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government Bugaje said, “when you reduce the problems of this country to what they are, ultimately, it all comes to leadership.

“We have been unable to exit the leadership conundrum precisely because the leadership recruitment mechanism in our political parties is so flawed that, except for accidents, they are incapable of producing competent leaders with the requisite knowledge, discipline and commitment to make a difference. We are living with, or better still, groaning under the consequences of this folly.

“What this means is that any attempt to rescue this country from its troubles must first rescue it from the current leadership recruitment mechanism that seems to leverage on money and connection or ethnic sentiments and no premium on knowledge or competence.

“The challenge is how to introduce a set of criteria or better still re-calibrate the recruitment mechanism in our political parties to prioritize knowledge, competence and character. The deepening crises in the political parties is all the more reason this re-calibration is necessary.

“We must change the conversation about leadership. The first thing we should want to know about our President is not which part of country he or she comes from, rather how competent is he or she? What is the content of his policy document? What is his team made up of?

“We also seek to ensure a seismic shift from the politics of big men to the politics of big ideas. The empty politics of big men have not taken us anywhere but down the drain. We simply can’t continue this way.”

RNP’s vision  is “to reconcile and re-unite our country, win and deploy political power for the purpose of nation building and national development, achieving prosperity for all, and the protection of life and dignity of every Nigerian citizen.”

This is even as the mission is “to reconcile, re-unite, mobilize the nation to build a critical mass of citizens capable of driving real and effective transformation, to translate the mass movement into a strong power base within an inclusive and responsive political framework.”

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Dogara Group Endorses Atiku for President

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A splinter group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the north led by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has as adopted candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.

The group under the platform of the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum comprising christians and moslems, adopted the PDP’s candidate, in a voice vote, after the report of its technical committee was presented to its members at a public forum on Friday in Abuja.

The report signed by the chairman of the Northern Leaders Technical Criteria Committee, Hon. Mohammed Kumaila and Secretary, Nunghe Kele, SAN, was presented by former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba.

“After a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we hereby recommend for the adoption of the PDP, to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria, for the 2023 presidential election.

However, this should be subject to getting the necessary assurance from the party to run an all-inclusive government, details of which shall be discussed with the leadership of the party in the nearest future,” Achuba read.

The Northern Leaders Inter-Faith Consultative Dialogue had on October 8 in Abuja, set up a sub-committee mandated to draw up a criteria to serve as a guide to the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum, in its quest to adopt and support one of the leading political parties in the 2023 presidential elections.

“After careful consultations, research and brain-storming, the subcommittee came up with the following analysis of the criteria used to arrive at and recommended a Pan-Nigeria platform for the main Committee’s consideration, endorsement and adoption.

Amongst the criteria used in selecting their choice of endorsement include factors such as presidential experience; requisite track record in public service, business and education; evidence of national penetration; religious and ethnic balance.

Other criteria include; pan-Nigeria and tolerance, reasonable popularity, physical fitness for the rigours of state as well as the existing structures of the selected political parties and current candidates for 2023 according to INEC records.

According to the report, Atiku came tops from a 15 points criteria used in assessing the four leading political parties; APC, PDP, LP and NNPP.

Atiku, who scored all 15 points criteria was followed by the candidate of the NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who scored 10 points and APC’s Senator Bola Tinubu and LP’s Peter Obi, who had 9 points each.

Chairman of the Forum, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon, Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the adoption said the group decided to go for a pan Nigeria presidential candidate, following the adoption of a Moslem-Moslem ticket by the APC against massive protest.

According to Dogara, “what will destroy Nigeria is not ethnicity but religion”, stressing that those passing statement relating to hate must be stopped before they destroy the country.

Dogara further maintained that same faith ticket does not align with the vision of a united Nigeria because it does not promote a collective sense of belongingness.

The group noted that since the APC was adamant with its same faith ticket, the group had no other choice than to jettison the APC and look for a party and candidate who represents their desire and expectations for the 2023 general election.

They therefore, enjoined their members to go all out and campaign for the Atiku/Okowa presidential ticket.
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Improve Your Public Composure, Discipline in Communication, Baba-Ahmed Tells Shettima

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By Eric Elezuo

The Vice Presidential Candidate of Labour Party, Datti Baba-Ahmed, has advised the vice presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kashim Shettima, to work on, and improved his public composure and discipline in communication the same way he improved his dress sense to public functions. He made the remarks, noting that the former governor of Borno State has become a “morally-bankrupt character” who is out of touch with reality.

Recall that Shettima’s dressing of oversized suit and sneakers when he stood in for his principal, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the Nigeria Bar Association conference in Lagos in August , was severally mocked across social media platforms. His defence of his actions were rebuffed by the mocking public.

In a conference held in Abuja on Thursday, Baba-Ahmed, accused the APC vice presidential candidate of having a penchant for belittling his political opponents in all his speeches, citing how he addressed the incumbent vice president, Yemi Osinbajo as an ice cream seller, and a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar as a pure water seller.

Baba-Ahmed’s statement, which was made available to the press read in part: “We congratulate Mr. Shettima on having improved his dressing, but equally remind him that he needs to improve on his public composure and discipline in communication.

“Shettima is called upon to speak kindly and more responsibly about all personalities if only to uphold long-established standards. Little wonder he has consistently put to shame the noble heritage of the great Bornu Empire, in his unguarded and uncultured public pronouncements, which expose his intellectual laziness and discomfort with empirical facts and arguments.

“Regular insults which have now become his trademark, have not spared the current Vice President whom he directed to go and sell ice cream, nor the former vice president whom he described as a pure water seller, a noble venture which serves the populace better than a certain white substance.

“It is pertinent to recall how Mr. Shettima at a recent public event belittled Atiku Abubakar’s educational qualification as well as the modest lifestyle of Peter Obi. Clearly Mr. Shettima is out of touch with reality and cannot understand that people like Peter Obi who have reached the heights in business and material achievement have long transcended the need for ostentatious display of wealth.”

Baba-Ahmed also petitioned the Abdusalam Abubakar-led Peace Committee to call to order the likes of Shettima as they have gone against the peace accord signed in September by all the political parties.

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G5 Governors Are Entertainers, Says Osun Lawmaker

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The lawmaker representing Osun East Senatorial District, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, has said the Peoples Democratic Party is not losing sleep over the activities of the Integrity Group led by Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike.

A statement by his media aide, Sam-Segun Progress, obtained in Osogbo on Tuesday, said Fadahunsi stated this while speaking with journalists in Osogbo, Osun State.

The lawmaker also predicted landslide victory for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 poll, Abubakar Atiku.

According to him, Wike and members of his group have turned themselves to political entertainers to get attention and may end up losing relevance within the PDP fold, unless they retrace their steps.

He said, “We don’t have anything to fear (about the crises in PDP). They are now political entertainers who are entertaining their own subjects as slaves used to entertain colonial masters. When you destroy your house and you want to come my own house, I will not trust you.”

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