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Onyejeocha Lays Claim to House Speakership, Says Gbajabiamila Should Step Down

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A female aspirant to the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nkiru Onyejeocha, has called on Femi Gbajabiamila to step down for her.

Ms Onyejeocha, a third term member from Abia State, made the appeal at the National Assembly on Tuesday while briefing journalists.

The two are of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which is expected to produce the next crop of national assembly leaders having emerged the majority party in the two chambers.

The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) recently adopted Mr Gbajabiamila as its choice for the office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday last week.

But the Abia lawmaker has appealed to Mr Gbajabiamila from Lagos State to ‘make due sacrifice’ by giving up his ambition to become speaker “for Nigeria to move forward.”

She urged the party to have a rethink and zone the speakership to the South-east.

She said while she respects the party’s decision, Mr Gbajabiamila should “as a leader pay the sacrifice” for Nigeria to get to the next level.

“I respect my party chairman and what the party has said it intends to do. But I am appealing to them, it is not yet late to withdraw their decision and include a woman from the two geopolitical zones left out in 2015.

“I know that the leader of the house, Femi Gbajabiamila, is a good gentleman and good leader, but there is a time when any man who is a leader indeed to make the needed sacrifice and that time is now for the leader of my party in the House of Representatives.

“This opportunity comes only once when a leader will look at himself and say, ‘It’s not about me, it’s about Nigeria. I also believe that Nigeria needs healing and somebody has to pay the sacrifice for us to move to the next level, even if it means deciding that speakership should go to another zone.”

She said zoning the speakership to the South-east will address the “demand for equity” from the zone.

“As a woman who has distinguished herself and contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria, the APC should use the opportunity of my expression of interest in the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives to fulfil its promise to Nigerians, that it would increase women participation in the governance of the country.”

Mr Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere 1 federal constituency, was re-elected for the fifth term. He currently serves as the House Leader.

The APC leadership recently declared support for Yobe senator, Ahmed Lawan, to become the next Senate President. The party is also in support of Mr Gbajabiamila’s candidacy for Speaker.

The adoption of Mr Lawan was condemned by some APC lawmakers including Borno senator, Ali Ndume, who also seeks to be the Senate president.

Mr Ndume, from Borno State, has vowed to continue with his ambition, saying he enjoys the support of many elected APC senators.

The APC enjoys a clear majority in the incoming House of Representatives, winning over 200 of the 360 seats

The APC is expected to produce the Speaker, but as it happened in 2015, a different candidate other than that endorsed by the party leadership may contest the election.

While both Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila were endorsed by the party for the positions in 2015, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged as the Senate President and Speaker of the House respectively.

The two winners later defected from the APC to the PDP.

So far, there are at least seven members that have indicated interest in the position of Speaker.

Mr Gbajabiamila is however considered the leading candidate.

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APC Chairman Confirms Party’s February 26 National Convention Date

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The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, has confirmed February 26 as the ruling party’s convention date.

Buni made the announcement on Tuesday at the National Progressive Women’s Conference in Abuja.

The chairman, who doubles as Yobe State governor said the women in the APC played a key role in the success of the party’s recent membership drive.

He said: “The party under my stewardship conducted membership registration and revalidation exercise. We found it expedient to constitute a special committee on women and youth before the commencement of the exercise. The roles you played made the membership registration and revalidation a huge success.

“Today, APC parades over 41 million registered members, asserting our position as Africa’s largest political party and of course, Nigeria’s leading political party. With these, we are confident of winning the 2023 general election with huge success.

“I want to use this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your support to the party, before during and after the exercise. I also look forward to your more support during the convention and indeed the general election.

“I’m proud to add that APC is the most women-friendly party in Nigeria. Let me also assure you that the party shall reciprocate this gesture by supporting women and youth in their political aspirations and realising their political dreams.

“We look forward to having more women contesting in the forthcoming national convention of the party from February 26, 2022, and the general election. Now as we approach the convention and move closer to the next general election, I wish to remind you of the progressive roles in supporting progressive-minded leaders, aspiring for various offices for the betterment of our country.”

Also speaking, Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti state governor, called for the support of the female members of the party ahead of the convention.

“Without our women, we have no future. We have no present or past. We have a duty and responsibility to improve on solidarity that we give the women of our country,” the governor said.

“We are not doing them a favour. If you have worked with women, they deliver. My women commissioners are the best commissioners.

“I have no doubt that this conference will give us a lot to chew on. We should make it a policy convention.”

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I Won’t Support Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition – Ojudu

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The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, says he will not support the presidential ambition of All Progressives Congress leader, Bola Tinubu.

Ojudu further stated that contrary to reports, Tinubu did not make him successful as he was already an accomplished publisher before meeting the former Lagos State governor.

The former lawmaker said this in a statement titled, ‘Principled Political Choices are not Betrayal’.

Ojudu, who is leading the campaign for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to be the next President, said he would continue to follow his conscience.

He said, “The idea that everyone who has related with Tinubu and disagrees with him on this Presidential bid is a traitor and a betrayer is puerile. Many of us, his associates, were not made by him as you also want the world to believe.

“We were already made before meeting him and in the course of relating we gave one another a helping hand. As far back as 1992 when I came to know him I was already one of the editors of a popular news magazine with a good standing too in the civil society.”

Ojudu, who represented Ekiti Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, said he could not in good conscience support Tinubu for the Presidency.

He stated that he would not be intimidated by those describing him as a traitor.

“On this matter of 2023 I wish him well but I cannot in good conscience give him my support or cast my vote for him in the coming primary. It is my right. I am above 60 years of age for God sake. I almost died seeking these inalienable democratic rights, held up in detention and severally tortured. Your god is not my god.

“Let no one think he can browbeat or blackmail me to do what does not go with my conscience or my ideals. Enough of your phone threats and embarrassment of my family members!” said Ojudu.

The Presidential aide recalled how he resigned after disobeying an order by his then employer, Chief MKO Abiola, to apologise to then Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, for writing a story critical of his regime.

Ojudu revealed how human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), also forced him to refund the money he invested in his newspaper after Ojudu decided to join Tinubu’s clique.

He said he also defied his father’s wishes by joining Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria when his father was a member of the National Party of Nigeria in the Second Republic.

The veteran journalist said the story of his life has been about conviction and he would continue to follow his conscience as regards political decisions.

He added, “When I left that job, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a man whom I was indebted to greatly (gave me a scholarship in my school days alongside King Sunny Ade) invested in my publishing platform (The News, publisher of PM news). The same one that was consequential in the battle to bring democracy back to Nigeria.

“At the conclusion of that struggle, Chief Fawehinmi insisted we sit out politics. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu disagreed with this notion, and I did as well. Against an obvious choice to blind loyalty, I went along with Senator Tinubu even serving severally in critical roles as he assumed the Governorship position. My actions angered Chief Gani so much he asked that I repay his investments. Guess what? I gladly did.”

“So if my principled stance against NPN, against IBB and against ‘siddon look’ was not betrayal of my father, Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi respectively, why would my principled stance against our leader’s present ambition be?” he asked.

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Court Orders DSS to Allow Nnamdi Kanu Change of Cloth, Adjoins Case to Wednesday

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, adjourned further proceedings in the case against the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, till Wednesday.

The adjournment followed Kanu’s complaints that the Federal Government failed to promptly serve him the fresh 15 amended charges it brought before the court.

Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, further accused the FG of denying him the necessary facility to defend the charge against him.

Ozekhome told the court that the amended charges were served on them barely 24 hours to the scheduled hearing.

“My Lord, the proposed amended charges were served on us yesterday (Monday) evening. As I speak to you, my lord, the defendant, who was just brought in, has not even seen the charges which he is being told to enter his plea.

“With due respect, that is not justice. It is ambushing. I know that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act allows the Federal Government to amend, but this is the sixth amendment they are making, and each time they do it, they serve us a day to the hearing, just to frustrate the trial,” Ozekhome added.

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