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Dogara, 125 APC aspirants seek nomination fee refund

Dogara, 125 APC aspirants seek nomination fee refund

Disgruntled aspirants who participated at the March 26 National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress have vowed to take the leadership of the party to court over its failure to refund the payment for their Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms.

The development is coming four months after they were asked to step down for the current National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and other members of the National Working Committee.

Some affected politicians who spoke in separate interviews expressed concerns that they have explored and exhausted all their options with the only obstacle being the national chairman.

Depending on the category of the expression of interest and nomination forms, the 126 aspirants who contested various positions were made to cough up between N20 and N2.5 million.

At the end of the exercise, APC raked in well over N700 million with an additional N3 billion generated among stakeholders and party members ahead of the presidential primary.

There were also complaints that despite the huge revenue generated by the leadership of the party between March and August, ad hoc workers, staff and affected party members who were engaged were equally not paid their welfare allowances.

Aspirants asked to withdraw at National Convention

The affected aspirants who stepped down for Adamu in the category of National Chairman included Senator Umar Al-Makura, Salihu Mustapha, Muhammed Sani Musa, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, Senator George Akume and Mohammed Etsu.

Those in the category of National Deputy Chairman (North), who withdrew for the consensus candidacy of Senator Abubakar Kyari, were Yakubu Dogara, Faruq Aliyu, Sunny Sylvester Monidefe, Senator Ken Nnamani, Malam Isa Yuguda and Emmanuel Joseph.

For the post of the National Secretary, three aspirants which included former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu; Oyedele Ifeoluwa and Prof Olaiya Olaitan were sacrificed for the candidacy of Senator Iyiola Omisore.

In the category of National Vice Chairman (South-South), Yekini Nabena and Worgu Chambers were asked to step down for Victor Giadom.

Aside from the aforementioned aspirants, there are 113 other aggrieved politicians who are also yet to be refunded.

One of the affected candidates, who spoke with our correspondent in confidence, vowed to recoup their nomination forms before Adamu is kicked out of office.

Adamu ‘deliberately’ delaying refund

He said, “We know how much was raised at the convention and even the APC presidential primary. So what is the problem? We the party members are equally aware of how much was doled out for Osun and Ekiti elections. I still don’t get why Adamu is finding it hard to comply with the directive of the president.

“The only reason we delayed in taking this issue to court until now was to avoid putting our presidential candidate, Asiwaju, in a bad light. But as it stands, we have no option but to head for court. Everybody knows what took place at the convention where we had to step down cannot be called an election. Perhaps, that’s why some of them in the NWC including Adamu has been acting with impunity.”

In one of the letters written to Adamu dated June 21 and appended by 107 signatories, the aggrieved aspirants also accused the party leadership of excluding them from active participation and assignments at the last party primaries for the election of various candidates.

The letter partly read, “Your Excellency, recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech at the convention directed that for those who agreed to step down, the party should refund the money they paid for the purchase of expression of interest and nomination forms.

“For the record, it is not worthy to envisage the reality of the huge expenses we incurred in our campaigns, which amount was far beyond the cost of purchase of forms.

“Our able chairman, we want to assure you and the APC leadership that we will give our best to ensure the party emerges victorious in the forthcoming 2023 general election.

“While yet not being discouraged, we wish to express that we were excluded from the lists of just concluded party primaries committee assignments for the election of our various party candidates for the general elections.”

Speaking with The PUNCH, one of the affected aspirants from North Central, Yusuf Elaigwe, however, expressed optimism when he told our reporter that he is still keeping with Adamu over the issue.

“I can’t comment on it. But there is progress. I will be having a meeting with the national chairman on it next week,” he said.

Another aspirant, Sunny Sylvester Monidefe, who stepped down for Kyari confirmed that they have written to Adamu.

Monidefe, however, expressed frustration that the chairman has yet to reach out concerning details on how they hope to refund them.

According to him, it was hard having meetings with many of the affected candidates because the majority are not residents in Abuja and only come around only when they have official duties to attend.

In a separate phone conversation, former communications minister, Adebayo Shittu, told our correspondent that the APC national chairman has reassured them that they will be fully refunded.

Shittu stated that though they are angry, there was no plan to file a suit against the leadership of the party as alleged.

“I don’t think that is true. Nobody will do that. I have spoken personally with the national chairman of the party too and he has reassured me that discussions are ongoing to pay us. We are still hopeful it will be resolved,” he said.

The matter is receiving attention – Spokesman

Responding to the development in a phone interview, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, said the matter ‘is receiving attention and will resolve it soon.’

“I am sure the party will resolve it. The APC just came out of the primaries. They are dealing with it.”

In a related development, APC national vice chairman (North-west), Salihu Lukman, expressed regret over the delay, which he said was being looked into.

Lukman made the clarification in Abuja on Sunday.

He said, “It is part of the unfortunate internal challenges. Administratively, this should have been resolved long ago. For instance, in my case, about four people stepped down for me and they have been talking to me. I have been drawing the attention of the party and I think now it is clear that the party has to resolve it as quickly as possible. I can assure you that it is going to happen,” Lukman said.

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2023: Letter Alleging Adamu Criticized Tinubu Fake- APC

The All Progressives Congress APC on Thursday distanced its Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu from a letter purportedly written and signed by him in which he accused the presidential candidate of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of breaching agreement over the composition of the presidential campaign council.

In a statement on Thursday, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, debunked the contents of the letter, adding that the letter did not emanate from its chairman.

“Our attention has been drawn to a “DRAFT” letter in circulation purportedly written by His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman of our great Party, addressed to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of our great Party, expressing dissatisfaction over the recently released list of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

“To be clear, the “DRAFT” letter did not emanate from the Party. An UNSIGNED letter that marks itself as a ‘DRAFT’ cannot and should not be attributed to its purported author.

“The National Chairman of our Party and our Presidential Candidate maintain cordial and effective communication channels, and enjoy full liberty of open and frank conversations on matters of interest to the Party and our Presidential Campaign. As such, an unsigned “DRAFT” letter of the kind in circulation is patently unnecessary and of no qualitative value to engagement between the Party and the PCC.

“We will not be distracted by the wishes and actions of detractors that wait gleefully but in vain for some kind of crisis to erupt between the Party and the PCC”, the statement added.

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Yobe North: Lawan Accepts High Court Judgement, Thanks Supporters

Senate president, Ahmed Lawan has accepted the Federal High Court Judgement which affirmed Bashir Machina as the rightful senatorial candidate for Yobe North.

In a series of tweets on Thursday afternoon, the veteran senator said he took the decision after extensive consultations with his political family.

He added that he would not be appealing the judgement.

“Yesterday, Wednesday, 28th September, 2022, the Federal High Court in Damaturu delivered judgement on the rightful candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District for the 2023 National Assembly elections

“The said judgement disqualifies my candidature and therefore my participation in the elections.

“After due consultations with my political associates, supporters and well-wishers, I have decided not to appeal against the judgement. I accept the judgement.

He further appreciated the state governor, Mai Mala Buni, Senator Ibrahim Geidam and his constituents for the support.

“At this juncture, I deem it appropriate to thank His Excellency, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam for the leadership role in the APC political family in Yobe State. I also thank His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni for the support and brotherhood.

“To my constituents, I thank you all for your unflinching support, loyalty and unreserved committment to the course of building our people and Yobe North Senatorial District and indeed Yobe State.

“I want to assure you that I will continue to serve you in my personal and any other capacity at all times.

“We journeyed together for a long time, and this journey will remain a life long journey. It has been a wonderful relationship and it can only get stronger. I am indebted to you all. Alhamdulillah”, the tweets read.

 

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My govt will reflect Nigerians’ agitations —Atiku

My govt will reflect Nigerians’ agitations —Atiku

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said that his administration would reinvent the principle of national unity that will reflect the peculiar agitations of Nigerians, if elected in the 2023 general elections.

Atiku also stated that he has set out five thematic areas that would be the building blocks of a new social contract with Nigerians.

The former vice-president made the declaration in a Twitter and Facebook post after the inauguration of his campaign council and book launch on Wednesday night.

He stated that his government would restore Nigeria’s unity through equity, and social justice to ensure cooperation and consensus among Nigeria’s heterogeneous people.

He further emphasised that he would build a strong competitive and prosperous economy, create jobs and wealth and lift the poor out of poverty.
Atiku added that he would also improve and strengthen the education system to equip its recipients with the education and skills required to be competitive in the new global order driven by innovation in science and technology.

He said, “To this end, the first direction that our administration will take is to reinvent the principle of government of national unity which will make our administration reflect the peculiar agitations of our people. We shall restore Nigeria’s unity through equity and social justice as well as ensure cooperation and consensus among peoples effective heterogeneous peoples.

‘’We shall establish a strong, effective, democratic government that guarantees the safety and security of lives and property. We shall build a strong competitive and prosperous economy, create jobs and wealth and lift the poor out of poverty. We shall promote a federal system that will provide for a strong federal government to guarantee national unity while allowing the federating units to set their priorities.

‘’We shall improve and strengthen the education system to equip its recipients with the education and skills required to be competitive in the new global order which is driven by innovation in science and technology and to lead a healthy productive meaningful life.”

He pointed out that Nigeria had dipped below all low standards in socio-economic, and political benchmarks, saying the experience of the past seven years plus under the government of the APC had made Nigerians doubtful of its strength as a people.

He said, “In fact, it is safe to say that the greatest thing that the APC government will be remembered for is how it failed to maintain the integrity of our unity and how it has put a knife between the things that hitherto held us together

“Nigeria is a great nation, full of resources but broken by the malfeasance, despair, maladministration, divisive tendencies, pervasive insecurity, economic mismanagement, unprecedented corruption and rudderless leadership visited on her since 2015. We have therefore again picked up the gauntlet to lead Nigeria into a new horizon where every tendency shall find accommodation.”

The former vice-president said there was over-concentration of power in government, with multiple duplications of public agencies leading to the creation of parallel democracies.

He added that the federating units would benefit from the devolution of powers to increase their productive capacity for synergy and collaboration with each other and the corporate world, and also to create sustainability and employment for Nigerians.

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