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Hats in, cards out as Nigeria’s ex-vice president, Atiku Abubakar, declares interest in 2023 race

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Former Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has asked members of the Board of Trustees of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to support his ambition to become Nigeria’s next president.

Atiku made the appeal when he hosted the BoT members during a Consultative meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, asking the elders of the party to work with him to clinch the presidency in 2023 or “we all retire together.”

He stressed that his vision was to build bridges across the country and called on the BoT members to join him in building bridges so that every part of this country will have a sense of belonging.

Since his entry into politics in 1993, Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested to be Nigeria’s president five times. In 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries losing to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. He was a presidential candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 presidential election coming in third to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP.

He contested the presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party during the 2011 presidential election losing out to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. In 2014, he joined the All Progressives Congress ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries losing to Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party and was the party presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, again losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

With Nigeria’s current president being from the Northern part of the country, there have been calls for Nigeria’s major parties to reserve the role of presidential aspirants in an arrangement known as “zoning” for candidates from the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The region has yet to produce a president since a military coup ousted Nigeria’s first president – Nnamdi Azikiwe since her political independence in 1960.

In the last presidential elections, Atiku Abubakar had a running mate from the  Eastern region of Nigeria in Peter Obi who has hinted that he would contest for Nigeria’s top job if his party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zones  the position in his region.

Speaking on the vexed issue of zoning, Atiku asked members of the PDP not to be asking for zoning just because the APC has zoned their positions, adding that “we invented and formulated this zoning policy simply because we wanted every part of this country to have a sense of belonging and I personally have paid my dues on the issue of zoning.

“Therefore, you cannot come and try to imply that the PDP has not been following the zoning policy. The many years of PDP government eight years and six years all of them were from the south. So we should not be stampeded by the opposition party. They have a moral obligation.”

The presidential hopeful also warned that the party might not survive another eight years as an opposition party.

“I am worried and you should be worried too that if we do not win, it means we will be in opposition again for the next eight years. By the next eight years, I don’t know how many of us will be left in politics and it may even ultimately lead to the death of the party because people gravitate, particularly in developing countries, towards governments. So this is a very crucial and historical moment in history, for our survival.”

Politics

2023: Nigeria’s ruling party presidential candidates, Tinubu, Masari, can’t find certificates. What we know so far

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Kabiru Masari, the running mate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Nigerian presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the coming 2023 general elections, has declared that his school certificates and other vital documents including the certificate to landed properties, are missing.

Masari’s declaration of missing certificates, is coming barely a week after his principal, Tinubu, also declared that he could not explain the whereabouts of his primary and secondary schools certificates after soldiers invaded his house while he was in self-exile during the fight against military regime in Nigeria shortly after the June 12, 1993, presidential election, which was annulled by the General Ibrahim Babangida-led military regime.

While explaining how he lost his certificates, Tinubu had said the documents were among his personal effect destroyed when his property at the Balarabe Musa Crescent in Victoria Island, Lagos, was set ablaze by agents of former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, in 1997.

Tinubu’s Form EC9, which was published on Friday by the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, revealed that the former Lagos State governor did not fill the columns for his primary and secondary school education, which generated a lot of controversies, leading to some opposition political parties and civil society groups threatening court actions.

But while Nigerians were still grappling with the idea of a presidential candidate without the basic primary and secondary school certifications, Masari, who was named as a ‘placeholder’, effectively meaning he is a temporary vice presidential candidate while the party looks for a suitable replacement, also announced that he is in the same boat as Tinubu.

In a sworn affidavit he deposed to on July 17, 2021, and submitted to the INEC, Masari claimed that the Grade II certificate he allegedly obtained from the Katsina State Teachers’ College and his primary school certificate were missing.

He also said told the electoral umpire that the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for a plot of land in Katsina State were also missing.

“Sometimes in January 2021, while on transit within Wuse Area, FCT-Abuja, I discovered that my original Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of Plot, No KT 17522, GRA Katsina, Katsina State; Certificate of Kaduna State Development Centre from 1994 – 1995 were missing,” the affidavit reads.

“Also missing were Grade II Certificate from Katsina Teachers’ College (KTC) from 1978 –1983 and First Leaving School Certificate issued by Masari Primary School in Katsina State from 1972 – 1978.

“Efforts made to trace the documents proved abortive hence this affidavit,” he added in the sworn affidavit.

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Guinean Prime Minister, Mohamed Béavogui meets political parties to mitigate tension

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In the bid to address tension that has bedeviled its political space, Guinean Prime Minister, Mohamed Béavogui has met with political parties.

The meeting comes after the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) suspended its call for a demonstration which would have been the first major protest rally under the now ruling junta.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister stressed that “it is essential that each of us here understand once and for all that the only agenda that counts is that of the people.”

Guinea’s pressure group, The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) had called for a nationwide demonstration against the West African country’s military junta earlier this month. The group also led protests against former President Alpha Conde, calling against the ban imposed by the junta on public protest.

Mohamed Béavogui, told the political parties, civil society organizations and trade unions that “only an inclusive approach, adapted to the Guinean reality, will enable us to lay the foundations for the good life together that we all aspire.

“We have already set up an inter-ministerial council, a group of colleagues. We are going to refine the group as we go along… You also have to get organised. The government is counting on the good faith of all the participants in this consultation.”

Mr. Béavogui concluded by asking participants to “send their contributions” by July 1. He did not set any new meeting dates.

Guinea is one of the West African countries that have recently experienced a military takeover of government. Mali and Burkina Faso are part of the negative trend. There has been pressure on the countries from the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for transition into civil government.

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