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Will Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku, be 6-time lucky as he joins 2023 presidential race?

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Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar will for the sixth time contest to be Nigeria’s president as he officially declared his intention to run for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Atiku’s declaration comes a week after he solicited the support of members of the Board of Trustees of the PDP last week for his ambition to become to grab the presidential ticket of Nigeria’s main position and hopefully become Nigeria’s next president.

The official declaration was held on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power at the International Conference Centre.

The presidential hopeful stressed the state of insecurity in Nigeria and vowed that his administration would not tolerate insecurity. “The most fundamental right of every Nigerian is the right to life. But the APC has failed to protect the life of her citizens… under my Presidency I will not tolerate insecurity.

He also emphasized other critical aspects of Nigeria that he believes the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) hasn’t met up to expectations.

“They said we should go back to farms. How can Nigerians return to the farms when they have not secured the farms?

“When the APC came in 2015, they met a debt profile of N12tn. But now we have more than N32tn in debt. Under my watch, I will reduce borrowing.”

 “Nigeria is in dire need of visionary leadership. Presently Nigeria is a sinking ship that must be urgently rescued. That is why I am announcing my candidacy for the President

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. Today’s announcement put him in the ring for the sixth.

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.

It remains to be seen if Atiku will get lucky in his sixth push for Nigeria’s top job. His first hurdle will be to grab his party, PDP’s presidential ticket amidst competition from other candidates notably among which are former Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state who are both from the same region as him.

There are possibly other contending voices within PDP from the other parts of the country who seem interested in grabbing the presidential ticket also, but none has declared an interest. One of them is Atiku’s running mates in the last presidential elections, Mr. Peter Obi who has hinted that he would contest for Nigeria’s top job if the PDP zones the position in his region.

After the internal party hurdle will be the actual height to scale, to defeat the party of an incumbent president is not a common feat in African politics. But then, nothing is cast in stone in Nigeria, not even being a Northern candidate contesting against a Southern candidate as some have argued. Previous presidential elections in Nigeria proved that.

Aside from the North/South divide of Nigeria’s presidential election race, Atiku can also draw motivation from the fact that current President Muhammadu Buhari defeated a sitting president Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. Hence, there is all to fight for.  I wish him luck.

Politics

Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga plans protest rallies, questions recruiting at IEBC

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As part of the fallout from the 2022 presidential elections in Kenya, the opposition under Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition has called for a public rally this Sunday in Nairobi.

At the rally, former prime minister and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to amplify his recent calls for an independent audit of the 2022 elections and their involvement in reconstituting the electoral commission.

The former Prime Minister has written a petition seeking to nullify Ruto’s victory, citing fraud and tampering with the Commission’s central server by the chairman, Wafula Chebukati, and other staff.

General elections were held in Kenya on 9 August 2022. Voters elected William Ruto as the East African country’s fifth president after a close contest with a veteran contender, Raila Odinga.

Kenya’s opposition has renewed its quest for what it calls electoral justice, vowing it has not recognised President William Ruto’s regime.

The seven wrangling officials of the electoral body, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have since left — through retirement, resignation, or suspension amidst allegations that the body was compromised to grant President Ruto the victory.

Following the development, the President on Monday signed an amendment Bill on the composition of an IEBC selection panel, setting the stage for the recruitment of new electoral commissioners.

The recruitment is already being questioned by the opposition suspicious that Mr. Ruto may populate the selection panel with his cronies and influence the appointment of friendly commissioners to smooth his re-election path in 2027.

“We demand that any attempts to reconstitute the IEBC single-handedly by Mr. Ruto cease forthwith so that Kenyans themselves can reconstitute the body after the firm and fair deliberations,” Odinga said Monday.

The is fear in some quarters that the planned protest by the opposition of Saturday will be countered by ruling authorities.

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Politics

Nigeria: Tribunal sacks Osun state governor, Ademola Adeleke, declares ruling party’s candidate winner

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In Nigeria, an election tribunal has declared Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the validly elected governor of the state.

The tribunal held that the governorship election was characterized by over-voting, adding that after deducting the excessive votes, Oyetola’s figures rose to 314, 921, while Adeleke’s came down to 290, 266.

The tribunal instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi. It directed that the certificate of return be issued to Oyetola instead.

Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Oyetola in the July 16, 2023 poll in the state.

INEC declared Adeleke the winner after polling 403,371 against Oyetola’s 375,027 votes.

Though there were 13 other candidates in the Osun governorship election, it was dominated by Adeleke and Oyetola.

The PDP candidate was victorious in 17 of the 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state governorship poll. The remaining 13 LGAs were, however, taken by Oyetola of the APC.

Meanwhile, the sacked Governor, Ademola Adeleke has faulted the judgement, describing it as “a miscarriage of justice”. He also vowed to appeal the ruling which he says is “an unfair interpretation against the will of the majority of voters”.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done,” Governor Adeleke was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson Olawale Rasheed. “Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate.”

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