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2023: Nigeria’s opposition party, PDP announces Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as Atiku’s running mate

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The race for the 2023 presidency is taking shape by the day. With presidential primary elections of political parties concluded, most candidates are now faced with the next hurdle of choosing a running mate for the position of a Vice President.

The candidate of Nigeria’s major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has announced Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as running on the PDP platform in the elections next year.

Atiku made the announcement at a meeting attended by PDP executives at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.

Atiku, who is former vice president to President Olusegun Obasanjo noted that some of the qualities he looked out for include someone who understands the enormity of the challenges facing the country and one who has demonstrated, from experience, that he can proffer some solutions.

He said he looked out for one who has the qualities of a president, who can stand in for him when he’s not around.

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.

The deadline by Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, for the submission of presidential running mates is Friday, 17 June. Attention will be on the choices of other notable candidates like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of Nigeria’s ruling party the All Progressive Congress (APC) and dark horse Peter Obi who defected from the PDP to the Labour Party.

The choice of running mates is a strong factor in shaping voters’ behaviour for the sake of balancing and Nigeria’s heterogeneous nature.

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Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, accuses DRC of supporting rebels fighting his government

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President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has accused the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), of giving arms and logistic support to rebels fighting his government after the DRC has continued to blame Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels who have been causing mayhem in the mineral rich eastern Congo.

In a televised address on Monday, Kagame said his country is seriously concerned by the support the DRC has been giving to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Congo-based rebel group that has been opposed to his government.

The two eastern African neighbours have been locked in an acrimonious relations with accusations and counter accusations flowing from both ends after the M23 group captured the Congolese town of Bunagana at the Uganda border with Kinshasa accusing the Rwandan troops of arming the militia.

Rwanda on it’s part, has vehemently denied supporting M23, and is now throwing its own accusation on DRC of supporting the rebels troubling its country.

While making the allegations, Kagame said Congo is actively arming the FDLR whose fighters are linked to the 2019 killing of hundreds of people in the northern Rwandan town of Kinigi.

“It’s on record and with facts that Congo is supporting FDLR, and unfortunately with the knowledge of MONUSCO,” Kagame said, fingering the U.N. peacekeepers who have been on ground to battle the rebels.

“They have recently been behaving like spoilt children. They cause trouble and then start crying foul,” Kagame said.

While the two countries have been grappling with the menace of rebels, leaders of the regional bloc under the East African Community have been working toward deploying a peacekeeping force in eastern Congo’s restive provinces, but both DRC President, Felix Tshisekedi, has kicked against the inclusion of Rwandan troops in the regional peacekeeping force.

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Tunisia President Saied dares opposition, defends new constitution despite criticism

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Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has defended his proposed new constitution despite widespread criticism and protest by opposition figures, saying the the constitution when passed, would not restore authoritarian rule.

Most political parties and civil society groups have continued to oppose the constitution saying it was drawn up unilaterally by Saied’s allies whom he handpicked to do his bidding.

The critics have also questioned the legitimacy of the constitution with a referendum set for July 25 which they say would give Tunisians less than four weeks to decide on it with no minimum rate of participation for it to pass.

The head of the committee that prepared the first draft the constitution, Sadok Belaid, also criticised the version which Saied rewrote, saying the president’s version was “dangerous and paves the way for a disgraceful dictatorial regime.”

But while hitting back at the opposition and the wave of criticism that followed the publication of the draft in the Tunisian National Gazzete, Saied on Tuesday, urged the people to support it in the referendum to adopt the constitution.

In a letter addressed to Tunisian and published by state, Saied assured that fears by those against the new constitution are misplaced as there was no danger to Tunisians’ rights and freedoms.

“Everyone knows what Tunisia has suffered for decades, especially the last decade. They emptied state coffers. The poor got poorer, the corrupt got richer,” Said narrated, while accusing critics of the constitution of “slanders, far from reality”.

Saied entered the bad books of most opposition figures in the North African country when he ousted the elected parliament and set out to rule by decree which many had termed a coup.

He further angered many by dissolving the electoral commission and named a new body with himself as the head. Not done, Saied also sacked 57 judges last month, accusing them of supporting Islamists.

But his supporters say he is “standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.”

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