In a statement on Sunday, he said it was important for Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Convention Working Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai-Mala Buni, to set up a constitution review committee and present proposals for amendments to the Extraordinary National Convention.
He explained that beyond proposals for constitutional amendment, there was an urgent need to consider developing proposed code of conduct for elected and appointed officials of the party as bye-laws to regulate the conduct of party leaders.
The PGF director-general believes the code of conduct is necessary to prevent situations where party officials abuse their office and conduct themselves in manners that can undermine the party’s commitment to the principles of public accountability, or even get stretched to issues bordering on criminal conduct and the probable extension of strategies of political bullying.
According to him, once the APC continues to operate as a closed party, its progressive credentials will remain only a claim of its leaders and anyone who challenges it will be bullied.
Lukman asked the party to consider taking all the appropriate steps to strengthen internal party rules as provided in the APC Constitution.
He, however, stated that his position on the internal crisis within the party does not represent the view of any APC governor or the Progressive Governors’ Forum.
Read the full statement below:
The Future of Progressive Politics in Nigeria
Salihu Moh. Lukman
Progressive Governors Forum
The critical issue of citizens’ participation in politics and how it leads to the difficult task of candidates’ selection is an issue that appears to be the cause of most of the frustrations Nigerians seem to be having with our democracy.
Additionally, it is the cause of virtually all intra and inter party disputes and conflicts in the country. Inability to resolve these issues and put in place functional systems that could regulate internal mechanisms for wider national political contests and ensure that there are some minimum standards of institutional behaviour that could guarantee periodic membership recruitment, which can be calibrated to citizens’ participation in the decision-making process leading to candidate selection during elections are the drawbacks.
These are dynamic challenges, which have been the focus of political inquiry for quite sometimes both in the developed and less developed democracies. Unfortunately, in our context, in Nigeria, these are issues that are at best discussed as subsidiaries to other associated democratic challenges, largely electoral laws.
The reality is that electoral jurisprudence may not even recognise or prioritise the challenges of membership recruitment in a political party, which could result in ambiguities, conferring more powers to individuals and power blocs in a political party.
The consequence will include undermining membership participation and therefore reducing the critical task of candidate selection to some technical internal plebiscite, which may have very little or no democratic value involving only small section of the party membership. This reality creates conflicts, which weakens democratic institutions, including political parties, and retard political development.
Exploring these issues, Paul Webb and Stephen White, in the book Party Politics in New Democracies, argued that analysts could make damning conclusions about parties based on the consideration that ‘democracy is not fully realised until citizens expressed their shared interests as members of the same community.
Participation in the democratic process is vital to the political education of citizens if they are to develop this civic orientation. Contemporary political parties are unlikely to fare well by the civic democratic standards.’ This made them (Webb and White) ask: ‘Does this mean that parties are failing democracy?’
The question of whether parties are failing democracy made Richard Gunther and Larry Diamond, in the book Political Parties and Democracy to come up with the concept of ‘decline of parties’, based on which they submit, ‘in both developed and less developed countries, there is growing evidence that membership in political parties is declining, that parties’ ties with allied secondary associations are loosening or breaking, that their representation of specific social groups is less consistent, and that public opinion toward parties is waning in commitment and trust.
Does this mean, as some have argued, that parties as institutions are declining, that they are ceasing to play a crucial role in modern democracies, and that their functions may be performed as well or better by other kinds of organisations – social movements or interest groups, for example?’
Gunther and Diamond further asked: ‘Are political parties in modern democracies losing their importance, even their relevance, as vehicles for the articulation and aggregation of interests and the waging of election campaigns? Or have we entered an era, more keenly felt in the advanced industrial democracies but increasingly apparent in the less developed ones as well, where technological and social change is transforming the nature of the political party without diminishing its importance for the health and vigour of democracy?’
Both in the case of issues presented by Webb and White with respect to participation, on the one hand, and decline of parties as argued by Gunther and Diamond, on the other hand, they are all very familiar to the Nigerian political environment. It is almost as if the scope for political inquiry that made Gunther and Diamond reach that conclusion is Nigeria.
For instance, the scope for membership participation in our parties since 1999 could appear to be declining. Looking at the Nigerian reality, it will almost be easy to conclude that hardly any of our parties is mass oriented or having a relationship with any organised group. That being the case, to what extend is APC any different or orienting itself differently?
Will being different result in more decline in membership participation or will the APC succeed in opening itself up to ensure increasing recruitment of members and more participation through at least guaranteeing that structures of the party meet as provided in the provisions of the APC constitution?
These are practical issues. If APC is to open itself through membership recruitment, the debate around the issue of whether there is a credible and verifiable membership register will not be taking place. Rather, appropriate steps should have been taken to ensure the existence of a credible and verifiable membership register.
This may be a case of improving on what is already in existence. To improve on what exists may have to involve all structures of the party so that the question of managing the membership register is also not in dispute. For instance, how members are recruited would have a lot of implications in terms of the format that would be used to guarantee participation.
Take, for instance, the argument that the APC membership register is domicile on the Cloud. Who uploads it to the Cloud with whose authority and who is managing it? How was it generated in the first place? Are the members of the APC in the register that is said to exist on the Cloud, financial members? Who did they pay their membership dues to?
Immediately after the merger exercise, which produced the APC, between 2013 and 2015, there were strong internal debates towards establishing computerised membership data centre for the whole country, located at No. 10 Bola Ajibola Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos.
It could be recalled that on November 22, 2014, the APC membership data centre was reportedly attacked by PDP controlled Federal Government security operatives. Later, the Department of State Security (DSS), which carried the attack claimed that they acted following a petition, which alleged that the APC membership data centre was being set up to clone INEC Permanent Voters Card with the intention of hacking into INEC database, corrupting it and replacing them with APC data.
Part of the internal dynamics that were considered in commencing the establishment of the APC membership data centre included challenges during the conduct of the APC’s Congresses and Convention between April and June 2014. The projections prior to the Congresses were that the process of electing party leadership at all levels of the APC will be expanded beyond the scope of a limited number of party delegates, which should cover all members of the party.
On account of experiences during the conduct of Ward Congresses in April 2014, which exposes the problem of conducting all-members’ inclusive elections for party offices without authenticated membership records, the Chief Bisi Akande Interim Leadership initiated the establishment of the membership data centre.
Since the incident of November 22, 2014, when the DSS attacked the APC membership data centre, hardly anything was heard about the project. Around February/March 2020, the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC placed some newspaper advertorials inviting biddings from interested service providers to assist the APC establish computerised membership data register.
Although no reference was made to the previous APC membership data centre of 2014 in the advertorial, the invitation for bidding suggested either non-availability of a computerised membership register or if it is in existence, it is inadequate. Could this have been resolved and a standard register has been uploaded on the Cloud to support the desperation by the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to have organised the primary election for the 2020 Edo State Governorship election through the direct method?
Against the background that the main focus of all political parties in Nigeria is to win elections fairly or unfairly, political practice and culture is the same across all the parties, including the APC as it is constituted today. It is all about recruiting membership based on individual aspirations for political offices.
Across all the parties, once an aspirant has strong financial capability, the party is surrendered to the aspirant. Such an aspirant would then proceed to nominate the party leaders from among his/her loyalists. Accordingly, presidential aspirants nominate party leaders at national levels and gubernatorial candidates nominate party leaders at States, Local Governments and Wards. Candidates for elections are similarly recruited. Presidential candidates recruit gubernatorial candidates and gubernatorial candidates recruit candidates for other lower offices from the ranks of loyalists.
Issues of participation and democracy are compromised, professional management of parties ignored, and disciplinary conduct of members and leaders undermined. The consequence is the preponderances of unethical, unfair and uncivilised practices by party leaders, and public officials. Party offices are reduced to centres of control by aspiring politicians with hardly any focus on services to members.
How is APC responding to these challenges? If anything, the reality is that the last activity of the party that differentiated APC from all the other parties was the December 10, 2014 National Convention that produced President Buhari as the Presidential candidate of the party for the 2015 election.
By every standard, that Convention and the primary election that produced President Buhari as the Presidential candidate for the 2015 election was adjudged to be transparent, fair and democratic even by fellow aspirants who lost the contest – Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, Owello Rochas Okorocha and Mr. Sam Nda Isiah.
Thereafter, almost all the negative characteristics associated with the PDP and all the other parties became dominant features of APC. Most of the leadership conflict in the party, across all the 36 states bordered on issues of who controls the structures of the party so much that political bullying is now assuming a major feature in the APC.
Anyone who criticises or makes remarks that are not in sync with what leaders want to be propagated, get bullied and at the slightest opportunity, such persons are pushed out of positions they occupy, especially if it is an elective position. With all these, hardly any contest take place. All that keeps emerging is conflict even when we are expected to have elections.
Being a progressive party would require that APC is able to redress this problem, especially given the commitment to ensure that the party is dynamic, action-oriented and ensuring that we are able to bring about improvement in politics, government and the conditions of life of the generality of our people. Why should a progressive party shy away from debating issues affecting the party?
Why should politicians who claimed to be progressives and committed to rendering services to citizens be threatened by fellow party members who only attempted to diagnose the problems of the party? Why should any party leader imagine that anyone who advocates for opening the party up to wider participation by citizens through membership recruitment and ensuring the establishment of credible and verifiable membership register is an agent of imagined political opponent? Why should any politician disparage opposition to political contests? Is politics not all about contestation? How can there be contestation without opposition?
A major gap created by the current orientation of political parties in Nigeria with perverted political behaviour, which confers prerogative of membership recruitment to political leaders is the barrier that is making it almost impossible for parties, including the APC, to serve as vehicles for citizens’ participation. Once APC continues to operate as a closed party, its progressive credentials will remain only a claim of its leaders, and anyone who challenged it will be bullied.
APC can only be progressive if it is able to encourage and promote competition within the party as a prelude to electoral contests. The absence of competition has reduced, predominantly, the business of the party not to focus on issues of managing governments based on the capacity of party members to contribute to initiatives of governments controlled by the party especially with reference to agricultural development, jobs creation, education, health, infrastructural development, poverty eradication, and rapid technological development.
Although Reuven Y. Hazen and Gideon Rahat in the book, Democracy within Parties: Candidate Selection Methods and their Political Consequences, identified that ‘selection of party candidates is basically a private affair, even if there are legal regulations’, the need to open up parties and ensure that members are able to access electoral opportunities remain a primary condition for broadening the space for citizens’ democratic participation.
Hazen and Rahat have elaborately made the point that candidate selection in political parties is ‘predominantly extralegal process by which a political party decides which of the persons legally eligible to hold an elective public office will be designated on the ballot and in election communications as its recommended and supported candidate or list of candidates.’ Being a progressive party, APC would need to take all the appropriate steps required to graduate to a situation whereby members produce leaders and not leaders producing members.
Will this be possible? One of the challenges that APC leaders should be ready to confront as identified by Hazen and Rahat is that ‘recent phenomena of increased judicial involvement in politics is likely to lead to an increase in the adjudication of internal party affairs, including candidate selection. However, such involvement is still largely limited to the question of whether parties have adhered to the rules and regulations they have decided for themselves.’
What are the measures required to compel party members and leaders to comply to internal rules? This is a big challenge especially given that complying with internal rules may result in the loss of control of party structures as a result of which leaders are not able to emerge as candidates.
The risk of losing control of the party structures on account of which leaders are not able to emerge as candidates for elections is the dilemma confronting APC leaders today. Unfortunately, the fear of the consequences of not achieving the objective of emerging as candidates or producing candidates has made the phenomena of political bullying rampant in Nigerian political parties, including APC.
Anybody who is advocating for change in the orientation of how the party recruit members are adjudged to be paid agents and deserve no right to a fair hearing. Partly because those carrying out political bullying are powerful and considered to control powers of appointments in government and selection of candidates, no one wants to risk being accused of opposing their interests.
Consequently, APC is being corrupted by every passing day and therefore becoming more and more closer to PDP and in some cases even worse than PDP. Unlike PDP however, it needs to be recognised that in terms of accommodating dissent within the party, APC is more liberal, largely because President Buhari truly ‘belong to everyone and belong to no one’.
It is only because of the singular factor of President Buhari that groups of elected representatives in both the House of Representatives and the Senate could organise to produce leadership in 2015 against the wishes of the party. While this is certainly unacceptable, it may simply suggest either gap in provisions of internal rules of the APC or complete absence of rules required to regulate the conduct of elected representatives of the party.
Many have criticise the liberal disposition of President Buhari when it comes to the issue of internal party management and present it as the problem of the party. This is wrong and instead, in fact, it is the democratic strength of the APC, which is making it to stand out as the only party in the country with political contests taking place. The major issue is that instead of manifesting as political contests, we are having political conflicts. How can we ensure that what we are having in the APC is political contests and not political conflicts? This is the big task ahead of APC leaders to ensure that the party is truly a progressive party.
It was because of the very singular liberal disposition of President Buhari that made it possible for the struggle against the arbitrary conduct of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to get to the level of democratically dissolving the NWC and appointing the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee.
But is that enough to guarantee that the APC will be opened up to the wider participation of members? Given that the most important mandate of the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is to organise a National Convention where new leadership will be elected, what are the steps required, which the Mai Mala Buni Committee should take to ensure that the national leadership of the party that will emerge are not nominees of potential Presidential candidates?
The best way to check whether new leaders are nominees of potential Presidential candidates could be perhaps whether they emerge from electoral contests. How fair was the contest and to what extent could the issue of credible and verifiable membership register support the process of electing the new leadership of APC at the coming national convention?
A very credible process should be recommended to sprout from membership registration/verification. This should mean that immediately following the membership registration/verification, party Congresses at ward, local governments and state levels hold to elect new leadership. This will have the advantage of ensuring that some levels of political negotiations are activated within the party to facilitate the emergence of new leaders.
It is possible that the process may still tilt in favour of some of the emerging power blocs within the party. However, if managed very well, it will be almost impossible for any single power bloc in the party to comfortably dominate the structures of the party across all the 36 states of the country and FCT. This will help to humble all the potential aspirants, especially for the 2023 Presidential election, thereby democratising power in the APC.
Because power is democratised, no one person can monopolised leadership and therefore impose himself/herself as presidential candidate of the APC. As a result, the issue of monopolising membership register such that it is the candidates that produce party members will begin to be minimised. Also, the party can bounce back and become appealing to citizens.
The other associated possibility is that the phenomenon of political bullying could be reduced since the problem of monopolising party membership is being minimised. But this will require that individual member of the party are able to assert themselves and ignore the threats of political bullies. It just means that courageous members are able to rise above the desperation of accessing political offices.
This is a hard call that could be suicidal for many party members. Beyond the courage of individual party members however, the party should consider taking all the appropriate steps to strengthen internal party rules as provided in the constitution of the party. Given all the experiences, so far, it is only logical that the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is able to setup a constitution review committee and present proposals for amendments to the Extraordinary National Convention.
Beyond proposals for a constitutional amendment, there is an urgent need to consider developing a proposed code of conduct for elected and appointed officials of the party as bylaws to regulate the conduct of party leaders. This is necessary in order to prevent situations whereby officials of the party will not abuse his/her office and conduct himself/herself in manners that could undermine the party’s commitment to the principles of public accountability or even get stretched to issues bordering on criminal conduct and the probable extension of strategies of political bullying to include the deployment of state law enforcement machinery and officials against fellow citizens and party members.
The Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee needs to be given every support within the party and by extension patriotic Nigerians sympathetic to the APC to be able to put APC on the part of progressive politics. As it is today, APC is the only party with the potential of promoting progressive politics based on ensuring that the party is able to put in place credible and verifiable membership register as the basis for membership and citizens’ participation.
The management of the membership must be such that it makes it easy for records to be updated and accessed. For the party to guarantee participation, processes of leadership emergence should be transparently democratic involving the wider scope of members. Beyond electing leaders, the internal rules of the party should be strengthened to ensure that all party organs are made functional and the conduct of party leaders, including elected and appointed officials, are regulated to ensure that the project truly progressive conducts and credentials.
In the final analysis, being progressives should mean that APC leaders are taking all the measures required to ensure seamless political contests within the party as a result of which political conflicts are giving way to healthy political contests. This would suggest a reversal in the process of decline of the party. Should this become the new reality, the APC then could begin to transform itself into a mass-oriented party with an expanded membership, developing relationships with organised interest groups.
Are these going to be the issues for debate as we move towards having a national convention to elect new leaders of the APC? Or are we going to submit ourselves as party members to the antics of political bullies whose only mission is to force every party member to silence and allow structures of the party to be manipulated to produce candidates for 2023? Time will tell. The struggle to make APC a progressively democratic party must not be surrendered to forces of reaction acting as political bullies!
This position does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum.
Dear APC Delegates Please Elect The Aspirant With The Least Baggage As Candidate For President III
In the first and the second part of this patriotic effort I was able to put a total 16 of the 23 Presidential Aspirants in the APC to the mill, and it has been a worthy task. As I conclude this assignment by passing the remaining 7 through the crucible, I crave the indulgence of our Esteemed Delegates, our Party men and women to put Country first by electing the best of the pack.
Our great Party must realize that Nigerians are unanimous in the quest for a republic where competency, capacity and commitment to new values in leadership is the summum bonum. We must put before Nigerians a candidate that understands the urgency of now. We must put before Nigerians a candidate that is passionate and committed to resetting Nigeria. And we must put before Nigerians a candidate that is beyond the prejudice of religion and region, indeed Nigeria is in dire need of an urbane leader that is committed to forging a rainbow coalition centred on competency and capacity, and possessing the kindred spirit needed to re-fix, reshape and rework Nigeria.
Kindly journey through the mill with me as I lay bare my thoughts on the remaining 7 Aspirants believing that together we shall arrive at the one with the least baggage, and the one that not only can win the election for our great Party, but a candidate that will aggregate our God given potentials for greatness.
IKEOBASI MOKELU. The Presidential Aspiration of this former Minister of Information and Culture in the Abacha Administration, and Convener of the ISTANDWITHBUHARI movement is somewhat of a surprise to Party faithfuls and close watchers of our politics. He was the last person to pick the APC Presidential Nomination Form, and has been very quiet since then. The fact that he has remained largely silent is a huge baggage because it speaks to his seriousness as an Aspirant. He comes across as one of those believed to be in the race for some sort of political relevance, and or consideration.
TEIN JACK-RICH. This Billionaire Businessman, owner of Belema Oil, and top player in the Oil Sector is a brilliant gentleman and philanthropist. He comes in with the baggage of deep elitism and appears hugely and largely distant from the grassroots. He is apparently very far from the Party faithfuls and structure. However his passion for a new Nigeria cannot be ignored.
AHMAD LAWAN. He is the President of the Senate. His late entrance into the race has thrown up several conjectures. He comes in with a huge baggage, one of them puts him out as an unwilling horse drafted into the race by certain Godfathers for egocentric end. The second is that his ambition pitches the Governors in the Party against members of the National Assembly. The third is that he is seen as one who superintends over a National Assembly that appears very subservient to the whims and caprices of the Executive. He also has no visible campaign structure outside his State. He is thus regarded as a paperweight that cannot take the Party to victory should he become the Presidential candidate of the Party, and that is a very huge burden.
KAYODE FAYEMI. He is the Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). He is urbane, intellectually sound and charismatic. But he comes into the race with a huge baggage, aside from Ekiti, the political strength of Fayemi in his geopolitical zone, the Southwest is limited. He doesn’t have visible political structures outside his State. Despite being the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum no Governor appears to have endorsed his ambition. He also comes in with the baggage thrown at him by the former Chairman of the Party Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who alleged that he tried to get him Oshiomole to commit electoral fraud.
IBIKUNLE AMOSUN. This former Governor of Ogun State is one of the three presidential aspirants from the State. He is a seasoned politician that is believed to have the ears of Mr President. However in the race for the Presidential Ticket of our great Party, he comes in with a huge baggage, he cannot be said to be serious when he is currently at loggerheads with the APC Governor of his home State, Dapo Abiodun, and may not get the support of delegates from his State. He is also not known to have built formidable political structures outside Ogun State, he is therefore no threat to the leading contenders and may not be able to galvanize a formidable political machine to win the Presidency for our great Party come 2023.
DAVE UMAHI. This ebullient gentleman is the Governor of Ebonyi State. He was the first Aspirant from the Southeast to declare for the presidency. He has a good record of performance, but at the national stage he is a political paperweight, and considering the weight of a Presidential contest, the Party’s chance of winning the 2023 election may be slim should Umahi become the candidate. Yet another baggage is the fact that he is not very trusted by the people of the South East. He is also involved in huge battles of wit with several political forces in his home State, and his popularity quotient is thin and may not win the Presidency for our great Party if given the ticket.
GODSWILL AKPABIO. The former two term Governor of Akwa Ibom State, former Senator and former Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry comes in with very huge baggage. He is believed to be high handed and arrogant, and he is at war on several fronts with political forces within and outside the Party. As a Minister not only was he not forthright with the forensic investigation of the books of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, he did not keep to the promise of ensuring that the NDDC Board is reconstituted. The EFCC also alleges that his tenure as Governor of Akwa Ibom State is soiled with corruption. He is seen as brash and unable to galvanize the Party in the South South, he may be a huge electoral burden should he emerge as the Presidential candidate of our great Party.
YAHAYA BELLO. He is the youngest serving Governor in today’s Nigeria. Yahaya Adoza Bello is the Governor of Kogi State. He joined the race far ahead of most of the Aspirants, and has remained consistent and passionate about his vision for a new Nigeria. He comes in with a contrived baggage, some say that ‘he does not pay salary’, as untrue as that may be, you find political opponents within the Party pushing this narrative so as to diminish his chances of winning the ticket, but like a colossus he has continued to reach out to delegates and to Nigerians with his MASTER PLAN for Nigeria. He is arguably the most visible of all the Presidential Aspirants, and considering the present challenge of insecurity across the nation, being the best performing Governor in the area of Security, in the area of Financial Responsibility and Fiscal Discipline, and in the area of Youth Inclusiveness and Gender parity, the ace is apparently his. As you decide, Dear Delegates, do not forget that the surge in the Party membership far above the number of the major opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party PDP happened when Governor Yahaya Bello GYB was the Chairman of the Mobilisation and Sensitisation Committee of the Party, remember how he transversed the nation wooing members to the Party, and to his credit the registration and revalidation exercise of our great Party became a monumental success. Without equivocation, the tenacity and doggedness he brings to the race has won him the hearts of many party members. And he is arguably the Aspirant with the largest number of support groups across the nation. He is on account of age, competency and capacity the candidate to watch, and considering the urgency of now, including the call of Young people and Women for a new tendency in governance, I implore our Esteemed Delegates to look the way of GYB. He is young, vibrant, intelligent, energetic, and he has the competency and the capacity to birth and berth the Nigeria of our dreams.
He is the only Aspirant of the lot that has presented a manifesto and a work plan to the people, he is apparently the most serious and the most prepared, and I wish him well.
May the Almighty guide and grant you the courage to do that which is forthright, trite and right. God Bless Nigeria.
Chabor Musa Nyamgul.
Dear APC Delegates Please Elect The Aspirant With The Least Baggage As Candidate For President (II)
In the first series of this effort I put 8 of the Aspirants seeking the APC Presidential Ticket to the crucible, indeed this exercise houses no grudge or bias, it is but a didactic and patriotic effort at ensuring that the esteemed delegates of our great Party the APC choose the best person to fly the flag of the Party in the 2023 Presidential election.
The Ruling Party must realize that so much is expected of us by Nigerians, and largely the delegates are the ones in the eye of the storm. You owe Nigeria and Nigerians a great responsibility which is chiefly to elect a Presidential Candidate that understands the urgency of now, and one that connects with the aggregate demand for a new deal and a new Nigeria. And I believe that you will do justice to this onerous task.
Here are my candid analysis of the chances ditto the baggage of some more Aspirants within the APC if by Jove our Dear Delegates would do that which is forthright, trite and right.
DIMEJI BANKOLE. This former Speaker of the 6th House of Representatives that has been largely silent and quiet since he left the National Assembly comes in as not only an unwilling horse, but as one who is not seriously interested in the contest. The fact that he is not campaigning at all or reaching out to delegates gives the impression that the gamble of 100m naira for the APC Presidential Nomination Form may be an expensive gambit for political relevance and visibility. That he is seen as one of the pretenders with perhaps a different motive is a huge baggage.
ROCHAS OKOROCHA. This two-term former Governor of Imo State is one of the Aspirants from the Southeast. He is not in anyway an unwilling horse, this attempt being his fourth. He however comes in with the huge baggage of allegedly corruptly enriching himself, his family and proxies whilst in office as the Governor of Imo State, his cases with the EFCC speaks to that. He’s also accused by his successor Governor Hope Uzodinma of being behind the rising insecurity in Imo State. And as the immediate past Governor of the State in the same Political Party as the incumbent the raging disharmony in the Party in State is another huge baggage.
UJU KENNEDY. Is the only female Aspirant in the race for the APC Presidential Ticket. Her vision, courage and strength is salutary, however the absence of political visibility, impact and capital is a huge baggage as the quest for the high office of President is not a turf for those not known to have had any serious or radical impact on the socio-political amphitheatre.
NICHOLAS FELIX. This good looking US-based Clergyman is the youngest Presidential Aspirant in the fray. He is largely unknown and comes in with the baggage of one seemingly seeking political relevance, and one that colours him as one of the pretenders having failed to effectively put before the people and the delegates his vision for Nigeria. If he builds on the mention of the present bid, he is perhaps a candidate for the future.
KEN NNAMANI. A former President of the Senate who led the popular rejection of President Obasanjo’s 3rd Term bid by the National Assembly. He comes in with an uncanny baggage as many see his attempt at occupying the country’s highest office as a race to nowhere. Only last March he lost the bid to become the Deputy National Chairman of our great party thus underscoring the depth of his popularity within the Party, therefore putting him forward to fly the Party’s flag in the 2023 Presidential contestation will most likely do the Party great disservice.
BEN AYADE. This former Senator who is presently rounding up his second term as Governor of Cross River State would perhaps not be seen as a serious contender but for the N100 million he paid for the nomination form. He comes in with the baggage of one seeking to remain politically relevant after his tenure. Clearly, not reaching out to the people and the delegates of our great Party the APC presents him as being in the presidential race for negotiation to become Vice President should the Presidential candidate come from the North.
MOHAMMED BADARU. This urbane gentleman and the serving Governor of the State of Jigawa is one of the many Presidential Aspirants whose entry into the race is viewed with much curiousity. He comes in with the baggage that defines his late indication of interest to run for President as one primed for political relevance and perhaps for consideration for the Vice Presidential Ticket should the APC Presidential Candidate come from the South little wonder he appears not to be reaching out to the people and to the delegates of our great Party.
AJAYI BOROFFICE. This good looking and eloquent Senator from Ondo State comes in as an underdog in the APC presidential race. The baggage he comes in with is that he is perceived by many as seeking to gain prominence and relevance as one of those who ran for the Presidential Ticket of the Party, this baggage is hinged on his rather quiet approach to the race.
Dear Delegates of our great Party, I shall in a few days put before you the conclusion of this effort as I assess the last batch of Presidential Aspirants, however it is my candid plea that you give primacy to the call to put before Nigerians a candidate with great love, passion and commitment to birth and berth a New Nigeria. We must put our best foot forward and the linchpin must be competency and capacity, for the time to reset, re-fix and rework Nigeria is now. God Bless Nigeria.
Chabor Musa Nyamgul.
2023: Abia ADC Governorship Candidate, Bishop Onuoha Unveils 11-Point Agenda
A governorship aspirant under the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Abia state, Bishop (Dr) Sunday Ndukwo Onuoha, has unveiled an 11-points agenda to turn around the fortunes of the state.
Onuoha, while addressing the media yesterday said he decided to run for the post of the governor, following calls from groups, stakeholders, eminent personalities, market women, artisans, youths, student groups, among others.
The philanthropist said he is the the governor that the people of Abia have been praying for, having garnered wealth of experience in administration, business, public and private sector, of course and in the religious sector.
He said, “Over the years, we have failed as a people to identify leaders who can heal our land – I am here to serve ndi Abia with all my strength and knowledge. Over the years, we have failed as a people to identify and utilize our abundant human resources – I am that unifier that will galvanize Ndi Abia professionals for the common good of our people.
“Today, I wish to officially announce that I am the Gubernatorial Aspirant of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), a political party which is currently the 3rd largest political party in Nigeria with regards to national spread and the 4th political party in Nigeria with regard to the number of elected positions occupied by ADC in Nigeria.”
He noted that his eleven point agenda will dwell on “Security and Social Welfare, digital economy and information technology Transformation, transparency and accountability, international relations/development agencies, job creation/youth and women empowerment, agriculture and rural development.”
Others are; “Participatory governance, education for sustainable development, accessible basic health for all, trade and commerce, and faith community for development.”
Read the full speech:
FORMAL ADDRESS BY BISHOP DR. SUNDAY NDUKWO ONUOHA;
ABIA STATE GUBERNATORIAL ASPIRANT OF THE AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (ADC), AT THE MEDIA PARLEY WITH JOURNALISTS
FRIDAY 20TH OF MAY, 2022.
Protocols and Formalities:
The State Chairman of ADC,
Members of the ADC State Working Committee (SWC),
ADC Chairman & Executives of L.G.A,
ADC Ward Chairmen & Executives,
Party faithful of our party ADC,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen . . .
I humbly welcome each and every one of you to this media parley; and thank you for honoring the invitation to be here today, and at this time, regardless of your personal and professional schedules. Your presence here portrays, first of all, the love you have for the state – our dear Abia. Your presence also shows that you believe it is possible to renew, transform, redeem and cleanse our dear Abia State. I appreciate your first show of confidence and immediately promise that your collective trust for me will not be misplaced.
Permit me to introduce myself to you once more. I am Sunday Ndukwo Onuoha. I joined the ministry at a very young age in 1983, and was consecrated a Bishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria in 2006, having served as the first Bishop of Evangelism at the Lagos Headquarters for many years. I hold a Doctorate Degree from the Southern Methodist University (SMU), after my Masters Degree from the same institution, and then studied Infrastructural Development at Harvard University.
You can describe me as a humble servant of God, and of the faith communities represented in and around Abia State. I am an Administrator, Educationist, Technocrat and an Entrepreneur. Philanthropy is a deep passion close to my heart, as I have championed the cause of the indigent, the voiceless, and the disadvantaged; not just from a sense of duty, but from a sense of service to God, without which my worship and reverence of the Almighty would be incomplete.
People who know me closely call me “the Bishop of the Masses”, a name I may have earned from the way and manner I reach out, look out for, and do my best to address the core needs that will improve the people around me. For I believe that humanity feel pain and loss the same way; and regardless of our strata in the ladder called society, our hierarchy of needs are still basic and mundane.
REASON FOR THIS MEDIA PARLEY
My party leaders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen of the press, you may recall that a few months ago, a group called Cleanse and Clean Abia Group (CACAG) issued a press release demanding that I make myself available to run for the office of the Governor of Abia State in the forthcoming 2023 Abia Governorship Election. That call by Cleanse and Clean Abia Group (CACAG) ; opened up as it were, a floodgate of similar calls by Abia stakeholders, eminent personalities, market women, artisans, youths, student groups, Ndi Abia in Diaspora and friends of Abia State. At first, I went about my life ignoring the calls, the burden of leadership, and what I thought may mean distractions.
A personal friend and fellow Bishop, asked me to look beyond the calls and see the opportunity in addressing the real needs of Abians.
I have retreated into deep prayerful thoughts; I have given this a series of personal reflections, I have consulted widely and held meetings with a vast selection of stakeholders; and I have found out that Ndi Abia want change, and a re-direction to the path of development, a redeeming from the old trends of governance, and a cleansing that will ensure ourselves and our children can dance to the song of hope and thanksgiving.
I had humbly expressed my hesitations to a few close friends, considering to hearken to the desire of Ndi Abia; and immediately, I gave my nod and consent, a group of friends and associates contributed funds and purchased my Governorship Nomination and Expression of Interest Form. As if pushing me from the precipice, this kind gesture humbled me and at the same time gave me the assurance that I have the support of the critical mass of Ndi Abia in this gubernatorial journey. To all who contributed and still contribute time, money, energy and resources for this task, I assure you that I do not take your support for granted.
Change is possible, but it is a journey we all must be resolute to take. Unanimous in our believe that your call for me to contest, will not be wasted. We will win together, and hold hands in victory, as I walk with you to lead our dear Abia state to positive transformation.
Without sounding immodest, I am that Governor ndi Abia have been praying for. I have garnered wealth of experience in administration, business, public and private sector, of course, in the religious sector, which is my place of primary assignment, calling and ministry. Let me be the balm and solution to the challenges in Abia State.
Over the years, we have failed as a people to identify leaders who can heal our land – I am here to serve ndi Abia with all my strength and knowledge. Over the years, we have failed as a people to identify and utilize our abundant human resources – I am that unifier that will galvanize ndi Abia professionals for the common good of our people.
I will not mince words in saying this – this is not the time to sound ‘politically correct’, rather it is time to address the pains and sufferings of our people which is what compelled me to join the race. Bishop Desmond Tutu once told me. . . “Sunday if African Faith leaders and men of character do not actively participate in politics, Africa will soon be governed by idiots”. We can do better in Abia, if we all rise up and say “E Don Do!”.
Today, I wish to officially announce that I am the Gubernatorial Aspirant of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), a political party which is currently the 3rd largest political party in Nigeria with regards to national spread and the 4th political party in Nigeria with regard to the number of elected positions occupied by ADC in Nigeria.
Interestingly, the motto of ADC is “Arise and Shine”, and it personally resonates with me because the Christian scriptures in Matthew 5:14 says that a light cannot be hidden under a bushel; and this is synonymous with our joint desire to arise, reclaim, transform and restore the shining light of our dear State, Abia, as the city on a hill.
The mission, vision, manifesto and core values of ADC is in tandem with our desire to enthrone the Abia State of our dreams. Today too, I will equally share with you a brief summary of the Abia of my dream; perhaps it will resonate with you too as you envision it in your mind’s-eye.
THE ABIA OF MY DREAM!
Abia State was created on the 27th day of August, 1991. According to the 2006 census, Abia State population is estimated to be about three to four million people. Abia State is blessed with large deposit of oil, gas and other mineral resources. Abia State is blessed with abundant human resources. Over the years, the challenge has been how to elect a leader who can transform and restore the glory of Abia State as God’s own State. Our leadership recruitment process has been wrongly driven. The hour has come to liberate Abia State. The time is now. Ndi Abia, history beckons!
Having crisscrossed all parts of Abia State, I can humbly tell you that I know the issues, problems and challenges amongst my people. I have sat and talked to, and sometimes felt the ache of a people who want nothing more than a change from the bleak status-quo. After a solemn mediation about our dear State, I have developed and summarized an 11 -point agenda which covers all critical sectors of our life as a people, and I believe that addressing these needs will transform this city as we hoist our light high on the hilltop and shine proudly like we are truly meant to.
These 11-point agenda are:
- Security and Social Welfare
- Digital Economy and Information Technology Transformation
- Transparency and Accountability
- International Relations/Development Agencies
- Job Creation/Youth and Women Empowerment
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Participatory Governance
- Education for sustainable development
- Accessible Basic Health for All
- Trade and Commerce
- Faith Community for Development
Ladies and gentlemen, I take these 11-point agenda as my covenant and my social contract with Ndi Abia.
First, the primary essence of governance is the security and welfare of the people. It is a key score-card for governments globally. This is because a working economy must be propelled by people whose lives, dreams and aspirations are secured and well protected. Our immediate aim will be to provide an all-rounded secure package by first minimizing the risk of insecurity on our economy in Abia. Closely tied to this is to ensure an easy and accessible social services welfare scheme for the assistance of disadvantaged groups, as we finetune ways to critically address food security for our people.
With a secure Abia state, I and my team shall work in creating a digital economy and information technological transformation. For example, we are going to create a technology hub that will make Abia State the Silicon Valley of Nigeria. We shall digitize the way we trade in Ariaria and the way government functions, thus opening up our State to the huge benefits accruable in an ever-growing digital world.
To achieve these dreams, there is need for transparency and accountability. If elected as Governor, I shall lead the charge for transparency and accountability. I shall lead by example and ensure due process in all affairs of state. You can count on Sunday Ndukwo Onuoha, God being my witness, to stretch the value of our resources, and be open in my stewardship, to my people.
We need the collaboration and partnership of well-meaning international bodies, development agencies, Ndi Abia in diaspora, all men and women of goodwill as we explore the poverty challenges facing our state. Therefore, we shall operate a participatory system of Governance which provides room to analyze your ideas and suggestions, as we consider the interconnection between politics, economy and the law. Regardless of one’s political/faith leanings or place of origin, my team and I shall never discriminate or create room for discord.
Job Creation and Youths/Women Empowerment, will be another milestone on our scorecard. We will ensure the provision of new opportunities for paid employment, especially for our youths, women, children and the disabled community. We will strive to create enabling business environments to support job creation, enhance youth empowerment, and facilitate skill acquisition opportunities for unemployed youths and women, while providing start up grants/equipments for each and every trainee.
On Agriculture and rural development; when elected as the Governor of Abia State, I and my team shall bring back the golden days of Agricultural revolution championed by our dear late Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara. We shall reintroduce Agricultural extension workers; introduce mechanized farming, provide modern day facilities and infrastructure in our rural communities. This will stem the tide of rural-urban migration and increase participation of ndi Abia in Agriculture.
The Abia of my dream will provide quality, accessible and subsidized education (SDG 4); because we recognize that with education, we make an upward socioeconomic mobility that is a key to escaping poverty. Our out-of-school youths litter the streets; it is time we cure the eyesore these has become to us, and I shall declare a state of emergency on education in Abia, to ensure that every child of school going age must be in school. Never before have so many children been out of school at the same time, disrupting learning and upending lives, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized.
I think it is enough! E don do!
To address the poor state of health management in Abia, we will implement a special social contract for health development aimed at helping us achieve the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG3) by the year 2030. It will be our mandate to reduce the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to less than less 200 per 100,000 Live Births. We will do everything possible to prevent our mothers and wives from dying while trying to give life. To reduce neonatal mortality rate and under five-year old mortality rate; to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. To achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and empower every resident in Abia State to be able to purchase health services through a universal MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE. All of these, while ensuring that every Primary Health Center (PHC) is well equipped with medical equipments, resident Doctors and Nurses. In due time, I shall publicize the full details of our full social contract on health development for Abia.
In the area of Trade and Commerce, I shall restore the glorious days of Aba, the commercial nerve center of Abia State. I will do this with intentional and deliberate approach which shall include: evacuating the age long heaps of waste in Aba, reconstruct the entire Aba roads with proper drainage channels, light up Aba and bring back night life/trading, ensure adequate security, provide grants for upcoming entrepreneurs and create enabling circumstances and environment for business to thrive in the entire Abia State.
Evidently, a faith community for development is necessary in our quest to transform Abia state. Therefore, when given the mandate to lead ndi Abia, I and my team shall nurture a faith community, a community that believes that a functional, caring and responsible government is possible. This will require value reorientation, awareness, and social orientation. It will also require accountability and transparency in sharing the dividends of democracy to ndi Abia. It will require honesty on the part of government. With these in place, ndi Abia will renew their faith in governance and join hands with the government for the benefit of all. I pledge to do all these when given the mandate to lead our people.
This is just a glimpse into the many milestones I want to achieve with ndi Abia. In few months time, we shall invite you to witness the unveiling of our manifesto which embodies these 11-point agenda elaborately.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me thank each and every one of you for the patience so far. I pray that God will lead each of you safely to your various destinations. I am grateful for the honor you accord me.
God Bless Ndi Abia.
Blessings to one and all!
Bishop Dr. Sunday Ndukwo Onuoha
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