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2023: Presidential aspirant, Onochie dumps PDP, adduces reasons

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A 2023 presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Orefo Nnamdi Onochie, has announced withdrawal of his membership of the main opposition party in Nigeria.

Onochie,  ex-Nigerian envoy to Algeria and Phillipines, in a statement on Tuesday, hinged his sudden decision on the alleged abandonment of Article 7.2(c) of the PDP constitution by the national leadership which provided zoning and rotation of positions and offices in the party, especially the presidential ticket among the geopolitical zones of the country.

He alleged that few elites within the PDP fold have hijacked and dominated the party and are bent and determined to destroy the former ruling party and mangle the destiny of Nigeria if their personal political ambitions and interests are not accepted, regretting that despite several statements issued to national leadership of the PDP, and also stringent effort made by his likes  to forestall the jettisoning of the Article 7.2(c) as contained in the party’s constitution, the party defiled owned rules.

According to him, “this situation imperils the party, and Nigeria. It is in light of that situation that I have withdrawn my membership of the party”.

The presidential hopeful also stated that he shall inform Nigerians on the political party to continue and sustain his presidential ambition on, and further reiterated on his  primary presidential goals which include, “to restructure Nigeria and prosper all our people, to reduce the cost of living in Nigeria by 32 per cent in the first instance, zero corruption and zero foreign loans.”

Onochie assured all Nigerians and his ardent supporters that his overriding interest is preservation of the Nigeria’s national ethos, unity and territorial integrity and sustain politics and voice by associating with a political party that desires to solidify the unity and prosperity for all Nigerian citizens, not those who desire to dominate sections of the country, or further divide or denigrate the nation.

“I urge you to continue to support my aspiration to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from May 29, 2023. Ensure that your voter card is duly validated and vote for your conscience, not  for discredited political moneybags”, the party chieftain concluded.

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2023: INEC cautions political parties on manipulated primaries

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Tuesday cautioned political parties against non-transparent primaries in order to sustain Nigeria’s democracy.

FCT INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Alhaji Yahaya Bello, made the call at the Stakeholders Interactive Session in Respect of the Forthcoming Political Party Congresses and Primaries in Abuja.

According to him, the call became imperative because a good and credible election begins with a transparent and credible party primaries crowned with internal democracy.

He recalled that during the just concluded FCT Area Council Election, the results of some primaries conducted were very seriously contested and challenged in litigations that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

“This put the commission under a lot of strain and stress and the political parties as well.

“We wish to therefore passionately remind all political parties that they are supposed to be very critical stakeholders and partners of INEC and should join in our zeal to entrench and sustain democracy in the nation.

“Political Parties are, therefore, urged to play their expected part by ensuring that party internal democracy is very well orchestrated by making your congresses and primaries more transparent, fair and acceptable by your members.’’

Bello said that the party congresses and primaries were billed to start on April 4, 2022 to June 3, 2022 to enable all parties to praticalize their internal democracy as required by section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended.

He said that there was also a need to bring some burning issues to the attention of political parties.

He said that the stack of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in INEC’s custody dating as far back as the 2019 registration exercise was worrisome.

The REC said that apart from the space being consumed in storing the PVCs, there was also a need to consider the huge amount of funds expended in their production.

Bello said that there was also the issue of then congested Polling Units (Pus) with the number of voters ranging from 100 to 300 that prompted INEC to expand the voter access polling units by creating other Pus at close range.

He said that unfortunately, this had largely resulted in the problem of zero Pus ,a situation where the Pus existed without any registered voter .

“We would crave your indulgence to assist in educating the masses on the need to opt to be moved to the new Pus.

“This is to decongest the existing crowded ones and make voting faster and less cumbersome during elections.’’

Bello said that it was disheartening to note the near absence of a tangible number of registered voters at polling stations on Election Day.

He therefore called on political parties to assist INEC in sensitizing the electorate to ensure that all these challenges identified were curbed ahead of the 2023 elections.

Representing the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Operations, Bernard Igwe, advised political parties to play by the rules during party primaries.

Bernard said that the Police Force and other security agencies would still remain friends of electoral stakeholders in the forthcoming elections.

“We did it all during the Area council election, I think it is one of the fairest and one of the best Area Council elections conducted in FCT.

“You saw our deployments last week; the national chairman of INEC was pleased because of the conduct of the area council election in the FCT.

“It goes to all of us, you saw like deployments, once you play by the rules, we don’t have a problem with you.

“Play the game by the rules, the security agencies have no problem with you, we are going to support democracy.

“We have agreed to make sure that democracy succeeds in Nigeria and we are going to assist and do whatever  we can to ensure  security before ,during and after every elections in Nigeria.’’

Igwe said that the police had already mapped out its plans to ensure security and property in the FCT during the 2023 elections and advised political parties to be clear on their representatives.

A representative of the National Orientation Agency ,FCT Directorate (NOA), Mr Nnamdi Ekeoba, said that NOA had been partnering with INEC throughout all the electoral processes and activities .

Ekeoba said that with NOA’s presence in all the six area councils had made it possible to reach the masses across FCT.

“We have been doing our best to sensitize the voters, especially in this ongoing voter registration exercise.

“We have been sensitizing the voters to come out to register and we promise INEC that as soon as the continuous voters’ registration ends, NOA will still testify effort to mobilize the voters to come out and pick their PVC,” he said

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PDP gets new secretariat in Lagos

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The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has got a new secretariat for the running of the party’s activities.

The Chapter’s Publicity Secretary, Hakeem Amode, in a statement issued Tuesday in Lagos, indicated that the party’s new secretariat is now situated at No 132b, Agege Motor Road, Old Abeokuta Road.

“The party has relocated its secretariat from Adekunle Fajuyi GRA Ikeja to 132b Agege Motor road, Old Abeokuta Road, next to Total Filling Station, Zik Bus Stop.

According to him, the move to a new secretariat became necessary due to the need for more space.

Amode, therefore, urged all correspondence to be directed to the new address and noted that henceforth all party activities will take place at the new secretariat.

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