AS the rank of contenders for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continues to swell, the party, on Wednesday, announced the extension of sale of expression of interest and nomination forms for intending aspirants till May 10.
Following the extension, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), in a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, disclosed that according to the revised timetable issued by the national organising secretary, Sulaiman Muhammad Argungu, the last day for submission of completed forms and accompanying documents is Wednesday, May 11.
The statement further disclosed that “congresses to elect local government area (LGA), state and national delegates will now be held from Thursday, May 12 to Saturday, May 14.
The development is coming as former national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole; Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, declared their intention for the coveted seat.
Also on Wednesday, Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, picked up the expression of interest and nomination forms for presidential ticket at the national secretariat of the party.
A former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is expected to declare for presidency at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, today, where he will unveil his agenda. Also, the Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, will formally declare for president on Monday.
In a notice circulated on social media platforms, Bakare’s presidential declaration is also scheduled to hold at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
Making his presidential declaration on Wednesday, Oshiomhole, at the Cyprian Ekwensi Ekwensi House in Abuja, appealed to Nigerians to stop lamenting on the state of the nation but take steps to redress the situation.
He said if given the opportunity to pick the APC ticket at its May convention and Nigerians trust him with their votes in 2023, he would give priority to job creation in order to eradicate poverty.
The former Edo State governor specifically said under his administration, about 20 million jobs would be created across the country, as he noted that “when Nigerians have decent jobs, it would be illogical to carry Ak-47 around.”
He said he would encourage the country to produce what its citizens will eat while, at the same time, he would revive moribund factories to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
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Oshiomhole also promised to engage with all stakeholders in the education sector and ensure that all the problems bedeviling the sector are eradicated.
He assured that with his background as former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), he would engage the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) and resolve the impasse.
Fayemi, at his declaration held at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, told the gathering of his supporters and traditional rulers from his home state that he took the decision to throw his hat into the ring after extensive consultations with elder statesmen and stakeholders in the ruling party.
The chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum confessed that the nation is facing challenges in the area of economy, security and apparent threat to its nationhood as a result of mutual ethnic suspicion foisted on its citizens.
He said his determination to revive hope in the country, turn around the economic fortunes of its citizenry and confront, frontally, the security challenge informed his decision to seek for the presidential ticket of his party.
He assured Nigerians that with purposeful leadership, hope can be restored, economic growth could be stimulated while the disconnect between the government and despondent Nigerians could be addressed positively.
He said: “Despair is easy to spread. Hope can be daunting to sustain. And faith can be severely shaken. But while the night may be long, the dawn must come – and it always does.
“I offer myself as the leadership figure who is willing and primed to work with you, beloved compatriots, to launch and drive the hard work of surmounting difficult times, fostering trust and building bridges with a view to carrying us in unity, equity and justice into our new dawn of progress and prosperity.”
He said if given the ticket, he would lead the implementation of a holistic and integrated response to the multifaceted security crises confronting the country.
He also promised deliberate expansion of employment opportunities, youth entrepreneurship, skills development, and innovation, support to the weak and vulnerable such as being done in Ekiti State for the elderly and women’s socioeconomic empowerment.
Speaking at the event, the Onisan of Isan Ekiti who is the chairman of Ekiti State Traditional Rulers Council, Oba Gabriel Adejumo, assured Governor Fayemi of the support of sons and daughters of the state.
Among dignitaries who graced the presidential declaration were former Ogun State governor and senator representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun; Ekiti State governorship candidate for June election, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji and serving federal lawmakers from the South-West state in the National Assembly.
At the Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Akpabio, on Wednesday, standing before a crowd which cut across party divides, said, “my dear compatriots, determined to pay the debt of gratitude I owe our nation for the opportunities to serve in high offices of public trust; determined to let our nation drink from the deep well of experience acquired in these offices, I, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, with great humility, hereby submit myself for your kind consideration as your next president.”
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for giving hope and direction to governance, adding that he has come to perfect what Buhari had started.
“The labours of our dear President Buhari and our past leaders shall never be in vain. In line with this expectation in our National Anthem, I have come to build based on their developmental strides; to serve our country with heart and might — serve her as a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity, where the dividends of democracy shall be guaranteed.
“I have come with these key items on my agenda: to secure lives and properties; to make unity the touchstone of our nationhood and to invigorate our economy, prosper our citizenry and promote democracy.”
Governor Badaru, who had earlier convened an emergency APC state caucus meeting at Dutse Government House, where he announced his intention to join the presidential race a day after his return from lesser hajj, got assurance of the caucus members and proceeded to Abuja to obtain his forms.
The source in the meeting told the Nigerian Tribune that Governor Badaru informed the APC members that his decision had the blessing of President Buhari and leaders of the party at the national level.
PDP postpones LG congresses
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has approved the postponement of the Party’s Local Government Congress to elect one National Delegate from each of to areas earlier scheduled for today (Thursday).
A statement issued by Hon. Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary on Wednesday said a new date for the LGA Congress will be announced in due course.
It noted that the NWC regretted any inconveniences the postponement may have caused and advised all leaders, critical stakeholders and members of the party across the country should please take note.
The party has also annulled the 3-man Ad-Hoc Delegate Congress purportedly conducted in Ebonyi State Wednesday.
A separate statement by the party national spokesman said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the said 3-man Ad-Hoc Delegate Congress in Ebonyi State on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 is by law, null and void and as such unrecognized.
“This is because such Congresses are by law, subject to be monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which in this case, was not available to monitor the exercise.
“Based on the unavailability of INEC to monitor the exercise today, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, the NWC rescheduled the conduct of the 3-man Ad-Hoc Delegates Congress in Ebonyi State for Thursday, May 5, 2022.
“All members of our Party in Ebonyi State should therefore discountenance any exercise conducted on Wednesday May 4, 2022 as the PDP 3-man Ad-Hoc Delegates Congress in Ebonyi State will duly hold on Thursday, May 5 2022.”