The presidential primary elections of political parties in Nigeria may have come and gone, but surely, the gimmicks and fireworks witnessed are yet to wane.
The drama may seem to have faded now that the primaries have been concluded, but the heat is on, the pressure is high and the intrigues are starting to unfold following consultations, permutations and horse-trading over whom the presidential flagbearers of the major parties will pick as running mates. The search is on and indeed, it has reached fever pitch.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, June 9, 2022, gave Friday, June 17, 2022, as a deadline for political parties to submit the names of their Presidential candidates and running mates or face disqualification.
It also issued Friday July 15, 2022 as a deadline for the parties to submit names of gubernatorial candidates and their running mates.
Submission of names will be via INEC’s portal, and names must be uploaded on or before the deadline, after which the portal will automatically shut down.
According to the electoral umpire, the idea was established to avoid physical meetings that might occur between party officials and the commission’s staff to submit the list of Party Presidential and gubernatorial candidates as well as their running mates for the 2023 general election.
In the search for the Vice President (VP) slot for the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some governors elected under the party are scheming to be picked. They are believed to want to play a major role.
Events in the party suggest it’s a battle between Nyesom Wike and Ifeanyi Okowa of Rivers state and Delta state respectively; both from the South-South region. It appears no one is thinking beyond governors. None is thinking the way of bringing a technocrat on board. Could this be why Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state suggested that a former governor or a current member of the National Assembly will also be a good pick?
Going down some memory lane between 1999 and 2015 when the PDP held power, the party had maintained some political power balance between the north and the south, with presidential candidates and their running mates emerging from the two regional divides. However, not everyone from the PDP feels that the power balancing between the north and south has been fair enough.
For some, they are concerned that the national chairman is from the north, the board of trustees chairman from the north and the Presidential candidate of the party from the north. Yet for them, the surviving adrenaline of the party is in the south.
For others, they felt the PDP has not been fair to the southeast region that had continually thrown their weight completely behind the party. For this reason, some political observers say the region may be unlikely to accept the VP position.
Though some southern candidates were lobbying for the VP, the choice of who becomes the running mate to Atiku Abubakar remains another critical decision the party’s leadership must carefully consider.
Moving to the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), many people are celebrating Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s emergence as the party’s flag bearer. It means the power according to the party shifting to the south.
For the APC, it makes sense to have the president emerge from the south; unfortunately, not the part of the south many had expected it to be. Expectations were that the APC will demonstrate fairness if they believed in one Nigeria; if they believed in the unity, progress and development of the country as they preached. If they truly believed in equity, the opportunity to prove that to people in the southeast would’ve been taken by the party by micro-zoning the Presidency to the southeast.
One may ask how this is related to the search for the party’s presidential flagbearer’s running mate.
But then, ask no more because this portrays the APC as a party willing to take risks in the race to retain power in the coming 2023 general elections. As the permutations intensify for who Bola Tinubu’s running mate will be, the party is believed to be willing to damn certain consequences.
It is no brainer that the APC’s searchlights will be beamed towards the north since their presidential flagbearer is a southerner. But that is not just all; Bola Tinubu is a Muslim and the possibility of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is a puzzle the APC must solve as fast as possible. Is the APC ready to damn another consequence? Will the party be insensitive to pick a ticket that will further polarize the nation along religious lines? Have they looked in hindsight to the outcome of the MKO Abiola/Kingibe Muslim-Muslim ticket in 1993?
While political party members are kicking against a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Nasir El Rufai believes competence is vital for a running mate, not religion. However, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned the two leading political parties to bury the thought of a Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 elections. Will the major political parties then ignore the big elephant in the room as their search for running mate intensifies? Time will tell.
If they decide not to ignore the big elephant in the room, this will mean that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will be in search of a Christian Southerner since he is from the north, while the candidate of the ruling APC, Bola Tinubu a southerner, may be combing for a Northern Christian.
For Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate flagbearer, analysts believe his running mate will be from the northern part of the country, probably a Muslim, given that he is from the southern region and a Christian.
Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) is believed to be contemplating picking the party’s vice-presidential candidate from the south of Nigeria while following similar conditions with the PDP.
But unlike other presidential flagbearers, Obi has the power to choose his Vice. He will nominate his vice but will be based on the approval of the national convention of the Labour Party.
In the meantime, there is a clear constitutional provision that assigns duties to the VP of the country. She or he is the head of the economic management team; in this case, the National Economic Council, (NEC). Therefore, whoever emerges in terms of the general consideration the political parties should look at, must be somebody who is mentally cerebral, someone who has the mental stability, and who understands the general economic world-view. Political parties should be looking at all the indices
Yes, a lot of the job the VP does is assigned to him by his principal, the president. The VP is to provide a lot of administrative, economic, intellectual and political support to the president from the background without actually being in front. But part of the deal is that the VP should be as good as the president, such that in the event something happens to the president, the VP must have the same capacity to deliver where it becomes necessary.
He must not be a second-class administrator. Does this probably explain why Nigeria has had a history of producing VPs that are many times brighter than their bosses? In terms of academic qualifications, they were matchless. The difference was like day and night.
How about situations where most presidents and most governors hardly work well with their deputies? Most times, this is because deputies are selected by the party based on certain factors like expediency, political calculations or settling a particular zone or region. When such happens, the selected candidate may not be best of friends with the presidential candidate or may not be the presidential candidate’s choice of a favourite either. So, when you see a man the president or governor loves is when he picks chief of staff. This explains why the president works closely with the chief of staff.
There is the proclivity of mutual suspicion between the President and his vice because the president knows that if he dies in office, the vice will be the first replacement. So, deputies are the first suspect and they are kept sometimes at arm’s length. Everything is very formal. There is limited cordiality because you don’t lose your guards with a man you know will take over when you die and nobody wants to die.
But then, mutual suspicion rarely ranks top when political parties go in search of a running mate of a flagbearer. Rather, parties are on the lookout for a candidate who will contribute immensely to winning the election. The candidate must have the needed political clout to swing votes in favour of the party. Else, such a candidate should be one that can bring the needed financial resources that will be contributory to getting the votes for the party during elections.
The true situation remains that the Nigeria 2023 general elections have reached a crucial stage of preparation. The politics of who becomes the running mate to presidential flagbearers of political parties remains a critical decision party hierarchies must carefully consider. It can become the final piece of the jigsaw for any party who gets it right. It can also spell doom if not carefully considered. The time is ticking!
About the Writer
Chukwuemeka Oluka writes in from Enugu, Nigeria. He is a passionate writer, a research enthusiast and a graduate of Electronic and Computer Engineering. He tweets “@Mekus_Oluka” and can be reach via “[email protected]”
RECALP 2022: Nigerian Youths Encouraged to be Involved in the Political Process
In a nation that has her population tilted towards the youths, there has always been a need to have programs and events that are focused towards this demographic – youths.
This has informed the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Province 19, Ogudu Lagos State to have an annual event known as Relationship, Entrepreneurship, Career, Politics Conference (RECALP 2022) recently at the RCCG church auditorium Lagos.
The 8th edition of the RECALP program has been described as timely, topical and relevant in today’s current realities.
This years’ event is tagged “Equipping The Next Generation”, was attended by notable people, corporate industry stakeholders and role models in the society. In his welcome address, the Provincial Youth Pastor of Province 19 of RCCG, Femi Aminu said, “Today, we host the 8th edition of RECALP…at a time like this where people are crying for solutions to national, economic, family and political problems, our youths and young adults must rise up to proffer solutions.
The essence of RECALP is for young people to be prepared and equipped to solve problems. The scripture says in Matthew 5:14, ye are the light of the world, take over and darkness will disappear. Do not give up nor be overtaken by depression but know that there is hope.”
On the challenge facing the nation and ways to proffer solutions which the conference was meant for, Femi added, “it is not about the problems but about how to solve these problems in our various nations. You have to be sent by God to solve these problems. You problem could be a key to your assignment in life.It is time to for us to take our place in every area RECALP stands for.”
In line with the theme of the program, Bisi Olowoyo, the pastor in charge of RCCG Province 19, stated that “In a world today defined as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and with much Ambiguity. We encourage the youth to have the right vision, acquire the right mindset, have proper understanding, to be courage and seek clarity to run the new normal that has emerged post COVID 19…this platform avails you the opportunity to listen to positive news , inspire you to hold on, no matter how tough and impossible the future may seem and motivate you to to greater heights as opposed to the negative news that has become the new norm on out TV stations, internet and other media outlets. The key action is be different and not indifferent in these times.”
Apart from politics and the need for youths to position themselves to be stakeholders and participants in the ongoing political reforms and movements in the country, the even touched on other critical areas of life such as entrepreneurship. This section was made up of various testimonies of participants of the previous years RECALP events who their lives was touched positively. The organisers encouraged youths to be creators on job rather than sitting and hoping for jobs.
The role of social media influencers and how they help in moulding the political and psychological nuances and attitudes of youths where looked into. It was agreed by the speakers that youths must align themselves with the social acceptable norms not what the social media influencers project especially in the area of relationship.
Speaking in this regard and the role family has to play , Gloria Bamiloye, A Full time Christian movies and production minister said ” When it comes to relationship, our children cant be left alone, they cannot do it alone. We parents have to be involved like Abraham and Isaac by allowing God to guide them and we must be interested in their affairs and company they keep. We must show them the way, they might not want to accept but we must be involved and always pray. If they miss it at their young lives, it will affect the country…we are always going to be focused on the word of God and not on the modern culture. We must always involve God and not society and culture. We must allow God here and the church of God should rose up and guide these children.”
“We are involving people from various profession to come equip the next generation. We are inviting people to come and basically share and guide the young ones. This event is about life and how to lead a productive life in all areas of human endeavours. Nigerian youths are equipped in various sectors and we have one of the most talented youths in the world, what is lacking is the space and the youths must seize that space. We also encourage people to participate in the election, they should also vote not based on religion or ethnicity but on the capacity for the individual to deliver”, concluded Olusegun Adeniyi, a seasoned journalist and chairman Editorial Board of Thisday Newspaper and former presidential spokesman
“In a world today defined as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and with much Ambiguity. We encourage the youth to have the right vision, acquire the right mindset, have proper understanding, to be courage and seek clarity to run the new normal that has emerged post COVID 1”
President Buhari’s Democracy Day 2022 Speech
“We must never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of Nigeria’s democracy during 1993…”
In his last Democracy Day speech on June 12 2022 as the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari promises a free, fair and transparent electoral process during the 2023 general elections.
The President’s Democracy Day Speech:
Fellow Nigerians, Today, June The 12th, marks another Democracy Day anniversary and an occasion to celebrate freedom and unity of our Nation.
2. From 1999, we consistently celebrated Democracy Day to mark the end of military rule and the return of power and control into the hands of those freely elected by the people. On this day, Nigerians recommit themselves to ensuring we protect and preserve the ideals of democracy.
3. In 2018, we moved Democracy Day from 29th of May to the 12th of June. This change was to remind all Nigerians of one free election after which the presumed winner along with Nigerians were denied their rights and their choice.
4. On June 12th 1993, Nigerians saw the best in our citizens as we all went out to vote peacefully. By June 24th 1993, we also saw the worst of our leadership as the elections were annulled.
5. We must never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of Nigeria’s democracy during 1993. Their patriotism and peaceful struggle should guide our actions especially when it comes to electing our leaders and holding them accountable, now and in future.
6. Fellow Nigerians this is my last Democracy Day speech as your President. By June 12th, 2023, exactly one year from today, you will already have a new President. I remain committed and determined to ensure that the new President is elected through a peaceful and transparent process.
7. It is important for all of us to remember that June 12th, 2023 will be exactly 30 years from the 1993 Presidential elections. In honour and memory of one of our national heroes for democracy, Chief M.K.O Abiola, GCFR, we must all work together to ensure this transition is done in a peaceful manner.
8. I am hopeful that we can achieve this. The signs so far are positive. Recently, all registered political parties conducted primaries to select their candidates for the 2023 general elections.
9. These primaries were peaceful and orderly. Those who won were magnanimous in their victories. Those who lost were gracious in defeat. And those aggrieved opted to seek judicial justice as opposed to jungle justice.
10. I followed the party primaries closely from the state level to the Presidential level. I was very impressed to see across all the political parties that, most candidates ran issued based campaigns. The language and tone throughout were on the whole measured and controlled.
11. Another positive that came from the 2022 party primaries was the significant increase in women and youth particularly across all parties. I was very pleased to see this development. This augurs well for the future. These trends clearly show the level of maturity our democracy has achieved in the last 23 years.
12. As we move into the general election campaign season, we must sustain this mature attitude to campaigning and ultimately, voting. We must never see it as a “do or die” affair. We must all remember democracy is about the will of the majority. There must be winners and losers.
13. I will therefore take this opportunity on this very special day to ask all candidates to continue running issue focused campaigns and to treat opponents with dignity. As leaders, you must all showcase high character and never forget that the world is watching us and Africa looks up to Nigeria to provide example in governance. The tone you set at the top will surely be replicated in your followers.
14. For the voters, I am pleased to inform you that in the last 7 years, our government across all tiers, has made significant investments to reform and enhance our electoral laws, systems, and processes to safeguard your votes.
15. The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary were and still remain united and committed to ensure these reforms are fully implemented in the 2023 general elections. Fellow Nigerians, your right to choose your government will be preserved and protected.
16. I know many of us are concerned with the rise in insecurity due to terrorist activities in parts of the country. As a government, we are working hard to contain and address these challenges. And ensure that the 2023 general elections are safe and secure for all Nigerians.
17. To achieve this however, we must all contribute. It is not the job of government alone. I ask all citizens to support and cooperate with our security agencies by reporting any suspicious characters and activities to law enforcement agencies. We can only have a safe country if we are able to prevent crime not after the crime has been committed.
18. On this special day, I want us all to put all victims of terrorist activities in our thoughts and prayers. I am living daily with the grief and worry for all those victims and prisoners of terrorism and kidnapping. I and the security agencies are doing all we can to free those unfortunate countrymen and countrywomen safely.
19. For those who have lost their lives, we will continue to seek justice for their families against the perpetrators. For those currently in captivity, we will not stop until they are freed, and their kidnappers are brought to justice. If we all unite, we will be victorious against these agents of terror and destruction.
20. We have reformed some of our security structures. Some of the defence assets we procured three years ago have arrived and have been deployed.
21. Our cyber security and surveillance systems are being upgraded to further enhance our ability to track and trace criminal elements. We are also recruiting and training new personnel across all our security and intelligence agencies to strengthen the country’s over-all security.
22. I will conclude this Democracy Day speech, my last as President, by assuring you of my commitment to protect Nigeria and Nigerians from all enemies from within and outside.
23. I am also promising you a free, fair and transparent electoral process. And I am pleading with all citizens to come together and work with Government to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.
24. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Senator Uche Ekwunife writes Constituents as She Seeks Reelection Under PDP
Senator Uche Ekwunife took to social media account to narrate some of her activities at the Senate while gunning for a reelection in 2023.
Senator Uche Ekwunife of Anambra Central, has penned down a letter to her constituents, telling them about her stewardship at the upper chamber in the National Assembly in the last three years.
Senator Uche Ekwunife took to social media account to narrate some of her activities at the Senate while gunning for a reelection in 2023.
The Senator under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wrote:
On this day three years ago, particularly on the 11th of June 2019, the 9th Senate was inaugurated and I took the oath of office to represent you at the hallowed chambers of the Nigerian Senate – a privilege I can never take for granted.
These past three years have afforded me the rare opportunity of contributing greatly to the development of our Senatorial District and Anambra state at large.
From day one, I set out with a clear vision and purpose which is to be a strong voice in the Senate as well as use the instrumentality of legislation to better the lives of constituents.
The primary purpose of the legislature is to make laws for peace, order and good governance. As legislators we are empowered by law to discharge three basic functions: lawmaking, oversight and representation. These tripartite functions are designed to ensure that while we serve the nation, we are also in a position to attract developmental projects and programmes that will make tangible impact on the lives of our constituents.
On 20th April, 2022, we held our annual stakeholders briefing/town hall meeting in line with our commitment to offer accountable and effective representation. Delivering my address at that auspicious event, I listed some of our achievements in the last three years (See Address: https://bit.ly/3zoLEBI). The event afforded us the opportunity to once again interact with constituents and give account of the mandate you have bestowed on us.
Having served you meritoriously for the last three years leading to my emergence as the candidate of the Official Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Nigeria for the 2023 general elections, I urge you to stand with me and continue to support my quest to transform our Senatorial District.
Let your decision on who will represent our Senatorial District be guided by the antecedents and track record of the individuals who seek your votes as no one can give what he or she does not have.
The contest is not about who will be addressed as Distinguished Senator, but about who has the capacity and competence to attract projects and initiatives that will improve the lots of our people. I want to assure you that I will continue to strive to offer a representation that will improve your lives and that of our children.
Umunnem, it has been a great privilege to serve you in these past years – one that I’m immensely grateful for.
While I thank you for your continuous support and encouragement, I remain grateful to God Almighty who has given us the grace to accomplish what we have achieved thus far.
Finally, I wish to reiterate my commitment to purposeful representation and pledge to continue to work hard to fulfill my promises to you. With your support, we shall consolidate on our achievements and take Anambra Central Senatorial District to greater heights.
May God bless you all.
I remain your Chief Servant,
– Senator Uche Ekwunife, PhD (IYOM)