Saraki, Kwankwaso, Jang’s presidential declarations, APC NEC meeting dominate politics last week 

Rabiu Kwankwaso declaring to run for President
Rabiu Kwankwaso declaring to run for President

The announcement by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to seek the office of the president and the formal declaration by two former governors and serving senators, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Jonah Jang, to also seek same office dominated political discussions last week.

There were also meetings by the governing APC at the national level were some of the major events that took place last week.

Defections by politicians also featured prominently during the week.

Here are some political highlights from the past week:

Sunday:

-The Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi West Senatorial District said no aspirant would be granted an automatic ticket to contest the 2019 general elections.  The senator representing the district, Dino Melaye, recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP.

-Former Vice President and presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, said he was still in the Peoples Democratic Party, urging his followers to disregard a rumour that he has defected to another party. He was rumoured to be habouring plan to defect to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and aso choose Chukwuma Soludo, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as his running mate.

Monday:

-The Lagos State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Moshood Salvador, dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Mr Salvador, a former lawmaker said he took the decision because all his efforts to move the PDP in the state forward had been frustrated by some elements in the party. Mr Salvador alleged that a former deputy national of the party, Olabode George, had done everything possible to undermine the progress of the party in the state.

– Several members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Alliance for Democracy in the Ogun East senatorial district defected to the African Democratic Congress (ADC). The Coalition of Nigeria Movement (CNM) formed by former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, an indigene of the state, had in May adopted ADC as its political party.

Tuesday

-A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega,  said Nigerians needed competent and assertive leaders and not necessarily strong leaders. The INEC under Mr Jega’s watch conducted the 2015 election that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power.

-Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the former Biafran leader, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared her political ambitions to run for the Anambra South senatorial seat in 2019 on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

-The National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) approved N143 billion for INEC for the 2019 general election as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari in July.

-A former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, declared his interest in running for president. The event held in Jos, the state capital. Mr Jang, a retired air commodore, is currently representing Plateau North in the Senate. He is also a former military governor.

-The immediate past governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, formally announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).  Mr. Uduaghan, a founding member of the PDP and Delta South Senatorial aspirant in 2019, confirmed his defection at a meeting of the APC national caucus held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Wednesday:

-A former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, formally declared his intention to run for president on the platform of the PDP. The event took place in Chida Hotel, Abuja. Mr Kwankwaso,  the senator representing Kano Central in the senate, was denied access to use Abuja’s Eagle Square for his declaration.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and former President Goodluck Jonathan met in Abuja. During the meeting, Mr Jonathan commended the leadership qualities of Mr Saraki, saying the tremendous support being enjoyed by the senate president from lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives testified to his leadership ability.

“Senate President, let me use this opportunity to commend your leadership abilities. Looking at what is happening in the country, if not for your strong leadership, probably the National Assembly would have been in chaos and if the National Assembly is in tatters, then of course, democracy is gone,” the former president said.

Thursday,

-Mr  Saraki formally announced his intention to run for president on the ticket of the PDP. He made the announcement at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja during an event organised by the conveners of the “Not Too Young. Mr Saraki who returned to the PDP recently, had said about two weeks ago that he was considering entering the race and was consulting with prominent Nigerians . He had visited former Nigerian leaders, including Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida.

-The governing APC held its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, the second this year. Before the meeting the National Caucus of the meeting held at the Presidential Villa. President Muhammadu Buhari, his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, and other members of the body attended both parleys. Apologies were read on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dorara, and Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, who were absent at the meeting.

-Mr Buhari hosted the South West Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a dinner at the First Lady Conference Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

-Former Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Titi Oseni-Gomez, on Thursday defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the African Democratic Congress (ADC) .

Friday:

-The Oyo State Government declared Friday a work-free day to allow public officials to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

-The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, declared her support for female candidates vying for different elective positions irrespective of their political parties in Nigeria.

-Mr Saraki, just few hours after he declared his intention to contest the 2019 presidential election, obtained the presidential nomination form of the PDP.

-Former governorr of old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, stepped down as national chairman of People’s Redemption Party (PRP).

-Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, wept while speaking to the supporters who had purchased a Peoples Democratic Party presidential nomination form for him.

Saturday:

Rinsola Abiola, daughter of the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Moshood Abiola, announced that she had  left the All Progressives Congress (APC).  Ms Abiola, who  is the Special Assistant on New Media to the Speaker of House of Representatives, in a series of tweets on Friday, said she had duly written to relinquish her membership to her ward chairman. She also presented allegations that APC is “dictatorial and not youth-friendly”.


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