- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 07:46
- Written by Nigerian Compass
- Hits: 1851
WHO becomes Nigeria’s 15th Commander-in-Chief? Nigerians will decide on January 22, next year, says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while releasing the timetable for the 2011 general elections yesterday.
The INEC timetable came out after two weeks of media speculations on the dates of presidential election and others.
A statement by the Commissioner in charge of Information and Publicity, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, also shifted the voter registration date to between November 1 and 14.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had on Monday told the Course 32 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos, that the voter registration would commence in October.
But giving the breakdown of the timetable at the INEC national headquarters in Abuja, Soyebi said in pursuant to Section 9(5) of the Electoral Act, 2010, registration of voters will commence November 1 to 14
Further, the Commissioner said the Conduct of parties primaries would commence from September 11 to October 30.
Also in the statement are: Insurance of notice of election October 13; campaign by parties in public commences October 17; collection of Form CF001 (Affidavit/personal particulars of candidates) and Form CF002 (party’s list of candidates) for all elections, October 19 to 22.
Others are: last day for submission of Forms CF001 and CF 002 at INEC November 15 to 29; publication of personal particulars of candidates November 22 to December 6; last day for withdrawal by candidates/substitution of withdrawn candidate by political parties November 30 to December 14; publication of official register of voters for the elections December 16; publication of personal particulars CF001 of substitute candidates December 4 to December 18 and collection of nomination forms November 22 to 25.
Meanwhile, eight days to his formal declaration for the 2011 presidential election, former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has declared that former President Olusegun Obasanjo cannot stop his ambition to become the 15th Commander-in-Chief.
Babangida, the eighth Commander-in-Chief from 1985 to 1993, will launch his campaign in Abuja on September 14 and 15 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Although he has not declared his intention to run, it is believed that President Goodluck Jonathan will launch his campaign group on September 18 and Obasanjo, Nigeria’s fifth and 12th Commander-in-Chief, is one of his main backers, an action which does not go down well with Babangida.
The Minna, Niger State-born retired General declared that he would get the party ticket and win the general elections next year “with or without Obasanjo”.
The 69-year-old politician also decried the “deliberate mass gang-up” against his ambition “among people in high places,” saying as long as Nigerians are allowed to choose freely, they will vote for him.
Babangida spoke through one of his leading campaign managers, Alhaji Shaibu Baddeggi, yesterday in Minna.
Baddeggi, a grassroots politician, threw more light on why Obasanjo is reluctant to support Babangida.
“I don’t know why he (Obasanjo) wants to bite the hand that fed him. General Babangida will win the election with or without Obasanjo’s backing and that is authoritative.
“We know there is a deliberate mass gang-up against General Babangida among people in high places and regrettably, a good number of these people were direct beneficiaries of the former military President when he was in power.
“Obasanjo does not work against IBB because he doubts his ability and will to deliver but, that he is simply afraid of his shadows as he still is not sure that Babangida will not open the lid on the ills of his administration. He is also afraid that General Babangida will better his service records.
“Obasanjo is busy tele-guiding President Goodluck Jonathan and I think the President must be careful of him. Obasanjo has never been a trusted person. Everyone that worked closely with him knows this. He is as unpredictable as the hovering clouds of a wet season and more dangerous than the viper. IBB probably picked him to replace General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1999 because he believed the man had grown up. Now, he knows better,” Baddeggi said.
He took a reflective look at Babangida’s eight years and argued that the former military President achieved a lot more for the country than others before and after him, insisting that the controversy surrounding the $12 billion Gulf oil windfall was “a mere farce”.
But, in Warri, Delta State, a coalition of groups working under the auspices of the Jonathan Success Movement (JSM) has said that “there is no better choice to President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency in 2011".
The groups, the Egba-Isoko Peoples Congress (EPC), Ijaw Movement for Power Shift and Good Governance and Urhobo Youths Empowerment have pledged their unflinching support for the continuation of the Jonathan presidency next year.
The groups, which also endorsed a JSM national officer, Victor Orubebe, for the Delta South Senatorial district race, said that Jonathan “is the candidate to beat”.
They described the President as a man of proven integrity with the fear of God and urged Nigerians to give him all the needed support “to take the country out of the woods”.
They called for the retention of Jonathan beyond 2011 insisting that he is the best candidate for the position.
The meeting also said that Orubebe, a one-time Chief Protocol Officer to former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, “is the rightful, most qualified and people’s choice for the position”.
Similarly, Orubebe said that the meeting was called to deliberate on the need for the actualisation of the Jonathan presidency next year and therefore challenged those angling for the position to go and campaign so as not to blame anyone for losing at the end to the incumbent.
He urged Nigerians to take the 2011 elections seriously because of the challenges ahead, adding that “we must ensure that the one man, one vote slogan bring out an acceptable result come 2011”.
“It is pertinent to note that we have undertaken to amplify and take the message of hope exemplified by Jonathan to the masses of this country”.
“President Goodluck Jonathan’s achievements are numerous. For the purpose of this August gathering, I believe it is important for us to acknowledge the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence is not man’s making but a divine call from God. It is imperative for us to, therefore, key into this divine calling as exemplified by the impeccable achievements.”
Those who spoke at the meeting were representatives of the three ethnic groups, Delta South Senatorial District, Comrade T.J. Eboh, National President of Egba-Isoko Peoples Congress (EPC), Comrade E.K. Pereotubo, National Co-coordinator, Ijaw Movement for Power Shift and Good Governance, Amos Osigidi, National President Urhobo Youths Empowerment, Uvwie.
Others were Austin Ogbolu, former commissioner DESOPADEC; Deacon Arede Edemene, National coordinator, Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Movement; Sir. Emmanuel Aminobire, Delta State coordinator, Jonathan Success Movement and others.
Meanwhile, Babangida’s supporters yesterday intensified lobby of indigenes of Bayelsa, Jonathan’s state, and the South-South with the opening of a campaign office in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Some of the supporters were yesterday cited on Imgbi Road, working on the building in preparation for the formal opening of the campaign office under the leadership of the IBB Presidential campaign coordinator in the state, Alaowei Opukeme.
Opukeme told Nigerian Compass during the tour of the office that “the issue of presidency has gone beyond ethnic colouration” and that the existing agreement by the leadership of the PDP should not be waved away in the interest of the South-South.
According to Opukeme, the dangerous trend in the attempts by some few indigenes of the zone to wave away the zoning agreement “may spell doom for the region when the turn for South-South presidency comes as the South-South will benefit more when the turn for the Presidency comes in 2015. It will be time to run for eight years.”
Opukeme, a leading PDP member and former Local Government Chairman in the state, said though many critics have cowed idealists in the region to keep mum on the issue, “Babangida’s candidature will bring into play lots of experience in the administration of the country”.
Opukeme said those doubting the sincerity and clear mindedness of the former President should consider the fact that aside his experience, his ascension to the presidency “will allow him make peace with God and activate a sincere effort at correcting past wrongs to the benefit of the Nigerian people”.
Also, after a critical appraisal of the provisions of the Electoral Act, the PDP National Chairman , Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, yesterday concluded that the party’s primaries and the 2011 general elections would be expensive.
He also said that the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 were too stringent.
Nwodo dropped the hint while inaugurating a fund raising committee to prosecute the 2011 general elections, finance party reforms and upgrade communication gadgets at the party’s burnt national secretariat.
According to him, there are several provisions in the Electoral Act on the mode of conducting the primaries of the parties that will require huge financial resources to attain, pointing out that such provisions were not contained in all the previous Electoral Acts.
For instance, he noted that the new law required the party to conduct both governorship and presidential primaries in all the 774 local governments.
His words: “The new Electoral Act is giving us new challenges in the conduct of our primary election because the Act has introduced the American system of staggered primaries.
“And when you have staggered primaries, it means that for the governorship primaries, the primary election will take place in all the local government areas in the state, and that means we will be conducting primary elections in all the 774 local government areas to produce our governorship candidates.
“It also means that we will have to hold primary elections in all the 36 states and the FCT to elect our presidential flag bearer. These are new challenges for us.
“There are also other challenges in the Electoral Act which will necessitate more expenditures than we have had in the previous Electoral Act.”
He told members of the fund raising committee, headed by the Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, that resources will also be required by the party to mass produce the amended 1999 Constitution and manifesto of the party which all aspirants desirous of flying the party flag must know inside out.
Nwodo said: “To market this manifestos, we have to do a lot of work both in the print and electronic media, in our campaign train and in any other ways we can deliver the message to the people of Nigeria.”
He lamented the state of equipment at the Wadata House headquarters of the party, especially the Information Technology (IT) gadgets, which he described as “analogue” and declared that the National Working Committee (NWC) intends to upgrade the facilities to digital level which will also require huge financial resources.
On the membership of the fund raising committee, the party chairman said President Goodluck Jonathan was particularly impressed with Uduaghan’s choice, who coincidentally was on the mind of the President when the NWC met him to fine-tune the list of members of the committee.
He said: “When we sat down to think about who should be the chairman, this all-important dinner committee, we didn’t make two choices. We also conferred with the President and we said this is our choice, but if you have other choices, we don’t mind, and the President said it is the right choice.”
On the responsibility given to the committee, Nwodo charged them to sensitise all members of the party to achieve the desired result.
“Members at all levels must be adequately sensitised so that each member of our party can, at least, invite one person who can raise money at that dinner and if we all do that, I am sure you will meet your target,” Nwodo said.
In his reaction, Uduaghan assured Nwodo that those saddled with the task appreciate the enormity of the task before them and assured that the committee was up to the task.
Uduaghan assured the PDP National Working Committee that the committee would deliver on the assignment given to it.
“I want to thank you for this honour. We thank you for deeming it fit to put us together, as members of the committee that would raise fund for the party, through the annual chairman dinner. It is your own dinner really, but it is also an avenue for raising fund for the party.
“There is no doubt that the party has become very, very big and the bigger the party is, the more responsibility for the leadership of the party, especially in the areas of fund and logistics and because this is a party that we don’t want one person to hijack, all of us have to put our hands into our pockets and bring out money for the party.
“The party requires fund and there is the necessity to raise funds for it. I want to assure you that this committee will go round, knocking at the doors of everyone to assist us in the raising of the fund and at the end of the day, we shall not fail you. The committee is well loaded with people that can move round and we shall move round every nooks and cranny of the country to mobilise fund.”
Other members of the committee are the governors of Enugu (Sullivan Chime), Adamawa (Murtala Nyako), Bauchi (Isa Yuguda), three Senators and three House of Representatives members and other national officers.