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G-5 states and the presidential election

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Voting in the five states governed by members of the Integrity Group (G5 governors) is not expected to follow the same pattern tomorrow.

The G5 governors, who are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, opted out of the party’s presidential campaign, insisting that the national chairman Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, must step down as a condition to support the candidate, Atiku Abubakar, tomorrow’s election. They have insisted on power shift to the South or a southerner should be the national chairman.

The governors are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ipkeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuayi (Enugu) and Samuel Ortom (Benue).

Their decision not to campaign for Atiku left the five states up for grab by other candidates.

Oyo

In Oyo State, Makinde’s refusal to campaign for Atiku will most likely tilt the outcome of the election more in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Other leading presidential candidates are Atiku (PDP), Peter Obi (LP) and Rabiu Kwankwanso (NNPP).

As residents cast the ballot in the presidential election, the following factors will most likely shape voting patterns.

APC’s strength

The APC is still strong in Oyo State. The structure is still intact despite the aggrieved members that defected to Accord after controversial primaries. The new leader and governorship candidate, Sen. Teslim Folarin, has succeeded in bringing many back into the fold.

The party has been using the structure to campaign for the presidential candidate across the nooks and crannies of the state. This factor will surely earn Tinubu a lot of votes across the state.

Tinubu’s emergence

Since the formation of the APC in 2014, Tinubu has been leading the party in Southwest Nigeria. Now that he emerged the presidential candidates, even the aggrieved members who defected to Accord have vowed to vote for him as they believe in his leadership and ability to turn Nigeria around.

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Makinde’s open arms to Tinubu

While Makinde did not officially receive Atiku in Ibadan during his campaign, he received Tinubu and extolled his virtues, saying he has demonstrated capacity and paid his dues in Nigerian politics. The warm reception has been interpreted by his followers as being positive to his aspiration. He has always been saying at campaign grounds: “Vote for all our Senate and House of Representatives candidates. But for presidency, vote for unity, equity and inclusiveness.” Hence, most of Makinde’s supporters will vote for the APC candidate.

Ethnic loyalty

The fact that Tinubu is the only Yoruba among the top four candidates is a factor that will fetch him thousands of votes in Oyo State. A lot of Nigerians see his emergence as aligning with power rotation between Northern and South. Many believe that the presidency should come to the South for the purpose of unity and equity.

However, a PDP chieftain and one of the coordinators of Atiku-for-president campaign, Hazeem Gbolarumi, assured that Atiku will win. He said the level of work undertaken by the campaign team was such that no other candidate can defeat Atiku in Oyo State.

The crowd that received Tinubu in Ibadan for his campaign last Thursday gave a good signal for victory. The crowd endured eight hours of scorching sun to catch a glimpse of the APC candidate.

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Atiku will likely come second because of the factor of power rotation and division in the PDP. While Atiku has only few vote canvassers, Tinubu has them in large number, in Oyo State. The above factors will most likely weaken Atiku’s chances despite the fact that PDP is well rooted in the state.

Sen. Soji Akanbi, who is a major campaigner for Tinubu, said: “We have done our best. We have educated our people on the fact that Tinubu is the best candidate in terms of capacity, ability and courage. He is also the most experienced. He is the round peg in round hole, sentiment apart. He is the only candidate that can take Nigeria out of the woods.”

Obi will likely come third because of millennials who see him as the symbol of the kind of new generation politicians needed to rebuild Nigeria.

The NNPP candidate Rabiu Kwankwanso is expected to come fourth in the election.

Benue

In Benue State, Ortom did not only refuse to campaign for Atiku, but has reportedly declared support for Obi. His choice was interpreted to be in furtherance of the campaign for power shift to the South.

With his endorsement for the LP candidate, Benue has become a battle ground for the APC, PDP and LP candidates, given the strength of both APC and PDP in the state. Obi is now the third force that can not be wished away in the state.

Abia

The PDP is still very popular in Abia, despite Ikpeazu’s position. The party has governed the state from 1999. The first governor, Sen. Orji Uzo Kalu, who defected to the APC and won his senatorial seat. He has been pulling a lot of strings for the party in the state.

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Considering ethnic loyalty, LP’s Obi is expected to pull weight while core PDP members and supporters will stick with Atiku as a matter of party loyalty.

Besides, the governor has not campaigned against Atiku.

Enugu

The same factors that play out in Abia will also determine voting patterns in Enugu State. Both Atiku and Obi are expected to take the lead given the factors highlighted above. But the influence of a former governor Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani, and others who has declared support for Tinubu can not be wished away.

Rivers

Voting patterns in Rivers may surprise many Nigerians. Wike, who is leading the G5, has reportedly directed his supporters to vote for Tinubu of APC. Though observers hold that his directive will not bring a substantial change to the vote patterns, Nigerians are likely to see Atiku, Tinubu and Obi share the votes. In fact, APC is expected to poll higher number of votes this time unlike in 2019.

Wike opened his door to the three presidential candidates that went to campaign in the state. Atiku never went to Rivers for campaign.

The G5 position is sure to mar Atiku’s chances of clear victory in the five states, thereby threatening his overall victory in the election. After Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Kastina and Rivers, Oyo State ranks next in voting strength. In fact, both Rivers and Oyo states recorded between 700,000 and 800,000 votes for both APC and PDP candidates in the 2019 election.

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FG commences price enforcement in Abuja, targets Lagos, others

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The Federal Government on Thursday initiated sporadic enforcement raids at multiple supermarkets and markets within the Federal Capital Territory to ensure adherence to price display and quantity regulations, aiming to reduce the cost of food commodities nationwide.

It also said it would continue unannounced inspections at super and open markets in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, and Ibadan in the coming weeks to probe the abnormal price surges and take firm measures against any companies caught engaging in unfair market practices like price manipulation, excessive pricing, or cartel formation.

The Executive Secretary of The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, said this when he conducted an enforcement exercise to eliminate grocery store price gouging and illegal pricing schemes.

During the exercise that lasted several hours, the FCCPC sealed 4U Supermarket and evacuated 33 bags of fake stallion and caprice rice filled with weevils from one of the branches of the same supermarket located at 58 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II.

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Earlier on Wednesday, the commission had ordered its operatives to intensify monitoring of both formal and informal markets to identify businesses engaged in unnecessary inflation of prices for required enforcement action.

 

This move is a direct response to concerns raised by consumers about the rising costs of goods, which go against the recent strengthening of the naira.

Food inflation has been a recurring issue influencing the steady increase of Nigeria’s headline inflation of 33.2 per cent, recording an unprecedented food inflation rate of 40 per cent in March 2024.

 

It was exacerbated by the extensive fall of the naira against the dollar in January and February leading to the soaring prices of essential goods and services, raising the costs of living costs to an all-time high.

Although the presidency had vowed to continue its campaign against racketeers, urging Nigerians to expect a stronger naira, a significant drop in the prices of essential commodities was elusive.

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said that the president had directed consumer protection agencies to ensure that the local prices reflect the rising value of the naira.

“But there is still much work to be done and this is not a time for celebration. It is a time for doubling down and working harder to ensure that inflation is sustainably brought down in short order.

 

“Consumer protecting regulatory agencies must step up enforcement to ensure that our people are not short-changed by enterprises that fail to reflect the prevailing exchange rates on the pricing of goods and services across the board.

 

“As our private and publicly-owned refineries resume operations between now and the first quarter of 2025, the nation’s cash position will dramatically improve to the extent that Nigerians can rightly expect a stronger Naira and a fair reflection of its strength in the prices of commodities in the market place,” said Ngelale.

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The Presidency also assured Nigerians of the better days ahead saying the benefits of the reforms will be “more evident” as the administration progresses.

 

“Once you join the rising spending power of Africa’s largest population with the historic availability of trillions of naira for consumer credit that will bolster the real sector, you will see why Nigerians will be most pleased that they elected a financial engineer and businessman as president by the end of his first term in office, even as the signs are increasingly more evident today,” the Presidential spokesman stated.

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BREAKING: EFCC declares Yahaya Bello wanted

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared Yahaya Bello, former governor of Kogi state, wanted over alleged N80 billion financial crimes.

 

“Anybody with information as to his whereabout should report immediately to the Commission or the nearest Police Station,” the commission said.

Details later…

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BREAKING: Protesters besiege PDP secretariat, demand Wike’s suspension

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Reform Vanguard, on Thursday, besieged the party’s secretariat in Abuja to demand the suspension of Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

 

The group also called for the resignation of Umar Damagun as acting national chair of the PDP.

 

The group arrived the headquarters ahead of the scheduled national executive council (NEC) meeting of the PDP, while demanding that Wike should be suspended for alleged anti-party activities.

 

Speaking with reporters, Usman Seidu, convener of the group, said Damagun and Wike have “undermined our collective efforts and jeopardised our very existence as a formidable opposition force”.

 

“We commend our former National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu for his demonstration of unwavering loyalty and love for our party by withdrawing all pending suits against the party in the court,” Seidu said.

 

“His actions have paved the way for our great party to move forward, to cleanse our ranks and restore integrity to our leadership.

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However, the presence of individuals like Amb. Iliya Damagun and Mr. Nyesom Wike within our midst remains a cancerous growth on the body of our party.

 

“Their actions, tantamount to betrayal, have undermined our collective efforts and jeopardised our very existence as a formidable opposition force.

 

“The time has come for the NEC to act decisively. Amb. Iliya Damagun must be removed from his position as acting national chairman, in accordance with the provisions of our party’s constitution.

 

“He must be replaced with a loyal member from the north-central, someone who embodies the spirit of our party and will work tirelessly for the advancement of its course.

 

“Furthermore, we cannot turn a blind eye to the continuous presence of Mr. Nyesom Wike within our ranks. His romance with the APC has been handsomely rewarded with his appointment as minister of the FCT and as such, his stay is a slap in the face of every loyal member of our party.

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“If the party fails to take decisive action against those who have betrayed our trust, then it risks losing the faith and support of it’s loyal members across the country.”

 

Wike attended the national caucus meeting of the PDP on Wednesday.

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