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Reuben Abati: 2019 – Atiku vs. Buhari

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Reuben Abati: 2019 – Atiku vs. Buhari

There has been some clarity about Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential election, with the end of the October 7 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of party primaries at all levels. On Saturday, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at its convention held in Abuja, ratified the choice of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari as its flagbearer, with a curious vote tally of 14. 8 million. President Buhari and his supporters have continuously left no one in doubt that they intend to have a second shot at power and office. The number of party members across Nigeria who endorsed the Buhari candidacy has however raised eyebrows. 14. 8 million!

In the 2015 elections, that was a little less than the same number of total votes that the incumbent got in a nationwide general vote. What is the actual number of persons on the party’s membership register – 15.6 million? Concerned observers have argued that this is an indication of the determination of the ruling party to rig the 2019 Presidential elections, in favour of a 75-year old candidate to whom they insist, there is no alternative. The No-Alternative talk is of course the height of sycophancy and the extent of its idiocy has now been exposed.

Just as the APC held its convention over the weekend, other political parties participating in the 2019 general elections were also busy choosing their own candidates, and now we have on the field, the following Presidential candidates: Atiku Abubakar (People’s Democratic Party), Donald Duke (Social Democratic Party), Olusegun Mimiko (Zenith Labour Party), Omoyele Sowore (African Action Congress), Kingsley Moghalu (Young Progressives Party), Fela Durotoye (Alliance for New Nigeria), Tope Fasua (Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party), Eunice Atuejide (National Interest Party), Adesina Fagbenro-Byron (Kowa Party), Eniola Olajuni (Alliance for Democracy), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim (Alliance for People’s Trust), Obadaiah Mailafia (African Democratic Congress), Alistair Soyode (Yes Electorates Solidarity), Hamza A-Mustapha (People’s Party of Nigeria), Chike Ukaegbu (Advanced Allied Party), Ahmed Buhari (Sustainable National Party), Usman Ibrahim Alhaji (National Rescue Movement), John Ogbor (All Progressives Grand Alliance), Yabagi Sani (Action Democratic Party), Moses Shipi (All Blending Party), Peter Nwangwu (We the People of Nigeria), Edozie Madu (Independent Democrats) and Obiageli Ezekwesili (Allied Congress Party of Nigeria). Twenty-six Presidential candidates so far, except any one has been overlooked in our list.

What we know is that this is probably the most demographically diverse Presidential contest line-up in Nigerian history – an indication of the people’s determination to participate in the country’s political process at the highest level. From a 35-year old Ukaegbu to Buhari who is officially 75, the refrains in Nigeria’s emerging democratic process, deducible from the names of the political parties are “action”, “progressive”, “new”, “renewal”, “alliance”, “sustainable”, “rescue”, “people”, “democracy”, “democratic”, “blending”. This is in keeping with the mood of the opposition in the country. The people, as reflected in the political parties’ nomenclature, want a new Nigeria, change and progress. It is an obvious comment on the performance of the incumbent administration.

The point has been made, and it is a useful one, that whereas there has been increased interest in the Presidential race, particularly given the number of young candidates inspired by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law that was passed in May 2018, in reality, the 2019 Presidential race in Nigeria is bound to end up as a two-horse race. Only two of the many political parties- the APC and the PDP- have the following, the structures, resources, and the necessary brand recognition to be able to put up a good showing. The PDP was in power from 1999 to 2015. It was displaced in 2015 by an alliance of political parties that took the name: All Progressives Congress. Today, the APC is the party in power and its candidate is President of Nigeria. Both the APC and the PDP are in charge at the state level and they both control the majority of seats in legislative assemblies across the country. Many of the other political parties in the race are products of alliances and mergers but as at this moment, there is not yet a compelling alliance or merger, such as in the case of the APC in 2015, that can threaten the dominance of two political parties – the APC and the PDP. Some of the emergent Presidential candidates are political tyros, but who nevertheless bring a freshness of ideas and style to the unfolding contest.

What we see with plain-sight certainty is that the 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria is bound to be a strong fight between the APC and the PDP and between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammad Buhari, indeed more of a beauty contest between the latter. There is not much difference between the two political parties, Nigeria’s politics is hardly driven by any ideology only by symbols. The APC uses the broom as a symbol, the PDP the umbrella, that is the only known difference, the truth is that members of the two were all either a member of one or the other at a point in their political careers. Former Vice President Atiku has been in both parties crossing from one to the other in the last four years. President Buhari has been previously a member of the ANPP, later the CPC, before joining the APC. While the people may not see a difference between six and half a dozen, they will make a choice on the basis of the personalities and perception of the two leading candidates. Except the unexpected occurs, the next President of Nigeria will either be incumbent President Buhari, who will be running for President for the fifth time, or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who previously sought the same office, without success.

Both candidates are of Northern and Fulani extraction which fits into the country’s unwritten geo-politics. Atiku is from the North East state of Adamawa. Buhari is from the North Western state of Katsina. To the average, majority-group, Northern voter, a major calculation in Nigeria’s ethnic and religious politics, the emergence of Atiku and Buhari means that power will remain in the North for another four years if Buhari wins, and possibly eight years more if Atiku wins. Both men are also Muslims. Both men are also septuagenarians. Atiku is 71. Buhari is 75. The younger Presidential candidates will seek to make heavy weather out of this, but it may not count for much in the contest. Both men have had significant experience at the highest level: Buhari as military Head of State (1983-85) and Atiku as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 -2007). One of the major issues to look forward to is the health status of the two main candidates. The incumbent has been in and out of hospital in the course of the last three years, spending close to 100 days out of the country in one notable instance. Atiku in comparison, appears much healthier, except any damaging medical report shows up before the crucial vote.

Buhari’s handlers have lost the “No-Alternative” argument. On paper and going by the facts, Atiku presents a very formidable alternative. His emergence as the standard-bearer of the PDP is strategic. PDP members have chosen wisely. The PDP has been struggling for survival since it lost power at the centre in 2015. The return of some of the key politicians who defected from the party: including Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Senator Bukola Saraki helped to place the party on the path of revival. Atiku’s emergence as Presidential candidate has strengthened that process. Atiku has all that it takes to build bridges across the divides within the party and lead a robust campaign against President Buhari. The President’s men will seek to campaign on the platform of integrity. They will argue that Buhari deserves a second term because he has been able to wage war against corruption. They will paint Atiku as greedy and corrupt, and insinuate that a vote for both the PDP and Atiku will be a vote for corruption. This is at best a time-bound cliché. The Atiku team should be able to mobilise compelling and damaging counter-narratives.

The Buhari campaign is vulnerable on another score: performance. President Buhari came to power in 2015 with the promise that he would run a government of CHANGE, offer Nigerians a better life and greater hope. He was seen as a messiah. For the first time in his bid for the Presidency, he was embraced by every major constituency in the country. Better known as a provincial political leader, he received impactful support from the South West, the East and the North, and was projected as a truly national politician and a remodeled democrat. But as it happened, Buhari and the APC over-promised and under-delivered. They promised to fight corruption. Public opinion is grossly divided on that. They said they will fix the economy. They have presided over one of the worst economic seasons in Nigerian history. They were sure that security would no longer be a problem given Buhari’s background as a military leader. Instead, Nigeria’s security problems became worse. In 2014/2015, Buhari had the support of Nigeria’s former leaders – military and civilian – who thought he would make a better President than President Goodluck Jonathan. He has lost that support. He has since received letters asking him to shape up or ship out, or better still, to forget seeking a second term in office. He has not heeded that advice. Civil society has also changed its mind about the promise that he held out. The international community is not impressed either.

On all counts, Atiku Abubakar stands a good chance. In Nigerian politics, the maxim that “the taste of the pudding is in the eating” also rings ever so true. But his golden moment lies ahead of him. Fears that his emergence as PDP Presidential candidate could cause friction within the PDP did not materialize. The other interested candidates not only embraced him, they promised to work with him to ensure the victory of the PDP in 2019. Atiku has the support of Nigeria’s leadership elite, including the extremely influential class of retired Generals. His boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo who once wrote him off has not objected to his emergence. Obasanjo is an astute political pragmatist. He has not minced words in saying that Buhari does not deserve a second term. He clearly also understands that personal differences apart, an Atiku Presidency will in many ways, be an extension of the Obasanjo legacy. If there is any other political legacy that Atiku knows, it invariably hacks back to Obasanjo. Atiku came to limelight through the Shehu Yar’Adua political machinery: the People’s Front of Nigeria (PFN) which later became the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). Yar’Adua who was murdered in prison, by the Abacha government, used that platform to build bridges across Nigeria. Obasanjo was Yar’Adua’s friend, they were both Abacha’s prisoners, and he would later prove his loyalty to the man who previously served him as Chief of Staff, by anointing his junior brother, Umaru Yar’Adua as Nigeria’s President in 2007.

It was Atiku Abubakar not Umaru Yar’Adua who inherited the Shehu Yar’Adua political machinery. In fairness to Atiku, he has kept that machinery alive, oiling it, over the years, such that there is no part of Nigeria where you do not have a PFN-PDM cell. Atiku’s emergence has automatically re-activated those cells. In comparison, Buhari has no political machinery of his own other than his folk hero status among Northern youths. The educated ones among those Northern youths are now rebelling against him. There is a class of young Northern intellectuals, educated in some of the best universities around the world who have the capacity, I mean the intellectual heft, to assess every argument or proposition on its own merits. They have turned against Buhari. They resent the triumph of the stereotypical Northerner under his watch. They feel insulted. They are unimpressed by the small games that Nigerian politicians play. They, not even the Lagos-Ibadan press will be Buhari’s main undoing in the months ahead. I cannot confirm that they are over-awed by Atiku either. They will probably classify him as a better representative of the North.

Atiku is cosmopolitan. He has since leaving office in 2007, opened himself up to ideas, and the modernist world. Significantly, he has not branded himself as a cattle-rearer. He has investments in education, agriculture, maritime and other sectors of the economy. There has been no complaint about his emergence as PDP Presidential candidate from Corporate Nigeria – that wing of Nigerian politics populated by deluded egoists who think money is everything- and that is understandable. Corporate Nigeria knows that its leaders can have a comfortable conversation with Atiku because he has a working and practical knowledge of how the Nigerian economy works. He once headed the country’s Economic Management Team and he superintended over Nigeria’s privatization process. Nobody will have to speak to him in Hausa language to explain the meaning of simple economic terms.

Politically, even members of the ruling All Progressives Congress see Atiku Abubakar as one of their own. There is no major player in this country who has not had the opportunity of interacting with Atiku at one level or the other. To every other constituency, Atiku is saying that Nigeria must be restructured. He poses a real threat to President Buhari’s second term ambition. Senator Kwankwaso, now the main PDP politician in Kano State, will divide the votes in Kano in Atiku’s favour. The South East and the South South may not vote for Buhari. In the South West, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Godfather of Lagos State politics, has every reason to give Buhari “an Ambode treatment.” The Atiku Challenge is real and bankable. The only option available to the incumbent is rigging! While nobody in the Buhari camp can afford the luxury of laughter, me, I just dey here dey laugh. I will tell the story in print and on television

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Funke Akindele delivers important message to Nigerian celebrities

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Funke Akindele delivers important message to Nigerian celebrities

Funke Akindele has a profound message for some of your favourite celebrities and you can help deliver it.

The popular actress is shaking a table that has several celebrities on it and she doesn’t care about the casualties.

The movie star took to her Instagram on Thursday, December 5, 2019, where she warned a certain set of celebrities who go around making ‘stupid and unbelievable stories just to look relevant.’

“Stop forming stupid and unbelievable stories just to look relevant. If your colleagues’ bag endorsement deals, it’s their time to shine. Yours is coming too!!! So don’t feel less!!! Don’t be pressured o!! All man get him time. May our time never pass us by!! AMEN,” she wrote.

Funke Akindele's post

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Etinosa responds to Duncan Mighty, reels out her list of cars

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Etinosa responds to Duncan Mighty, reels out her list of cars

Etinosa is not letting the subs fly past her doorstep. She is catching and crushing them.

The Nollywood actress and comedian has responded to Duncan Mighty who called her out on her Dubai car gift.

 

Duncan Mighty earlier today called her out for stating that she received a Mercedes Benz car gift from a fan few weeks ago. Duncan took a swipe at the actress after she was spotted posing with a white 2009 Toyota Venza and not the Benz car she claimed she was gifted by a fan in Dubai.

 

In an apparent response to his post, Etinosa, listed all the cars she has. She also stated that she doesn’t lead a fake life and has never claimed to be filthy rich. See her post below.

Etinosa responds

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Anthony Joshua pictured with his mother ahead of Dec. 7th rematch

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Anthony Joshua and mother 2

As the days before the D-day draws closer, tension continues to rise. Anthony Joshua was spotted at a pre-fight gala dinner held at the Al Faisaliah Hotel in Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening.

 

During the event, the British-Nigerian boxer was pictured kissing his mother Yeta Odusanya on the forehead as he arrived for the pre-fight gala dinner.

Joshua’s opponent, Andy Ruiz Jr. was also spotted giving Joshua’s mother a friendly handshake at the event.

Anthony Joshua's mother 2

 

Undercard fighters Dillian Whyte and Tom Little, as well as promoter Eddie Hearn were also in attendance among other dignitaries.

 

The anticipated rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jnr will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2019, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

 

Anthony Joshua will attempt to regain his WBA, IBF and WBO Heavyweight titles he lost to Ruiz Jr back in June at Madison Square Garden. The Mexican boxer defeated Joshua in the seventh-round to hand him his first professional loss the last time they met.

 

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Ubi Franklin and Iyanya link up with Tekno for new project

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Ubi Franklin and Iyanya link up with Tekno for new project

The feud between Iyanya and his former label partner Ubi Franklin which made headlines has died down. The duo was pictured alongside Tekno working together.

The major fallout between Iyanay and Ubi was centered on alleged forgery, fraud, breach of contract and several other things.

But as the saying goes, “time heals all wounds,” and fast forward to the last month of 2019, they both seem to have buried the hatchet and forgotten old fights, as both friends, alongside Tekno, reunited yesterday at a studio in Lagos where, according to Ubi, a new hit song was worked on.

He wrote:

“Last Night was Epic ⭐️💪
First I had the opportunity to bring @teknoofficialand @iyanya together in the studio and we were blessed to have @selebobo1 join us too and @mademenmusicg New kid @iamrogerlino
It was an epic session with the best Producers in the country right now @[email protected]
Family Back together and our focus is to win and win.”

Ubi Franklin

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Comedian, Mr Jollof goes against the tide to support Andy Ruiz

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Comedian, Mr Jollof goes against the tide to support Andy Ruiz

Going against the tide might not always come out right but it makes headlines. Nigerian Comedian, Mr. Jollof, has declared that his support is for Andy Ruiz against Anthony Joshua, against popular opinions.

As the boxing champs prepare for their highly anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Mr Jollof has declared his support for Andy Ruiz against British born Nigerian boxer Anthony Joshua.

He took to social media to reveal that Andy is his champ. He also posted another photo of when Andy defeated Anthony Joshua and stated in the caption that Andy can do it again.

See post below;

Mr Jollof

However, a fan took to the comment section of the post to express displeasure and told the comedian to support his own no matter the circumstances.

“Too bad jellof…Support our own ..it’s not a matter of CHOICE ..One day u might be at the top n would u feel cool if Nigerians turn against u dis way in the name of Choice ? Not cool bro”, the fan wrote.

Jollof then responded that not everybody would support him too so his choice should be respected.

He wrote: “@mrpapi333 everybody will not support me either so respect my choice di*ck head.”

See their exchange below;

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Duncan Mighty calls out Etinosa over Dubai car gift

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Duncan Mighty calls out Etinosa over Dubai car gift

Duncan Mighty has some questions for actress, Etinosa Idemudia and it has got us thinking about her recent car gift.

Etinosa took to Instagram days ago to share news of receiving a car gift in Dubai. The singer took a swipe at the actress after she was spotted posing with a white 2009 Toyota Venza.

Duncan Mighty who called out the actress who claimed she received a car gift in Dubai for replying a DM, stated that it takes nothing to be real.

 

The ‘Port Harcourt First Son’ wondered how the car “disappeared as a Mercedes Benz in Dubai and appeared as a Toyota Venza in Lagos”, while also pointing out that it takes 28 days to ship a car from Dubai to Nigeria.

Maybe the car shapeshifted??

He wrote

“It takes nothing o be real. It takes 28 days to ship a car from Dubai to gidi. Trying to figure out how this car take disappear as Mercedes Benz from Dubai then land as 2009 tokumbor venza….white people please explain the technology behind this magic”

etinosa car gift

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Kizz Daniel reveals his CGPA and it will shock you

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Kizz Daniel reveals his CGPA and it will shock you

No Bad records, no grades, that is Kizz Daniel for you.

The singer has revealed the CGPA he graduated with from his tertiary institution in Ogun state with a CGPA of 4.37, a few As and Bs shy of a First Class.

The Flyboy Inc singer who is an alumnus of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, shared this while putting right the misconception about his first degree in Water Resources Management and Agrometeorology (Water Engineering).

The Nigerian singer who made a clarification after a Twitter user tweeted about him graduating with a First Class Degree in Engineering, said he graduated with a 4.37 CGPA. Kizz Daniel added that it was quite close.

See the exchange below;

kizz daniel

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R.Kelly faces fresh bribery charges for his marriage to15-year-old Aaliyah

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R.Kelly faces fresh bribery charges for his marriage to15-year-old Aaliyah

R. Kelly may soon become accustomed to legal terms and drama as he has been indicted on a fresh count of bribery charges stemming from an effort in 1994 to get a fake document.

According to the New York Times, the new charge is an addition to a series of federal indictments filed against R. Kelly, who is accused of abusing women and girls for more than two decades, including kidnapping, forced labor and sending child pornography across state lines.

He has been accused of, in 1994, bribing his way through obtaining a marriage license for Aaliyah Dana Haughton that listed her age as 18, (although she was 15).

Kelly and Aaliyah got married in 1994 when he was 27. Aaliyah was just 14 when she dropped her first album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” which was released in 1994 and produced by R. Kelly.

Aaliyah died in 2001 in a plane crash at age 22.

In an interview this year with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Steven Greenberg, Kelly’s lawyer, said his client had “no idea” Aaliyah was 15 when they married.

“My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age,” Mr. Greenberg said at the time.

Greenberg added that new indictment“does not appear to materially alter the landscape.”

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Cardi B wants to see the ‘real Nigeria’, asked to go to the ‘hood’

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Cardi B wants to see the 'real Nigeria'

Cardi B is live in Lagos and we are here for it, but the rapper wants to see the ‘real Nigeria’

The American rapper took to Instagram to share the view from her hotel room window.

 

The rapper, who is in Lagos, said in the video that she wants to be taken to the “hood” so that she can “see the real Nigeria”.

 

She also said she doesn’t want hotel food but she wants to eat local food like “fish” and “jollof rice”.

Which hood do we take our OluwaCardi to no? Suggestions needed.

Watch the video below;

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Megan Thee Stallion gifts her childhood nanny with her dream truck

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Megan Thee Stallion gifts her childhood nanny with her dream truck

Megan Thee Stallion evoked tears of joy from her childhood nanny after she bought her a brand new truck.

 

The rapper revealed her nanny had always wished for the truck. She added that her nanny was so good to her when she was growing up and always bought her things.

 

Sharing a video of the moment her nanny was gifted the truck, Megan wrote:

 

Surprised my nanny with the brand new truck she had been wishing for ! She literally bought me everything in every color as a child  she’s always been so generous to everyone she meets and she taught me the importance of always being kind ! I love you nanny I’m gonna give you everything you deserve

 

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