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Full letter: How I knew Buhari had no preferred presidential aspirant, Tinubu writes

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has commended the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for leaving the party’s presidential ticket open for all aspirants.

He said this in a letter to the President, which he personally signed. The letter was made public by Buhari’s media aide, Femi Adesina, on Saturday.

In a copy of the letter obtained by The PUNCH, Tinubu said he didn’t believe that Buhari had no preferred presidential aspirant until the night of the primary when the aspirants walked up to the podium and spoke.

He also described Buhari as a “true leader, brother and friend” who demonstrated a “sense of purpose, composure, and maturity” in the weeks leading to the Special Convention of the Party.

Tinubu expressed gratitude for the President’s congratulatory letter to him, adding that while all the contestants expected President Buhari to “choose” his successor, he simply allowed a level playing field.

The PUNCH had reported that Tinubu defeated 13 other aspirants to emerge as the party’s candidate at the end of the Special National Convention of the party on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in Abuja.

Tinubu scored 1,271 votes to clinch the APC presidential ticket for the 2023 general election.

The other aspirants included Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajuba, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Mr Tein Jack-Rich and Governor Ben Ayade.

Others were Governor David Umuahi, Senator Ahmad Yarima, Dr Ahmed Lawal, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Yahaya Bello and Mr Ogbonnaya Onu.

The race began with 23 aspirants but nine withdrew shortly before the commencement of voting at the convention.

They included Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohnenye, Dr Felix Nicholas, former Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, former Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, former Speaker Dimeji Bankole, Sen. Ajayi Boroffice, Gov. Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa, Sen. Ken Nnamani and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

Read full letter:

Dear Mr President,
DEEP APPRECIATION
I bring you sincere fraternal greetings and congratulations on the successful conclusion of the special Presidential Convention of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

On behalf of my wife, Oluremi, and my entire family, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the very special and personal congratulatory letter you sent to me. I am deeply honored. Your words in that letter were reassuring, reenergising, and reinvigorating.

Your Excellency, one must admire the sense of purpose, composure, and maturity you demonstrated in the weeks and months preceding the primary elections of our great party. As aspirants and party leaders, we all pleaded with you to “choose” your successor.

Naturally, this is expected especially in African democracy. Up until the 6th of June, 2022, the day of the APC Presidential primaries, the whole of Nigeria, including myself, was waiting for you to announce your preferred candidate. All of us thought and believed this was a very simple matter.

However, it was only as the primary went into the night and as the candidates walked up to the podium and spoke that I fully and truly appreciated your position and stance to be neutral and non-aligned to any of us. As the first person to speak, I also had the special vantage point to carefully hear, without any distraction, what the other candidates had to say.

As the hours rolled by that evening, it became clear to me that all of us were your preferred candidates. As you captured it aptly in your letter to me, the “spirit” of 2013 and 2014 when we created and built APC was there for all to see.

In your letter and in our many meetings over the years, you fondly reminisced on fraternal attitude in the days and months before and after formation of the APC, when we all worked day and night to create, sustain and nurture our nascent movements into a credible opposition party and ultimately, become the ruling party. That time, no one spoke about tribe; no one spoke about religion. That was not what drove us. We were driven by a common desire to save and transform Nigeria.

One by one, I saw my colleagues and partners stand on the podium, full of the same passion and patriotic zeal they had in 2013/2014, presenting their ideas on how to build on your successful legacy. Back then, as it is now, we were from all parts of the country, all tribes, and all religions. We all had deep personal and strong bonds with you. We were together back then and our bonds remained strong up till now.

Mr. President, as the night of 6 June turned to morning of 7 June, I fully understood and appreciated your stance. “You belonged to everybody in the party and you belonged to none of the individual candidates of the party.” A true leader, brother and friend.

Mr. President, the delegates from all over the country nominated my humble self to be their candidate. I must acknowledge that my nomination would not have become a reality without your support and that of the party leaders across the country. Indeed, as I reflect on my political journey, most of the 2022 APC presidential aspirants, members of the Progressive Governors Forum and National Assembly leaders and members all had a role to play in my successes and achievements thus far.

I will forever be grateful to them for shaping my political journey over the decades. I want to assure you that I will continue to work with them going forward. My emergence as a candidate is also a victory for them.

I have met most of them in the past few days and will continue these engagements as we plan for the general elections. Mr. President, APC is united and will remain united as we move towards the general elections.

I have taken note of the message you sent to all Presidential Candidates in your Democracy Day speech to the nation on the 12th June, 2022. Our country is going through a very sensitive period and no one should put their personal desires above and beyond the nation’s peace and prosperity.

As you said, the “message we set at the top will be replicated in our followers.” At this point, I will take this opportunity to assure Your Excellency of my commitment to running an issue focused campaign as we move into the general elections. I will personally engage the candidates from other political parties to urge them to do same. Voters should elect us based on our policies, programmes, and projects. By the grace of God, we as candidates will avoid having divisive, destructive and disruptive campaigns.

I will conclude by once again thanking you for being there for all of us. By the grace of God and with your leadership, guidance and support, I am confident that we will lead our great party, the APC, to victory in the February 2023 general elections. We will ride on the back of your successes. We will build on the foundations of transparency and integrity which you have laid.
Mr President, together, side by side, in the spirit of 2014, we will win and Nigeria will move forward to a progressive, peaceful and prosperous future.

Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu
APC Presidential Candidate

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Governor’s wife advises Jerusalem pilgrims on conduct

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The returnees who participated in the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Jordan have held a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the successful journey.

According to a statement issued by the state government, the service, held at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, was graced by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

Represented by the wife of a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji, Sanwo-Olu advised the returnees to be true ambassadors of Christ and allow their encounters during the pilgrimage to strengthen their relationship with God and the people around them.

The governor’s wife said, “You cannot afford to go back to your old ways and lifestyles. As you have been described as the light and salt of the world in the Holy Book, it means that you have a lot of tasks ahead of you.”

Sanwo-Olu then thanked God on behalf of the pilgrims for the successful completion of the exercise and the journey mercies experienced.

She said, “We bless the Lord that there was no report of any negative eventuality. It is fitting at this point to state that we are indeed peculiar people with a deep sense of appreciation and we show this trait in praises and thanksgiving to God who specifically called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

In her remarks, the Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Yetunde Gbafe, said the thanksgiving service was in line with God’s injunction as recorded in Psalm 100 where believers were enjoined to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills – Report

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa State over a 12-year period, a new report revealed on Tuesday, as it singled out two international oil companies, Shell and Eni, for being responsible for most of the pollution.

Oil majors in Nigeria have long faced legal challenges over Niger Delta spills, which they mostly blame on sabotage and vandalism of pipelines and illegal refining.

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission said in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data, according to Reuters.

The investigation discovered, among other findings, that toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were many times higher than the safe limits in samples of soil, water, air, and in the blood of local residents, the commission said.

“The report finds failures of strategy, prevention, response and remediation by oil companies,” it said.

Reuters stated that a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said the oil firm was not privy to the final report and could not comment.

An Eni spokesperson said the oil spills were due to theft to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotage but the company undertook to remedy all spills.

Most of the gas produced from Eni’s Nigerian unit was converted into LNG and fed local power plants, the spokesperson said, adding that “Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis.”

Toxins that cause burns, lung problems and risk of cancer were widespread while oil company-led clean-ups were often poorly executed and could further contaminate soil and groundwater, the commission’s report said.

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Experts advise marketers to leverage technology

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Experts have advised marketing professionals to take advantage of technology to revamp marketing tactics.

The marketers were admonished at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Ikeja Chapter 3rd Annual Public Lecture held recently in Lagos.

Speakers at the event said due to the highly competitive marketing arena, marketers must be willing to adjust their approaches in response to shifting market trends and economic circumstances, to remain competitive and achieve success.

The Ikeja Chapter Chairman of NIMN and Chief Executive Officer of Procon Group, Adebayo Oke, noted that the conference was basically to review the position of things in the institute in the face of the country’s dynamic economy.

He said, “We all know that in terms of political economy, we are going to be having a change very soon. Where we are coming from, there are issues that have affected consumerism in terms of the power of a consumer, choices and whether it will get tougher or better that is why we are here. To also share knowledge among the top practitioners to floor it down.”

According to him, a lot of quacks are in the market and most companies believe marketing is anybody’s function.

“And going forward, we are going to be regulating the practice of marketing across all industries and in partnership with the international brands in the areas of marketing, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, amongst others,” he stated.

He disclosed that the institute would be partnering with most companies to ensure that only certified marketer would be allowed to practice marketing, to enable the institute get rid of all the quacks.

The President and Chairman of Council for NIMN, Idorenyen Enang, in his keynote address, highlighted the significance of marketers harnessing the potential of technology while ensuring that they adhere to ethical principles of the profession.

He said, “The benefits of technology in streamlining operations are widely appreciated. However, concerns about job displacement due to AI have arisen. Marketers must strive for a harmonious implementation of these technologies, striking a balance that mitigates such disadvantages.”

He added that while automation greatly enhances efficiency, there is a potential loss of intellectual capacity as the current generation prioritises speed, brevity, and simplicity.

Also, the Head Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Media & Insights of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc, Ifeoluwa Obafemi, said, “In the phase of technological advancement and changes in consumer behaviour, as marketing professionals, we should set our organisation in a future forward mode. For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in the present-day business environment, undergoing a marketing transformation is a necessary process.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Intel Limited, Kolawole Oyeyemi, said, “Marketers should attract and retain their customers. Nowadays, customers are now more informed and know your business more than you do because they now compare your services to global best practices.

“There is a revolution in technology which has assisted in creating tools and devices and building platforms to allow customers to interact with companies across the world.”

According to him, it is a volatile environment and things one does not think will connect one’s business may connect from a very long distance.

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