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PDP Not Afraid Of Merger By Opposition Parties – Ahitogo

The National Vice-Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) North-Central Zone, Alhaji Yusuf Ahitogo, says the party is not afraid of any merger by opposition parties ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Ahitogo stated this in Lafia on Saturday at the Grand Reception/merit/ Awards for Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, state Party Chairmen and other major stakeholders.

He said: “the merger talk by other political parties will not in any way affect the ruling party; it is not giving any of our members any sleepless night.’”

“The parties have done it before; they failed, so what magic would they use now to fight PDP.?

“Our party remains the largest party in Africa, and we are determined to follow the provisions of the party’s constitution which is aimed at transforming the country and also provide basic needs of our people.”

Ahitogo said the outcome of the merger arrangement by other political parties was like a merger of strange bed fellows, adding that all the members affected by the merger talk have their own personal interest.

He, however, appealed to members of the PDP in the zone to assist in ensuring that the party recaptures Nasarawa, come 2015 elections.

 “The past two years have been difficult for us at the zonal level with the loss of Nasarawa to the opposition in 2011, this has adversely affected our political activities in the entire North-Central.”

Ahitogo, who also doubles as North Central chairman, appealed to leaders of the party to come together and close rank with each other in the interest of the party, “as we move closer to 2015 general election for maximum result”.

In his remarks, the party’s North Central Youth Leader, Mr Kwaghgba Amande , explained that the youths remained the life wire and effective instrument of the party.

He said the youths would launch “operation re-capture Nasarawa.

“Very soon all the state youth leaders and other concerned political activists in the North Central will map out strategies aimed at recapturing Nasarawa, as we prepare towards 2015 general elections.”

Amande said the loss of the state to opposition party had reduced the zone to a large extend, “our collective bargaining in the political configuration of Nigeria.”


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APC In South East, Calls For Internal Democracy

The All Progressives Congress (APC), South East Zone, has called for the entrenchment of internal democracy in the manifesto and constitution of the party.

The call is contained in a communiqué issued by the leaders of the party in the zone, at the end of a two-day meeting held in Owerri, Imo capital.

The communiqué, signed by Sen. Chris Ngige, representing Anambra Central in the senate, said that the call was to ensure that the choice of members prevailed at all times.

It said that APC in the zone had also resolved to raise funds for immediate sensitisation and enlightenment of the people of the zone at the grassroots.

The communiqué said that the party had resolved to set up offices in the five states in the zone, as well as local government areas and wards without delay.

“APC government shall invest public resources in the development of critical infrastructure, and also create the enabling environment for job creation”, it stated.

The meeting was attended by members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance {APGA}, Action Congress of Nigeria {ACN}, All Nigeria Peoples Party {ANPP}, Congress for Progressive Change {CPC} and Democratic Peoples Party [DPP}.

In attendance were Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, the National Chairman of the ANPP, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, and former governor of Imo and ACN chieftain, Chief Achike Udenwa and other party stalwarts.



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PDP National Women Tasks Womenfolk In New York To Support Jonathan

The National Woman Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Kema Chikwe has urged Nigerian women to rally support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in promoting gender equality in the country.

The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that she spoke during the Nigeria Day to commemorate the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Saturday.

Chikwe said that such support should be reciprocal to the government, following the government’s National Gender Policy, which seeks to ensure gender perspective in all sections of development.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in collaboration with the Nigeria Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.

“ For the sake that the President is gender sensitive and because of the work that has been done so far in the National Assembly and in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the gender issues are getting more prominence.’’

Chikwe said that government had made gender issues an integral part of all policy at all tiers and has provided 35 per cent benchmark for women’s participation in decision making.

She commended the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina’s brilliant presentation at the on-going session of the Commission.

`What was really important in her speech was the aspect of political empowerment but there must be a political will to push the gender issues.

“It is very important because in Nigeria we still have a lot of conflicts on the culture and gender based issues.’’

Chikwe also noted that issues of violence against women and girls were not properly highlighted by the media, stressing that “It is usually being trivialised.’’

Prof. Joy Ogwu, the Nigerian Permanent Representative to the UN, drawing from the Women’s Anthem that was recited at the event, said that the three concepts of equality, development and peace were intrinsically linked.

According to her, in seeking to prevent violence against the women, the elements should come to bear and that the principle of complementarity must also be borne in mind.

 A verse of the anthem reads, “ Women can’t be silent when all around the world people hurt and hungry, children cry. We will sing out now for justice and development and hold the rights of all the people high so sing a song.”

The Director of Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH), Mrs Theresa Okafor in her remarks, noted that in preventing violence against woman, they need to adopt a multi-Sectoral approach that would be peaceful and all inclusive.

“We need to find solutions by incorporating the help of men, women, religion, culture and the family.

“Unfortunately, there is a concerted effort to discredit the role played by these factors, men are considered to be the aggressors to be overcome and this gets confrontational and simply escalates the cycle of violence.

 “Religion is misinterpreted and misrepresented, forgetting that religion talks about human dignity, fraternity, mutuality and complementarity of the sexes.’’

“Conversely there is an orchestrated effort to bring in ambiguous concepts such as ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ and ‘comprehensive sex education’ without carefully considering the devastating impact these can have and how they counter provisions of our education, valued culture and religion.’’

Okafor explained that the presentation by the minister had actually set the pace for what the women know, that would eradicate violence against women without letting any country dictate to Nigeria what would lead to fragmentation and only escalate the cycle of violence.

While calling for stronger punishment on aggressors, she stressed, it was good but that women need to be mindful of the unintended effect whereby an aggressor wishing to escape stronger sentence would kill his victim to wipe off the evidence.

 According to her, it is not enough to see the role the media play as creating awareness but that the media should also stop the objectification of the women, pornography and sexualisation in the media.

“This must be censored,’’ Okafor stated, noting that there should be distinction between cultural values and harmful practices and that culture was the problem.

“ It is effective to look at some other underlying causes of violence so that we can eradicate the root cause of the problem. Taking the family for instance, absence of mother and absence of father and lack of parenting skills are the problems.

“If parents are absent who forms the child in values? Where is the family as the safety net? We also need to look at the role played by alcohol, substance abuse and undiagnosed mental illness as contributing factors.

“We need the collective will of men and women working in concert to solve the problem. Above all, we need to be very discerning in the face of concepts.’’

Founder and Executive Director of GABASAWA Women and Children Empowerment Initiative, Mrs Gloria Yaro, who also spoke said that mental, financial and emotional or socio-cultural empowerment were important in tackling the issue of violence against women.

Yaro who is also a member of the National Council of Child Rights Advocates (NACCRAN), noted that in domestic abuse cases the first obstacle the group fought was a belief system with cultural  roots which validates the abuse the men meted out on their women.

“We strive to counter mind sets in the women such as women believing they must be doing something to ask for the physical abuse they are encountering.’’


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