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Presidential Politics Buzz Alive Among US-Based Nigerians

US BASED Nigerians are getting a bit of the country’s presidential campaigns as both the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC are seeking to engage them to influence next week’s polls, Empowered Newswire reports

While several groups within the Nigerian community here have been issuing press releases endorsing one of the two major presidential candidates or the other, among other political interventions, APC’s Vice Presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo actually showed up in person in the state of Maryland, US last Sunday to hold two town hall meetings.

Not to be left out, the PDP presidential campaign also announced a support rally in the same region of the US billed to hold Saturday morning in Washington DC, but there was no expectation whether the PDP presidential candidate, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, or his running mate, VP Namadi Sambo would be attending the rally.

Speaking for several long hours last week, Prof Osinbajo, General Mohammadu Buhari’s running mate who held town hall meetings in Baltimore, and Silver Spring, both towns with vibrant Nigerian churches and community, condemned the use of mercenaries in the fight Boko Haram.

Answering questions at the town hall meeting in Silver Spring, located few miles away from the US capital city of Washington, the APC Vice Presidential candidate said the Nigerian armed forces is capable and able to do the job of defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity, if the troops are well-equipped.

“It is an outrage to hear about mercenaries. The Nigerian army have performed very well and won the praise of the international community in several UN missions, including in AMISOM,” Osinbajo said, adding that he was involved in AMISOM and personally witnessed the commendation of the Nigerian military internationally.

He continued: “If well kited, our military forces are able to fight. But the current FG has degraded the Nigerian military which is another reason to vote out the current govt in next week’s presidential polls, he told the impressive crowd that came out to the town hall meeting held at the RCCG Jesus House, Silver Spring, very close to Washington DC.”

Osinbajo was also asked among several other questions, on what a potential APC administration of the FG will do about the Constitutional Conference Report which was concluded last September. According to him, “we will submit the report to the National Assembly, that is the way to go and they will take action.”

Asked point blank if it was possible for anyone at all to Islamize or Christianize Nigeria, the law professor responded that such an agenda would require a major amendment of the Nigerian constitution which he does not foresee considering the multi-ethnic and diversity of religion among the Nigerian people.

He described as lies, claims that the APC presidential candidate, former head of state, General Buhari is a Shariah proponent for the entire country, observing that the General has around him a coterie of Christians including his very close aides who have been with him for very long years.

In a press release over the weekend by the US-BASED Committee of Friends of the APC Vice Presidential candidate who planned the town hall meetings, the organizers said “Nigerians got an unprecedented opportunity over the weekend to interact with the Vice Presidential Candidate of a major party, when Prof Yemi Osinbajo, General Mohammadu Buhari’s running mate held two town hall meetings in Maryland, USA.

According to the release signed by Mr. Val Egbarin, “the meetings hosted by the Committee of Friends was held in Baltimore and Silver Spring, attracting thousands of Nigerian professionals and residents in the US on Sunday March 15, starting from 2pm until well past 9pm in the evening.”

Egbarin, added that “more than 30,000 additional viewers followed both meetings online via live streaming besides the live coverage by other media including Sahara TV,” while also observing that “the turnout of the Nigerian community from several states was impressive and indicative of the continuing interests of US-based Nigerians in the future and well-being of the Nigerian nation.”

The statement added that “during the meetings, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, APC’s Vice Presidential Candidate took several questions bothering on corruption, national security, economy, oil and gas, infrastructure, health, education, industry, disabilities, employment, agriculture, power, immigration, among others. The APC VP candidate answered all questions posed to him clearly and comprehensively, spurring incessant applause and admiration from the otherwise critical Nigerian Diaspora audience.

Osinbajo, who flew in on Saturday night for the events, came with some members of the APC Presidential Campaign team, while members of the party in the US joined him at the town hall meetings which also saw a cross section of the Nigerian community in the US.

According to the statement, “It was the first time since 1999 that a candidate of a major presidential election ticket in Nigeria will host a live town hall meeting with the Nigerian Diaspora.”

Empowered Newswire

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