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Civil society groups attack wike over comments on 2019 election



Gov. Wike

Gov. Wike

Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesome has come under severe attack from several election monitoring and civil society groups, following his insisting allegations that the 2019 election will not be free and fair.

The groups in separate statements made available to journalists accused the governor of making wild allegation without any evidence to back his claims.

In a statement, the National Coordinator,Network of Police Reforms In Nigeria (NOPRIN), Okechukwu Nwanguma said that Nigerians will not be deceived by the governor’s “diversionary antics”.  

Nwanguma reminded the governor that INEC under its current leadership has made giant gains towards a credible 2019 elections. He said such gains have been attested to even by Professor Attahiru Jega who was widely reported to have said 2019 elections will be better than that of 2015.

In its statement, a civil society group, Citizens Centre for Democratic Governance also urged governor Wike to concentrate on the governance of his state and allow the Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC) focus on its task of ensuring a free and credible 2019 elections

The statement signed by the  National Coordinator of the group, Anthony Osagbemi, stated that the Rivers governor might be setting the stage for another round of violence, recalling that “it was this same tactics he deployed in the court ordered re-run election in Rivers State, which led to his orchestration of brutal violence that led to the death of an INEC ad-hoc staff and the maiming of another.

According to Osagbemi, the statement by the INEC chairman that only votes will count in any election conducted by INEC under his watch continues to bear fruit, as evidence has indeed shown that elections are consistently getting better in all the states where they have so far been conducted.

He said the era where politicians bribe INEC officuals to rig elections is far gone, as the Commission under this current leadership is very determined to improve the electoral process.

He said, “Governor Wike must understand now that his crude mannerism will not deter this INEC chairman from sustaining the ongoing reforms of the electoral process. Perhaps he is afraid that he might not be able to use the Resident Electoral Commissioner to his advantage as usual.”

In the same vein, the National Democracy Vanguard, insisted that the conduct and statements credited to Governor Nyesome Wike are unbecoming of a governor and more importantly a legal practitioner.

The Executive Director, Segun Adisa ,challenged Governor Nyesome Wike to come out with verifiable facts to buttress his allegations that INEC intends to rig the 2019 General elections.

He said, “In a build up to the court ordered re-run elections in Rivers State in 2016, the Governor made a lot of allegations and based on these allegations came out to say that they were going to resist any attempt to rig elections. This was the state of affairs before the re-run elections which resulted in an atmosphere that was not conducive for the conduct of elections. 

“As a result of the tensed atmosphere that pervaded Rivers State before the re-run elections, Rivers State experienced one of the most violent and brutal elections in the history of Rivers state and Nigeria. At the end of the day, an INEC ad-hoc staff was beheaded and another maimed. We hope the current noise by the Governor is not a repeat performance.”

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I regret voting for Buhari in 2015, says Gov Ortom



Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue state

Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue state

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has appealed to the Christian community in the state to forgive him for working for the election of President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 general election.

The governor who disclosed this while interacting with the Christian community during his re-election campaign at Wannune in Tarka local government area of the state, regretted that after the people massively voted for the President, he has decided to pay them back in a bad way.

He implored the people to vote Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whom he described as the best friend of the Tiv nation.

Governor Ortom who lamented the spate of killing of innocent people by armed Fulani herdsmen, reiterated his stands against the proposed grazing routes by the Buhari administration saying the state under his watch would not cede any piece of land for the creation of the grazing routes.

Ortom regretted that after the law banning anti open grazing law was successfully passed by the state House of Assembly, some indigenes of the state including Senator George Akume came out and betrayed the people before the Presidency that citizens of the state were responsible for the killings.

The governor who also lamented continued killing of farmers including women and children by herdsmen, said the greatest challenge confronting his administration is non-payment of salaries but expressed his readiness to source for funds to clear the backlog to make life more meaningful to the people.

Governor Ortom stated that the All Progressives Congress, APC-controlled federal government failed to address the problems faced by the people by Jihadists who openly declared their conquest and occupation agenda on the state and thereafter failed to give the people justice when they demanded it.

According to him this development coupled with what he described as the deliberate neglect of Benue people by not giving them strategic positions in government prompted him to seek an alternative platform on which to pursue his re-election.

He appealed to the people to seize the opportunity of the general elections this year to vote for all the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who he said will protect their interests and guarantee their survival.

Also, the State PDP Chairman, Mr John Ngbede, had appealed to the people to seize the opportunity of the general elections to vote for all the candidates of the party.

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2019: INEC alleges plans by politicians to use food vendors for vote buying



INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said it has uncovered plans by some politicians to station food vendors within polling units to use them as “cash points” to voters who would sell their votes to them.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed Monday in Abuja, when he played host to the European Union Chief Observer, Mrs Maria Arena, that the commission will fight any process that will ridicule its resolve to conduct a transparent, free and fair election in the country.

“Following recent consultations with stakeholders across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, the attention of the commission was drawn to a new plan by some political actors to use food vendors around polling units with large voter populations as collection points for cash-for-votes as well as other forms of material inducement to voters on Election Day. We are aware of this trick. It will not work,” Yakubu disclosed.

He noted that the Smart Card Readers will be deployed on election day for voter verification, confirmation and authentication.

“We have enhanced them and improved their functionality. Clause 10 of the Regulations and Guidelines recently released by the commission makes the use of Card Readers mandatory. It is an offence to accredit a voter by any other means. INEC not outsourcing ad hoc staff recruitment

“The bulk of ad hoc staff for election duty will be drawn from the pool of young Nigerians serving in the National Youth Service scheme. The commission has established clear criteria for drawing from students of tertiary institutions to make up for any shortfalls. This has been the practice over several electoral cycles. Similarly, Collation and Returning Officers are drawn from senior academic staff of federal universities led by the vice chancellors. We have already commenced the process following our meeting with the vice chancellors last week. In addition, there is a clearly established system of vetting all election duty staff before they are engaged.

“Therefore, the claim that the commission has outsourced the recruitment of election duty staff to partisan actors is the usual allegation on the eve of elections and should be disregarded. With 25 days to the 2019 general elections, the commission’s attention is firmly focused on the conduct of credible elections. We will not be distracted into a fatuous debate.

“I wish to assure the EU that our preparation for the 2019 general election is on course. We have had a series of very assuring meetings with the security agencies in order to ensure that processes are protected, the right of voters to vote freely safeguarded, access for observers and the media guaranteed, the election transparent and the outcome a true reflection of the will of the Nigerian people,” Yakubu added.

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2019, referendum between competence and incompetence – Lamido



Sule lamido

Sule lamido

Former Governor of Jigawa State and former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Presidential Aspirant, Sule Lamido has told party supporters that the forthcoming election is a referendum between competence and incompetence, security and insecurity, food and hunger and called on the people of Jigawa to vote for the Presidential Candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar.

Lamido made the call on Monday in Dutse when the PDP Presidential campaign train landed in the state.

Addressing a large crowd of supporters that practically locked down the entire Dutse, Lamido reminded them that they owe Atiku massive support since his mother is from the state just as he stressed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed Nigeria and should be thrown out as they have not been able to fulfill any of the promises they made in 2015.

He said: “My people, today I bring to you a man who truly love you. The candidate is our own son here, he is our own. Therefore, he has a right to demand our vote.

“And because the choice today is between competency and incompetence, between security and insecurity, between broken promises, lost hope and someone that will give hope. It’s also between falsehood and truth, between genuine political leaders and not para-civilians.

“Others are para-civilians and they don’t understand compassion. Love and peace is alien to them. So the family of PDP all over Nigeria are counting on Atiku Abubakar. We trust you, because we know you can do it.

Failure is not part of our culture, failure is the culture of APC. We are party of people who are brothers and sisters.”

He assured Jigawa electorate that they will not regret their votes for Atiku and PDP, stressing that APC administration has done incalculable damage to the country, berating the party for destroying Nigeria through their lack of direction.

The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus in his remarks, told the mammoth crowd that PDP is coming to power to put food on their tables and tackle hunger in the land.

He said: “We are bringing in an energetic and competent person; Atiku Abubakar with experience to tackle poverty created by the APC.

“Atiku remains the man that will defeat the APC, the man they are afraid of. The man who just came from America, he has gone and spoken to the civilised world. He has addressed the international community that as soon as he’s sworn in, businesses will begin to grow”.

Prince Secondus told the jubilant crowd that their massive turn out at the rally is a clear indication that power is returning to the party and the state is already on the train to rescue Nigeria and assured the people that the in-coming President Atiku Abubakar is energetic, ready and equipped to do the work.

Atiku who spoke in both Hausa and Fulfude, (Fulani Language) assured the people that know that the APC are liars, they came to lie to us, deceived us and when we gave them our mandate, when they became President they forget about all what they promised us.

“Since Sule Lamido left as the governor, even a needle they did not buy for Jigawa people. So I urge you all to return PDP so that you can all enjoy. I know you will, so you have promised me that you will vote for PDP.

“Another important thing is that you should all come out and vote, don’t just vote ensure that your vote count. After you vote, wait until they count and announce the winner.”

The campaign earlier had a stop at the Palace of the Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Nuhu Sanusi, who prayed for Atiku and his team just as the PDP National Chairman and other top leaders of the campaign council rode on an open caravan to the rally venue of about three kilometre distance.

The cheering crowd burnt brooms and displayed it to Atiku and his team chanting abuses on the ruling APC.

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