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APC future in Kogi is bleak — Akanle, ex-DSS chief



Dr Williams Akanle

Dr Williams Akanle

Dr Williams Akanle aspired to represent Kogi West in the upper chamber of the National Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but lost at the party primaries. The former National Director of the Department of State Service, DSS, whose aspiration was the third in a row, says he has, however, not lost hope. In this interview, the Yagba East born politician believes the future is bleak for Kogi West.

The APC primary at Kogi West to elect the senatorial candidate, how did it go?

What happened on October 4 was no primary. I have chosen to keep quiet because I don’t believe in fighting over split milk. What happened in Kabba was a sham. Any hope for redress? Our hope lies in God. Let me give you a recent example.

In Kogi State, we had an election where the late Prince Abubakar Audu campaigned and went everywhere. He was the perceived winner of that election but for Gov. Yahaya Bello, we all know what he did and what he stood for to be sworn in because he finished second at the primary. If it happens that the perceived winner dies, anything can happen and I’m still very hopeful.

Any hope for reconciliation?
Is it not when they want to see you that they can reconcile with you? Did they even think of me? The major actors have not reached me and I’m not going to beg anybody.

But I can categorically say that in Kogi West APC, I’m a voice that must be heard; so if they are still playing god, let them continue. There was a time I met the party National Chairman in Abuja and I told him ‘you people are taking me for granted and you will see’.

On the 2019 elections I have always said I’ll not work against my party. If anything is going to happen, it will happen within the party. What do I mean? My followers whom we have been together over the past 18 months for this exercise have made sacrifices for them now to be in the cold and they know what to do at the appropriate time. They may be waiting for my body language but when it is time for me to indicate to them the direction to go, I’ll certainly do that.

On APC as a national party I won’t deceive you; my voice has dropped since after the primaries. I really don’t know what would happen. The primaries held by the APC all over the federation were marred by corruption.

Some governors whose candidates lost were so bitter that they said they would not work for the party. They said they would also work for their candidates elsewhere, while a minister said he would not work for the party. And people have continued to defect from our party. That is weakening our resolve.

Party politics is like a system and when parts are falling off, it can’t function effectively. So if you ask me, there are cracks in the APC. Those behind my travails Those behind my travails know themselves. They vowed that I shouldn’t get there. Some went about saying I don’t matter, that I’m not acceptable and not on ground politically.

But they can now see that I’m more acceptable than anyone of them. They feared me; else they would have allowed a free and fair primary and let me beat them. By all assessment, I had not less than 80 percent of the votes cast in that election.

Were they on the field? Did we see their posters? Did we see their bill boards? Did they go round the 84 wards like I did?

On the winner of the APC primary Who is the winner?
Can he come down from his high horse? Because he had the support of government? Are they campaigning now? Now that elections are close and others are campaigning, where are they? They only went to Kabba few days ago. On his relationship with Governor Bello I was on the same page with the governor but maybe he was not on the same page with me.

I can say you are my friend, but it is only you who know whether I’m your friend.

The only one l have not done is that I don’t go to his house every morning or beg him. Some people do that, so if I was not doing that, does that presuppose that I’m not on the same page? All those that have tickets of the APC to contest the 2019 polls in Kogi today, none of them did ten percent of what I did for the party.

So, if there is any issue from his side, or from government side, I don’t know. But if they could direct all the appointees and the elected to do everything possible that I do not emerge, then I don’t think we are on the same page. Because if the governor’s appointees, even from my community, could go against me, knowing the implications, then, I think they are on the same page with him and l am not.

On APC winning Kogi West in the 2019 elections
This is a very difficult question. It has been a long running battle among the various dramatis personae. The situation on ground generally in Kogi may have adverse effect even on the presidential election.

The only saving grace is that the bulk of the votes are coming from APC strongholds, but how the candidates emerged is creating problems and people are getting disenchanted. This is not the time for anybody to think that all is well.

Everywhere I go, people want to hear the way forward. Then some leaders are pretending that all is well. I know that there is serious problem ahead.

Advice on how APC can win the elections
The party has to do more. They know there will not be primaries, yet they collected our money. I’m not saying they should refund the money. How much is the N7 million compared to several hundreds of millions I’ve spent?

They know what to do to win election even if it means going to beg because people are hurt and angry. I have exhausted all available options to seek redress. The party has its own method of resolving the problem.

Immediately after the primaries, they constituted a National Peace Committee and I went there based on the appeal we wrote. They said Toyin Akanle won the primary for Kogi West, it is on record and on paper but till tomorrow the NWC has not been able to sit down to implement it. Some people unfortunately are playing god.

People at the national and at the state levels of the APC are playing god. It is not going to be about me alone. It is also about the appointees. If all the principal actors, those elected into government from Kogi West can come and insult me with my experience, my age and all that I stand for…even those who never went to school. I thought we respected our teachers in those days because they were learned. I went to school. I worked in an organised system. I retired as National Director of Security.

I’ve been part of installing several governors. I’ve worked with Presidents one on one.

It is so easy to turn Kogi West and Kogi State around, but, unfortunately, these people don’t have what it takes and yet they want to be celebrated. I have only one vote but the electorate would decide. Even if I vote for my opponent now, does it make him win? Let them appeal to the electorate, but because they have offended the electorate, they can’t go to them.

Any regrets?
It is not over and so I’ve no regret. It takes somebody with character, conviction, after my experience and my background, to come into politics. People would say ‘what are you looking for?’ But the people are there. The people are the one who are suffering. I thank God that as a federal pensioner, I can sit down quietly and live my life; after all I’m not training children in the university anymore. I’ve done well for myself. But what about the people, the electorate, those without a voice?

2019 elections are still weeks away.
It is not over until it is over. That is the message I give to any followers.

Look at the two major contenders in APC and PDP, if you ask where the pendulum would swing, everyone knows where it would go. If you like, don’t allow Dino Melaye to come to Kogi. The people, because of what they have done to me in Kabba, are saying they will wait for February to vent their anger.

I have told people several times that I am not leaving APC, not because I’m convinced that APC is the best or not the best but because l have a divine purpose. If not for God, you must have heard people saying I am being considered as third force where I was not even a member. People went as far as making billboards with my name as their senatorial candidate.

I would have gone to those ones. And let me not deceive you, the kind of work we have done, there is no party I would go to today that I would not win, that is if they do not write result because the result of the primary they are brandishing, did we really have up to 1,500 delegates as of the time they claimed that primary election was held?

What does the future portend for Kogi West?
Very bleak because the two principal actors have been there before and what was the outcome? One was there for eight years, what did he have to show?

Some people campaigning for him on social media said he gave cars, what kind of cars? How many people can drive the cars now? If you did empowerment that would enable people acquire skills and can employ others through it, would it not be better than giving cars? You said he gave some rickety ambulances to some clinics? Ambulances that never moved after they were delivered! We know the source of all those things, making it look as if they are spending their own money is deceptive. Over the years, I cannot count lives I’ve impacted positively.

By the virtue of my background, l don’t make noise about it. I’m not like a senator who would paint one classroom and make so much noise about it. My community development efforts have received commendation and yet I don’t make noise about it.

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2019 Polls: CSO Sets Threshold For Free,Fair and Credible Elections




Ahead of 2019 Polls,Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) has set thresholds towards a free,fair and credible election.

The threshold document was released today during the unveiling of the Situation Room Hub for the elections, Situation Room outlined minimum expectations that the conduct of the 2019 elections must meet to pass the test of free, fair and credible elections.

The Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room,Clement Nwankwo, while outlining the conditions he said, INEC, security agencies, political parties and state institution must fulfil to give credibility for the 2019 General Elections to be credible.

Situation Room demanded that INEC must ensure that there is absence of multiple registrations, removal of under-aged and deceased voters in collaboration with the National Population Commission, ensure alignment between election data and demographic data; keep timely adherence to guidelines for display of Voter Register, give voters sufficient time to verify their details; and audit of PVC collection process and rates, uncollected PVCs, and protocol for storage and protection.

” INEC must also publicise to all stakeholders, the reforms it has made regarding any malfunctioning of the Smart Card Reader (SCR), during the Accreditation and Voting procedure and make a commitment to a special audit in the event of a 5% card reader incidence failure”.

Situation Room also called on INEC to put a transparent results collation process in place, commit to publishing the collation process no less than 15 days after the election, and ensure unfettered access by accredited observers and all party agents to collation centres, as well as non-participation of security agents in collation process at any level.

Situation Room also called for efficient and accountable Election Administration of the elections asking that ballot paper designs exclude parties without any candidates; publicise and share plans for voting and security arrangements for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) around the country; and promote inclusiveness and enfranchisement for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

“political parties to comply with election laws and regulations, shun hate speech and violence during campaigns and avoid perpetrating fraud, malpractice etc. on Election Day. It also called on political parties to train and deploy polling agents to represent their parties and commit to every stage of the elections as well as commit to respecting the outcome of the General Elections”.

The Situation Room outlined minimum expectations for Security Agencies, namely Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Police and the Army to comply with, including ensuring that all security deployment must be under the operational directive of INEC and that security agencies make a public declaration of neutrality before, during and after the elections, and that no restrictions are placed on the campaigns of any candidates in any part of the country. Security agencies must also not instigate violence or intimidate voters, candidates or polling agents.

The group called on agencies to comply with section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which gives INEC the responsibility of requesting the deployment of security personnel necessary for the elections.

Situation Room called on governments at state and federal levels, to ensure that all parties have access to public facilities during the campaigns, that there are no restrictions of their movement and ensure that State institutions are not used to intimidate or harass candidates and avoid the resort to clamping down on the opposition candidates or parties based on spurious charges.

The group said the credibility or not of the 2019 General Elections will be on the basis of these outlined thresholds because Nigerians deserve free, fair and credible elections, and Situation Room expects that all stakeholders will deliver on these expectations.

Situation Room is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria

The 2019 election is scheduled for February 16 and March 2 this year.

The event was attended by civil society leaders, diplomats, election stakeholders and the media.

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2019 presidential race: Save our party from destruction – Kogi SDP beg national leaders



Jerry Gana

Jerry Gana

The G19 Presidential Campaign Team of Prof. Jerry Gana of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has called on credible leaders and teeming members of the party to arise and rescue SDP from the hands of traders, merchants and transactionalists who are bent at destroying the party.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Secretary of SDP, Kogi State Cha, ter Barrister Paul Abraham which was made available to newsmen in Lokoja on Tuesday.

The statement wondered why the leadership of the SDP refused to obey the Court Order by forwarding the name of Prof. Jerry Gana to INEC as the presidential candidate of the party as directed by the law.

According to the statement, ”Without any ambiguity, the matter of the presidential candidacy of the SDP in the 2019 election ought to be fully rested by now, given the subsisting judgment of the FCT High Court.

“Unfortunately, the mishandling of this weighty matter, and the open bias displayed by the National Chairman of the Party, Chief Olu Falae in the face of a clear Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction, remain incomprehensible and his motives and integrity questionable.

“It has now become very clear that the National Chairman and the National Secretary of the party Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam, without recourse to other members of the NWC have continued to act as though the party is a private venture.

“We state categorically that it has always been obvious, and we say so on good authority, that the duo have a script other than the interest of the party, which they have manipulated thus far and would henceforth continue no more.

“Otherwise, how does one explain their stand on this matter, in spite of the fact that majority of NWC members, State Chairmen and party faithful across the country, have continued to cry and shout, insisting that Prof Jerry Gana’s name be submitted to INEC, Instead of acceding to the demand of the majority, the duo have resorted to direct threats, intimidation and suspension of members who dare to speak out”

The statement further pointed out that SDP is not a fascism organisation where people are forbidden from speaking their minds, stressing that freedom of expression is one of the pillars of democracy and as such, social democrats members shall no longer be caged.

“Given that our presidential candidacy is on the platform of the SDP we deliberated resisted commenting publicly on these sordid manipulations, but we discovered that the more we keep quiet the more the public is misled into accepting lies as truth, propaganda as reality, minority way as majority view and playing mischief with serious matters of nation building.

“We understand that Chief Falae’s preferred candidate, Mr. Donald Duke did not come to the SDP with the intention of really contesting for the Presidency. We say so for a number of reasons.

“There is no trace of evidence nor record anywhere in the custody of the Party to show that he paid for his nomination forms; whereas Prof. Gana paid N11million as and when required. Yet, there was an insider-dealing to dash him the Party’s nomination form while others had to pay.

“This is not about Prof. Jerry Gana, it is about right versus wrong! It is about the destiny of millions of Nigerians whose lives are dependent on putting in place a better leadership alternative based on competence, capacity, character, and courage.” the statement noted

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2019: Igala group tasks candidates on Development…



Major Gen. Patrick Akpa ( Rted)

Major Gen. Patrick Akpa ( Rted)

By Atabo Julius, Lokoja

Toward effective representation by her representatives in the forthcoming general elections, Ukomu Igala , the apex platform for all socio cultural organisations of the people of kogi East has tasked candidates of the various political parties to sign an article of faith on the development agenda of the zone as a prelude for earning their support .

The candidates who were drawn from the three Federal Constituencies that make up the zone were asked on their plans and programmes for the kingdom , while advising them to avoid acts of violence during electioneering and to ensure brotherliness through out the elections.

Speaking at the Interactive session held at Anyigba in Dekina LGA on Saturday, the president of Ukomu Igala Major Gen. Patrick Akpa ( Rted) noted that the event was a modest contribution to the proactive leadership recruitment that could bring functional development to the zone.

Akpa, stated that the group has to commission some of the best minds to design a development agenda document which has just been unveiled to guide those seeking to represent them assured that the people will rely on it to interrogate the representatives when come back for reelection.

The president, Ukomu Igala stated that the past representatives could not attract needed development from the state and federal governments to the zone which necessitated the development of the blueprint as guide for the potential lawmakers.

He lamented that the Igala kingdom which is acclaimed to be the ninth largest ethnic nationalities in the country could not boast of her sons and daughters in the highest policy making organs of the Federation.

He bemoaned the acute shortage of infrastructural development, access to qualitative education, healthcare delivery, adding that the zone which boast of abundant arable land for agriculture still remained in poverty for lack of investment into the modern method of farming by the governments and well to do citizens of the area.

He called on the candidates to hold on to the Development Agenda as the scripture of their office stressing that they can only get the support of the people by their strict compliance with the Kogi East Agenda.

While restating the need for politicians to be committed to the development of their communities, the lead moderator, Mrs Eugenia Abuh, former Executive Director NTA, charged them for a paradigm shift to wrestle all facets of development from the center to the zone.

The Director who was elated by the responses of the respondents said given need encouragement the crop of new generation leaders of the zone could change the narrative of poverty to prosperity.

She warned participants to desist from using words capable of inciting violence saying in a competition of this nature only one person will win hence both the presumed winners and losers should work in synergy to give the people dividend of democracy.

She urged those who were not present at the event to study carefully the “Development Agenda document”to guide them when eventually they win the polls.

Abuh said gone are the era where politicians would do whatever they want without recourse to the people hinted that the people will be waiting for them when they come to seek their support for re-election.

A participant, Hon. Abdullahi Ibrahim , a former Assembly member and Candidate for Ankpa / Olamaboro/Omala federal constituency said his aspiration is to give voice to the youth and the vulnerable adding that his antecedents speaks volumes for him.

The lawmaker said the role of the political parties is to present candidates for election, he however charged candidates to be aware of their responsibilities to the people who voted for them expecting good things of lives from them.

He urged his colleagues to play the game by the rules declaring that his aspiration does not worth the blood of any man hence thuggery and other vices associated with electioneering should be condemned.

Meanwhile, the Development Agenda document contains priorities of Agriculture, Education, Healthcare; Infrastructures, political and language developments which was signed by participants drawn from the PDP, APC, ADC; SDP, YDP NCP etc as a guide for their elections.

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