The All Progressives Congress (APC), has listed desperate plots by alleged agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency, to force the postponement of the elections slated for February 14 and 28, 2015.
In a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that these plots include street protests, the procurement of illegal court judgements against the conduct of the elections on the excuse that many Nigerians have not collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), as well as desperate attempts to use corrupt judges loyal to the party to obtain judgement in against the eligibility of the presidential candidate of the main opposition party, Gen Muhammadu Buhari to contest the elections on the basis of the academic certificate furnished appropriate authorities and Nigerians.
Mohammed noted that, “During my last press conference on January 29th, I alerted the nation to the fact that the advocates of the postponement of this month’s general elections have resorted to using the courts to disqualify our presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and scuttle the polls.
“This followed the obvious failure of their clandestine campaign to have the elections postponed ostensibly because of the poor distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Despite sponsoring pseudo-experts and cash-and-carry analysts to make the television rounds to canvass for the postponement of the election, in addition to instigating protests against INEC, Nigerians have rejected the call for election shift, which is a big blow to those who want the elections postponed to give the Goodluck Jonathan Administration time to recover lost ground.
“The advocates of election shift may have retreated, but they have not given up their push to scuttle the elections. In fact, a conference organized on Monday to consider the effects of the National Conference on the 2015 elections was turned into a campaign for election postponement by the usual culprits.
“Despite their defeat in the court of public of opinion, the no-election proponents are now working hard on their back-up plan, which is to force a constitutional crisis that will ultimately lead to their goal: Interim Government!
“They have re-strategised to procure ‘pliant judges’ to give outrageous and unpopular judgement at election tribunals and courts, judgement that are capable of destabilising the polity
“Their hope is that such outrageous and unpopular judgement will help trigger massive violence across the country, which they will then leverage as an excuse to scuttle the elections and form an Interim Government.
“At the last count, six cases have been filed by the agents of those working to scuttle the elections, and we expect more. In one of the cases, Justice Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday gave the order for a substituted service in the case instituted by Max Uzoaka against our candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
“Make no mistake about it, the Jonathan Administration and the PDP do not want elections, this is why they have not been asking Nigerians to go and collect their PVCs, even when INEC has said the cards for all registered voters are now ready for collection.
“That is why they have refused hordes of foreign journalists visas to come to Nigeria. As we said earlier, the denial of visas to foreign journalists is systemic, aimed at preventing the international community from seeing or watching the desperate plots to scuttle the elections. An Administration that has nothing to hide will not embark on a deliberate move to shut foreign journalists out of what is definitely one of the most important elections in the world this year.
He called on local and international observers to take note of the scheming by the election-postponement campaigners, and urged them to note that since election is a process, and not restricted to election day alone, all the steps leading to the elections are as important as the actual voting. itself.
The APC also implored Nigerians and the international community to take note of the systemic shutout of foreign journalists from the forthcoming polls, which is a ploy to shut out the international community from the elections..
The party also urged “the Council of State not to allow itself to be used to scuttle the forthcoming elections, because it is in the interest of Nigeria and her people that the elections proceed as scheduled.
“We call on Nigerians to remain vigilant, especially in the days ahead, and to continue to reject all attempts by anti-democratic forces to cling to or get power through means that are not democratic. We urge our members and supporters in particular to eschew violence under any guise, even in the face of the most egregious provocations, so as not to play into the hands of those working to scuttle the elections.
The APC appealed to the judiciary to act as a bulwark against any attempt to truncate the nation’s hard-earned democracy by refusing to be used to scuttle the elections, pledging not to relent in speaking out against ongoing efforts to scuttle the elections.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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