The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to prosecute the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, APC Campaign Director-General, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and other directors and zonal coordinators, that have corruption charges, noting that he (Buhari) should not only prosecute the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.
It would be recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had in an event held in his honour by Christian youths, under the aegis of Ikeja branch of GRILL, said that Lawal and Oke were recommended for prosecution by the committee he heads.
Lawal was sacked after a Senate committee indicted him on misappropriating funds meant for internally displaced persons (IDPs), in the north-east but denied any wrongdoing.
The former NIA Director-General was also removed from office, following the discovery of $43 million at an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.
In view of the above therefore, Osinbajo averred, “I think the first thing for us is that the report was acted upon; the former SGF was dismissed. Second, the President has directed that the SGF and former DG of NIA be prosecuted.
“So, we are expecting that prosecution will take place. The next, of course, is that criminal allegations will be filed against them and the prosecution process will be completed.”
However, in a statement disclosed by Director, Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, the party opined that singling out Babachir Lawal and Ayodele Oke, for prosecution, while providing official cover to numerous other indicted APC leaders and persons close to him, President Buhari has further confirmed that he is indeed partisan and insincere in prosecuting the anti-corruption fight.
“Moreover, the fact that, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr. President had to give his nod before Babachir and Oke could be prosecuted, also goes to further confirm that President Buhari has annexed the system and directly determines who is prosecuted and who is spared.
“The PDP, therefore, challenges President Buhari to immediately order the prosecution of all APC leaders, particularly members of his Presidential Campaign Council, beginning with the APC factional National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, the campaign Director-General, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, other directors and zonal coordinators, who have allegations of corruption hanging on their necks.
“Mr. President should also immediately order the prosecution of the former aide to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, Mr. Baba Inna, who was arrested in September, last year, over accusations of receiving N2.5billion from politicians, businessmen and women on behalf of the First Lady.
“In the same vein, he should also order the prosecution of Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who while being paraded by the Department of State Services (DSS), last year stated in public that persons close to President Buhari were involved in serial fraud and looting of public resources under the official cover of the Buhari Presidency.
“President Buhari should also order an open inquest into alleged involvement of some individuals said to be close to the Buhari Presidency in the N1.032trillion alleged corrupt acquisitions in 9Mobile and Keystone Bank PLC.
“He is also invited to order an investigation into allegations that persons close to him and serving in his Presidency took N500million as bribe to reduce the fine imposed on a telecommunication company operating in the country, from N1.03trillion to N330billion.
“Furthermore, we challenge President Buhari to allow an inquest into the N14trillion looted oil money under his watch, as detailed in the NNPC leaked memo; the handling of the repatriated $322million that has been siphoned under the guise of sharing to the poor; the N33billion Internally Displace Persons (IDP) intervention fund and the billions of naira already frittered through the ‘Tradermoni scheme’. Until Mr. President musters the required political will to carry out these actions, his war against corruption remains a charade,” the PDP added.
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked eligible voters to take advantage of the 2019 election to put the country on the path of sustainable progress by voting its Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The party said by constantly engaging Nigerians across the world without resorting to the use of proxies, Atiku has demonstrated his readiness to face the challenges of governance, urging voters not to mortgage their future listening to the same propaganda that “has brought our beloved nation to her knees in the last three and a half years.”
Speaking exclusively with our correspondent, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Atiku’s physical and mental fitness were glaring for the world to see when “after hours of flying into the country from the United States of America, he did not complain of jet lag but made himself available to debate with President Muhammadu Buhari last week.”
While urging Nigerians to support enmasse the candidacy of the former Vice President, Ologbondiyan said the PDP candidate has made a success of his venture in public and private sectors, adding that his sole motivation for the highest elective office is to deliver service to Nigerians without discrimination on the basis of creed, tribe or religion.
“We say it is a choice between progress and retrogression; between competence and incompetence. The policy document of our candidate which is in public domain is clearly on how the administration of our incoming President will reposition this country, how the states will be empowered to be more productive and less dependent on federal allocation while not forgetting the massive incentives for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
“So, when the All Progressives Congress (APC), ask for your votes, ask them what happened to the three million jobs they promised annually. Ask their Presidential candidate who said subsidy payment was a fraud why he is now paying subsidy on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). Please, ask them why after deceiving a good number of Nigerians that they will restructure the country, they suddenly developed cold feet on assumption of office,” he said.
On the readiness of the PDP to play by the rules, Ologbondiyan in a veiled dig at President Buhari argued that the failure to sign the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill is an opportunity missed for technology to take a firm root in the nation’s electoral process.
“When you hear that card readers have been upgraded, it gives you a sense of fulfillment that the process is getting better but then; why was the electoral act not signed? That was an opportunity missed because if virtually everything under the sun is going digital, we can’t afford to lag too far behind other democracies in the world.
“But we counsel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to walk its talk by ensuring that card readers for the polls work optimally across the country during the elections. This time, excuses that card readers functioned in some parts and failed in others will not be acceptable to Nigerians. We don’t deserve another four years in the dark and we can’t certainly afford a fresh tenure of pain, anguish and hunger,” he added.
He called on Nigerians to make the most of the opportunity presented them by the general election by electing people with proven competence and understanding of the workings of constitutional democracy.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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