The former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has raised alarm of plot to arrest him.
This was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, yesterday.
It said due to Atiku’s insistence of the existence of a server used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), his enemies attributed a false comment on “mass protest” to him to prepare ground for his incarceration.
Ibe said: “I wish to emphatically state that such a statement did not emanate from Atiku Abubakar or his privies.
“It is the work of mischief makers who want to mar his spotless pro-democratic record and lay the ground work for their threatened actions against him on false charges of being a threat to national security.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar believes in the rule of law and in the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In his almost four decades in politics, he has never taken action or spoken words against democracy and will not start now.
“Atiku Abubakar and his team have confidence in God and thus call on those bent on mischief to have the fear of God and retrace their steps.
“Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. The culture of fear being created now cannot rein in our democracy. Nigeria and Nigerians have a consistent history of outlasting tyranny and will continue to do so by the grace of God.”
Meanwhile, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, said he has no plan to lead a street protest in the event that the election petition tribunal ruled against him and his party on the issue of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) server.
Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said the statement attributed to Atiku was the handiwork of mischief makers to mar his pro-democratic record, and lay the groundwork on false charges against him.
In a statement issued, yesterday, Ibe said: “I wish to emphatically state that such a statement did not emanate from Atiku Abubakar or his privies. It is the work of mischief makers who want to mar his spotless pro-democratic record and lay the groundwork for their threatened actions against him on false charges of being a threat to national security.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar believes in the Rule of Law and in the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In his almost four decades in politics, he has never taken action or spoken words against democracy and will not start now.
“Atiku and his team have confidence in God and thus call on those bent on mischief to have the fear of God and retrace their steps. Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. The culture of fear being created now cannot rein in our democracy. Nigeria and Nigerians have a consistent history of outlasting tyranny and will continue to do so by the grace of God.”
In a related development,the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says that the fresh revelation in the European Union (EU) report has further vindicated the PDP and millions of Nigerians, in our position that the February 23 Presidential election was rigged to favour President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party noted that the revelations of manipulations as detailed in the EU report further validated queries by majority of Nigerians that President Buhari was not validly returned for a second term in office.
A statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, yesterday, said that “the world can now see that the PDP has not been crying wolf in insisting that the election was outrightly rigged with the cancellation of millions of PDP votes, alteration of results and allocation of fictitious votes to the APC.
“Nigerians are still in shock over the revelations by EU of how about 2.8 million votes were deliberately “cancelled without sufficient accountability” and how several returning officers gave no reason for the cancellations.
“More shocking is the iniquity committed at the national collation center, headed by the INEC Chairman, where the EU report exposed inconsistent numbers, distortions and “a large discrepancy of “1.66 million more registered voters, as announced by INEC on 14 January, compared to those announced by state returning officers during the collation of presidential results.
“Nigerians witnessed, on national TV, how professors and returning officers were unable to reconcile result figures due to heavy manipulations upon which INEC declared the APC winner.
“The EU report has further exposed the iniquity committed by the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC by listing how ballot boxes were compromised, how essential materials were missing, how “voter register was not always ticked as required” and how “manual authentication procedures were not correctly followed.
“The report also bared how figures on result forms did not reconcile, how result forms were not publicly posted, how “result forms and smart card readers were not packed in tamper-evident envelops as required”, in addition to how the APC administration used security forces to intimidate voters, aid violence against our members and muscled votes for the APC
“The PDP, therefore, commends the EU for the courage in exposing the evils committed by the APC and INEC in the 2019 general elections.
“Moreover, the report has further reinforced the confidence of millions of Nigerians in our collective expectation of justice in the quest to retrieve our stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal.
“The PDP insists that those in INEC, who perpetrated such crime against our nation, in sabotaging the sanctity of our electoral processes to frustrate the choice of Nigerians in a presidential election, must be brought to book and made to face the wrath of the law.
“Our party therefore urges Nigerians to remain calm as the truth about the election continues to unfold while justice takes its course on the matter”, the PDP added.
Similarly, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for the sack of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Yakubu Mahmood.
HURIWA in a statement, yesterday by its Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, made the call in reaction to the European Union report on Nigeria’s 2019 elections.
The group stated that the election was so rigged to an extent that over 40 percent of the results returned by the compromised Yakubu Mahmood have been voided and rendered a legal nullity by competent courts of law and election petition and appeals’ tribunals all across the country
“What is Yakubu Mahmood still doing as Chairman when the shoddy and shabby electoral heist he supervised has been discredited locally and globally?,” it quipped
HURIWA said it was shocking that Mahmood who presided over the most brazenly manipulated and criminally rigged election in the political history of Africa has refused to voluntarily bow out and resign from office for his spectacular and historical failure to conduct a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election even when he had over 4 years to prepare for the just ended polls.
HURIWA also noted that the conduct of the Mahmood led INEC before the presidential elections petition Tribunal in which INEC denied deploying the technological transmission of results (electronic servers) which the electoral commission budgeted and got the facilities installed has shown that Mr Yakubu Mahmood has no business remaining as chairman of an agency that ought to be independent and operate as an unbiased umpire.
It added: “How come that an umpire who claims to be unbiased be the party in an electoral petition that actively undermines and is frustrating one of the parties in the matter from accessing basic evidence to help the Tribunal reach an objective and just determination? This shows that INEC was an affiliate of All Progressives Congress during and after the widely disputed polls. An independent commission ought to be focused on helping the election tribunal to reach an objective and truthfully honest determination rather than be the megaphone of one of the contending parties in the petition before a competent court of law.
“A self-respecting academic professor would on his own volition quit from office in any sane government and civilized nation the moment it becomes notorious that he has failed to discharge the public functions and duty for which the Nigerian State invested multibillion dollars of public fund to enable a constitutionally independent body like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to perform.
“But this discredited Chairman has continued to pontificate and parade about as the Chairman of an agency that was sold and bought. It’s a shame that the Chairman of INEC under whose watch over 150 potential voters and electoral officers were slaughtered by political thugs affiliated to the central government has refused to show dignity and conscientiousness by quitting his job to allow for a fresh head to steer the ship of affairs in INEC.
“This INEC that has shamelessly failed to pay the allowances and wages of youth corpers who worked as ad-hoc electoral officers is the same that is pretending to be interested in any transparent reforms of the decadent electoral system. This is comedy taken to an unimaginably farcical but offensive dimension.
“We agree totally with the conclusions of the election observations made by the EU election monitoring team that watched the 2019 polls to such an extent that the reports highlighted the state sponsored violence that marred the polls and the lack of openness and transparency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“We also accept the EU’s observations about the misbehavior of some rogue armed security operatives and their officers who were deployed by politicians to kill, maim and destroy many lives and electoral materials in the areas that the leading opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) was coasting home to victory in both the National Assembly, governorship and Presidential polls.
“The violence in Lagos, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States were so well coordinated to such a level that only the Federal Government with such overwhelming federal might and control over the security forces can so abuse their powers to destroy the credibility, integrity and independence of the just ended general elections and most specifically in the Presidential election.
“HURIWA agrees with the conclusions of the final reports of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Nigeria for the March 2019 general election where it said a combination of factors, including incumbency, suspension of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, a few weeks to the election, and violence shaped the poll’s outcome but the EU did not go far enough and did not call a spade by its name may be in a bid to appear to be politically correct as most diplomatic missions would.
“The EU report said Onnoghen’s suspension did not follow due process. And it alleged that over 150 people died in the violence that characterised the elections. We had consistently maintained that the last elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation, with the role of the security agencies becoming more contentious as the process progressed.
“These tendencies were so noticeable that at a point in some parts of Nigeria like in Lagos the armed thugs paid by All Progressives Congress (APC) stopped voters of South East origin from accessing polling booths even as the security forces were teleguided and directed from Abuja to do nothing to stop these hired armed party thugs from stopping Igbo voters from exercising their right to vote because of widespread apprehension within the Presidency then that the Igbo block votes in Lagos will undermine the plots of the ruling party to coast to victory seamlessly but the APC adopted raw violence and bloodshed.
“The national leader of APC was seen with two bullion vans reportedly conveying raw cash on the eve of the Presidential polls which were suspected to have been deployed to influence the conduct and outcome of the Presidential poll but EFCC working for APC looked the other way but refused to act even when the money laundering law specifies the sealing or limits of cash that an individual have physically at a time”.
Also, the Supreme Court will today commence hearing in the appeal filed before it by the Gubernatorial candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September 22nd 2018 governorship election in the state, Senator Ademola Adeleke challenging the declaration of Governor Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor.
The suit was filed following the declaration of Governor Oyetola as the winner of the state governorship election by the Court of Appeal on March 9, 2019.
The Court of Appeal judgment, it would be recalled upturned the verdict of the State Election Petition Tribunal which had declared Senator Adeleke as the winner of the said election.
The Court of Appeal held that the irregular composition of judges of the lower tribunal, where the judge who delivered the majority judgment, Justice Peter Obiorah, was absent in the proceedings of the lower court, affected the right of the appellant to fair hearing.
The five-member panel of justices, which was presided by Justice Jummai Sankey, also upheld 10 out of the 12 issues raised by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC that the lower tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain some of the grounds of the petition brought by Adeleke over the September 22, 2018 governorship election.
It held that having ruled that the claims of over-voting and voiding of valid votes were unproven by the tribunal in the 17 polling units out of 3,010 polling units in the state, the non-compliance was not substantial to proceed to compute and deduct votes.
But Adeleke and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the verdict and proceeded to the Apex Court, urging it to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal which was in favour of Oyetola of the APC.
Adeleke also contended that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it upheld the appeals by APC and INEC, challenging the decision of the tribunal.
The PDP also contended that the appellate court erred when it dismissed its cross-appeal, where it challenged the improper ballot counting which cost it 3, 402 and 379 votes in 23 polling units.
Adeleke and the PDP are therefore seeking a declaration that they won the election by a wider margin than what was found by the lower tribunal in view of what they called the substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Meanwhile, both APC and PDP have gone spiritual over the case, seeking the face of God that the judgment will be in their favour.
Last week, the PDP called its members for prayer session over the case beseeching God to grant them favour in the matter while APC leadership in the state also summoned its leadership to party secretariat for a prayer session.
The APC prayer session was at the instance of the State Chairman of the party, Prince Gboyega Famodun for Monday, June 17th 2019.
Wike Recommits To Harmonious Host Communities, IOCs’ Ties
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has reemphasised that the state governments’ aim as mediator in conflicts affecting oil companies and host communities was to ensure peaceful working relations that propel community development.
Wike said that most community-based crisis organisations experience could be averted, if they involved the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs in dealings with host communities as well as abide by the GMoUs in the cause of carrying out their commercial activities.
The governor stated this in Port Harcourt during a peace meeting between Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Company, operators of OML 54 and its host communities, Ogbehe, Obumeze and Ugbokor in Ahoada East Local Government Area and Otari Community in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
According to the governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, corporations which are able to abide by signed GMoUs stand to experience less friction as most host communities want a fair share of their social responsibility.
“We don’t like when host communities are distressed neither do we like operating companies disturbed,” he said.
He further advised companies to desist from using force because community misunderstanding cannot be handled with harassment.
The closed-door meeting was attended by Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) representatives led by the Manager, HSC, Tom-George Walter, House of Assembly member representing Abua/Odual, chiefs, youths and opinion leaders of both communities and the permanent secretaries of Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Special Service Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government is also mediating on the face-off between Prime Exploration and Production Ltd and Asarama community in Andoni LGA.
I’m Gov Because God Dislodged Forces Of Darkness On March 9 -Wike
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that he remains Rivers State governor because of the intervention of God who dislodged forces of darkness who were primed to rob the Rivers mandate on March 9, 2019.
Speaking during the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Holy Ghost Rally at the Adokiye Amiesimaka, yesterday, Wike described himself as a living testimony of God’s blessing.
He said: “Nigerians are aware of what happened on March 9, 2019. If anyone says he does not believe in God, that event of March 9 should make you believe God.
“But for God, the enemies would have taken over the state. I thank the church for standing firm. They prayed for God’s will to be done and God’s will was done. But for your prayers, I won’t be here as Rivers State governor.”
Wike said the criticisms on his declaration of Rivers State as a Christian State cannot stop him from affirming the reality.
The governor said: “Anytime I have the opportunity, I repeat the declaration with authority and I owe nobody an apology. I am standing on solid Authority. Rivers State is a Christian State.”
He commended the Redeemed Christian Church of God for their sanitation programme, tagged ‘Pick A Thrash’.
“If we have all churches embark on sanitation, our state will be cleaner. We will support this programme financially and we shall donate three vehicles to the church for the programme”, he said.
Wike said that God has used the General Overseer of RCCG to bless Rivers State, adding that the Annual Holy Ghost Rally has been a blessing to the state.
In his remarks, the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God ( RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye said everyone needs help, and noted that the best source to get help was from God.
Adeboye said: “No matter how influential and powerful, everyone needs help. Everyone needs help and the best help you can get is from the Almighty God.”
He said that divine help was always on time and manifests at the time it was needed.
Adeboye prayed for Wike, Rivers State and her people.
Also speaking, the Pastor in charge of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Belemina Obunge announced that the second phase of the church’s Environmental Sanitation Programme has commenced.
Obunge expressed gratitude to Wike and the Government of Rivers State for the support over the years.
Young musician, Master Nengi Jaja and the RCCG Region 5 Choir ministered in songs at the Holy Ghost Rally.
Over 40,000 Christian faithful thronged the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the RCCG Holy Ghost Rally, which had the theme: “Divine Help”.
Bayelsa, Kogi Guber Polls Hold, ‘Morrow, Says INEC …Gets Court Order On Exclusion Of Running Mate …Snatch Ballot Boxes, Lose Your Life, Police Warn …Court Decides Bello’s Fate, Today
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to a Federal High Court ruling which invalidated the candidacy of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming election in Bayelsa State, David Lyon, insisting that despite the court verdict, the poll would go on as scheduled, tomorrow.
It would be recalled that the High Court in Yenegoa, had yesterday, declared that the APC does not have a governorship candidate in the election taking place on Saturday.
The court presided over by Justice Jane Inyang ruled that the governorship primary conducted by the APC in the oil-rich state was not done in compliance with the guidelines and the constitution of the party, and, therefore, the party has no candidate.
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday had also disqualified Mr Lyon’s running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, from participating in the forthcoming election on the grounds that he provided conflicting information on the documents he presented to INEC.
In its reaction, INEC said the election will go on despite the disqualification of the APC candidate.
“The court did not say INEC should stop the election”, said Sarian Dangosu, INEC Publicity Secretary in Bayelsa.
“The court only said those who do not have candidates will be disallowed therefore, the other 43 candidates will go to the polls,” she noted.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says no voter will be allowed to vote without voter card recognised by the Smart Card Reader in the November 16 elections in Bayelsa and Kogi.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. James Apam, said this on the sideline of a one-day Training on Election Duties, organised by Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for its staff at Kogi Sector Command Headquarters in Lokoja.
Speaking on behalf of Apam, a staff officer of the commission, Mr Olugbenga Ajayi, warned that no person would be allowed to vote without being accredited using the card reader.
“We keep learning everyday; and we want to obey what we have said as electoral umpire; if card reader cannot identify you, you cannot vote.
“It is either card reader or no voting in Kogi and Bayelsa elections; anything apart from the use of card reader for accreditation and voting will be disqualified.
“No manual accreditation would be allowed; it is either card reader or no voting,” he reiterated.
He enjoined all the personnel participating in the elections to conduct themselves very well and not to compromise but respect their dignity and protect the sanctity of the elections.
He further urged other security personnel to adequately secure electoral staff and election materials, saying all eyes are on Kogi and Bayelsa elections.
He also called for timely arrival of security personnel at INEC Local Government Secretariat, who would be escorting their staff and election materials to INEC Registration Area Centre (RAC) for timely dispatched.
“We urged the security personnel to live by the oath they swore to and not chasing after politicians for money,” he said.
Saturday poll in Bayelsa was expected to be a straight race between candidates of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but for the controversy trailing Lyon’s emergence.
Lyon, a relatively unknown aspirant then, defeated five other aspirants in the APC governorship primary in September, including a former minister of state for agriculture and rural development, Heineken Lokpobiri, who was seen by many as a front-runner in the race.
Lokpobiri scored 571 votes, the second-lowest in the primary, while Lyon, who had the backing of the Minister of State for Petroleum and former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, had 42,138 votes.
Many party chieftains said the primaries left much to be desired, accusing the party National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of conducting another undemocratic election.
A party chieftain and former senator from Bayelsa, Felix Oboro, said that Lokpobiri would have made a better governorship candidate for the APC.
He said Lyon has an obscure background, and nobody knows anything about him.
After the primaries, Lokpobiri approached the court, asking it to declare him, and not Lyon, the authentic candidate of the APC.
If yesterday’s ruling stands, the ruling APC would suffer yet another defeat caused by internal wrangling within the party hierarchy.
It was the same internal party crisis that caused APC loses in states such as Zamfara and with Rivers.
In Rivers, the party’s candidates were disqualified before the general elections and thus could not take part while in Zamfara, the candidates who had earlier been declared winners were disqualified by the Supreme Court and opposition candidates then declared winners.
Like Bayelsa, in both Rivers and Zamfara, the cases were taken to court by aggrieved APC members.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operation, AbdulMajeed Ali, has warned those planning to snatch ballot boxes during Saturday’s elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to have a rethink as the police will not condone such behaviour.
“Anyone caught will not be spared and will not live to do that ever again,” Ali said.
Addressing a press conference, yesterday ahead of Saturday’s elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, Ali, who is overseeing the Kogi elections said that the Inspector General had deployed enough personnel to adequately police the state and deal with any eventuality during the election.
“We have enough personnel and capacity to deal with anyone that tried to foment trouble on Saturday. Just watch, if anyone tries to snatch ballot box on Saturday, he will pay dearly for it.
“We are determined to provide the enabling environment for a peaceful election. We are tired of being held to ransom by Kogi and Bayelsa states every election period, we will put a stop to that this time around.”
He said that the force had undertaken a security threat assessment in both Kogi and Bayelsa states and have identified possible risks, geo-located trouble spots, and classified individuals and groups that could constitute security challenges to the process.
Ali added, “The outcome of this intelligence-driven initiative guided our election deployment plans and informed our post-election security projections.”
The DIG said that the police are determined to create an environment that is secure and peaceful enough to give confidence to the political actors to undertake their campaigns and other political activities and for the citizens to freely exercise their electoral franchise.
But barely 48 hours to the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the police said it had identified possible risks that could constitute a threat to the smooth conduct of the elections.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations, Abdulmajid Ali, made this known to newsmen in Lokoja, yesterday.
He said that individuals and groups that could pose security challenges to the election had been identified, classified and placed under surveillance.
Ali said that a security threat assessment carried out in the states made it possible for the police to discover all these.
According to him, the outcome of the intelligence-driven assessment was also used as a guide in the deployment of personnel and logistics for the elections.
Ali said that the objective was to create a secure and peaceful environment to give citizens the confidence to freely exercise their franchise.
He explained that adequate security had been put in place for all INEC personnel, ad-hoc staff, agents, domestic and international observers during the entire period.
“We have also emplaced adequate security for both sensitive and non-sensitive election materials, both at the voting centres, while on transit and at the various collation points.
He said that 66,241 policemen would be deployed for election security operations in both Kogi and Bayelsa states on November 16.
Out of this, he said 35,200 personnel will be deployed to Kogi State while 31,041 will be deployed to Bayelsa State.
He said that they would be complemented by deployment of Police Mobile Force, Special Protection Unit and Counter-terrorism Unit and other security outfits.
In addition, Ali said that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had ordered the posting of Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs), AIGs, CPs, DCPs and ACPs to all senatorial districts and local government areas within the two states.
He made it clear that the heavy deployment of policemen for the election was not to intimidate voters but to make the elections a success.
According to him, personnel deployed on the election security operations have been charged to be civil, fair and professional and be the rule of law-guided in the discharge of their duties.
“In so doing, however, they have been additionally instructed to be firm and decisive,’’ he said.
Ali said that all entry and exit points into Kogi and Bayelsa states from contiguous states shall be closed as from 12 a.m. of November15 to 4 p.m. of November16.
“There shall also be restriction of movements within the two states as from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. of November16, with the exemption of those on election duties and essential services,’’ he said.
Ali said that the Inspector-General of Police had directed that with effect from Friday, November 15, all security aides attached to political office holders be withdrawn until the conclusion of the elections.
He gave an assurance that the police and other security agencies were fully ready to support INEC in delivering successful elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
He said that the country has had enough of electoral violence, warning those planning to foment trouble on Election Day to have a change of mind.
“In securing the law-abiding citizens during the elections, we shall not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with electoral deviants,’’ he warned.
DIG Ali gave out telephone lines that can be useful.
He said, “For any complaints, members of the public are urged to reach the Kogi State’s Joint Operation Room on 08066002020, 08065948693 and 08151532944; and Bayelsa State’s Joint Operation Room on 07034578208 and 09055555803.”
Similarly, a suit challenging whether the Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, is fit to contest for the November 16 governorship election in the state will today, come up at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The originating summon, which is instituted by Natasha Akpoti, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s governorship candidate in the forthcoming poll, will be mentioned at Court 5 before Justice Inyang Ekwo.
While SDP candidate is the plaintiff, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.
The suit, dated October 10 and marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1221/2019, filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on Akpoti’s behalf, sought the court’s determination on the eligibility of Governor Bello in the Saturday election, having allegedly involved in double registration as a voter.
Akpoti said “that by his wilful act of making double registration as a voter, Yahaya Bello, candidate of the 1st defendant is not a fit and proper person to be allowed by the 2nd defendant to vote or be voted for in the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election, having committed act of electoral fraud.
“That Mr Yahaya Bella, the candidate of the 1st Defendant was initially registered as a voter sometime in 2011 in Abuja, by the 2nd defendant.
“That Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant again fraudulently procured from the 2nd defendant. A second registration as a voter on 23rd May, 2017, at Government House, Lokoja, while his 2011 first registration as a voter in Abuja was still live, extant and subsisting.
“That the said Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant carried out the double registration with the 2nd defendant so as to scuttle due electoral process.
“That such a person is not a fit and proper person to vote for in any election, let alone for the high office of the governor of a state.”
Justice Ekwo had, last Tuesday, delivered judgment, disqualifying the APC Deputy Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa, Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, over false information given in his CF0001 Form submitted to INEC for the Saturday’s poll.
In his message, President Muhammadu Buhari called for fairness and transparency ahead of Saturday’s governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states, according to a State House statement.
In Kogi, a repeat election will also be held in Kogi-West senatorial district.
“On Saturday, November 16, voters in two states, Bayelsa and Kogi, will be left alone to decide who takes charge of the administration of their important states for the next four years.
“Since the ban on campaigns was lifted a few weeks ago, their citizens have been called to attend political rallies of various hues and were bombarded with advertising on billboards, radio and TV; texts, tweets, WhatsApp and Facebook posts in campaigns that sadly, have so far recorded not a few uninspiring incidents of violence and of intemperate use of language.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has made a strong demand for exemplary conduct of non-partisanship on the part of election and law enforcement officials in the two states. All must carry out their functions with fairness and transparency; without let or hindrance and without fear or favour”, the statement signed by presidential media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said.
It quoted Buhari as saying, “I call on voters in Bayelsa and Kogi states to exercise their franchise in a peaceful and orderly manner and in line with the law in all situations. Law enforcement officials must ensure that citizens are allowed to vote without harassment and intimidation and any attempt to steal or hijack ballots must be stopped using all legal means.
“In all democratic elections, there are bound to be winners and losers and the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi will not be different. All candidates should be ready to accept the outcomes and wherever they are dissatisfied, they should follow the due process of the law in seeking redress. There must not be a resort to self-help.”
He acknowledged that the polls would be “suspenseful”, but wished the participants well.
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