The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says that the violent rigging of the Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections by the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot stand.
In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, after an emergency meeting of the NWC, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “The NWC maintains that there is no way the PDP will fold its hands and watch the mandates clearly given to its candidates, Engr. Musa Wada in Kogi State and Senator Douye Diri in Bayelsa State, left in the hands of repressive usurpers, manipulators and murderers.
“Indeed, the nation is still at shock over the brazen show of violence, where security forces coordinated the invasion of polling units, shooting and killing of voters and carting away of ballot boxes to government facilities where results were altered and fictitious figures given to INEC to declare the APC candidates as winners.
“Nigerians watched with horror as APC thugs and security forces traumatized and held voters hostage, murdered our compatriots, injured and maimed many more in violent attacks that involved the deployment of police helicopters.
“Our party has been made aware of the roles played by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as well as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in the elections.
“While we urge these officials to do some introspections on the anguish they have caused the people since the rigging of the elections, the PDP NWC assures that it will never hesitate to expose such ignoble roles at the appropriate time.
“The irreversible fact remains that though evil may appear to thrive for a while, truth and justice will always prevail at the end.
“The APC and its candidates must bear in mind that what they could not get through the ballot box, they cannot get by violence, manipulation and killing.
“The PDP is therefore undeterred in the determination to use all legitimate means available and allowed within our democratic practice to confront the usurpers and retrieved our mandate in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“The PDP will also file legitimate actions against identified INEC and security officials who aided the APC in the violent rigging of the election.
“The NWC therefore urges all members of the PDP as well as all Nigerians of good faith to remain strong, united and undeterred as the NWC commences lawful actions in the pursuit of our mandates.
“Our party once again mourns our compatriots killed by the APC in this election, including our Woman Leader, Acheju Abuh, who was burnt to death by APC thugs at her home on Monday.
“While invoking the wrath of God on the perpetrators of the gruesome killings, the party calls on the police to immediately track down and bring their killers to book.
“Indeed, their death will never be in vain as the mandates for which they were killed will surely be recovered”, Ologbondiyan added.
Similarly, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would challenge the result of November 16 governorship election in court.
Dickson disclosed this while addressing a world press conference in Yenagoa, yesterday.
He maintained that the PDP did not lose the election as it was characterised by violence and widespread malpractices which were carefully documented.
Dickson, however, said he would set up a transition committee to work out modalities for smooth handover on February 14, 2020.
“Our candidate, Senator Douye Diri and the party chairman have been speaking about the charade called an election that took place in Bayelsa on Saturday, and the invasion of our state by security forces.
“The dehumanisation of our people and how in the majority of areas and places, our people were denied the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.
“The story is all out there that what took place in the state on November 16 was not a democratic election.
“So, today, I’m here to add my voice to all that has been said already. It was so brazen, it has never been like this in this state before,” he said.
Dickson added, “I know that in 2015, we went through a very tough time, there was a display of federal might, but at least, it was not as bad as this.”
He said the endorsement of Mr David Lyon, the governor-elect by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan was regrettable and a ploy by the APC to strategically take over the state.
He said that the perception that he alienated PDP stakeholders including the former president was unfounded, adding that the primary election that produced the PDP candidate was credible.
“Jonathan remains my Oga (boss) and I respect him, but there are lots of efforts by certain interest to create a rift between us, there is no politician that has been there for the former president than me.
“He has also helped me but it is unfortunate that I am being misconstrued in this matter of the election. I tried to meet Jonathan 16 times and he opted to support a candidate that does not wish me well.
“I will soon write my memoirs and people will have a fair view of what happened, the visit of some APC governors to Jonathan who congratulated the APC candidate without congratulating the candidate of his party.
“It is strategic for APC leaders to use Jonathan to legitimise the illegitimacy that happened on Saturday,” Dickson said.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has rejected the outcome of the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The Minority Leadership, led by the Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, stated this while briefing newsmen, yesterday, at the National Assembly.
The minority leader called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the violence that marred the election in the two states, while disclosing that the party will approach the court.
“We are not impressed with what happened in the just concluded Bayelsa and Kogi elections. We are not in favour of the outcome of the election, us as PDP members and other minority parties and therefore we are 100 per cent not in support of the outcome of the election.
He continued, “We have also come here to register our grievance contrary to the Point of Order earlier raised by our colleague, Hon Abejide Adeleke (ADC, Kogi) commending the outcome of the election adjudging to be fair and credible. We want to state that, we are displeased with the violence actions meted out on innocent Nigerians which led loss of lives and properties”
Adeleke, who is a member of the Africa Democratic Congress from Kogi State, had earlier during plenary, yesterday, used the word “We” when thanking for the election, and the minority leader, rejected the statement, disclosing that the PDP caucus was not in support of the statement.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu said, “We are particularly sad with the loss of lives whereby the PDP woman leader was burnt alive and the killing of Senator Dino Melaye’s nephew was quite disheartening. We condemn the violence perpetrated in that election. I want to state clearly that we would contest the elections in court. I also feel this is the time to amend the Electoral act, we need to correct the imperfections.”
Later, Adeleke also addressed newsmen concerning the controversy.
He stated: “At plenary, the speaker asked me to brief the house about Kogi election, which I did by raising a point of order whereby I thanked my colleagues for their prayers and success of the election that this time around, the election was not inconclusive.
“ However, on the issue of whether lives were lost, I told them that the election was peaceful in my own area. So, I didn’t do anything wrong as my colleagues in the PDP are already agitating.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the North, Aminu Yakudima, says the party should sanction, suspend those who worked against its interest in Bayelsa State.
Recall that the flag-bearer of the opposition, David Lyon emerged winner in the election with 352,552 votes to defeat Douye Diri, candidate of the ruling PDP, who polled 143,172 votes.
Lyon’s victory means that the APC has broken the 20-year reign of the PDP in the state.
According to Yakudima, “Some people worked against the interest of the PDP; therefore, the national leadership should investigate and discipline them to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Those found guilty should be suspended or sanctioned in line with the provisions of the PDP constitution. By and large, there was this issue of persistent thuggery but also, there was a problem within the PDP.”
The ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is one of those who may be suspended for the PDP’s failure in the state because some of the party’s leaders believe that his indifference gave the APC an easy ride to power.
It would be recalled that Ogbia Local Government, where Jonathan hails from, with over 40,000 votes, heightened suspicion on the role of the former president in the PDP’s defeat.
The former president’s hosting of two APC governors in Otuoke; the visit by Lyon and other APC leaders in the state; his non-support for the PDP candidate during the primary election; his non-attendance of the PDP grand rally; his visit to Buhari at the Presidential Villa, and the prayers made by his mother in support of Lyon have fuelled the speculations.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party’s National Working Committee will investigate why the party lost in Bayelsa and Kogi.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) will meet soon to conduct a post-mortem on the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states,” he said.
A former member of the PDP board of trustees (BoT), Sam Nkire, blamed the party’s loss on Seriake Dickson, governor of the state.
NASS Passes N10.59trn Budget For 2020 … Jerks Its Appropriation By N264bn, Gives Reason
The two Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), yesterday passed the Appropriation Bill of N10.59 trillion budget for the 2020 fiscal year with a view to returning the nation’s budget cycle to January to December.
The Lawmakers jerked up the budget as proposed by President Muhammad Buhari to the tune of N246 billion.
The lawmakers passed the 2020 budget following a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Committee on Appropriations of the two Chambers.
Briefing the press after plenary session, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Barau Jubril and Stella Odua, respectively, defended the additional N246 billion the lawmakers injected into the budget.
The Chairman described the budgeting process as the best so far because it is the first time the Executive, Senate and House of Representatives came together on a roundtable to agree on a united document as budget of the country.
He defended the N264 billion increase injected into the 2020 budget as not padding of the appropriation bill, but harvested additional revenue, saying the additional fund was brought in conjunction and consultation with the Executive.
Denying that the extra funds injected was padding, Senator Jibrin Barau said the word padding is alien to the 9th Senate because the infusion on additional vote for capital projects was done in collaboration with the executive arm of government.
According to him, the Senate saw avenue to make additional revenue and “just fixed the expected increased revenue to sectors in need of additional revenue”.
He said “In a Presidential system of government, there is room for checks on what any arm of government is doing by the other. President Buhari no doubt presented a perfect budget, but it is our own responsibility as the parliament to critically look at what was presented by the executive and make corrections where necessary.
“During the course of deliberating on the budget, we saw opportunities of where we can get additional income for the government and we deployed them to areas that need further spending.
“The National Assembly has the right to do it and that is what we have done”, he said.
Presenting the report, Senator Barau Jibrin said the increase of N264billion allowed for interventions in critical areas such as national security, road infrastructure, mines and steel development, and health.
A breakdown of the budget, Senator Jubrin said, is that Statutory Transfer stood at N560.5billion, recurrent expenditure-N4.8billion, capital expenditure-N2.5billion, debt servicing-N2.7illionbn, fiscal deficit-N2.3trillion and deficit to GDP of 1.52 per cent.
He pointed out that daily oil production stood at 2.18 million barrels per day, Oil Benchmark stood at $57 per barrel against $55 proposed by the Executive, while the exchange rate stood at N305 per dollar.
Capital Expenditure for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) for the 2020 fiscal year are: Ministry of Defence N116,181,290,730; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N7,608,141,474; Ministry of Information and Culture, N7,555,803,233; Ministry of Interior, N34,035,825,302; Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, N1,722,796,040; Ministry of Police Affairs, N15,959,986,864; Ministry of Communication Technology, N5,919,002,554; and Office of the National Security Adviser, N27,418,469,323.
Others are: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, N25,188,940,930; Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, N2,158,620,395; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N124,395,096,917; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N4,976,199,925; Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, N38,583,331,761; Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, N24,445,756,678; Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N62,882,531,566; Federal Ministry of Transport, N121,366,932,571; and Federal Ministry of Aviation, N52,061,533,122.
Also, for the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry of Power has an allocation of N129,082,499,363; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, N3,337,444,887; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, N10,431,563,177; Ministry of Works and Housing, N315,563,564,269; Ministry of Water Resources, N91,679,927,042; Ministry of Justice, N3,853,600,220; Federal Capital Territory Administration, N62,407,154,360; and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N23,120,350,399.
Others include: Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, N3,735,486,210; Military of Women Affairs, N6,650,300,966; Federal Ministry of Education, N84,728,529,572; Ministry of Health, N59,909,430,837; Federal Ministry of Environment, N12,350,140,731; and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, N61,085,146,003.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks after the 2020 budget was passed, said, “when we came in, all of us approved our legislative agenda, and one of the key pillars of this agenda is to take back our budget cycle from the very undesirable cycle that cannot be defined to something that can be defined and bought into by our country and business partners living in and outside the country.
“Today, we have been able to achieve this. It means where there is will, there is always a way. This is something that we have been able to achieve together with the House of Representatives.
“I must give members of the Ninth National Assembly the credit, because we thought it was going to be impossible.
“Let me also commend the buying-in of the executive arm of government. When we continued to preach that we have to receive the 2020 budget estimates before the end of September, it was not easy for the executive.
“I know they (Executive) worked day and night. So it was presented to us on the 8th of October. We have been able to work harmoniously. There is no way we can achieve this without all of us working together.
“I want to commend our colleagues from the opposition. This Senate from the beginning, we said, will be bi-partisan. You have given us all the support that we require, and indeed, this is the way it should be”, Lawan added.
The Senate President also noted that with the recent passage of landmark legislations such as the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act, Finance Bills and Public Procurement Bills by the National Assembly, the Executive arm of government is sufficiently empowered to ensure the successful implementation of the 2020 budget.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Wike, Building Legacy For Tomorrow -Nsirim
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information And Communications, Rivers State, and Commissioner-designate, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, says the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike is building lasting legacies for tomorrow through the various developmental projects going on across in the state.
Nsirim said the traffic gridlock being witnessed in major roads across part of the state, was due to the concerted efforts by the state Chief Executive’s transformation policies which, he said, havw turned the state to a construction site.
He, therefore, urged residents and visitors to the state, to bear with the State Government and not worry about what they see around, saying that it is the vision of the NEW Rivers mantra to place the state on the trajectory of leadership and governance.
Nsirim, said this while declaring open a two-day workshop for Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and Heads of Public Relations (PR) and protocol being hosted by the RSUBEB in Port Harcourt yesterday, with the theme, “Bridging the Gap and Breaking New Grounds in UBE Public Relations/Protocol Practice”.
He described the role of PROs and Protocol officers in basic education management in the country as very strategic and urged them to improve on their professional competencies in order to drive the programmes in their various boards.
“Your roles in basic education is very strategic.There are new strategies being introduced by government to ensure that basic education receives a boost in the country”, he stated
Nsirim also urged them not to see the workshop as an avenue to make new friends, but to improve on their proficiency in order to bring in various stakeholders into the activities of the board .
“What ever opportunity and duty you find yourself, see it as a service to God and write story of prosperity”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the state SUBEB, Ven. Fyneface Akah, said the workshop was a unifying event that offers a moment of exchange of ideas and skills as well as orderliness among the Public Relations Officers and Protocol managers in order to streamline the way of doing things.
According to him, the workshop will help them on how to get the public to know and understand the workings of the board, adding that they have much work to do in making people understand the activities of the board.
In his own speech, the head, UBEC Public Relations and Protocol, Abuja, Mr. Ossom M. Ossom, who read the good- will message of the UBEC Chairman, said “Public Relations and Protocol practitioners owe it a duty, especially to Nigeria’s school-age population, to use every available opportunity in drawing the attention of all UBE stakeholders to the fact that our country cannot afford to berth and pass through the coming decade as largely uneducated entity and with the largest population of out-of-school children in the world”.
Earlier in an interview with newsmen, the Head of legal and Public Relations, SUBEB, Barr Karibi T. George, said “Public Relations is the live wire of every organization because it builds on the corporate image and reputations of organisation to build public Confidence”.
We’ll Monitor Commissioners’ Performance -RSHA …As NUJ commends Wike on Nsirim’s Appointment
The Rivers State House of Assembly has finally confirmed the nomination of 13 Commissioner-nominees sent to it by the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The confirmation was finally done after debate and sitting to scrutinize complete tax certificate and clearance of one of the nominees, Mr. Sylvanus Nwankwo.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said it was the constitutional mandate of the legislature to screen and confirm Commissioner-nominees; hence, it was not a witch-hunt on any of the nominees.
Debate on whether the nominees should be confirmed after they appeared on the floor of the House on Tuesday started when the Leader, Hon Martin Amaewhule, described all the nominees as, “fit and zealous” persons with requisite qualifications.
In the same vein, Hon. Matthew Dike of Tai Constituency said, “The Commissioner Nominees sent to this Assembly are landmark. It is full of men and women of proven integrity “.
On his part, Hon. Michael Chinda of Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 submitted that the Assembly will beef up its oversight on them, and therefore urged the nominees to be alive to their duties or bow out.
Chinda insisted that performance is key, saying that the House will monitor the activities of the screened and approved Commissioner nominees.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has commended the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for appointing their past State Chairman and two times Press Secretary to the Governor, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim as Commissioner.
Chairman of the State NUJ, Stanley Job Stanley, in a chat with The Tide, said the union is excited that after few years a professional communicator has been chosen to serve the state.
Though the nominees, who have been screened and confirmed by the Assembly, are yet to be sworn in and assigned port, folios, the NUJ Chairman expressed confidence that Nsirim will man the Information and Communications Ministry which he (Nsirim) had been a Permanent Secretary in the past three years.
“We are happy for the appointment because as a union, we have been advocating that professionals be appointed to man the Ministry.
“It will be a boost to the image of the NUJ because Nsirim was our former Chairman and for a very long time we have been longing for press/government relations to be cordial,” Stanley stated.
He described the appointment of the Permanent Secretary as well deserving, urging him to use his good offices to boost journalists/ government relations in the state.
Pastor Nsirim was among the 13 Commissioner-nominees screened and confirmed by the Assembly on Wednesday.
Nisirm, a Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Information and Communications until his nomination as a Commissioner, is currently the State Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations(NIPR).
He has in the last six months championed a statewide image advocacy campaign tagged,” Our State, Our Responsibility.”
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