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.
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The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.
Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.
“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.
“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.
“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.
“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.
“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.
Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than
30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.
“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.
“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.
The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.
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