The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has insisted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), forcefully seized power in Kogi and Bayelsa states during the just-concluded elections.
Secondus explained that the crime allegedly committed by APC, INEC and the police indicated that Nigeria’s democracy was threat.
The PDP national chairman stated this during a press conference in Abuja, yesterday while lamenting over the killing of some party followers during the just-concluded elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
He said: “We alert Nigerians and the international community that all is not well with our nation. A wave of terror is threatening our democracy; our constitutional order, national cohesion and safety of our citizens are now as at stake.
“As the world witnessed, the official conspiracies, bloodletting and mindless killing of innocent citizens by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to aid the forceful seizure of power in the November 16 Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections, clearly show that our democracy is under severe attack.
“In an apparent organized attack, government-controlled police and military, working for the APC, deployed dangerous assault weapons, including helicopters to coordinate the violent invasion of polling units with maximum force; shooting, killing and maiming unarmed civilians, who were called out by government to perform their civic responsibilities at the elections.
“The world watched with horror as killer security agents brutalized voters and carted away ballot boxes to government facilities were results were written in favour of the APC and handed to a heavily compromised INEC, which has become part of the crime, to announce.
“From the report reaching our party, no fewer than 30 innocent compatriots were killed and many more injured in this organized crime against humanity by the APC, the police and INEC.
“The only crime of the citizens was their expressed determination to vote for the candidates of their choice as governors of Kogi and Bayelsa states as clearly manifested in the results from the polling centres before the forceful seizure of the electoral processes.
“Most distressing is the gruesome incineration of one of our party’s woman leaders in Kogi State, Mrs. Acheju Abuh, in her home by APC thugs, a crime that was abetted by unscrupulous security agents.
“Our party holds that this electoral fraud and crime against humanity, including established culpable homicide committed by the APC, security agents and INEC cannot be allowed to pass.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has clarified that it has nothing against former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan over the just concluded Bayelsa governorship election.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan disclosed this in an interview with newsmen after a meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja, last Wednesday.
There were reports in the media that Jonathan may be sanctioned by the party following the defeat of PDP by All Progressives Congress (APC), at the November 16, governorship election in Bayelsa.
Ologbondiyan said that the issue of Jonathan was not part of matters discussed at the NWC meeting.
“The issue of former President Goodluck Jonathan did not come up at the meeting and it was not discussed.
“You must know about the procedure and processes in our party. If we do not have a report or an issue before us, we cannot delve into.
“As we speak now, we do not have any matter concerning Jonathan before us in the party,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that the only issue discussed at the meeting was the November 16 election in Kogi and Bayelsa.
“We have taken a decision to go to court long before but beyond that, we are going to take other measures.
“We have not done a post mortem of the election. We have only weighed the circumstances that surrounded the election.
“We have also looked at the global condemnation of the election. We have reviewed the role of INEC and the role played by security agencies. Formally, the party will come up with a position,” he said.
He, however, denied insinuation that the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus was under pressure, saying the party was rather concern about the state of democracy in the country.
“We believe that as the main opposition party we have a responsibility to salvage democracy,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also said that there was no division within the NWC.
“All of us are here. Virtually everybody was here and we discussed freely,” he said.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives has called for the cancellation of the November 16, 2019, gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, saying the exercises fell below electoral standards.
The caucus accused the government of using the security agencies to intimidate the electorate and influenced the outcomes of the polls in the favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement by its leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, the caucus said that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC-led government has destroyed all known democratic tenets, norms and conventions in Nigeria.
The opposition caucus regretted that the government of the day had jettisoned significant changes introduced by the PDP government, accusing the Buhari of having plans to elongate his tenure beyond 2023.
The statement read thus: “Reports by the field agents of the PDP in both Kogi and Bayelsa, which were largely validated by the diplomatic and temperate views of both local and international observers, show the following:
“Card readers were largely ignored in area that President Buhari’s, All Progressives Congress (APC) thought it had comparative advantage while subjecting areas believed to be the strongholds of the PDP to the use of smart readers, which usually malfunctioned or were deliberately calibrated to frustrate voters not to vote.
“In addition, in areas where the APC thought it did not have much support, it unleashed violence on the people. Some instances burning of PDP women leader etc regrettably, these dastardly acts were done with the connivance or complicity of security agents. The inability of the security agencies to protect the sanctity of the electoral process even when there was an offseason election.
“We have no hesitation in aligning ourselves with the conclusion of the Nigerian Civil Society situation room that the elections fall below the standards expected for free, fair and credible elections.
“Kogi State election represents a major dent on Nigeria’s democratic process.
“We are therefore joining our voice to the clarion call across the land and even internationally, for the cancellation, in its entirety of the Kogi State elections conducted on November 16, 2019.
“The novel and indeed, criminal conduct of ‘community voting’ in Bayelsa State, a situation where political entrepreneurs with the active connivance of security agencies force people to vote for preferred candidates offends the fundamental human rights of people to choice as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which all security agents, President Muhammadu Buhari and INEC officials unclose swore to protect.
“This by any stretch of the imagination cannot be regarded, like an election. There is, therefore, no reason to allow the Bayelsa elections to stand. These elections make Nigeria a laughing stock!!”
“Unfortunately for Nigeria and Nigerians, the major beneficiary of the electoral reform, President Muhammadu Buhari used the greater part of his tenure to relentlessly work to undermine the credibility of the electoral process, reduce democratic space, destroy press freedom and as well destroy the little that is left of the integrity of the Judiciary.
“You will recall, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, that President Muhammadu Buhari, has jettisoned the innovation of the smart card reader, which weeded out fake voters.
“After the Supreme Court ruled that card readers are alien to the electoral law, the 8th National Assembly sought to correct that by empowering the INEC to use the card reader but for four times President Buhari vetoed the Electoral Act on flimsy and inexcusable grounds.
“As a matter of fact even after the National Assembly conceded to all his suggestions, he still vetoed the bill.
“Little did we know that he had planned on returning himself to power willy-nilly. We have now found out that we were wrong to have assumed that the abuse of power and desecration of the electoral system and our values will end with the Presidential elections. Now there is no reason why we should not seriously consider the wild allegations that the APC is rehearsing strategies for tenure elongation.
“Those who thought that because he had won the second term, President Buhari would make a casual and perfunctory gesture for electoral reforms have been thoroughly disgraced and disappointed by the unprecedented violation of the right and dignity of the peoples of Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“The wanton destruction of properties of the people, as well as the denial of the right of the people to choose for themselves, reflects the degeneration. The reformed electoral system inherited by President Buhari has been completely eroded since he emerged as President.”
“Furthermore, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take actions that will stop the slide of the country into anarchy! The growing sense of insecurity and injustice will definitely give birth to the lawlessness that Nigeria can ill afford to joke with, especially as our unemployment figures keep soaring and the economic fortunes of the country keep dwindling.
“For a start, the President should forward an executive bill to the National Assembly, on electoral reforms, which must include the compulsory use of card readers in all polling units.
“Ladies and Gentlemen given the networked nature of the present global system, there is no doubt that the growing insecurity will have a spill-over effect outside Nigeria. The comity of nations needs to be concerned about Nigeria, for it also has the moral obligation and the responsibility to protect Nigerians from the flagrant abuses of human rights, including wanton killings of innocent people, often perpetrated by secretary agents.
“We are therefore calling on all nations that wish Nigeria well to join the USA and immediately consider, the imposition of Visa bans and travel restrictions on all individuals within the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies, and politicians of all political parties who are involved in any form of electoral offences and violence. This will prove to Nigerians that the world is standing with them, and deter future occurrences.
“We wish to condole the people who lost their family members in the last week’s show of shame and we call on Nigerian’s to stand fast on democracy and keep sacrificing for us to have a Nigeria that is free and prosperous.”
Insecurity In Nigeria, Alarming, Wike Alerts …Suspends JAAC Accounts From Defaulting Banks
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says insecurity in Nigeria has reached an alarming proportion.
He has therefore called on security agencies to redouble their efforts in curbing it.
Governor Wike expressed the concern yesterday when the new General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Olu Irefin paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
He noted that the prevalence of insecurity in every State of the Federation seems to overwhelm the military.
Governor Wike stated that the situation is different in Rivers State because of the robust collaboration between his administration and the security agencies.
“Our determination is to keep the State safe but development also attracts criminality, so we can’t say we are totally free.
“There are still pockets of criminal elements. So, as a professional whose role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country, fight crime and do not involve in politics.
“We are willing to collaborate with you as a government because security is important for us. Just let us know what you require to succeed in the fight against criminality.
“That way, we will be partners in progress and make the State safe for all residents,” he stated.
Earlier, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General OluIrefin commended Governor Wike for his developmental strides.
He said on assumption of duties, his commanders told him that they have enjoyed tremendous support from the state government in the discharge of duties.
He pledged to sustain the existing collaboration in protecting lives and property in the State
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has directed the removal of Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) from banks that gave unauthorised loans to some Local Government Chairmen in the State.
Governor Wike gave the directive on Wednesday, while swearing in the substantive Chairman of the Asari-Toru Local Government Area at Government House, Port Harcourt .
He directed the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take legal action against the defaulting Banks.
Governor Wike said both the Banks and the Councils that defaulted would suffer the consequences of the illegality.
He noted that the Banks cannot seek refund of the loans because they contravened extant Laws of the State.
“We have taken a decision that for all those loans taken without approval, the affected accounts must leave the defaulting banks.
“I have told the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take necessary steps. The Banks cannot go and seek for refund from the Local Governments. When you default the Law, you suffer for it.
“Council Chairmen who want to take loans from banks must get official approval. You cannot take loans that will mortgage the future of the people”, he stated.
Governor Wike charged Mrs. AlasoJohnbull Obi to use her new position to make a difference because the people are yet to feel the impact of the Council.
“Go and put your local government together. Do not allow busy body politicians to distract you. Use this opportunity you have to make a difference.
“We never thought that Chief Odiari Princewill will die but as God will have it, he is dead and we have to abide by the constitution.
“That is why you, as the deputy, has to step in as the substantive chairman of Asari-Toru local Government Area today.
“In choosing your Deputy, you must consult widely with all the stakeholders of the Party. As election is coming up next year, you have an opportunity to sell yourself,” he added.
Until her swearing in, Mrs. AlasoJohnbul-Obi was the Vice Chairman of the Council but the death of the elected chairman, Chief Odiari Princewill on the 27th May, 2020 created a vacuum that needed to be filled.
SSANU, NASU Threaten Strike Over Unresolved Issues
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said they would proceed on strike over unresolved issues with the Federal Government immediately the universities reopen.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, the Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of both unions said this while addressing newsmen on the resolutions reached by the unions yesterday in Abuja.
The resolutions were signed by the SSANU National President, Mr Samson Ugwoke, and the General Secretary of NASU, Mr Peters Adeyemi.
The unions’ grievances included the lingering Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) debacle, nonpayment of arrears of earned allowance and minimum wage. Others are the alleged lack of seriousness by the Babalakin Committee renegotiating the 2009 FG/NASU, SSANU agreements, neglect and poor funding of state universities, absence of visitation panels, among others.
According to Ugwoke, long after many other sectors had been paid the arrears of the national minimum wage and consequential adjustment, university workers are yet to be paid. “We find this development totally unwholesome and very unhealthy.
“Given the time lag of over a year since it was implemented in other sectors, members of the public would agree that we have been patient enough in the university system,” he said.
He pointed out that in spite of the series of letters by the unions to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) Office since February, their members were still confronted with many challenges, including salary payment. Ugwuoke also said that their members, whose monthly salaries were being paid in the second week of the following month in the past seven months, were suffering as a result of the difficulties posed by IPPIS.
He argued that as responsible unions, they had avoided the planned action, adding that the unhealthy situation had made it inevitable.
Ugwoke said: “We have again cried out to the general public with a view to inviting stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to correct the anomaly of IPPIS. “Pay us the arrears of both earned allowances and minimum wage, among others.”
He warned that the unions would have no option than to embark on strike effective from when universities would reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown.
FG’S Reviewed Broadcast Code, Draconian – PDP …Says New Code Aimed At Muzzling Media, Concealing Corruption, Abacha Loot
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has rejected the reviewed broadcast code, describing it as another draconian measure to muzzle the media and suppress free speech in Nigeria.
The party said the All Progressives Congress, APC and its government adopted the reviewed code with its N5 million fine “to intimidate the media and gag whistle blowers from further exposing the humongous corruption, abuse of office, violation of human rights as well as officials’ betrayal of trust and abuse of office in the Buhari administration.”
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the reviewed code is a grand plot “to suppress and muzzle Nigerians and the media from publicly opposing plots by the APC to mortgage the sovereignty of our dear nation to foreign interests as being witnessed in the anti-Nigeria clauses in the loan agreements with China.”
The statement read: “The APC has been jittery over the stench of monumental corruption oozing out from its government as well as its anti-Nigeria activities, and now seeks to suppress public opinion and media reportage of their atrocities against our nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the APC administration rushed to review the broadcast codes and introduced draconian clauses at the height of public revelations and media reportage of its corruption and plots to mortgage our nation’s sovereignty to China. The reviewed broadcast code therefore validates the stance by Nigerians that covering of corruption and the scheme to mortgage the sovereignty of our nation are official policies of the APC which has not denied that it is the headquarters of corruption.
“Our party however, wishes to inform the APC and its administration that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and other laws guiding media practice, which guarantees a free press and freedom of opinion by Nigerians are clear and that no matter how much the truth is suppressed, it must always come to light.
“Moreover, the APC must know that we are in a democracy and that Nigerians cannot be suppressed from exercising their rights of speaking out in the face of injustice, corruption, abuse of trust in the APC administration, which President Buhari had also admitted.
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