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Mantu Never Rigged Elections For US -PDP …Alleges Plots To Clampdown On Oppositions, Others …As Secondus Gives Lai Mohammed 48Hour-Ultimatum Over Looters’ List

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed the advice by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to learn from former Senate President Senator Ibrahim Mantu’s claims on how he rigged elections for the party.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, said Senator Mantu’s reported claims was personal to him and has nothing to do with the PDP, as the party never directed any of its members to rig election on its behalf, at any point since its formation in 1998.
“Senator Mantu spoke about his personal activities and tendencies in the elections where he participated. The PDP has never directed or had any pact with him to rig election on its behalf. Never!
“Individuals run their elections on the platform of political parties once they emerge as candidates. In the PDP, candidates are issued with the party’s Code of Conduct containing the basic rules of electioneering engagements.
“There is nowhere in this rules of engagement where candidates or party members are directed to rig elections on behalf of the party. If any member’s conduct transgressed these basic rules of engagement, that individual did not act on behalf of the PDP, and as such the party cannot be vicariously held responsible.
“It will therefore be misplaced for anybody, including the APC, to surmise that Senator Mantu, in the said confession of rigging, acted on behalf of the PDP.
“After all, in 2007, Senator Mantu lost his own senatorial election. What, then, happened to his rigging machinery, if he could not deliver himself,” the party said.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday drew attention to what it said were clandestine plots by certain agents of the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to clamp down on key members of the opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
It claimed that part of the “heinous plot” was also to arrest members of the civil society, opinion leaders, the media and professional groups who refused to buy into the fabrications, lies, deceptions and propaganda of the APC and the Federal Government.
National Publicity Secretary, in Abuja, said the PDP was reliably informed that the plot against opposition will be hinged on trump up charges of corruption, allegations of plotting to disrupt the processes leading to the 2019 general elections as well as the alleged politicization of security issues in the country.
The opposition party stated: “The first leg of this scheme is to commence a vicious intimidation and harassment of PDP members who have refused to succumb to pressure to join the APC in their undemocratic quest to create room for a one-party state in Nigeria.
“This will be followed by arrests, detention as well as the jailing of members of the opposition and others perceived to be opposed to the interests of the APC ahead of the elections.
“The PDP, which grew our democracy to become sustainable and successfully handed power to the opposition after the 2015 general election, has a responsibility to ensure that democracy and the application of its tenets flourish without let in our country.
“The PDP and the majority of Nigerians, rallying under our repositioned platform, will never be intimidated or cowed by the principles of democracy.
“All we are saying is that the APC and its Federal Government must provide good governance and live up to its campaign promises of eradicating corruption, vanquishing insurgency and bringing our currency to the value of one naira to one US dollar, among others.
“We want the APC and the Federal Government to know that this country belongs to all of us and that this plot against the people will be firmly resisted not only by the members of our party but also by the generality of Nigerians and the international community at large.”
However, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has given the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, 48 hours to withdraw his statement listing him among past looters or face litigation.
According to the spokesperson for the PDP chairman, Mr. Ike Abonyi, who said this in a statement, last Saturday, Secondus made the demand in a letter to the minister by his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN).
The minister had last Friday, alleged that the party chairman collected N200million from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2015.
But in the letter with reference number EESE&C/1/31/03/18 dated March 31, 2018, and addressed to the minister, the party chairman also demanded a retraction, apology and payment of N1.5billion as damages.
The lawyer alleged that the said publication “has damaged the image of Secondus as he has been humiliated, castigated and vilified by many as a result of the falsehood published by the minister.”
The letter noted that if Mohammed failed to meet the demands within 48 hours, “we shall within 72 hours from today, proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our client’s right under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you.”
Similarly, the PDP has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari had no moral rectitude to fight corruption in the country, describing him as a direct beneficiary of what it called “corruption freebies” deployed by his party leaders to fund his 2015 presidential campaign.
The party noted that the President, who declared that he had no resources to run a presidential campaign in 2015, ought to have known, particularly as a leader, that the billions of naira deployed in his campaigns were proceeds of alleged corrupt activities of known All Progressives Congress (APC) governors and leaders.
The party therefore challenged Buhari to make open the sources of funds available to his campaign in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 races, as well as the names of the donors.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, last Saturday, said Buhari and his party leaders had “huge confessions” to make on how they allegedly raked in stolen state resources to prosecute the 2015 elections.
He said, “If the Federal Government and the APC are serious about fighting corruption and not just out to persecute PDP members, they should have begun with the probe into the source of the billions of naira used for President Buhari’s 2015 presidential campaigns, particularly in the face of allegations that the fund was looted from treasuries of various APC states.
“Can President Buhari, in all honesty, claim ignorance of reports in the open media that a South-South governor (allegedly) looted several billions from his state accounts and diverted the sums into Buhari’s 2015 campaigns?
“We challenge President Buhari to tell Nigerians what he has done regarding the leaked memo showing N9trillion ($25billion) corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC as well as the alleged stealing of N1.1trillion worth of crude oil, all in a sector under his direct purview as minister of petroleum.
“The Presidency should tell Nigerians what has been done to recover the stolen N18billion Internally Displaced Persons intervention fund and the N10billion National Health Insurance Scheme fund alleged to have been stolen from the Treasury Single Account by APC officials and Presidency cabal.”
In a statement, the party listed cases of alleged looting by officials of the federal government in the Buhari administration but which the PDP said have been swept under the carpet.
Dismissing the list released by Mohammed as hollow and laughable, the PDP challenged the minister to name any of its members that has been convicted for treasury looting.
The party said the list is an extension of Federal Government’s media trial of its members and challenged it to come up with names of its members against whom the federal government had secured convictions.
It added: “The list put forward by the Federal Government as purported looters amounts to a cheap blackmail as none of those listed have been indicted or convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction or any panel of enquiry in our country.
“The list issued by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, only goes to show that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency have no prove of corruption against the PDP.”
The party said in its frenzy and desperation, the Federal Government even included names of individuals who are not standing trial or under investigation for any act of corruption, as well as those who are not even PDP members.
“The Buhari-led Federal Government has manifested its frenzy by going after matters that are in court and in which none of the persons have been convicted, thus betraying their wickedness and desperation to mislead the public, the court and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members.
“We are not in doubt that the individuals he has mentioned will take their legitimate stride and pursue appropriate action in the court.
“However, attacks on individuals, who are members of our party, do not in any way detract from the fact that the PDP, as a political platform, is not a party of corruption.
“It is unfortunate that the APC and its government under whose watch horrendous sleazes are happening on a daily basis and a government that has failed to fulfill the littlest of its campaign promises, can spend a wholesome three years searching for flimsy allegations to discredit our party and its members.”
In a related development, the Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Ayodele Fayose, faulted the “looters’ list” released by the Federal Government which included the name of Secondus.
Fayose, who is the Ekiti State governor, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, wondered why the list did not include the names of those who had been earlier indicted by the Federal Government.
The statement said, “Surprisingly, while the name of the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus (with N200million) appeared on Lai Mohammed’s clownish “looters’ list”, that of Diezani Alison-Madueke, who they claimed to have traced N47.2billion and $487.5million to, was missing.
“Is it that the Federal Government lied against Diezani ab initio, or she has also been baptised into the All Progressives Congress comity of saint looters?”
In its reaction, the Rivers State Government said it will not publish the list of those indicted by a panel of inquiry it set up to probe the sale of assets belonging to the state because a White Paper on the matter was already in the public domain.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah, said that the immediate past governor, Chibuike Amaechi, had gone to court to challenge the constitution of the judicial panel of inquiry.
Okah said, “If the White Paper has done the job and it is in the public domain, what is new again about the list?”
A former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, also alleged that there was a secret plan by the Federal Government to convict him for corruption.
Metuh, who is on trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged corruption, was named by Mohammed to be among six members of the PDP who allegedly looted the treasury in 2015.
Metuh, in a statement titled ‘My reply to the media trial’, last Saturday, said, “By this publication, the Federal Government has breached our constitution by seeking to burden me with two criminal trials on the same charge, one before Justice Okon Abang and the other before the media.
“The major crux of the prosecutions argument is that I ought to have known that the money was part of an alleged and yet-to-be proven unlawful activity of Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), a former NSA to President Jonathan.
“In view of the weakness of the case against me, the APC-led Federal Government resorted to all kinds of dirty tactics to dehumanise and intimidate me.
“I have been reliably informed that the Federal Government has ordered a conviction at all cost to ensure that the PDP is tainted before the elections. The government‘s determination to achieve this objective is clearly highlighted by the refusal to allow me to attend to my deteriorating health notwithstanding several expert medical opinions on the matter.”
Metuh said that, by going to the media to name him a looter and without cross-checking the definition and dictionary meaning of the word, the Federal Government has not only given “a body language but has issued a direct intimidation and threat to the judiciary to get a compulsory conviction.”
With this, he said there was no way the Federal Government would allow justice to be done in his case.

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Emefiele Fears Reps’ Arrest Threat, Appears Before House ….Says Banks ‘ll Accept Old Notes After Deadline

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has finally appeared before the House of Representatives which summoned him over the crisis caused by the redesign of some naira notes and the exchange of old naira notes with new ones.
Emefiele yesterday appeared before the ad hoc committee set up by the House to investigate the crisis, which is chaired by Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.
He told the House of Representatives that commercial banks in the country would still accept old naira notes from customers after the February 10 deadline.
He did not, however, state how long the expired notes would be admitted by the banks.
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had accused the CBN governor of breaching Section 20 of the CBN Act which, according to him, mandates commercial banks to accept old notes even after the deadline.
Emefiele, while addressing the ad hoc committee, said he agreed with the lawmakers on Section 20 of the CBN Act.
“Section 20 says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status that we are mandated to collect that money. And I stand with the House of Reps on this,” he stated.
The CBN governor added that, “if you have your money that you have not been able to send to the bank, we will certainly give you the opportunity to bring them back into the CBN to redeem it. Either you pay it to your bank account or you want to do an exchange — we give you. You will not lose your money. This is the assurance I give to Nigerians”.
Emefiele apologised to the lawmakers for failing to answer the previous summons, which the chairman said was accepted.
He stated that the policy should have been introduced several years ago and that the CBN had only used the opportunity to make the economy more cashless. According to him, Nigerians would soon realise the benefits of the policy.
The chairman of the ad hoc committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, after the hearing that lasted over one hour, called for an executive (closed-door) session with members of the committee.
The Majority Leader and members later proceeded to the chamber where plenary was ongoing.
The report of the committee was laid, considered and adopted by the House.
Recall that the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was to issue a warrant for Emefiele’s arrest over his repeated failures to answer at least four summons from the House.
The House had shelved its plan to go on break for the presidential and National Assembly elections, which was to commence on Thursday, over the CBN governor’s failure to answer the last summons issued to him by the committee.
Gbajabiamila had threatened to mandate the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to arrest and force Emefiele’s appearance before the panel, insisting that the deadline breached the provision of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act.
The Speaker partly said, “I have no choice now. On Tuesday (yesterday) when we resume, we will invoke the provisions of Section 89 of the Constitution…The President has been very clear. The President gave the approval based on what he knows and what he has been told.
“We also know the President to be a man of the people. He gave his approval based on what he had been told. But we are saying – what the motion is saying – is that after the President gave his approval, how does the money get to the people? The money is not getting to the people. That is what we sought to clarify and that is exactly what we are going to do.
“So, on Tuesday, this House will follow its procedure – the normal procedure – and invoke the provisions of Section 89 to compel the governor of the CBN and the directors.”
The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, had also urged the House to allow the leadership to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and explain the controversial implementation of the policy to him, which the Speaker agreed to.
Though the CBN, on Sunday, extended the deadline on the expiration of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes by 10 days – from January 31 to February 10, with the Deposit Money Banks (commercial banks) allowed to accept the notes by seven days more, the House had insisted on Emefiele’s appearance.
Ado-Doguwa, in a statement titled ‘Old Naira Notes: House C’ttee Rejects CBN Extension, Says Position of Law Sacrosanct, Must Be Respected,’ insisted that the apex bank must comply with Sections 20(3), (4) and (5) of the CBN Act.
“Nigeria, as a developing economy and a nascent democracy, must respect the principles of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign the arrest warrant to compel the CBN governor to appear before the ad hoc committee,” the Majority Leader stated.
Emefiele, however, led the leadership of the CBN to appear before the lawmakers yesterday.
Cumulatively, Emefiele has failed to answer summons from the House at least four times within two months.
The House had on December 22, 2022, grilled the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, Aisha Ahmad, over the latest policy by the apex bank which, among others, sets limits to cash withdrawals at the Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions.
The House had summoned Emefiele but he failed to appear in the two previous appointments with the lawmakers. The CBN had informed the House that Emefiele would not appear before the House in person, rather Ahmad would lead the Committee of Governors before the lawmakers.
Emefiele had also failed to answer two summons from the House’ ad hoc committee to investigate the scarcity of the new naira at the Deposit Money Banks, also known as commercial banks, leading to tension over the January 31 deadline set by the CBN for the exchange of the old notes with the newly designed ones.

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Wike Accuses PDP National Of Anti-Party Activities …Says He’ll Hit Back

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Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says it is an act of anti-party on the part of the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to tell lawyers handling legal suits on behalf of the PDP in the State to dissociate themselves from the cases.
Governor Wike made the accusation against the national leadership of the party during the flag off of the Rivers State PDP campaign rally held at State School premises, Okehi 1, in Etche Local Government Area on Monday.
The PDP in Rivers State had taken some political parties in the State to court over non-compliance with the regulations and laws of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of their various primaries.
The governor said instead of the PDP national leadership to support the suits by the PDP in Rivers, it has asked lawyers handling the various legal matters to withdraw legal representations.
According to him, anti-party begets anti-party and since the PDP national has started the anti-party game, it will get anti-party in return.
“We have caught them. They are the ones engaged in anti-party. I told them anti-party begets anti party. You know we carried these small parties (APC, SDP) to court for failing to do what the law says.
“The people in Abuja that say they are national have gone to collude with them (opposition parties) to write our lawyers a letter that they should take their hands off, in order to kill the cases we filed. I have told our lawyers to withdraw from the matters. I will hit them back by tomorrow.
“Nobody hurts us without sustaining a scar. Anybody who dares to touch us in Rivers State, I will inflict many scars on him and we have started it. We are voting for our people here. Now you have told us you are doing anti-party. We will show you what anti party is. Already, we have caught them red-handed”, Wike said.
The governor emphasised that the forthcoming election is a battle that must be won, and urged Etche people to go home, get prepared by collecting remainder of their Permanent Voters Card with INEC and vote all PDP candidates in the State.
He described the PDP in the state as a formidable squad, fully prepared for the election, saying it has all that it takes to ensure that the election is peaceful, with winning votes secured for all its candidates.
Speaking further, Governor Wike thanked Etche people for their massive turn out at the rally, which demonstrates that they are fully in support of the PDP in the state.
He pointed out that by all ramifications, the PDP-controlled State government has kept every promise made to Etche people since 2015.
These, according to the governor, include delivery of over eight critical road infrastructure, establishment of a campus of Rivers State University in the area and appointment of their son as Vice Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
Governor Wike urged Etche people to vote the governorship candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, as his successor to consolidate on the gains of his administration.
In his speech, Sir Fubara solicited bulk votes from Etche people to enable him and the entire consolidation team win the forthcoming general elections in the state.
He promised to sustain regular payment of workers’ salary as well as ensure that all assets owned by the State are never sold to cronies of those in power.
Fubara also assured that when elected, his adminisration would ensure that closure of courts in the State is never experienced again.
The PDP governorship candidate said he is sure of winning the March 11 election because of his competence and understanding of the new Rivers Vision of Governor Wike, which would serve as the foundation for his administration.
Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented party flags to the candidates contesting for the various positions, urged the people to vote for them.
Director General of the Rivers PDP Campaign Council, Brother Felix Obuah, said Etche people were better off under Governor Wike’s administration, and urged them to remain resolved to deliver votes in bulk for the PDP.
Former Etche council chairman, Nnamdi Okere, said the forthcoming election is about showing gratitude and love to ygovernor Wike, whose administration has benefited Etche land and people.
The PDP candidate for Rivers East Senatorial District, Chief Allwell Nyesoh, who spoke on behalf of the candidates, accepted the responsibility of flying the party’s flag and pledged that the candidates would provide quality representation, following in the foot steps of Governor Wike.
Earlier, Governor Wike had visited Ochie of Etche Land, Onye-Isi Etche, King Emmanuel N. B. Opurum, at his palace in Ndashi to acquaint the king of the flag off of PDP campaign in Etche Local Government Area.

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Well’ll Win Elections Because Etche People Understand Our Vision -Fubara

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The governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, has expressed confidence that he would win the March 11 governorship election in the state because Etche people understand the New Rivers Vision.
Sir Fubara stated this at the campaign rally of the PDP in Rivers State held at State School premises, Okehi 1, in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State on Monday.
Addressing party faithful and supporters at the rally, the PDP governorship candidate asserted that Governor Nyesom Wike, has performed very well in Etche Local Government Area and promised to build on those achievements.
“A question was asked, what are we consolidating? We are consolidating on ensuring that our courts will not be closed again. We are consolidating on regular and prompt payment of salaries and pensions. We are consolidating on infrastructural revolution. We are consolidating on ensuring that state assets are not being sold by friends and business partners again. We are consolidating on good governance.
“Governor Nyesom Wike has laid a solid foundation for onward growth of every sector and every part of the state. Our own job is to continue, build, and improve on it. This is what we mean by consolidation and continuity.
“The testimonies of Etche people here are wonderful. A journey they spend hours on before due to bad road, they now spend less than 45 minutes because of Governor Wike’s magic on your roads. This is dividend of democracy and good governance, it is evidence of right leadership”, he said.
Fubara urged Etche people to utilise the extension of the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Please ensure that this remaining few days that INEC has provided for us for collection of PVC are used to collect yours if you are yet to do so. Sensitise your people to do so because our PVC is our weapon, it is our instrument, and our power, without it, we are powerless.
“With our PVC, we will ensure that PDP wins the governorship election in Rivers State. I know I will win, I am not desperate but I know I will win because of my competence and Governor Wike’s performance.
“With our PVC, we will ensure that PDP wins all the senatorial seats, all the House of Representatives seats, and all the State House of Assembly seats in Rivers State.
“We have done very well in Etche Local Government Area because you understand the New Rivers Vision. When you understand a vision, it becomes easy for you to key into it. We expect you to support us again so that we will do more for you and bring more development to Etche”, Fubara added.
In his address, Governor Wike condemned the attempt by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to frustrate the suit filed by the Rivers State chapter of the party against opposition parties in the state.
The governor also boasted that he has fulfilled the electioneering promises he made to the people of Etche in 2015 and 2019, and urged them not to listen to politicians who have penchant for failing on their campaign promises.
“You must differentiate politicians who are known for not keeping their campaign promises from those who keep to their promises. When I came to you in 2014/2015, I made several promises to you, to the glory of God, I have fulfilled those promises made to you.
“I have constructed several roads in this local government area. I sited one of the campuses of Rivers State University here. In fact, Igwuruta-Chokocho Dual Carriageway was one of my first projects when I came on board.
“Our own is not to lie to you, when we tell you we will do something for you, we go ahead to do it. Do not vote those parties that will promise you and fail to fulfil it.
“Those of them in Abuja who are talking about anti-party have been caught red-handed in the act. They are the first to play anti-party that they accused us of.
“We challenged the illegal conduct of primaries by some opposition parties in Rivers State in court, and we were hoping on the court to do the right thing. We have just been told that the national chairman of the party has written to the party’s lawyer to hands off the case to frustrate our suit.
“No problem at all, let them frustrate the case. We will hit them back because anti-party begets anti-party, the governor stated.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Director-General of the New Rivers Vision Consolidation Campaign Council, Bro Felix Obuah, said the best way the people of Etche Local Government Area will appreciate Governor Wike for what he has done in the area is to vote Sir Fubara for governor, and all other PDP candidates in the state on February 25 and March 11 elections.

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