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Saraki Faults INEC’s Verdict On Osun Poll …Urges PDP Supporters To Remain Firm

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President of the Senate and Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Council on Osun State Gubernatorial Election, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has faulted the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the election results were inconclusive. Saraki, in a statement signed by him, expressed dismay over the decision by INEC to declare as “inconclusive” an election in which a candidate won the highest number of votes and fulfilled the condition for geographical spread.
Saraki “In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled.
The decision of INEC to cancel the election in those areas after voting had taken place means INEC had already excluded the votes in these areas from the election process and therefore those units should have no place in the overall results.
My opinion would have been different if the election in the affected units did not take place at all, may be as a result of malfunctioning of the card reader machine or unavailability of the electoral materials.
Since the voting took place and was cancelled, only the courts could reverse the initial decision by INEC to cancel the votes in these areas.
“That is why I call on our party and its candidate to seek further legal interpretation on this decision by the electoral body. One cannot but wonder whether if the places were reversed and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one leading in the election, the INEC will take the same decision it has taken now.
“At this point, it is necessary to also call on INEC to display courage, boldness, independence, neutrality and patriotism so as to send signals to the world at large that Nigerian electoral system has come of age and that our democracy has matured.
The electoral body needs to re-assure all and sundry that the 2019 election and other elections will be free of manipulations and undue interference.
“The INEC should note that the Osun gubernatorial election is not only about that South-western state. It is about our country and the entire world is watching. Our national interest is at stake. The integrity of our electoral system is at stake.
The reputation of the electoral body is at stake. The future of our democracy is on the line. The way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from our political process.
It should therefore ensure that the wish of the Osun State electorate eventually prevail. “I praise the dedication and hard work of PDP supporters and the candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
They have remained steadfast, resilient, focused and determined. “Let me also commend all the other contestants in yesterday’s election for their gallant efforts because it is clear they are all working for the same objective from different perspectives and platforms to ensure that the era of mis-governance, pain, injustice and insensitivity to the plight of the common people comes to an end. It is our hope that they will all co-operate with Senator Adeleke to ensure that Osun State witnesses a development-oriented era.
“Let me remind our party supporters and the good people of Osun State that this INEC decision constitute only a delay of the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP in Osun Gubernatorial election, as our triumph will come either through the judiciary or a further balloting.
“I thank PDP supporters and the general public in Osun State and note that we got to this point after many months of hard work, determination and focus.
We should not despair and not lose our focus and determination to ensure that the final results reflect the will of the Osun people.
“Our party is ahead, despite the irregularities. Our people must remain resilient to see this through to the finish. Now is the time to re-strategize, reach out to all the other candidates and their supporters, build on our lead, and bring this election home.
“Our supporters and the entire people of Osun State should remain calm and maintain peace as we move forward to see the successful completion of the electoral process.
“Once again, I thank all supporters of the PDP and the people of Osun State who stayed up all night, both physically and on social media to monitor the numbers and protect our votes. We remain undeterred, and we all remain determined to ensure that Senator Ademola Adeleke becomes the next Governor of Osun State”, Saraki stated.
Also, a former vice president and opposition Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, and Senate President Bukola Saraki have extended support to the party’s Osun State governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke.
Mr Abubakar in a statement Sunday urged the people of the state not to be cowed, following the declaration of Saturday’s election as inconclusive.
Earlier, the presiding officer of the election at the INEC headquarters in Osun, Joseph Fuwape, declared the election inconclusive.
At the end of the collation of votes, the PDP candidate won majority votes of about 254,698 votes while Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Congress came a close second with 254,345 votes. Mr Adeleke led his rival by 353 votes.
“Unfortunately as the returning officer, it’s not possible to declare anybody as the clear winner of the election on the first ballot,” Mr Fuwape, vice chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, said.
He explained that the total voided votes in the five polling units where elections were cancelled was 3,498. Since that figure was higher than the difference between the votes of the leading candidates, a re-run election had to be conducted, the INEC chief explained.
INEC’s election guideline made pursuant to Section 153 of the Electoral Act stipulates a rerun if the margin of victory in an election is lower than the number of voters in units where elections are cancelled.
The affected LGAs are Irolu, Ife South, Ife North and Oshogbo.
The commission announced that it will remobilise and return to the affected polling units on Thursday, September 27 to re-conduct the elections, conclude collation and make a return.
But Mr Abubakar asked the electoral commission to resist any temptation to be used to tamper with the will of the people of Osun State.
He accused the APC of attempting to compromise the election.
“I told our people in Osun that their years of underdevelopment and backwardness will end with the election of Senator Adeleke and the PDP, and I stand by that promise.
“The attempt by the All Progressives Congress to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat will be resisted with every legitimate and democratic means at our disposal.
“I hereby offer Senator Adeleke and the Osun State chapter of the PDP my right hand of fellowship as they work to retrieve their victory, which is already in sight. The vote against APC was overwhelming; the people are not happy with status quo.
“We must all stand united at this point in time. The PDP secured a simple majority, even with the $16.7 billion (Paris Club refund) that the federal government surreptitiously paid to the incumbent Osun State APC government, and the desperate Tradermoni bait that Vice President Osinbajo dangled at the electorate in Osun. This is a testament to the fact that the APC has lost favour all over Nigeria,” he said.
He described the election in Osun State as a turning point and asked INEC to do the needful.
“Nigerians need jobs, opportunities and security. Once again, I assure Senator Ademola Adeleke and the people of Osun State that the PDP and I will stand with them to ensure that the victory freely given to Senator Adeleke by the people of Osun State is not taken away from them by people from outside the state,” he said.

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FG Declares Thursday Additional Holiday For Eid-el-Fitri

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The Federal Government has declared tomorrow, Thursday, as additional public holiday to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, made this known in a statement he shared on the ministry’s X account, yesterday.
The statement said, “The Federal Government has approved Thursday, April 11, 2024 as an additional public holiday to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
“The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while congratulating the Muslim Ummah for a successful completion of a month of spiritual rejuvenation, reiterates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm commitment to providing a safe and prosperous Nigeria for all to thrive.”
Saudi Arabia, on Monday, said the crescent of Shawwal has not been sighted, indicating that the fasting would continue on Tuesday.
It also added that the Eid-el-Fitr would hold today, Wednesday, to mark the beginning of the new Islamic month.
The Federal Government had earlier on Sunday declared yesterday (Tuesday) and today, (Wednesday) as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

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Engage In Credible Opposition, We Won’t Hunt You, Fubara Tells IPAC …As Group Passes Confidence Vote On Rivers Gov

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that the right climate will be created for all political parties to operate so that they can engage with Government and offer credible opposition.
The Governor emphasised that it was the best thing to do, especially because the opposition political parties have acknowledged that elections are over, and are resolved to offer effective support required to advance good governance in the State.
Governor Fubara spoke on Monday when he played host to the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State Chapter, led by its Chairman, Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governor insisted that an egalitarian society will be engendered so that people can feel free to voice their opinions without intimidation, because, according to him, those criticisms will contribute to having more focused implementation of policies that serve the general good of the State.
“So, we are happy to identify with you. We are assuring you, even when you leave here, criticise me, I don’t have problem with that, it is meant to spur me to do well. We will continue to give you the freedom. We will not cage anybody. We will not revoke your property.
“You can also take my message to your National Secretariat, we will continue to stand on the right path. We will support them because we can see that they are also doing what is right. Anytime they need our support, let them feel free to ask for it,” the Governor said.
Governor Fubara commended IPAC for identifying with his Administration, and pledging to collaborate efforts for the good of the State.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that no person who truly loves Rivers State, whether embittered, or not, will gladly want to burn down the State to achieve personal or political agenda.
The Governor said whatever political strength anybody claims to have, it amounts to nothing without the State and its people.
Governor Fubara assured that his team in Government will steadily work, genuinely, to protect the interest of the State.
While thanking the delegation for the vote of confidence passed on him and investing him as their Grand Patron, Governor Fubara urged them to tread the path of peace always in their activities.
Governor Fubara promised to consult with them and include their interest whenever appointments are made, and promised to donate a utility vehicle to enhance their logistics, while committing to support the upcoming programme of the body.
In his address, the Rivers State Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, thanked Governor Fubara for the opportunity to meet with them, and announced that IPAC has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor.
He also announced the decision of IPAC to honour the Governor as the Grand Patron and Leader of the umbrella body of all political parties in the State.
“IPAC is a roundtable of political parties saddled with the responsibility of enlightenment, advocacy, educating, and inspiring courage among political parties and the society at large.
“With the elections come and gone, it is practically the time for governance and to ensure all derivable of dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
“Herein lies the core of our visit today to forge a collaborative bond with you, His Excellency, to foster partnership for the overall interest of Rivers State.
“We heartily congratulate you on your victory at Supreme Court judgement, which affirmed your election at the polls. To this end, we in IPAC have passed a vote of confidence on His Excellency, and assure you of our collaborative, collective and individual support to succeed now, and in the course of your administration, and after,” he added.
More than 17 State Chairmen of Registered Political Parties in the State were in the delegation to pay a solidarity visit to the Governor.
Highlights of the visit were the presentation of a large plaque of portrait picture, certificate as Grand Patron, IPAC T-Shirt and Fez Cap by IPAC Chairman to Governor Fubara.

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Our Position On Rivers PDP Ward, LGA, State Excos Unshaken -Fubara

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The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked as fake and misleading, the purported list of Caretaker Committee members circulating in the social media and published in some national dailies on Thursday, April 4, 2024.
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, who said this after a meeting with the NWC at the National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza in Abuja, last Thursday evening, restated that the resolutions of a meeting held between the NWC and members of the Board of Trustees (BOTs) and PDP Governors’ Forum in Abuja in March on the issue remain valid.
Governor Fubara reiterated the position of the party that the executive officers whose tenures had expired in March, shall remain in their various capacities until the three months’extension period approved by the NWC elapses, and new congresses conducted to replace them.
He recalled that a letter signed by the National Organising Secretary, Hon Umar M. Bature, dated Wednesday, March 27, 2024, addressed to the Chairman, Rivers State Caretaker Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Aaron Chukwuemeka, and titled: “Approval of Wards, Local Government Area and State Caretaker Committee Members for Rivers State”, had clearly resolved the issue of the authentic members of the Caretaker Committees at the affected levels.
The letter, copied the Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Iliya Damagum; Deputy National Chairman, South, His Excellency, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja; the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; and National Legal Adviser, Ajibade Kamaldeen Adeyemi, SAN, reads in full, “Following the expiration of the elected Ward, LGA, and State Executive Members in Rivers State, the National Working Committee (NWC), pursuant to the provisions of Section 29 (2) (b) of the Constitution of our Party, has, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) approved the appointment of the expired Excos as Caretaker Committee Members.
“For the avoidance of doubt, attached to this letter is theauthentic list of the Caretaker Committee Members in Rivers State. These Caretaker Committees shall run the affairs of our Party at their appropriate levels for a period of three (3) months effective from the dates of their expiration, i.e. March 14, 18, 21, 2024 for Wards, LGA, and State, respectively.
“Please note that the NWC equally approved that anywhere vacancies have occurred due to death, removal, resignation, or defection, such vacancies shall not be filled.
“While thanking you for your continuous commitment, please accept the assurances of the NWC’s highest regards”.
Governor Fubara emphasized that the party stands on the agreement reached on the issue as encapsulated in the letter by the NWC to the State Chairman of PDP dated March 27, adding that no amount of intimidation, clandestine moves, wasteful lobbying and needless expenditure of public funds will change the position already taken.
The Governor stated that the list purported to be members of the Caretaker Committees of the party in the state was only the imagination of its purveyors, and advised those whose names were removed in the fake list and gullible members of the public to ignore it in its entirety.
He said that the party did not at any time remove or replace the names of officers whose tenures had been officially extended for three months, pending possible National Executive Committee ratification on April 18.
Governor Fubara insisted that what was published on Thursday and circulated on social media is not only fake, concocted and manipulated to suit the desperate ambitions of enemies of the State and its people, but a deliberate attempt to provoke members and cause discord in the party.
He observed that the list published in some national dailies and circulated on social media on Thursday was the handiwork of politicians who were spending public funds to cause unnecessary tension, anxiety and friction in the polity, and also distract the Government from the real task of governance in the State.
The Governor urged the elected officers of the party at ward, local government, and state levels whose names were removed and replaced with fictitious names to remain calm, and go about their legitimate duties as officers of the party.
He also warned those fomenting trouble and fanning the embers of confusion and disunity to retrace their steps, and embrace peace or face severe consequences.
The Governor also warned those whose names were forced into the fake and fabricated list of purported Caretaker Committee members being circulated not to be deceived by anybody with unmerited appointment, and avoid parading themselves or showing their presence at any party offices pretending to be officials, as anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law for forgery and impersonation.

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