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2023: INEC On Edge As IPOB Intensifies Attacks In S’East

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Friday night said its office in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State was set ablaze.
The national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, noted in a statement that the INEC office was attacked on December 1, 2022.
The latest attack came on the heels of recent simultaneous attacks on INEC offices in the region.
The Tide source recalls that on November 27, several Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and other items were destroyed when some hoodlums set the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on fire.
Similar attacks were also carried out on INEC offices in Abia, Enugu and Anambra in the past, raising fears over the conduct of the general election in the region.
Speaking on the Imo incident, Okoye said, “The building, which is undergoing extensive renovation following an earlier attack, was vandalised and partially set ablaze. Three out of seven construction workers were abducted but later released.
“The damage would have been more extensive but for the quick response of the police, which deployed its personnel to the site.
”The commission once again expresses concern over the spate of attacks on its facilities and the negative consequences on our preparations for the 2023 general elections.” Okoye stated.
The Imo State Police command narrated how its men engaged militants in gunfire at one of the INEC offices in the state.
The command’s spokesman, CSP Mike Abattam, said gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN), stormed the electoral office in Orlu Local Government Area of the state.
Abattam, however, said the militants were prevented from burning down the entire INEC building.
“They threw improvised explosive devices (IEDs) into the office from outside the fence and shot sporadically, fighting their way into the office but were repelled by the command’s tactical teams.
“The police operatives who positioned themselves strategically and professionally, engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel, and in the process, they were suppressed, having suffered a huge defeat, with a number of them sustaining varying degrees of bullet wounds. They later retreated into their vehicles and zoomed off, but were given a hot chase by the operatives.
“In the course of the foiled attack, no life was lost and no arms/ammunition carted away. The INEC main building was not affected by the explosives, Abatham said. Only minor damage was done on the security post caused by the fire from the explosives, which were put off immediately by the police operatives,” he stated.
He also said the commissioner of police, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde, commended the officers and men for their gallantry, and urged them not to relent in their efforts until all criminal elements and their partners were apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law.
Lamenting the attacks, the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, called for immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved.
He made the call at an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja following spate of attacks on their facilities.
Also speaking in Lagos State at the opening of a two-day induction retreat for the commission’s resident electoral commissioners, Yakubu counted the losses the recent attacks had brought to the commission.
He stressed that only a timely arrest and prosecution of perpetrators would end the trend.
He lamented that in the last four months, five local government offices of the commission were attacked by unknown persons, saying that critical facilities and assets were lost; hence the need to curb the trend urgently.
He said, “These facilities include a total of 1,992 ballot boxes, 399 voting cubicles and 22 electric power generators, as well as thousands of uncollected permanent voters’ cards, among many other items.
“These attacks must stop and the perpetrators apprehended and prosecuted. Our responsibility is to conduct elections. The best solution for us is the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators,” he said.
On their parts, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, warned those planning to undermine the 2023 general elections to have a rethink or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
Monguno said that President Muhammadu Buhari had given all security agencies and intelligence agencies the order to deal decisively with any individual or group who wants to disrupt the peace and success of the election.
IGP Baba, on his part, said the police were committed to ensuring that the 2023 general elections were peaceful and credible, urging the political actors to play by the rule to enable security agencies protect them.

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Alleged Anti-Party, PDP Reps Demand Damagun’s Resignation

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Ahead of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a coalition of PDP federal lawmakers has demanded the resignation of the party’s acting national chairman, Umar Iliya Damagun, over alleged anti-party activities.
The lawmakers are calling for Damagun’s removal by the NEC, along with further sanctions, should he fail to resign.
Accusing Damagun of working to hand over PDP structures to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the lawmakers are urging his resignation to allow for a North Central person to emerge as acting chairman, pending the party’s convention as stipulated by the party’s constitution.
They threatened to leave the party if the alleged doctored list of Local Government Caretaker Committees in Rivers and 10 other states, which they claim is filled with APC members and loyalists, was not nullified.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the spokesperson for the group and member representing Ideato Federal Constituency of Imo State, stated that they cannot remain in a party whose activities are determined by another political party.
The lawmakers alleged that the list of Caretaker Committee members in Rivers State was doctored in favour of former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and APC members who have defected from the PDP. They also accused Damagun of not doing anything to halt the plot to impeach Rivers State governor, Siminalayi Fubara, despite allegedly being fully aware of the details.
According to Ugochinyere, based on the PDP zoning formula, it is the turn of the North Central to produce the party’s chairman, and called on North Central leaders to present a credible replacement for Sen. Iyorchia Ayu.
They called on PDP stalwarts such as former Senate President David Mark, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Senator Abba Moro, and Bukola Saraki to rescue the party from being sold to the ruling APC.
Additionally, the lawmakers urged the PDP NEC to review the party’s sources of finance, investigate allegations of pro-APC supporters funding the party, and set up a committee to investigate all acts of anti-party activity since 2023, with appropriate sanctions to cleanse the party.
When contacted via phone call, Damagum refused to comment when The Tide source inquired about his reaction to the allegations levelled against him by the lawmakers. He simply hung up his phone after our source introduced himself, told him the reason for the call, and refused to pick up subsequent calls.
On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, promised to get back after going through the allegations but did not as of the time of filing this report. He also did not answer several calls subsequently to his phone line.
Also, efforts to speak with the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, were unsuccessful, as he did not pick up the call.

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LG Polls: PDP Wins All In Bayelsa

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The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has swept the local government election conducted by the State Independent Electoral Commission last Saturday.
The PDP won the chairmanship position in all eight local government areas and all the councillorship positions in the 105 wards, according to the results announced by the commission in Yenagoa on Sunday.
The major opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), shunned the poll as it did not field candidates.
In Yenagoa LGA, the BYSIEC’s returning officer, Wisdom Soreh, declared Buloudisiye Ndiwari as the winner of the chairmanship election after he polled 56, 103 votes.
The returning officer for Sagbama LGA, Prof Abiodun Adelegan, declared Alice Tangi as the winner.
She polled a total of 51,543 votes.
In Ogbia LGA, the returning officer, Tams Deiduomo, declared Golden Jeremiah, who polled 42,462 votes, as the winner.
The returning officer for Southern Ijaw LGA, Ebi Stanley-Udisi, announced Target Segibo as the winner, garnering 36,326 votes.
In Nembe LGA, the immediate-past Commissioner for Agriculture, David Alagoa, polled 11,829 votes to win the election as declared by the returning officer, Prof Festus Akpotohwo.
In Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, the returning officer, Prof Apuega Arikawei, declared Lelei Tariye as the winner with 27,823 votes.
Also, the returning officer for Ekeremor LGA, Prof Joseph Omoro, declared Onniye Isaac as the winner with 35,177 votes, while in Brass LGA, Febo Lucky of the PDP was declared the winner by the returning officer, Prof Joseph Omoro.

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Diri Expresses Satisfaction With Conduct Of LG Poll In Bayelsa

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commended the state independent electoral commission(BYSIEC) for the organisation of the state’s Local Government election at the weekend.
He also said reports available to him indicated that the polls were generally peaceful across the state.
The Governor spoke to Journalists shortly after casting his vote at 10.15am alongside his wife, Dr Gloria, at his Kalamaowei wari unit 4 ward 6 in Sampou community, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.
He expressed the optimism that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will emerge victorious in the 105 wards of the eight local government areas as it was the only party with wide acceptance and vigorously campaigned across the state ahead of the election.
“PDP enjoys the support of the people and judging from the outcome of the November 11, 2023 governorship election, our party will still take the upper hand.
“As you have seen, the voting process was peaceful and seamless and l think if this is the way it is in every other unit and ward, then we expect a peaceful and successful Local Government election to usher in a new leadership at the third tier of government.
“So far, we’re very pleased that there is no report of security breach across the state. At the last security council meeting, l charged the security agencies to be part of this electoral process and to ensure that security of the state was not breached.”
Responding to a question on why the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state did not participate in the election, Diri said only the faction led by Dennis Otiotio under the control of Chief Timipre Sylva boycotted the poll and that the party had more than one faction.
He added that the reason for their action was best known to them.

Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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