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Kano: Vote buying is a new phenomenon – Shehu

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The Kano state Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Riskuwa Arabu Shehu on Tuesday in Kano decried the menace of vote buying.

He called on all stakeholders to join hand with INEC to fight the ugly trend.

Professor Shehu who briefed newsmen shortly after stakeholders meeting with political party leaders at Mambayya House ahead of 2019 general election, said INEC has devised new strategy to ensure free and fair elections in 2019.

According to him, “The menace of vote buying is a new phenomenon that cropped up after it is clear that it is no longer easy to rig elections in Nigeria. INEC will do its possible best to ensure that nobody buys vote in the 2019 general elections.

“It is very disheartening that somebody would sell his civic right to vote for good leaders, just for a peanut of N5000 or N10, 000. I urge the security agencies, media and politicians to help INEC fight this menace of vote buying. The general public should understand the implication of vote buying.”

The INEC boss also lamented the issue of selling of Permanent Voters Card (PVC), particularly in Kano, stating that, “we heard the rumour of selling of PVCs in Kano. We have reported it to security agencies and we are not taking it lightly.”

According to him, over 688, 972 registered voters are yet to collect their Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC), out of 5, 459, 914 eligible voters who are supposed to participate in the 2019 elections in Kano state.

He said the uncollected PVC as at 31st October, 2018, include the number of those registered in 2011, 2015 and 2017/2018 respectively.

Prof. Shehu added that, “for those who registered from April, 2017 to date, we have 75, 798 registered voters who have already collected their PVC.

“However, for those who registered from the second quarter of 2018 to 31st August, 2018, their PVC will soon be ready for collection, as we are still waiting them to arrive from the headquarters.

“Before 2015 elections, we had 4, 994, 913 registered voters who participated in the last general elections. Presently, we have 5, 459, 914 registered and eligible voters who are supposed to participate in the 2019 general elections.

“But I must say that this figure is tentative because we are still cleaning the register to ascertain the number of people who are no longer here as a result of death, relocation or what have you. At the end of the day, the number may reduce.”

He added that, “already, we have prepared the list of all the eligible voters whose PVCs are ready and they are yet to collect them.

“We have decided to decentralize the distribution—we are now doing it Ward by Ward. We have already mobilized enough staff to be stationed across the 484 Wards in the state.

“We are also engaging traditional rulers, opinion leaders, religious leaders, as well as the media for proper sensitization of the people on the need for them to collect their PVCs to enable them perform their civic responsibilities in the forthcoming general elections.”

He further stated that about 74 candidates from 32 political parties are contesting for the three senatorial seats in Kano, while 401 candidates from 38 political parties are vying for 24 seats of the House of Representatives in the state.

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Kaduna: PDP governorship candidate, Ashiru kick-start campaign

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The governorship candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State, Alhaji Isa Ashiru, kick-started his campaign at the International Trade Fair Complex, today.

Party supporters trooped to the venue, literarily blocking the Kaduna-Zaria highway which resulted in stranded commuters.

Speaking on the occasion, Ashiru said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State has failed and urged the people to vote out Governor Nasir el-Rufai in the forth coming election.

He called on the people to ensure that they come out enmass to vote for the PDP at all levels to return the state and the country to the path of sanity and progress.

Ashiru also condemned the Kaduna State government for alleged indiscriminate sacking of civil servants and teachers and promised that if elected, he would set up a committee to review the cases of the sacked workers with the view of reinstating those whose appointments were unjustly terminated.

“I want all of you to ensure that you keep your voters cards safely. Your voter’s card is your power.

“Civil servants, teachers, where are you? We are assuring you, If we are voted into power, we will set up a committee to review the sacking of all teachers and civil servants by the APC government in Kaduna State.

“Those who were unjustly sacked would be reinstated. Therefore, I urged you not to bother.”

Also speaking, the National Chairman of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Alhaji Buba Galadima, declared that the APC government has brought hunger, poverty and insecurity on Nigerians.

He said: “Nigerians have been suffering from hunger, poverty and insecurity and by the grace of God, by February 16, the hardship would be over if you vote the PDP.

“You must make sure that you vote the PDP for president, governor and all other positions.

“You must protect your votes, come out enmass and ensure that you cast your vote no matter what!”

Also speaking at the rally, the immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ramalan Yero, chided the APC government in the state for non performance.

He said “Kaduna is for PDP and anyone who says Kaduna is not for PDP is deceiving himself.”

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Osinbajo assures Lagosians of more Federal projects

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Lagos State more federal projects if President Muhammadu Buhari is re-elected in the February 16, 2019, presidential election. He also promised that the Buhari-led administration would provide more infrastructures in the nation’s economic hub.

Prof Osinbajo spoke yesterday at the palace of Oloworo of Oworoland, Oba Oloruntoyin Salau, in Kosofe Local Government Area, in continuation of his house-to-house campaign for the reelection of President Buhari.

Explaining why Lagosians should vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC), the vice president said: “We were in opposition for 16 years; we have just started enjoying federal presence; we should vote for the APC to retain power at the centre to attract more development projects from the federal government.

“Governor Akinwunmi Ambode cooperated with us at the federal level and that is why we are moving forward and doing some projects for Lagos. I believe Sanwo-Olu will do the same.

“I want to assure you that Lagos and Kosofe will enjoy more federal presence. We will attract more federal projects to Lagos State.”

Responding to the demand of Oba Oloruntoyin and the people of Kosofe that the Federal Government should release Oworonsoki Global Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) before general elections, Osinbajo said: “Lagos is very important to the Federal Government and we will work on reclaiming the land.”

The monarch also called on THE government to assist in sand filling the waterlogged and swampy areas in the local government area to boost access to land that can be used for a trailer park.

According to him, such would reduce the traffic challenges of the state and stop indiscriminate parking on the highway and bridges.

He assured the vice president that the people of Kosofe will vote for President Buhari, Lagos APC governorship candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and all other APC candidates contesting the state and National Assembly elections.

Osinbajo was ushered into the palace by a huge crowd of APC members, chanting “Sai Baba, Sai Buhari”; “4+4”; “PYO-Omoluabi”.

Addressing the party members, Osinbajo promised that that government would continue to empower traders, market women and farmers with none interest loan. The government, he said, would continue to provide jobs for the youths and physically challenged.

The vice president was accompanied by Sanwo-Olu, his running mate, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Special Adviser to President on Political Adviser, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East Senatorial District; APC senatorial candidate for Lagos East Senatorial District Bayo Osinowo and Rotimi Agunsoye, representing Kosofe Federal Constituency, among others.

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Ekweremadu denies reports of division in PDP

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has described as untrue, reports purporting division in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 General Elections.

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu

Ekweremadu, who made this known in a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr Uche Anichukwu on Monday, described the reports as “fake news, cheap blackmail, smear campaign and extreme propaganda.”

He urged party faithful and supporters not to be distracted by “the lie mills” as the nation approached the critical stages of the 2019 elections, but to remain focused.

“My attention has been drawn to the orchestrated attempts by some characters to create the impression of a divided house in Peoples Democratic Party in the coming presidential election.

“Such characters dish out fake and divisive stories without a source on a daily basis and attribute same to me.

“I refuse to be distracted by such cheap blackmail, smear campaign, and extreme propaganda,” he said.

According to him, it is important to reassure PDP supporters that the party is united and focused.

“After the PDP lost the presidency and majority status at the National Assembly in 2015, I made it clear that I would stand by the party, no matter what.

“It took other party stakeholders and I a lot of efforts, sacrifices, soul-searching and painstaking negotiations to hold the party together and rebuild it.

“If I did not abandon the PDP at its darkest hour, it does not make the slightest sense to say that I abandoned it now that its sun is rising again.

“Meanwhile, I have held separate meetings with our Vice Presidential candidate, Peter Obi and the Chairman, South East Governors Forum, Dave Umahi, to work out strategies for the success of our party and candidates in the coming elections.

“We are also setting up a meeting of South East PDP stakeholders by the weekend to continue to strategise on the coming elections,” he said.

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Ortom says he is being hounded by a cabal

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has raised an alarm over what he described as an attempt by a certain cabal within the presidency to pit him against President Muhammadu Buhari, who he alleged did not act on time when two Fulani socio-cultural groups threatened and carried out attacks and killings in Benue State.

Governor Ortom

Ortom made this known yesterday while campaigning in Konshisha Local Government Area of the state.
He stated that he has never attacked the personality of the president as insinuated by the spokesman of the president, Mallam Garba Shehu.

Shehu had alleged that Ortom, who is presently campaigning for his re-election, was alleged to have claimed that Buhari was trying to Islamise Benue State.
However, Ortom while fielding questions from journalists at Tse Agbaragba described Shehu’s statement as unfortunate, stressing, “I’m not sure it’s coming from Mr President but from the presidency.”

“In my campaigns, I have never insulted President Buhari, I have never made any hate speech against him at any given time. If I talk of Miyetti Allah claiming responsibility for the killings in Benue State, it came from them and it was before the media and everybody knew about it.
“If I talk about Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM), which did a press conference in Kano and proclaimed that the killings in Benue State were a continuation of 1804 jihad, it didn’t come from me, it came from them.

“I called for the arrest of these people because they were making hate speeches and displaying impunity over this country and I reported them to security agencies. I expected that these people should have been arrested. And I was just repeating that.

“Garba Shehu cannot tell me where I’ll go and do my campaigns. If I am in the church I will also go to the mosque and respect the Muslims for who they are, and I respect the church, that is the background I come from, I am a Christian.

“Can Garba Shehu come and tell me where to campaign? He doesn’t have the right, he is from APC and I am of the PDP and I am campaigning to win the election for my party and my presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar because I believe he will not keep a cabal in the villa.
“I am a man, I am not a woman, that is why I respect the wife of the president who called all of us to come back that ‘where are the men in this country.

“Should we allow the cabal in the Villa to ruin this country? I am not a coward; it is a coward that will die 20 times before his actual death. Time has come for us to say the truth in this country. Whether it is going to be with our lives, we should say it in order to save the country and save our democracy.”

“All of us are stakeholders and we cannot fold our hands and see things being destroyed by individuals. I have no time for that, Garba Shehu should go and concentrate on his job and he should stop trying to create hatred between me and the president because I have no issues with the president.

“I talk about issues of the campaign. And if you talk about hate speech they should go and arrest FUNAM and Miyetti Allah members who made that statement and going around doing all sorts of illegal things, creating hate and confusion among Nigerians and nobody is out to say anything, rather you hear agents of government come out to give backing to Miyetti Allah.

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