Following massive reactions that greeted his statement, Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai has clarified his comments, saying the reactions that followed his comments were false outrage, which he said must stop.
In a statement he issued through his media aide, Samuel Aruwan, El-Rufai insisted that his comments were not calling for violence, but a powerful defense of Nigeria’s sovereignty.
The Governor said he merely stood up for Nigeria’s dignity in the wake of those who would traduce their country and reduce it to the status of a colony in their vain quest for power.
According to him, “A notorious trait of the characters that constitute the opposition in Nigeria is the manufacture of outrage on flimsy grounds. However, contriving anger on false premises and summoning a din of feverish commentary will not alter the facts. Election season is regarded as silly season in some quarters, but it is a very serious moment.
“When Malam Nasir El-Rufai appeared on NTA’s Tuesday Night Live, he made comments every patriot can understand. He stood up for Nigeria’s dignity in the wake of those who would traduce their country and reduce it to the status of a colony in their vain quest for power.
“The video of his comments is in circulation. Any fair-minded person with modest familiarity with the English language and unimpaired comprehension can understand it. It does not contain any call for violence. What it is a powerful defense of sovereignty? Are some sections of our political class implying that they will acquiesce in or collaborate with foreign intervention in our country?
“Affirming that a country will defend itself against needless intervention is the kind of statement you expect to hear from a patriot. It is not a call for violence. Warning about the consequences of meddling in another country’s affairs is legitimate.
“Non-interference in the affairs of other countries is a basic principle of international law. Threatening to intervene in another country implies the use of force. Those who are basing their electoral calculations on foreign intervention need to be discouraged. Only the lawful votes of the Nigerian people should make or unmake governments.
“Malam Nasir El-Rufai has issued a powerful call for vigilance and clear notice that other countries should not mistake the supine posture of the opposition for national weakness.
“Malam Nasir El-Rufai has stood firmly against those who have been trying to divide Nigerians into ethnic and religious lines. He is resolutely opposed to violence and firmly committed to peace and harmony.
“Let the false outrage stop,” El-Rufai said.
#Nigeria Decides:NYSC warns corp members against gratification
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has again warned corps members against collecting gratification while on election duty, saying that anyone caught would be prosecuted.
Director-General of the corps, Maj. Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, gave the warning yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during the final phase of his nationwide sensitization programme for corps members participating in The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has again warned corps members against collecting gratification while on election duty, saying that anyone caught would be prosecuted
Director-General of the corps, Maj. Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, gave the warning yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during the final phase of his nationwide sensitization programme for corps members participating in the election.
Represented by NYSC Assistant Director, Human Resources, Mrs. Franca Olaleye, the NYSC boss said corps members must be diligent and upright in the course of their duty. “You are expected to handle this critical assignment with a high sense of patriotism, responsibility, and integrity.
“Your participation in the election as presiding and assistant presiding officers creates a unique opportunity to demonstrate the leadership skills, life molding and best practice you have been imbued with.
“You must bring to bear the value of training you have received from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NYSC.
“Therefore, as agents of the democratic process, you are hereby charged to be transparent and neutral in your conduct before, during and after the elections.
“You must not collect any form of gratification from anybody. If you are caught you will be apprehended and prosecuted’’, Kazaure said.
He therefore, appealed to corps members and NYSC staff not to compromise but strive to uphold the corporate integrity which NYSC is known.
Ogun NYSC State Coordinator, Mrs. Josephine Bakare, said logistics arrangement had been finalised, adding that the welfare of all NYSC staff and corps members participating in the election would be adequately taken care of.
Nigeria Decides: All land borders to be closed at 12noon
Federal Government has ordered all land borders to be shut with effect from 12.00noon today to 12.00noon tomorrow.
Minister of Interior Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), who gave the order, said there would be a restriction of movements across the borders during the election days.
Also yesterday, the Acting Inspector-General (IG), Muhammed Adamu, ordered the restriction of vehicular movement on the election day.
A statement issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Comptroller-General Muhammad Babandede: “Further to the presidential election taking place on the February, 16, 2019, the Honourable Minister of Interior has directed the closure of all Nigerian land borders with effect from 12.00noon of Friday, February 15 to 12.00noon of Sunday, February 17, 2019.
“This is to restrict movements across the borders during the election days. The public is to take note and ensure compliance.”
Falana, PDP condemn Malami
Femi Falana (SAN) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have faulted the Attorney General for the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on his letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the said letter, Malami had advised INEC to postpone the general elections in Zamfara State, to accommodate a ruling of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal, purportedly directing the electoral body to allow the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) field candidates for the upcoming elections.
Falana said by virtue of Section 158 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, INEC “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any authority or person”.
The lawyer said: “Furthermore, the proviso to Section 160 of the amended Constitution states that the powers of INEC ‘to make its own rules or otherwise regulate its own procedures shall not be subject to the approval or control of the President’.
“Therefore, the AGF lacks the vires to advise or direct INEC to postpone the elections scheduled to hold in any state of the federation. Since the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the nomination of APC candidates in Zamfara State admits of no ambiguity, INEC is advised to do the needful and ignore the directive of the AGF on the conduct of the elections.”
Also yesterday, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, described the AGF’s letter to INEC as part of APC’s design to arm-twist the commission and the judiciary to take illegal actions in their favour.
Addressing a news conference at the Legacy House, the party’s Abuja campaign office, Secondus said what the AGF was seeking is not backed by law.
Buhari says foreign observers are welcome
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja, dissociated his government from threats of death and intimidation against international observers from some individuals in the country, saying such acts did not represent the position of the federal government.
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, had recently threatened that international observers who dared to interfere in Nigeria’s elections would return to their countries in body bags.
In the same vein, the spokesman of the president’s campaign organization, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, and presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, had persistently warned and threatened foreign countries not to intervene in the conduct of the elections.
Such remarks had generated reactions from both the international community and many Nigerians.
Consequently, Buhari promised to ensure the safety of foreign observers during the elections and restated his promise to ensure that this general election beginning tomorrow would be free, fair and peaceful, recalling how he had himself been a beneficiary of free polls by the former administration.
Buhari, who gave those assurances in a nationwide broadcast last night ahead of tomorrow’s presidential election, appealed to Nigerians to turn out very well during the elections and cast their votes.
He recalled how he had signed the peace accord with other presidential candidates and assured stakeholders that he would guarantee the conduct of the polls in a peaceful atmosphere.
He urged citizens to be part of the commitment to peaceful conduct of the polls and admonished the youth not to allow themselves to be used to perpetrate election violence, saying those who may want to use them for such heinous act only want to discredit the elections because of their fear of losing.
Reiterating that citizens have the responsibility to promote peace in their neighborhoods during the polls, Buhari reasoned that this election period is not the time to allow their participation to be driven by ethnic, religious and sectional sentiments.
He said: “And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.
“Let me at this point; reaffirm the commitment of the federal government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.
“I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection. Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”