The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State on Tuesday said officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state were cooperating with Governor Nyesom Wike to announce ‘concocted’ results from the Saturday’s elections.
The party praised the military, which the Peoples Democratic Party, on the other hand, had accused of interference in the Rivers elections. The military on Monday denied the accusation.
It is the APC’s first direct public involvement in the Rivers elections conundrum since it endorsed African Action Congress candidate, Biokpomabo Awara, to challenge Mr. Wike of the PDP last week.
The party did not field candidates in the Rivers State elections due to a court order that barred it following its internal crisis.
INEC suspended the electoral process in the state on Sunday and the parties, as well as observers, now await the outcome of the commission’s investigation of reports of disruptions that affected voting and collation of results on Saturday.
THE MILITARY DESERVE COMMENDATION FOR SECURING THE PEACE THAT ENABLED RIVERS PEOPLE TO CAST THEIR VOTES …WIKE, INEC RE-WRITING UNIT RESULTS IN GOVT HOUSE – RIVERS APC
Firstly, it is important that I clarify that the Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, was an active stakeholder in last weekend elections and the reason is that we formally endorsed and adopted the AAC governorship candidate, Engr Awara Biokpomabo.
1. We are dismayed that critical stakeholders including those who witnessed the killing of over 40 persons on the 2015 governorship election day alone due to someone’s quest to become governor by all means, appear to be hoodwinked by the very same character to believe that security agents especially the Army should have stayed away to allow a repetition of what happened in 2015.
2. As a party that was solely at the receiving end of killings in Rivers State by the ruling PDP and their agents, the APC believes that the proactive steps taken by security agents to checkmate a repeat of the 2015 killings and destructions, is commendable and should be applauded by all peace-loving people. We believe that if such a step was taken before or during the 2015 elections and thereafter, prominent APC members such as late Chief Christopher Adube and his 5 children and driver would not have been murdered in one fell swoop by PDP agents in ONELGA in just one evening leaving the young son of Chief Adube consigned to the wheelchair to date. Hon. Monday Eleanya, Mr. Frankline Obi, his wife, and son killed and beheaded; shooting to death of Mr. Ipalibo Black-Duke in Akuku-Toru, subsequent killings and beheadings of APC members in ONELGA; the gruesome killing of Dr. Vincent Eeebee in Yeghe among several others too numerous to mention here would most probably have been avoided.
3. We are satisfied that the 2019 general elections is a clear departure from the orgy of violence and killings that characterised the 2015 elections. However, we send our heartfelt sympathy to the families of the slain INEC ad-hoc staff, Mrs Ibisaki Amachree, who died under curious circumstances while serving his fatherland during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. We also send our profound condolences to the families of the lieutenant of the Nigerian Army and other officers and men who were targeted and killed or injured by criminals in the state. We pray that God grant their souls eternal rest while giving their family members the fortitude to bear their losses.
4. We must establish our disapproval of the tendencies by a section of stakeholders in the polity especially some supposed local and international observers who appear not to appreciate the daunting and onerous task the security agencies are undertaking to ensure that Rivers people were able to come out and vote safely and their vote counted. This is the most unkind way to encourage or pay back those who have and are still risking their lives for the rest of us. We have attached herewith some photos of hospitalised army officers from attacks unleashed on them by agents of PDP while on duty during the elections. Perhaps it is pertinent to remind everyone that the Nigerian Supreme Court described Rivers State as a THEATRE OF WAR during the 2015 elections.
5. We very well recognise that the governor of Rivers State has successfully extended his penchant to bribe every soul under the sun to include observers of elections and other stakeholders in the polity with a view to unleashing highly mendacious blackmail on our hardworking security agents and the intention is to get them out of the way for him to kill his way to power the second time. This is very unfortunate!
6. We call on Rivers people and Nigerians not to be hoodwinked into believing that Nigerian security agencies interfered in the electoral process in Rivers State. That is only a clever narrative being planted in the media to particularly blackmail the military and the federal government into pulling out security agents from the state and returning it to the killing field many of us witnessed before, during and after the 2015 elections till date. Suffice to say that Rivers State has ever since 2015 become Nigeria’s headquarters of violence.
INEC withdraws Certificates from lawmakers
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has so far withdrawn 25 Certificates of Return issued to some candidates that won during the 2019 general election, following court orders. Twenty of the 25 certificates of return were withdrawn from All Progressives Congress (APC) members to other APC members; while two from People Democratic Party (PDP) members were withdrawn and issued to other PDP members.
The Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye, said that the other three were withdrawn from APC and PDP; and given to other political parties. Okoye made the disclosure at a ‘Forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Election’ held in Enugu yesterday and in a statement. The APC has lost one House of Representatives seat each to the PDP and Accord Party respectively, based on the order of the court. Also, the party lost a state constituency seat to the PDP. Okoye, in a statement yesterday, however, disclosed that there are still many cases still pending in various state and Federal High Courts arising from pre-election matters.
“The commission, pursuant to orders of court, is still updating the list of candidates that contested the 2019 elections or deemed to have contested the elections. “As at the 16th May 2019, INEC withdrew the certificates of return issued to 25 candidates of the different political parties in Nigeria and issued fresh ones to other candidates,” Okoye said. Based on the order of court, Okoye disclosed that the commission withdrew certificates of return from the APC candidates in Ekiti North federal constituency and Ehime-Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo federal constituency of Imo State and issued them to PDP and Accord Party respectively.
“In Darazo state constituency of Bauchi State, the commission withdrew the certificate of a candidate of the APC and issued to the candidate of the PDP,” he further explained. Okoye stated that the commission withdrew a certificate of return from APC senatorial candidate in Bauchi South senatorial district and issued to another APC candidate. “In Delta State, the commission withdrew the certificate of return issued to the candidate of the PDP in Delta North Senatorial District and issued to another candidate of the PDP.
“Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday (May 17, 2019); the commission has withdrawn 25 certificates-of-return from the first owners to their new owners following court orders to do that,” he said. Speaking at the Enugu event, President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, said that the media and its practitioners enjoyed a vast and robust consultations and meetings with INEC before, during and after the elections. Isiguzo said that INEC performed creditably given the resources and length of cooperation from other stakeholders involved in the electoral processes. “However, we are here to evaluate the entire process and see where we can strengthen our engagement and better the electoral system,” he said. In his address, the Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, noted that evaluation of processes of the elections would help better the electoral processes as well as strengthen institutions and stakeholders involved in the entire processes.
“Nigeria is safe”
Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed has declared that Nigeria is safe and there is no cause for alarm. The declaration came yesterday despite uncovering an alleged plot to disrupt the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the second term on May 29.
He said world leaders, who will attend the maiden June 12 Democracy Day, have nothing to fear.
Mohammed, who made the declaration at a news conference in Abuja, said security agencies were on top of the recent security alarm.
He, however, emphasized that the presidential inauguration on May 29, would be a low-key event in order to save cost.
Muhammed said: “On the invitation of world presidents to the presidential inauguration, I said leaders will be invited instead to the observance of Democracy Day and that invitations have since been sent out.
“Nigeria is safe and sound for world leaders to attend the celebration. I will not tell you the measures taken for safety. I have no reason to doubt the credibility of the security alarm raised by security agencies. There is no cause for alarm as the security agencies are on top of the matter.”
According to him, the swearing-in of the President and the Vice President at the Eagle Square would be followed by a State Banquet at the State House.
Mohammed noted that the event marking the June 12 Democracy Day would start on June 7 with a historical exhibition in arts, pictures and immersive environment, and would run through June 12.
On the inauguration activities that began with yesterday’s news conference, the minister said: “This will be followed on Tuesday by the commencement of three-day national youth entrepreneurship empowerment summit in Abuja.
Tinubu visits Buhari in Mecca, cautions politicians
All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has urged political elite to refrain from statements that could heat up the polity. Speaking in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where he met President Muhammadu Buhari over dinner, Asiwaju Tinubu appealed to the leaders to avoid inflammatory statements that could undermine peaceful co-existence among the nation’s diverse communities.
At the dinner with them were: the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and Emir of Kazaure, Dr. Najib Hussaini Adamu.
Speaking after the Iftar (fast-breaking meal), the former Lagos governor urged all citizens to consider the enormity of challenges facing the nation and support the President.
According to him, President Buhari should be supported to succeed in the quest of solving the nation’s problems and stabilizing the polity.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted Tinubu as saying: “The President worked hard and will continue to do so to ensure peace and stability in the country, which are important for the economy to make progress. These are the key pegs of his agenda. Let us all come together to support him.
The statement said that the APC leaders counseled Nigerians to disregard the provocative statements being made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he was quoted as saying, “is reputed for ‘saucy and distractive statements’, Nigerians should not be angry with the opposition party, but assist them to overcome their ‘colossal defeat’ in the February 2019 elections.”
“Don’t blame them. They are handicapped by the traumatic feelings of the colossal loss of the election. You should help them to manage the trauma.”
Tinubu commended President Buhari for recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day.
EFCC investigating Okorocha
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that it is investigating the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha. The anti-graft commission has also explained that it froze N5 billion funds belonging to the state government because Okorocha was spending too much money in a suspicious manner during the general election.
The Acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Ibrahim Magu confirmed the investigation of the governor by the EFCC in an interview with Channels Television. Asked if an investigation is ongoing regarding the governor, he responded, “definitely”.
“Of course, we are doing a couple of checks and investigations here and there. We are investigating almost everybody,” he said.
He said the commission has to get to a certain level before it can disclose any information about an ongoing investigation.
Magu explained that this was necessary to prevent any action that can jeopardize or interfere with the process of the inquiry.
He said though he was aware of reports of the investigation on the social media, the details the anti-graft agency has is different from what is in the public space.
The anti-graft czar granted the interview in the United Kingdom where he traveled to meet with investigators assisting the federal government in solving cases of money laundering and financial crimes.
Meanwhile, the anti-graft commission has also explained that it froze N5 billion funds belonging to the state government because Okorocha was spending too much money in a suspicious manner during the general election.
The EFCC further stated that N8 billion Paris Club loan refunded to the state for the payment of salaries was mismanaged by Okorocha.
The EFCC’s Zonal Head for South-east, Usman Imam, said this during a chat with journalists.
Imam said their timely intervention saved the state over N5 billion that would have been deployed in vote-buying by the Okorocha’s administration during the last elections.