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Rivers APC accuses INEC of favoritism

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The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has kicked against an alleged plan by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to favor Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

All Progressives Congress

Collation of results of the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly elections are resuming tomorrow in the Southsouth state.

Ahead of the resumption, the party’s Publicity Secretary Chris Finebone, yesterday in Port Harcourt, accused Wike of desperation to be re-elected, thereby depriving the state’s governorship candidate of African Action Congress (AAC), Biokpomabo Awara, of his mandate.

The APC, which was stopped by the Supreme Court from fielding candidates in the state elections following the internal dispute over party primaries, is backing the 40-year-old AAC standard bearer.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Rivers, Bayelsa and Edo states, May Agbamuche-Mbu, a lawyer, stated in Port Harcourt at the weekend during a stakeholders’ meeting that the commission was not taking sides with any political party or candidate.

Governor Wike and his AAC challenger Awara were among the stakeholders at the meeting.

Agbamuche-Mbu also insisted that the results of the elections were not tampered with, but kept in INEC’s strong room, calling on Rivers residents to allow peace to reign in the state before, during and after the activities outlined for the conclusion of the controversial elections.

Rivers APC, however, said: “We condemn in strong terms, the so-called timeline and activities to conclude the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State, as announced at the stakeholders meeting. It is a mere charade, well-organized and choreographed by INEC, in its bid to work from the answer to the question.

“The ultimate result can only be to announce their (INEC’s) preferred partner and collaborator (Wike) as the winner, against the AAC’s governorship candidate (Awara), who was clearly in the lead before collation was aborted (on March 10). Whether INEC will succeed in its machinations will be seen in the days to come.

“Several actions of INEC had prepared the minds of many that the entire exercise was skewed to favor Wike and the PDP, leaving in the process, several questions without answers.

“How come that Wike knew about the 17 local government areas, which results had been allegedly collated and had posted same on his (Wike’s) official Twitter handle, long before INEC made the announcement? Answers to this and other questions will continue to hang on the neck of INEC like an albatross.”

The APC blamed the logjam in the Rivers electoral process on what it called a tripartite collaboration between Wike and the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obo Effanga, ably assisted by the Administrative Secretary of the commission in Rivers, Elder Etim Umoh.

But Wike, through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, declared that APC’s accusation against him was meaningless and senseless.

The Rivers commissioner, who doubles as PDP Campaign Council’s Information and Communications Director, said: “The APC’s accusation that INEC is favouring Governor Wike does not hold water. It is the same old song; empty, meaningless and senseless. Majority of Rivers people do not take the APC in the state seriously.

“They (APC members in Rivers State) blame everybody, apart from themselves, for every problem. When they had internal problems that cost them their place in the ballot, they blamed others. When their adopted puppet in AAC could not win one unit in the state, because he was unknown and never campaigned, the APC blamed others.”

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Imo: House of Assembly recalled five members it suspended for months

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Imo State House of Assembly has finally recalled five of its members it suspended six months ago over alleged “un-parliamentary” conduct.

The lawmakers were recalled during the Tuesday plenary of the state Assembly presided over by Speaker Acho Ihim.

Announcing their recall, Ihim said the lawmakers were recalled after invitation for an interaction during the Assembly executive session.

The Imo State House of Assembly had in October 2018, suspended the lawmakers on allegations bothering on un-parliamentary conduct.

The recalled members are Chiji, Uche Oguwuike, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Donatus Onuigwe, and Kenna Nzeruo.

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Senator: Buhari has no favourite candidate – Yusuf

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The Senator representing Taraba Central senatorial district, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, on Tuesday disclosed that contrary to speculations in certain circles, President Muhammadu Buhari was not supporting any particular aspirant for the office of the 9th Senate President.

Speaking with select newsmen in his office, Yusuf stated that Buhari told the aspirants to go into wider consultations with their colleagues in the hallowed chamber for support.

In his words, “I’m only speculating Mr. President on this issue.

“Buhari has no particular aspirant in mind to support. He said everybody is free to contest.

“He has asked all interested aspirants that they are free to aspire but urged them to consult widely with their colleagues for support.”

When further grilled, the Taraba senator said nobody among the aspirants should be contented with being nominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership.

He added, “Since the position was zoned to the North-East, it is the duty of the lawmakers from the geo-political zone to harmonise and have a consensus candidate”.

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President Buhari congratulates newly elected Isreali Prime Minister

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel on his victory in the parliamentary election.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday, extended best wishes to the people of the State of Israel in the aftermath of the successful conclusion of the poll.

The Nigerian leader, who also wished them peace, progress and stability, said he looked forward to continue to work with the Israeli Prime Minister to strengthen existing cordial and mutually-beneficial relations between the two countries.

Buhari wished Netanyahu a successful new term in office and prayed that his record fifth term would bring enduring peace and security to the Middle East.

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APC challenges Atiku’s nationality. The former vice president replies

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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 election, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not deserve an answer, after contesting his Nigerian citizenship.

The former vice-president stated this in a statement, signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, on Saturday.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, claiming that from the data in INEC’s server, he actually polled a total of 18,356,732 votes while Buhari recorded 16,741,430.

But APC urged the tribunal to dismiss PDP’s petition for incompetence, arguing that Section 131(a) of the Constitution stipulates that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to be qualified to contest for the office of the President.

Atiku’s statement read: “Dear citizens of our beloved country, Nigeria, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, told us previously that he has verifiable and incontrovertible evidence to show that the last Presidential elections were fraudulent, not credible and did not reflect the will of the Nigerian people, and he has been vindicated by the response of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, to his petition to the Electoral Tribunal hearing the petition he filed.

“The former Vice President based his case on facts and statistical evidence and challenged both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC, to disprove his factual submissions.

“The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019.

“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’.

“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

“Atiku Abubakar has served our nation diligently in various capacities, form the civil service, where he rose through merit, to the top of his chosen field, to public service, where, by the grace of God, he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Moreover, he has committed his assets and talents to developing our nation through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.”

Atiku added that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty, are the very people whose Nigerians should be in doubt “and not a man who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than eight years.”

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