After Senator David Mark’s unanticipated loss in the 2018 Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), presidential primaries, and consequent forcefully retirement from politics after 20 years in the Senate, BIYI ADEGOROYE, looks at what is next for the one-time Communications Minister
When the 9th National Assembly will be inaugurated early June, one lawmaker who will be conspicuously missing is the immediate past President of the Senate, Senator David Bonaventure Mark. After losing the presidential ticket on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the October 2018 party primaries, it became very clear that he is not returning but itching towards retirement.
Indeed, the outcome of the last elections has put an end to the political career of a man who had lived his entire life in the public service, benefiting greatly from the Nigerian state. By June this year, Mark would have served a total of 20 years in the Senate- one of the very few of such- having been voted to represent Benue South Senatorial district first in 1999.
During the period, he served in various capacities, until he was elected President of the Senate in 2007, a position he held for eight years, and he often refers to the passage into law of the Anti-gay Bill, otherwise called Same Sex Marriage Law against all pressures from the Western world as one of his achievements.
But that was only after he returned from self-exile in 1998. Before then, Mark, a retired Brigadier-General was appointed in 1984, (then a Lt-Colonel) the Military Governor of Niger State. And in 1988, the Minister of Communications when Nigeria introduced mobile and digital telephone system in the country, but he drew the ire of not a few when he said telephone was not for the poor.
Mark is one of the few Generals who transmuted from the crispy “khaki” uniform to the “Agbada” and contested election for the Senate six times and won all, some even at the Court of Appeal. Though he returned to the Senate in 2015, Mark, whose party, the PDP lost the majority, became a back-bencher, seen but hardly heard in the Red Chambers throughout the four years. He took a feeble shot at the presidency when in the buildup to the PDP presidential primaries held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State on October 6 and 7, 2018, he attempted to get the party’s mandate. He toured a few states, but in the end, secured a mere 35 votes.
Place in history
Though Mark’s followers believe that his antecedents over the years both in the military and political engagements unarguably place him in a solid position in the country, not many Nigerians will agree with that. Rather, they believe that as someone with great experience in the Executive and Legislative arms of government, he should have achieved more for the nation.
Mark is noted for the empowerment of his people and a few appointments and projects attracted to the state. At least 15,700 students in tertiary and elementary schools in Benue State and beyond are said to have benefitted from his Scholarship Foundation totaling about N500million since 2007.
In the buildup to the PDP presidential primaries, he showed his adroit support for democracy by not only stating that electing former defectors from the party for presidency would amount to rewarding disloyalty, but also declared the purported impeachment of Benue Governor, Sam Ortom, by a minority was a nullity.
A number of his people, however, believe he should have influenced things in their favour during the 2001Zaki Ibiam massacre where operatives of the Nigerian Army almost wiped out whole villages in Logo and Zaki Biam Local Government Areas in a reprisal over 19 soldiers that reportedly went missing.
He is, however, referred to as a stabilizing factor, a bridge builder who kept the National Assembly together for eight years, especially during the pall of disunity that fell on the country in the dark day of President Umar Yar’Adua’s ill-health by preparing grounds for the consequent invocation of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ which paved the way for Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence as President.
He was a loyal party man who stood by the PDP through thick and thin especially in its most trying moments after its defeat in 2015, and the various court actions instituted by former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sherrif believing that the PDP would overcome. As he said: “I stood firm and committed myself to rebuilding and rebranding the party which, to the glory of God, is once more a very beautiful bride admired by all.’
He once quoted, in an interview, the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and adversity,” to attest to his loyalty.
In the wake of the relentless massacre of the Benue people by herdsmen, which led to the death of scores of the people and displacement of thousands, especially in the killing of two Catholic priests and worshipers at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ukpor-Mbalom, Gwer East Local Government Areas, he bore the grief like many Nigerians.
Reacting to the gruesome murder of two priests and over 13 worshipers at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Mark said the relentless killings of citizens without limit called for question the manner of security operation in the state.
Perhaps the icing on the cake of his political career is his sustenance of his leadership of the PDP in the state, where he guided the party to victory in the governorship, National and State Assemblies elections this year. The PDP not only won the governorship election, but also the three seats in the Senate with former Governor Gabriel Suswan, defeating Senator Barnabas Gemade, ex-Interior Minister, Abbah Moro replacing Mark and Hon. Emmanuel Orker Jev taking the last seat.
The party also clinched five of the six seats in the House of Representatives and won 23 seats in the State House of Assembly, while APC got six and ADC one. This has returned the PDP to full control in the state, even as the party faces security challenges and the need to reverse the comatose economic fortunes of the state, referred to as the Food Basket of the Nation.
As he retires from active politics, observers have said Mark should start by taking active role in the leadership of the party in the state, and mentor upcoming politicians. It is also said that he envisions stronger democratic institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, security agencies and independent media in order to sustain democratic culture in Nigeria.
To him, such democratic institutions are imperative for a sustainable democracy because “we need strong institutions and not strong individu als. This is to avoid a situation where the institutions operate according to the whims and caprices of powerful individuals.”
He believes that Nigeria is endowed with huge potentials to be a great nation in the world, if human and material resources properly, even as he craved for a peaceful and united Nigeria where human rights and rule of law are sacrosanct.
In his retirement from active politics, he is likely to plunge himself into sports, grow his investment in the media and most importantly build budding politicians. Speaking at the ceremonial tee-off of the 6th Pa Aikwuta Mark Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Otukpo Golf and Country Club in Benue State recently, Mark said: “I have an irresistible passion for sports development because I know it is a tool for our unity and ultimate development.
“I encourage sports in all ramifications not just because I play the game of golf. Indeed, every body should encourage sports. You know any time Nigeria is participating or competing in any sporting events, we are all united.”
Appeal Court affirms Okowa’s election as Delta gov
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday affirmed the election of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Great Ogboru, were challenging the election of Okowa.
Respondents in the appeal are Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ogboru and his party, APC were seeking to upturn the decision of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which returned Okowa for a second term as governor of Delta State.
INEC had declared Okowa and PDP winner of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State, haven garnered majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.
But the appellants in a 37 grounds of appeal filed by their counsel, Nicholson Ichekor, asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the entire judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in law when it dismissed their appeal for lacking in merit.
The three-man panel of the governorship election panel led by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had in September dismissed Ogboru and APC’s petition against the return of Governor Okowa on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the cases of irregularities and malpractices claimed in their petition.
Bayelsa guber: Declare state of emergency in Nembe over killings – Diri
Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s Bayelsa State governorship election, Douye Diri has said that a state of emergency should be declared in Nembe Local Government Area where he alleged that the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC), maimed about six of their members on Wednesday.
He made the plea in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Friday morning on a live radio programme.
The PDP candidate said: “What APC is doing in Nembe is not different from what Boko Haram is doing in the North.”
Diri expressed dismay at the propaganda being spread by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and insisted that justice must be served on the perpetrators of the dastardly killings.
He stated that after the attack, members of the party were still being hunted at Ogbolomabiri and neighbouring Bassambiri with a view to killing them while alleging that a town crier also announced that all PDP members should leave the town whether they are indigenes or not.
Diri appealed to all those who left the PDP to return and see Bayelsa State as their interest since the APC has no candidate for the governorship election.
Kogi, Bayelsa: APC, PDP in test of might
It is another test of might between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the February/March general election as voters in Kogi and Bayelsa states go to the polls tomorrow to elect their respective next governors, FELIX NWANERI reports
After months of political intrigues, the stage is set for a fierce contest in tomorrow’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Already, the race has rekindled the rivalry between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
APC won the last presidential election and retained the country number one political seat, which it took from the PDP in the 2015 general election. However, both parties were neck and neck in the governorship polls that took place in 29 states in the 2019 general election.
The PDP won 15 out of the 29 states, while APC won 14. The states won by PDP are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu, Taraba, Abia, Imo, Oyo, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto, Rivers and Zamfara. Those won by APC are Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Jigawa, Borno, Katsina, Yobe, Nasarawa and Kano, Kwara and Gombe.
Governorship elections did not hold in seven states – Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Osun and Ekiti as a result of the interregnum by the courts. Of these seven states, APC is in charge in five – Kogi, Edo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti. The PDP only holds sway in Bayelsa, while Anambra is controlled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
As it stands, the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC has 20 states, while the Uche Secondus-led PDP controls 16. APGA is in charge of only one state. But PDP added more states to its kitty after the 2019 polls.
Remarkably, the main opposition party took over five APC controlled states – Adamawa, Imo, Oyo, Bauchi and Zamfara. APC, on its part, won two PDP controlled states – Gombe and Kwara.
While the 2019 polls is now history, it is another test of might between the two leading parties eight months after the general election as they battle for the governorship positions of Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Interestingly, the governorship polls in the two states will not be the first time APC and PDP would be returning to the ring after a general election. The first was the gubernatorial polls in the same states after the 2015 general election. Both parties shared the states apiece then, with APC taking over Kogi from PDP, while PDP retained Bayelsa.
No doubt, several factors shaped the 2015 governorship polls in the two states, so it will amount to a political gamble for any of the two parties to rely on old variables going into tomorrow’s contest given the dynamic nature of politics.
Kogi: PDP plots Bello’s ouster
In Kogi, it would be battle royale as Governor Yahaya Bello, who have been in the eyes of the storm since he assumed office on January 27, 2016, seeks a second term.
The governor secured his party’s ticket after polling 3,091 votes from 3,596 delegates, who participated in APC’s indirect primary election on August 29.
Those Bello routed to clinch the ticket are Hadiza Ibrahim (zero), Yahaya Audu (10), Sani Abdullahi (seven), Abubakar Bashir (three), Danlami Mohammed (zero), Yakubu Mohammed (zero), Ikele Aisha (zero), Hassan Abdullahi (44) and Babatunde Irukera (109).
Against this backdrop, the incumbent would be squaring against Musa Wada, who emerged the candidate of the PPD after beating 12 others in a keenly contested primary election.
Wada polled 748 votes to defeat his closest rival, Abubakar Ibrahim, who polled 710 votes to come second, while former Governor Idris Wada came third with 345.
Other PDP aspirants were Senator Dino Melaye (70), Aminu Abubakar Suleiman (55), Victor Adoji (54), Erico Ahmeh (42), Salihu Atawodi (11), Mohamed Shaibu (4l), Bayo Averehi (nine), Emmanuel Omebije (nine) and Grace Adejoh (zero).
Bello was elected governor for the first term in 2015, following his party’s defeat of the incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada. He made history then as the first governor from the minority ethnic groups in the state to occupy the historic Lugard House as Kogi State government house is known. He is Ebira of Kogi Central Senatorial District.
Before then, the Igala people of Kogi East Senatorial District have had enough of power, having ruled the state since it was created in 1991 by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime.
But, Bello’s emergence as governor would not have been possible if not for the demise of his party’s candidate in the November 21, 2015 poll – Prince Abubakar Audu.
The former two-time governor of the state (1992 to 1993 and 1999 to 2003) was coasting to victory in the poll, when he passed on. This unfortunate incident almost triggered a constitutional crisis as the then constitution did not envisage such situation.
The impasse over the incident was however resolved, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) directed the APC to nominate another candidate as Audu’s substitution for the December 5, supplementary poll in the 91 polling units, where elections were cancelled.
The electoral body had declared the election inconclusive midway during collation and announcement of results, following the cancellation of results in the affected polling units due to incidences of violence, ballot boxes snatching, over voting, among others.
Late Audu was at the time leading his closest rival and incumbent governor, Wada by 41, 000 votes, whereas the total number of registered voters in the 91 polling units was 49,953, a figure, the commission explained was higher than the margin between the top contenders.
The window to substitute Audu, rather than serve as a relief to the APC, sparked off another round of crisis as the deputy governorship candidate, Hon. James Faleke, wrote to INEC that he should be declared winner on the ground that the supplementary poll was needless as the number of eligible voters in the affected areas stood at 25, 000 and so will not make any impact in the overall result.
The PDP, on its part, urged the electoral body to declare its candidate, Wada, winner of the election as the votes garnered by Audu were not transferable. The party further argued that Audu’s votes died with him.
However, INEC insisted on going ahead with the supplementary poll and the APC was left with no other option than to nominate the first runner up in its governorship primary election, Bello, as Audu’s substitution.
As expected, Bello was declared winner of the poll after the supplementary election. His party, APC, garnered 6,885 votes to bring its total votes to 247,752, having polled 240,857 in the November 21 election. The PDP candidate (Wada) scored 5,363 to take his total votes to 204,877 votes. He had earlier garnered 199, 514 votes.
Despite INEC’s declaration of Bello as Governor-elect, the Audu/Faleke campaign organisation described the supplementary election that produced him as “unnecessary and a complete waste of tax payers’ money’’ and headed for the tribunal to challenge it. Wada also challenged the outcome of the election and return of Bello, joining APC and INEC as respondents.
But ruling on the two motions praying it to halt the inauguration, the tribunal said though it had jurisdiction to hear the case contrary to insinuations, the motions were not contained in the original petitions as it was merely a motion on notice.
With that, Bello mounted the stage today as the youngest elected governor in Nigeria’s political history. He was 40 years old then.
Among the strategies he rolled out then was reorganisation of the state’s civil service to make it more efficient and productive. He also promised to immediately ensure massive industrialization to create employment for Kogites and to harness the mineral potentials across the state in order to improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state and its economy.
But, almost four years down the line, most indigenes of the state believe that Bello’s lofty dream of taking Kogi to the next level has remained a mirage. From one crisis to another, the state has been described by many as a study in leadership failure.
While Bello has persistently admonished those he described as detractors to allow his government to focus on its goal of a better Kogi for its citizens, analysts kept reminding him that the deterioration of any administration begins with the decay of the principle on which it was founded.
Echoes of that counsel are reverberating in the Confluence State as Bello goes into poll though the governor said his declaration for a second term came after consultations with the leadership of his party both at the national and state levels and pressure from the people of the state on him to seek re-election.
Besides what seems a replay of the 2015 contest, Bello’s main opponent – Musa Wada, an engineer from the majority Igala ethnic stock of the state – has close links to two former governors of the state. He is ex-Governor Wada’s sibling and an in-law to former Governor Ibrahim Idris.
Interestingly, the younger Wada trounced his brother – Ex-Governor Wada and his brother in-law – Abubakar Ibrahim – in the PDP governorship primary.
Bayelsa: Will APC turn the table against PDP?
The Bayelsa governorship poll also promises to be interesting as former political allies square against themselves. The poll is also likely to be a two-horse race given the strength of the PDP and APC in the oil-rich state.
While the ruling PDP in the state is fielding Senator Douye Diri, who presently represents Bayelsa Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, APC’s candidate is Chief David Lyon.
Diri defeated 19 other aspirants to emerge the PDP candidate. One of the 21 aspirants, Talford Ongolo, stepped down from the race on the eve of the primary election.
The senator polled a total of 561 votes ahead of a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, who came second with 365 votes.
Keniebi Okoko, son of a former National President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof, Kimse Okoko, came third with 142 votes.
Lyon, on his part, emerged as APC’s candidate by polling 42,138 votes to defeat five other aspirants – Mrs. Desiye Nsirim (1,533), Chief Ebitimi Amgbare (633), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (571), Prof Ongoebi Etebu (564) and Prince Preye Aganaba (354) in a direct primary election.
Already, tension is brewing and the fear is that the poll may go the way of that of December 5, 2015, which was characterised by violence.
Governor Dickson, who recently reasoned along this line, acknowledged that the battle for his successor is going to be a defining moment for the state.
His words: “The last governorship election is still fresh in the memories of Bayelsans. It was more than an election, it was a war. The 2019 governorship may not be any different. The stakes are high as some persons are desperate to capture the state regardless of how unpopular they are among the people.
“In their desperate bid to launch a deadly come back, they have begun to gradually disrupt security architecture in the state. This they have done by using their privileged positions against the people. In 2019, they are expected to be more daring but as always, Bayelsans know them and in line with true Ijaw spirit, the people are ready to repel every attempt to circumvent their will.”
It would be recalled that armed thugs had disrupted voting process on the election day in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state during the last governorship poll. This forced INEC to shift voting to the next day (December 6), but the rescheduled poll did not hold as the thugs prevented INEC from deploying officials and materials.
The electoral body had to declare the poll inconclusive as votes from the council were expected to be the decider, being the largest of the eight local government areas of the state.
The council then had 120,827 registered voters. Governor Seriake Dickson of the PDP, who was seeking a second term then, led in six of the seven local government areas initially declared. He polled 105,748 votes, while the candidate of the APC and a former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva (now minister), won in only one and had 72,594 votes, a margin of 30,154 votes.
The impasse was resolved a week later, when both candidates returned to the poll, but it was the PDP that had the day. In what could be described as the stiffest governorship contest since the creation of the state in 1996, Dickson secured a second term by polling a total of 134,998 votes to defeat Sylva, who garnered 86,852 votes.
Traditionally, Bayelsa is a PDP state, but APC has of late made inroad into the state. The centre’s ruling party seized the opportunity of the 2019 polls to win a senatorial seat, two out of the five House of Representatives seats as well as pockets of state Assembly seats.
Besides the parties’ strength, there is no doubt that election is going to be a proxy war between two political archrivals – Dickson and Sylva. Senator Diri is believed to be Dickson’s preferred candidate, while Lyon is Sylva’s anointed, which informs why he defeated Lokpobiri, who is a former senator and immediate past minister of State Agriculture and Rural Development.
With few hours to the polls, there is no doubt that both sides will deploy all they have in their respective arsenal to either consolidate on what they have or extend frontiers as whichever way the pendulum swings in both states will further strengthen their respective confidence ahead of the 2023 general election.
Secondus tasks security operatives on fairness
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has called on security agencies particularly the military to allow the people of Bayelsa and Kogi States vote their choice candidates in Saturday’s governorship elections.
Secondus, who condemned the needless killing of a voter in Nembe, Bayelsa State on Wednesday, urged security operatives to exhibit high sense of professionalism in their conduct during the elections.
In a statement by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi, the PDP National Chairman said that the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Bayelsa State is a sign that God does want continued bloodletting of innocent citizens.
“Nigerians expect all stakeholders in the Bayelsa election to see divine hand in the disqualification of APC out of the race and respect it. That is a consequence of impunity and it should send a signal to all,” he stated.
He said that from inception APC knew that it was not wanted in Bayelsa State and accused the party of heating up the state to frighten the people from voting
“Even before the voting, God has shown his mighty hands and cleared the violent prone APC out of the race,” he said.
Secondus also accused Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, of using violence to scare away voters and warned security agencies against voter intimidation on election day.
Delist APC from ballot, PDP tells INEC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately delist the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the ballot for Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The party said this was necessitated by two court judgements that disqualified the APC candidate, David Lyon and his running mate from contesting the election.
PDP in a statement yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told the electoral umpire that any vote cast for the APC in the election would be a wasted vote since the court judgements have made it clear that the APC is not in the election.
The statement read in part: “The first was the judgement disqualifying the APC candidates over the presentation of false documents by the deputy governorship candidate, Biobarakuma Degi Eremienyo, which was followed by another judgement, nullifying the entirety of the APC primary that produced the candidates.
“It is therefore trite in law that given the circumstances that have entangled the candidature of the APC, the party, accordingly, has no place in the November 16 governorship election and cannot lay claim to any vote.”
The party, however, said that notwithstanding the disqualification, Lyon and other APC leaders should be questioned over Wednesday’s attack that led to the death of PDP supporters in Nembe.
It described the attack as a crime against humanity, which must not be politicized under any guise.
“Information available to the PDP shows that the attackers were known supporters of the APC, who have also been seen on several occasions in functions with APC leaders including the disqualified candidates.
“Our party therefore stands in vehement rejection of any attempt to politicize the attack, insisting that the masterminds, facilitators and executors must be swiftly brought to book on the full terms prescribed by our criminal laws,” the statement added.
APC to Bayelsans: Disregard judgement against our candidate
•High Court nullifies APC primaries
•Appeal orders stay of execution
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the people of the state not be deterred by the judgement of the Bayelsa State High Court presided by Justice Jane Inyang, which disqualified its candidate, David Lyon.
The alternate Director General of the David Lyon Campaign Organization, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, who gave the charge yesterday, said the judgement does not hold water and therefore should be disregarded.
This is as a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, also yesterday, nullified the governorship primaries that produced Lyon as the candidate of the APC for this weekend’s poll in the state.
Prof. Birisibe, who addressed the media in Yenagoa, urged the people not to panic, saying that the party has appealed the judgement against APC candidates.
He noted that the governorship candidate of the party, David Lyon and his running mate, Degi Eremienyo are on the ballot for the election.
His words: “Our opponents are actually jittery because of the acceptance of our candidate because testimonies abound. So, people will want to do anything that will scuttle the peace of the state.
“Everybody that desire peace in the state should not worry. Your preferred candidate and his deputy are on the ballot. We have done everything procedurally to make sure that the judgement doesn’t stand. So, come out en mass and vote for APC.”
Prof. Birisibe said that prior to the judgement, the APC governorship candidate has been endorsed by groups and individuals including ordinary men, women and youths across the state owing to his selfless services to the people.
He assured of a better Bayelsa ahead for the people, adding that “the needful has been done. Come out en masse and vote. We must take this state to a platform of sustainable development. We must take this state to a platform where we not only have electricity.”
According to him, the party’s campaign had shown the love that the people have for Lyon, noting that they were enthused at how the APC’s flag bearer helped their children out of drug addiction, criminality and other vices.
Delivering judgement on a suit filed by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, which challenged the conduct of the September 4 governorship primary of the APC, Justice Jane Inyang held that the exercise was conducted outside the rules of the party.
She further held that since the process was conducted in violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines as clearly spelt out for the conduct of governorship primaries, none of the aspirants should be fielded as the party’s candidate.
She therefore restrained the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), from including Lyon as the APC candidate in the governorship election.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted APC a stay of execution on the judgement delivered by the Federal High Court nullifying the primary of the party.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timpre Sylva, who disclosed this at a news conference in Yenagoa, yesterday, said APC will participate in the governorship poll.
His words: “I must tell you that the judgement nullifying the primary was clearly a bias one with all due respect to the judiciary. So, I have come to address you because we have good news for the people of Baylesa. The court in Abuja has granted us stay of execution.
“That means, we are fully as a party in the position of contesting this election. Because we know that the people of Bayelsa are seriously behind us and we will win the election.
“Everyone in Bayelsa knows that APC has the majority in the state and if there is an election today, it is clear even to blind and the deaf that APC will win. The electorate should go en-masse and vote the candidature of the APC, Mr David Lyon,” the minister said.
Court asked to disqualify Wada over alleged forgery
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has been asked to disqualify the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Musa Wada, for tomorrow’s governorship election in Kogi State over alleged forgery of his school certificate.
The claimant, one Femi Joseph, had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1146/2019 dragged the PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Wada before the court.
The suit was instituted by way of an originating summons at the registry of the court on September 27, shortly after the publication of Forms CF001 (particulars of persons seeking election to office) of all candidates in the Kogi gubernatorial election by INEC.
The claimant through his counsel, Mike Enahoro submitted that by virtue of Section 31(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), he reasonably believes that the information supplied by the PDP candidate in both his Form CF001 and the attached First School Leaving Certificate as to his primary school education were false.
He therefore prayed the court to determine that the information was indeed false and on that basis, disqualify the plaintiff from contesting as the candidate of the PDP.
He prayed the court to determine whether having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 31
(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As Amended), 3rd Defendant’s INEC FORM CFOO1 and the Primary School Certificate, bearing Number: 910922, attached therewith and submitted to the 2nd Defendant by the 1st and 3rd Defendants, contain false information regarding the 3rd Defendant’s Primary School Certificate
He also wants the court to determine whether having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As Amended), vis-a-vis 3rd Defendant’s INEC FORM CFOO1 and the Primary School Certificate, bearing Number: 910922, attached therewith and submitted to the 2nd Defendant by the 1st and 3rd Defendants, the 3rd Defendant is disqualified from contesting the Kogi State Governorship Election slated for 16th day of November, 2019, for submitting to the 2nd Defendant false information regarding the 3rd Defendant’s Primary School Certificate.
While the PDP as a party has responded to the said suit, Wada is yet to file any response.
Police withdraw security aides of govs, deputies
Ahead of tomorrow’s gubernatorial election in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the Nigeria Police Force, yesterday, said it will on Friday withdraw all its personnel attached to governors and their deputies until the conclusion of the exercise.
]Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abdulmajid Ali, who stated this during a pre-election press conference at the state police headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State, also said other security personnel attached to politicians and government appointees will also be withdrawn.
The police boss said the force have undertaken security threat assessment in both Kogi and Bayelsa states and have identified possible risks, located trouble spots and classified individuals and groups that could constitute security challenges to the process.
He said: “The outcome of this intelligence-driven initiative guided our election deployment plans and informed our post-election security projections.
“Let me emphasize that our strategic plans are guided by our invaluable experiences in previous engagements and are designed to achieve four key objectives. First, is to create an environment that is secured and peaceful enough to give confidence to the political actors to undertake their campaigns and other political activities and for the citizens to freely exercise their electoral franchise.
“Second, is to emplace adequate security for all INEC personnel, Ad-Hoc staff – NYSC, agents, domestic and international observers during the entire process.”
He further said that by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Police is the lead agency in the electioneering process.
He, however, added that the police mandate is being exercised in close conjunction with INEC leadership and other sister security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
“In furtherance to these, we shall be deploying a total of 66,241 personnel on the election security operations in both Kogi and Bayelsa States. The breakdown shows that a total of 35,200 personnel will be deployed to Kogi State, while a total of 31,041 will be deployed to Bayelsa State.
“The police deployment shall involve the conventional police personnel who will be complemented by the special units including the Police Mobile Force, Special Protection Unit, Counterterrorism Unit, Special Forces, Intelligence Response Unit, Special tactical Squad, Mounted Troops and K9 Section, Airwing and the Marine detachment. There shall also be massive logistics mobilization to support the operations while complementary Forces shall be pooled from sister security agencies.”
“It must be emphasized that the heavy deployment of all these security operatives is to make the elections a success in the two States, and not to intimidate the electorates and the general public.
“It is noteworthy to also state in order to ensure an effective command and control framework, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu has ordered the posting of very senior police officers including Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs).
AIGs, CPs, DCPs and ACPs to all senatorial districts and Local Government Areas within the two states to monitor security arrangements during the elections.”
He said the force shall not hesitate to identify, isolate and bring to deserved justice any person or group of persons that attempt to threaten the democratic order in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
“Our message is being relayed here loud and clear that in securing the law-abiding citizens during the elections, we shall not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with electoral deviants. Consequently, we call on political actors and indeed all citizens to assist the Police and other law enforcement agencies in sustaining the gains we have recorded as a nation in our democratic journey.”
APC state chairmen back Oshiomhole, urge Progressive Govs Forum to sack DG
The Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has thrown its weight behind their National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the face off with the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Mr. Salihu Lukman, who is calling for his resignation.
The Forum in a statement issued in Abuja Thursday and jointly signed by its Chairman, Ali Bukar Dalori and Secretary, Mr. Ben Nwoye, told the APC governors to sack Lukman from his position as the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum.
The APC state chairmen said they are satisfied with the leadership of the current National Working Committee (NWC) led by Oshiomhole.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of state chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to a statement credited to one Salihu Lukman, who claimed to be the Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum.
“We have decided to ignore his crass display of ignorance in the past, but as stakeholders in the progressive party, we find his actions and comments very suspicious and one that cannot be said that is coming from anyone close to the APC family.
“The position of the National Chairman of our great party is not a child’s play and we cannot allow it to be demeaned by questionable characters like Salihu Lukman who as it seems is being used by some disgruntled elements and even the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with a view to causing disaffection in our great party and we cannot continue to condone that.”
Bayelsa, Kogi guber: Atiku calls for free, fair elections
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure free and fair elections in Saturday’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
Atiku in a statement by his media office, advised electorate in the two states to vote wisely by electing capable hands to steer the affairs of their states.
He told them to take serious interest in the choices they make as they cast their votes, and urged PDP members to use the power of their overwhelming strength in those two states in ensuring that its flag remains standing in the Bayelsa State Government House.
According to him, the people of Kogi State should “begin to have a feel of better life under a PDP administration.”
He reminded the voters that the senatorial election in Kogi West is equally crucial, and said they should to turn out in their numbers to defend the seat.
The former Vice President told the people that the leadership of the PDP has abiding confidence in the voters in Kogi West senatorial election, adding that “the choices before them is between a continuation of quality representation at the Senate and a promise of meaningless change.”
Atiku also called on all political actors to exhibit necessary decorum and sportsmanship.
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