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June 12: From struggle to national honour

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June 12: From struggle to national honour

Remembering Abiola, matyr of Nigeria’s democracy

 

 

Today’s celebration of the anniversary of the annulled 1993 presidential election as Democracy Day, is not only an honour to the man who symbolised that period of national history – Chief Moshood Abiola – but offers Nigerians another opportunity to reflect on the country’s stride to true and representative democracy, FELIX NWANERI reports

 

 

 

The clamour by most Nigerians for the Federal Government to immortalise the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, was resounding for years, but successive governments paid deaf ears to it. The 1993 presidential poll was after a painstaking eight-year transition programme to return Nigeria to democratic rule by the then military government led by General Ibrahim Babangida.

 

Unfortunately, the regime voided the result of the election, which would have produced his successor. That action added the word

– annulment – to Nigeria’s political lexicon. The election’s result was inconclusive before it was annulled on June 23, 1993 in a most bizarre manner. It was clear that MKO (as Abiola was popularly known) was coasting home to victory according to initial figures released by the then National Electoral Commission (NEC) before the military junta directed the electoral body to stop further announcement of results from the remaining few states.

 

That prompted Abiola’s insistence that he won the poll although the claim was a subject of debate for years until Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, then Chairman of NEC, set the record straight 15 years later (June 12, 2008), when he affirmed that the Ogun- State born business mogul won the election.

 

Nwosu, in his book titled: “Laying the Foundation for Nigeria’s Democracy: My Account of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and its Annulment,” stated that out of the 14, 396,917 votes cast in that election, Abiola, who was the candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), polled 8, 323,305 votes, while his opponent, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) had 6, 073, 612 votes. The professor of Political Science further wrote that Tofa had one-third of votes in 23 states out of the then 30 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, while Abiola had one-third of votes in 28 states, thereby satisfying the constitutional requirement to be declared winner.

 

According to results of the election published on pages 296 to 298 of the 392-page book, the states which Abiola won included Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Enugu and Jigawa. Others were Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory. On the other hand, Tofa won Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Enugu, Imo, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Rivers and Sokoto states.

 

Nwosu wrote: “With these results from the states, Abiola won the election,” but blamed an order by the Abuja High Court, served on NEC on June 15, 1993, for the inability of the electoral umpire to release a conclusive result of the election. Babangida, on his part, some years ago, explained that he was compelled to nullify the poll because of security threats to the enthronement of a democratic government at the time.

 

He pointed out that the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), which he headed then knew that Abiola, if installed as president would be toppled through a military coup, which his government did not want. According to him, his regime decided that it would be the last that would ascend the seat of power through coup, which informed why it opted not to install a democratic government that would be truncated     within six months.

 

He, however, admitted that the poll was the best ever conducted in Nigeria’s history. While many still believe that Babangida’s reasons do not justify annulment of the election, others have continued to wonder how Abiola was able to secure his landmark victory on a Muslim/Muslim ticket in a country, where religion plays an important role in its politics. The fact remains that Abiola, who worked his way out of poverty through hard work symbolised the aspirations of many Nigerians then. His “Hope ‘93 manifesto,” which became a sing-song, also played a significant role. The policy paper was received with optimism by many, especially the downtrodden and the middle class.

 

Unfortunately, Abiola never lived to implement the progamme in which he had provided answers to pervasive poverty and dearth of infrastructure that still bogs the country till date. The man who would have been president between 1993 and 1997, and or beyond, died on July 7, 1998, in the custody of the Federal Government four years after he was arrested and detained by the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha, for daring to declare himself President-elect.

 

Abiola died on July 7, 1998 under suspicious circumstances shortly after the death of Abacha, the day he was due to be released. But, events    after his demise have shown that death could not becloud what he stood for as he remains in the consciousness of most Nigerians, especially pro-democracy activists, who still view June 12, 1993 as a defining moment in Nigeria’s political history.

 

This explains the yearly convergence to mark the anniversary of the annulled election. The annual ritual has always offered Abiola’s political associates, activists and his family to continue to insist that beyond the pockets of honour already done to the late politician, the most worthy thing for the Federal Government to do is to posthumously acknowledge him as Nigeria’s second duly elected president.

 

While post-1999 administrations of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umaru Yar’adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan failed to heed to this demand, Jonathan took a major step to immortalize Abiola, when he renamed the prestigious University of Lagos (UNILAG) to Moshood Abiola University, Lagos (MAULAG) on May 29, 2012.

 

The then president, in a nationwide broadcast to mark that year’s Democracy Day, said the honour was in respect of Abiola’s sacrifice in his pursuit of justice and truth.

 

“Destiny and circumstances conspired to place upon his (Abiola) shoulders a historic burden, and he rose to the occasion with character and courage. He deserves recognition for his martyrdom, and public-spiritedness and for being the man of history that he was,” Jonathan said.

 

However, the gesture, which ordinarily should have earned the then president commendation, sparked-off a protest by students of the university, who trooped to the streets to reject the new name. The students, who made it clear that they had nothing against Abiola, described the name change as “provocative and unpopular.” The university’s lecturers also condemned the name change.

 

Beyond the students and the lecturers, most political leaders in the South-West, who were then in the opposition saw the gesture a political strategy by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to break into their zone as well as playing to the gallery given the position of successive governments by the same party before then.

 

Despite the criticisms, the Federal Government insisted on its decision to rename the university, but the protests continued. A legal suit was even instituted against the government over the name change. These, perhaps, forced Jonathan to reverse the decision.
But, a step towards the campaign to get the government to declare Abiola president received a major boost last year, when President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the nation’s Democracy Day will, henceforth, hold on June 12 of every year as against the current arrangement, where the ceremony holds on May 29.

 

Buhari also announced and conferred on Abiola with the highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

 

Others honoured alongside Abiola were his running mate in the 1993 presidential election, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, and late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who were conferred with the second highest national honour – Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).

The President said of the annulled election: “June 12, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our independence.”

 

It was then commendation from across board for Buhari for taking the bold step to honour Abiola. The Senate, for instance, besides extolling the decision, resolved that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should declare the results of the 1993 election.

 

It also resolved that Buhari should declare Abiola and Kingibe as ex-president and former vice-president, respectively and should approve the entitlements due to them as former president and vice-president.

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Kogi: Situation Room urges parties to restrain their supporters from violence

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Kogi: Situation Room urges parties to restrain their supporters from violence

Ahead of the Saturday’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Friday called on the security services to demonstrate their commitment to non-partisanship support to electoral security.
Speaking at a press conference in Lokoja, Kogi State capital on behalf of Situation Room, Dudu Manuga and Celestine Odo, the civil society groups also implored political parties to restrain their supporters from election violence
They also implored the people of Kogi State to come out freely to exercise their civil responsibility during the governorship poll.
“Owing to the high stakes in the governorship election and the increasingly tense political environment, the potential for serious local instability that may further exacerbate Nigeria’s security challenges as a whole, is real. Therefore, the Situation Room calls on the security services to demonstrate their commitment to non-partisanship support to electoral security, and ensure that it provides adequate security for the elections, in a manner that does not allow or encourage violence to be used as a tool for vote suppression.
“We further called on the Police Force to document evidence of violence as well as infractions and their perpetrators in order to speedily bring offenders to book.
“The Situation Room calls on political parties participating in the governorship election to take part in the elections devoid of perpetrating violence, vote buying or other electoral malpractices. Situation Room further calls on political parties to restrain their supporters from election violence.
“The Situation Room calls on all eligible voters to come out freely to exercise their civic responsibility on Saturday, November 16. Situation Room expects that INEC and indeed all stakeholders in the electoral process would have taken lessons from the challenges of the 2019 general elections and work towards delivering peaceful and credible governorship election in Kogi State.”

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Plateau crisis: Sango formally resigns as PDP Chairman

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Plateau crisis: Sango formally resigns as PDP Chairman

Chief Damishi Sango, the embattled Plateau Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday formally stepped aside by handing over to his deputy, Mr Amos Gombe.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Sango’s resignation was announced by Lt.-Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rtd), the leader of the party in the state.

Useni, also PDP governorship candidate in the 2019 general elections, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting in Jos on Friday.

“Sango is no more our state chairman as directed by the National Secretariat but now a member of PDP Board of Trustees (BOT).

“Mr Amos Gombi, his deputy, is now the acting chairman of PDP in the state. This was done to settle whatever crisis we were having.

“Left for us the leaders of the party in the state, there is nothing like PDP I and PDP II because we are one big family undivided.

“The allegation that Sango collected money from the headquarters for 2019 general elections was not true because three of us signed for whatever stipends given to us by the National Secretariat.

“So, the insinuations raised against him (Sango) were false and a disservice to him,” he stated.

Useni, who was flanked by his running mate, Mr James Dalok, described PDP as a big family devoid of any form of division and ready to reclaim its stolen mandate at the Court of Appeal.

“Our appeal is coming up on November 22, with great and strong belief that we shall emerge victorious.

“But no matter the outcome of the appeal, we shall end up at the Supreme Court because I will never give up the fight.

“I am a dogged fighter, and never give up. That’s why I attended all the sittings at the Election Petition Tribunal to the end.

“What I want from you people is your continuous prayers for God to help us reclaim our stolen mandate,” Useni said.

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Bayelsa guber: INEC moves sensitive materials to RACs

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Bayelsa guber: INEC moves sensitive materials to RACs

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun distribution of sensitive materials to various Registration Area Centres (RACs) in Bayelsa State ahead of Saturday’s governorship poll taking place in the state.

At the Central Bank in Yenagoa, the venue of the distribution, INEC officials, party agents, both national and international Observers were all at the vicinity.

The Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Monday Udoh told journalists that INEC was 100 per cent ready to conduct credible elections for the people.

“We are here to observe and monitor the movement of the materials. The sensitive materials are ballot papers and result sheets and Card Readers.

“The distribution is moving smoothly, the security agents are here and National Union of Road Transporter Workers (NURTW) is also with us. The police have deployed many of their men for this distribution and the election proper.”

On the court granting the All Progressives Congress (APC) stay of execution to participate in the contest, the REC said, he was not the court but all political parties will participate.

“For now, all the political parties are participating unless there is a specific court order – then we can disqualify the affected party,” Udoh explained.

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Appeal Court affirms Okowa’s election as Delta gov

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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.

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Bayelsa guber: Declare state of emergency in Nembe over killings – Diri

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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.

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Kogi, Bayelsa: APC, PDP in test of might

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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.

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Secondus tasks security operatives on fairness

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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.

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Delist APC from ballot, PDP tells INEC

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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.

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APC to Bayelsans: Disregard judgement against our candidate

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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.

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Court asked to disqualify Wada over alleged forgery

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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.

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