Following the affirmation of the victory of the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23, 2019 National Assembly election in Abia North Senatorial District, by the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the former governor has re-assured Nigerians of his unwavering and determined efforts in advancing the cause of the people.
According to Kalu, the decision of the Appellate Court has laid to rest rumours about his landslide victory in the election.
While admonishing Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other politicians in Abia State to join hands with him in driving development across the state, the Senate Chief Whip cautioned his supporters, associates and party faithful to be wary of their utterances and actions, adding that all hands must be on deck to work collectively for the betterment of Abia North Senatorial District and Abia state at large.
In a statement released by his media office on Thursday, Kalu expressed appreciation to the incorruptible members of the Appellate panel, led by Justice Stephen Adah, for maintaining their integrity for the sake of Nigeria’s nascent democracy, noting that the rule of law must be upheld and respected at all times.
The Senator equally commended stakeholders and members of the APC for their unshakable loyalty to the party, stressing that the APC will continue to grow from strength to strength.
The statement reads: “As we rejoice today, following the affirmation of the victory of our party, APC in the February 23, 2019 National Assembly election in Abia North Senatorial District, I urge our party members, loyalists, supporters and other stakeholders not to engage in any verbal and physical attack with our opponents.
“We have been vindicated by the Appellate Court and we shall continue to sustain our exemplary qualities, which are anchored on the ideals of the APC.
“The time is now to consolidate our achievements thus far, with a view to doing more for the masses.
“Let us come together, regardless of party affiliation, to find last solutions to the challenges facing our people especially the down trodden in our communities.
“All efforts must be harmonized to drive sustainable growth and development across Abia State.
“Politics should be seen as an opportunity to serve and unite the people and not a tool for disharmony and social vices.
“Over the years, we have been provoked and we have been attacked by our political rivals.
“However, because of our ideals, we have been law-abiding citizens for the sake of nation building.
“With the verdict of the Court of Appeal, it is clear that justice can be delayed but not denied.”
Kalu, who has initiated various social investment programmes including free medical services to indigents, interest-free loans to petty traders, free transport scheme, education scholarship scheme and free agricultural seedlings to farmers in Abia North Senatorial District, promised to sustain his humanitarian gestures across the country.
Bayelsa guber: PDP as own albatross
Why PDP lost Bayelsa to APC
EMMANUEL MASHA reports on the political intrigues that led to the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has held sway in Bayelsa State since 1999 by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in last weekend’s governorship election
o Nigerians, who reside outside Bayelsa State, especially those who do not follow the state’s politics, the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over Senator Douye Diri of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) David Lyon, in last weekend’s governorship election in the state might come as a big surprise.
Some would be wondering who Lyon is and how he was able to defeat a serving senator, who was backed by an incumbent governor. They would also wonder why voters in a state, which has traditionally voted for the PDP, suddenly pitched tent with APC.
But, to residents of Bayelsa and those who really understand the state’s politics, the fall of the PDP after 19 years of dominance was caused by the party’s leadership at the state and national levels.
Starting from the state, where Governor Seriake Dickson calls the shot, the PDP lost touch with the reality that voters have the ultimate say in who wins an election, and not the power of incumbency. The party failed to realize that the fire brigade approach to election through empty promises or inducement, which is the norm in the country has its limits.
Across Yenagoa and other major towns and communities in Bayelsa State last Saturday, some voters were handed cash to influence their votes, but some of them still went ahead to vote according to their conscience.
According to some observers, Dickson as governor personally failed to read the mood and body language of the people. Some even concluded that if Dickson didn’t realize that majority of Bayelsians were unhappy with the way things had turned out in his second term in office and had been patiently waiting to pay him back.
Also, his appointees and aides, who are nearer to the people, and who are supposed to be his eyes, equally deceived him.
To realize the role “peoples power” played in this election, one only needs to move round the streets of Yenagoa to get the reaction of residents. From tricycle operators to market women and civil servants, there was a strong resolve to vote against Dickson’s anointed candidate – Diri.
For some of the tricycle operators, who have taken over the roads of Yenogoa, it was the failure of the government to provide employment opportunities that forced them into the business. Those who operate on hire purchase terms said they have to work till 10.pm to meet their respective targets and to take something home. Their biggest worry is that there is no single street light that works on Yenagoa roads.
So, they say that they are perpetually in darkness, while conveying their passengers at night, leaving them prone to attacks by hoodlums. Interestingly, Yenogoa is the only capital in the South-South geopolitical zone that goes for months without any blink of electricity.
Like most market women, and other residents had resolved long before the election, the tricycle operators, wore their resolve to vote against PDP like a badge of honour.
When the Dickson administration noticed that the state’s wage bill accommodated ghost workers, who only got salaries at the end of every month without doing anything and blocked the leakage, many commended him. But, when the state’s economy “collapsed” because government could not create employment opportunities and stopped the “sharing” system that thousands relied on, a major economic crisis ensued.
So, Saturday’s election for some was an opportunity to revolt against an “insensitive government.” The residents made good their promise to punish the PDP by taking advantage of the ultimate misstep of the party in the build-up to the election, which was complete disregard for internal democracy.
The emergence of an unpopular candidate to fly the party’s ticket not only extended the distance between the PDP and its supporters, including those that were supposed to sustain the relationship between the grassroots, it led to the defection of some prominent party members to the APC.
To most members of the PDP in the oil-rich state, their preferred candidate was a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, who they say, boasts of a solid support base across the state. Alaibe is widely seen as a true and worthy son of Bayelsa, who despite never having occupied an elected office is accorded the kind of respect they accorded late Diepreye Alamiseigha.
According to a reliable source, two former presidents advised Dickson before the PDP governorship primary to ensure a level playing field for all the aspirants, when efforts to make him back Alaibe failed.
Alaibe was the choice of many Bayelsans, who were waiting to reward him for building leaders. From ex-Governor Timipre Sylva (now Minister of State for Petroleum) to Douye and Lyon, they all worked for Alaibe at a point in their career. So, Bayelsaans, who came out en mass to vote, would have opted for Alaibe irrespective of his party.
According to an insider, Dickson refused to back Alaibe because he was afraid that the former NDDC boss will not to do his bidding if he becomes governor.
During the PDP primaries, Diri, the senator representing Bayelsa Central, scored 561 votes, while Alaibe, scored 365 in a contest that had 21 aspirants, including the deputy governor of the state, Gboribiogha Jonah, who scored 62 votes.
According to observers, most of the contestants were sponsored to reduce Alaibe’s vote and to prevent him from emerging victorious. However, Alaibe faulted the outcome of the exercise on the ground that the result was affected by “inherent flaws bordering on crass disrespect for legal procedures and party guidelines.”
He also faulted the use of local council chairmen and councilors in the state as delegates in the primary.
He said in a statement: “For instance, by the provisions of Section 50(1) of the party’s constitution, the authority to formulate guidelines for all matters relating to the governorship primary is vested in NEC of the PDP. The election of ad-hoc delegates is one of such matters.
“Strangely, the panel set up to undertake this exercise simply imposed on us a list of electoral and returning officers prepared by the state officers of the party, who are avowed members of the orchestrated Restoration Team. Thus, the process was deliberately handed over to the Restoration Team. Our protest was ignored.
“We express our serious reservations about the process that led to the primary for its unconstitutionality and its outcome completely unacceptable because of its illegitimacy.”
By the time Diri spoke, he made it clear that Alaibe’s time has gone. He explained that when preparations were on for an Alaibe governorship years ago, he (Diri) was not even known. He added that he and others left Alaibe to forge his own political path and returned to the party to be appointed first as Deputy Chief of Staff and later Principal Executive Secretary by Governor Dickson.
His words: “We were in that sojourn for about 10 years, trying to see how we can make Chief Timi Alaibe governor. We are the people who even gave him that name, Principal. But that didn’t work out. So, at a point in one’s life, you have to take your destiny in your hands. I decided once again to take my destiny in my hands. I finally parted ways with Alaibe.”
Diri, however, called on Alaibe and others who contested against him, who are still not happy over the outcome of the primary election to “sheath their swords” and work with him to ensure victory for PDP.
While the PDP was in disarray after its primaries, APC capitalized on the situation. The game plan for APC to takeover of Bayelsa, spearheaded by Sylva was the political take-over of Southern Ijaw. His second journey to Government House, Yenagoa was cut short in Southern Ijaw in 2015 by Dickson. Victory did not come easy for Dickson, following the delay in the outcome of election in the area.
Sylva and his team achieved their plan early this year, when Hon. Preye Osake was elected on the platform of the APC to represent Southern-Ijaw Federal Constituency after defeating Hon. Ofongo Henry of the PDP.
Based on the voting strength of Southern Ijaw, Oseke was pressured by some to contest the governorship election before the APC primary, but he distanced himself from such, noting that he has four years to focus on representing his constituents.
Oseke added that he had no divided attention as a loyal party man and that APC leaders’ and major stakeholders in the state will decide on whoever will fly the party’s flag in the governorship election.
To seal the votes of Southern Ijaw, Sylva and his team drafted Chief David Lyon, who is from the area. This explains why APC polled 124,803 votes against PDP’s 4,898 votes out of the 165,449 registered voters in Southern Ijaw.
When results of the election was announced by INEC’s electoral officer, Prof. Faraday Oruwense, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, it was no longer news to Lyon’s supporters, who started celebrating shortly after the election on Saturday.
Another factor that contributed to APC’s victory was the several opportunities, which leaders of the party in Bayelsa leveraged on. Appointments into key federal agencies brought in a fresh crop of politicians that would mobilize voters and deliver their areas.
While the victors are savouring their triumph at the polls, Diri condemned the conduct of the election, alleging that results collated by his party’s agents showed that he won the election.
He also claimed that “members of the PDP were terrorized and arrested by soldiers on the orders of the General Officer Commanding the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army, General Sarham Jamil.”
Diri, who spoke in company of the National Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council and Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, and the National Vice Chairman of the party, Elder Emmanuel Ogidi, noted that what played out during the election, confirms the earlier red flag the PDP raised days to the poll about plans by the APC to use the army to rig the election.
He said that despite being posted out of the Niger Delta to the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, General Jamil still supervised the state’s election. He noted that critical stakeholders of the party were harassed and prevented from accessing the collation centre in Ogbia, which is former President Goodluck Jonathan’s local government area.
Diri added the chairman of the council, Hon. Ebiyon Turner and a serving member of the state House of Assembly representing Ogbia Constituency 11, Hon. Gibson Munalayefa, were all arrested and detained by soldiers.
He also noted that in Southern Ijaw, PDP members who were travelling to their communities for the election, including Dr. Michael Amaegberi, were apprehended by soldiers at Ogboinbiri, while their APC counterparts were allowed to go scot free.
“The collation centre in Ogbia was under siege by the Nigerian Army and as we all know that this is against the laws of our land. It is an anathema because the army has no business in determining who goes into a collation centre.
“In Nembe Local Government Area, materials for wards 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13 never got to their destinations. Electoral laws are clear on hijacking of electoral materials and so we call on INEC to invoke the relevant laws so that the doctored results will not be accepted.
“We have very credible information that the Nigerian Army have been conniving with our opponent, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to hijack the process and manipulate the already known results,” the PDP candidate said during collation of results.
The complaints, notwithstanding, the biggest lesson over the Bayelsa governorship election is that the people wield the ultimate power and not the person they elected to serve them.
Reps move for new scanners at nation’s ports
The House of Representatives has passed a motion urging the Federal Government to install scanners at the nation’s ports. PHILIP NYAM examines the import of the resolution by the lower chamber
he House of Representatives last week passed a resolution calling on the federal government and indeed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to immediately purchase and install scanners at the nation’s seaports.
The directive was given following the adoption of the motion of urgent national importance by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) was unanimously adopted.
This is not the first time the issue of scanners has come up in the National Assembly. Early this year, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (then senior special assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora), had disclosed that scanners at some of the Nigerian airports were not working optimally.
The former lawmaker who made this known before the ad-hoc committee set up by the Senate to look into circumstances that led to the arrest of Ms. Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia in December 2018, over planting of a banned drug, Tramadol, in her luggage.
While testifying before the ad-hoc committee, Dabiri-Erewa alleged that some foreign airlines were running drug cartels in connivance with some Nigerians at international airports across the country. “They operate alongside local collaborators. It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air,” she said.
Similarly, the airport chief of security of the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), Alhaji El-Yakub Lamir had also shocked the panel when he disclosed that scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport in particular, were not configured to detect drugs. He said that there were 15 security agents involved in checking luggage’s at the point of entry and exit but that they had been reduced in number due to public complaints.
This scenario shows that the problem of absence or non-functionality of scanners at either the nation’s airports or seaports is real and deserves to be looked into. And shortly before the 2019 general elections, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed was reported to have disclosed that the federal government had paid for hi-tech scanners, which she promised that would be deployed to the seaports and airports on a build operate and transfer (BOT) basis.
According to her, “We have bought some scanners and there are hi-tech scanners that have been paid for, but we are waiting for delivery and the first deployment will be to the major ports. We will buy more and part of the single window process is that there is going to be a vendor that will provide scanners in all of the major seaports as well as major airports. They will run on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) and they will exit”
Just last Tuesday, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Alhaji Muhammed Babandede disclosed that the federal government has deployed a border management technology, the Migration Information Data Analysis System (MIDAS) at three international airports, 14 land and two sea borders to check irregular migration, human trafficking, and other cross-border crimes.
He said the MIDAS system had been installed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
Babandede who was speaking during the inauguration of the system at the Abuja Airport said the technology would also be installed at four other airports across the country. He said the project was a collaborative effort of the NIS, the Danish government and the International Organization for Migration.
According to him, the MIDAS software collects, processes, stores and analyses migrant information in real-time across the border network, and provides a strong statistical base for security, migration policy and planning.
He explained that the MIDAS was designed to process and record both biographic and biometric details of passengers’ movement for the purpose of identification, biometric verification, inspecting, authenticating travel document and collecting and analyzing data of migrant information in real-time across the border network.
But leading debate on the motion, Ossai submitted that scanners in most ports within the country needed immediate replacement and emphasized that the scanners would help decongest ports and hike revenue for the country.
According to Ossai, other nations across the world, have imbibed technology and are reaping from its benefits noting that “there is no place in the world today that you don’t have a scanning machine. The other day, we went to the ports and you will marvel at the level of revenue we are losing”
He argued that without scanners at the ports, people with criminal tendencies would use the opportunity to bring in banned products and even firearms into the nation without being apprehended.
Supporting the motion, Hon. Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun) said: “I want to add to the motion we have to find a solution to this general problem facing us as a country. If these scanners are effective, it would go a long way to save manpower”.
Also, Hon. Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo), on his part, said “this is what some of us have always emphasized in the house. If you allow personnel of the customs to use their discretion that is where corruption comes in”.
Similarly, Hon. Luke Onofiok (PDP, Akwa Ibom) said “I want to suggest that we find a lasting solutions to the decongestion of our seaports through this method. I want to use this opportunity to ask the federal government to establish a seaport in Akwa- Ibom so as to help decongest these ports. Making his own contribution, the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) said “This motion is very germane. If we have functioning scanning machines, we would not have illegal ammunitions circulating round the whole country. The scanning machines would be able to check all of this”.
Before adopting the motion, the House lamented that “the infrastructural decay and frustration experienced daily in our Ports by importers and exporters, which often leads to unnecessary demurrage and incurring of other charges by port users, resulting to high cost of goods in the country thereby causing inflation”.
The House added that “the economic importance of Customs Service makes it reprehensible that this age of fast technological development, the NCS is still engaging in physical examination of persons and cargos in our seaports, airports and border stations”
The motion was unanimously adopted when Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase put it to question.
Speaking on the issue after the plenary, chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Yuguda Hassan (APC, Jigawa) on the motion, he revealed that “the issue of scanners have been on, even before this administration came in, however, the motion has been overtaken by events because the federal government has agreed to procure scanners all over the country both in borders and seaports. Actually there’s a committee put in place already to tackle the issue of scanners”.
He noted that “there are a lot of benefits in having scanners to function well in our ports because it would check the importation of illegal goods and ammunitions in the country “, he submitted.
Many analysts are of the view that the resolution from the House of the procurement of scanners is long overdue considering the security challenges being faced by the nation. They are of the view that any effort that can block any loophole that may be exploited by insurgents and other dubious characters must be put to use.
Those eyeing Oyo governorship should wait till 2023 –Makinde
yo State governor, Seyi Makinde, told his political opponents to wait till 2023 to face him at the polls.
The governor, who was speaking while flagging off the reconstruction of the 65-kilometre Moniya-Ijaye-Iseyin Road, said that the people of Oyo State rejected the main opposition party in the state because they did nothing to develop the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Makinde as saying that even though the previous administration awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the road, the job was not done while the money released was shared for the purpose of elections.
“We have told them to meet us in 2023,” Governor Makinde said, adding: “Though they got money, they did nothing. They spent the money on elections but did you vote for them? If they come to ask for your votes, will you vote for them?”
The governor further stated that he was determined to execute the road contract as a way of fulfilling his campaign promise.
He said: “I appreciate you for giving us the opportunity to serve you. During our campaign from here (Moniya) to Oke-Ogun, I promised that I will reconstruct the road if I become the Governor and, today, I am happy that it is the same project we are flagging off.
He restated the resolve of his administration to construct infrastructure that will target the State’s economy, adding that when completed, the road, which is quite close to ongoing Dry Port project at Olorisaoko, will aid the movement of agricultural produces and mineral resources from Oke-Ogun area to the Dry Port for onward exporting.
The 65 kilometre road is being executed by KOPEK Construction Company, at the cost of N9.9 billion.
The governor, who described the road as an important one that can uplift the economy of the State, said his government was embarking on the total reconstruction of the road as opposed to the planned rehabilitation by the immediate past administration.
He berated how the road had been abandoned for years, culminating in loss of lives and properties as well as the destruction of farm produces due to the deplorable condition of the road.
The governor further said: “On this project, we are not talking about patching but total reconstruction of the road. I know you are all aware that there is a Dry Port project ongoing here in Olorisaoko. So, when they are conveying agricultural produces and solid minerals all the way from Oke-Ogun, this is the point where we will be exporting them.
“You can recall that I also promised that the money we will spend on infrastructure will be targeted on expanding our economy and this road is a major road that can boost the economy of Oyo State. When we got into office, we discovered that the money that was awarded to carry out the road project was shared among those who held offices in the past administration. They spent the money on campaign and the last election and, upon that, you did not vote for them.
“This road was abandoned for eight years. Countless number of people have died on the road. Time has been wasted. In 2015, during the electioneering campaign, we had accident on this same road too but we thank God that no life was lost. It was because of that incidence that made me promise that if I eventually get the people’s mandate to serve the state, we won’t spend beyond 45 minutes to reach Iseyin from Moniya in the morning, afternoon and night. We will also mobilise security operatives to be patrolling the road.”
Governor Makinde added that State Government has given the contractor, KOPEK Construction Company, a mandate to deliver a quality road project that will be adopted throughout the State, noting that the company had been given the mandate to deliver a road with an asphaltic thickness of 50mm as against the 40mm thickness being targeted by the previous contractor.
Bayelsa guber: Dickson tenders evidence of electoral fraud, violence
…blames Army for colluding with APC to rig poll
…dismisses purported feud with Jonathan
ayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday, tendered video evidence in support of his claims of killings and election violence that characterised the conduct of last Saturday’s governorship election in Nembe Local Government Area and some other parts of the state.
Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, Governor Dickson described the election as a charade and a carefully orchestrated plan to forcefully take-over Bayelsa State towards entrenching a one-party system.
He condemned in its entirety, what he termed as brazen connivance of security agents, particularly officers and men of the Nigerian Army with the All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs to hijack electoral materials in most local government areas of the state.
According to the governor, soldiers were deployed to Ogbia Local Government Area and other parts of the state and led by a certain lieutenant colonel from the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army to cart away electoral materials, thereby undermining the process in favour of the APC.
The governor, therefore, called on the APC-led Federal Government to take drastic action in safeguarding the country’s democratic principles and protecting the fundamental rights of Nigerians in every election.
Dickson, who was speaking for the first time after the conduct of the election, noted with dismay, the involvement of the Army in the killings of some members of the PDP, ballot snatching and hijacking of election materials by APC members and declaration of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) even in areas, where election did not hold.
The governor, who urged Bayelsans to be calm, said the reprehensible acts against democracy would be addressed through democratic procedures.
His words: “This was not the first time that we are having elections. People were killed, some ripped open and thrown into the river and up till now, no arrest has been made. We all know that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and a notorious militant, Sam Kodjo, all plotted and carried out this heinous act, which actually was an assassination attempt because I was billed to visit Nembe that day for the PDP campaign.
“As democrats, we believe in using democratic procedures in challenging what happened. In Ogbia, there was no collation done. In most of the areas, at the conclusion of voting, the soldiers came and rounded up everybody and forcibly took them to Ogbia town and asked all PDP leaders to leave to enable them replace pre-written results. So, the results announced for Ogbia, like those for Southern Ijaw and Nembe were not real.
“What has happened in Bayelsa is one of the most brazen acts of distortion and rape of our democracy. What took place was not a democratic election. It was a military coup. It was the height of conspiracy by the Federal Government and security agencies to subvert the democratic rights of our people for the sole purpose of foisting the APC on the people.
“It has never been like this before. In 2015, it wasn’t as bad as this. In this case, not only was the Army directed to take over our place, but to collude with the APC thugs to unleash terror on our people.”
Dickson also described as balderdash, the notion being bandied about by APC mischief-makers that it was disagreement between him and former President Goodluck Jonathan that led to their pyrrhic victory, emphasizing that Jonathan remained a leader of the entire country whose image and reputation are too weighty to be dragged in the mud by the opposition party.
He explained that as a leader of the country, the former president was at liberty to receive members of the APC, who paid him a visit, but warned on the dangers posed by the satanic insinuations being weaved around the visit by the party to “sell their diabolic plot to turn Nigeria into a one party-state and a vicious attempt to legitimize illegitimate and indefensible electoral outcome.”
He stressed that no politician had stood by Jonathan more than himself and that in the build-up to the election, he visited the former president about 16 times to discuss with him on the way forward for the PDP.
He said: “President Jonathan remains a leader of our country. He is at liberty to receive members of any political party, but in the context of all that is going on, I know that the insinuations are not misplaced. APC came to Bayelsa to take his state and people by force. With the comments they are making about him; the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, coming to Bayelsa to praise Jonathan. What they were doing is laying the foundation to perpetrate fraud and violence
“No politician has stood by Jonathan more than me. They simply used his name and image to legitimize illegitimacy. I can see the strategic content. They used Jonathan to expand the notion of disagreement and after the rigging, went to him like Pontius Pilate to wash off their hands and put it at his doorsteps to say he sanctioned it. But, let’s accord him the right to meet with other dignitaries”
Group urges PDP, Dickson to concede defeat
group, Niger Delta Youth Coalition for Peace and Progress (NDYCPP) has urged the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri and Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to emulate ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by conceding defeat.
Bayelsa State chapter chairman of the group, Henry Nabena, who gave the advice in Yenagoa, applauded the peaceful conduct of the electorate, who voted during the poll, while maintaining that Dickson should learn to be a statesman.
He also commended the security agencies for effective security cover during the election, which, according to him, went against the prediction that the polls would be marred by violence.
His words: “We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their performance in this election; they should sustain this record and improve on it. We equally applaud the Nigeria media for their balanced and factual reports of events during the elections even at the risks of their lives and under a very difficult terrain.
“We call on INEC to ignore the cry of Dickson and the PDP for the cancellations of results from Nembe, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw LGAs as the elections conducted in those areas were remarkably very peaceful and credible. Bayelsa people and the electorate have spoken through their votes and that is the voice of liberation and freedom from shackles of manipulation and we are very happy that both local and foreign observers have endorsed the process.
“We are proud that Bayelsa people have proved bookmakers wrong. Our people have debunked the perception that we are violent. That stereotype is false. The result of the election is a reflection of the wishes of the people and INEC should be commended for making votes count.”
…Gov inaugurates 41-member transition committee
he Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson also yesterday inaugurated a 41-member Transition Committee in readiness for a smooth take-over of the incoming administration.
The committee, which has the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr. Kemela Okara as chairman; Hon. Talford Ongolo (Deputy Chairman) and Mr. Luka Obiri (Secretary) is the first of its kind in the political history of the state.
Other members of the committee were all serving commissioners, five permanent secretaries and political appointees were inaugurated at the Governor’s Conference Room, Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by Dickson’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said the constitution of the Transition Committee was in line with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dickson said the governorship election purportedly won by the APC is a charade, noting that irrespective of the outcome of the several initiatives being taken by the PDP, there was still need for a proper handover process to be initiated.
He said: “knowing that what transpired is not an election, we have to set up a transition committee. The first time in democratic rule and I thank God for the grace and enablement for making this possible for eight years and with a lot of achievements.”
He said the purpose of the committee is to articulate, record and document all the policies, programmes, projects and achievements of the Restoration Administration in all sectors in almost eight.
“the purpose is to articulate and record all that we have achieved and done in all sectors as a state and that’s why all commissioners are part of this committee to enable you present a scorecard of all our policies and programmes both completed and ongoing projects,” he said.
The governor further said that it is the outcome of this work that would be handed over in various forms to the incoming government.
Noting that achievements of his government would be a testimony and Bayelsans are assured of continually enjoying the dividends of democracy, he thanked members of the committee for their diligence, sacrifice and manner they served his administration.
In his address, the chairman of the committee, Okara, stated that the purpose of the transition committee, is to prepare ground for smooth take-over of the incoming administration.
He described the task as a major one because it cuts across all sectors, but assured that before the end of the year, the committee will complete its assigned task.
He added that they would produce a very thorough and standard report that other states will emulate.
Kogi: Thugs burn PDP Women Leader to death in post post-election violence
Jubilation over the declaration of Governor Yahaya Bello as Kogi State governor-elect for second term, on Monday turned bloody at Achadamu community in Ofu Local Government Area, as blood thirsty thugs set ablaze a 60-year-old woman, Mrs Acheju Abuh in her home.
The thugs it was learnt were celebrating the victory of Yahaya Bello at last Saturday’s election in the state, when they moved to the late Mrs Abuh home, locked her inside the house and set it on fire.
The victim, Mrs Acheju Abuh, was the Women Leader of Wada Aro Campaign Council, Ochadamu Ward.
Reacting to the banal act, the spokesman, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu said: “The jubilant thugs were Chanting GYB 4+4, the thugs, shooting sporadically, arrived Hon (Mrs) Abuh’s house at about 2pm this afternoon (on Monday) and surrounded the house, bolting every exit and escape from outside.
“They then poured petrol on the building and set it ablaze as other terrorized villagers watched from hiding. She reportedly attempted to escape through a window but was prevented by the metal burglary proof and gun shots with bullets raining in her direction.
“The blood-thirsty thugs waited, shooting and watching with relish while Mrs Abuh cried from inside the inferno until her voice died out.
“They reportedly left only when the entire house and Mrs Abuh had been burnt to ashes. There are fears that the killing spree may escalate.
“We are calling on all men of good conscience to immediately help the people of Kogi State appeal to the Inspector General of Police to rein in Bello’s thugs and protect our people whose only crime was that they voted for their choice, a vote that was never allowed to count.”
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Police Command confirmed the incident through its Public Relations Office, DSP William Aya.
Change of baton in Ezza South
The political ambiance of Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency in Ebonyi State changed last week following the sack of Lazarus Ogbe, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member representing the constituency by the Court of Appeal in Enugu. In this report, UCHENNA INYA writes on how the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the February 23 election, Comrade Chinedu Ogah, got his mandate restored
About nine months ago, precisely February 23, the National Assembly elections held simultaneously across the 360 federal constituencies of the country and new National Assembly members were elected to represent the constituencies and zones.
In Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency in Ebonyi state, Hon. Laz Ogbe of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).
According to the electoral body while announcing the outcome of the poll, Ogbe polled 31,296 votes while Ogah scored 27,700 votes.
But dissatisfied with the result, Ogah immediately filed a petition before the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki to challenge the outcome of the election.
Ogah, who is an APC chieftain alleged that the election was characterised by fraud and that he lost 10,000 votes in the ‘electoral fraud. He prayed the tribunal to declare him the winner by restoring the votes deducted from him.
The tribunal commenced sitting and entertained his petition. After all said and done, the lower court gave its ruling on the matter on September 9, 2019.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Sika Henry ruled that from evidence presented before the tribunal to back up his claim, Ogah scored 36,238 votes in the election while Ogbee got 33,263.
The tribunal ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ogbee and give it to Ogah.
The tribunal said: “It is the first respondent that won the majority of the lawful votes in Ezza south. The total number of votes scored by the petitioner(APC) and first respondent(Ogbe) for Ezza south/ Ikwo federal constituency is tabulated as follows; Ezza south LGA APC 8, 311, PDP 17,139. Ikwo LGA APC 27, 927 PDP 16, 127. The total votes for APC is 36, 238 and the total votes for PDP is 33, 200 votes.
“It is the petitioner that scored the majority of the lawful votes having scored 36, 238 votes as against the PDP candidate the first respondent who scored 33,200 votes. We entirely agreed with the petitioner that he scored the majority of the lawful votes from our own computation.
“The Certificate of Return issued to the 1st respondent by the 3rd respondent(INEC) as representing Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency is hereby withdrawn forthwith and must be issued to the petitioner, Comrade Chinedu Ogah as the winner of the election conducted on the 23rd of February, 2019 to the membership of the House of representatives to represent Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency”, the tribunal ruled.
Expectedly, counsel to Ogbee, Chief Roy Umahi protested against the judgment. Addressing journalists at the tribunal premises after the ruling, he said “I want to say that I am not altogether disappointed with the judgment because I expected that it will be this way. We will start drafting the notice of our appeal”.
But Chief Tofa Mba Okweni (SAN) who is the counsel to the petitioner, said “We looked at the entire result of the election when we reviewed the whole thing and found out that the polling unit result which forms the basis of the election was not what was collected at the ward level and we filed our petition challenging the result declared by INEC on the grounds that they did not collate the proper result of the election.
“What they collated did not reflect the outcome of the election at the polling units. We then asked the tribunal which has the power to re-compute the result of the election based on the outcome of the election at the polling units to do so”.
After the tribunal verdict, Hon. Ogbee who was serving his second tenure before his sack by the tribunal filed an Appeal at Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu to challenge the tribunal ruling.
On Friday last week, the Appeal court dismissed the appeal as lacking in merit and affirmed Ogah as the winner of the February 23rd National Assembly election.
Justice Ignatuis Agube delivered the judgment on behalf of Justice Veronica Dongban-Mensem.
Ogah while reacting the Appeal court judgment, said “My victory at the tribunal and Appeal court has shown truly that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man and it has also shown that the judiciary is the people that you cannot toy with, they are upright and doesn’t collect bribe to pervert justice. They believe in what is right and saw that my constituents voted for me the February 23 National Assembly election.
“The judiciary has restored the hope of the masses by restoring my stolen mandate. My coming into the National Assembly will bring tremendous changes in my constituency and the state in general in the sense that there will be no more time than the quota of Ebonyi in federal recruitment will be sold out as it used to be.
“I can’t be a legislator and there is quota of police in the recruitment for Ebonyi and it will be sold out. In the recent recruitment, Ebonyi quota was reduced from 150 to 100. I can’t be in the National Assembly and such a thing will continue to happen. I cannot be a National Assembly member and Ecological fund will be going to another place and it will not come to my constituency. I am not going to the National Assembly to fight people, I am going there to do what is right and speak for my constituents”.
On his part, Ogbee thanked his supporters for their support. He opined that in the February 23rd election, he won against all odds. He alleged that the court truncated his victory at the polls and congratulated Chinedu Ogah for emerging victorious at the tribunal and Appeal court.
“I want to thank the people of Ezza south and Ikwo Federal constituency for all the supports they have given to me. I want to appreciate the Governor of our state, Chief David Umahi. I want to thank the Divine Mandate and PDP families. I want to specially appreciate my people-the people of Amazekwe for giving me their supports and I want to appeal to them to accept the verdicts of the court in good fate.
“By the special grace of God, I shall bounce back next time. I want to thank and appreciate my party, the PDP from my ward, local government, State to the national levels. I thank them for giving me all the opportunities all these while to serve. I thank them for all the various capacities I have served. In chronicling my journey in political positions, I want to sincerely appreciate God. God is a faithful God. I as Laz Ogbee cannot actually equate the love God has bestowed on me as an individual. From being a supervisory councilor in a military era from 1998-1999; I became a local government party chairman from PDP to ANPP.
“I came in again as supervisory councillor for education for Ezza East Development Center from 2005-2006. By 2007, I was appointed as the pioneer Coordinator of Ezza South East Development center. I was there for two years and two months and I resigned to contest for the chairmanship of Ezza south local government and I won. I was sworn in on November 1, 2010- 2013 and I contested again and I also won. By 2014, because of our support for the government of Ebonyi state today, the local government system was sacked and it was because of my support for the government that is in place in Ebonyi today.
“The local government system in Ebonyi was sacked through Court. By 2015, I won as Honourable member Federal House of Representatives, representing Ezza south and Ikwo Federal constituency. And by 2019, against all odds, I won again. To this I want to sincerely thank God Almighty and appreciate the people of Ezza South and Ikwo Federal constituency. They gave me their mandate and Court truncated it. I defended it to the Court of Appeal and the Court gave it to my opponent. On this note, I want to congratulate my opponent, Comrade Chinedu Ogah”, he said.
A constituent of the area and Public Affairs Analysts, Dennis Uzim said Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone zone which Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency is part of has remained the bastion of Ebonyi politics and a beehive of recalcitrant since 1999 in Ebonyi state.
According to him, in 2003 general election, Ezza/ Ikwo federal constituency returned ANPP candidate, Hon Francis Elem.
“Again in 2011 general election from the same Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone, Hon Engr Peter Edeh of the ANPP was returned elected by Ezza North/ Ishielu Federal Constituency to represent them as member, Federal House of Representatives.
“Now in 2019, eight years after as usual, Comrade Chinedu Ogah have been affirmed by the Appeal Court as the duly elected representative of Ezza south/ Ikwo federal constituency all in Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone. All those took place while PDP held sway at the state level as the political party in the seat of power.
“All the above occurred during the election for the second tenure in office of Dr Sam Egwu, Chief Martin Elechi, and Engr David Umahi respectively. Suffix it to say that Ebonyi Central Zone adds zest and verve to Ebonyi politics. In election for political offices in Ebonyi Central it is never over until it is over” Uzim said.
Ekiti South: How Olujimi bounced back
ADEWUMI ADEMIJU reports on the legal battle for Ekiti South Senatorial District seat between Prince Adedayo Adeyeye and Mrs. Biodun Olujimi, which was recently decided in favour of the latter by the Court of Appeal
There is no doubt that the wait for the outcome of the legal battle to determined the winner of the Ekiti South Senatorial District seat in the February 23 National Assembly election created a huge suspense in the minds of every Ekiti people both at home and in the Diaspora, especially the political conscious ones.
However, the legal journey between the two main contestants – Biodun Olujimi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Adedayo Adeyeye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – came to a dramatic end on Wednesday November 6.
The duo initially belonged to the PDP before political ambition set them apart, and until the verdict of the Court of Appeal on the Ekiti South Senatorial District, Adeyeye was holding his first elective position as senator though has earlier held several political appointments, including minister and spokesperson of the PDP.
Olujimi, on the other hand, has held elective positions as a member of the House of Representatives, member of the Senate, where she served as a minority leader aside being a former deputy governor of Ekiti State as well as other political appointments.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Adeyeye winner of the Ekiti South seat and he was consequently inaugurated as the senator representing the district at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.
But, Olujimi and the PDP headed to the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Ado Ekiti and prayed it to declare her as winner of the election.
They premised their prayer on improper or outright lack of accreditation, contradictions between accredited figures on the voters register and the number of votes recorded in Form EC8A (1), over voting as a result of votes captured in the voters register being less than the total number of votes recorded in Form EC8 A(1), fictitious and fabricated scores unlawfully allotted the 2nd respondent, irreconcilable entries in Form EC8A(1)s and EC8B (1)s, mutilations of Forms EC8A(1) regarding the number of accredited voters and discrepancies in the number of ballot papers issued and number of ballot papers used in the polling stations, among others.
According to them, two major issues for determination by the three-member tribunal, led by Hon. Justice D.D Adeck include whether the election and return of the 2nd respondent as the winner of the Ekiti South Senatorial District election is not invalid by reasons of substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), whether after reconciliation and deduction of total votes affected by the substantial non-compliance of the 1st Petitioner not to be declared as duly elected and should be returned as the candidate who scored the highest number of lawful votes cast at the Ekiti South Senatorial District Election of 23rd February 2019 having satisfied the requirement of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.
Counsel to Adeyeye, Barr. Raheem Balogun, however, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit. He submitted that the fact that the petitioner failed to establish cases on noncompliance and criminal conducts during the poll and how it affected the outcome of the election rendered the petition incompetent.
But, the tribunal in its judgement on September 10, in a unanimous verdict, nullified Adeyeye’s election and declared Olujimi as winner of the poll.
Justice Adeck, who read the judgement, nullified elections in some polling units to declare Olujimi the authentic winner of the poll. She polled a total of 54,894 votes to emerge victorious over Adeyeye (then Senate Committee Chairman on Media and Publicity), who polled 52,243 votes.
The judge added that apart from nullification of elections in some units, the outcome of the tribunal’s verdict was predicated on the recount of the ballots by the contending forces as granted by the court.
Justice Adeck further noted that the petitioner was able to prove her claims of cases of criminal allegations and noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and other corrupt practices raised in her petition beyond reasonable doubt.
According to judge, Olujimi was was able to prove cases of over voting in Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure local government areas and votes in those units were expunged from the ballots.
On the voting patterns, the tribunal judge held: “It is not tenable to say that marked ballots were not properly deposited in the boxes because when this did not happen, then it will lead to over voting and will affect counting at every level of collation.
“To avoid this pitfall, those votes must be expunged in order not to vitiate the electoral process. Therefore, after those votes were deducted, PDP was left with 54,894 votes, while the respondent polled 52,243 votes.
“The petitioner having polled the highest number of lawful votes should be declared the winner of the election. We hereby declare the petitioner the winner and he is hereby returned elected. We hereby direct the INEC to withdraw the ceritificate of return from the respondent and issue same to the petitioner.”
Dissatisfied with the judgement of the tribunal, Adeyeye filed a 19-ground appeal at the Court of Appeal and assembled a team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Dayo Akinlaja, to win back his mandate.
In the Notice of Appeal he filed, Adeyeye sought two reliefs in his bid to upturn Olujimi’s victory at the tribunal. He prayed the appellate court “to allow the appeal and set aside the declaration and return of Olujimi” as well as urged it to affirm his declaration and return by INEC as the winner of the senatorial poll.
Adeyeye in his appeal averred that the tribunal’s verdict was a miscarriage of justice, complaining that votes cast for his party (APC) were wrongfully nullified by the panel to arrive at its conclusion.
The Appellant maintained that the trial judges erred in law by relying on the evidence of Petitioners Witnesses (PWs) 1, 3 to 14, result sheets and voters registers to nullify the results of the election at the concerned polling units and consequently deducting 2,207 votes from the votes of APC and 933 votes from the votes of PDP.
One of the errors in law of the Tribunal, according to Adeyeye, was its acknowledgment that the report of the inspection of ballot papers came about after the filing of the petition.
He contended that the tribunal did not avert its mind to decided authorities of superior courts of the land in holding that it was proper for it to countenance the inspection report.
The Appellant claimed that the Petitioners/Respondents did not tender any ballot paper at the trial and failed to give evidence to show how the alleged alterations and mutilations of the result sheets prejudiced or affected the results of the election.
He argued that the tribunal had no justification to accord probative value to the evidence of PW 15 on the inspection report maintaining that the tribunal had found the evidence to be hearsay.
Counsel to the appellant, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja (SAN), while giving his final address, argued that the tribunal was wrong in declaring Olujimi winner of the poll.
He noted that the report of inspection of election materials of which the tribunal based its decision on was not included as part of the original prayers of the petitioner at the time.
But, counsel to the PDP candidate, Mr. Wahab Egbewole, maintained that the report labeled as Exhibit 385 was submissible since all parties involved in the case were present at the inspection.
The legal battle eventually came to an end on November 6, when the Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal in its verdict, sacked Adeyeye as senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District and affirmed the tribunal’s judgment, which declared Olujimi as winner of the election.
In a unanimous judgement, Justice Uzor Anyanwu upheld the judgement of the tribunal and ordered INEC to issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Olujimi.
Sequel to the development, the PDP in Ekiti State applauded the judiciary for upholding the victory of Olujimi, but the APC described the verdict as obstacle to democracy.
Ekiti PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Jackson Adebayo, stated that “the judgement of both the lower tribunal and the appellate court did not come as a surprise because the result declared by INEC did not reflect true votes cast in the first instance.”
On its part, APC in a statement by its Director of Media and Publicity, Sam Oluwalana, dismissed the judgement, stating that the Court of Appeal ruling is against the wishes of people of Ekiti South Senatorial District.
However, the state governor, Kayode Fayemi, urged Adeyeye to be resolute despite the pronouncement, adding that the ruling, though shocking and unexpected, is not the end of his political career or his public service
“We must accept the decision of the appellate court, which is the final arbiter in this particular election petition, with equanimity, though quite painfully.
“The court ruling notwithstanding, Senator Adeyeye remains a credible politician with huge democratic credentials. While many may see this as a temporary setback, I urge him to brace up and see it as part of the sacrifice for the growth of democracy in the country.
“I am convinced that Senator Adeyeye will bounce back, in view of the pride of place he occupies in the hearts of his people,” the governor said.
The governor congratulated Olujimi and enjoined her to be magnanimous in victory and take Ekiti interest as priority at the Upper Chamber.
Olujimi, who described the development as a mixed feeling of relief and unbelief, said: “I am yet to fully grasp the import of God’s mercy and compassion. Let me state that the exercise was a great journey of soul searching and a great effort to unravel the mysteries surrounding the last senatorial election in Ekiti.”
Bayelsa guber poll most peaceful since 1999 – Oshiomhole
● Jonathan happy with Lyon’s victory, say APC govs
● Dickson made our job easy – Sylva
The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has described last weekend’s governorship election in Bayelsa State as the most peaceful in the state since 1999.
Oshiomhole stated this after he was joined by the Chairman APC governorship campaign and Governor of Kebbi State, Mohammed Badaru; Chairman of APC Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silver, to present Bayelsa Governor-elect of Bayelsa State, David Lyon, to President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Lyon defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Duoye Diri in the Bayelsa governorship election.
Oshiomhole, who spoke with State House Correspondents after the meeting, commended the role played by President Buhari and other party members in APC’s victory in Bayelsa State.
His words: “We thanked the President for his fatherly role as he insisted that we must ensure that while we are determined to win the election, we must play by the rule and ensure that the process is transparent. Above all, the President has always been concerned about peaceful election and we were proud to inform him that besides very isolated cases of snatching of ballot boxes, the election in Bayelsa can be described as the most peaceful.
“I believe since 1999, you as very seasoned journalists, who have covered elections in Bayelsa in the past, will agree that this is the only time we can say the election is truly transparent and peaceful.”
The APC national chairman, who also commended former President Goodluck Jonathan, who in line with his character of humane, simplicity and commitment, warmly received a delegation of the party’s governorship campaign for Bayelsa State, noted that Lyon’s candidature was easy to market because he is a good product.
He said: “We went to present the Governor-elect, David Lyon, to President Muhammadu Buhari. As the President and our father, he has a brand new baby boy, who would be sworn- in on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020, as governor of Bayelsa State.
“Again, our candidate attracts support from across the political divides. When you look at territories and communities, where his victory is being celebrated, you will agree that not only did he get the support of the APC family; he got support from beyond the APC family.
“Of course, the President was very happy that we had a peaceful election in Bayelsa State. Overall, we are grateful to Almighty God for making this election successful. We appreciate the people of Bayelsa State, who have reposed confidence in our party and in our candidate.
“For the Governor-elect, this is a call for selfless service, the more support you get the more the expectations. As they say, to whom much is given, much is expected.
“When he takes over office in February, Bayelsans will see the difference between his government and that of outgoing Governor Serieke Dickson.”
Lyon, on his part, assured that he will not disappoint the people of Bayelsa, promising to keep his pledge of tackling insecurity and providing unprecedented development.
His words: “Today is one of the greatest day in my life. A great day because the great people of Bayelsa have spoken their minds by taking time to vote for our great party, APC.
“It is indeed a welcome development because at our campaigns, we promised that when elected and sworn-in, security and development will be our key agenda and with the support of Bayelsans, they have made this possible.
“On behalf of APC leaders, I promise Bayelsans that we will serve them and not for them to serve us. We also promise to respect leadership which is key for us. Today, their votes have been counted and the people of Bayelsa will be respected.
“I am sincerely grateful to our father, the President of this country for his fatherly advice this afternoon (yesterday). As one of his sons in APC, I want to say that we Bayelsans will not disappoint APC. We will consult with our leaders, traditional rulers and I believe there will be positive change in Bayelsa State. The incoming administration will make Bayelsans to see positive developments and that is key to us.”
Also speaking, Governor Bagudu explained that the election was not only free and fair, but that former President Jonathan was happy with the victory of the APC candidate.
He said: “Many people worked hard in making this happen, most importantly, Mr. President, who has always shown the party that win or lose, we should aim for free, transparent and fair elections because, that is what will guarantee peace, confer legitimacy and support for elected persons to proudly execute the mandate that they are given.
“In Bayelsa we have seen a demonstration of that. Everyone is talking about how free, transparent and fair the election was. We were in Bayelsa for over 72 hours and we didn’t see a tyre burning, we didn’t see people running, we didn’t hear a gunshot, everyone was celebrating in all the areas we passed, which shows acceptance of our candidate, our party and the process itself.”
Governor Badaru noted that the election was substantially peaceful and reflected the wishes of the people, saying: “We want to thank Baylesans, they know what they want, they know when they are frustrated, how to act and they have acted right.”
He added: “Like the chairman said earlier, we know the history of elections in Bayelsa and what they used to be, but for the three days of voting and counting, not a single soul to my knowledge was lost. Of course, there were pockets of violence, ballot box snatching, but when you look at the magnitude, they are so few compared to what use to happen in Bayelsa.”
In his remarks, Sylva said the party’s victory was made easier by the party’s choice of an acceptable candidate and the mis-governance of the outgoing governor, Seriake Dickson.
He noted that the victory now gives the APC more national look, with a footprint in the Niger Delta, which is very vital to strengthen the ruling party.
Sylva added that “it’s been a very hectic week, but I will like to bring in this Eritrean proverb, that if you marry a wife well, you will be blessed with another wife. Governor Dickson made our job very easy because he married the wife very badly.
“Of course this proverb pre-supposes that if you marry a wife badly, you will not get another wife. So, he did not marry the state very well and the state roundly rejected him.
“Like it’s been said earlier, we had a good candidate and when you have a good product, it’s very easy to sell it. So, we went round and sold this good product to Bayelsans and the result was an overwhelming success.
“We are happy with this victory because for us it is very significant. This gives our party a footprint in the Niger Delta, which is very key to us. It gives us more of a national outlook, we have always been a national party but this gives us even a bigger national outlook.
“I have always said that if our party doesn’t have this much of a footprint in the bread basket of the country, it is not too good for us. But now we have it and I want to assure you that from a small seed, the biggest tree will grow. From here, we will gradually grow the party in the South-South and South-East. APC is a good product just like our governor and we intend to sell that good product in the whole of the South-South and South-East,” Sylva stressed.
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