Full text: Obasanjo compares Buhari to Abacha as a dictator, says he’s planning to rig election

A former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Sunday criticised President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of plotting to rig the general elections.

In a statement he personally signed, Mr Obasanjo also expressed doubt in the neutrality of the electoral commission, INEC.

Read Mr Obsanjo’s full statement below.

POINTS FOR CONCERN AND ACTION

By

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

I am concerned as a democrat who believes that with faithful and diligent practice of democracy, we can get over most of our political problems and move steadfastly and surefootedly on the course of stability, unity of purpose, socio-economic growth and progress for all.

Democracy becomes a sham if elections are carried out by people who should be impartial and neutral umpires, but who show no integrity, acting with blatant partiality, duplicity and imbecility. For all democrats and those carrying out the process of elections, there must be the red line that must not be crossed in tactics and practices of democracy.

I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it? From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary. The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment. The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out. I know that I am not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.

The joke about INEC would seem real. The INEC was asked if the Commission was ready for the election and if it expects the election to be free, fair and credible. The INEC man is reported as saying in response, “we are ready with everything including the results!” God save Nigeria! It is up to Nigerians to ensure that the redline is not crossed in safeguarding our fledging democracy. And if crossed, appropriate action must be taken not to allow our democracy to be derailed.

A friend of mine who is more credulous and who claims to be close to the Chair of INEC keeps telling me that INEC will retrieve its image and reputation by conducting the coming elections with utmost integrity and impartiality. I am not sure as I believe more in action than in words and in past record than in promise. The track record of the present INEC is fairly sordid and all men and women of goodwill and believers in democracy must be prepared for the worst from INEC and their encouragers and how to get Nigeria out of the electoral morass that the Commission is driving us into. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A battle long forewarned does not embroil the cripple nor catch him unawares. A word is sufficient for the wise. The labour of Nigerian democracy heroes must not be in vain. Some men of God would hold President Buhari to his word on free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. I am a realist and I reiterate that I go by track record. Therefore, I am not persuaded by a track record of hollow words, impunity, insensitivity and ‘I-couldn’t-care-less’ attitude, or by the sanctimonious claims of any candidate and his campaign staff. I will only believe what I see. This is a time for vigilance to fight to safeguard our votes and defend our democracy. The price of liberty and sustenance of our democracy is eternal vigilance and appropriate reaction to ward off iniquities. We must all be ready to pay that price and not relying on hollow words of callousness. The derailment of Nigerian democracy will be a monumental disaster comparable to the disaster of the Nigerian first military coup.

While Nigerians must not allow such a disaster to happen nor take such an affront lying low, the international community who played an admirable role in warning INEC, of course, to no avail on the Osun State gubernatorial election and who have been warning all political parties must on this occasion give more serious warning, send more people to the field to observe and work out punitive measures against INEC and security officials especially the Police and politicians who stand to gain from INEC’s misconduct, which is obviously encouraged by the Executive Arm of Government and who must be held responsible for the violence that will follow. Such measures can vary from denial and withdrawal of visas from the people concerned and from their families to other more stringent measures including their accounts being frozen and taking them to International Criminal Court, ICC, if violence emanates from their action or inaction. Nigeria must not be allowed to slip off the democratic path nor go into anarchy and ruin. No individual nor group has monopoly of violence or gangsterism. And we must not forget that in human interaction, reactions are normally greater than action, though opposite.

It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there is neither redeeming feature nor personality to salvage the situation within that hierarchy. You cannot give what you don’t have. Bode George put it bluntly in his statement of December 3, 2018 when he said:

“The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.”

What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?” Yes, for me, there is hope. Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.

Traders in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many more than those in urban areas and they are much poorer than traders in Lagos, Abuja and other cities. They need more attention and greater help. Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those who are not traders? They are not entitled to hand-out and they can languish in penury? And what about millions who have lost their jobs in the last three and a half years? The timing is also suspect. Those who criticise the action are called evil but they are not evil as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots.

What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that. With collusion of the INEC officials and card readers not made to work, anybody quoting the PVC number may be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Bill was not signed. And if that happens all over the country, it will be massive rigging indeed. The Chairman of INEC must stand firm and carry out his duties with competence and unbending neutrality. Card readers must be used without fail and accreditation must be completed and number ascertained and made public before voting commences as was done in 2015.

Amina Zakari has become too controversial a figure to be able to give assurance of free, fair and credible election for INEC. President Buhari and her family have declared that there is no blood relationship but there is relationship through marriage and that is more than enough for the good lady to step aside. A judge does not sit in judgement over a case once he or she becomes a cause for controversy or one side in the case has strongly objected to the judge. Madam Amina Zakari should, in honour, stay out and not be seen as a source of contamination of the election. Otherwise, it will be difficulty to deny the rumour that she is being assigned to Collation Centre for one duty only – to write out figures that are not results of the voting in the field on fake results sheets without water mark or on genuine results sheets which she will have access to as a Commissioner. Amina Zakari is not the only Commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC Chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, fair and credible. His integrity needs to be transparently demonstrated.

We should remember that there had been reports of INEC sponsored rigging in the past, and also with INEC officials through collation and with officials being put in party coordinators’ dresses and working for the political party favoured by INEC and also putting the dresses of other parties on INEC-favoured parties and police uniforms on INEC-favoured parties to rig all the elections for the favoured party. Like all of us, INEC knows all these and it should devise means to make sure they do not happen. But will they? One way will be to only allow card readers to be means of authenticating voters and where there is no such authentication, it should mean no voting. The second is to use only identity cards with watermarks issued by INEC itself to party officials only for identification of political party coordinators, officials and agents and not political parties dresses or arm and wrist bands which anybody can wear for purposes of identification on election duty or function. Both the Presidency and the National Assembly must so far be commended for adequately providing funding as confirmed by INEC, and therefore funding cannot be an excuse for poor performance by INEC.

President Buhari and his hatchet men in the coming election think that the judiciary must be primed in their favour. Hence, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has been harassed and prosecuted for non-declaration of his assets without following the Constitution and the law, just to make him conform or set him aside for a Buhari man to take over or act, as President Buhari and his people believe no stone should be left unturned to rig Buhari in. It seems to be a ploy to intimidate the judiciary as a whole in preparation for all election cases that will go before them. Where and how will all these stop? Typically, with overwhelming outrage and condemnation, we are told that the Presidency denied knowledge of the action. But the Vice-President told us that the President knew of the action on Saturday night for everything that has been prepared for Monday morning. Haba VP, it doesn’t happen that way. Nobody should take such measure against any of the four in hierarchy below the President or any of his ministers without his knowledge and indeed his approval. But if that can happen to the Chief Justice of the Federation, the fifth man in the hierarchy of government, without the knowledge let alone the approval of the President, then it speaks for the type of government we have which means the President is not in charge let alone being in control and no Nigerian must take anything for granted. We are all unsafe and insecure under such an administration. And enough of it! Buhari’s apologists will not stop at anything to try to cover up his administration’s inadequate performance and character. A constitutional liberal democracy cannot thrive without an independent and insulated judiciary from the executive and the legislature. Nigerians must wake up and stop these acts of wanton desperation tantamount to mental incapacity to run the affairs of Nigeria wholesomely.

Life and living are anchored on trust. But if I trust you and you deceive, cheat or disappoint me the first time, it is shame on you. However, if I allow you to do so the same thing for me the second time, I do not only have myself to blame, I must be regarded as a compound fool.

Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and National Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the Buhari’s party before it joined in forming All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude. He describes him as inflexible, insincere, dubious, intolerant, never accepts responsibility when things go wrong and impervious to reason and advice for change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything is the assertion of George Bernard Shaw. Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar. He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past. Buba Galadima’s position is well complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and attitude in his yet to be launched book, “Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria”. It is also a stunning revelation. Anwar clearly pointed out, “the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels”. Buhari was the leader of the party. Bola Tinubu’s statement about Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”

Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the issue of nepotism. But if as we were told that Buhari is nepotic because he does not trust others, why should others trust him to continue to put their fate and life in his hand. Trust begets trust. They cannot be trusted for ‘sensitive’ appointment but they can be sent out to campaign for his re-election. Who is fooling who?

What is happening under Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.

From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count. It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.

His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.

The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility. It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State. We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.
His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him. It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.

I was a victim of Abacha’s atrocities against Nigeria and Nigerians – high and low. At the height of Abacha’s desperation for perpetual power, he did not brook any criticism because Nigeria was seen as his personal property. You must go along with him or be destroyed. All institutions for ensuring security, welfare and well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians particularly the Police, the Military and the Department of State Services (DSS) were abused and misused to deal with critics of Abacha and non-conformists with Abacha.

Today, another Abacha Era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.

Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved. Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.

God of Nigeria is a living God and a prayer-answering God. Nigerians must cry out to God to deliver Nigeria. Here again, I have been threatened with arrest and extermination but I will not succumb to intimidation or threats. Maybe I should remind those who are using probe as a threat that I have been probed four times by EFCC, ICPC, House of Representatives and the Senate and Buhari has access to reports of these probes. But I have also challenged Buhari and the criminals around him to set up a probe on the same allegations and I will face such probe in public.

But I know that these criminals cannot withstand a Police inquiry let alone clinical probe on the past public offices they held. My fervent prayer is that President Buhari may live to see the will and purpose of God for Nigeria. My final appeal to him is to desist from evil with manipulation and desperation because evil has repercussion especially as man who should watch and be mindful of his self-acclaimed and packaged integrity. At the end of the day, those who goad you on will leave you in the lurch. You will be left alone, naked and unheralded. In defeat, which must be Buhari’s fear leading to desperation, he and his co-travellers can still maintain modicum of decency, and exhibit fear of God in their actions. We have been told that governance has been abdicated to a cabal. Now, campaigning has been abdicated to ‘jagaban’. And it is being authoritatively stated that he would not join any presidential debate. Nigerians will not allow the elections to be abdicated to INEC and Police to give us false and manipulated results. I personally commend the President for yielding to popular outcry to let the former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, go when he is due as he had the track record and history of being assigned to rig elections for the incumbent. It was alleged that he was sent to Kano for that purpose in 2015. He was already deploying his Commissioners of Police on similar mission before his exit. We must all encourage the new Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to tread the path of professionalism, even-handedness, respect and new image for the Police.

While Nigeria must appreciate Buhari for the little he has done and allow him to depart for home in peace if he allows free, fair, peaceful and credible elections, we must also tell ourselves that Nigeria deserves better at this point in time than what Buhari is capable of offering. History will note that he has been there. Nigeria now needs a man with better physical and mental soundness, with an active mind and intellect.

Let me say again that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians and exists for the benefit of all Nigerians and non-Nigerians who desire to live or do business in and with Nigeria. The attitude of “it is my turn and I can do what I like” with impunity will not last because Nigeria is created by God and it will outlive all evil machinations and designs against the overall interest of Nigeria.

Before I conclude, let me assert that the security situation has deteriorated with kidnapping everywhere and Boko Haram more in action and nobody should deceive Nigerians about this. With the teaming up of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram is stronger today militarily than they have ever been. Boko Haram has also been empowered by the Nigerian government through payment of ransom of millions of dollars which each administration disingenuously always denies. With ISIS being liquidated in Iraq and Syria, Africa is now their port of concentration. Soon, they may take over Libya which, with substantial resources, is almost a totally failed state. When that happens, all African countries North of Congo River will be unsafe with serious security problems. The struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States. Nigeria has to play a vanguard role in this struggle as we have much to lose. This administration has reached the end of its wit even in handling all security issues, but particularly Boko Haram issue, partly due to misuse of security apparatus and poor equipment, deployment, coordination and cooperation.

Finally, those Nigerians that are being intimidated or threatened by this Administration must trust in God and stand firm. Tough times do not last forever, but tough people invariably survive tough times. This is a tough time for almost all Nigerians in different respects, but the people’s will shall triumph. All people who have registered to vote with their PVCs must never allow anybody or anything to deny or deprive them of the right of performing their fundamental civic duty of voting and sustaining democracy. Establishment of democracy and its sustenance is second to attainment of independence in our political life, leaving out the victory of the civil war. We shall overcome.

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Kabila may be real winner of DRC election

Claims provisional winner Tshisekedi has done deal with former ruler may be more than sour grapes.

Democratic Republic of the Congo’s outgoing president Joseph Kabila casts his vote along with his family in December 2018

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an election is not a single decisive event, but just one part of a never-ending struggle to gain and keep power in which living to fight another day is as important as landing a knockout punch.

Of the half dozen or so major players a year ago, only two or three remain standing.

Felix Tshisekedi, named as the surprise, provisional winner of last month’s much delayed presidential vote, is the 55-year-old son of the country’s most respected opposition leader. However, he has never held high office or even a managerial role, and his Belgian professional qualifications have been questioned by opponents.

Tshisekedi is the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), DRC’s oldest and largest opposition party. Critics say he is unproven, inexperienced and lacks the charisma of his father. “His father was a man of the country. The son is very limited,” Valentin Mubake, former secretary-general of Tshisekedi’s party told the Guardian last month.

In 2008, he became national secretary for external relations and was elected to the national assembly in 2011 as representative for Mbuji-Mayi, the country’s third city. However, he never took up his seat as he did not formally recognise his father Étienne’s 2011 election defeat to Joseph Kabila.

He inherited the UDPS leadership when Étienne – who spent 35 years leading the opposition but never won office – died in 2017. Tens of thousands thronged the streets when Tshisekedi visited his political stronghold of Mbuji-Mayi, a southern city, in early elections, chanting slogans calling on the father of five to save the nation.

 Felix Tshisekedi (right) and his running mate Vital Kamerhe campaign in Kinshasa, November 2018. Photograph: John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images

But Tshisekedi’s apparent victory is contested – not by the outgoing president, Kabila, whose own hand-picked candidate was soundly defeated, but by the opposition rival, Martin Fayulu, who came a close second.

The few reliable surveys of pre-poll voting intentions make it clear that Fayulu was the favourite by a considerable margin. The conclusions of 40,000 observers deployed by the church on the day of the election are that he won.

Fayulu, who has denounced the result as an “electoral coup”, is not a “fils de” (“son of”) like Tshisekedi and many other dynastic politicians across the continent. He is a former business executive and 30-year veteran of politics who has earned a reputation as brave, honest and effective. More importantly, perhaps, he also has the backing of political heavyweights Jean-Pierre Bemba and Moise Katumbi, both forced into effective exile overseas and unable to contend the polls.

“Fayulu came very fast from more or less nowhere to become this great people’s champion, but it is unclear if he has the big organisation and depth of support he needs now. We are about to find out,” said Ben Shepherd, an expert in the DRC at London’s Chatham House.

The real winner may be the outgoing president. Kabila, 47, took power in 2001 on the assassination of his father Laurent, and ceded only reluctantly to regional powers’ pressure to hold elections. He was banned from standing by the constitution’s two-term limit.

Kabila has made no secret of his continuing political ambitions, which is one reason why so many analysts say Fayulu’s claims that Tshisekedi has done a deal with the DRC’s former ruler may be more than sour grapes.

Many noted that Fayulu’s campaign suffered significantly more harassment than Tshisekedi’s, and that the latter’s rhetoric towards erstwhile enemies underwent a dramatic change in recent days.

Tshisekedi’s camp has acknowledged contact with Kabila’s representatives since the vote but denied there had been any deal and said talks were aimed at ensuring a peaceful transition

“This is not a bad result at all for the ruling party,” said Stephanie Wolters, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, in South Africa. “It will mean a very soft landing for Kabila. With Tshisekedi, they don’t have to give up anything. Kabila gets to walk away looking good and the elite gets to stick around.”

SOURCE: BBC Africa/The Bloomgist/Guardian, UK

Give me more time, Buhari begs Nigerians on 76th birthday

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to understand him and give him more time to translate his intentions for the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Mr Buhari made the call Monday in Abuja after a special parade organised in his honour by the Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army to celebrate his 76th birthday.

Speaking briefly with State House correspondents in both English and Hausa languages, Mr Buhari said, “Nigerians should continue to pray for me and understand my intentions and give me time.”

Mr Buhari also said he will keep reminding Nigerians about his performance in office so far.

“We will keep reminding Nigerians about what we have done, how we met the country, what we were able to do from the time we came in to now with the resources available to us.”

The president and his party leaders have repeatedly told Nigerians that the challenges being faced were caused by the Peoples Democratic Party which governed the country for 16 years until 2015.

The president said he was impressed by the honour shown to him by the Army.

“I am impressed, they put a lot of time behind it and I thank them very much. I appreciate it indeed.”

Apart from the special parade session, various birthday cards were presented to the president.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, presented a card on behalf of the Armed Forces, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation presented on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, while the president’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, also presented a card on behalf of the president’s aides.

The commandant of the Guards Brigade also presented a card on behalf of the army unit responsible for the protection of the president and his family.

Live: Nigeria Decides – latest updates

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

8:00 – Mammoth crowd as Atiku, Jonathan, Kwankwaso lead PDP rally in Sokoto

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has kicked off its 2019 presidential campaign at the Shehu Kangiwa Square, Sokoto, in the presence of a mammoth crowd.

The campaign is being moderated by Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, who was recently appointed as one of the eight spokespersons of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign.

  • Read full story here

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Pictures of service chiefs attending President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign rally tagged ‘Next Level’ have become a source of worry for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, a spokesman for the organisation has said.

Some service chiefs including the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadiq; and Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas seen attending the event were obtained by The PUNCH on Monday.

However, it could not be immediately ascertained if the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, also attended the event which took place in Abuja on Sunday.

In one of the photos, the Chief of Naval Staff is seen shaking hands with the All Progressives Congress chieftain and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

The event was well attended by the APC Chairman, members of the APC National Working Committee, members of Buhari’s campaign team as well as several ministers who took to the podium to bash the Peoples Democratic Party amid chants of ‘APC, Next Level’ from the audience.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Monday, the Spokesman for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, said the presence of the service chiefs at such a political gathering showed that Buhari as the commander-in-chief had compromised the heads of the military agencies.

Sowunmi called on the international community to take note of the development as it could imply that the military had already started working for Buhari’s re-election.

He said, “The problem with the security agencies is that they have not fully defined who they should be loyal to. The concern is that the commander-in-chief has some sort of relationship with them but when they elevate that relationship to a point where they begin to attend political events at the launch of the campaign of a political party, everybody must be scared.

“This is because it portends a very dangerous development which is that they have now got themselves involved in politics to the point that they are now the cheerleaders of another political party.

“I hope when we want to unveil our own political document in a public forum and if we invite them, they would be reasonable enough to attend since they now attend political events.

We want to advise them to be removed from politics so that the opposition can feel safe. I am quite disappointed in President Buhari for exposing the military to such a compromise and we call on the international community to take note.”

The Spokesman for the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the event was not a political one per se but an event to showcase the achievements of the Buhari administration.

Keyamo said during election time there is a thin line between politics and government, adding that there was no cause for alarm.

He said, “It was not a campaign but the launch of a scorecard. You cannot prevent the crowd from chanting ‘APC’ because party members will do what they want. The event was a scorecard involving heads of all sectors including security to showcase their achievements.

“We were supposed to have a segment for security chiefs but the airtime was not enough. We showcased achievements in infrastructure, social investment, and agriculture.

“The truth of the matter is that in campaign periods, the line is very thin because the government is APC and APC is the government but the truth of the matter is that it is about government performance.”

Friday, November 9th, 2018

6:27 – Buhari’s running mate, Vice President Osinbajo indicted by House of Reps over fraud

The House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness has indicted the Vice President in its report, accusing him of illegally approving N5.8 billion North East Intervention Fund which the lawmakers said was mismanaged by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).


6:18 – If you’re joining us now, here’s where things stand:

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday released its provincial list of candidates for presidential and national assembly elections.

The list was pasted at its headquarters as well as its offices across states of the federation.

Among presidential candidates on the list are President Muhammadu Buhari (APC), Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Obadiahia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Olusegun Mimiko of Zenith Labour Party(ZLP).

In Anambra, incumbent Senators Victor Umeh, Stella Oduah and Uche Ekwenife are listed to contest.

Mr Leo Nkedife, Head Voter Education and Publicity, in the state said the names “will equally be published in all the constituencies and local government headquarters where elections will hold”.

In Anambra Central Senatorial District, the published candidates are Mr Charles Odunukwe of Peoples Democratic (PDP), Umeh of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Ekwunife of All Progressives Congress (APC).

In South Senatorial District, Sen. Andy Uba of the APC, Mr Chukwunedum Ubah of the PDP and Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu of APGA made the list.

For North Senatorial District, Sen. Margery Okadigbo of the APC, Oduah of the PDP and Chief Chinedu Emeka of APGA made the provisional list.

Nkedife said the list of governorship and House of Assembly candidates will be published on November 2.

In Bayelsa, immediate past Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure Lawrence Ewhrujakpo is the PDP candidate. He will contest against Capt. Mathew Karimo of the APC.

Bayelsa East – Edwin Blessing Ipigansi (PDP) and Bishop Degi Eraumieyo (APC) will square it up. In Bayelsa Central, Douye Diri (PDP) and Festus Daumeri (APC) will slug it out.

For the Sagbama-Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Famous Daumeigha (APC) and Fredrick Agnes (PDP); Yenagoa-Opokuma, Osomkeme Blankson, APC and Steve Azaiki PDP; Southern Ijaw, Preye Oseke, APC.

Others are Ogbia Federal Constituency, Samuel Ogbuku (APC), Fred Obua (PDP); Brass, Isreal Sunny-Goli, APC and Marie Ebikake, PDP.

In Lagos, NAN reports that 50 candidates are contesting for the three Lagos senatorial seats from 25 political parties.

There are 249 candidates across 30 political parties contesting the state’s 24 seats in the House of Representatives.

A breakdown of the list showed that the Lagos West Senatorial District has the highest contenders of 22 candidates. Lagos East and Lagos Central had 15 and 13 contestants.

Political parties fielding candidates in Lagos West are: Accord, AA, ADP, AAC, ADC, APC, AD, ANP, APM, CAP, DPP, GPN, MPN, NCP, ND, PDP, PPN, PRP, PT, PPC, UDP and YPP.

Political parties fielding candidates in Lagos East are: Accord, ACD, AAC, ADC, APC, AD, CAP, DPP, ID, MPN, PDP, PPN, PT and PPC.

In Lagos Central, the following parties have candidates: Accord, ACD, ADC, APC, ANP, FJP, ID, LM, MPN, PDP and PT.

For the House of Representatives seats, of the 30 political parties participating, only PDP, APC and ADC are fielding candidates in all the 24 federal constituencies. Others did not.

In Ogun, outgoing Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central) is on the list of senatorial candidates of the APC.

The other APC candidates are Chief of Staff to the Governor Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun West) and Senator Lekan Mustapha(Ogun East).

For the House of Representatives son of former Governor Olusegun Osoba, Hon. Olumide Osoba, is listed for Obafemi – Owode and Odeda Federal Constituency seat.

The others are Jimoh Ojugbele (Ado/Odo/Ota), Sulaiman Ismail (Ijebu North, Ijebu East and Ogun Waterside constituency), Ibrahim Isiaka (Ifo/ Ewekoro Federal Constituency), Edun Oladapo, (Abeokuta South Federal Constituency), Biyi Otegbeye (Egbado South and Ipokia), Kayode Oladele(Egbado North, Imeko Afon) Osunsanya Korede(Ijebu North, Ijebu -Ode, Odogbolu) and Adewunmi Onanuga (Ikenne, Remo North, Sagamu).

Senatorial candidates of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) are: former Speaker Titi Oseni – Gomez (Ogun Central), Mr. Adedeji Ashiru (Ogun East) and Mr. Babatunde Ogunola (Ogun West).

In FCT, those contesting for the Senate are Sen. Zaphaniah Jisalo (APC); Sen. Philip Aduda, (PDP); Esther Audu, (ADC) and Eric lbe, (SDP).

For the House of Representatives (AMAC Bwari) are Lamorde Hallilu (APC) Micah Jiba (PDP); and Ene Idoko-Abel (ADC).

In Benue State, former Governor Gabriel Suswam PDP) will battle Senator Barnabas Gemade (SDP), Joseph Akaagerger (APGA) and Former Benue State Internal Revenue Service Chair Mrs Mimi Orubi (APC) will contest for the Zone A Benue North East senatorial seat.

For Zone B Benue North West Senatorial district the top candidates are Senator George Akume (APC) and Chairman House Committee on Businesses (PDP)

In Zone C which Senator David Mark is vacating, former Minister Abba Morro (PDP) is running against former permanent Secretary of Defence, Okibe Onoja Mike (SDP).

Good morning and welcome to our 2019 elections coverage.

Here we will give you detailed analysis of the latest election coverage – from the primaries, to the campaigns, and to the results – all these from Bloomgist reporters, corespondent, analysts, contributors, partner media and other sources to keep you up to date with what’s latest.

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Congo protest against electronic voting machines

Opposition supporters in the Democratic Republic of Congo are marching to demand the withdrawal of electronic voting machines that are to be used in elections due to be held in December.

The BBC’s Poly Muzalia in Kinshasa has been snapping photos of the protesters in the capital, Kinshasa:

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The AFP news agency reports that in a rare gesture, the authorities gave permission for the marches, but it reports that the security forces are deployed in strength in major cities nationwide.

President Joseph Kabila was supposed to have stepped down nearly two years ago when his second term in office ended, but as elections were postponed, his time in power has been extended.

Ahead of December’s long-delayed vote, two key opposition candidates, Jean Pierre Bemba and Moise Katumbi, have been barred from running.

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They have both asked their supporters to turn out in force to protest against the South Korean voting machines.

The AFP quoted Mr Bemba as saying they should march against “the greatest electoral fraud ever with electronic machines that have not been tested anywhere in the world”.

Federal government sets $14m presidential campaign cap

Nigeria’s parliament has passed a law capping campaign spending for next year’s elections.

Voters in Osun election

The following limits have been set:

  • Presidential candidates: $14m (£11m)
  • Gubernatorial candidates: $3m
  • Senate candidates: $700,000
  • House of Representatives candidates: $280,000.

The Electoral Act also stipulates how electronic card readers, used for the accreditation of voters at polling stations, should work.

This is seen as a move to address the malpractices that have characterised previous elections.

Card readers were used at some polling stations during the last elections, but there have been worries about them functioning in rural areas where power shortages can be an issue.

It will be mandatory to use them now and the law says that should a card reader fail and a new one not be deployed within three hours, the election at that polling station should be cancelled and held within 24 hours.

APC governors meet with Buhari to strategise on how to defeat Atiku

Governors elected under the platform of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) have said that they will campaign strictly based on “issues” in 2019.

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The governors said they believe campaigning on issues will ensure victory for the party and help it defeat opposition candidates and parties.

This was revealed by the chairman of Progressives Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, while speaking with State House correspondents after he led some of his colleagues to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

The meeting took place inside the president’s office at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Mr Okorocha said they came to congratulate Mr Buhari on his emergence as the party’s sole presidential candidate and to also discuss the crises bedevilling the party following its primary elections which held last week.

“Our election this time will not engage in castigations, we will be talking on issues. Nigerians are tired of political abuses, what we want to be talking about are issues and track records of people involved in our elections,” the governor said.

Mr Okorocha said they decided to adopt this campaign method because they realise that, “Nigerians are very wise now. Before they elect anybody, the will ask questions: what has been your track record, who were you before and who are you now and everything about you. For that reason, we are confident that 2019, APC will pull through,” he said.

He said they also discussed the crises that followed the conduct of primaries across the states.

“We have also looked at issues concerning our primaries. In every democracy, expect some kind of disagreements and we have kindly requested that something be done to bring all warring factions together so we can have a united party to face the challenges ahead,” he said.

The conduct of APC primaries in Imo, Rivers, Kaduna, Zamfara and Adamawa led to crises in the ruling party.

Mr Okorocha however, said most of the problems have been solved except for one or two states.

The crisis was more pronounced in Zamfara State which made it impossible for the APC to conduct primary elections.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the electoral umpire, INEC, wrote to the APC saying it does not expect a list of candidates for Zamfara State because of the party’s inability to organise primary within the stipulated time.

Mr Okorocha said they have already asked for Mr Buhari’s help to “intervene on the matter”.

He said they told Mr Buhari that he must ensure reconciliation of all aggrieved factions ahead of the 2019 elections.

“What is important to us is that we must not go into this battle a divided family and we want to make sure that all governors are intact, all National Assembly members are intact while going into this battle. We will never speak differently, we will speak as united leaders of the party,” he said.

ATIKU

The governor also spoke about the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He said the ruling party is not bothered because “history is there to speak”.

“Like I said we are not going to get involved in this verbal war with anybody, we will be talking about issues. If you say, look you are not good, we will tell you what we can do and what we cannot do and what others cannot do.

“So APC is not going to engage in those kinds of talk show, but we will discuss on what our party can do for the people,” he said.

Mr Abubakar, who left the APC for the PDP last year, is expected to be the main challenger to President Buhari in next year’s election.

PARLEY

Mr Okorocha also said they have asked Mr Buhari to fix a date for the governors to hold a special parley with him.

He said the president expressed happiness with the decision.

“He is looking for a date to invite the governors to celebrate him and tell the world about our joy and happiness that he emerged as our presidential flag bearer which is victory assured 2019,” he said.

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the decision by the governors is a welcome development.

He said the APC is ”one big family” and in contests such as the party’s primaries, there are bound to be winners and losers.

“But in the spirit of the game of politics, which is like any other sport ,after the game is over, whoever has emerged victorious must be magnanimous and gracious in his victory, and whoever has lost out should also accept it in the spirit of sportsmanship.”

He said the proposed parley with the governors will help the APC, “quickly heal wounds and bring the family together for the greater task ahead.”

On the mode of campaign proposed by the governors, Mr Mustapha said the APC administration performed creditably well.

“This morning I had the privilege of laying before the council a compendium of the policies and programmes and projects initiated and implemented by this government in two and a half years.

“A 1042 page document, not stories, facts of what we have been able to achieve and I think we have set the tone that this campaign will be driven by issues; this campaign must be predicated upon what you are able to bring to the table for the people of Nigeria. It’s not going to be a noisy campaign, anybody preparing for noise should be prepared to receive defeat in February of 2019,” the SGF said.


Source: Premium Times

Police fires teargas as Saraki, Dogara lead protest to INEC office

Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and the national chairman of People’s Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, Friday, led a protest to the headquarter of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.

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The party leaders demanded the cancellation of the just concluded Osun State governorship election.

The Osun State governorship election at the first attempt was declared inconclusive after the margin between the two leading contenders in the poll was lower the number of invalid votes.

The candidate of the opposition party Ademola Adeleke got a total of 254, 698 votes while Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress poll 254, 345 votes to come in second after the votes from all the local councils in the state were tallied.

A rerun was held in seven polling units in the state and APC candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, was declared the winner by INEC against the party’s candidate Adeleke.

Oyetola polled 255,505 votes to defeat the opposition Party’s candidate, Adeleke, who got 255,023 votes.

At the outcome of the supplementary election, the PDP called for its cancellation and the declaration of its candidate Adeleke as the winner.

It also alleged that security agents prevented its members from accessing polling units to cast their votes.

“The right of the citizens to come out and vote has been trampled upon. The entire state, wards and units have been seized by security agencies acting on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make sure the election is rigged by all means,” Secondus said.

“We want to remind our security chiefs that they swore to defend Nigeria and defend and protect our parties. Nigeria is a multi-party state, a multi-party nation but what we have witnessed in Osun shows clearly that APC is not ready for election and we are afraid that Buhari will not hand over if he loses the election next year.”

The protesters are therefore demanding that INEC declare PDP candidate Adeleke as the winner of the election claiming that the Nigeria Police and INEC are arms of the ruling party.


Cover photo: Senate President Bukola Saraka and other PDP leaders during a protest to the INEC office on October 5th, 2018 against the Osun election result. Photo: The Bloomgist/Agencies

Here is why APC suspended Imo governorship primaries

The All Progressives Congress has suspended the governorship primaries in Imo State indefinitely.

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

Party spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, did not give any reasons for the suspension in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The spokesperson also said the senatorial primaries in all the 36 states of the country have been postponed until October 3.

The battle for APC governorship ticket in Imo remained one of the most controversial this season. It pits Uche Nwosu, an in-law of incumbent Governor Rochas Okorocha, against Hope Uzodinma, a serving senator; current deputy governor, Eze Madumere; and others.

Bloomgist gathered that during the ‘inconclusive’ exercise held Tuesday, Uche Nwosu was losing with just 10,329 while senator Hope Uzodinma is leading with 423,895 and closely trailed by the deputy governor, Eze Madumere whole polled 128,325 before it was canceled.

The controversies that trailed it appeared to have compelled the party’s national body to cancel whatever transpired and suspend the exercise.

As part of the controversies, both parties have claimed victory in the botched exercise on Tuesday afternoon.