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Rig 2019 elections and invite trouble, PDP warns APC

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that any attempt to rig the 2019 general election would be a recipe for crisis.

 

The party said ‎Nigerians have lost confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for attempting to cover its alleged complicity in the widespread impunity recorded in last Saturday’s Kano State local council elections.

 

PDP’s position was made known by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan at two separate events in Abuja.

 

Prince Secondus who spoke when he received President of the International Republican Institute (IRI), Dan Twining, said the major concern of the party was that INEC and the APC were not prepared to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.

 

“Our major concern is for INEC to conduct a free and fair election, because if the 2019 election is being rigged it is a recipe for crisis,” Secondus warned.

 

He appealed to IRI president to meet with INEC to ensure that the conduct of next year’s general elections is free and fair.

 

‎‎Secondus decried the spate of insecurity in the country, noting that Nigeria is passing through difficult times since the APC came to power but said the PDP has been repositioned to reclaim the presidency it lost in 2015.

 

“We have strategised and reorganized our party, and today we are happy that we are hitting the ground running.

 

“We have planned out our strategy on how to get to our people and our major target is the grassroots; we will get to the grassroots and to our supporters,” he disclosed.

 

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on the alleged underage voting in Kano local government election, accused IINEC of registering minors as voters and as such should not in any way attempt to exonerate itself of involvement in the electoral fraud, simply because it did not directly conduct the elections.

 

It said this showed clearly that INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was unreliable and cannot be trusted.

 

“We ask: Who is fooling who? Is it not INEC that registered the minors and issued them with Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) to participate in elections as clearly documented in the Kano council election?

 

“Can INEC truly acquit itself as the original culprit who set the stage for the eventual participation of the minors and overall rigging of the elections?,” PDP asked.

 

The party said that ‎by resorting to lame excuses and trying to exonerate itself at a time it should be taking decisive steps to protect the sanctity of its sensitive materials such as the permanent voter’s card (PVC), INEC has shown that it cannot be relied upon as a responsible and trustworthy electoral umpire.

 

“Indeed, if this INEC was serious about the sanctity of sensitive electoral materials, by now, it should have ordered the immediate review of its voter register in Kano and Katsina States, fishing out and

prosecuting those who registered the minors and clean up the electoral system in the affected states,” the statement suggested.

 

PDP added that if the alleged irregularity in Kano local government election‎ was “viewed alongside series of numerous other irregularities being allowed by INEC to favour the ruling APC, including alleged conspiracy with APC-controlled security operatives to intimidate opposition members and

manipulate elections as witnessed in the last Saturday’s Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency supplementary election in Katsina state, any reasonable person will decode that INEC, as presently constituted, has serious questions to answer, especially as we approach the 2019 general

elections.

 

“While we now hold the statement by INEC as part of our strong evidence of irregularities and violations in the elections, we charge the commission to redeem its name by immediately reviewing and sanitizing its voter registers in affected states, particularly, Kano and Katsina, as that is the only way it can demonstrate its dependability to Nigerians.”

 

The party further warned that Nigerians would not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general elections.

 

“The commission should, therefore, ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by the APC against the will of the people, particularly in the 2019 elections, as such will be highly resisted,” it warned.

 

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EFCC grills former Kaduna governor for 4 hours over N700m campaign fund

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The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Friday interrogated Ramalan Yero, former governor of Kaduna state, for four hours at the commission’s office in Kaduna.

Yero was at the EFCC Kaduna office from around 9 am till around 1:30 pm, when he walked out smiling.

The former governor thanked his supporters who were outside the EFCC office, for their solidarity and asked them to go to the mosques for Juma’at prayer.

He, however, declined to make comment to the press.

His spokesman, Yakubu Lere, told NAN that the ex-governor was invited in connection with the N700 million campaign funds released to the state by the People Democratic Party headquarters in 2015.

Lere recalled that the former governor was at the EFCC office in Kano two years ago over the matter and was granted administrative bail.

“At that time, he explained during the interrogation that the N700 million was PDP money sent to him as the then governor of Kaduna state to finance 2015 general election with instructions, which he judiciously followed,” he said.

“What they are holding against him was that he kept the money in the office of the secretary to the state government instead of in a bank.

“Even last week he was here on the same issue, but as you can see, he came out smiling, meaning the commission has found nothing to hold against him for now.”

The spokesman urged Yero supporters to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the struggle to “rescue the state from collapse” has started.

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Speaker seizes mace to avoid impeachment

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The Speaker of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Legislative Council, Mr Daniel Michael, on Friday, seized the mace, the symbol of authority, to prevent his impeachment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that his action followed the move by his colleagues to impeach him over allegation of misconduct and abuse of privilege.

Mr Yusuf Kadir, the majority leader of the house, while moving a motion to pass a vote of no confidence on the speaker for alleged gross misconduct, called for his impeachment.

Mr Haruna Saidu, the deputy speaker, who presided over the house, directed the clerk to serve the speaker with the no confidence vote notice moved against him.

Saidu explained that the speaker had been given notice and the ultimatum to respond to the petition on or before May 30, but had to step down as the speaker in the meantime.

He further said that the impeachment would depend on his response to the notice served him.

Mr Aminu Barde, representing Kabusa ward, called on the house to strike out article B in the motion, which according to him, was strictly a party affair and should not be brought to the house.

Mr Isah Baushe, the Councillor representing Gwarinpa ward, said that the speaker should be given time to respond to the petition in writing before his the formal impeachment.

Baushe added that the petitioners should also provide evidence to back up their claims.

The petition reads: “abuse of office by taking unilateral decision without consulting this honorable chamber, which is tantamount to act of impunity and gross abuse of privilege.

“There was also an abuse of privilege by misinforming and misleading the honourable members to subconsciously disobey the party decision on state exco affirmation.

“This singular action has brought this honourable house to disrepute and ridicule.

“There was subversion of the legislative authority by unilaterally withdrawing an official communication from this chamber to the executive arm of the council without our collective consent.

“Desecrating the symbol of authority by removing and ordering mace to be deposited in an unconstitutional and unauthorised location,” it stated.

In his reaction, the speaker told NAN that he had not done anything wrong and would answer any question brought to him.

“I know myself, I have not done anything wrong, I’ll answer them,” he said.

NAN also reports that the glass door to the chamber was completely broken during the fracas that ensued at the chamber, following the event.

The lawmakers resorted to the use of the old broken mace to conduct the business of the day.

Some of the lawmakers, however, expressed happiness to the happening at the chamber, saying the crisis would allow members to sit up for serious legislative business.

(NAN)

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Police recover Gombe assembly’s Mace

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The Police in Gombe state on Friday, said they had recovered the Mace of the state’s House of Assembly, forcefully taken away a scuffle by some members during plenary on Thursday.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Shina Olukolu, told newsmen in Gombe that the mace was found around National Industrial Court in the state capital in the early hours of Friday.

The mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, was said to have been whisked away by some aggrieved members of the assembly after a failed attempt to change their leadership.

“You will recall that yesterday, May 24, at about 1.30 p.m. the mace, the symbol of authority of Gombe state House of Assembly, was taken away by an honourable member of the house in the company of others.

“The incident was allegedly occasioned by the dispute over leadership change of minority principal officers of the house.

“On receipt of the information, the Commissioner of Police visited the scene and heightened the security architecture already in place in the command based on the directives of the Inspector-General of Police.

“The pressure made them consequently to abandon the mace by the National Industrial Court in the state and it was recovered early on Friday.

“The mace is therefore today being handed over to the Speaker for his retention and use,’’ he said.

Receiving the mace from the police, the speaker, Alhaji Nasiru Nono, commended the police and other security agencies in the state for the proactive steps they took, which led to the recovery of the mace.

Nono said the mace was taken by one of the APC members during plenary on Thursday. (NAN)

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