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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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Stop peddling fiction, Buhari tells Transparency International

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President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI), to desist from peddling fiction and focus on constructive criticism and analysis.

The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity Garba Shehu said the organization has a responsibility to reflect the larger picture of the concrete and verifiable achievements of his administration since it came into office in May 2015.

Buhari said the government is still wondering the criteria or facts used by the anti-corruption watchdog to arrive at its very misleading and unfair conclusions in its assessment of the Federal government’s efforts in this anti-corruption crusade.

“Political will is the first major component of fighting corruption in any country and President Buhari has made a huge difference by demonstrating not only the political will but also the extraordinary courage to go after high profile looters, including former military service chiefs and Judges.

“It was once unthinkable to touch or prosecute the ‘‘big men’’ for corruption in Nigeria but President Buhari has ended impunity for corruption,” the President noted.

He continued that “Today, the Buhari administration has made accountability the bedrock of governance and corruption is no longer fashionable because it attracts consequences.

“Blocking leakages for corruption through the rigid enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had made life tougher for corrupt officials. He regretted that these efforts were not acknowledged by the Corruption Watchdog.

“Figures published by the EFCC, the anti-corruption agency, reveal that  N738.9 billion was recovered in just two years of the Buhari administration and this impressive and unprecedented record is worthy of mention and acknowledgement by anybody genuinely looking at the larger picture of the country’s progress in the war against corruption.

“During the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria, the Chairman of the Agency Ibrahim Magu noted that the figure represents $2.9 billion dollars,” Buhari noted.

The President said that besides these impressive recoveries of looted funds, the EFCC has recorded more than 140 successful prosecutions.

The Federal government according to him has also signed international agreements to recover the proceeds of corruption and to block the laundering of stolen assets abroad by public officials.

“Anybody who knows where Nigeria was coming from would not believe that corruption is worse under the Buhari administration.

“We wonder where they got their facts from. At a time, they are alleging increase in the incidence of corruption under this government, the whole of Africa is applauding by choosing President Buhari as the continental Champion to lead the fight against it. Nothing can be more eloquent than this,” he said.

The President said in the end, this whole episode may turn out to be just a political distraction, given the strong views some of TI’s patrons have expressed against the Buhari Administration.

“This notwithstanding, facts are facts, and those facts won’t cease to be facts even if you don’t care to pay attention to them,” he stressed.

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2019: APC governors meet President Buhari tonight

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President Muhammadu Buhari is billed to meet with state governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) tonight at the conference hall of the Wife of the President, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Newsmen report that the meeting might be a follow-up to the Daura meeting which was held at the president’s private resident last Friday.

The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, told newsmen after a closed door meeting with President Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, that their mission was merely to condole with the President over the loss of two members of his extended family.

He dismissed media reports that their mission to Daura was aimed at convincing the President to seek re-election in the 2019 presidential election. The governor, however, stated that the governors would meet with the president soon to deliberate on the 2019 election.

Newsmen gathered that tonight’s meeting of the president with the APC governors was meant to convince President Buhari on the need to seek re-election in 2019.

The APC governors had earlier attended the meeting of the Council of State, presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. nan

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Reps raise alarm over N11 bn extra budgetary spending at NEMA

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The House of Representatives committee on emergency and disaster preparedness yesterday raised an alarm over extra-budgetary spending amounting to N11 million at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The lawmakers said while they approved the sum of N1.8 billion for NEMA in 2017, documents presented by the agency showed that it expended over N11billion.

The committee, which made the allegations at a budget defence with NEMA also  accused the Director General of the agency, Alhaji Mustapha Maihaja, for hiring contractors for the supply of some relief materials without adhering to due process.

Recall that the committee had on Tuesday queried Maihaja over the sum of N1.6bn spent on Libya returnees without any appropriation.

Deputy chairman of the House committee, Hon. Ali Isa JC (PDP, Gombe) who presided over the meeting demanded the DG to present the list of items purchased and the quantity delivered to each state; all documentary approvals from the president; copies of award letters given to contractors, among others.

A member of the panel, Adedoyin Olufunke (APC, Kwara) said  what NEMA spent was at variance with what the committee appropriated.

“We will not accept this. We can’t be rubber stamp to any government agency. In fact, I don’t think NEMA respects us as a committee,” she said.

Recating to the development, Hon. Timothy Golu (PDP, Plateau) observed that the NEMA DG did not disclose how much the agency got from the Ecological Funds and that even some directors of the agency appeared not to be on the same page with the DG.

Similarly, Hon. Prestige Ossy (APGA, Abia) said monies from the ecological funds are supposed to be used for ecologically related disasters, but that NEMA went outside its boundaries.

While responding, Maihaja said all the transactions done followed due process and that the money from Ecological Funds was approved by the president as part of intervention for emergency situations.

He said NEMA did not embark on any extra budgetary spending and promised to provide relevant information to the panel regarding the spendings.

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