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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commended governors Nyesom Wike and Ayodele Fayose of Rivers and Ekiti states for their visits to Benue state. Wike had visited the state, where 73 persons were killed on New Year’s day, on Wednesday before Fayose did the same on Thursday.

Commending the governors in a statement on Thursday, the PDP said the development highlights the party’s commitment to the welfare of the ordinary man. “The party leaders have shown more concern for their selfish political interests across the nation,” the statement said.

In addition, the party lamented the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Benue and said it showed the government does not value the people.

POLITICS

Goodluck Jonathan Calls For Peace, Urges Voters To Resist Vote-Buying

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Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan on Monday called on Nigerians to embrace peace and shun violence ahead the shifted general elections.

Jonathan was in Bayelsa his home state at the weekend for the polls earlier scheduled for Feb. 16 and March 2 and shifter by one week to Feb 23 and March 9 and called on Nigerians to remain peaceful.

Jonathan who made the call during a meeting with Niger Delta Youth Leaders also urged the electorate to shun vote buying and vote according to their conscience.

“Use of money to induce voters has become very prevalent in Nigeria.

“It is more pronounced here than many African countries I have been to monitor elections and it is unhealthy for our development and my NGO is working on advocacy against it.

“Politics should be about the people and anyone who wants to make quick money should go into business and quit politics which is all about service to the people.

“People should vote according to the dictates of their conscience and not be induced by money.

“I have said it repeatedly that no one’s ambition should be worth the spilling of the blood of any Nigerian, peace is fundamental to economic development and the reports of insecurity and violence scares away investors.

“Anytime someone is killed either by security agencies or by any other exra-judicial means it affects the reputation of the country adversely and that is why peace building is very essential especially with the youths.

“Our youths are critical in our democracy because the future belongs to them so my advice is that we should be patient and shun violence in the coming elections,” Jonathan said.

Earlier, Mr Kenedy Tonjo-West, a Niger Delta Youth leader, said that representatives of Niger Delta youths from across the region were in Bayelsa to applaud the former President for his efforts at peace building.

He said that the exemplary leadership style of politics without violence and bitterness was an inspiration to Niger Delta youths.

West, who is also a Senior Special Adviser on Niger Delta Youth matters to Bayelsa Governor, noted the Jonathan’s influence on the youths of the region was responsible for the prevailing peace in the region.

He said that youths from the region were in Bayelsa to seek counsel from the former president following the shift in election date.

Mr Peretubo Oweilaemi, President of Ijaw Youth Council, said that youths from the Niger Delta region remain proud of the former President who relinquished power in the interest of peace and development of Nigeria.

“The emphasis of our amiable leader, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on peace and peace building is very commendable despite his political persuasion he has chosen to always advocate peace and we the youths are learning from him.

“We have seen the region which is very crucial to the country’s economy grow in peace because you advocate and preach peace all the time since you left office as President,” Oweilaemi said.

Leaders of Non Violent Youth groups including Niger Delta Youths Coalition for Peace and Progress, Ex-Militant Leaders who embraced the Presidential Amnesty programme, amongst others, were at the meeting. 

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POLITICS

APC Ready For February 23 Elections —- Bola Tinubu

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday declared its readiness for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, now scheduled to hold this Saturday, February 23.

APC National Leader and Co-Chair of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, gave this indication while speaking with journalists after the National Caucus Meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

Below is the question and answer session…

On election postponement…

“By law we should continue to energise our people. It depends on our resources. Because the Electoral Act allows us to continue to campaign and ask us to stop campaigning only 24 hours before the actual election. And once INEC changed the election date to Feb. 23, they have given us the opening to campaign and energise our people. If you have a garden and you don’t nourish it with water, the grass will remain dormant. We don’t want our party to remain dormant.

“This is ability of leadership to convert adversity to opportunity and prosperity and that’s it; that’s what we must do.

On whether poll postponement will affect credibility of INEC…

“It depends on how it is handled and the new process. How the process is managed? You can convert what appears a crisis, a situation of adversity to an opportunity and progress

The INEC, under the law, is empowered to postpone, cancel and do whatever is necessary to ensure free and fair election. No party other INEC has this power. We can express our anger and disappointment, but no party can reverse what has been done. So, we are ready for Feb. 23.

On President Buhari’s statement that those planning to rig…

“I was in that meeting; the president was just reinforcing the fact that if you are out there snatching ballot boxes, and causing destruction, you are at risk of your own life. Whatever happens to you, no president will give an order that his own citizens be shot summarily, No! No, it’s okay, emotions are running high these days. Any individual including myself can be misinterpreted.

Shoot on sight are not his words; he is a law-abiding person and he understands categorically and clearly what the rule of law is and the lives of individual citizens, he knows that he is in that office to protect. Now, let me say this: he has been fighting Boko Haram, kidnappers and all that before this election, did you hear him asking them to be shot and executed summarily?

If he has gone through that in the last five years, please give him the benefit of the doubt.

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POLITICS

Hold Buhari Responsible For Any Electoral Crisis, PDP Tells Nigerians

Peter Okunoren

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible for any electoral crisis.

This follows the President’s statement during the caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ordering security operatives to “deal ruthlessly” with anyone who attempts to snatch ballot box during the rescheduled general elections next Saturday, February 23, 2019.

In a statement by the spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, says, “We want Nigerians and the international community to hold President Buhari personally responsible for any electoral crisis.

The PDP accused the President and the APC of plots to trigger widespread political crisis “to derail our democratic process and plunge our nation into anarchy”.

According to them the President’s statement is a direct call for jungle justice and attempt to divert public attention from their closed session.

“We do hope that this call by President Buhari is not camouflaged for the fake soldiers mobilized by the APC to shoot at innocent Nigerians, snatch ballot boxes and execute their rigging plans on the election day. It is indeed a license to kill, which should not come from any leader of any civilized nation.

“The underlining fact to the above is that President Buhari and APC leaders, upon getting to their voting constituencies last Saturday, realized that there is a nationwide rejection of Buhari’s re-election bid, and this has thrown them into a panic mode.

“We are aware that President Buhari, who had earlier boasted that nobody can ‘unseat’ him, is bent on using every dictatorial and tyrannical act to truncate the process of a free, fair and credible election”.

The PDP also alleged there have been moved by the presidency to reshuffle the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in order to deploy compromised officials to manipulate the electoral process in favour of the APC.

“Our party is also aware of the pressure being mounted by the Buhari Presidency on INEC to cancel elections in some states and make others inconclusive so as to achieve President Buhari’s objectives of a staggered election not minding the crisis such will trigger across the federation.

Nevertheless, the PDP wants to assure President Buhari that our nation is bigger than him and that Nigerians will never allow him and the APC to rig this election.

He called on the international community, as well as local and “foreign observers to the Nigeria election to note the emerging undemocratic dispositions and threats from both the President and the APC.”

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