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Senator Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna-central) has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over the list of persons invited to late MKO Abiola’s GCFR conferment.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha on Friday released the list of guests which had members of the National Executive Committee of the SDP including States Chairmen and Secretaries at the time of June 12, 1993 and Governors elected under SDP platform.

Reacting, Sani noted that most of the invitees betrayed MKO Abiola during June 12 struggle. He also criticised the timing of the award, insisting that it gives room for concerns and suspicion of a political undertone.

“The recognition accorded to Chief MKO Abiola and the June 12 struggle by the PMB administration is commendable. It’s long overdue. PMB has done what many of his predecessors failed to do,” Sani said.

“However, the timing of the recognition in an election year raised issues that the recognition was not without motive. It is a Golden box of honour containing a note of electoral expectation from the South west.

“Honoring June 12 is appreciated but exploiting Abiola’s name for 2019 election will splash oil on the pearl.

“Some of those invited and honored by the villa in the name Abiola or June 12 were people who betrayed Abiola and abandoned the struggle even when chief MKO was alive, others even disowned, condemned and denied him in his hours of need.

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POLITICS

Rivers APC Reacts To INEC’s Final Decision To Exclude Party From Participating In 2019 General Elections

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insistence that the party would not contest the governorship, federal and state assemblies rescheduled general elections.

The state’s APC, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary Chris Finebone, on Wednesday, in Port Harcourt, cited various decisions of higher courts to justify its demand.

The party claimed that there was no Supreme Court judgement anywhere authorising INEC to delist APC candidates in Rivers State.

The APC insisted that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s statement on the commission’s commitment to obey Supreme Court judgement “is premised on error.”

“We are advising the INEC leadership not to constitute themselves as enemies of democracy by obeying a non-existent Supreme Court judgment.’

“Hence the chairman of INEC must be well guided by credible evidence and not mere media misrepresentations and misinterpretations which are mischievously aimed at destroying an entire political future of a state,” he said.

APC said that it had in a letter addressed to Yakubu dated Feb. 19, through its lawyers, Messrs Tuduru Ede and Co, argued that it duly submitted the list of its candidates for Rivers State for the 2019 General Elections in line with the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission.

It urged INEC to recall that the names and particulars of the state’s APC candidates were duly published by the commission as required by law.

“Hence we are aware that pursuant to the judgment in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/ 149/2018 between the Peoples Democratic Party V. All Progressives Congress (APC) & Anor, the names of APC candidates for Rivers State were removed from the final list of candidates published by the commission.

“However, the APC, aggrieved by the said decision of the Federal High Court on which the decisions of the Commission to remove the list was anchored, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division in appeal No. CA/PH/38/2019,” it added.

It explained that the Court of Appeal in a considered ruling delivered on Feb. 6, stayed the execution of the said judgment of the Federal High Court.

It further stated that “the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, also in another appeal No. CA/PH/39/ 2019, further stayed the execution of the judgment of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.’’

“Furthermore, appeal to the Supreme Court in appeal No. SC 118/2019, against the order of stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, has been struck out by the Supreme Court.”

They noted that in spite of the ruling by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the names of candidates of the APC in Rivers had not been published by the commission as those participating in the 2019 General Elections.

“Thus it is imperative to place on record that the judgment of the Rivers State High Court, in suit No. BHC/78/2018, which was fought to the Supreme Court in appeal No. SC 1332/2018, SC 1333/2018, SC 1334/2018 and SC 81/2018, have nothing to do with INEC as it is not a party thereto.

“You may also wish to note that in spite of the said judgment of Rivers State High Court, the commission accepted and published the names of candidates of APC in respect of Rivers State.

“And it was the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt that warranted the removal of the names from the final list published by the commission, which judgment has now been stayed.

“In view of the foregoing, we call on the commission to without delay publish the names of candidates of APC in Rivers State for the 2019 General Elections as submitted by the APC.

“We have no doubt that the commission, as a law-abiding institution, will accede to this request without delay,” APC added.

The party maintained that the two Federal High Court judgments that INEC relied on to exclude APC candidates from the ballot paper, have since been stayed by the Court of Appeal.

“It is therefore only righteous for INEC to follow the position of the Court and stop playing to the gallery in a manner that is suspicious and in flagrant disobedience to court decisions and rule of law.

“To this effect, a further appeal to the Supreme Court against the stays of execution has since been thrown out on record.

“There is, therefore, no reason to continue to leave APC Rivers off the ballot. All other appeals as they relate to other matters do not concern INEC, they are not party to them,” the statement claimed.

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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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