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Rise Above Petty Politics, Sign Electoral Bill Now —- Saraki Tells Buhari

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The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to heed the advice of the anti-democratic elements who have now populated the political space and putting pressure on him not to give assent to the 2018 Electoral Bill.

Saraki in a statement in Ilorin on Wednesday, signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged the President to rise above petty politics and act without further delay in the best interest of the country and its democracy by signing the Electoral Bill into law.

Saraki noted that he had been inundated with telephone calls and discussions by members of the National Assembly who expressed concern about the delay in the signing into law of the Electoral Bill as the one month period provided by the law for the President to sign a bill presented to him by the National Assembly is about to expire in the next few days.

He added that many of the legislators who contacted him were particularly disturbed that certain individuals who are said to be chairmen of political parties had approached the Federal High Court to stop the President from assenting to the bill.

He noted that the jaded tactic employed in the 90s to scuttle the return to democracy when groups like the Association for Better Nigeria went to court to frustrate the announcement of the results of the June 12, 1993 elections is now being adopted by some masked groups and individuals to stop the signing into law of the Electoral Bill.

He urged President Buhari to dissociate himself from these ugly antics and sign the bill, which he said has comprehensively addressed issues that usually clog the process of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

Saraki said: “It is the prerogative of the President to either sign a Bill into law or refuse it assent. He is free to exercise this prerogative the way he likes in this case. What I found surprising is a situation where some people now want to adopt a wrong tactic of abusing the court process to stall the matter. That will be unacceptable and I am sure our judiciary will rely on the lessons from the past and not allow itself to be used.

“We do not want the President to allow the setting of a bad precedent in which somebody will go to court in future to stop the passage of an Appropriation Bill or any essential law which will be important to the development of the country.

“My position remains that the President, his aides, the entire country and the international community are aware that all the concerns raised by the President on the past three occasions he withheld assent to the bill have been addressed by the legislature. We bent backward on each occasion to accommodate the wishes of the President. We started work on this law since 2016 to prevent a situation where it would become part of the election controversies.

“Every sincere commentator, observer, and analyst know that what we have done with that bill is to raise the level of transparency, credibility, and acceptability of our electoral process. We made sure that the law if assented to and honestly applied by INEC and all those concerned, will give us an election that will be better than what we had in 2015.

“The President should know that the survival of democracy, its development and the future of Nigeria are far more important than the ambition of any individual or party. I am using this opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to put a stop to this uncertainty in the political process by signing without delay the 2018 Electoral Bill so as to allow INEC and the concerned parties know how to prepare for a credible process.”

BIG STORY

How Dead, Sick People Were Accredited For South-West PDP Congress —– Fayose

Gbemileke Ajayi

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A former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, has alleged that dead and sick people were accredited during the South-West Peoples Democratic Party congress held in Osun State on Monday.

It was reported that Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, the candidate backed by the camp of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, got 343 votes to emerge as new South-West Zonal Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party on Monday.

Dr Eddy Olafeso backed by the camp of Fayose got a total of 330 votes.

But Fayose insisted that the election was rigged while speaking on Channels TV Politics Today programme on Wednesday.

He explained that a former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, identified those that were dead and sick on the accreditation list.

He said, “The leader of the transport union in Oyo State came to the venue publicly looking for my head. It was public knowledge.

“We compelled them to announce publicly how many people were accredited. They resisted that and said they will announce state-by-state. The norm is for you to announce accreditation and tell us how many people came and how many votes are expected.

“By the accreditation, they initially said Oyo state had 115 people list, 104 accredited. Out of 104, 82 people voted. At the end of the exercise, the accreditation was 675, publicly announced.

“Ekiti voted first, followed by Ogun, Lagos, Osun then they purposely allowed Oyo to vote last.

“When you look at the alphabet, you will realise that a game was obviously going on.

“In Oyo, they told us 177 were listed. Hon Mulikat protested and said, ‘this man is dead, this man is dead, this man is dead, this man is sick, this one is abroad, this one is aged’. They came back and told us 165. This is the game going on in the entire process.”

When asked if he raised these objections, Fayose said, ‘Yes, they were raised.”

He, however, said his camp chose to overlook rigging because he was not ready to defect to another party.

“I have accepted this result not because they won but because I am one of the people that can’t defect to another party,” he added.

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POLITICS

There Was A Gentleman’s Agreement For ACN Bloc To Succeed Buhari In 2023 —– SWAGA

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The South West Agenda (SWAGA) group has said there was a gentleman’s agreement between the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that the Southern arm of the latter would produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor during the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.

SWAGA Vice Chairman, Senator Adesoji Akanbi, stated this while speaking with The Nation yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Akanbi, who represented Oyo South Senatorial District between 2015 and 2019, said leaders of both blocs, which were the major collaborators in the APC’s formation, had the gentleman’s agreement.

He claimed that the pact was not documented in black and white.

According to him, while Buhari was the CPC leader at the time, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was the ACN leader.

Akanbi said the agreement still subsists and that members of both blocs are aware of its validity.

The former lawmaker, who facilitated the inclusion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project in the budgets while he was at the Senate, explained that the reasoning behind the agreement was that such rotation, which would allow the Southwest to produce the next President, would keep Nigeria united.

“There was a gentleman’s agreement, though not written, between the then CPC and ACN on the rotational presidency. The thinking was that it would help keep Nigeria as one indivisible entity. We believe that the ACN had sacrificed a lot for the formation of the APC, therefore, Southern Nigeria should produce the next President.”

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POLITICS

Insecurity: APC Govt At All Levels Have Failed — Ganduje’s Aide

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The Special Adviser to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on Media, Salihu Yakasai, has said that the government of the All Progressives Congress at all levels has failed Nigerians in the duty to protect lives and properties.

Yakasai said this amid the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State, which happened on Friday.

In a post on his verified Twitter handle, Yakasai lamented the security issue in the country, describing it as a shame.

“Clearly, we as APC government, at all levels, have failed Nigerians in the number 1 duty we were elected to do which is to secure lives & properties. Not a single day goes by without some sort of insecurity in this land. This is a shame! Deal with terrorists decisively or resign,” he wrote.

One Twitter user, @Jayb_10, criticized the northern elites over their attitude in the face of the situation.

He said, “The uncritical, appeasing, docile, and patronizing attitude of the northern elite when one of their own is at the helm is the north’s gravest undoing. It will continue to birth the massive underdevelopment that the north perennially represents. We’re in a mess!”

Yakasai who agreed with the Twitter user imagined what would have happened had it been the current situation was witnessed during previous administrations led by non-northerners.

“I completely agree. Hypocrisy is in our DNA. Imagine what’s happening in the North now was under GEJ or OBJ, sai dai ka ji ana makiyin arewa ne, makiyin musulmi ne, but here we are, being ravaged by all sorts of insecurity but no collective rage, sai useless lamentations. SMDH,” he wrote in response to @Jayb_10

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