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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.”

POLITICS

Bayelsa Guber: PDP Flags Off Campaign, As Diri Seeks Bayelsans Support

Peter Okunoren

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Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri has called on members of the party and all Bayelsans to support the party and ensure it emerges victorious.

Senator Diri assured the people of Bayelsa State that his government will be committed to industrialization and open several frontiers through which youths of the state can be gainfully employed.

Speaking during the flag-off of PDP gubernatorial campaign ahead of the November 16 governorship election at the Yenagoa Boat Club and OxBow Lake Grand Pavilion, which was witnessed by a mammoth crowd of party faithful across the eight local government area of the state, Senator Diri decried the antics of some other parties to threaten and intimidate those who have decided to willfully support the PDP, and urged all Bayelsans to remain undaunted in the face of such threats

The PDP candidate also lauded the efforts of Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson for transforming Yenagoa from an underdeveloped city to one which has several monumental projects that have improved the quality of the lives of Bayelsans.

His words: “Get ready because that Brass LNG must work so that our youths will have employment so that Bayelsa will be a safe haven for investment, it will attract more investment to Bayelsa.

“I want to thank you all my party members, supporters and very industrious people of the Peoples Democratic Party, the only thing we owe ourselves and the generation yet unborn is to ensure that Bayelsa State develops.

“Those of us from the old Yenagoa local government area, we know that Yenagoa is no longer what it was. Yenagoa has moved from being a monologue road local government headquarters to being a brawling and developing city.

“There are monumental projects that our children will come and clap hands for you and me. One of them is the airport, it will outlive this government. We will no longer go to neighboring states to look for a plane to travel out of Bayelsa. We will remain here in Bayelsa and travel out of this place.

“So I want to thank all of you and believe that the numbers you have come out with, that you will come the same way on November 16 2019.”

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APC May No Longer Exist In 2023 After Buhari’s Tenure —- Rochas Okorocha

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Senator representing Imo West District in the National Assembly, Rochas Okorocha, has expressed fears that the All Progressives Congress, APC, may cease to exist when President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office in 2023.

The Senator, who stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, also lamented that his sacrifices to expand the membership base of the APC in the South-East was repaid by the party with evil.

He said, “I have never thought of leaving the party but what happens next will be determined by time.

“My only worry is that the party may disappear with the exit of President Buhari if the ongoing injustices are not addressed.

“Unlike other governors from the North that rode on the name Muhammadu Buhari to power, the name Buhari had a negative effect on my campaign for the second term.

“But I was determined to overcome that because I knew what we stood to gain.

“If anything, the party repaid me evil for good. There was no challenge I did not face or bad name I was not called in my state.

“They brought in people who fought me when I was building the party at state level to fight me over the control of the party. I don’t want to talk about it but my party did not treat me well.”

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APC Rejects Senator Kalu’s Sack By Abia Tribunal

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The Abia state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has rejected the judgement of the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, which nullified the election of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on Monday.

Recall that the National and State House of Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had nullified the election of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, for Abia North Senatorial District.

Delivering its judgment on Monday, a member of the three-member tribunal, Justice I.P.C Igwe, said that the petitioner, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, successfully proved his allegation of substantial non-compliance with the electoral guidelines.

Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had approached the tribunal to nullify the election of Kalu, who contested the Feb. 2019 election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

The petitioner told the tribunal that Kalu’s declaration as the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply with the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

However, Comrade Benedict Godson, Publicity Secretary of APC in Abia, in an interview with newsmen, Monday in Umuahia, the state capital, said the party leadership vehemently reject the decision of the tribunal.

He urged all Abians, APC supporters and ever dedicated followers of Dr Orji Uzor-Kalu’s political history to remain calm as every legal procedure will be followed to appeal the judgement.

Godson, “We reject the judgement of the tribunal completely. We call on everyone, Abians, party supporters and the ever dedicated followers of OUK political history to remain calm as every necessary legal means will be applied to appeal this judgement”.

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