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Elections 2019: Osinbajo Writes Open Letter To Nigerians, Begs Citizens To Vote APC [ FULL TEXT]

Peter Okunoren

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday urged Nigerians to return the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

He said though the postponement of 2019 Presidential and National Assembly polls came unexpected, the electorate must not discouraged.

This was contained in an open letter he wrote, titled “A time such as this!”.

Osinbajo thanked the people for their support in 2015 and appealed for more during Saturday’s pills.

The letter reads: “In the past weeks and over the course of my time in office, I have interacted with everyday Nigerians not only to give account of our stewardship, but also to listen. Across the length and breadth of our great country, I’ve seen and heard passionate Nigerians who work hard to earn a decent and dignified life.

Working closely with President Muhammadu Buhari, we have had the privilege to share our vision of a country where all Nigerians, regardless of tribe, class and background can aspire to a viable future and dignified existence. This belief is something that President Buhari has borne and demonstrated for decades as a soldier, public servant, candidate, and now, as President. Now more than ever before, we feel we are truly at the cusp of greatness.

In 2015, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), we undertook to tackle insecurity, corruption and an economy characterised by extremely deficient infrastructure and the sheer abundance of poverty.

Despite extenuating circumstances, we have worked hard to actualise our mission. A nation at war, we delivered on our commitment to secure our territorial integrity by liberating 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency.

We halted the march of the insurgents to Kaduna, Kano and Abuja where they had bombed churches, mosques, government buildings including the UN building and Police Headquarters in Abuja before 2015. Today the activities of insurgents and the new ISIS West Africa (ISWA) are largely restricted to Northern Borno.

I, like many other Nigerians, have believed, all of my life, that our nation has sufficient resources to provide a dignified existence for most of our citizens.

Our curse has been the character of leadership that has often advanced personal gain as the underlying motive for public service. I know that has changed since 2015 and many can see that as well. We are doing far much more with lesser resources than prior administrations.

Corruption is the singular reason why for many years before 2015, uncompleted or non-existent infrastructure littered the landscape just as poverty alleviation schemes were additional vehicles that enriched only a handful at the expense of a growing and aggrieved population. Inevitably, the inequality gap is the underlying cause of insecurity and social tension.

Over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a stable and prosperous country for our people. The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air.

We have introduced several measures to ease doing business in Nigeria, and also ensure that micro, small and medium businesses can access government services and loan facilities. We also took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme.
Through the National Social Investment Programme, we are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses. We are directly providing the majority of our people a path out of poverty.

We know that building a compassionate nation under the rubric of social justice, led by the Federal Government, is not only desirable to right-thinking Nigerians, but is a national imperative. This is why the Federal Government did not hesitate to support state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay unpaid state workers, as well as taking on the responsibility of settling decades of unpaid pension liabilities to retirees of moribund federal enterprises.

While we continue to believe that the primary role of leadership is to advance good for the people of Nigeria, there are many challenges that still beset the nation. For decades, not much was done by way of focused human capital development.

Our priorities for the next four years, if elected, are set out in our Next Level Roadmap document. We believe that the gains in providing free meals for children in public primary schools must now be deepened with our plan to revamp education through a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM); prioritising digital literacy; retraining all teachers in primary and secondary schools, and also remodelling and equipping our classrooms.

Our Next Level Roadmap also outlines our plans for employment, skills development, health, power, agriculture, industrialisation, inclusion in governance, among others.

We are clear in our minds that many of the APC’s programmes are designed to give Nigerians a lift and make them successful. A lot of thought, rigorous analysis and governance experience went into the development of these programmes and we know that they are feasible once we put our mind to them.

We are running for a second term in office because we believe things will improve significantly than they currently are if we stay the course. We are faced with a choice to keep building a Nigeria where conscience drives the ship of state- making a break from a tainted past which widened the inequality gap. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

The task of laying a foundation is hard and tedious work. It’s neither glamorous nor exciting for the builder or the observer. Yet without it, the pleasure of a completed building remains a dream. The Buhari administration has spent the last three and a half years laying the foundation. We are asking you to join in putting up the building over the next four years. May I respectfully request you to perform your civic responsibility by going out to vote and I’m confident that by the grace of Almighty God, we will all go to the next level of growth, prosperity and peace.

Let’s join hands to create a nation we can be proud of. God bless you.”

BIG STORY

‘I’m Not Owing Workers Any Dime’ —- Yahaya Bello Speaks After Election Victory

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Kogi State Governor-Elect, Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, rubbished claims that he was owing salaries, stressing that such were “lies.”

Bello said his administration met salary backlog owed workers in the state, but insisted that his administration was not owing workers.

The governor-elect, who said this while featuring on Channels Television, also alleged that thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stabbed a resident after he was declared the winner of Saturday’s election.

Bello also alleged that the wife of his deputy was also shot after he emerged winner of the election.

He said: “All these reports of me owing salaries are lies. Past governors of Kogi State were owning salaries starting from Audu to my immediate predecessor. Kogi state is not owning any dime at the state level, what is left is the ten percent from the previous government.

“As for El-Rufai kneeling, he was begging that Kogi people should forgive Bello for ensuring security and ensuring the state was peaceful and not because he could not pay salaries.”

On the claim of people being killed during the election, Bello said: “After I was declared winner, a PDP thug stabbed somebody and ran into the house of their women leader but he was caught and dealt with.

“My deputy governor-elect’s wife was shot at but thank God she didn’t die, the police are looking into it and would bring the culprits to book.”

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Monday declared Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

INEC’s Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Ibrahim Garuba had declared Bello winner after polling 406,222 votes to defeat his closest rival, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 189,704 votes.

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Falana Seeks Death Penalty For Corrupt Politicians

Peter Okunoren

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to make laws that will pronounce the death penalty for corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons.

Mr. Falana while reacting in a statement to the hate speech bill currently debated by lawmakers described it as an encroachment on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

A bill to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech, sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, was introduced on the floor of the Senate on November 12 and has generated reactions across the country.

The bill proposes that any person, who commits an offense deemed as hate speech, shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), explained that the National Assembly has no power to exercise such power because Hate Speech is not covered in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.

“Since we are operating a federal system of government the supreme court of Nigeria had declared in a number of cases that the national assembly lacks the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the houses of assembly of the states. Certainly, the hate speech bill is an attempt to encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Penal Code and Criminal Code applicable in the northern and southern states respectively, have made provisions for hate speech because it is a state offence.

“Hence, the house of assembly of each of the state has enacted laws against incitement, false accusation, sedition and criminal defamation.”

Mr Falana decried the move, urging the sponsors of the bill to uphold the decision of Nigeria’s founding fathers who created a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.

“Finally, while the leaders of the national assembly may want to advise the legislature in each of the states of the federation to review the applicable penal statutes to review the provisions on hate speech we are compelled to urge the few bloodthirsty legislators in the national assembly to amend the anti-graft laws to provide death penalty for grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons to the detriment of development in the country.”

He added that even though the bill is sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, it has been adopted by the Buhari-led Federal Government.

He maintained that the constitutional validity of the Bill will be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the national assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Thugs On Rampage In Kogi, Burn PDP Woman Leader Alive In Her Home

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Hours after Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was announced the winner of the November 16 election, on Monday, thugs believed to be working for a popular party burnt alive the Woman Leader of Wada/Aro Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ochadamu Ward, Mrs. Acheju Abuh.

She was burnt alive in her home.

Chanting solidarity and victory songs, the thugs, according to neighbours, arrived at her house around 2:10 pm, “surrounded the place, poured petrol all over the house and set it on fire”.

They ensured that the woman never escaped from the house while it was burning.

Some neighbours said they watched in hiding as the thugs set the house on fire.

One of them said: “She tried to escape through a window but was prevented by the burglary-proof.

The thugs were also shooting in the direction of all the windows and doors so that she would not escape from the fire.

“She was shouting inside but there was nothing we could do as many of us could not go outside to challenge the thugs. We tried calling the police, but nobody responded. She was screaming inside until her voice could no longer be heard. When the thugs saw that the house was almost burnt to ashes, they left, shooting”.

Spokesman and Head Communications, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu, confirmed the killing.

He said it was unfortunate that the woman was killed in a gruesome manner for no reason at all.

He appealed to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to ensure the arrest of the killers.

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