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APC Demands Transparency From INEC Ahead Of Rescheduled Elections

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The All Progressives Congress Directorate of Election Planning and Monitoring has demanded more transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The party urged the commission to be open in its dealings ahead of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Babatunde Fashola, Director of the Directorate and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, made the demand at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja.

Fashola was reacting to the postponement of the elections by INEC.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had a few hours to commencement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, announced the rescheduling \by one week of the elections earlier scheduled for February 16.

By the postponement, the Presidential and National Assembly elections now come up on February 23, while the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections come up on March 9.

Yakubu had said the decision to postpone the elections was taken after a meeting with INEC Commissioners, citing “logistics” problems as issues that prompted the postponement.

He said the decision was further necessitated after reviewing the level of the commission’s preparedness for the exercise.

He stressed that postponing the elections was a difficult decision, but was necessary for successful delivery of the elections and to consolidate on Nigeria’s democracy.

However, Fashola said there was the need for the commission to keep Nigerians updated on preparations for the rescheduled elections. He also demanded more transparency.

He said: “As a result of the common pain shared by us all, we demand greater openness and transparency in the Commission’s preparations ahead of Saturday 23rd February 2019 elections.

“We believe that members of the public should know what steps INEC have taken with the Central Bank of Nigeria to assess, take inventory of materials and what their conditions are.”

Fashola added that the commission should also let Nigerians know if all materials required for the elections were in the country and if not what plans it had to ensure that they were on ground.

He further added that the commission’s plans to redeploy and distribute materials ahead of elections should also be made known to Nigerians.

Fashola said INEC should also let Nigerians know what it encountered in the failed election attempt of the February 16 and measures taken to overcome them.

He added that the commission should also confirm to Nigerians that the configuration of its card readers would be completed in readiness for the rescheduled elections.

He said it was also necessary for the commission to let Nigerians know what transport logistics and further materials it required in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding to execute the elections.

He said: “In addition to all of these, we believe that INEC should brief Nigerians daily on an ongoing basis until this process is concluded.

“This is one way to elicit the buy-in of Nigerians that INEC is serious and this will replace disappointment with enthusiasm.

“INEC has the duty to now make its processes open, believable and inspiring.

“This is the road to free and fair elections which is a victory for Nigeria and not for any party.”

The minister said elections and political parties were primarily about people.

He noted that before the elections were postponed, millions of Nigerians had sacrificed their time, resources and convenience to perform their national civic duty only to be disappointed by the postponement.

He added that as a political party, the disappointment of the APC was doubled.

This, he said, was especially so because unlike some who were privy to the postponement, the APC got to know of it alongside the public a few hours before the polls opened.

“To the stranded youth corpers, voters and volunteers who have travelled at great cost to cast their votes, we empathise with you,” he said.

He also empathised with the party’s agents and its members across the federation, saying they should not be discouraged.

He stressed that because Nigerians were a determined and resilient people, they should not let the shortcomings of INEC as an institution deter them from exercising their franchise.

Fashola, therefore, charged Nigerians to stay calm and be determined and to come out en masse on February 23 to vote for the APC’s presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, and all the party’s senatorial and House of Representatives candidates.

He urged Nigerians to convert their disappointment following the postponement of the elections to determination and to ensure that their previous sacrifices do not go to waste.

BIG STORY

I Didn’t Start Governing Rivers Fully Until This February — Fubara

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The executive governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, on Tuesday, said that he did not start governing the state fully until February 2024.

Fubara stated that even though he assumed office in May, he didn’t begin making decisions until February of this year, or eight months later.

He made this statement during the state’s Emohua Local Government Area’s internal road opening for Egbeda.

He said that he had performed incredibly well and won the people’s praise since he began completely taking over governance in February.

Fubara has been involved in a political dispute with his predecessor and estranged political godfather, Nyesom Wike, but he has not provided an explanation for why he did not begin completely governing during his first eight months in office.

Last October, he survived an impeachment plot by members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to Wike.

On two occasions, members of his cabinet loyal to Wike had resigned while the state Assembly has also been factionalised fuelling crisis in the state.

Speaking on Tuesday, he assured the people of the state of quality projects.

Fubara said, “We are just starting but I assure you more attention. If in four months we can do this, and we are getting this level of applause, you can imagine what will happen when we do one year of our record time, two years of our own record time. Rivers State would have experienced something different from the regular governance.

“I know why I said four months. We started full governance in February 2024. That was when we started taking decisions, when we started confronting governance. And I am proud to say that our people are happy with what we have done.

“What we want to do is to bring governance to our people, service delivery at record time, and in a cost-effective way.”

Fubara said he was operating a government of transparency, adding that there was a record of all his activities.

He said, “Everything that we are doing is in my white paper. I carry it along, so, there is no issue of any manipulation. Call me any day, anytime, it is there. Even the ones I did before this time, I still have all the records.

“If you call me any day, I will bring the records of all my activities in government, because I know that as a civil servant, what is most important is record-keeping so that if you are not there, and something happens, it is just for somebody to pick up the file and he will see the history.

“That is how I am trained, and I have that in my mind before I do anything. So, I am not scared of anything. Anybody who calls me any day, anytime, I have my records to show. I have all the approvals to show that I acted based on approval and not personal decision,” he said.

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BIG STORY

I’m Not Scared Of Anything, I Acted On Approvals As Rivers Accountant-General — Fubara

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The executive governor of Rivers Stat, Siminalayi Fubara, says he acted based on approvals during his time as the accountant-general of Rivers state.

Fubara spoke on Tuesday while inaugurating Egbeda internal roads in the state.

Early this month, Fubara announced the formation of a judicial panel of investigation to look into how Nyesom Wike, his successor and current minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), managed the state’s affairs and resources.

Recall that governor Fubara served as the accountant general under the current FCT minister, Nyesom Wike.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) designated him wanted in May 2022 due to an alleged N435 billion scam. Nonetheless, the governor declared that he is “not scared of anything” and that he has records of everything he did while serving as the state’s previous governor.

“What we bring to our people is service delivery at record time and cost-effective. Everything we are doing is in my white paper. I carry it along. There is no issue of any manipulation. Call me any day, any time it is there,” he said.

”Even the ones l did before this time, I still have all the records. If you call me any day, I will bring my records of all my activities in government. I know that, as a civil servant, what is most important is record-keeping.

“I am not scared of anything. Anybody who calls me up any day, any time, I have my records to show. I have all the approvals to show that I acted based on approvals and not personal decisions. We are not going to rest until we make everyone happy in Rivers state.”

Fubara said he started taking decisions as governor in February, eight months after taking over the reins of the state.

“I want to thank you for journeying with us in showcasing the activities of our government in four months. When I say four months, I mean it. We started full governance in the month of February. That was when we started taking decisions and confronting governance,” Fubara said.

“I am proud to say that our people are happy with what we have done. So, our traditional rulers, don’t be worried; we will watch your back. Don’t be scared of the rumours you hear.”

Although the governor did not explain why he could not make decisions eight months into his administration, it is likely related to the feud between him and Wike.

Fubara and Wike have been engaged in a feud over control of the political structure in the oil-rich state.

The political crisis has resulted in the polarisation of the state house of assembly, while some commissioners loyal to Wike have resigned from Fubara’s cabinet.

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BIG STORY

Potential Merger: Atiku, Obi, Desperate For Power, Can’t Be Trusted — APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, dismisses the possibility of a union between Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2023, and Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party.

It portrayed Atiku and Obi as helpless politicians who shouldn’t be given official authority.

The ruling party added that it was certain the meeting between the two opposition candidates would be fruitless and that both parties were desperate to keep President Bola Tinubu out of office when he ran again in 2027.

Felix Morka, the APC’s national publicity secretary, revealed this in a statement headed “Atiku, Obi united by mutual desperation” that was released in Abuja.

Earlier reports had it that Obi, on May 13, visited Atiku at his Abuja residence and the duo met behind closed doors with the viral photographs of the visit on social media. Atiku later revealed this on his X handle, saying, “It was my honour and privilege to host #PeterObi today.”

Obi, the same day, also met with two chieftains of the PDP, the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the erstwhile governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido.

In 2019, both Atiku and Obi ran on the PDP joint ticket but were defeated by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.

In the run-up to the 2023 election, Obi left the PDP for the Labour Party and emerged as the standard-bearer, while Atiku contested the election on the ticket of the PDP. The two were defeated by President Tinubu of the APC.

After the Supreme Court affirmed Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 election, Atiku called for unity among major opposition parties, stating his readiness to lead a coalition against Tinubu in 2027.

Reacting on Tuesday to the planned coalition, Morka acknowledged that the meeting of the political allies had further heightened the speculations of a possible alliance between both men and their political parties ahead of 2027.

The APC spokesman, however, maintained that it was unclear whether Obi would be willing to make a comeback to Atiku’s PDP or whether the latter would agree to dump his party to seek “rehabilitation” in Obi’s Labour Party.

He said, “The news of Peter Obi’s return to the PDP would be hardly surprising. His reputation as a political wayfarer is only dwarfed by Atiku’s track record as a veteran political wanderer.

“News of Atiku joining the Labour Party will shock no one as he will be living up to his well-established reputation as the country’s most itinerant politician.

“For now, Utomi’s mega party remains a figment with no offering of tangible accommodation for both men.

“Atiku and Obi are united by their mutual desperation to be President of Nigeria and the ignoble disdain for President Bola Tinubu’s focused and extraordinary commitment to the transformation of our nation.

“Their restless drift in search of convenient party platforms to execute their presidential run only belies the self-indulgent and opportunistic essence of their aspirations.”

He said by their character, Nigerians could not trust both Atiku and Obi with power, as they would not be able to handle national challenges.

“Men without the staying power to build or fix their own parties, who flee at the slightest flicker of internal crisis, cannot possibly be trusted by Nigerians to tackle serious and complex national, political and economic challenges that confront our nation.

“We urge Nigerians to stand fast in their invaluable support of our great party and President Bola Tinubu’s determined commitment to deliver a stronger, secure and more prosperous country for us all,” the party spokesman said.

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