President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has reiterated that the recently conducted supplementary election in Osun State was a charade and an embarrassment to Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki, who is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Campaign Council on the governorship election, stated that the rerun was not needed in the first instance while the supplementary poll was unfair.
The statement read, “Yesterday, we witnessed another display of the subversion of the will of the Osun people during the rerun gubernatorial elections in the state. The election was characterised by widespread voter intimidation, violence and harassment. Accredited observers were denied access to polling units and duly registered voters were prevented from participating in the electoral process by thugs and compromised security agents.
“Like I said a few days ago, this needless rerun election was only designed as an avenue for the ruling party to perpetrate electoral fraud. The nature of these elections is an embarrassment to our democracy and casts an alarming pall on the institutions responsible for protecting the will of the Nigerian people as stated through their votes. That was why for more than 10 hours, the INEC could not collate and announce results in just seven polling units with just over 2000 votes.”
Saraki said it was surprising that while the two leading candidates were running neck to neck in the main election on Saturday, with the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, having an edge, the All Progressives Congress candidate was “now being credited with all the votes and some paltry number of votes were being recorded for the PDP candidate” four days later as a result of manipulations and impossible conditions.
The Senate President added, “It is important for Nigerians and the international community to insist that the hands of the clock should not be turned back in terms of the achievements we recorded in the last general elections. We should not make a mockery of democracy by conducting elections in the manner that the Osun polls were conducted.
“The Osun election is a clear indication of how the 2019 election will be conducted. It demonstrates that if we cannot conduct free, peaceful and fair elections in seven polling units spread across four local government areas of a state, then the conduct of the general elections in 774 local government areas across 36 states of the country is already endangered.
“I, therefore, call on the government, INEC, security agencies and development partners to ensure a radical change in the way and manner the next set of elections will be conducted. Osun 2018 polls is a very low point in our electoral system.”
Saraki recalled that in the 2015 elections, Nigeria witnessed several gains in its electoral process. According to him, the process was transparent and people’s votes counted. He noted that the gains made it possible for the APC, then an opposition party, to win at the centre and in many states of the nation. “That election highlighted a fine moment in Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.
Concerned Benue APC Stakeholders pass vote of confidence on Alia’s Govt
By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
Benue State Concerned APC Stakeholders arising from a closed door meeting disassociated themselves from the position of the All Progressives Congress (APC) local government party chairmen and the State Executive Committee over their media attacks on governor Hyacinth Alia and his administration.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting in Makurdi, the State Capital, the leader of the stakeholders and former president of the Senate, Senator Ameh Ebute, advised Governor Alia to discountenance all distractions and continue his focus on developing the State with the diligence so far employed.
“You are by this communiqué requested to desist from further actions and retreat to allow elders and major stakeholders to wade into the matter and seek appropriate answers to all issues,” Senator Ebute said.
Senator Barnabas Gemade, General Onoja, retired, Senator Joseph Akaagerger, and Senator Ebute, thanked the entire Benue APC family and also assured Governor Alia of their continuous support; passing a vote of confidence on Alia’s administration and his team.
“We the concerned stakeholders of APC in Benue state are worried by the recent attacks on the Governor and Government of Benue state, particularly, the content of the communiqué we saw on social media under the hands of the APC LG chairmen, as well as the resolution of the state working committee, in respect to leadership, meeting and party activities.
“We see this as a deliberate attempt to distract the Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia-led administration from fulfilling his campaign promises to the people. This unfortunate incident by the APC LG Chairmen has opened a vista for the opposition to take full advantage, culminating in a recent motion sponsored by an opposition (PDP) senator from Benue against the government of Benue state,” he stated.
According to the former Senate president, the APC leaders are not in support of the actions of the Local government party chairmen and the party executive committee, particularly for their inability to explore all necessary avenues for proper engagements before resorting to unnecessary media outings that have further escalated what would have easily been managed internally by the party.
“We acknowledge and have participated in critical as well as strategic stakeholder’s meetings to include but not limited to two expanded stakeholders meetings held in government house, Makurdi and a mini state congress to herald the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal victory of His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and His Deputy, Barr. Sam Ode at the IBB Square, Makurdi, all at the instance of His Excellency, the Governor of Benue state,” he said.
He maintained that at several meetings and other fora, elders of the party as well as the executives of the party had caused to pass a vote of confidence on the Governor of Benue State and applauded his inclusive leadership style.
“It is on the basis of these and many more that we the concerned elders have found it necessary to address the public and ask all concerned party members to desist from further public outings and stop any impending action that will further cause disunity in the party,” he stated.
Responding to a question, senator Gemade charged members of the public to ignore social media practitioners that turned to publishing falsehood against personalities.
He expressed shock that a social media platform reported that he held a zoom meeting to lobby Governor Alia to decamp to the opposition PDP in Benue state.
“I can’t blame them because they are looking for food but should be ignored. Benue APC is intact and Alia administration is doing well so far,” Gemade said.
Osun APC, PDP clash over Adeleke’s plan to extend Ilesa water contract lifespan
By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State are currently embroiled in a heated exchange of words over Governor Ademola Adeleke’s proposal to extend the duration of the Ilesa water financing agreement with the Islamic Development Bank.
The Ilesa Water Project was commenced by the former Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola which is due for closure by December 2023.
The Osun APC berated Governor Ademola Adeleke for allegedly bungling the multi-billion naira Ilesa Water Project, describing his current eye-service to regularise the project as fathom and deceit designed to save face from the embarrassment.
“Before Adeleke, like a bull in the China shop, mindlessly ordered for stoppage of work on the water project last December, his predecessor, His Excellency, former state Governor Adegboyega Oyetola CON, now Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, had completed the reticulation component and laying of water pipes, setting a stage for the final component of the work, which is water treatment.
“Until few days ago when they began to run helter skelter to save the day, Governor Adeleke and his lousy yes-men had intentionally and practically ignored all entreaties from the sons and daughters of Ijesaland to get the project back to track so that their dream of getting potable and healthy water to drink in their lifetime would come to reality.”
The APC Chairman, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi, Tuesday, questioned the soundness of the thought-process of the state governor and his advisers, pondering why Adeleke would choose to punish a whole generation of Ijesa because their elites gave unwavering support to the government of ex-Governor Oyetola, which prioritised the welfare of Ijesa people above mundane and reckless politics.
Lawal said, “It is painful that the clumsy government of Senator Adeleke, having wasted almost one year without accessing the balance of $37.9 million Islamic Development Bank(IDB) loan meant for the completion of the water project, is now belatedly begging profusely, claiming to be ramping up actions to extend the life span of the Ilesa water financing agreement with the bank which is due for closure in few days’ time.”
Lawal cautioned that unless men of good intention at the federal level were mobilised to remedy the situation, Osun State might suffer a double jeopardy because “the project might not only suffer misfortune as it did 30 years ago when the fund meant for it was brazenly converted for personal use, Osun State could equally run into further financial headache on account of court case instituted against it by the project contractor, who is seeking compensation for a breach of contract.
“The Osun APC is using this medium to appeal to all Nigerians of means and clout to come to our aid by saving the state from the current logjam inflicted on us by the confused and tactless Governor Adeleke and his coterie of political jesters.
“One, we need the Islamic Development Bank, the financing bank, to extend the financing agreement on the Ilesa Water Project beyond December 2023.
“Two, the project contractor should be placated to settle out-of-court as being requested by the state government so that the state does not lose money and suffer unduly over the indiscretion and lack of seriousness of some political mal-administrators,” Lawal pleaded.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slammed APC in Osun over its thoughtless remarks on the Ilesa Water Project saying, “The recent remark from Osun APC chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, calling Adeleke’s action about the project ‘political pettiness’ shows that APC is not remorseful for the atrocities it committed while in office.
“The challenges the project is facing were caused by the Oyetola government. It was Oyetola who terminated the contractor’s contract leading to the litigation that the state is battling.”
In a statement from the Media Office of the party, the State Chairman, Hon. Sunday Bisi, while commenting on the Ilesa water project and the recent reaction from the opposition, described the APC as an anti-people association and a clueless party.
“Governor Adeleke’s action exemplifies the responsible oversight expected of a government committed to inclusive governance.
“The mismanagement of funds and allegations of corruption during the previous administration demanded a reassessment of the project’s trajectory, which Governor Adeleke duly acknowledged.
“Since Lawal has decided to mislead the public through false accusations on Governor Adeleke, there is a need to remind the public of the atrocities of the APC on the water project. Lawal and his fellow grievers should be informed that it was Oyetola who terminated the water project contract with the contractor thereby resulting in the Contractor’s court action.
“This added to the several messes of the Oyetola government that Governor Adeleke has been left to clear. The Governor has initiated an out-of-court settlement with the contractor which is currently ongoing.
“Lawal seems preoccupied with deflecting attention from the glaring failures during his party’s tenure. The massive corruption under the last administration concerning the project is another challenge. Despite the staggering billions of naira spent on the project, it is still far from completion.
“The Governor after meeting with the then Minister of Water Resources was advised to relieve the project consultant who was accused of squandering several billions of naira which resulted in more revelation on the corruption under the last administration.”
“The project consultant accused the House of Assembly led by an Ijesa man and an APC stalwart, Timothy Owoeye, of demanding a 5 million dollar ($5,000,000) bribe. This highlights the corrupt practices that derailed the project’s progress. This unacceptable diversion of public funds for personal gain reflects a dire lack of empathy and accountability within the previous administration.
“Lawal should call Owoeye to address the public why he apparently neglected his community’s welfare in favour of personal enrichment, an act unbecoming of an elected representative entrusted with safeguarding the public interest.
“The termination of the project’s contract by Oyetola’s administration resulting in legal actions added complexity to an already convoluted situation. Governor Adeleke’s proactive measures in clearing the aftermath of these decisions reflect his dedication to rectifying the evil perpetrated by the previous governance.
“The ongoing discussion for an out-of-court settlement with the contractor was also borne out of the current administration’s efforts to mitigate potential financial repercussions stemming from the clumsy actions of the past actions. This indicates a strategic approach aimed at safeguarding the state’s interests, a commendable display of maturity in handling a challenging situation.
“The claims by Lawal and his cohorts regarding Governor Adeleke’s involvement in the Ilesa Water Project lack substance when juxtaposed against the prevalent mismanagement, corruption, and neglect witnessed during the tenure of Lawal’s party.
“Adeleke’s administration’s focus on transparency, community welfare, and accountability in public spending stands the governor out as a beacon of impeccable integrity. It is imperative to prioritise the truth over baseless accusations and hold to account all those responsible for the mismanagement and malpractices that hindered developmental projects, including that of the Ilesa water project,” he added.
Bayelsa APC accuses Diri of pressuring EFCC to arrest Sylva
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri of allegedly pressuring the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute Timipre Sylva over “trumped up charges” from the State Governor, Douye Diri.
The party spokesperson in the state, Doifie Buokoribo, made the allegation in a statement on Monday.
The APC spokesperson in the State, Mr Buokoribo, said Mr Diri was instigating the anti-graft agency to arrest and prosecute Mr Sylva to frustrate the APC candidate from pursuing his case at the election tribunal.
He said Governor Diri and the PDP adopted the strategy because they know they are holding a “stolen mandate.”
Mr Buokoribo said, “We are aware of Senator Diri’s devious activities at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission aimed at sponsoring invented petitions against Sylva, and the pressure he is mounting on officials of the commission to initiate arrest and prosecution against him on trumped-up charges, particularly, bordering on his tour of duty as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.”
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