Despite Criticism, Postponement Of 2015 Elections ‘Served Us Well’ – Jonathan

Despite Criticism, Postponement Of 2015 Elections 'Served Us Well' – Jonathan
Former President Goodluck Jonathan (file)

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan believes the decision to postpone the 2015 general elections yielded the desired result for the country.

He stated this in his new book, ‘My Transition Hours’, which launched on Tuesday in Abuja.

Despite the widespread criticism that greeted the postponement of the polls, Jonathan insisted that the decision was in the interest of the country.

He said, “The six weeks served us well. We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness.

“At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence.”

Jonathan explained that the elections were postponed due to security concerns and the need for the electorate to get their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) to be eligible to cast their vote.


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He said the decision was not taken by him, but by the highest decision-making body in the land – the Council of State, which comprises the sitting and former Presidents, as well as former Chief Justices of Nigeria among others.

The former President condemned the claims that the elections were postponed because of selfish interests as reported in some quarters.

According to him, the rescheduling sparked reactions from some other nations which one would wonder if the concerns were raised in the interest of the Nigerian people.

“The foreign pressure on the issue of election rescheduling was intense,” said Jonathan who added, “They maintained the curious posture of one who had been deceived before and therefore had every reason to cede no credence to our position. But there was no reason to have such a posture.”

He claimed, “The United States and the United Kingdom were especially agitated. David Cameron, then the U.K. Prime Minister, called to express his concern about the election rescheduling, just as (former U.S. Secretary of States) John Kerry came from the United States to express further worry.

“It was at best unusual and sobering. In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling. It was unbelievable because at the back of our minds we knew why the agitation was beyond what meets the eye. There were deeper political interests.”

Jonathan pointed out that the Council of State meeting where the decision to reschedule the elections was taken was attended by almost all the living former Heads of State of the country.

This, he said, should have convinced Kerry of the good intentions of the government, noting that “he (Kerry) cannot claim to love and defend Nigeria more than all our former heads of state present at the meeting.”

The former President was, however, delighted that despite the pressure, the military dealt “a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists.”

He added that Boko Haram was deflated up to the point he handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015.

Jonathan’s defeat in 2015 marked the first time an incumbent president would lose a re-election in Nigeria.

Mantu’s Elections Rigging Claims Has Nothing To Do With Us – PDP

APC Challenges PDP Members: 'Follow Mantu's Example, Confess Your Sins'

 

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday reacted to the confessions made by the former Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, that he helped his party to rig in the 2015 elections.

Senator Mantu, who was a Senator on the platform of the PDP made this confession on Friday during an interview on Channels Television Programme, Hard Copy, but the PDP said his claims have nothing to do with their party.

In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP also dismissed the advice by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to learn from Mantu and confess their sins against the country.

“Senator Mantu’s reported claims is personal to him and has nothing to do with the PDP, as the party has never directed any of its members to rig election on its behalf, at any point since its formation.

“Senator Mantu spoke about his personal activities and tendencies in the elections where he participated. The PDP has never directed or had any pact with him to rig election on its behalf. Never!,” the statement read in part.

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The party said individuals run their elections on the platform of political parties once they emerge as candidates adding that the party’s code of conduct does not give room to election rigging.

“In the PDP, candidates are issued with the party’s Code of Conduct containing the basic rules of electioneering engagements.

“There is nowhere in this rules of engagement where candidates or party members are directed to rig elections on behalf of the party. If any member’s conduct transgressed these basic rules of engagement, that individual did not act on behalf of the PDP, and as such the party cannot be vicariously held responsible,” the statement said further.

The party, therefore, said it would be misplaced for anybody, including the APC, to surmise that Senator Mantu, in the confession of rigging, acted on behalf of the PDP.

“After all, in 2007, Senator Mantu lost his own senatorial election. What, then, happened to his rigging machinery, if he could not deliver himself,” the party queried.

I Nearly Absconded From Office – Buhari

buhari, Anti-Corruption, povertyPresident Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that he nearly absconded from office, when he saw there was no money to work for the Nigerian people after winning the 2015 elections.

The President made this confession on Thursday while addressing the Course 38 participants of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies who presented their course work to him in the Presidential Villa.

The President again blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for perpetuating poverty in Nigeria for 16 years.

The President who blames the recession in the country on the past administration wondered what the Peoples Democratic Party did with the revenue they made when a barrel of oil sold at 100 dollar per barrel.

“We’ve had 16 years and eight consecutive governments between the other party and you know the unprecedented revenue realized.

“The average production which can be verified was 2.1 million barrels per day from 1999 to 2014. The average cost of each Nigerian barrel of oil was 100 dollars per barrel.

“When we came, it dived to less than 30 dollars per barrel and is now oscillation between 40 and 50.

“Actually, I felt like absconding because 27 out of the 36 states of Nigeria could not pay salaries and we know the lower income groups depend on salaries to pay rent and manage their families.

“I asked, any savings? I was told there was nothing remaining. ‘What have you done on agriculture, power, rail, roads?’ Nothing.” he lamented.

The President, however, promised to bring Nigeria out of recession and make it stronger than he met it.

Buhari Commends U.S’ Role In Deepening Nigeria’s Democracy

L-R: Deputy Ambassador, Mrs Maria Brewer; H.E. James F. Entwistle, President Buhari and Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar Ibrahim.
L-R: Deputy Ambassador, Mrs Maria Brewer; H.E. James F. Entwistle, President Buhari and Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar Ibrahim.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja expressed appreciation for the important role the United States Government played in the success of the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.

Receiving the outgoing Ambassador of the U.S, Mr James Entwistle, at the State House, President Buhari said that the U.S’ insistence on free, fair and violent-free elections largely contributed to the deepening of democracy in the country.

“The U.S support before, during and after the 2015 elections was vital to Nigeria’s stability and I will never forget the role they played in the stability of Nigeria.

“We were lucky to have had an INEC Chairman who was competent and courageous.

“Mr Ambassador, you occupied a position at a very strategic time in Nigeria’s history and I hope our historians will record this because it meant so much for our stability.

“I hope you write a book on your experience in Nigeria. The commitment of U.S in supporting Nigeria has been unprecedented,” the President told the outgoing U.S envoy.

President Buhari also thanked the Americans for their military, intelligence and humanitarian support to Nigeria on the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency.

He said Nigeria also valued America’s contributions to promoting regional peace and stability through the instrumentality of the G7.

President Buhari recieves outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Ambassador Perry Calderwood
President Buhari recieves outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Ambassador Perry Calderwood

President Buhari also received in audience the outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Ambassador Perry Calderwood.

The President commended the Government of Canada’s humanitarian assistance to Nigerians displaced by the insurgency in the North East, and their commitment to polio eradication in the country.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s effort to facilitate voluntary return of displaced persons in addition to ensuring that conditions in North-eastern Nigeria improve significantly before the next farming season.

In their separate remarks, Ambassadors Entwistle and Calderwood had expressed concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the North East with looming reports of food crisis and malnutrition.

Entwistle said that the bilateral relationship between both countries had remained very vibrant and cordial.

“I had a marvellous three-and-half years in Nigeria and I am grateful to have been involved in the memorable elections in 2015,” he said.

On his part, Calderwood conveyed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desire to strengthen ties with Nigeria in Canada’s quest for partnership on international engagements, including its bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council, 2021-2022.

INEC Lauds Contribution Of Security Agencies To 2015 Election Success

INECThe Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs Amina Zakari has lauded the contribution of security agencies in ensuring the success of the 2015 general elections.

She gave the commendation when 24 participants of the National Security Training Seminar of the Defence Intelligence College (DIC) paid a courtesy visit to the Commission’s headquarters on Tuesday, September 1.

Mrs Zakari explained that the Commission had set up a committee on security – Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES)- to strategise ways of achieving a successful poll during the 2015 general elections, maintaining that the contribution of this committee to deepening democracy cannot be overemphasized.

She, however, noted that a major threat to electoral security is the “lack of internal democracy among political parties in Nigeria”, decrying the numerous court cases that usually trail party primaries as a result of substitution of candidates, thereby “heating up the polity”.

She further identified “the deployment of money politics” as another challenge, explaining that the Commission had begun putting measures in place to effectively track campaign funding.

The Acting INEC Chairman also commended security agencies for their support in the drive for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) voting during the 2015 general elections.

Earlier, the Coordinator, National Security Training Seminar, Defence Intelligence College (DIC), Air Commodore Peter Charles Ekeh (Rtd) accompanied by 19 participants and 5 staff of DIC explained that their visit was to expand their knowledge and also for innovative planning in achieving National Security.

“We have come to learn about how INEC operates and to draw from your wealth of experience from the past elections”, he said.

Nigerians Should Appreciate Jonathan’s Deeds – Bishop Kukah

Bishop KukahThe Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and member of the National Peace Committee, Rev. Fr. Mathew Kukah, has asked Nigerians to be appreciative of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said that Dr. Jonathan’s act of conceding defeat in the 2015 presidential election is one that has kept the country together and so “Nigerians should be appreciative of what he did”.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Bishop Kukah further stated that the committee has not been sent to beg on anyone’s behalf to avoid probe. He noted that the former “President Jonathan eloquently said he was not afraid of probe.”

He commended President Buhari for the work he has so far done but stated that his party (APC) was voted to govern and they should go ahead to govern because Nigerians are eager for a new nation.

He stated that the government needs to develop a communication strategy that would enable citizens understand the government’s direction as he believes there has been an air of uncertainty among Nigerians who want to know where the country is heading.

Speaking on the activities of the National Peace Committee, Bishop Kukah noted that the purpose of the committee was for “moral authority” and not to replace the National Assembly, Court or Police. He refereed to them as “non-state actors who are very busy”.

“The business of our committee is not to solve the problems of Nigeria but the business of the government in power, led by the APC, to resolve the problems of Nigeria.”

He then urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to start addressing the country’s challenges because the world is focusing on Nigeria, especially the international community because of the issue of Boko Haram.

 

 

Nigerians Should Accept Democracy As A Lifestyle – Buhari

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to be patient and accept democracy not as a system of government but as a lifestyle in order to ensure development of the country.

The President said this when he paid homage to the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruk Umar, after attending the Juma’at prayer at the Low Cost Housing Mosque in Daura, Katsina State.

The President, who delivered his speech in Hausa, urged those who were aggrieved after the 2015 elections to seek redress through democratic means and institutions, noting that Nigeria is adopting democracy from the western nations and learning fast by avoiding mistakes made when studying the weaknesses and strengths of those nations.

According to the President , if Nigerians decide to be hasty, some avoidable mistakes can be made, urging that elections at all levels must be conducted based on democratic principles.

President Buhari also urged those interested in elective positions to look for a political platform of their choice, declare their interests and the party would support them.

He said that in 2002 when he joined politics, many people did not give him a chance because they knew his antecedents as a military officer but added that the 2015 polls had clearly shown that it is God that chooses who becomes a leader.

President Buhari said that he decided to contest elections because of his commitment to serve the people and not to be served or to amass wealth.

He added that he had served the nation in different capacities in the past and had not had so much money in the banks either locally or abroad or anywhere in the world.

He said that all he had over time is “integrity and commitment to serve the people” adding that he would fulfil his promises to the people.

The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruk Umar, had earlier said he had known Buhari for his consistency which had become the hallmark of his integrity.

Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode’s Money Laundering Case To July 1

Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode's Money Laundering Case To July 1A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi in Lagos State, south-west Nigeria, has adjourned  to July 1, the 2.1 million Naira money laundering suit against former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia had fixed Thursday for the judgement after the adoption of final written addresses and arguments by the defence and prosecution counsel.

She cited the absence of Prosecuting Counsel, Festus Keyamo, as reason for not delivering the judgement.

The trial in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, with an initial charge of laundering about 230 million Naira while Mr Fani-Kayode was a Federal Minister.

The charge was later amended and the amount reduced to 100 million Naira and finally 2.1 million Naira, with the judge dismissing 38 out of the 40 counts leveled by the EFCC against Mr Fani-Kayode.

Fani-Kayode was the Director of Media and Publicity for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation during the 2015 elections.

UN Condemns Boko Haram Abuse Of Children In Cameroon

UNThe United Nations has accused Boko Haram militants of kidnapping more than 1,000 children and using some youngsters as human shields in Cameroon.

A top UN official said that the insurgent sect has been behind horrendous violence in Nigeria’s eastern neighbour starting from last July, when the jihadists began launching cross-border attacks.

Initially just hit-and-run strikes to grab food, UN humanitarian coordinator for Cameroon, Najat Rochdi said that the attacks soon escalated into the militants burning villages and killing people.

By the end of the year, the sect’s fighters had begun kidnapping children.

According to Miss Rochdi, at the height of the attacks in northern Cameroon in February, Boko Haram deployed children aged between 8 and 12 on the frontline.

She added that many Cameroonian soldiers had been deeply traumatised by having to face children on the battlefield.

It remains unclear if the children were from Cameroon, Nigeria or elsewhere.

Muslims, Christians In Kaduna Call For NNPC Probe

APC-members organise prayer in kadunaMuslim and Christian members of the APC have called on the incoming President, General Buhari to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and also ensure that all sectors of the economy are properly overhauled.

The APC members held a joint prayer session and thanksgiving for the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari and the Kaduna State Governor-Elect, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

During the prayer session which held at Rigasa area in Igabi Local Government Area (LGA), they  prayed for divine protection for all incoming leaders, to enable them discharge their new roles for the benefit of the people.

Party members also prayed that the elected leaders would lead them with the fear of God and also tackle corruption to the barest minimum.

While lamenting the poor state of the nation’s economy, the APC members expressed hope that the incoming APC administration would address the challenges confronting the state and the nation.

They expressed confidence in the capability of all elected APC leaders to deliver on their campaign promises, with the view that only fervent prayers is what the leaders need.

President Jonathan Appoints Ado Bayero As New NPA Boss

UNPresident Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Mr Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero, as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Mr Sanusi, a lawyer, from Kano State takes over from Mallam Habib Abdullahi, who has been relieved of his appointment as Managing Director of the NPA.

In a statement by President Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati, the appointment of the new NPA Managing Director takes effect from Thursday, April 30.

President Jonathan thanked the outgoing managing director for his services and wished him well in his future endeavours.

Police Vow To Prosecute Electoral Offenders

PoliceThe Nigeria Police Force has reiterated its commitment to prosecute all persons found culpable of electoral offences.

In an interview with Channels Television in Abuja the nation’s capital, the Police Spokesman, Emmanuel Ojukwu, commended the police and the electorate for their peaceful conduct during and after the supplementary elections conducted in some states.

Mr Ojukwu also said the lessons learnt during the 2015 elections would be used in future elections.

He, however, assured Nigerians and other residents in the country that the Nigeria Police Force would continue to do its best to maintain peace and security.