2015 : APC Wants INEC To Sanction Early Campaigners

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to mete out appropriate sanctions to anyone who has violated its ban on early campaigns for the 2015 elections.

The charge, is in view of the “First Lady-driven phantom peace rally, that is actually a facade for electioneering campaign, if the electoral umpire’s ban on such campaigns is to be taken seriously”. the newly registered opposition party said.

The APC also challenged the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency image makers to tell Nigerians why the ruling party has allegedly failed to lift the country in the past 14 years.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also asked the presidency to tell Nigerians why its has allegedly defied INEC rules by continuing to campaign for the 2015 elections.

”Issues, issues and issues. These are what Nigerians are interested in, not continuous muck-raking about opposition leaders like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. For example, Nigerians want to know why the country can still not feed itself after 14 years of endless promises by the PDP; Nigerians want to know why they cannot be protected by their government when the security of lives and property is the rason d’etre of any government.

”Nigerians want to know why over 40 million youth cannot get a job under a government that gleefully touts a 6% GDP growth; Nigerians want to know how 400,000 barrels of oil are being stolen daily and who the thieves are’ Nigerians want to know why the country is more divided than ever under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan, and why corruption has become a bigger monster in the years under the PDP.

”The 2015 elections will be fought on the platform of issues, not meaningless attacks on personalities and attention-diverting tales like how Gen. Buhari wants to stage a comeback or how Asiwaju Tinubu wants to expand his imaginary empire,” it said.

APC said the reason its leaders have put national interests above personal considerations is to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of the PDP and a mediocre presidency, both of which have failed the citizenry and dimmed their hopes, not because of power-for-power sake, which is the mantra of the do-nothing PDP, the statement added.

”Our eight cardinal programmes, which we shall be articulating in the days ahead, represent a summary of how we intend to rescue the long-suffering citizens and rescue our nation. These are War Against Corruption, Food security, Accelerated Power Supply, Integrated Transport Network, Free Education, Devolution of Power, Accelerated Economic Growth and Affordable Health Care.

”Our Guiding Philosophy will derive its impetus from these seven principles: Belief in, and the fear of God; Upholding the rule of law; Preserving national unity; Pursuit of a just and egalitarian society; Building of strong institutions; Commitment to social justice and economic progress; and Promoting representative and functional participatory democracy.

”These are the issues we will be enunciating in the days ahead as we steer the politics of our nation away from jejune matters that are at the core of the PDP misrule to serious issues of relevance that will benefit our people under an APC federal government,” the party said.

It said a party that defies rules and lies through its teeth cannot be trusted to rule over a people who are eager for their country to join the comity of developed nations.

”While one of the PDP gong-bearers, Okupe, was telling Nigerians that President Jonathan has not informed anyone that he will contest in 2015, his wife was coercing hundreds of hapless women, including those in uniform, into a show of shame tagged a ”Peace Rally”, but in essence a campaign for President Jonathan ahead of 2015.

”Defying INEC, this brazen campaign featured women clad in specially-made ‘ankara’ that bore the picture of President Jonathan and reminds one of the disgraceful days of the late despot Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaire, and the late clownish leader of Uganda, Idi Amin. What a company to keep in the 21st century!

”In what must be ranked as the first of its kind in Nigeria, women drawn from various security agencies – the same that will be expected to provide security for the 2015 elections – were coerced into a march of shame, as organizers of the campaign masquerading as a peace rally blocked traffic and prevented citizens from earning their daily bread. Yet, Okupe said his boss has not told anyone he will run, and had the temerity to insult the media by saying they have been taken over by a few people. The good news is that Nigerians are far smarter than their present rulers and therefore cannot be fooled,” APC said.

ACN Overrules Suspension Of National Officer By Rivers Exco

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has overruled the suspension of a national officer by the Rivers State Executive Committee, saying the suspension violates the party’s constitution.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said going by the ACN Constitution, no state executive committee can suspend any national officer of the party.

”In view of this, the status quo remains and we enjoined all our members to allow peace to reign. If anyone has any grievances, the Constitution of the party is clear on what to do,” it said, threatening to sanction any member who fails to adhere to the party’s stand on the suspension.

The state chapter of the party in Rivers state on Monday announced the suspension of its National Treasurer, Chief Kenneth Kobani, and the party’s state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jerry Needam.

The party, in a statement by its Rivers State Chairman, Esuku Esuku, said the suspension was based on the anti-party activities of the affected members.

The statment accused Needam of being present at the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive the state Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party Chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah and that he had also issued statements in favour of the state PDP.

Meanwhile, the ACN has warned its members in Rivers State to desist from rumour mongering that is capable of tarnishing the image of the party’s national leadership.

The party warned that disciplinary action will be taken against members found to be deliberately spreading such rumours.

 

 

ACN Urges ICC To Investigate Baga Carnage, Calls It Crime Against Humanity

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has claimed that the killing of about 185 people, in Baga, Borno State, “may constitute crimes against humanity which should attract the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

The Desolated Baga Town after clash between the JTF and members of Boko Haram left at least 187 dead

According to the opposition party, the federal government should be investigated by the ICC because it is “either unwilling or unable to prosecute those involved, going by precedence.

“Either unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes, despite the deceptive assurances by those at the helm, hence the ICC must immediately beam its search-light on the situation in Nigeria.”

The party made this known in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday, where the party argued that “far beyond the justifiable call for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Baga massacre, it is time for leaders under whose watch these killings are being perpetrated, to be held to account.”

The ACN noted that “the killings in Baga, like previous ones in the areas where Boko Haram and the military Joint Task Force (JTF) have been engaged in clashes, are undoubtedly a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population – the definition of crimes against humanity which is one of the four groups of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

Noting that similar large scale extra judicial killing that occurred in Odi in Bayelsa State and  Zaki-Biam in Benue State occurred before 1 July 2002, when the Rome Statute setting up the ICC came into force, ACN argues that “the killings in the north, especially at Baga, fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the global court.”

The party blamed President Goodluck Jonathan, for the Baga killings for “failing to distinguish between support for security agencies battling the insurgents in the north and the incitement of the same forces against civilians who are caught in the cross fire.”

”When the President issued his tactless vituperation against community leaders, and by extension hapless civilians, during his visit to Borno and Yobe States, we warned that he was further victimising the victims of the insurgents’ attack. That action helped to set the stage for the mindless massacre in Baga,” the party said.

It is estimated that about 3,000 lives have being claimed in the violent insurgency which started in 2008, following the killing of Boko Haram’s leader by Nigeria’s security operatives.

According to the ACN, those engaged in the killings, including the Boko Haram sect, “cannot and must not get away with these heinous crimes” the party insisted.

It also noted the only reasons that the killing and maiming of innocent citizens have continued unabated in Nigeria is because such killings in the past as in Odi and Zaki Biam, went unpunished.

”Enough is enough! Even in countries at war, innocent citizens are not being daily mowed to death either by insurgents or state forces, as we are experiencing in Nigeria. It is clear that the Nigerian government is” the party declared.

Foreign Troops

Meanwhile, the ACN has urged the National Assembly to investigate how troops from foreign countries became part of the JTF troops battling the insurgents in the north

The party said this is important to find out who authorized the deployment of foreign troops in Nigeria and what their mandates are.

”We know that international troop deployments are authorized at sub-regional, continental or global levels. It is therefore important to find which body authorized the deployment of foreign troops to Nigeria, the same troops that are now said to have participated in killing and maiming of innocent Nigerian citizens,” it said.

ACN Condemns Kano Bombing, Says It Is Time For Decisive Action

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has strongly condemned Monday’s suicide bombing in Kano in which innocent citizens were killed and maimed, saying it is time for all stakeholders in the country to act decisively to stem an impending national catastrophe.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said it is now futile to expect that the federal government can end the crisis, as it has so far shown that it possesses neither the vision nor the capacity to confront the worsening acts of terrorism in the country.

”As we commiserate with the victims of this senseless act and their families, we will like to say that this is the time for sober reflection and restraint, and that all leaders of thought must
urgently come together, formally or informally, to avert a national calamity that will not spare anyone, whether or not they are members of the Boko Haram sect,” it said.

ACN said all religious, ethnic and political leaders must start by preaching restraint in their domains, since it is now clear that the end-gamers behind these senseless killings are bent on
setting Nigerians against themselves.

”There are two kinds of war that a nation can hardly survive: religious and ethnic war. A combination of both can only spell doom for any nation, hence we must move today to prevent our nation from being plunged into religious and ethnic war, which seems to be the intention of the anarchists behind the worsening orgy of killings in our country.

”We also call on our leaders at all levels to exercise caution in their statements, so as not to incite one group against the other. This is because we have heard the drums of war being beaten by some easily excitable leaders, at a time that requires utmost restraint,” the party said.

ACN noted, with gross disappointment, that the recent escalation in the senseless attacks in the north follows the unstatesman-like display by President Goodluck Jonathan when he paid a belated visit to the states that have now become the epicentre of the Boko Haram crisis.

”We have said this before and we hereby repeat it. The President’s display of anger, instead of temperance, at his testy meeting with the community leaders during his visit, is like
pouring petrol on a naked fire. It will definitely result in conflagration, the type of which we are now witnessing.

”The President, forgetting that he is the father of the nation, chose to talk down on people who are themselves victims of the Boko Haram violence as anyone else. Where soothing words were required, he chose to inflame passion with unnecessary vituperation. Here we are!

”We have also warned, as many are now doing, that it is time for the government to explore other options, including engagement, instead of the outright use of force, in ending the
crisis. This is because the use of force in itself has never conclusively resolved any crisis. Even parties that have gone to war must still come back and talk! It is not too late to change tactics, unless some folks are benefitting from these senseless killings,” the party said.

Kidnappers Of ACN’s Leader Demand N30 Million In Foreign Currency

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised an alarm over the kidnap of its South-east Vice Chairman, Chudi Nwike, whose abductors have demand the sum of N30million ‘in foreign currency’ for his release.

Mr Nwike was said to have being abducted in Anambra State on Tuesday.

ACN in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, claimed Mr Nwike’s younger brother, who has established contact with the kidnapper was given the ransom.

”We appeal to the security agencies to do everything within their power to ensure the safe release of Dr. Nwike” the party stated in its statement while it assured his family of its prayers and support at “this very difficult time.”

 

INEC Is Misleading Nigerians On African Peoples Congress Application – ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of misleading Nigerians and engaging in bare-faced lies with the manipulation of facts by claiming that a ‘phantom African Peoples Congress has applied to the commission for registration.

The ACN in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated that claim by the spokesperson of INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, on the application of the African Peoples Congress as a political party is false and not supported by the relevant sections of the Electoral Act because the party has “only written a letter of intent, which has not even been discussed by INEC, not to talk of the commission taking any decision on it.”

The INEC official had stated on Monday that the African Peoples Congress has applied to the electoral body to be registered as a political party with the acronym APC which clashes with the planned political merger of a number of opposition parties. The merger; All Progressive’s Congress also bares the same APC acronym.

The opposition further adds that the phantom party is being sponsored by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in connivance with the electoral body to thwart the merger plans of the merging political parties.

According to the ACN, which is one of the merging parties, “no party today with the acronym APC has applied to INEC to be registered, adding that even the phantom African Peoples Congress – which is being sponsored by the PDP to lay claim to the acronym – has only written a letter of intent, which has not even been discussed by INEC, not to talk of the commission taking any decision on it.

”The statement credited to Mr Idowu is therefore reckless and provocative” ACN laments as it further alleges that it “clearly betrays INEC as truly having merged with the PDP to frustrate the merger of the progressives under the banner of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC).”

“One wonders who the spokesman is speaking for and what interest he represents. He should therefore be called to order before he sets the country ablaze” the statement warned.

In order to debunk INEC’s claim that the phantom African Peoples Congress has applied for registration, ACN quoted Section 78 (1) and Section 78 (2) of the Electoral Act that are relevant to party registration.

-Part V Political Parties of the Electoral Act, Section 78 (1) says: “A political association that complies with the provision of the Constitution and this Act for the purposes of registration shall be registered as a political party, provided that such application shall be duly submitted to the Commission not later than 6 months before a general election.”

-Section 78 (2) which says: “The Commission shall on receipt of the documents in fulfilment of the conditions stipulated by the Constitution immediately issue the applicant with a letter of acknowledgement stating that all necessary documents have been submitted to the Commission”

”In this case the applicants on behalf of the phantom African Peoples Congress, the clients of Legal World Chambers, have not submitted any of the documents stipulated by the Constitution to the Commission. They have only written a letter of intent and therefore INEC could not have issued them any letter of acknowledgment, not to talk of starting the process of verifying the documents.”

”At this point they cannot even be regarded as applicants. Why then did INEC through its spokesperson gleefully go to the media to proclaim that another political association has applied to be registered as African Peoples Congress using the same acronym APC?” ACN asked.

The party further called attention to Section 78 (6) of the Electoral Act, which says “an application for registration as a political party shall not be processed unless there is evidence of payment of administrative fee as may be fixed from time to time by the Commission”

ACN said it is aware that the applicants in question have not even paid any administrative fees and therefore INEC could not have commenced processing their application, because there is no application before INEC as they have only written a letter of intent.

”The INEC spokesperson who announced to the world that another political association has applied to be registered as APC is therefore definitely being paid by the PDP to mislead Nigerians, subvert extant regulations and scuttle the proposed merger of the ACN, ANPP, APGA and CPC. He should immediately be called to order before he sets the country ablaze,” the party said.

He said what has emerged over the registration issue is that INEC is in cahoots with the PDP to stampede the merging parties to commit errors and also intimidate them to drop the acronym APC.

It however stated that ”as of today in accordance with the provisions of S. 78 (2) and S. 78 (6) of the Electoral Act as explained above, there is no applicant on record for the acronym APC, contrary to the deceit being spread by the INEC spokesman.”

INEC’s Knowledge of Merger Plans

ACN also alerted Nigerians to the fact that INEC has had a constructive knowledge of the merger plan and the existence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a long time, going by statements credited to the INEC spokesman both in the print and the electronic media.

On Feb. 17th 2013, Mr. Idowu was quoted and reported to have said that the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) remained a political association, even though it is yet to be recognized by the commission.

“By law, we do not expect APC to come to INEC. The political parties that are fusing into another party will individually and respectively come back to INEC, notifying us that they are fusing into a party with a new identity,” ACN quoted Mr. Idowu to have said told a newspaper.

”The same Idowu also told TVC news on Feb. 8th 2013 that INEC was expecting the leadership of the All Progressives’ Congress to apply for formal documentation. With these statements, it is clear that INEC has always had a constructive knowledge of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) since the merger plan started, and that the emerging party did not have to do anything until all the component parties have held their conventions and ratified the constitution, manifesto and logo of the APC.”

”We are therefore using this medium to assure the millions of our supporters within and outside Nigeria that there is no cause for alarm. The merger process is on course. The All Progressives’ Congress that is the legitimate people’s APC will berth safely and deliver Nigerians from the oppressive yoke of the PDP.”

It however called for vigilance on the part of all progressive forces across the country, ”especially because we have it on good authority that a top official of INEC has boasted that the emergence of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) will be frustrated at all costs”.

Nigeria’s Economy Will Collapse In Two Years With Falling Oil Price, ACN warns

Opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised an alert of an impending collapse of the nation’s economy, unless the Federal Government cuts the ‘astronomical cost’ of running governance and takes urgent measures to diversify the Nigerian economy and shore up the nation’s production of crude oil.

The party in a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, warned that if the listed measures were not taken, the government may not be able to pay its bills, including workers’ salaries, within the next few years as the developed nations are currently working out modalities of crashing the crude oil price.

According to the statement, “the red alert was based on four empirical evidence: The cost of oil production which has skyrocketed from 4 dollars per barrel in 2002 to 35 dollars presently; the massive corruption in the oil sector, with oil theft and sabotage leading to lost production and costing Nigeria some 6 billion dollars annually in crude theft; the sharp fall in the discovery of new oil and gas reserves due to the low investment in the sector, and the most serious of all, the challenge posed by alternative sources of global supply of oil and gas.”

Crashing Crude Oil Price With Alternative Energy

ACN warned that all the challenges pale into little significance when placed against the challenge posed by alternative sources of global supply of oil and gas (Shale oil and Shale gas), which is now being discovered in massive quantity across Europe, Asia and the US.

”For the first time in nearly a decade, the US has regained the position of being the world’s largest producer of natural gas and soon also oil. Thus, in less than five years, the US has gone from seeking new sources of oil and gas overseas to being self-sufficient. Industry experts believe that Shale oil and Shale gas will revolutionize the industry—and change the world—in the coming decades. It will prevent the rise of any new cartels and alter oil geopolitics.”

”The announced objective of the US Government is to drive down oil prices from the current 100 dollars per barrel to 50 dollars per barrel within 2 years. If this happens, which is very likely in view of the alternative sources, Nigeria, with a cost of production of 35 dollars per barrel, would immediately go out of business, with dire consequences for an economy that thrives largely (if not solely) on oil,” the party warned.

The party noted that the signs of ‘imminent trouble’ in the nation’s oil sector are already visible for those who are willing to see.

“The Brass LNG Project is unable to take Final Investment Decision (FID) because of the collapse in the US LNG market and rising costs; and a similar situation faces the Olokola LNG Project” as it alluded to some of the lingering challenges in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

High Cost Of Operation in Nigeria’s Oil Sector

Citing the just-concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, the party noted that the mind-boggling hike in the cost of oil production in the last decade was attributed to the cost of security in the Niger Delta.

”In other words, the gains recorded from ending militancy in the Niger Delta due to the Amnesty Programme have been wiped off by the cost of maintaining the ‘peace’.”

ACN also quoted the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu, who described the situation as, “operating in the Nigerian oil and gas environment can be long and tortuous with costs at the high end of the global scale. There are a multitude of security related issues that have to be dealt with on a daily basis.”

The party further emphasised that ”in the recent past, militancy has simply been replaced by industrial scale oil theft and sabotage.

It lamented the poor level of discovering new oil and gas reserves compared to other countries, stating that the “disastrously-low level of exploration activity in Nigeria is supported by the statistics released by the US Department of Energy for deep-water discoveries from 2009 to 2011 in which Brazil alone contributed some 40 new discoveries or 20 per cent of the global total, US and Australia contributed 10% each, countries like Ghana making nine new discoveries or 5% of the global total, while Nigeria had only 4 discoveries or 2% of the global total during this period.”

The party blamed the paltry discovery of new oil and gas reserves on alleged low investment in the sector, which it claims, “needs to attract $15 billion annually in capital investment, up from the present $3 billion in order to remain a significant global oil supplier and a respected player in OPEC.”

ACN therefore called on the federal government to put on its thinking cap in order to rise to the challenges listed above and save Nigeria’s economy from collapse, adding that any delay could mean that “those in charge of the country’s affairs would not have enough time to change course as the ship of state heads for the rocks.”

The opposition party urged the ruling party and federal government not to see the warning as political rhetoric but a patriotic fervour devoid of politicking. ”Contrary to what the FG may say, this warning is not about crying wolf but is actually borne out of a patriotic fervour devoid of politicking, which is the usual refrain of this government when alerted to its shortcomings” it said.

Maku’s ‘Good Governance Tour’ Is A Scam – ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described as a huge scam and an illegality the ”Good Governance Tour” currently embarked upon by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, and a retinue of people, saying it must be stopped forthwith and those behind it made to account for the public funds they have collected in the process.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku on "Good Governance Tour with members of his team

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party also commended the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole for rejecting a multi-million-naira proposal from the Minister asking the state government to bankroll the Edo leg of the tour.

It said such a tour as currently being led by the Minister across the country is an illegality in a federalism, the system of government which Nigeria is running, because it distorts the Constitution and gives the impression that the Federal Government is a supervisor of the various states ”Under our federalism, no state is subject to any control from the Federal Government, and no Governor is mandated to report to the President.

“To now have a team assembled by the Federal Government inspecting the projects being carried out by the various states is not only fraudulent and illegal, but amounts to a blatant waste of public funds.

“It is a carry-over from the days of military rule under which Nigeria was governed as a unitary state.

”It is also a case of double jeopardy for the states, whose projects are made to look like they are being executed by the
Federal Government, while at the same time they (states) are being made to pay for the meaningless tour.

”We say, unequivocally, that this tour fits into other fraudulent schemes concocted by this Federal Government to swindle the people, enrich a few and pad its war chest for the 2015 elections, and we are talking here of SURE-P as well as the oil subsidy and the pension fund scam.
This jamboree must end today!” ACN said.

The party asked whether the Federal Government that initiated the tour has allocated any funds to it, adding: ”If this answer is yes, why are states being asked to cough out millions of naira for it. And if the answer is no, why must states be made to pay for a Federal Government-initiated tour?”

It added: ”If the Federal Government has any project to showcase anywhere in the country, it is its prerogative to do so without extorting money from the states. And where it has nothing to showcase, it is fraudulent to be showcasing the projects embarked upon by state governments, many of which are not even under the same party as the Federal Government, hence they have their own mandates based on their party manifestoes.

”Wouldn’t it be laughable to see the Minister of Information questioning contractors of projects being executed by state governments or issue ultimatums to contractors he did not hire? Minister Maku should immediately put an end to the jamboree he is leading, declare all the public funds he has collected in the name of this tour and return such to the state governments that have been swindled under the so-called ”Good Governance Tour.”

ACN Demands Use Of Electronic Voting For 2015 Elections

Opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has demanded that it is time for the country to embrace electronic voting in order to ensure the integrity of its elections and hand over the elections back to Nigerians instead of the judiciary.

In a statement issued on Sunday, by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, ACN declared that with electronic voting, the overall cost of elections will be less and there will be stability in the polity.

Referring to the overwhelming deployment of security operatives during elections, the party added that the atmosphere of war usually associated with elections will disappear and the involvement of the security agencies will be de-emphasized.

Admitting that Section 52 (2) of the Electoral Act bans the use of electronic voting for the time being, ACN urged the National Assembly to move quickly to amend that part of the law while it called on the federal government to provide INEC with all the resources needed to make electronic voting a reality.

”While electronic voting is not a magic wand, it is the surest way for Nigeria to join the league of countries that have wiped out electoral fraud, which is the worst form of corruption. It is also the best way to hand over Nigeria’s elections back to Nigerians, instead of having the judiciary determine who wins what contest. Two years is long enough to achieve this,” ACN said.

The party noted that Ghana, which has organized perhaps the best elections in this part of the world, has realized it can no longer continue with manual voting; hence it did not wait for troubles associated with electoral malfeasance to break out before embracing electronic voting during its last general elections in December.

”It is not just enough for us to sit back in envy while the world hails our neighbor Ghana for being a model in electoral rectitude and participatory democracy. Let us ask ourselves what we need to do differently, to shed our toga of electoral fraud and brigandage”

”Yes, there were some hiccups during the last elections in Ghana, which were conducted with electronic voting. But Ghana quickly moved to correct whatever problems came up. The system also allowed Ghana to extend voting without fearing that ballot boxes will be hijacked or stuffed,”

ACN said it is true that Ghana’s last presidential election that was conducted with electronic voting is currently being challenged in court, ”to the best of our knowledge, that’s the only case being contested in court since the elections ended.”

”It is totally unacceptable and indeed an anomaly for a nation of 160 million people to hand over the determination of its elections to a few ‘wise’ men and women on the bench.”

“One result of Nigeria’s successive failed elections is that it has brought corruption to the judiciary. It is time to free judges to do their duties and allow Nigerians to play more roles in determining who governs them,” it said.

The party pledged its support for e-voting stating that ”we assure INEC of our full support towards using electronic voting in 2015.”

It also appealed to other political parties, Civil Society Organizations and all Nigerians to join it in pushing for a system that will “eliminate the role of thugs and side line vote thieves during our elections, in addition to making our elections free, fair and credible” the statement read.

ACN Accuses PDP Led FG Of Deceit And False Statistics

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Jonathan Administration of engaging in governance by deceit, saying the administration has been overstating its achievements and making fake promises to Nigerians.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the “party also slammed the President’s Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, for making himself a purveyor of blatant lies and for having the temerity to denigrate the country’s opposition for daring to criticize a non-performing government.

The party “said only a government that swims in corruption and lacks self-respect and decency can pick as its spokesperson a man who has been shown to be an epitome of corruption by collecting funds for contracts that were not executed”.

ACN said the government’s claim, through Dr. Okupe, that it will generate 780,000 jobs in 2013 through the ‘Young Graduate Employment Scheme’ and 5,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P is the latest example of the Administration’s lies.

”Our advice to the teeming young graduates who have no jobs is that they should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by this promise. They should remember that this same Administration promised to create 10,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P in 2012. The year is over, and all we have now are phantom jobs and more fake promises,” the party said.

It also urged Nigerians to ensure that their generators are in good working condition, as the government’s promise of stable electricity in 2013 is as unrealistic as it is deceitful.

”The Administration said it has generated an all-time high 4,500 megawatts and will increase the number to 7,000MW in 2013. What a celebration of tokenism! In the first instance, the government should be ashamed to tell Nigerians it has been able to generate only 4,500MW from a huge expenditure of 16 billion dollars!

”Also, no one needs a rocket scientist to know that 4,500MW cannot ensure stable electricity supply in a country of 160 million people, when South Africa, with less than a third of Nigeria’s population, generates over 40,000MW.

The ACN advised Nigerians not to throw away their generators yet just because of an imaginary power stability promised by a government spokesman who has nothing but disdain for the truth,” ACN said.

The party also faulted the Administration’s claim that the bombings and killings in the north have decreased from January to December, calling it fabricated cold comfort and a disservice to millions of our citizens who are daily being subjected to terror attacks, “while President Jonathan, now a professional mourner, resorts to endless lamentation instead of decisive action”.

”Well, we are not surprised at the claim of reduced terror attacks by the Jonathan Administration. After all, the same Administration claimed that global anti-corruption body Transparency International acknowledged Nigeria’s progress in fighting corruption, when nothing like that ever happened.

”To set the record straight, 750 people have been killed in terror attacks in the north this year, a figure higher than about 570 who were killed in 2011, and not counting the latest killings in Borno and Adamawa states,” it said.

ACN advised the Jonathan Administration to level up with Nigerians by admitting its failings and rolling up its sleeves, so to say, to reverse the ‘transmogrification’ which the President’s Transformation Agenda has become, instead of relying on a hypocritical spokesman to peddle lies to citizens who are already reeling under the failure of an impotent government.

 

Saraki will be remembered as a political colossus – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has joined Nigerians in mourning Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki who he described as “one of Nigeria’s most prominent political leaders, medical practitioner and democrat.”

In a statement signed by the President’s special adviser on Media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, the President extended his “sincere commiserations to the elder statesman’s family and the people of his home state, Kwara to whose service and upliftment he selflessly devoted his long and very successful career in politics.”

President Jonathan urged people of Kwara to be consoled by the knowledge that “their departed father, leader and mentor lived a very successful and fulfilled life, rising to national prominence by dint of hard work, uncommon generosity, political sagacity, dedication and wholesome commitment to the service of his people and the entire nation.”

He noted that the late Dr. Saraki will be long remembered and eulogized as a consummate politician, an astute grassroots mobiliser, and a political colossus with awe-inspiring powers of political organisation.

“The ordinary people of Kwara in particular will always remember the “Oloye” with great affection because of the constant support they received from him” he added

The President further notes that “Dr. Saraki’s brand of people-oriented politics and his success in building on his strong support base to contribute positively to Nigeria’s political development as a powerful voice in the nation’s dominant political parties, as the Senate Majority Leader in the Second Republic, and as the ultimate reference point in the politics of Kwara state for decades, have assured him of a place amongst Nigeria’s heroes of democracy.

He urged Nigerians to emulate Dr Saraki’s patriotic commitment to national unity, politics without bitterness as well as his magnificent spirit of philanthropy.

Nigeria has lost another political titan – ACN

Also reacting to the demise of the Ilorin political icon, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) expressed shock and sadness, saying the nation has lost another political titan and a legend of his time.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also described Dr. Saraki as a “colossus who possessed an efficient political machinery that he used effectively to rally the people.”

”Dr. Saraki defined his era, and since his entry into politics several decades ago, politics has never been the same again, especially in his native Kwara state, where he became synonymous with the politics of the state.”

ACN said the death of Dr. Saraki, coming a few days after the passing of another great politician, Lam Adesina, is a big loss to Nigeria, especially at a time the nation needs the wisdom and rich experience of its great sons and daughters to help steer it to less-turbulent waters.

”The vacuum being created by the death of these political titans is a challenge to young politicians to strive hard to step into their shoes and work hard to make our country a proud member of the comity of nations,” the party said.

Non-prosecution of Okupe is official endorsement of corruption- ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described as “official endorsement of corruption” the attempt by the Presidency, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Benue State government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to treat as a civil matter the case relating to the non-performance of the N2.3 billion contract awarded to presidential aide, Doyin Okupe’s company, Value Trust Limited, by the Benue State Government.

Mr Okupe is the senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs.

In a statement issued in Abeokuta on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary,  Lai Mohammed, the party said, “This is a case which raises serious legal and financial issues that must necessarily warrant the intervention of the EFCC in terms of investigating the allegation of financial impropriety levelled against the presidential aide if the Federal Government wants it to be taken seriously on its war against corruption.”

The party said that on several occasions in the past, the EFCC had proffered criminal charges against individuals and companies who received money for the purpose of the execution of contracts awarded to them and who failed or refused to fulfill such.

“Dr. Doyin Okupe’s case is not different from any of these. In the face of the obvious attempt by the Presidency, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission to sweep this case under the carpet, the Action Congress of Nigeria sees the need to present once again unadorned the facts of this case to the public, which are as follows:

“Value Trust a company in which Dr. Doyin Okupe serves as chairman received the sum ofN886.8 million as mobilisation from the Benue state government out of the contract sum of N2.3 billion to construct 230 kilometres of rural road and failed to execute the contract.

“This non-performance of the contract after having collected the sum of N886.8 million mobilisation fee is a clear cut situation where the the provisions of the law relating to obtaining money under false pretence should be invoked and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission must treat this incident in the same manner as it has been treating all other similar cases of obtaining money under false pretences.

“Therefore, the stance of both the Benue State Government and the Peoples Democratic Party to treat this obvious criminal act with triviality by treating it as a mere civil commercial disagreement that could be summarily resolved between the Benue State Government and Dr. Doyin Okupe’s company cannot stand as only a court of law can determine the culpability or otherwise of Dr. Okupe and his company in the matter.

“It is obvious to even the least discerning observer that Dr. Doyin Okupe and the Benue State Government with the active collusion of the Presidency and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission would like the world to believe that all that happened in a case where the Okupe’s company abandoned a contract after it was paid a whopping sum of N886.8million was a case of mere civil commercial dispute,” the the party said.

It further reminded the Presidency, Benue State Government, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that “in all cases where public funds are disbursed to individuals through any contrivance and the purpose for which such disbursement was made is not met, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had treated such cases as obtaining by false pretences.”

It added, “Many bank directors today are being tried for stealing borrowed funds that may not have been utilised appropriately. The oil subsidy cases also merely involve persons who received sums as subsidies without supplying the subsidy product.

“What is good for the goose should be good for the gander, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission must investigate the allegations against Dr. Doyin Okupe or they should stop the prosecution of all bank directors and those indicted in the oil subsidy scam.”