The Governor of Imo State and the Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for displaying high level of political maturity by conceding defeat and calling to congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC presidential candidate and winner of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election.
Governor Rochas Okorocha, in a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemoudo, said that President Jonathan has no doubt made history by being the first sitting Nigerian President who not only conceded victory to his major opponent, but openly congratulated him without betraying any emotions.
He urged the President to be mindful of the antics of some of his political associates who might want to coerce him into taking any action that would diminish all the goodwill he has gained in the eyes of Nigerians and the international community.
The Governor, however, called on all Nigerians to continue to pray for President Jonathan for God’s guidance in his personal life and future endeavours.
Following the emergence of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, as the winner of the 2015 presidential election, residents of Kaduna State especially APC supporters, have trooped to the streets in celebration of his victory at the polls.
The excited APC supporters comprising of men, women, youths and children, expressed happiness with the transparent manner in which the election was conducted, stating that Buhari’s success at the poll has clearly revealed that the will of the people would always prevail at all times.
They also shared their expectation that General Buhari would change Nigeria for the better from its present state, which will place Nigeria in its right position as the giant of Africa.
The APC supporters, who trooped out in large numbers along major roads and streets in Kaduna metropolis, expressed optimism that the administration of the new President-elect would tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and other security challenges in the country.
They expressed joy that their support for General Buhari and the APC, as well as their yearning for change was not in vein.
They, however, vowed to change the APC government after four years if it fails to deliver on its promises to the people.
Security operatives were available at strategic locations to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections nationwide.
General Buhari said the hiccups experienced in few states over the card readers were not enough to cast aspersions on the election.
Fielding questions from Journalists in his house in Daura, Katsina State, General Buhari said reports made available to him by his observers indicated that the election had been generally peaceful.
General Buhari commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for extending the exercise in some polling units till tomorrow.
The APC Presidential candidate, however, appealed to all his supporters to remain calm no matter the outcome of the election.
The electoral body had released an adjusted guideline for the elections, allowing the ad-hoc staff at polling units to accredit voters with the manual register to allow eligible voters with accreditation issues exercise their civic right.
Nigeria’s Vice President has assured to deliver over two million votes for his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Kaduna State, noting that the people of the state are in full support of the party.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, an indigene of Kaduna State and running mate to the PDP presidential candidate, said President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has performed well in all sectors of the economy to deserve the votes of Nigerians.
He also added that with the overwhelming support that the PDP currently enjoys in Kaduna State and the north-west zone, he is expecting an over overwhelming victory for the party on Saturday.
Although the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari is from Katsina State also in the north-west zone.
The Vice President, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Umar Sani, at a youth empowerment programme in Kaduna, maintained that the zone is up for grab by the PDP, having achieved similar feat in the 2011 elections.
Sambo has literately relocated his office to his home state where he has been meeting with different groups across the state.
The purpose according to Sani, is to woo electorates to vote for the PDP in the coming election, stressing that the Vice President does not want to lose anything to chance in securing victory for President Jonathan and PDP.
One of such strategies is the distribution of cars, tricycles, sewing machines, wrappers and cash to PDP members in the state by his aide.
This is aimed at boosting the morale of party men and women and to reassure them of President Jonathan’s commitment to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians if voted into office for another term.
However, as Nigerians go to the polls this Saturday to elect their next president, political pundits are watching to see how the different strategies adopted by politicians will translate to victory, especially with the amount of resources so far deployed for the exercise.
A PDP support group, Wind of Hope, has challenged the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to a presidential debate at Chatham House, in London.
In an open letter, published online, the group said; “In our quest for deepening democracy which thrives on robust and constructive deliberations, that aid the electorate, Wind of Hope hereby offers you (Buhari) a platform to debate with the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, before the forthcoming elections at Chatham House, where you were so obviously at ease before your supporters and the international media”.
It further read; “We wish to state further, our readiness to fully sponsor such a forum. All we ask is that you state your preferred date and time”.
According to the group’s National Coordinator, Onoriode Akpeh, a presidential debate with both candidates, would help deepen democracy.
It would be recalled that the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, refused calls for a presidential debate in Nigeria, including one organised by Channels Television and other groups.
In a statement issued in London on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP and the Jonathan Administration still do not have any answer to what has now become an epochal moment that has separated the wheat from the chaff.
”Our presidential candidate’s globally-acclaimed outing has presented Nigerians, and indeed the global community, to choose between an ineffective, incoherent, and incompetent President and an assertive, knowledgeable, dignified, purposeful and principled President-in-waiting.
”Having failed to discredit that outing with a rented crowd, some of whom confessed to have been paid to carry placards they do not understand, the PDP and the Jonathan Administration had resorted to making nauseating claims that were totally untrue, absolutely incomprehensible” it said.
APC said the claim was the latest in a series of desperate moves by the PDP and the Jonathan Administration since the emergence of Gen. Buhari as the APC presidential candidate, and the clearest indication yet that they had no answer to the unstoppable momentum of a man of history.
”They had thrown everything imaginable at Gen. Buhari, but he had continued to wax stronger and stronger: They said he was not qualified, that he was too old, then they fabricated a medical report of an illness of their own choice, sponsored death wish adverted against him and instituted a myriad of court cases to stop him.
”After they failed to stop him, they went after the election itself, using the PVCs as a tool to launch a campaign for postponement and, when they realized that would not work, came up with the bogey of insecurity in the North-east to force a postponement of the election, hoping they could buy enough time to revive their electoral misfortune.
”With everything working against them, they engaged in a show of shame at The Chatham House that backfired badly, on the heels of their bare-faced lies that Gen. Buhari was hospitalized in London. The preposterous claim of a secret oath – reminiscent of what they do in their own party – by the spokesman of the Jonathan Campaign Organization, Femi Fani-Kayode, is their latest desperate act,” the party said.
APC said in as much as it had so far refrained from engaging Fani-Kayode in his game of character, abuses and irresponsible name calling, the party was becoming seriously concerned that he may be caving under pressure and reverting to his undignified past of substance abuse.
Nigerian Youths had been urged to be at the forefront of efforts aimed at electing credible leaders that would focus on all levels development in next month’s general election.
They were also told to ensure that their voices would be heard in the process of building a progressive nation.
This was part of the messages at the 2014/2015 Orientation Lecture for the newly admitted Students of the Federal University of Agriculture, entitled “The Roles of Students in Building a Progressive Nation”. It was organised by the Students’ Union, held at the Ceremonial Hall of the University in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.
The Orientation Lecture was aimed at exposing the newly admitted Students to the minimum standard code of conduct expected of them on campus, especially at a time when moral decadence had continue to take its toll on the teaching and learning system of the younger generation.
The Guest Lecturer, Adedayo Thomas, who represented the All Progressives Congress’ Presidential Candidate, Rtd General Muhammadu Buhari, at the occasion, admonished the newly admitted students to be patriotic, shun corruption and work towards a united and egalitarian country of equal opportunity.
Some participants said that as political activities hot up in different parts of Nigeria, it was good that the Nigerian youths were being cautioned in order not to make themselves instruments in the hands of selfish politicians for selfish interests.
Observers from the European Union (EU) would not be deployed to the north eastern part of Nigeria to monitor the 2015 elections.
The European Union (EU) Chief Observer, Mr Santiago Ayxela, said this to journalists after a closed door meeting with the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, and party officials.
He said that the observers would not be able to monitor the elections in the north east because of the present security situation in the area.
Mr Ayxela said that a team of 90 European Union (EU) observers would, however, be arriving Nigeria to monitor the 2015 elections.
Some of the observers, according to Mr Ayxela, would be operating from strategic locations close to the North-East region.
Also speaking to journalists, the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), said that the European Union (EU) has told the All Progressives Congress of its plans to spread its observers across the country to assess the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
He expressed confidence in the capacity of the European Union to add value to the credibility of the elections.
The presidential election holds across Nigeria on February 14.
Nigerian Lawyer, Festus Keyamo, says the ruling party is responsible for the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki’s suggestion that the February general elections be postponed.
Speaking on Channels Television, he said that it was cynical for a high ranking government official to make such suggestion when the elections were already close and the momentum was already in favour of the opposition candidate.
“The clear picture that is emerging is that the ruling party is afraid of defeat on February 14 and then the government uses its National Security Adviser to go and fly the kite first of all in London because they need to get the support of the international community for them to shift that date.
“Nobody can tell me really that a National Security Adviser would travel out of the country, make such a profound suggestion that can affect adversely the peace and tranquillity of even the electoral process without getting the approval of the President,” he said.
He alleged that the major reason the suggestion was made was to help the Peoples Democratic Party to buy more time to “do damage” to the chances of the APC Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that the Peoples Democratic Party had always been worried by the credibility of the retired General and this has been the reason there had been several attempts to demonise and challenge his eligibility for the office.
“They think that the momentum is behind him and they need more time to re-strategise on how to manipulate the processes and to damage his credibility,” he said.
He, however, expressed satisfaction in the statement made by the Chairman of the INEC, Attahiru Jega.
The INEC boss had said earlier in the week that the commission had no intention to postpone the elections and Keyamo said that this was heart-warming as it showed there was no synergy between INEC and the PDP.
He also corroborated the INEC Chairman’s claim that the commission was not to blame for the slow distribution of the PVCs as the people’s failure to collect their cards should not be a reason to postpone the elections.
Keyamo also said that the decision of the PDP not to react to the suggestion or condemn it just as the APC had done, validates his claim that they knew about it.
Speaking on one of the issues which he said were being thrown at the APC candidate to discredit him, he said that making a case out of the educational qualification of the former Head of State was “complete rubbish”.
He referred to it as a “storm in a teacup” created to distract him and break the momentum being gathered by his popularity.
He noted that the Supreme Court had settled the matter in two different cases as he emphasized the view that the candidate only needed to be educated to the Primary 6 level and not necessarily to pass the examinations.
He added that an Army General who had attended many international courses, some of which have been rated to be equivalent to Masters Degrees, cannot be disqualified but rather seen as over qualified.
Keyamo, however, said that the failure of the current administration to address the critical issues of corruption, security and economy were of more importance to him than trying to help defend the authenticity of General Buhari’s academic credentials.
Keyamo expressed disgust at the growth of insurgency in the north-east region of the country. He said that the President should have been able to “deal with the situation” rather than provide reasons why the insurgency existed.
He insisted that the President should be blamed for the insurgency in Nigeria.
While admitting that terrorism was indeed a scourge in several developed countries, he noted that in no nation have the insurgents been able to take over any territory because their governments dealt with it decisively.
Mr Keyamo also provided his recommendations on how to get the 2015 general elections right.
He said that Nigerians need to shun violence and the President must make a commitment that the votes of the citizens would count.
He added that the President should not allow the rise of the “Mafias”.
A Nigerian lawyer has attributed some challenges that the nation is facing to selective application of the rule of law.
Giving his opinion on Tuesday on the controversy surrounding the claims that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, is not qualified to contest in the February 14 election, Mr Kenneth Odidika, said that the ‘big man syndrome’ had led to the likely refusal of General Buhari to submit his credentials.
“We do not stick to rules in Nigeria and that is what is happening as regards the certificate controversy.
“We have a constitution and other laws with the constitution being supreme.
“The constitution has specified the needed qualification from every political party’s candidate but the APC has refused to give the leaving school certificate of his presidential candidate to the electoral body,” he said.
The certificate controversy had peaked when a spokesman of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team, Femi fani-Kayode, insisted that General Buhari was not qualified to contest, demanding that the APC’s presidential candidates should present his credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The APC had, in response, insisted that its candidate had the certificate, describing the fani-Kayode’s claims as ‘preposterous’ and capable of destroying the image of the Nigerian Army.
‘Big man syndrome’
But Mr Odidika said that the refusal to submit the certificate was outright disobedience.
“Selective application of the law is what Nigeria is facing. Big men refuse to subject themselves to the law.
“Big man syndrome is what Nigeria is suffering from.”
He also insisted that the INEC was culpable, accepting the forms without the certificate attached as stipulated by the law.
“They are supposed to submit the personal particulars of the person before they publish his name.
“If he had the certifications, he should have submitted them,” he said.
On Monday, General Buhari urged party members not to be involved in any violent act before, during or after the elections, a comment that was highly seen as necessary.
But Mr Odidika said the comment came a bit late and that an initial statement that the APC would run a parallel government if the election was rigged was insightful.
“What we say before something happens could be different and could contribute to why what will happen will happen.
“There have been statements from APC suggesting the necessity for violence.
“They said that if the election was rigged, they would form a parallel government. How do you determine if an election is rigged without going to the court. What that means is that once they lose, they will take to the streets to install a parallel government.
“Anything the candidates say means a lot to their supporters.
“Thank God Buhari said what he said. The Peoples Democratic Party and the APC must ensure that their members stick to the rule of the game,” the lawyer stressed.
On the challenges that the INEC had witnessed in the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that the electoral body had insisted voters would only vote with, Mr Odidika said that there was the need for the INEC to consider allowing persons with the old temporal card to vote in areas where they had challenges issuing out the PVC.
The Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, says he plans to help Nigerians see that the APC Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, is different from what the PDP has been portraying him to be for the past 16 years.
Speaking on Channels Television, in his capacity as the Director-General of General Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Amaechi said that the GMB Campaign would have a different outlook.
He noted that work had already started in this regard, as they have shown the public that APC Presidential candidate is a family man, contrary to the image of him “as if he doesn’t smile and the man makes the best jokes anybody can hear”.
“We are trying to sell to you a man who, though 70, is more fit than others and most other people who are competing with him.
“You saw him on the day we matched against the impunity of the President and he joined us to match from the Eagles Square to Hilton, back to the Police Headquarters, stood out there till we closed 6pm.”
Governor Amaechi also addressed the allegations against him that he has been funding the presidential campaign of his party with vigour despite owing salaries of workers in his state.
“Now I have an appointment as the DG of Buhari campaign, I will not make a careless statement that I have no facts on,” condemning statements credited to a Presidential Spokesman alleging that he was funding the campaign.
Having criticized the manner in which money was raised for the campaign of the PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan, Amaechi was asked to explain how he intends to raise money for the Buhari Campaign.
Claiming that the APC was at a disadvantage financially, “If you call a fund raising today you will see how many people that will come, are you sure we will be able to get up to 1billion?
“If you look at the Buhari Campaign Organisation, we have put a process in place where Nigerians will donate 1naira, 2naira, 10,000, 15,000…
“If you think you will match this President with money, then you will not win the election. We will depend on the people.”
With words out that Governors would be funding the campaign, Amaechi said, “Unfortunately the Governors in APC are not the rich governors.”
He explained that he could not afford to fund the election campaign with the financial challenges that the Rivers State Government has had to face.
“My wage bill is 9.2billion. Don’t forget I employed 13,200 teachers, don’t forget I employed 400 doctors,” he said.
Rivers State Cannot Fund Buhari Campaign
Governor Amaechi, during the conversation, also provided details of Rivers State’s revenue and expenditure, as well as the challenges being faced with dwindling monthly allocation from the Federal Government.
He insisted that the Federal Government should take responsibility for the poor situation in the states, “Its the stealing at the federal level that has denied us funds,” he said.
He, however, explained that Rivers State has been able to forge ahead due to his dynamism in raising the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, which previous administrations fed on.
“Before I became Governor, the IGR was 2.5billion. We’ve been able to raise the IGR from 2.5billion to 8billion. No new taxes, just stopping corruption. I made sure nobody shared the money.
“Before, what they do is to give the State Government 2.5billion, other interests they share the rest. So, I said put all the money on the till. When they brought the money back, we saw that we were getting more money.
“I’m proud to say that that income is able to rise to 8.5billion because we were able to block the loop holes of corruption.
He added that from the Federal Allocation which used to be about 20 to 25billion Naira, the state had since been receiving about 12 to 14billion Naira only.