INEC Says Investigation Into Rivers Re-run Election Still On

Electoral Violence: INEC Describes Incidents As Dangerous To DemocracyThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is still investigating the Rivers State re-run elections and probing any of its officials that might be linked to any ugly incidents that may have played out.

The Commission is in Lagos with its key senior officials to re-assess its activities and it has started planning ahead for future elections

With the stories of a possible mega party in the works, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu told Channels Television that there are over 60 applications from associations for political parties.

When asked if the commission was ready for the 2019 election, Professor Yakubu said INEC was fully prepared and anticipates the amendment of the Electoral Act.

INEC on January 4 pledged to cooperate with the special joint investigative panel set up by the Inspector General of Police on the violence that almost marred the re-run legislative election in Rivers State.

At a meeting with members of the panel, the INEC chairman said the Commission had also set up an administrative panel to review the re-run election.

The chairman said past collaborations with the police had led to the prosecution of 40 electoral offenders.

The chairman of the special investigative panel, Dan Okoro, told reporters that the work of the panel was going smoothly.

After the election of December 10, the Nigerian Police force dismissed six police officers, attached to the Governor of Rivers state during the elections, alleging misuse of their offices.

The Force spokesman, Mr Don Awunah, told journalists at a news conference in Abuja that the dismissed officers acted contrary to the laws that ought to have guided their conduct during the exercise.

According to him, the decision to expel the officers from the force is coming after the accused were investigated by the internal investigative and disciplinary committee.

900 APC Aspirants Jostle For LG Polls In Oyo State

Edo APC, Godwin ErahonAs preparations for the local government election in Oyo State fixed for February this year gather momentum, no fewer than 900 aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are vying for both the councillorship and chairmanship positions.

Already, the aspirants have been screened in their various senatorial districts and local governments.

Although, some chieftains of the party had raised alarm few weeks ago that Governor Abiola Ajimobi wanted to impose his own loyalists as chairmen and councillors at the expense of supporters of a former governor in the state, late Mr Lamidi Adesina, the governor had given his nod for the conduct of primaries that would produce candidates for the positions.

About 300 candidates are jostling for the chairmanship positions in the 33 local government areas, while around 600 aspirants are eyeing the councillorship seats in various wards.

One of the contestants, who prefers not to be named told Channels Television that the screening was done secretly and that it was a peaceful process.

“The process has been fair and we are all awaiting the final reports of the committee that conducted the screening,” the aspirant said.

According to him, the aspirants were screened according to their senatorial districts.

Channels Television gathered that aspirants for the chairmanship positions from Oyo South senatorial district were screened at Ibadan North Local government secretariat, while those from Oyo North senatorial district were screened at Iseyin and the aspirants from Oyo Central were screened at Akinyele Local Government.

Speaking on the issue over the telephone, the state Chairman of the party, Mr Akin Oke said so far, the party leadership had been very fair to all the aspirants.

“The screening of aspirants have come and gone. The process has so far been fair and credible. What we are waiting for is the reports of the committee that conducted the screening.

“It is after the screening that aspirants will know whether they are cleared or not. After this, the primary will be conducted in the party,” he said.

The coming days will, however, determine how peaceful the elections will be within the APC, as the final list of candidates emerges from the party secretariat.

INEC Sets Up Panel To Review Rivers Polls

Wike Says Illegal Printing of INEC Materials Must Be Investigated, Election Materials, Election MaterialsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to cooperate with the special joint investigative panel set up by the Inspector General of Police on the violence that almost marred re-run election in Rivers State.

At a meeting with members of the panel, the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the Commission had also set up an administrative panel to review the re-run election.

The chairman recalled past collaboration with the police that led to the prosecution of 40 electoral offenders.

The chairman of the special investigative panel, Dan Okoro, told reporters that the work of the panel was going smoothly.

INEC To Prosecute Corrupt Officials

Earlier, INEC had said it would not hesitate to prosecute any of its staff guilty of corrupt practices.

INEC said it was studying an investigative report submitted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that some officials collected money from politicians during elections.

The Commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Wole Osaze-Uzzi, told Channels Television that indicted staff might face criminal prosecution while others would face disciplinary action.

LG Polls: Abia Govt. Directs Civil Servants To Stay At Home

FCT election -INEC.Amosun. Ogun poolsAbia State has declared December 21, a ‘stay-at-home and work-free day’ for workers in the state civil service to enable them participate in the Local Government election.

In a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Strategy, Mr Bonnie Iwuoha, the government, however, said that movement was not restricted, as inhabitants of the state and the public were free to go about their normal and lawful duties.

“The work-free day is to offer workers with the Abia State Civil Service, who registered in their villages, the opportunity to go home and cast their votes,” the statement read.

It further said that the decision to make the day a work free day was to ensure that no electorate was disenfranchise.

The state government further advised citizens, especially the youths, to maintain peace, as they go about casting their votes for their preferred candidates in the Local Government elections.

The police and other security agencies were also advised to protect all citizens and ensure that law and order are maintained.

The Police said it had made provision for adequate security during the election.

Rivers Re-run: Wike Claims Security Agents Hijacked Electoral Materials

nyesome-wike-of-rivers-stateThe Governor of Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, has expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of security personnel deployed in Rivers State for the re-run legislative election.

He accused the Nigerian Army and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad ( SARS) of the Nigerian Police of killing PDP agents, hijacking electoral materials and working to deliver a particular candidate in Rivers South-East Senatorial District.

In a statement by the spokesman for Governor Wike said Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor boasted that “no matter the use of the Nigerian Army and SARS personnel by the APC Government, Rivers State will never be conquered”.

Governor Wike, claimed there were mass shootings by the Nigerian Army and the Police in Khana, Gokana, Akuku-Toru and Etche Local Government Areas on Election Day and insisted that the Security Agencies were deployed to the State to manipulate the result of the polls.

He said that true to the claim by the APC Governors and leaders that they will use Federal Might against the Rivers people, the military have been used to rig re-run elections in parts of the State.

“In Khana Local Government Area, election materials for the entire local government area were hijacked by the Nigerian Army and SARS personnel.

“In Gokana Local Government Area, soldiers hijacked election materials for Wards two and three in Bodo City where the military also killed two persons in the process of fleeing with the materials,” the statement read.

Invasion By Security Agencies

Governor Wike further claimed that out of the 19 wards of Etche Local Government Area, soldiers and SARS personnel hijacked election materials for four wards.

The Governor further said that one Mr Charles Etche, an APC Chieftain, has been arrested with two AK47.

The governor noted that the unfortunate onslaught by the military and SARS personnel started in the night of Friday, when the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi backed by a battalion of soldiers and over 20 SARS personnel attempted to hijack materials from the Isiokpo INEC headquarters, but were resisted by youths.

Governor Wike noted that in Opobo-Nkoro Local Government Area , soldiers hijacked election materials and took same to the home of Dr Sam Sam Jaja of APC.

He said: “I anticipated it. I tried to let the world to know that these are the plans of the security agencies.

“In all my political career, I have never experienced this kind of invasion by security agencies. What causes violence is when you give certain persons undue advantage.

“Be assured that we are resisting it. It may take our lives, but we will resist to the last. That is what is expected, when you are fighting for freedom. You must make sacrifices.

“It is unfortunate that we are congratulating the opposition for winning in Ghana, but here the military are directly involved in rigging and hijacking materials.

“They say that they want to give Rivers State Governor problems, but you are not giving Rivers State Governor problems, you are giving Nigeria problems”.

In the statement Governor Wike further noted that he had informed a National Commissioner of INEC and the Resident Electoral Commissioner on the problems in Khana Local Government Area and Gokana LGA, hinting that he was assured that action would be taken.

Amaechi Claims Wike, PDP Behind Killings In Rivers State

chibuike-amaechi-and-nyesom-wikeA former Governor of Rivers State, Mr chibuike Amaechi, has accused the current governor, Nyesom Wike and his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of being behind killings in the state. 

This allegation is the latest in allegations and counter allegations that have been put forward, as political parties in Rivers State prepare for the December 10 re-run legislative election.

Mr Amaechi claims that Mr Wike could not deny his involvement and sponsorship of the killing of innocent Rivers people and stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections and the March 19 re-run elections in the state.

Cache Of Arms And Ammunitions

The former governor made the allegations while addressing reporters at the Port Harcourt International Airport on arrival in the State for Saturday’s re-run legislative elections.

He said the cache of arms and ammunitions Mr Wike recovered from cultists during the first phase of the Rivers State Amnesty Programme was evidences to buttress his allegations.

“Wike has not denied he did not kill people. He sponsored those who carried arms in the 2015 general elections.

“Even, during the campaigns, our people were beaten, manhandled and others threatened, leaving many dead. But we will not continue to allow these things to happen like that. Members of the PDP were also responsible for killing APC members in Omoku,” Mr Amaechi, who is now the the Minister of Transportation, told reporters.

When asked for his opinion on claims by the PDP and Governor Wike that the Police and INEC in Rivers state have connived to manipulate election results in favour of the APC, Mr Amaechi, who is a member of the APC said: “If Governor Wike and the PDP have justifiable evidence, let them present it to the general public and stop blackmailing me or INEC and Police.

“The allegations are immaterial, null and void. Why is Wike and PDP making too much noise and fruitless allegations?” he questioned.

But Mr Wike has vowed to release a video of the plot to rig the election in favour of the APC when the need arises.

Despite Wike’s claims, Mr Amaechi claimed that his popularity in the state was enough to the give his party victory,.

He argued that he was more popular than all those in the PDP because, when he left office in 2015 as Governor of Rivers State, he had over 75 per cent support from Rivers people and other Nigerians resident in the state.

“This is so because, as Governor then, l overhauled the Health and Education sectors by promoting free healthcare system and free education.

“Over 10,000 teachers were employed, including the building of critical infrastructures, roads and youth empowerment, making Rivers people and other Nigerians experience change.

“So, l am very sure l had more popularity than any PDP stakeholder including Governors across the country,” he claimed.

Mr Amaechi further urged the people of the state to disabuse their minds against comments by the PDP and Governor Wike, which he said were calculated to rubbish him in the eyes of right thinking persons, in order to score cheap popularity and further whip up public sentiments to heat up the polity.

He called on Rivers people and other Nigerians resident in the state, including supporters and stalwarts of the APC to turn out en-masse to vote on Saturday, urging them to always protect their votes at election venues.

“Before now, I used to tell my Party members to vote and protect their votes, but there has been complains of indecent attacks from the PDP, so, I have asked the APC party members to protect their votes and their lives as well, because the PDP cannot be bigger than everybody everywhere,” Amaechi explained.

He equally expressed total displeasure over what he called, “irresponsible comments” by Wike, stating that, “at several occasions, Wike has abused the office and privileges of the governor, especially, his sudden interception of Security operatives who were detailed by law to arrest corrupt judges in some states across the country”.

“During my tenure as Governor, I never abused the office of the Governor, because, it is sacred and should be respected in all ramifications,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister in a broadcast aired on Radio stations across Rivers State asked Rivers people to take advantage of the December 10 re-run elections and vote the right persons to represent them and put an end to the alleged terror they have been made to go through by the Wike and PDP administration in the State so far.

He said: “This is another opportunity for us to exercise our right to vote for candidates of our choices. You would recall that the last time the elections were held, members of the APC were brazenly, crudely and violently prevented from exercising their inalienable rights to elect those they wanted. Those same characters and forces that stole our votes by violently, denying us the right to vote the last time, are at it again.

“In the months and weeks leading to this Saturday’s election, they have employed the use of violence and intimidation and harassment all aimed at preventing us from coming out to vote, they have turned our hitherto peaceful state into a haven of brazen criminality culminating in killings and maiming of innocent citizens.

“However, it is gratifying to know that the Commander-in- Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, has assured the security of lives and property in the state before, during and after the election.

“Mr. President has graciously provided adequate security through the length and breadth of the state. I therefore, enjoin you all to come out en masse and exercise your civic right on Saturday”.

Wike Clears Air On Accusations Against INEC, Police

Wike Clears Air On Accusations Against INEC, PoliceRivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has been defending his allegations of alleged plot by the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to rig the forthcoming re-run polls in the state.

The governor who explained that he is not out to incite the public against the police and INEC, said he chose to make his findings known in order to forestall the breakdown of law and order during the polls.

He was speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

According to him, his discontentment is as a result of past experiences.

He said conducting elections is not only because you have announced a date but you have to prove to those who are anticipating, that it would be free and fair.

“Yes INEC has announced that the election would hold on December 10, but there have been certain issues raised on whether INEC would want to heed to the directive of Mr President to ensure that the election will be violence free and so that is why we are worried, because of certain factors we have seen on ground.

According to him, the electoral body “has been unable to answer certain questions raised before, during the March 19 rerun.

“How are we sure you are going to be impartial? Also, INEC has said that for the Assistant Presiding Officers, that they took the list from the universities; who compiled the list from the universities?, he questioned.

The governor believes that the so-called list of university students is only a fraud, and has caused them to raise eye brows on the authenticity of the re-rerun elections.

He claimed that a number of names included on the list were clearly not students of the University of Port Harcourt as initially stated by INEC.

For this reason, he alleged again that since the electoral body could not answer the questions then it clearly shows that it was compiled by the interested party and handed over to INEC, who according to him did not make the matter open to all parties from the onset.

Wike further stated that “our own position is to help INEC to have a free and fair election and therefore, when we raise an allegation, it is for you to investigate seriously and assure those who have made that allegation that yes there were some problems, or there were no problems, but not for you to say, it is not true”.

Chairman of the Rivers APC, Davies Ibiamu in a statement earlier, had wondered why the governor who had been labelled the king of rigging by some persons, would be raising unfounded accusations against all and sundry over plans to rig the rerun elections.

The statement went on to state that the governor has sinister motives for wanting to know the security architecture of opponents and based on his utterances in the past two weeks, should be checked by all relevant agencies.

The party also condemned what it called the cheap blackmail of its candidates and members by the governor and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the run up to the polls.

INEC on the other had has given an assurance that the concluding part of legislative election in Rivers State, would be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.

Ondo PDP Suspends 22 Members For Anti-Party Activities

Ondo PDP Suspends 22 Members For Anti-Party ActivitiesThe Ondo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under the leadership of Mr Clement Faboyede has suspended 22 chieftains of the party for anti-party activities in the just concluded governorship election in the state.

This was included in a statement made available to journalists in Akure by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Banji Okunomo, who said the decision was taken at the State Working Committee (SWC) meeting of the party.

He said, “In line with Section 57 of the constitution of our great party and the inherent task conferred on the State Working Committee of the party, the following members are hereby suspended from the party with immediate effect for gross anti-party activities.”

The suspended members are:

Mr. Biyi Poroye, the sacked State Chairman of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction;

Senator Omololu Meroyi,

Ebenezer Alabi, the defunct state party chairman and running mate to Jimoh Ibrahim in the 2016 election;

Dr. Bakkita Bello, the former State Assembly Speaker and

Dare Emiola, the former Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly.

Others are:

Chief Sola Ebiseni, the former Commissioner for Environment, who aspired for the 2016 governorship candidacy in the Sheriff faction,

Dr. Olu Ogunye,

Chief Mrs Yemi Ajonibode and 14 others.

Mr Okunomo explained further that “by the virtue of the Court of Appeal judgment, Biyi Poroye did not only seize to be executive as he claimed, but they have also turned out to be ordinary members of the party”.

He disclosed that the suspended members were expected to appear before the disciplinary committee of the party on Monday December 5, 2016.

OndoDecides: PDP Rejects Election Results, Accuses INEC Of Complicity

ondo-election-votes-counting-ondodecidesThe Peoples Democratic Party has called for the cancellation of the result of the Ondo Governorship election won by Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, saying it was ‘a charade’ and not the true reflection of the will of the people of Ondo State.

The political party in a statement by its spokesman, Deji Adeyeye, said that the election was blatantly manipulated from the beginning to the end to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It claimed that the actions of INEC in collaboration with the APC-led Administration left the PDP no time to campaign and sell its candidate and party manifesto to the electorates in Ondo State.

The name of the candidate of the PDP in the election was added to the list of candidates 48 hours before the election, something a member if the party said deprived their candidate the chance to campaign or submit his agents names to the INEC.

Due to the short time before the election, the PDP had asked for a postponement of the election.

“Our persistent call for the postponement of the Election which was backed and supported by more than 20 other political parties were all rejected by INEC which were acting the script of the APC.

“It was a carefully planned and well-orchestrated strategy to rig the Election well in advance by preventing the PDP from planning and campaigning for the Election. The APC has hereby introduced a new formula of rigging Election in Nigeria,” the PDP claimed.

It further said that INEC had graduated from Inconclusive Elections as seen in Kogi, Bayelsa, Osun, FCT, Imo, Nassarawa and some other previous By-Elections in the Country to ‘Advanced Election Rigging’, as in the case of Edo and Ondo States Gubernatorial Elections.

“Charlatans In PDP”

The PDP also alleged that “agents of the APC openly bought votes of the electorates in the full glare of security operatives who did nothing to prevent such dastardly violation of the Electoral Law”.

“It is not surprising that the electorates in Ondo state became so vulnerable to the corruptive influence of the APC because of the hash economic situation in the Country inflicted on Nigerians by the APC Administration which have indeed made all Nigerians virtually beggars in their own Country.

“Nigerians will recall that we had persistently called for the postponement of the Election before Saturday, for at least two weeks to enable our Party Campaign and prepare properly for this Election as a result of the setback orchestrated by Justice Okon Abang and the charlatans in PDP who allowed themselves to be used by the APC to destroy our chances in the Ondo State Election,” the opposition party highlighted

The PDP further rejected the results of the November 26, governorship election, insisting that the election and all actions leading to it fell short of laid down principles guiding conduct of elections in Nigeria.

“We have instructed our Candidate and the Ondo State Chapter of our Party to proceed to the Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.

“We call on the Judiciary to redeem Nigeria’s image on this matter, as we request for the Total Cancellation of the Election in Ondo State,” the statement read.

It also congratulated its candidate, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, for his gallant performance at the Poll, despite what it referred to as ‘severe injuries’ inflicted on the party, before, during and after the Election.

The opposition party, however, advised its members and teeming supporters nationwide and Ondo State in particular to remain calm and continue to work with the leadership of the Party to move the PDP forward.

My Absence At APC Ondo Rally Is Not About Any Resentment – Akande

adebisi-akandeThe first National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Bisi Akande, has dismissed insinuations that his absence at the flag-off rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Ondo State may have been due to resentment against the candidature of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu or the party.

Mr Akande said he had no reason to shun APC’s campaigns and rallies in the state, stating that Mr Akeredolu and other governorship aspirants are his close associates.

The former governor of Osun State, who spoke on Friday through his media aide, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, maintained that he was taking seriously, the medical advice of his doctors to stay away from stress due to his health condition.

Besides, the APC leader has also expressed the hope that the misunderstanding amongst the party would end as efforts are being made to find lasting and amicable resolutions to it.

A statement by Mr Baderinwa read: “Our attention has been drawn to publications in some media today, making unnecessary insinuations to Chief Bisi Akande’s absence at the APC governorship rally in Akure ‎on Thursday.

“May we state that Chief Bisi Akande has no reason to shun APC campaigns and rallies in Ondo state because every APC aspirant that contested the Ondo State governorship primary in September has always been his close associate and knew so well that he (Bisi Akande) is being treated from one hospital to another in the USA, the U.K. and in Nigeria since last April.

“He, according to medical advice, is being asked to take things easy in the time being. Despite that, as an APC respectable leader, he has been working behind the scene to reconcile differences among the warring tendencies in the party”.

At the governorship candidate’s rally in Ondo on Thursday, the Chairman of the party, Mr John Oyegun, told party members that they could only wrestle power out of the Peoples Democratic Party’s hands through hard work.

He urged them to mobilise for the governorship candidate to win the election that has been scheduled for November 26.

Ensure Hitch-free Polls In Ondo, Rivers, Buhari Tells Security Agencies

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria, Benin RepublicNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has directed security agencies to do their utmost in ensuring violence-free elections in Ondo and Rivers states.

Addressing a state dinner in Benin, the Edo state capital, on Monday, President Buhari said the forthcoming governorship elections in Ondo and National and State Assembly re-run elections in Rivers would serve as a litmus test for the general elections in 2019.

“What happened in [the last elections] Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers State disturbs me a lot.

“I think we should go beyond these actions. Why do we kill each other? Putting tyres on people and setting them ablaze.

“I have told the law enforcement agencies, if we can’t conduct an election in one state then we should forget about 2019,’’ the President said.

Acknowledging the role played by outgoing Governor Adams Oshiomhole in ensuring the success of the All Progressives Congress in the last governorship elections in the state, President Buhari urged the Governor-elect, Mr Godwin Obaseki, to continue in Oshiomhole’s footsteps of providing purposeful leadership in terms of quality infrastructure, education and social services.

“The publicity your predecessor has given his performance is going to stretch you to the limit.

“Considering what he has down, you have to continue in his footsteps. We wish you the best of luck and will do our best to support you,” the President said.

On the current economic challenges in Nigeria, the President assured Nigerians that his administration was working hard on diversification of the economy to limit the country’s over-dependence on oil over the years.

“This country has incredible mineral resources. All we need is to believe in ourselves so that we can have and leave a better Nigeria for our children and grandchildren,” President Buhari added.

Observers Advise Edo Voters To Obey Electoral Laws

Edo Voters, security concerns, edo election, electoral lawsVoters in Edo state have been advised to adhere to the rule of law during Wednesday’s governorship election.

This advice was given on Tuesday by an election observer group, The Situation Room. ‎

Executive Director at the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Mr Clement Nwankwo, also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure the polls are free, fair and credible.

Nineteen political parties are contesting in the election to produce a successor for Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The election was shifted by the INEC after security agencies issued security alerts, advising the electoral body to postpone the election.

VIDEO: HEAVY DOWNPOUR NEARLY MARS INEC’s DISTRIBUTION OF SENSITIVE MATERIALS

Security has been beefed up ahead of the Wednesday election to ensure the safety of lives and property.

Ahead of the election, the state government had declared Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday work free days, saying it would enable the residents travel to their places of registration to take part in the elections.

Remain Apolitical

Police, kidnappers, isheri-north, Gra
Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, had on Monday warned officers and men to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Nigerian Police.

He stated that the rescheduled elections had not only afforded the police the opportunity to prepare, but had also provided an avenue to ensure a free, fair, credible and secured electoral process.

Mr Idris also warned that the police would be firm and decisive in dealing with any infractions of the law and actions and activities that constitute breach of peace and contrary to public order.

He warned the 24,000 officials of the Nigerian Police Force deployed in Edo State to remain apolitical as they ensure security of lives and property during the election.