Ondo Election: INEC Raises Alarm Over Security

Ondo Governorship Election, Ondo Governorship PollThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised security concern over the attitude of politicians in Ondo State ahead of the forthcoming governorship election.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, says the actions of some aggrieved politicians in the state since the political parties conducted their primaries is capable of undermining the security of the state.

“The mindset of the political class, especially the politicians that belong to the leading political party on what it takes to win elections usually involve violence and malpractices among their followers.

“There is an urgent need for the political class to change its do or die attitude to good conduct in politics and a political caution of violence has to be done away with in our political parties.

“Our political parties must imbibe the culture of sincere eternal party democracy in the interest of the nation’s democracy,” he said.

Mr Agbaje made the remarks on Thursday at a meeting with members of the civil society groups in Abuja, to assess INEC’s preparation for the elections.

‘I Will Resign’

On the sideline of the event, the senior INEC official also explained why the electoral umpire published the name of Mr

Recession, Jimoh Ibrahim, Ondo PDP
INEC-Recognised Ondo PDP Governorship Candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim

Jimoh Ibrahim as the Peoples Democratic Part (PDP) candidate for the polls.

 

The decision has led to massive protest in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

“It is the court judgement of that day that forced us to say it is this person and that means if another higher court comes with a judgement to say it is Eyitayo Jegede, (we will obey),” he noted.

Agbaje further revealed that he had made a commitment that INEC would obey the ruling of the Appeal Court if the ruling favours Jegede.

“If the Appeal Court says it is Eyitayo, the commission cannot say no, but if it does, I will resign my appointment as a commissioner,” he stated.

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed Makarfi
Mr Eyitayo Jegede

Meanwhile Mr Clement Nwakwo, who is a member of one of the civil groups, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, had a different view about the procedure of selecting candidates.

He advised the politicians to address issues of candidacy in-house, instead of approaching various courts for such decisions.

“I do not think that INEC has any major role to play in deciding who the candidates are (and) that’s why they have taken the decision.

“It is really for the political parties to sort out their mess for the court to really not become a theatre of deciding who candidates are, but the political party themselves making those decisions in line with their own process and the rule of law,” he recommended.

PDP Crisis Deepens

At least 1.6 million registered voters are expected to participate in the Saturday, November 26 governorship polls in Ondo State.

There has been crisis over the authenticity of candidates in some of the parties in the polls including the PDP, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alliance for Democracy (AD).

Olusola Oke, AD, Ondo Election
AD declares Olusola Oke as its candidate

While the APC and AD finally adopted Mr Rotimi Akeredolu and Mr Olusola Oke as their respective candidates, the controversy has deepened in the PDP.

Both factions of the party have continued to lay claim to having produced the authentic candidate of the party, although the Ali Modu Sheriff faction is backed by the court ruling which favoured Jimoh Ibrahim and which INEC has obeyed.

The PDP faction led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has equally been optimistic that “justice would be served” and called on all PDP faithful across Nigeria as well as the general public to remain calm and continue to support them.

In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye, the Caretaker Committee has reiterated its support for Jegede as the party’s sole flag-bearer.

President Buhari having a chat with Governor Lalong and Mr Akeredolu
President Buhari having a chat with Governor Lalong and Mr Akeredolu

On his part, APC candidate, Mr Akeredolu has made a mockery of the PDP, saying he would defeat both Ibrahim and Jegede if put together in the polls.

Briefing reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, he boasted that he would emerge victorious at the poll.

Ondo PDP: Makarfi Faction Insists Jegede Is Governorship Candidate

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed MakarfiCaretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reiterated its support for Mr Eyitayo Jegede as its only flag-bearer in the Saturday, November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.

The support was declared on Tuesday at a meeting between the factional PDP Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and the state chairmen in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

A statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, revealed that the meeting took place at the temporary Secretariat of the Party in Wuse II and deliberated on topical national issues.

The State Chairmen were briefed on the developments in the party and some certain decisions of leadership.

The meeting also received reports from the state chairmen on the state of affairs in their various territories.

It was equally optimistic that justice would surely be served and therefore, echoed full support for Mr Jegede, as its candidate in the Ondo governorship poll.

The leaders further called on all PDP supporters across Nigeria and the general public, especially Ondo State residents, to remain calm and continue to support them in moving the party forward.

One-Sided Justice

Meanwhile, a three-member special panel of the Court of Appeal handling the appeal cases of the Ondo PDP crisis on Tuesday recused from the panel, following allegations that the justices have been compromised.

The justices bowed out of the cases after considering a petition written by a factional Ondo State PDP Chairman, Mr Biyi Poroye, who claimed that the justices were likely to be biased against him.

In the petition dated October 31 and addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the Poroye alleged that the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, had boasted in the public that he and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, had settled the judges to do their bidding.

Mimiko Meets Buhari, Says Jegede Remains PDP's Lawful Candidate,
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko

He also purported that Justice Sankey was transferred from Yola where Eyitayo Jegede, the appellant, who is also a senior lawyer, was practicing law for the past 15 years and that when the justice arrived in Akure, Governor Mimiko boasted that he catered for her to the tune of 100 million Naira.

The petitioner had consequently sought for the disbandment of the panel on the ground that his side would not get justice from the panel.

Money Laundering Allegation: Fani-Kayode’s Wife Says EFCC Lied

femi-fani-kayode-precious-chikwendu-EFCC-PDPThe wife of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, Mrs Chikwendu Fani-Kayode, has dismissed allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that her Access Bank account was used to launder a said sum of money.

The former Aviation Minister’s wife was purportedly arrested by some EFCC operatives alongside her eight-month-old son, Aragorn on Monday in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital in southwest Nigeria.

Her reaction came after the EFCC said it did not detain the wife of the former Aviation Minister, contradicting reports in the media and the claims of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP had in a statement condemned the action, describing it as “a new low in the Federal Government’s resolve to harass and persecute real and perceived enemies of the Buhari Administration under the guise of an anti-corruption crusade”.

A spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, had earlier cleared the air on the said money laundering.

“The said account, which had a balance of 2,307,712.82 Naira was flagged following investigation into the PDP Joint Trust fund when the Commission traced 1.1 billion Naira to the Zenith Bank account of Fani-Kayode.

“It was discovered that the account had two biometric identification numbers, one for Fani-Kayode and the other for Sonia Chikwendu.

“The same BVN is linked to two other accounts in Diamond Bank and 15 accounts in Guaranty Trust Bank.”

Lie From The Pit Of Hell

Reacting to the EFCC’s report, Mrs Fani-Kayode said all that the anti-graft agency claimed was not true.

A statement by her spokesperson, Chineye Okechukwu, on Tuesday described the allegations as ‘a lie from the pit of hell’.

“The assertion by one Wilson Uwujaren, who is supposed to be the spokesman of the EFCC that Precious Chikwendu’s Access Bank account was used to launder (former President Goodluck) Jonathan campaign funds or funds from the National Security Adviser (NSA)’s office and that approximately 2.4 million Naira balance was found in the said account at the time of her arrest is a lie from the pit of hell.

“The said account was opened in 2005 at Onitsha when Precious Chikwendu was about to start at the University of Calabar.

“At that time it was not known as Access Bank but Intercontinental Bank.

“The account was used by her from 2005 till 2012 when it was abandoned and went dormant.

“It was not utilised or activated again until August 2016 when small deposits of between 200,000 Naira and 500,000 Naira were made into it and the total amount that entered into that account over a period of two months was approximately four million Naira.

“The money was spent on looking after the family, paying staff salaries and to buy groceries.

“Consequently at the time that the account was frozen last Friday, the amount that was left in it was 95,000 Naira.

“She was not notified about the freezing of the account until someone paid 200,000 Naira into it on Saturday.

“The money entered the account, but after that it could not be accessed.

“She decided to stop at the bank on her way out of Ado Ekiti on Monday in order to know what was going on and she was then detained and offered to the police and EFCC, together with her eight-month-old son, Aragorn, for arrest.

“The total amount that was in the account at the time of the arrest was 295,000 Naira which is approximately $600.

account-screenshot
A document Mrs Fani-Kayode’s spokesperson claims is the account’s transaction statement

“This is reflected in the screenshot above together with the relevant dates.

“How Wilson of the EFCC arrived at his figure of 2.3million Naira being in the account at the time of (the) arrest is mind-boggling and absurd.

“It is nothing but a shameless and barefaced lie and he and the organisation that he works for are nothing but pernicious liars.

Lies Of The EFCC

“It is equally absurd to suggest that the said account had anything to do with Jonathan Campaign funds or Dasuki NSA funds, given the fact that the said account was not even active or functional between 2012 right up until August 2016.

“The Presidential campaign took place in 2015 and at that time, the account was dormant.

“At the time that she abandoned and stopped using the account in 2012, Precious Chikwendu had not even met Chief Fani-Kayode.

“The lies of the EFCC on this matter are sickening and they are wicked and sadistic people.

“Wilson’s assertions are just one example of such lies.

“The only reason that Precious Chikwendu’s bank accounts were frozen and she was subjected to such inhuman treatment is because she is married to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode who is a politician and a leading member of the opposition.

“They wanted to punish her and their eight month-old-son, Aragorn, just to hurt and spite Chief Fani-Kayode.

Connection With Public Funds

“Finally let me add this; it is not true that Precious Chikwendu has 17 accounts in GTB, this is another dirty EFCC lie.

“She has one current account with a merged savings account in GTB which was opened in 2012.

“Outside of that, she has a dollar account and a pounds sterling account with the same bank which were all opened on the same day in 2012.

“None of these accounts have any connection whatsoever with public funds or with Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and neither was any GTB BVN linked to his.

“Again on this issue the EFCC lied.

“Neither is it true that the EFCC were not at the bank in Ado Ekiti to arrest her because three of their operatives were actually there manning the bank door with their identity cards pinned to their jackets.

“They were backed by five fully armed policemen in uniform.

“They made it clear to Precious Chikwendu that they had been ordered to bring her to Abuja by road that same evening and that if she could not leave her son in the bank with the manager, he would have to come for the ride too.

“Had it not been for the intervention of Governor Fayose, that is exactly what would have happened and only God knows what they would have been subjected to on the way,” the statement read.

PDP Says Arrest Of Fani-Kayode’s Wife Taken Too Far

femi-fani-kayode-precious-chikwendu-EFCC-PDPThe national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the purported arrest of the wife of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, Precious Chikwendu.

Mr Fani-Kayode’s wife was said to have been arrested on Monday alongside her eight-month-old son by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital in southwest Nigeria.

The party made the censure on Tuesday in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.

The statement read: “We condemn in its entirety, the arrest and detention of Precious Chikwendu, Wife of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, and former Spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDP-PCO) on October 17, 2016 by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

“She was arrested along with her eight-month-old son, Aragorn, and would have been detained but for the timely intervention of Governor Ayo Fayose.

“This action represents a new low in the Federal Government’s resolve to harass and persecute real and perceived enemies of the Buhari Administration under the guise of an anti-corruption crusade.

“It is reprehensible for the government to attack members of the families of its perceived enemies, especially wives and children, for any reason whatsoever.

“In addition to freezing Chief Fani-Kayod’s accounts, the Federal Government has ordered the freezing of accounts of his wife, Precious Chikwendu, several of which were opened and operated long before their marriage.

“These accounts have been frozen for no reason other than her marriage to Mr Fani-Kayode.

“The Buhari Administration cannot, and must not be allowed to continue the violation of the constitutional rights and freedom of the Nigerian people.

“This sort of tyranny must not be allowed to continue unchecked.

“We have advised the family to approach the courts and enforce their legal rights in this matter”.

EFCC Denies Claimed Arrest

The anti-graft agency, however, said it did not detain the wife of the former Aviation Minister, contrary to reports in the media and the PDP claims.

In a statement made available to the media on Monday, the Head of Media and Publicity at the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, cleared the air on the said arrest.

“The wife of Femi Fani-Kayode and her child are not in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and were never detained by the Commission.

“Contrary to the media spin about the purported arrest of mother and child, a certain Chikwendu Sonia today (Monday) attempted to withdraw money from an Access Bank account that had been placed on ‘Post No Debit’ Category, following the discovery of illicit cash flows into the account.

“She was intercepted by the bank while the Commission was notified but because it was late, the EFCC advised that the suspect be taken to the Police station for processing and release on bail.

“They were arranging to take the suspect to the police station when Governor Ayo Fayose stormed the bank with thugs and his personal security and forcefully secured the release of the suspect, with claims that the EFCC had no power to detain anybody in his state,” the statement read.

Alleged Corruption: Olisa Metuh Opens Defence

PDP's Olisa Metuh in Court -EFCCPDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, has opened his defence at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Metuh on Monday, called his first witness in defence of the case of corruption levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the resumed trial, Mr Ike Agbenna who worked as a media consultant to the PDP spokesman, said that the then leader of the party, former President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the party funded the Office of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP.

This was contested by the prosecutor, who told the court that he has evidence of illegal financial transaction between the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) and Mr Metuh.

Having listened to the testimony of the first and only witness of the day, Justice Okon Abang adjourned the case till April 20 for cross examination and continuation of trial.

Following the judge’s ruling, counsels to the parties, Sylvanus Tahir, and Emeka Etiaba (SAN), restated their commitment to prove their case.

Abuse Of Court Process

In an earlier ruling, Justice Abang had dismissed an application filed by Mr Olisa Metuh seeking an end to the hearing of the suit against him in the court.

The spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked the court to disqualify itself on grounds of bias by the presiding judge.

While he alleged that the presiding judge was a classmate of his and ill-disposed to deliver justice on the matter, Justice Abang refuted the claim and consequently dismissed his application as an abuse of court process.

Mr Olisa Metuh is standing trial on allegations of financial crimes preferred against him by the EFCC.

Metuh Loses ‘No-Case Submission’ Against EFCC

MetuhThe National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Olisa Metuh, has lost his no-case submission filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Ruling on the suit on Wednesday, Justice Okon Abang, said that the prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, has been able to establish a ‘prima facie’ case against the defendant, as there were several questions he needed to answer.

While adjourning the trial to March 17, Justice Abang added that there was an urgent need for Mr Metuh to tell the court whether he gave $2 million to the first prosecution witness to source for Naira equivalent and the source of the fund.

Consequently, lawyer to Mr Metuh, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said that the defence team would take a second look at the ruling while the prosecution said that the coast was now clear for the PDP spokesman to prove his innocence.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is standing trial for alleged money laundering offences preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Anambra PDP To Conduct Senatorial Primary Election ‘Soon’

pdpThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State says it will soon conduct the primary election for Anambra Central Senatorial zone.

The announcement was made by the State Chairman of the party, Ken Emeakayi, during the solidarity visit of the 109 wards and seven local government executive committees of the PDP from Anambra Central Senatorial district.

According to Mr Emeakayi, the party at the state level would liaise with the national executive to fix a date for the primary election while the agitation for the release of Mr Olisah Metuh continues since the election has a time frame.

He called for calm among the members in the face of all the travails of the party, maintaining that it remained strong and formidable both in the state and at the national level.

The senatorial primary election was earlier suspended by the PDP in agitation for the release of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP and leader of party in Anambra State, Mr Olisa Metuh, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

One of the candidates, Uche Ekwunife, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Presidency Has No Hand In EFCC Affairs – Information Minister

EFCCThe Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has no hands in the way the EFCC carries out its functions.

Mr Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday to State House correspondents in Abuja while responding to reactions trialling Mr Olisa Metuh’s arrest by the EFCC.

The Minister challenged the media to carry out investigations on such reports to authenticate whether such allegations are true or false.

“I think the first point to make is that this government is not micro-managing any of the anti-graft agencies. I know for a fact that they don’t contact the President or anybody before they do their job.

“I think the media also has to do more than they are doing right now, they should investigate these allegations and also make their independent judgment about it.

“Honestly, if the EFCC or ICPC says that they are able to trace certain amount of money to my account, I don’t want you to believe it, I want you to also ask for proof; do your investigation.

“I can assure you that this government, no functionary in government micromanages or directs the EFCC or ICPC on who to arrest and who not to arrest”, he said.

This is coming after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday morning.

According to a statement, officials of the anti-graft agency told the opposition party spokesman that he was being invited on a friendly note to answer questions at the EFCC Headquarters in Abuja.

The PDP subsequently released a statement, signed by its National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, that the arrest of Mr Metuh was part of a larger script by the government to ensure that the party’s wings were finally clipped.

The party said that it was not surprised by the arrest because according to them, it came after series of threats on the PDP spokesperson.

“The excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution,” the statement read.

 

PDP Reacts To Metuh’s Arrest

PDP
PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo,

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised an alarm over the arrest of its spokesperson, Mr Olisa Metuh.

The party, in a statement by its National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, said that the arrest of Mr Metuh, based on an intelligence the party claims it got, is part of a larger script by the government to ensure that PDP’s wings are finally clipped.

Professor Oladipo added that the effort was part of a mission of the APC-led government to install a dictatorial one-party state in the country.

The party, however, said that it is not surprised by Mr Metuh’s arrest because according to them, it came after series of threats on their party’s spokesperson.

The PDP then said that “the excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution.”

The party went further to say that it was “aware of top directives to break Chief Metuh and if possible poison him during his detention by the EFCC”.

The PDP alleged that Mr Metuh has, since his arrest at about 10AM on Tuesday morning, been kept incommunicado, with his lawyers denied access to him.

The opposition party alleged that the arrest of its spokesperson is the last straw that may break Nigeria’s democracy.

The party then forewarned the Federal Government and its agencies to save the nation’s democracy and release its National Publicity Secretary.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arrested the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, but is yet to disclose the reasons behind the arrest.

Mr Metuh, had several days ago, released statements on alleged threat on him because of his “efforts at criticising the ruling party and the actions of the government”.

He said that on account of information available to him, he had cause to believe that the Federal Government was desperate and might have finalised plans to silence him.

EFCC Arrests PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh

metuhThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh.

A statement issued by the Special Assistant to Mr Metuh stated that he was arrested at his home by four officials of the EFCC on Tuesday morning at about 10:00AM and was taken away in an unmarked white Hiace bus.

The statement added that the officials told the opposition party spokesman that he was being invited on a friendly note to answer questions at the anti-graft agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

A PDP official told Channels Television that efforts by Mr Metuh’s aides and lawyers to reach him has proved abortive since he was taken into custody.

Details regarding his arrest remains unclear as the EFCC is yet to disclose the reasons behind the invitation.

Mr Metuh, had several days ago, released statements on alleged threat on him because of his “efforts at criticising the ruling party and the actions of the government”.

He said that on account of information available to him, he had cause to believe that the Federal Government was desperate and might have finalised plans to silence him.

Metuh Tasks Political Leaders To Help IDPs

Metuh Tasks Political Leaders To Help IDPsThe National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has called on political leaders to come to the rescue of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other less privileged in the country.

The PDP spokesman made this appeal during a visit to the IDPs camp in Wassa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He also urged members of the business community to assist in addressing the plight of the IDPs and other less privileged.

Mr Metuh said that the deplorable condition he met at the IDPs camp called for concern and urged well-meaning Nigerians to step in and help the displaced occupants of the camp.

It is estimated that over 1.5 million people are living in internal displacement where they lack appropriate shelter, food, water, sanitation, healthcare, child protection and educational opportunities.

Tribunal Verdicts Worry PDP, Calls Emergency Meeting

pdpThe opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria has summoned an emergency meeting of its national caucus to discuss what it calls “onslaught against the party and its candidates in the last general elections, by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government”.

In a statement on Monday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the caucus would meet on Thursday, October 29.

He said talks would focus on “the unrelenting schemes by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Federal Government to use some unpatriotic elements in the judiciary to advance their plot to take over states won by the PDP, particularly Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Taraba and Abia states”.

“The national caucus meeting is in furtherance of the decision of the leadership of the party to fully activate its structures in stiff resistance to the manipulations, coercions and threats of the APC-led government, and in line with the unbending determination by the party not to, in any way whatsoever surrender any mandate freely given it to
by the people at any level across the country, no matter the pressure,” the statement further read.