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Daily Archives: March 1, 2019

Thousands of motorists trapped on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Thousands of motorists were trapped overnight on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway due to a massive gridlock.

The gridlock started in the afternoon after a truck crashed on its side at a narrow stretch of the busy road, just before Magboro.

The road is still undergoing reconstruction six years after the initial contract was awarded by the Goodluck Jonathan administration leading to traffic jams whenever an accident occurs or motorists ignore basic traffic rules.

Distraught motorists and traffic officials from Lagos and Ogun States reported utter chaos as many unruly dirvers faced oncoming traffic.

By 7pm on Friday, the traffic jam had stretched backwards as far as the old Lagos toll gate.

A motorist who spoke spoke with Thenewsmatrics at around 12.30 am on Saturday said he spent more than seven hours to travel between Ikeja and Arepo.

The situation was compounded by heavy flow of traffic towards the Redemption Camp, which hosts hundreds of thousands of worshippers every first Friday of the month.

Some blamed the Ogun State government for its failure to create good alternative roads to serve highly populated areas including Mowe and Ibafo in case the expressway is congested.

Tension in Abia as governor alleges plan to burn INEC facilities in six LGAs

 

About one week to the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections scheduled for March 9 2019, tension has taken over Abia State as the state governemnt claimed that hoodlums had finalised a plot to burn down offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission in six Local Government Areas.

Abia State government raised the alarm over alleged plans by hired political thugs to burn down the facilities of INEC in Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Isiala Ngwa South, Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Osisioma LGAs of the State.

INEC offices had been burnt down by suspected hoodlums in Isiala Ngwa North LGA of Abia State, Plateau and another state before the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The government’s position was contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu on Friday night in Abuja.

He called on all those involved in the dastardly plot to desist from such nefarious activities.

Okiyi urged Abia youths not to allow themselves be used to perpetrate such a heinous crime.

The statement called on security agencies in the state, especially the Nigeria Police Force, to ensure that the targeted facilities and others in the state were adequately protected before, during and after the remaining elections.

Okiyi said, “Abia State government has uncovered plots by some hoodlums hired by desperate political actors to burn down Independent National Electoral Commission facilities in Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Isiala Ngwa South, Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Osisioma Local Government Areas of the State.

“We wish to call on all those involved in the dastardly plot to desist from such nefarious activities even as we urge our youths not to allow themselves be used to perpetrate such a heinous crime.

“Security agencies in the state, especially the Nigeria Police Force, are hereby called upon to ensure that the targeted facilities and others in the state are adequately protected before, during and after the remaining elections.”

Secondus: Fear of ‘body bags’ made foreign observers endorse results

Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP,) says international observers declared the presidential election free and fair out of fear of being killed.

He said the observers said the election was transparent after being “threatened” with the “body bag” comment made by Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the PDP national chairman insisted the election was rigged to the detriment of the opposition party.

The PDP’s Atiku Abubakar lost to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with over three million votes.

Atiku as well as his party rejected the result of the election, insisting they have “the real figures” and would present such in court.

Secondus said the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “agreed” on how to take over southern states which he said are PDP strongholds with the help of the military.

“They (the international observers) are not correct. Evidence from across the countries show there was to the suppression of voters in our stronghold,” he said.

“We are not going to be approaching the court based on the comment of observers that were threatened. They were threatened. So, what do you expect them to say? They have to go home with their lives. They were threatened and can’t talk.

“We have the facts and we will show them to the world when we get to court. We have enough evidence to approach the court.”

Secondus accused the military of interfering with election matters.

According to him, “while the military was suppressing voters in the PDP strongholds, a different abracadabra was going on in the northern states especially in Kano, Yobe, Borno and Zamfara states which recorded high voter turnouts.”

He also said the high incident of votes cancellation – about one million of them – was “designed to suppress the margin of victory in PDP controlled states.”

“If the same thing is repeated, it means that democracy has completely failed in Nigeria and it is a full military rule,” he added.

Why we suspended Okorocha, Amosun – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has explained the reason it suspended Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun, and Rochas Okorocha, his Imo counterpart.

Both governors were suspended by the national working committee (NWC) of the ruling party earlier in the day.

In a statement on Friday, Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC spokesman, said the two governors were suspended over anti-party activities.

Issa-Onilu said Osita Okechukwu, director-general of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), and Usani Usani, minister of Niger Delta affairs, have also been suspended.

He added that Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, was queried also for “anti-party activities”.

“The national working committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suspended the Governor of Ogun state, Ibikunle Amosun and the Imo state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha for anti-party activities,” he said in a statement.

“The NWC has also taken a decision to recommend the expulsion of the suspended individuals to the national executive committee (NEC) of the party.

“The NWC has also issued a query to the governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu over his glaring anti-party activities, which greatly affected the fortunes of our candidates in the recently-conducted presidential and national assembly elections in the state.

“The party reviewed the serial anti-party activities of the concerned individuals before and during the last presidential and national assembly elections in their respective states and resolved to enforce party discipline in line with our constitution.

“The NWC noted how the suspended members have continued to campaign openly for other parties and candidates that are unknown to our great party, even while they have constituted themselves to opposition to APC candidates in their respective states.

“We wish to reiterate that any member of our party who takes any action solely or in line with the directives of the suspended members to undermine our party’s candidates in the coming governorship and House of Assembly elections would face disciplinary actions.”

The APC spokesman asked the members of the party to disregard directives of the suspended persons.

Scores missing as gas explosion causes panic in Bayelsa community

Scores of persons are still missing in Nembe community, Bayelsa State, after a  gas explosion from the Creek Trunk Line operated by the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company in the community.

The explosion caused tension among indigenes of the seven communities of Nembe in Nembe Local Government area of the state.

The explosion, which occurred at 4am near Oil Well 7 on Friday, sacked indigenes of the affected communities and many are reported missing including children.

A source on Friday said that it had shut the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) for emergency repairs following the detection of oil leakage.

The Nembe communities affected include Nembe creek 1, 2 and 3 , Fatuo and Kalablomi.

An indigene of the communities, identified as Patrick, told newsmen that the gas explosion has polluted the air and water in the area, bringing fishing activities in the communities to a standstill.

When contacted on the development,  the spokesman for the Nembe Chiefs Council, Chief Nengi James–Eriworio, confirmed the development and described it as “massive destruction of the area with air and water heavily polluted”.

James-Eriworio said, “People have deserted the area and the company has refused to respond despite a series of emergency calls. ”

“As of 6pm,  the time you are calling, the fire is still raging. The incident is uncalled for and questionable. The people are afraid. Women and children are missing. ”

He called on the oil exploration company to be mindful of the welfare of indigenes. This is a large scale explosion. We are calling on the Federal Government agencies to investigate and respond to salvage the people. The incident has caused air and water pollution.”

Oshiomhole determined to destroy APC, says Okorocha on suspension

Owelle Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, has accused Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), of plotting to destroy the ruling party.

Okorocha was reacting to his suspension by the national working committee (NWC) of the party.

The NWC had suspended Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun state, over allegations of “anti-party activities”.

The duo fell out with the leadership of the APC after failing to secure the gubernatorial tickets of the ruling party for their preferred candidates.

In a statement on Friday, Okorocha accused the national chairman of setting out to destroy the APC in the south east, noting that all states governed by the ruling party in the region are embroiled in crises due to the “fraudulent manner” he conducted the party’s primaries.

The statement, issued by Sam Onwuemeodo, his spokesman read: “Adams Oshiomhole was determined right from the outset to destroy APC in the south-east and unknown to party chieftains from the zone who had genuinely supported his chairmanship.

“He is playing the politics of 2023 in 2019 and in playing it he has thrown caution to the wind. In all the south-east states, there are crises and all arising from the fraudulent manner he conducted the primaries.

“In 2015, Governor Okorocha had joined the merger that gave birth to APC at the risk of his second tenure and was called all sorts of unprintable names.

“Yet, he won the governorship election, delivered 24 out of the 27 members of the House of Assembly for APC, two House of Representatives members and one Senator.

“In 2019, Oshiomhole felt that such a man should be treated with disdain. He handed over the governorship ticket of the Party to Hope Uzodinma who has never resigned his membership of the PDP on the floor of the Senate like others did and giving all kinds of flimsy excuses.

“And if Oshiomhole had meant well for APC and Imo people in particular, would he have given the ticket of the Party to a man facing five corruption charges and having travel ban slammed on him, to be the party’s Candidate?”

Okorocha berated the national chairman for his “lack of wisdom” while alleging that Oshiomhole was trying to fulfill his own end of a deal that involved giving out the party’s ticket to “non-deserving elements.”

“In the February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly election, Governor Okorocha won in ten, out of the twelve local government areas in Orlu zone to emerge winner for Imo West Senatorial District,” he said.

“He also delivered four House of Representatives Candidates on the platforms of APC and AA respectively, with one Senate Seat and two House of Representatives Seats outstanding.

“And when the APC members across the nation are still celebrating the success of the party in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, Oshiomhole in his wisdom or lack of it, felt that the best action in the circumstance was to suspend two governors who did well in the election, even when he played safe in 2015 and 2019 in Edo State without any known pressure.

“Again, Oshiomhole coming with the purported expulsion this time was only acting out of the fear that God in his infinite Mercy could give Governor Okorocha a role to play in the Senate, in the overall interest of the nation.

“The truth is that Oshiomhole is only labouring in vain to play his own part of the deal that warranted his giving out the tickets of the party to non-deserving elements like in the case of Imo. Finally, APC especially in the Southeast and in Imo in particular will outlive Oshiomhole.”

 

What I discussed with National Peace Committee —Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly election, Atiku Abubakar, has disclosed some details about his meeting with the National Peace Committee headed by ex-Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd).

Atiku also called for unconditional release of party members “illegally arrested during the elections” and “detained for political reasons.”

Abubakar made the call ahead of the March 9 governorship and state House of Assembly elections on Thursday night when he and PDP leaders met with the National Peace Committee, in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Ibe, on Friday in Abuja,

He also called for the non deployment of the military in compliance with constitutional provisions and the subsisting judgment of the court.

Abubakar and his team claimed that the February 23 presidential election was the worst in the history of the country since the return to democracy in 1999.

The former vice president, who described the election as a sham, said it was marked by militarisation, vote suppression, intimidation in collaboration with security agencies, INEC and the ruling party to subvert the will of Nigerians.

He said that the issue of his party’s recourse to legitimate actions to reclaim the “stolen’’ mandate was not discussed at the meeting.

Atiku restated that as a democrat, he would follow laid down constitutional and democratic procedures to challenge the “electoral malfeasance.”

He urged Nigerians to come out en masse and vote during the March 9 gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections for PDP candidates and called on the electorate to stay and defend their votes up to the collation point.

The National Peace Committee was represented at the meeting which took place in Atiku’s residence in Abuja by former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulasalami Abubakar, the Chairman of the committee; John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.

Others are PDP presidential candidate, his vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi, Senate President and D-G of PDP presidential campaign council, Senator Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus.

(NAN)

N1.4bn fraud: Court orders arrest of four Akwa Ibom officials

A federal high court in Lagos has ordered the arrest of four officials of the Akwa Ibom state government following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The EFCC had arraigned them over alleged N1.4 billion fraud.

The officials are Nsikan Nkan, commissioner for finance; Mfon Udomah, accountant-general; Uwemedimo Nwoko, attorney-general, and Margaret Ukpe, commissioner for justice.

Udom Emmanuel, the governor was, however, exempted from the charges as he is currently immune to prosecution by the virtue of the constitution.

Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to EFCC, said the offence was committed sometime in 2015 and that the N1.4bn belonged to the state government.

He added that the offence was contrary to section 18 (a) of the money laundering (prohibition) act, 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same act.

Paul Usoro, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and counsel to the Akwa Ibom government, was re-arraigned on Friday but granted N250 million bail with one surety in like sum.

The commission had first arraigned the NBA preside in December 2018 over alleged money laundering in connivance with the governor, and other officials of the state.

The case was later reassigned to Chuka Obiozor, a judge in the same court, who recused himself from the case on personal grounds, adding that the case file would be returned to another judge.

The trial has been adjourned till March 18 and March 19.

Abdulsalami: We’ve presented Atiku’s grievances to Buhari

Abdulsalami Abubakar, chairman of the National Peace Committee, says his group has presented the grievances of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Abubakar, who met with Atiku and some opposition leaders on Thursday, disclosed this to state house correspondents after he and some members of the committee met with Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

Atiku, who had disagreed with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that Buhari won the election and subsequently vowed to seek redress in court, reportedly listed his grievances with the APC government before the committee.

He was said to have demanded: unfreezing of bank accounts belonging to opposition politicians; demilitarisation of subsequent elections; accreditation of voters before voting in subsequent elections; access to the backend server of INEC by all parties who partook in the election.

The meeting started at the president’s office around 3pm and ended at 4pm. Matthew Kukah, bishop of Sokoto diocese and John Onaiyekan, bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Abuja, were in attendance.

Also at the meeting were Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, and some stakeholders of the ruling party.

Ambode denies working with Atiku’s agents … insists Lagosians prefer APC

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has denied suggestions that he is working with agents of Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate,  Atiku Abubakar ahead of the March 9 gubernatorial elections.

Ambode is a statement issued by his spokesman, Habib Aruna, strongly debunked the accusations contained in a story carried by The Nation newspaper in its March 1 edition.

The governor insisted that he remained a commited member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which is the choice of Parisians.

Below is the full statement:

The attention of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has been drawn to a report in today’s edition of The Nation newspaper, Friday March 1, 2019.

Specifically, the contentious report, which was published on the newspaper’s front page without any by-line, insinuated that Governor Ambode might be working with an opposition party through a former member of the Lagos State Executive Council and Commissioner for Energy & Mineral Resources, Mr. Wale Oluwo.

The report also attempted to hold the Governor responsible for the alleged activities of Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi because he supported the governor’s gubernatorial ambition during the primaries of the All Progressives Congress in October 2018.

The governor wishes to make it abundantly clear that, having declared publicly his acceptance of the decision of the party on the primaries, he has not and will never take any action to undermine the prospects of the party in the on-going elections.
It is human to aspire and the capacity of each individual to manage the negative outcomes of a legitimate aspiration differs.

But that should never be the basis to link His Excellency to whatever action of certain individuals who might have shared his vision in the past but have proceeded to pursue their own interests as adults and citizens without any influence from or recourse to the governor.

Governor Ambode’s decision to stand by the party that has given him the platform to serve Lagosians meritoriously is based on the principle of justice, responsibility and loyalty. He has everything to gain from the victory of the party’s candidate Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Governor of Lagos State on March 9, 2019 and he looks forward to handing over the affairs of the state to the candidate of the APC come May 29th.

It is therefore disturbing, unfair and sad that a respected medium such as The Nation which enjoys the goodwill of members of our party and is appropriately positioned to verify the falsehood of these fictitious and sponsored hatchet job chose not to observe the journalistic dictum of “if in doubt, leave out” in the breach.

In this circumstance, His Excellency hereby makes use of his right to a rejoinder and demands an apology for the unjustifiable aspersions cast on his person by wrongly presenting him to right thinking members of the public as a disloyal saboteur trying to frustrate his party’s campaign and electoral victory.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Governor Ambode has consistently appealed to those who sympathize with him that the best way to express solidarity is to vote for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress on Saturday March 9, 2019 in order to ensure that his own legacy is preserved and the gains of the past four years are improved upon.

As we move towards next Saturday’s important election, Governor Ambode urges Lagosians and party faithful not to allow fifth columnists pretending to be overzealous crusaders frustrate our onerous efforts to take Lagos State to the next level.

The governor says as he did in the run-up to last Saturday’s presidential poll, he will leave no stone unturned and spare no effort in ensuring that the party’s flag-bearer in the governorship election, Mr. Sanwo-Olu and all the 40 APC candidates in the House of Assembly poll are duly elected on Saturday March 9.

INEC to conduct supplementary presidential poll … after declaring winner

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed March 9 to conduct supplementary presidential election in areas where the poll was cancelled last Saturday.

Festus Okoye, INEC’s national commissioner for information and voter education, said the supplementary polls will be conducted alongside the governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

He also said supplementary national assembly would hold on the same day.

Okoye said the decision was reached during the commission’s meeting with resident electoral commissioners (RECs) on Thursday in Abuja.

INEC had cancelled the presidential elections in some areas as a result of violence, which prevented the commission from deploying personnel and materials for the exercise.

Some of the places affected include two local government areas in River state as well as other parts of Lagos and Anambra states.

“Consequently, the meeting decided that supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made on Satutday, 9th March 2019 alongside the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections,” Okoye said in a statement issued Friday.

“The meeting acknowledged the delays in the commencement of elections in a number of polling units which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas.

“The Commission is determined to rectify the identified challenges before the elections on 9th March.”

It is not yet clear what if the supplementary elections will affect the results of the election already announced.

It is, however, unlikely the number of registered voters in areas where the supplementary presidential elections will be conducted is up to the margin with which President Muhammadu Buhari used to defeat Atiku Abubakar.

Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got 15,191,847 votes while Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 11,262,978 votes.

The next four years will be tough, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says that the next four years will be tough.

Buhari was speaking on Friday when he had audience with members of the federal executive council (FEC) who came to congratulate him on his victory during the last election.

The president also said he proved two points when he embarked on extensive campaigns across the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).

He said he proved his medical fitness to skeptics by ensuring that no state was left out during the campaigns.

The president said his ability to campaign sometimes in two states per day during the period, showed that he is sound and ready to continue in leading Nigeria for the next four years.

He said he would continues with his three point agenda of fighting insecurity, corruption and fixing the economy.

Buhari while expressing his gratitude to God that the agriculture sector had helped a lot in strengthening the economy with the help of soft loans to farmers, noting that agricultural output has been rewarding because of the steady rainy seasons.

According to him, the investment in agriculture would have been a futile effort if there had been no good steady rainy seasons.

“First, I am pleased that members of the federal executive council (FEC) are collectively meeting here today where we play our weekly role to congratulate me. I think if I have lost the election, I don’t know how many of them will be here,” he said.

“Secondly, during the campaigns, I tried to visit the 36 states and Abuja, firstly, to prove to the other side that I’m fit. I tried to cover two states per day and secondly, not to make anybody feel that any state had been left out.

So, I thank God that He gave me the strength and health to see through my plan and I think it is appreciated.

“My last lap of four years , I think it is going to be tough because people are being forgetful. That was why wherever I went, I reminded them of the campaign promise of our party, particularly security, as I kept on saying that you have to secure the country well and institutions. If you don’t secure the country, you can’t achieve anything no matter how many programmes you put in place.

“Secondly, on the economy, unemployment is a problem of this country as a whole. More than 60 per cent of the youths, they need to be kept busy. I realised that God heard our prayers. It had been two good rainy seasons and we had the foresight to get the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Central Bank to try and give soft loans to farmers so that everybody that is educated and looking for white collar jobs and cannot get it, can go back to the land. We are lucky the rainy season had been good.”

He praised the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Jigawa, and Ebonyi, whom he said had played notable roles in stopping rice importation through large scale rice cultivation.

“I think we are also lucky that through the governors in some states like Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, in particular, we don’t import rice but we have savings from rice in terms of foreign exchange which we put in the budget and use for infrastructure,” he said.

“That is a very good thing because the oil sector is becoming very difficult to predict. It is becoming unpredictable and depending on it makes us materially insecure but thank goodness, agriculture has come to save it and people are appreciating it.”

INEC: Some of our staff were raped during last election

The Independent National Electoral Commisslon (INEC) says members of its staff were abducted and raped during Saturday’s elections.

In a statement on Friday, Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner for information and voter education, said while the elections were generally peaceful, there was “high level of violence” in a few places in addition to “the subjugation of some of our electoral officials to threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape.”

“The Commission condoles with the families of its ad-hoc staff who lost their lives while on this national assignment, as well as other Nigerians who died in the course of the elections,” he said.

“It also expresses its deep regrets and sympathy for all victims of this mindless violence. We stand with them in these difficult times.”

He also said the conduct of some security agencies in the elections is a matter of “serious concern”.

“While acknowledging their professionalism n the deployment of election personnel and materials in a safe and timely manner, the conduct of certain members of the security agencies in some states is a matter of serious concern to the Commission,” he said.

“This matter will be further discussed directly with the Inspector-General of Police within the ambit of the lnter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).”

APC NWC suspends Amosun, Okorocha…recommends expulsion

The national working committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suspended Ibikunle Amosu and Rochas Okorocha, governors of Ogun and Imo states receptively, from the party.

The NWC has also recommended their expulsion from APC to the national executive committee (NEC).

The decisions were taken at the NWC meeting on Friday afternoon in Abuja where allegations of “anti-party activities” were levelled the governors.

Amosun and Okorocha were both elected senators on the platform of APC on Saturday but they are backing different candidates for the March 9 governorship election.

 

Marketing Edge now on TVC Entertainment

Marketing Edge magazine says its TV version, Marketing Edge on TV, a marketing and advertising programme, has been moved from TVC News to TVC Entertainment.

“Marketing Edge on TV is a potpourri of current happenings and top industry conversation in the integrated marketing communications industry,” the creators of the progaramme explained in a statement.

They added that the programme had to be moved to the entertainment channel due to on-going reorganisation at TVC News.

The Executive Producer, Marketing Edge on TV, Mr John Ajayi, said the half hour programme would make a return to TVC News after three weeks.

Ajayi assured viewers of the programme that the new time adjustment would not in any way affect the quality and value-offerings of the programme.

He said, “We are not going to change the quality and focus of our industry engagements as it goes under the entertainment platform.”

We’ll meet you in court, Oshiomhole tells Atiku

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole said Thursday that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was destined never to be President.

He told the PDP candidate in last Saturday’s election that the governing party was prepared to meet him in court.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the decision of the PDP candidate to reject the outcome of the election, Oshiomhole said Atiku was desperate to be President and has been jumping from one party to the other to actualise his ambition.

He said it smacked of arrogance for the former Vice President to believe that the destiny of Nigerians is tied to his being President, stressing that Atiku and his party were never committed to the peace accord as they believe that the election was free and fair only if they won.

Oshiomhole said: “I think it is arrogance for Atiku to think that our future is tied to his presidency. Atiku is destined never to be President of Nigeria and I ask you to review his character. Leadership is about character.

“Atiku’s desperation is so obvious. He is so desperate that in 2003, he challenged his own boss, Obasanjo. He decamped to join ACN and we offered him the ticket and he lost the election and returned to PDP. He contested again and lost the nomination and because he has only his interest at heart, he decamped again from PDP. He joined us in Lagos and rolled out the dollars, but we voted for Buhari as our candidate. He knew that he cannot defeat Buhari in the primary and went back to the PDP.

“Do you think that such a political rolling stone, does he think that Nigerians are so insincere as to think that a man who is not stable and whose interest is about himself will be a possible candidate to be elected?

“What makes him have that sense of entitlement that he must be President of Nigeria? You cannot deny anyone the right to dispute the outcome of an election, however, free, fair. So, we hope and we are looking forward to meeting Atiku Abubakar in court. We might also choose to also cross petition because there were many areas we can dispute. In Adamawa State, he had already lost the election before he did some magic that gave him that narrow victory in Adamawa State.”

Oshiomhole said the turnout of voters in the Northeast, especially in Borno State, was a reflection of the substantial peace that has returned to the area, adding that if the former Vice President does not know about that, it could be because he does not go home regularly.

Accusing Atiku of not being committed to the peace accord, Oshiomhole said: “When the National Peace Committee invited political parties to commit themselves to peace and to pledge to accepting the outcome of the results, you will recall that the PDP and their candidate were absent at the first meeting.

“Following public outcry and pressure from their friends, he reluctantly went to sign the peace accord. So, from day one, Atiku made up his mind that unless he wins, the election is not free and fair and that it will only be free and fair if he is returned as the winner. Then, we ask the question, what is the value of the peace accord?

Oshiomhole congratulated Nigerians for defending democracy and for celebrating democracy. He said: “We are proud as a people that all those who thought that last Saturday was going to be a war have realised that election is not another word for war. It is a day to celebrate democracy and the only day in democracy in which everybody is equal.

“I am happy that Nigerians have spoken and they did every thing to maintain the peace, inspite of the fact that some elements conducted themselves in such a way that led to the loss of lives of some of our countrymen.

“I believe that government must do everything possible to identify those behind those killings and bring them to justice. Each time hoodlums and ballot box snatchers maim and kill and try to destablise the will of the Nigerian people and they go away without being prosecuted, the culture of impunity is strengthened and the fear for the rule of law is weakened.

“I believe that now that the President has been declared winner, he has a duty to call on the Inspector-General of Police and indeed all the security agencies to identify all those behind these killings. No Nigerian deserves to die because he wanted to go and vote.

“Yesterday, the PDP candidate who lost and who was a signatory to the peace accord and who went into this race knowing fully well that Nigerians can not possibly elect two Presidents because only one President will emerge, having suffered defeat which I believe he deserved, rejected the results, adducing very laughable arguments as basis for his decisions.

“I have found out that in this country, when you recycle lies, people begin to think there is truth in it. The conventional wisdom is that there is no smoke without fire. But in Nigerian politics, there can be huge smoke and yet, there is no fire. It is not about whether this election was perfect, but whether it was substantially free and fair and whether it represents the will of the Nigerian people. I am convinced that this election reflects the will of the Nigerian people.

“Atiku spoke about what he called statistical impossibility and also about the two zones where he is strongest and that votes in those areas were smaller and the margin of victory also small. In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari got fewer votes than he got in 2015 and from INEC figures, we secured 15.2 million votes. So, when Alhaji Atiku Abubakar talks about statistical impossibilities, I don’t want to call him a poor student of history, but invite you to look at the figures of registered new voters.

“If Atiku had taken time to review the performance of his political party over the years and compare them to that of President Buhari over the same period, he wold have understood and be clearer. To suggest that votes were suppressed in the Southsouth and the Southeast is not to be able to appreciate what the resort to card readers have done to election riggers.

“When we conducted an isolated election in Anambra State, no governor secured 400,000 votes and any one who is familiar with the realities of Rivers State know that if you conduct a free and fair election and you deny periwinkles the opportunity to come out and vote, it is impossible for them to get up to 500,000 votes. Yet, you had situations where you had 99 percent of voters turning out to vote in Rivers State before the advent of the card reader.

“Rather than Atiku thinking that rigging has come to stay and could not understand why the numbers can’t add up in the absence of massive rigging, he should be reminded that the essence of the collective effort that has been made and the intervention of genuine friends of Nigeria has been to try to improve the electoral process, such that rigging can be eliminated or reduced to tolerable level.”

Oshiomhole said the APC had petitioned INEC on how it allegedly rigged out in Akwa Ibom State. “It is interesting that it is the PDP that is complaining about rigging in Akwa Ibom State. How do you explain that INEC cancelled so many units in several states in order to be able to declare PDP candidates winners. That was how Senator Akpabio was rigged out in Akwa Ibom State,” the party chief said.

“Atiku also alleged that the economy lost N85 billion on hearing that President Buhari won the election. That is twisting the facts. When Atiku start talking about his irrevocable commitment to privatise and sell NNPC, many people wondered aloud whether he has not already collected deposit, especially when he says even if he was going to die.

“Was he going to rule Nigeria against our will because democracy does not end at voting. Citizens must hold their leaders accountable for their policy choices. So, if those depositors see that it will not be business as usual and decided to take their flight, we don’t even want them to come back. Nigeria needs genuine investors who have faith in our country with long term interest,” Oshiomhole said.

Falana’s law firm sues Gbajabiamila for unpaid N20m professional fees

The law firm of human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has sued the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for his alleged failure to pay N20m professional fee for the legal services which it rendered to the legislator in 2015.

Falana & Falana Chambers, in the writ of summons which was filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja and marked CV/1190/19 on Wednesday, stated that it had, to no avail, repeatedly demanded through letters of reminder the payment of its fees from Gbajabiamila since 2015.

The law firm, through its lawyer, Mrs Funmi Falana, said it filed its suit against Gbajabiamila because he “is not willing to pay the plaintiff the sum of N20m being the plaintiff’s professional fee for representing the defendant in suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/501/2015.”

It prayed for among others in its suit, a declaration that Gbajabiamila’s alleged failure to pay the N20m fee was “a breach of contract.”

It also sought an order compelling the legislator to pay the N20m and another directing him “to pay 10 per cent as interest on the judgement sum from the day the judgement is entered until the final liquidation of the judgement sum.”

The plaintiff recalled that it, in 2015, defended Gbajabiamila in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/501/2015.

The suit was filed by the Registered Trustees of Social Justice and Civil Rights Awareness Initiative, SJCRAI, against Gbajabiamila, the House of Representatives and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The SJCRAI had in the 2015 suit, urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to disqualify Gbajabiamila from contesting the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the grounds of his alleged “conviction” in the State of Georgia, US, for unethical practices in the course of his practice as a lawyer.

Falana’s law firm stated “that having been briefed” by Gbajabiamila, it swung into action “by filing a memorandum of conditional appearance, a motion on notice for consequential amendment, counter-affidavit in opposition to the plaintiff’s originating summons and notice of preliminary objection.”

It stated in its statement of claim that then presiding judge, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja had determined the suit in favour of Gbajabiamila by striking it out on May 22, 2018.

It added, “It is the case of the plaintiff that the defendant (Gbajabiamila) was informed via a letter dated January 24, 2017 that the plaintiff’s professional fee for representing the defendant in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/501/2015 is N20,000,000 (twenty million naira). Copy of the said letter is hereby pleaded and the plaintiff shall rely on same in evidence at the trial of this suit.

“The plaintiff avers further that his account details were also provided to enable the defendant to pay the said professional fee without any difficulties.”

It added, “In September 2018, following the final determination of suit FHC/ABJ/CS/501/2015 this firm wrote to the defendant updating him of the progress in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/501/2015 and demanding the payment of his professional fee.”

It said it also on January 10, 2019, “wrote a letter to the defendant demanding his professional fee.

“Notwithstanding repeated demands, the defendant has failed to pay the plaintiff’s professional fee without any justification.”

Tambuwal asks US to intervene in ‘harassment of PDP leaders’

Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, has appealed to the United States government to intervene in the alleged harassment of leaders and loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Tambuwal made the appeal when he received Stuart Symington, US Ambassador to Nigeria, in Sokoto, on Thursday.

He told Symington that the just-concluded presidential and national assembly elections witnessed harassment of opposition leaders.

According to him, many PDP members were hounded and arrested by security agents on the election day.

“Our appeal is to ensure the electorate in whatever political parties are not intimidated or terrorised. Because our people were intimidated to the extent of failing to discharge their civic duties in the remaining elections, scheduled for March 9,” he said.

“As such, I want appeal to the US envoy to call on the Nigerian government to allow the will of the people be granted during the forthcoming governorship and state house of assembly elections.

“The opposition has engaged in post-election violence, with attacks on citizens and razing many properties and houses within and outside the metropolis in the state, in a show of terror against perceived opponents and non-partisan members of the public.”

He thanked the envoy for the visit, describing such as important for the peace and development of democracy in the state.

Earlier, Symington said he was in Sokoto to encourage more peaceful atmosphere throughout the electioneering period and beyond.

“There is no any development that can come without peace, so I appeal on all stakeholders and the good people of Sokoto to ensure peaceful polls,” he said.

Ogun ADC senatorial candidate, Ashiru dumps party for APC

A senatorial candidate of the African Democratic Party, ADC in Ogun State, Deji Ashiru, and his supporters have dumped the party to support the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Dapo Abiodun.

It was learnt that Ashiru, who was defeated in the senatorial election by the APC, was approached by the Abiodun camp led by Chief Segun Osoba to work for Abiodun, as political parties and candidates forge alliances ahead of the March 9 governorship election.

“Deji Ashiru, who contested under the Ogun East Senatorial District at the just concluded National Assembly elections believes the APC will form the next government in Ogun State,” the source added.

The ADC governorship candidate in Ogun, Gboyega Nasir, is considered one of the major contenders in the coming elections, having contested two times before now.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was reported to have endorsed him.

However, Ashiru and his followers are said to be rooting for the APC candidate in the belief that he had brighter chances to win the elections.

Ashiru, when initially asked about the arrangement, said he could neither confirm nor deny the report, adding that he would issue a statement on his position at the right time.

“As you know, there are a lot of political alliances going on. I don’t want to comment for now. But at the right time, I will issue a statement to declare my position,” he said.

However, the media aide of Abiodun, Ojo Emmanuel, later confirmed the arrangement and said the party was happy to welcome the defector.

“We are happy to have him work with us. We believe he will help us. It is a welcome development,” he said.

Elections: Atiku presents six-point demand to FG

The Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in last week’s election, Alh. Atiku Abubakar has presented a six-point demand to the federal government . Top on the list  is the unfreezing of opposition politicians’ bank accounts.

Another major demanded presented to former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd) was demilitarisarion of sequent polls, sources at the meeting told Thenewsmatrics

Gen. Abubakar had led members of the committee to a meeting with Atiku and his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi in Abuja yesterday night.

The NPC was expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari government with the demands .

Other demands by Atiku were:

*That accreditation of voters should take place before voting in subsequent elections.

*That there should be no deployment of the military in subsequent elections.

* That INEC should open its back end server to all participating parties. *That there should be a release of all politicians detained illegally by FG.

A source at the meeting disclosed that Atiku “warned that tensions are building up in the land.”

NPC team included Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Bishop Kukah and Rev. Fr Atta Barkindo of the NPC secretariat.

Thenewsmatrics also learnt that Atiku and his team told the group that the election of February 23 was the worst in 20 years of the return to democratic rule claiming  it was marked by brazen rigging with no consideration to the will of the people.

They listed the following as the issues they had with the polls:

*Deployment of the military was unconstitutional and in breach of Supreme Court judgement.

*That resultantly, a lot of malpractices between the INEC officers, the ruling party and the military took place to undermine the votes/voters of the PDP.

*That there was collaboration between INEC and FG to undermine the sanctity of the votes of the people.

*That this is the worst election in 20 years. No improvement from 2015.

It was learnt that Gen. Abdusalam and his team pleaded with the PDP flag bearer to avoid anything that could jeopardise the nation’s peaceful co-existence.