The All Progressives Congress (APC) has alerted security agencies of a plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to cause violence in the build-up and during the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
While alleging that the PDP is already creating an atmosphere of fear and stage-managed violence in the two states, the APC claimed the opposition party was also playing the victim so as to scare voters from coming out during the election to exercise their franchise.
In a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, APC national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said that violence had been the PDP’s election winning strategy during its inglorious 16 years’ rule.
He said: “We strongly call on security agencies to take seriously PDP’s recent threats to the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Ahmed Nasir El-Rufai, who is the chairman of the APC Kogi State National Governorship Campaign Council to “steer clear” of Kogi State during the electioneering.
“One asks, why has the PDP refused to embark on any major campaign in Bayelsa and Kogi States? They are clearly not planning for a credible electoral process. We have confirmed PDP’s grand plan to rather than campaign, compromise security agents and electoral personnel deployed for the governorship elections.
“In Kogi, defeat stares PDP in the face and because they do not have any answer to Governor Yahaya Bello’s tremendous accomplishments, they have decided to create an atmosphere of fear, stage-manage violence and are typically getting ready to cause chaos on the election day.
“In Bayelsa State, the centre has completely fallen apart for the PDP with the gale of defection of the party stalwarts and senior appointees of the outgoing administration of Governor Seriake Dickson into the APC fold. The massive and post-partisan popularity of the APC candidate, Chief David Lyon, is visible to the blind.
“We have received reports of arms stockpiling and vote-buying plans by PDP elements in Bayelsa State. We have also confirmed reports showing plans are afoot to stage-manage violence to disrupt the election while blaming the APC,” he said.
Issa-Onilu said that the APC campaign trains were rounding off ward and community levels’ campaign all across Kogi State.
“A formidable campaign council has been inaugurated by the National Working Committee (NWC) under the leadership of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. The council boasts of seven serving governors and several experienced political leaders of our party.
“Similarly, the APC has set up a campaign council for the Bayelsa governorship election under the leadership of the Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru, with several serving governors as members. This is in demonstration of our desire to win the two elections by securing majority votes in both states under free and fair contest,” he said.
The APC called on Nigerians to “collectively resist PDP’s plot to rubbish the successes we have recorded in the conduct of credible elections since 2015. We urge the electorate to defend their votes to ensure progressive leadership in the states.”
Allegation, Revelation Of Their Own Plans – PDP
In a swift reaction, the PDP accused the APC of planning to resort to violence during the governorship elections in the two states because it had lost the people’s support.
According to PDP’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the people would resist the antics of the APC.
He told LEADERSHIP last night that by the allegation, the APC had revealed its intention to use violence against PDP during the governorship elections in both states.
Ologbondiyan said: “They are already telling Nigerians what they intend to do during the elections because they do not have the people on their side. They know they have lost the confidence of the people, so they are now resorting to violence. But the people will resist them.”
Money’ll Flow Like River In Kogi, Says INEC
And ahead of the Kogi State gubernatorial election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that money would flow like river in the state during the poll.
Kogi has a total of 1,646,350 voters, with Permanent Voter Card (PVC) collection put at 1,485,828.
The state has 21 local government areas with about 2,548 polling units. A total of 16,132 ad-hoc workers are required for the exercise.
At a policy dialogue programme tagged: “INEC’s Successful Conduct of the November 16, 2019 Governorship Election In Kogi State: What are the Critical Issues,” the chairman of The Electoral Institute (TEI), a research wing of INEC, Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi, declared that money would flow like river in the state.
Soyebi, who is also a national commissioner in INEC, said that they were faced with the serious challenge of vote- buying in Kogi State ahead of the election.
He said: “Security will definitely be an issue in Kogi State. We can take care of vote-buying but money will flow like river in Kogi.”
Soyebi, who said that by continuously engaging with stakeholders, INEC seeks to establish the fact that whereas it is rightly referred as the key driver of the electoral process, that the stakeholders and partners were also critical players.
“Our collective mandate is, therefore, to put in place an electoral process that will serve the 21s Century needs of Nigerians. This is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders,” he stated.
Also at the event, the director-general of TEI, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris, said that INEC, during the stakeholders’ meetings promised to make a difference in Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections come November 16, 2019.
“This event is a deliberate attempt by the commission through its Research and Training organ, The Electoral Institute to interrogate by way of policy dialogue, the commission’s preparedness and areas that require urgent attention for instant improvement to ensure successful credible and transparent governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
“In fact, more than a month to the elections, manuals, synopsis, and training videos have been produced and delivered to these states. The essence is to give the states enough time to distribute these materials for a seamless training and by extension free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
Some stakeholders at the programme said that because of the tense security issue in Kogi, there should be a show of force exercise before the poll.
The dean of Students’ Affairs, University of Abuja, Dr. Abubakar Umar Kari, advised INEC to ensure transparency by engaging ad-hoc staff outside Kogi.
“INEC should consider recruiting the ad-hoc staff from neigbouring states to ensure neutrality,” he said.
The state resident electoral commissioner, Prof. James Iorliam Apam, said that even though logistics would be an issue during the poll, the commission was up to the task.
“Logistics will be an issue because of the terrain but we are up to the task,” he said.
Meanwhile, INEC has announced that the Kogi West senatorial bye-election would hold on November 16, 2019, the same day for the gubernatorial election.
The Appeal Court had ordered INEC to conduct fresh election within 90 days after it upheld the election petition tribunal nullification of the election of Senator Dino Melaye, who was declared the winner of the February 23, 2019 senatorial election by the commission.
In obedience with the ruling, INEC, after its meeting yesterday considered the timetable and dates of elections for the Sabuwa State Constituency of Katsina State and Kogi West Senatorial District.
For the Sabuwa constituency, the Katsina State House of Assembly had in a letter with Reference Number KTSHA/PER/HON/l24/VOL.l/24 dated 26th September, 2019 notified the commission of the death of Hon. Mustapha Abdullahi, who represented Sabuwa State Constituency of Katsina State and declared the seat vacant.
Following extensive consultations with stakeholders and a review of the security situation, INEC fixed 30th November, 2019 for the conduct of the bye-election for the state constituency.
“The commission will issue the notice of election on 23rd October, 2019. The conduct of party primaries will take place between 24th October and 6th November, 2019 while the last day for the submission of personal particulars of candidates (form CF001) and the list of candidates (Form CFOOZ) is 8th November, 2019 by 6pm.
“The last day for the submission of names and addresses of polling agents is 15th November, 2019 and campaigns will end on 28th November, 2019,” INEC national commissioner for Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye said.
He stated that detailed timetable and schedule of activities had been uploaded on the commission’s website.
For the Kogi West Senatorial District, INEC said it had fixed 16th November, 2019 for the conduct of a fresh election.
“The election will take place simultaneously with the Kogi State governorship election. This is sequel to the nullification of the Kogi West Senatorial District election conducted on 23rd February, 2019 by the Election Petitions Tribunal and its subsequent affirmation by the Court of Appeal which ordered the commission to conduct a fresh election within 90 days from the date of judgment (11th October, 2019) with all those who participated in it as eligible candidates.
“We appeal to the candidates and political parties to conduct issue-based campaigns. We also enjoin stakeholders to eschew violence and avoid acts capable of creating apprehension or a sense of fear before, during and after the election,” Okoye said.
Onoja Replaces Achuba As Kogi Deputy Governor
After beig confirmed deputy governor by the Kogi State House of Assembly, Edward Onoja, has been sworn in by the state chief judge, Justice Nasiru Ajana.
The event took place yesterday at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Lokoja in the presence of the Governor Yahaya Bello, senior government officials, family members and friends of the new deputy governor.
In his address, Onoja thanked God for such a day and Governor Bello, who he described as his destiny helper for giving him the privilege to serve in that capacity.
He said that the APC’s journey to victory at the polls would be better, smoother and more resounding because the party now stands firmly on two legs.
In his remark, the governor said that his joy knew no bound and that the event was history in the making as two brothers from different ethnic background were now at the helms of affairs of the state and would together chart a more progressive cause for the state.
He noted that the day was neither for celebration nor for mourning, but added they were being spurred to do more for the state, noting that all humans were pencils in the creator’s hand.
Onoja’s Inauguration A Nullity, Says PDP
Commenting on the event, the PDP yesterday dismissed Onoja’s inauguration as a complete nullity, arguing that “it has no place in the country’s laws.”
The party described as scandalous to the judicial system, that the chief judge of Kogi state, Justice Nasir Ajana, whose panel acquitted the deputy governor, Elder Simon Achuba, of any misconduct, suddenly flipped to conform with an odious plot by Governor Bello to forcefully remove the deputy governor.
The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbodinyan, said that the action of the chief judge had jeopardised the integrity of the judiciary and capable of bringing the institution to public disrepute if not checked.
“Our party insists that the chief judge of Kogi State, in staging an illegal inauguration of Edward Onoja as a deputy governor, while the office has not become constitutionally vacant, amounts to gross misconduct, which cannot be accommodated under our laws,” he said.
The PDP further said that “this is a clear demonstration of the reprehensible and sacrilegious design by Governor Yahaya Bello to entangle, drag down and corrupt the institution of the judiciary, cause a constitutional crisis, trigger mayhem and derail the smooth conduct of the November 16 governorship election in the state.
“This is because there is no way there can be two deputy governors in the same state, more so as the people of Kogi State had already registered their anger and resentment against this illegality in the public space.”
The party, therefore, called on the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mohammed Tanko, to take immediate steps to save Kogi State from a plunge into anarchy and chaos.
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