All Progressives Congress National Leader and Co-chair of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said though the postponement of yesterday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections was painful, all those who actually came out to vote and those who intended to vote in the postponed elections must maintain their commitment.
“Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights. What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23,” he said.
In a statement he personally signed, Asiwaju Tinubu was reacting to the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly polls by one week by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The former Lagos governor said though he appreciated the enormity of the logistical challenge that elections in a vast nation like ours poses to INEC, “we are still pained that the Commission could not meet this challenge within the time allotted.
“We are also perplexed that INEC literally waited so late in the day to make known the obstacles preventing it from keeping faith to the election schedule. INEC could have and should have given the nation more ample and earlier warning. This could have perhaps lessened the pervasive disappointment that we all now feel. It also would have helped people better order their steps”.
The full statement reads: “As the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and simply as a Nigerian, I must express my profound concern and dissatisfaction with the unexpected, late hour postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections by INEC. According to INEC, the one-week postponement of the election from February 16 to February 23 was compelled by logistical difficulties encountered by the commission in transporting essential election material to polling in various parts of the country.
“While we appreciate the enormity of the logistical challenge that elections in a vast nation like ours poses to INEC, we are still pained that the Commission could not meet this challenge within the time allotted. We are also perplexed that INEC literally waited so late in the day to make known the obstacles preventing it from keeping faith to the election schedule. INEC could have and should have given the nation more ample and earlier warning. This could have perhaps lessened the pervasive disappointment that we all now feel. It also would have helped people better order their steps today.
“We have reports of eager voters rising early to leave their homes to cast their ballots only to be told upon arriving at their appointed polling stations that the election had been postponed. This should not have happened for it could well discourage people from coming out when the election takes place. Thus, we heartily commend those people for coming out in exercise of their fundamental rights and duties as citizen voters, who vote by vote, seek to build and perfect our democracy. For each voter is in part an architect and each one of your votes is a brick by which, when lain together, shall construct a strong democracy in such a way that it shall forever stand and endure. Thus, we appeal to all who actually came out to vote and to those who intended to vote today, to maintain your commitment. Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights. What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23.
“INEC has stated the reason for the delay and has expressed regret over the inconveniences it has caused. We must take INEC’s statement at face value and hold to the belief that INEC understands even more than ever the sober and grave responsibility it has to our nation and our democracy. INEC can only properly discharge that responsibility by conducting free and fair elections. While we cannot go back to repair what did or did not happen to cause this postponement, we all must encourage INEC to do all that is necessary so voting can smoothly proceed on February 23. Whatever our political affiliation, we must encourage INEC to overcome the difficulties in order to rise to this most important occasion. INEC must commit itself more than ever before to perform to its utmost so that these elections will be remembered as a free and fair exercise consonant with the best of international standards.
“In the end, elections must be held in such a manner that every vote carries the same weight and no vote is minimized because elections took place much earlier or later in one place than in another. Thus, it is better to experience a slight delay to conduct the elections properly rather than to conduct the elections piecemeal and uneven fashion. No one will absolve INEC if such a fate befalls this all-important election. The electoral body must use the one-week extension mend its logistics gaps and lapses. This delay has clearly provoked significant anger and disappointment among the people. The voters were ready and INEC should have been equally as prepared and ready as the voters. Yet, we ask that the people contain their anger and remain calm. Let no one be tempted to breach the peace because of this delay.
“In the greater scheme of things, a one-week delay is not overly burdensome when compared to the importance of conduct of free and just elections in the establishment of representative democracy and good governance in our land. Please, persevere just a bit longer to ensure that the elections on February 23 truly reflect the will of the people. Whatever obstacles may come, be they large or small, let us show the world the Nigerian people will not be deterred from realizing the democracy for which we have fought and sacrificed so long and so hard to achieve”.
Orji Kalu Will Receive Full Salaries, Allowances In Prison – Senate
The Nigerian Senate has explained that former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while serving his prison sentence.
Godiya Akwashiki, the spokesperson of the Senate, who made this known on Sunday, December 8, said Kalu will be paid all of his entitlements in full because he remains a sitting senator despite his conviction.
It was gathered that Akwashiki said the convicted chief whip of the Senate remains a serving lawmaker until the case gets to Supreme Court and a final judgement is given.
He said: “He is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level. Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you. All his entitlements will be paid.
“The spokesperson of the Senate explained that even if the Court of Appeal upheld the judgement of the lower court, Kalu still has the right to go to Supreme Court. He said it is only the Supreme Court that holds the final judgement over Kalu’s conviction.”
My Party Started Hate Speech In Nigeria — APC Chieftain
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Joshua Alobo, has claimed that his party started hate speech in Nigeria.
Alobo mentioned the current Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, as one of those involved in activities that can now be termed as hate speech under the present administration.
The human rights activist slammed the APC for allegedly turning around to hound some of those it used to get to power because they are now criticizing the present administration.
Alobo, who is the president of the International Human Rights and Development Centre, said these while speaking on Channel TV’s ‘Sun Rise Daily’ on Omoyele Sowore’s re-arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) last week.
The DSS was said to have invaded the court premises to re-arrest Sowore less than 24 hours after granting him bail.
Alobo said he was “seriously embarrassed” by the situation as Sowore was “among those who canvassed for the ‘change’ mantra.”
“APC, in which I am a chieftain, originated hate speech,” Mr Alobo, who is the President of the International Human Rights and Development Centre, continued.
“Look at what happened at . . . even Lai Muhammed and the rest, nobody was arrested. Look at the fuel subsidy protest at the freedom square. If not that Jonathan was proactive to deploy soldiers . . . I was in Abuja; even though I wasn’t in the general protest, I was using my vehicle to monitor the whole situation.
“So a lot of showbiz was going on during the Jonathan administration, they don’t look at it as a threat to the government. What is Sowore? They are just making the guy to be too popular, I don’t know him as a person. But they have been reading Sahara Reporters right from Jonathan era, a lot of information has been disclosed and all those things.
“So if a media practitioner cannot express his opinion, then what will he do? And this is a man that has the pedigree of activism right from University. So the DSS for goodness sake should not bring another terrorist group. It is the suppression of Yusuf Muhammed that escalated into what we have now as Boko Haram.”
The DSS had charged Sowore with alleged treasonable felony and cyberstalking President Muhammadu Buhari, among others.
He was first picked up by the state service after announcing plans to stage what he termed the “#RevolutionNow” protest against the Buhari administration.
The DSS had explained over the weekend that it re-arrested the Sahara Reporters publisher because he resorted to “acts inimical to security” after he was granted bail.
Tinubu Should Be Next President Of Nigeria , Says Northern Group
A political group, North Eastern Youth Mobilization Congress, has backed the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Council (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take over as Nigeria’s leader when President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure ends in 2023.
The endorsement was contained in a statement issued at the weekend in Bauchi by the group’s coordinator, Aliyu Balewa, at the end of the inauguration ceremony of the executive members of the congress.
Balewa said power should shift to the South in 2023 since the North would have served two consecutive terms by then.
He added that Tinubu is a unifying political figure who has contributed immensely to the nation’s political structure and deserves to be compensated with the APC presidential ticket.
“On justice ground, power should shift to the southern part of the country in 2023 since the North has served two consecutive terms.”
“We believe that the best person to succeed Buhari is the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, because he is instrumental to Buhari’s victory in the 2015 and 2019 elections. He also contributed tremendously to the success of the APC in all other elective offices.”
“Therefore, 2023 should be payback time. Let us respect the gentleman agreement by supporting the South to produce the next president. And Bola Tinubu is the best man for the job in view of his political experience, dexterity, exposure and national patriotism,” Balewa said.