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INEC Weighs Four Options On Rivers Elections Today

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mahmood yakubu inec

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the African Action Congress (AAC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other parties will today know their fate on the stalemated governorship poll in Rivers State.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has summoned a meeting of its management to receive and consider the report of a fact-finding team it sent to the Southsouth state.

The electoral body may receive also the report on its investigation into the disruption of the poll in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

But top on the list of issues before INEC, as at last night, is the suspended election in Rivers State.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The panel on Rivers State will on Friday submit its report to INEC management. Thereafter, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and his team will consider the findings and make a pronouncement.

“We are aware of the interest which the suspension of the elections in Rivers State has generated and we want to resolve it as soon as possible.”

There are four options before INEC, ORIENTAL TIMES has learnt. They are:

  • whether or not to cancel the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State;
  • Restricted conduct of elections only in units, wards or areas affected by violence.
  • Announcement of collated or retrieved results if the security situation does not permit a fresh poll;
  • declaring the results as it were and leaving the aggrieved to go to the tribunal.

According to the source, any delay in taking a decision may lead to a constitutional crisis in the state.

“INEC will be fair, just, equitable and it will be guided by the Electoral Act, 2010( as amended) in its decision on Rivers State.

“The panel has concluded its assignment. Were it not for the issuance of Certificates of Return to senators and Representatives-elect, we would have considered the report on Rivers on Thursday (yesterday).”

A statement last Sunday by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, said: “The commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in Rivers State until further notice.

“This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47(e) of the regulations and guidelines of the commission.”

As at press time, it was gathered that the team which investigated the disruption of the collation and cancellation of results in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State had concluded its assignment.

“We will look at the findings of this committee to guide the conduct of supplementary elections in the state on March 23,” the source said.

The two leading parties – APC and PDP – have started preparations for the make-up poll ordered in six states on March 23.

The national leadership of the PDP said yesterday that the party was set for the supplementary poll in states where the elections were declared inconclusive.

The states are: Kano, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto, Adamawa and Plateau.

Rising from an emergency National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Abuja yesterday, the party should demanded that INEC release the results of the elections in those states and make returns as appropriate.

In a statement after the emergency meeting, PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan insisted that the party was in clear lead in the states where the poll was declared inconclusive.

He accused INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu of bias, citing “the results of the governorship election in Ogun State where the APC candidate was declared winner even when the margin of lead between him and the runner up was lower than the number of cancelled votes”.

The main opposition party regretted that INEC denied victory for PDP governorship candidates who found themselves in similar circumstances in the affected states.

The statement reads: “The PDP found it strange that INEC can have two sets of rules in the same election for the various political parties.

“More worrisome is the resolution which arose from a meeting between some governors of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari, where the PDP has been informed that a decision was taken to seize Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Kano states in the March 23 scheduled supplementary election.”

The PDP said it had deliberated and interfaced with stakeholders from the various states where governorship supplementary elections have been scheduled to hold.

It added that following the deliberations, the party had mandated all its members to resist any attempt by anybody to tamper with the will of the people in their states.

The PDP said it was sure of victory in the affected states.

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Politics

Ndigbo Are Not Anti-APC — Lagos Lawmaker

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The belief that Ndigbo are generally opposed to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) lacks a factual basis, the lawmaker representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Jude Idimogu, has said.

Idimogu, leader of the Igbo in the APC, said he intended to help change the narrative that Ndigbo did not like APC.

“The problem was that the people were not being carried along but my team and I have decided to effect necessary changes,” he said.

He said the Igbo have benefitted immensely from the APC administration and will gain more.

He urged Ndigbo to support the ruling party and the Buhari administration.

“I believe that the government would also respond. Once you have a positive mind towards the party, you stand a better chance of benefiting from APC government,” he said.

He praised President Muhammadu Buhari for granting financial autonomy to state judiciary and legislature.

He said no other president had the will power to do what President Buhari did.

Idimogu spoke when he visited Eze Greg Ezebuadi Ogboroagha, the supreme traditional head of Ndigbo in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

It is in continuation of his tour of the Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

“I believe that before he leaves office, there would be complete local government autonomy. Separation of power is the beauty of democracy.

“Every arm of government operating independently would deliver optimal services, and improve democratic gains,” he said.

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2023: Buhari’s Son Picked For Vice President

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The National Coordinator of the Concerned Advocates for Good Governance, (CAGG), Barrister Olusegun Bamgbose has declared interest in contesting Nigeria’s presidential seat in 2023.

The lawyer while declaring his interest also expressed optimism that the North would support the emergence of a Southerner as Nigeria’s next president.

He said though zoning is unconstitutional, it is only fair for the North to relinquish power to another region in 2023.

Barrister Bamgbose also hinted on picking Yusuf Buhari, son of President Muhammadu Buhari as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

The lawyer who is yet to disclose his political party, however, hinted that it is the time for youths to take over the mantle of leadership in Nigeria.

“The South West will forever remember the North for this political gesture,” he noted.

“Even though some political pundits may argue that the North only compensated the South West for the loss of MKO Abiola, who was acknowledged to have won the elections. Whichever way, the North should be appreciated for such a gesture.

“Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to Yar’adua in 2007, when he died, Jonathan took over. In 2015, the South joined the North to install Buhari.

“It’s therefore politically justifiable for the North to equally support a Southerner to take over power come 2023.

“Obasanjo never disappointed the North and Nigerians, Olusegun Bamgbose will not disappoint Nigerians. As a matter of fact, I’m considering Yusuf Buhari as my running mate come 2023. It’s high time the youths took over power in Nigeria.

“This consideration of mine might look awkward to many Nigerians but it’s because they can’t see what I’m seeing.

“Yusuf Buhari is a material for leadership. I’m blessed with the gift of seeing beyond the physical. I remembered vividly that I once told Jonathan’s Aide that suicide bombing was coming, he doubted me but we all know what’s happening now.

“In 2015 I told Nigerians that Buhari will defeat Jonathan, many thought I was talking nonsense but it came to pass.

“Earlier this year I told Nigerians that a new Chief of Staff will emerge, that has equally happened. Yusuf Buhari is an asset.

“I see him soaring higher politically, other things being equal, he will be my running mate come 2023. He has some hidden potentials which will soon begin to manifest soon to the delight of many Nigerians.

“Whichever you look at it Buhari’s name will be difficult to erase in the political history of Nigeria.”

Bamgbose also noted that even after Buhari’s tenure ends in 2023, the President’s wife, Aisha would still remain politically relevant.

“Even after the exit of Buhari as President of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari will still be prominent and very useful. There is something I’m seeing in her that many Nigerians are ignorant of.

“She is an asset. Nigerians are yet to know the wealth stored in her… I hope to meet Yusuf Buhari soon for some serious political discussions. In all, the North should concede power to the South come 2023. They won’t regret it.”

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Tinubu Is NOT My Man — El-Rufai Declares

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has publicly admitted to having a personal issue with Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

El-rufai admitted to this while speaking at a webinar in commemoration of the 63rd birthday of the former Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, on Saturday,

El-Rufai, who didn’t state the kind of differences disclosed that he’s not Tinubu’s “man.”

El-Rufai said: “I want to congratulate my brother, Ogbeni (Aregbesola), on his birthday. You know I’m your man any day.

“I’m not Asiwaju’s man and you are Asiwaju’s man, but I am your man any day. Asiwaju and I have differences but you and I have no differences.”

There are speculations in certain quarters that both El-Rufai and Tinubu are nursing the ambition to become Nigeria’s next president in 2023.

Despite the speculations which have been going on for a while now, both Tinubu and El-Rufai haven’t come out to either deny or admit to such claim.

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