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PGF Boss Rallies Support For APC NEC Meeting, Urges Members to Back Buhari

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The Director General of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Lukman, has called on party committed party members and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rally behind President Muhammadu Buhari in support of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for Thursday in order to reset APC back to its 2013 orientation of inclusive and participatory politics.

A factional acting national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, had announced that with the support of the President the NEC meeting of the party would hold Thursday.

However, Lukman in a statement issued Wednesday described the crisis rocking the ruling party for the last few months as show of ‘indignity’, adding that some drastic steps are required to restore some order and sanity in APC.

According to him, “With all the confusion as to who is our presiding officer, coupled with the fact that the most important structure that is saddled with the responsibility of convening meetings of all organs of the party is fractured and entangled in webs of legal cases, it is either the confusion is allowed to continue and eventual end with the demise of the party, or our leaders find a way to save the party.”

Lukman said given such a situation, one would expect party leaders to be united in saving the situation.

He stressed that to demonstrate the irony of the kind of leaderless situation party members found themselves, they are being told that the constitution disqualifies a Deputy National Chairman from acting as National Chairman with reference to the section of the country he comes from.

The DG noted that while the party’s constitution continues to gather dust somewhere in the archive of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), courts and judges continue to entertain themselves with cases requiring all manner of judicial pronouncements.

He said with the approval of President Buhari, a meeting NEC has been called, while asking if the so-called leaders acting as blacklegs would undermine the moral authority of the President as the leader of the party.

The DG also said a national newspaper owned by one of the leaders of the party has dismissed a meeting held by the President with the governors of the party as ‘Anti-Oshiomhole governors submit position to Buhari’.

Lukman queried, “Is this headline a reflection of the position of the leader? Is the message underlining this headline going to serve as the basis of opposition against the initiative by the President the ensure that a NEC meeting hold? With the way the President’s name is presented using just his first name, isn’t that already indicative of some measure of rebellion?

“All committed party members and leaders should rally behind President Buhari in support of the scheduled NEC to hold so that we are able to reset the APC back to its 2013 orientation of inclusive and participatory politics. To achieve that, the public debate should be about proposals to ensure that the NEC succeed rather than attempting to throw up legal blockades!”

While lamenting the current situation in the party, Lukman said: “Today, even something as basic as who is the presiding officer of the APC is in courts to the extent that we lost count of the number of cases involving more litigants, far more than the number of party members that aspired for the position at our last National Convention. To demonstrate the irony of the kind of leaderless situation we found ourselves or we impose on ourselves, we are being told that our constitution disqualifies a Deputy National Chairman from acting as National Chairman with reference to the section of the country he comes from. Yet, we call ourselves progressives. No need to look for anybody who is a reactionary with some of progressive leaders we have in APC. Our leaders have degenerated to pseudo-ethnic champions. Are we heading for a merger with Arewa, Afeniferi, Biafra and all the known ethnic groups?

“It is such a mess that almost every passing day, we just keep descending lower and lower. Not only that members get more and more frustrated, but also that Nigerians become more and more disappointed and some of our leaders with mandate to govern the country are daily being distracted. Instead of facing the business of government and strengthening the capacity of APC governments at federal and states levels to deliver on their campaign promises, it is a case of leadership conflicts all over the place.

“Rather than have party leadership making efforts to resolve these conflicts, they become the major disputants and litigants. If the dispute turns out to be between these party leaders and elected functionaries of government, once the circle of election come, these functionaries should be ready to be thrown out no matter their records in government. Professors and all manner of clownish supporters will be recruited to defend and present actions of these party leaders as decisions of party structures and therefore reflective of the supremacy of the party.

“With the NEC meeting scheduled to hold in less than 48 hours, if it is reflective of rebellion, both the Newspaper, the television station owned by the leader and all his support base may be activated to attempt to block the NEC meeting, including boycotting the NEC. How could such a strategy help the leader? Without any debate, this is one leader that certainly enjoy high measure of respect across the party and is perhaps a leading contender to succeed President Buhari. If such a leader, work for or tolerated his media companies and supporters to inadvertently work for the demise of the party, how does that serve him? Could it be that he has decided to work against any possibility of succeeding President Buhari?

“Be that as it may, how will leaders or blacklegs relate with the NEC and the decisions it will take? Will they seek to take advantage of the NEC to reset the process of party building back to the point whereby it become possible for meetings of party organs to hold and through those meetings seek to resolve all our internal problems, including reconciling all our leaders and repositioning it for undisputed electoral victories? The days ahead will confirm whether we have party leaders or blacklegs.”

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Edo Poll: We Must Be Neutral At All Times, INEC Tells Electoral Officials

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Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has rallied officials of the commission to remain steadfast to its ideals in conducting the Edo governorship election.

“Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us. They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties,” Professor Yakubu said in a message to the staff of the commission on the eve of the election.

“We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other. We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed.”

By playing their parts and delivering a free, fair, and credible election, the INEC boss believes the commission would have helped to better the country.

“For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust,” he said.

Professor Yakubu, who said all is set for the much-anticipated poll, promised his colleagues and other officials of the commission that their welfare and condition of service will be given priority during the election.

He is also confident that they will rise to the occasion.

“I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again,” he said.

“The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate. The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources.”

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The INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Festus Okoye, has said that as long as a registered voter comes to the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm they will be allowed to vote regardless of how long the process takes.

Okoye said this statement on Friday while explaining what steps the umpire has put in place to ensure a smooth run for the Edo governorship election which is set to hold Saturday.

“No registered voter who comes to the Polling Unit Tomorrow will be disenfranchised,” the INEC boss said.

This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the COVID-19 era and it is also the first time that a peace accord is being signed ahead of a governorship election.

“We are looking forward to tomorrow with cautious optimism,” Okoye said, adding: “we are confident that our message relating to voting in safety has permeated the nooks and crannies of Edo State.

According to him, the umpire has created sufficient awareness for the COVID-19 guidelines in the weeks leading up the election and anyone who does otherwise, will not be allowed to participate.

“We are confident that so many of the voters are already aware of the fact that if they come to the Polling Unit without a face mask or covering, they will not be allowed to vote.

“We have emphasized this over and over. “The first thing our voters are going to do is to apply the infrared thermometers that have been supplied to every Polling Unit on election day. Every voter will undergo that particular procedure of the use of infrared thermometers to check people’s temperature,” he said.

The exercise is expected to start for 8:30 am and according to Okoye, enough time will be given to allow everyone who arrives at the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm to vote.
“Polling will start at 8:30 in the morning. Why we have said this, is to enable our officials prepare well.

“Prior to this particular period, we didn’t have to pack hand sanitizers, methylated spirits and we didn’t have to pack facemasks for our officials but now we are going to be doing this and giving them some level of refresher course.

“Any voter who is on the outer queue by 2:30 pm will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 5:00 pm but any voter who comes to the polling unit after 2:30 pm will not be allowed into the queue but those who are already there will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 6:00 pm,”.

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Edo Elections: PDP Protests Siege on Governors By Security Agents

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) protests the clampdown on its governors by security agents in Benin City, Edo state capital, ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.

The national leadership of the party, in a press conference addressed by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, alerted the nation and the international community of the security siege on PDP governors in their lodging in Benin City.

The party expressed shock that security agents were detailed to surround the lodging of our governors to harass and intimidate them, whereas APC governors, including the governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, his Imo state counterpart, Hope Uzodimma as well as the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, are left free in the comfort of the residence of the sacked national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole in GRA, Benin City.

Our party considers this siege as provocative and completely unacceptable as there cannot be two sets of laws for the citizens of our nation. In as much as the APC governors are given the liberty to stay in Benin City, our governors must not be harassed or stampeded to leave the state.

At any rate, we are confident that our governors will not allow themselves to be stampeded.

The PDP calls on all stakeholders in the Edo governorship election, particularly the security agencies, to work towards a peaceful, credible, transparent, free and fair election on Saturday.

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