Jega, Utomi Unveil Forum For Electoral Integrity
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and a foremost political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Friday unveiled a non-partisan coalition for electoral integrity.
The coalition under the aegis of the National Consultative Front (NCF) is designed to galvanise support for legislation for the electronic transfer of election results.
The unveiling took place at the 61st Independence National Political Summit organised by the NCF in Abuja.
During the event, Jega said a legal framework was an irrevocable part of any credible election to take place.
According to him, the integrity or otherwise of any electoral process begins with the laws guiding it.
He said : “To ensure that the preference of Nigerians is brought to bear on the process, apart from the issue of electronic transmission, there are other issues.
“Some of which include candidate selection, improvements in the electoral process, accountability on the part of election managers and accountability on the part of the people to vote and protect their votes.
“An election that must have integrity must have a framework that has integrity, that is why we are calling on members of the National Assembly to pass this legislation.
“If you have a weak electoral framework then you have weakened INEC. INEC should also be made accountable.”
Also, Utomi urged Nigerians to go beyond holding talk shops and put their money where their mouth is.
He explained that every Nigerian can start by contributing as little as N5 to provide funding for the new initiative in order to take back their politics from the clutches of money bags.
Earlier, a former member of the National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, expressed reservations about the current National Assembly and opposition to the electronic transfer of election results.
He explained that the argument by some legislators that the National Communications Commission lacks the capacity to make the electronic transfer of results was suspect.
READ ALSO: Utomi, Jega , Others Form Third Force Ahead Of 2023 Elections
Sani said: “As at last count, there are 112 million active bank accounts in Nigeria. We have more bank accounts in Nigeria than registered voters. If this is not a problem for our banking system, it shouldn’t be a problem for our elections.”
Making his contribution via zoom, a United States of America-based Nigerian, Precious Ehikimi, said, “We are in a very precarious situation. The Supreme Court says electronic transmission is a mere guideline but INEC says we can do it.
“It rests with the National Assembly which will not do it. We need to occupy the streets, occupy the National Assembly (to make them do it).
“The school fees of our children will be determined by the people we elect. INEC is saying they will do it because they know the position of the court. The only thing that can free Nigeria is when Nigerians can freely elect their leaders, we need to take action now.”
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BREAKING: Obi Speaks On Joining Tinubu’s Unity Government
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has given insight into what his position will be if he is invited to join Bola Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
Tinubu, the president-elect and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been taken to court by Obi over the outcome of the February 25 election.
The camp of the APC candidate had hinted that the former Lagos Governor would form an all-inclusive government to carry all his opponents along in his government.
While featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Obi was asked what he would do if he was called upon to be a member of Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
In his response, Obi said he was still challenging the process of the election and the declaration.
According to him, the process of the election should be put right first before anyone could talk of the Government of National Unity.
“The first thing I want to see is that the process is right. The process through which you achieve anything is far more fundamental than what you do thereafter. Let us go back first, I am challenging the process and the declaration.
“Until we get it right, then we can talk about a government of national unity. Otherwise, we would go and sit down and say that those who stopped a train and kidnapped people can call us to discuss peace when they have people in captivity. Until things are done rightly, we will be encouraging what we don’t need to encourage,” he said.
When he was asked whether or not he would accept the outcome if it is not in his favour, Obi said he would be shocked if the court upholds Tinubu’s election.
His words: “Issues about the election will be sorted out in court. I will be shocked if this country goes on with that situation. It will then stand that it is a corporate criminalised country. We can’t allow it. We need to start unbundling this criminality.
“When people were talking about structure, it is this fraud and criminality that we witnessed that they were talking about, and we want to unbundle it for the sake of our children.”
The former Anambra State governor said he believes the judiciary would do the right thing.
LP Chieftain Flays Return Of 1999 PDP as Ibori, Henchmen Seek Political Relevance In Delta APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State is gradually taking on the colouration of 1999 PDP with all of former Governor James Ibori’s ‘boys’ now leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in droves and finding a new home in APC to swell its ranks ahead of the guber elections on Saturday, March 18, 2023, according to a chieftain of Labour Party (LP), Chief Delly Ajufo.
Ajufo described the development as “a gathering of vultures to consume the soul of Delta State,” noting that Ibori, who has suffered a pariah status under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s 8-year administration, now has a chance to reclaim his “godfather or grand commander” position over his godson, guber candidate of APC and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
According to him, Ibori looks to resume his godfather position as Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, a position that slipped out of his hands since his stint in the UK prison.
Ajufo said Deltans needed to be wary of Senator Omo-Agege’s governorship bid, and see it as a backdoor for Ibori to re-take control of the management of the state’s resources in a manner likely to be worse than the 1999 – 2007 era when he was governor. He warned that Deltans could not have forgotten how Ibori raped the fortunes of the state in his eight-year administration by corruptly enriching himself and his cronies (including Sen. Omo-Agege) that earned him a UK prison sentence. He described the APC as PDP-2 trying to upstage Okowa’s PDP-1 from power, saying Deltans should reward both of them with electoral defeat since both parties have run the country (APC – 8 years) and Delta State (PDP – 24 years) badly.
He argued that none of them deserves to occupy the seat of power in Asaba come May 29, 2023.
The Labour Party chieftain also said the gathering of Ibori’s political family under APC is dark and ominous for the state, and urged the electorate to reject both ‘PDAPC’ at the polls on Saturday, and vote for Labour Party (LP) as the only political breath of fresh air that Delta people need now.
“We must sever our links with the people from both parties that have collectively ruined the fortunes of this oil-rich state by running it aground since 1999,” he noted.
Ajulo added that Ibori trying to reclaim his faded godfather position, using APC as his new launch pad was tantamount to vultures gathering to feast on the carcass of a dying animal, a situation that Deltans should not wait to see but to halt it in its tracks outright.
“This is a gathering of vultures and it does not augur well for our beloved Delta State,” said Ajufo.
“Ibori wants to use the APC backdoor to reclaim his faded godfather status since all his allies are dumping PDP in droves and moving over to APC. The signs are not good for Deltans who have been pauperised for so many years in spite of the huge oil wealth that comes to the state monthly. I urge Deltans to see through the evil that’s about to befall them if they elect Ovie Omo-Agege. Of course, PDP is dead, going by February 25, 2023 election. There is no need to bother about it. Deltans will bury whatever remains of it in the guber elections.
“The nightmare we must all now resist is APC taking over. Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was SSG and Commissioner under Ibori’s eight-year reign of wasted resources in Delta from 1999 – 2007. A vote for Omo-Agege is a vote for the return of Ibori into Delta’s mainstream, with his baggage of corruption and mismanagement of state resources. Delta is tired of another Tinubu returning to pillage the coffers of the state for his selfish interests. We cannot afford to ‘carry last’ on this matter.”
The chief urged Deltans to do for Labour Party what they did on February 25 when they massively voted for Labour Party and Peter Obi, saying they should do the same for the party’s governorship candidate, Deacon Ken Pela and all House of Assembly candidates. He called on all women to look the way of Labour Party’s candidate, Dcn Ken Pela for the governorship election, adding, “We also call on women to rally their own fellow woman, an educationist and erudite scholar, Prof. Nwabogo-Umukoro, to represent and champion women’s causes in government at the highest decision-making level.”
Fayose Quits PDP, Reveals How Ayu Led Atiku To Golgotha
A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has disclosed how the national chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party ( PDP) Iyorchia Ayu led the presidential candidate of the party Atiku Abubakar to what he called Golgotha.
Fayose spoke while announcing his resignation from the main opposition party, PDP.
Fayose announced his resignation from the PDP yesterday while appearing as a guest on a programme on ARISE News. Fayose served as Governor of Ekiti State from 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2015 on PDP’s ticket.
However, his decision to quit the party appears to be connected with perceived irreconcilable differences in the PDP, which according to him, has fractured the party.
He said: “Let me say this, from today(yesterday) I stay off PDP. In party politics there are certain facts you must be able to speak. I am 62 and I can’t, at this age, begin lying. When something is wrong with your family, confess.”
The former governor, who claimed to have fought for the interest of the party over the years, blamed the loss of the PDP in the presidential election on the leadership of the party.
According to him, PDP was already fractured before the election, with so many aggrieved aspirants whom were allegedly swindled by the leadership of the party on one hand and the inability of the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to reach an agreement with the G-5 governors.
Fayose traced the problem of the PDP to the North-west zonal congress which he said was rigged against Rabiu Kwankwaso in favour of Aminu Tambuwal that led to the latter leaving theparty.
“I warned Atiku that the problem will consume PDP. I told him there was danger ahead,” he said, adding that the G-5 governors demanded that Atiku make a official announcement to run for only one term and hand over to any member in the south but “Ayu was leading Atiku to Golgotha.”
Fayose warned Labour Party’s candidate and second runner up in the presidential polls, Peter Obi to “run away from the PDP” as the current ovation for the opposition has nothing to do with the PDP.
According to him, if the PDP had believed in Obi, they should have given him the party’s ticket.
He saluted Obi’s courage for being able to defeat the likes of Tinubu in Lagos, describing him as “A phenomenon” and “the man of the moment”, stressing that Obi’s victory in Lagos has proved that things are no longer the same.
He argued that for Obi to win in Lagos shows the process was so transparent and as such the outcome of the election should be accepted by all.
Fayose attributed the credibility of the polls to the use of the BVAS which, according to him, is responsible for a realistic number of voters compared to the past when over a million votes were churned out from some states in the Northern part of the country.
He, however, faulted some of the protesters, calling for the cancellation of the polls, describing them as paid agents of the PDP.
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