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Breaking! 2019 presidential, NASS elections hold Feb 16

2019: INEC fixes Presidential, NASS elections for Feb.16

Posted By Vincent Ikuomola,

The 2019 Presidential election is only 423 days away, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Friday.

According to the time table released by the commission, Nigerians are expected to elect the president on February 16, 2019.

Also scheduled for the same day is the election into the Senate and the House of Representatives.

News of the election dates was broken by INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at an induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory will follow on 2nd March 2019,” Yakubu said.

The implementation of the 2019 Election Project Plan is to begin on January 1, 2018.

He said an additional 3,630,529 voters were registered in the recent continuous registration.

“This is an important development in our efforts to ensure that electoral services offered to Nigerians are better, more frequent and easier to access than ever before,” he said.

This exercise will continue until 60 days to the 2019 General Elections, as a provided by the Electoral act.

The INEC Chairman said the commission was “working assiduously to ensure 100% performance of the Card Readers. That is why there is an ongoing pilot to upgrade it by enhancing its features including new superior processors.”

He added: “At the same time, the Commission is exploring ways of improving the integrity of the collation and results transmission processes and has begun to deploy the electronic result collation and transmission platform on a pilot basis.

“Our ultimate aim, learning from the pilot and consequential improvement of the supporting infrastructure, is to deploy the system for all forthcoming off-season elections and, ultimately, the 2019 General Elections. The Commission is working to ensure that this goal is achieved.”

The commission said it has conducted 175 elections across the country in the last two years.

These include 79 Court-ordered re-run elections, 73 end of tenure elections and 23 bye-elections.

Yakubu said that even where electoral tribunals overturned two of the elections conducted, the commission was never asked to do a fresh election.

He also noted that to the credit of the commission, outcomes of most recent elections were not challenged in court.
Source: The Nation


Buhari not thinking of 2019 elections yet

PMB Not Thinking Of 2019 At The Moment – Lai Moh’d

By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah and Tunde Oguntola, Abuja –

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari is ardently concerned about delivering on his key campaign promises than re-contesting the presidency in 2019.

The issue of whether Buhari will run for the 2019 presidency had been a subject of debate in the public, with political analysts insisting that his body language is in the affirmative, especially now that the president’s support groups are drumming support for him.

But speaking during a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of LEADERSHIP Group Ltd in Abuja yesterday, the minister dispelled insinuations about the president warming up for 2019.

He maintained that Buhari is more focused on fulfilling his campaign promises of fighting corruption, dealing with insecurity as well as boosting the nation’s economy and would not want to be distracted with politics.

“Mr President is much more concerned about delivering the campaign promises of the current administration, and don’t want to be distracted. As government, our major concern is delivering the promises of the current administration. At the end of the day what we will campaign with is our achievements’’, Mohammed said.

He also reiterated that recovering looted funds from looters and cleansing the country from corruption, among others remains one of the cardinal points of the current administration.

The minister noted that unlike in previous administrations when recovered loot were being diverted, all recovered stolen funds in the current administration will be accounted for.

He recalled that President Buhari had on Wednesday inaugurated a three -member committee to audit all assets recovered by relevant government agencies.

The committee, he noted, is mandated to audit all remittances into the accounts in which the recovered assets were lodged up till April 2017 to ensure that reports submitted to him were accurate.

The minister said cash recovered in the current administration to date include N78, 325,354,631.82 (seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo).

He also listed varying sums in other currencies to include $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros), all totaling about N144.9 billion.

He added that apart from this, recoveries under interim forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period include N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo).

Other amounts in other currencies are $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents); 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents), summing up to about N3.3 trillion.

On the whistleblower who went to court over his unpaid commission for the funds recovered from a mansion in Ikoyi, the minister recalled that when he made the announcement of the compensation for whistleblowers, he made it clear that whistle blowers will get between 5 to 2.5 per cent of the recovered funds.

He said the higher the quantum of money recovered, the lower the percentage, just as he explained that anything below a billion naira will get five per cent, while recovered loot above one billion will get less than five per cent.

Besides, he noted that fears of revealing the identity of whistleblowers have now being allayed, as the original whistleblower of the Ikoyigate has headed to court to seek redress.

On the recent alleged feud between operational staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Directorate of State Security (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) over the abrupt halting of EFCC’s attempt to arrest former directors-general of DSS, Ita Ekpeyong and NIA, Ayodele Oke, the minister said it is not unusual for government agencies to clash over operational issues.

“When the chips are down the president will surely ensure that things are done right. It is not abnormal to have issues or conflict among government agencies’’, he said.

On the president’s directive that state governors should pay all staff salaries before Christmas, the minister stressed the need for state governors to heed to the president’s call.

“The federal government has intervened four times and I hope they (governors) will heed to the president’s request this time to pay up all workers owed their remunerations’’, he said.

On efforts by the federal government to ensure that the nation is free from all forms of insecurity and activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, he said the current administration is proud to say peace and security are steadily restoring in the Northeast, which was in the grip of the terrorists when Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.

‘’We have put Boko Haram on the run. Occasionally, they attack soft targets, but even that is being tackled with intelligence-driven measures. We are tackling insecurity comprehensively, whether it is Farmers/Herders clash, cattle rustling or kidnapping. Only this morning, the federal government launched the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’’, he noted.

Mohammed said the current administration is also revamping the nation’s economy as can be seen in the various economic indices.

He continued: “The Naira is largely stable; we have raised foreign reserves from N23 billion to N35 billion within a year and we have pulled the nation out of recession. Our economy is on a growth trajectory once again, after contracting for five consecutive quarters. We have been named among the top 10 reforming economies in the world.

“We have leapfrogged 24 places in the ease of doing business rankings. We are taming inflation, which has fallen for eight consecutive months. We are building infrastructure and we are creating jobs. Also, I am glad to inform you that capital importation into Nigeria in Q3 2017 recorded a substantial increase, compared to the past few quarters, as the economy continued to recover from recession.

“The total capital imported in the third quarter was recorded at $4,145.1 million, more than double the inflow in the second quarter of this year, representing an increased value of 147.5% on a year-on-year basis’’.

On his part, the Chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, described Lai Mohammed as an astute politician and one of the most serious ministers in the current administration.

The media mogul however assured the minister of adequate support and coverage by the organization.

We Must Address Root Causes Of Violent Extremism- FG

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed yesterday that his administration will address the root causes of violent extremism and hate in the country.

He spoke yesterday at the launch of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Expressing the determination and commitment of his government to tackle violent extremism, Buhari recalled that Nigeria was before now, a free, peaceful and enterprising nation.

He called on state and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism at the grassroots.

The president said he had directed all ministries, departments and agencies to institutionalise mainstream measures to address the root causes of violent extremism, while implementing programmes that would build the resilience of Nigerians to recover from the consequences of violence.

His words: “We must now, while working together, focus on rooting out hate, misrepresentation of religion and violence in our society.

“I also call on states and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism sat the grassroots”.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Babagana Mongonu (rtd), said Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that has developed the policy framework, which the country showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He recalled that in 2015, President Buhari directed the review of Nigeria’s countering violent extremism programme.

According to The NSA, the review showed the need for a complementary soft approach to the kinetic effort in dealing with terrorism based on principles of whole-of-government and whole-of-the society approach.

He said, “We also recognised that in line with our focus on transparency, accountability and the rule of law, we needed to build a policy framework that ensures the institutionalisation and mainstreaming on countering violent extremism across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.

“While we were taking this step, the then United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Banki Moon in December of 2015, issued a call to member states to develop national plans to prevent violent extremism.

“It is in this context that l wish to thank His Excellency, Mr. President for endorsing the presidential directive on implementing Nigeria’s framework and national action plan for preventing and countering violent terrorism on the 24th or August, 2017.

“I wish also to inform Mr. President that Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that have developed the policy framework which we showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly held in September 2017 in New York”.

PDP’s Crisis Resurrects, Party Set For Parallel Conventions

PDP’s Crisis Resurrects, Party Set For Parallel Conventions

By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja

The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the race for national chairmanship of the party is taking a turn for the worse as threats of parallel national conventions have been muted in some quarters of the party.

Party sources told LEADERSHIP yesterday that some party stakeholders seem to be displeased with what they consider moves to impose a candidate as national chairman at the December 9 national convention.

The sources noted that the aggrieved party members are miffed over moves by some governors to force a candidate on the party, much like they did with the recently sacked national chairman of the party, Sen Ali Modu Sheriff.

Our correspondent further learnt that some serving governors who are also not comfortable with the last outing that almost crumbled the party are ready to give tacit support for the protest against the convention.

One of the party sources who did not want to be named in print said, “You must have been seeing the uproar that is building over unbridled moves to impose a candidate on the party, regardless of the protests by many stakeholders. Aspirants for chairmanship of the party have filed petitions.

“Many angry party members are waiting to see what the party leadership will do over this matter. We can’t allow persons who plunged the party into crisis barely two years ago repeat the same thing this time around”.

Another source who confided in LEADERSHIP said, “Already, some party leaders are muting the option of holding a parallel convention just like the one which forced the removal of Sheriff”.

Some members of the party had in May last year conducted a parallel national convention in Abuja in protest against moves by some governors to impose Sheriff on the party at another convention in Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP yesterday said it is not aware that chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC), Sen Ahmed Makarfi, has a presidential ambition in 2019.

The national caretaker committee of the party also denied taking nominations from any aspirant to serve as members in committees for ward congress as alleged by some other aspirants.

National publicity secretary of the PDP , Prince Dayo Adeyeye, while briefing the press yesterday denied that the national caretaker committee took nominations from any aspirant to serve as members in committees for ward congress.

He also opened up on why it lost the recent Anambra State governorship election, declaring that their own members who voted for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) sabotaged them.

Two chairmanship aspirants, former minister of education Prof Tunde Adeniran and former deputy national chairman of PDP, Chief Bode George, had accused the Makarfi-led PDP of bias against former acting national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

Similarly, the Senator representing Ogun East senatorial district, Buruji Kashamu, also accused Makarfi of being bias in the conduct of the forthcoming congress because of his 2019 presidential ambition.

Reacting to the alleged presidential ambition of Makarfi, Adeyeye said, “As for the issue of whether Senator Makarfi has presidential ambition or not, we are not aware of that. The national caretaker committee is not aware of that and we have not opened the floodgate for people to begin to aspire for position of the president. INEC has not even released timetable.

“I don’t know if they have released any timetable for the presidential election. We in the PDP are concerned now about putting in place a new leadership for the party, which we hope, will come up or emerge latest by December 9 or 10. That is our preoccupation at the national caretaker committee”.

He further denied that the membership of committees supervising the congresses in respective states were nominations from aspirants.

Noting that the committee was constituted from states and other organs of the party, he said, “We wish to remind all that it’s the state chapters that actually conduct congresses. The committees only compile the results and attend to appeals after which they file their reports to the party headquarters.

“When all reports are filed by the committees, we shall summon the states chairmen to come with their copies and reconfirm the results at a date to be fixed and all bonafide interest groups will be welcomed to witness it. This is to reassure everybody that validly elected delegates list is not tampered with.

“Commenting specifically on the issues raised by Chief Bode George through his Director-General and Prof. Tunde Adeniran, we wish to state that Chief Bode George assertions were wild and not specific”.

Adeyeye continued: “However, Prof. Adeniran’s letter specifically mentioned 5 names out of about 216 names. While assuring him that we shall pay special attention to the places they were posted to, we did not and could not interview the members to know their linings before calling on them to serve. It is most likely that some of the remaining 211 members are aligned to some other persons seeking elective offices, including himself and Chief Bode George.

“It pains us that on the one hand Chief Bode George, who is fully aware of the pains we are still going through in Lagos in order to fairly and equitably carry everybody on board to the extent that we are been accused by others as siding with him, is the same person accusing us of impunity.

“On the preparations for the convention, we have asked chairmanship aspirants to make input so that they have their eyes and ears in each committee. It was only Chief Bode George that did not attend the meeting we had with the aspirants”.

The PDP spokesman added that the party’s leadership cannot enforce the peace accord entered into by the national chairmanship aspirants.

He however expressed frustration over the party’s inability to further sanction Sen Kashamu over the recent spate of remarks he has made against the leadership of the party.

Dispelling insinuations that Kashamu is bigger than the party, Adeyeye wondered how the lawmaker secured a court injunction stopping the party from disciplining him.

He said, “Kashamu is not bigger than the party. The party will take a decision at the appropriate time on sen Kashamu. It may take long but justice will be done”.

On why they lost Anambra State, the PDP spokesman lamented: “We do agree that the Anambra issue is a self-inflicted injury which has been with the state since after the 2003 general elections.

“Irrespective of the perfections or imperfections of our party primaries and the outcome, PDP Anambrarians had developed conflicting mindsets. We did our best to bring all under one caretaker committee hoping that things will work out well.

“Here, we need to remind PDP members and Nigerians that it was Sen. Kashamu and those he was bankrolling that conducted parallel congresses in Edo and Ondo States. They did not stop there but took us up to Supreme Court and in the end openly endorsed and campaigned for our opponents. Their actions made us to lose the elections.

I Am Not Makarfi’s Candidate – Secondus

A PDP chairmanship aspirant, Prince Uche Secondus, yesterday said he is not the candidate of the chairman of the party’s national caretaker committee, Sen Ahmed Makarfi.

This comes as former Minister of Women Affairs and a contender for deputy national chairman, Hajia Inna Ciroma, warned that the party cannot afford to get it wrong at the forthcoming national convention.

She added that the North rejected PDP in 2015 because it abandoned zoning principle, noting however that the party has learnt its lesson ahead of 2019.

Secondus who spoke at the party national secretariat in Abuja, after submitting his nomination form, also stressed that at no time was the national chairmanship position micro-zoned to South West geo-political zone by stakeholders from the zone.

He noted that the position was zoned to the 17 states in the South, same way presidential ticket of the PDP for 2019 polls was zoned to the 19 states in the North, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He further clarified that he didn’t bother to contest for national chairman at the botched national convention last year in Port Harcourt because party leaders from the South micro-zoned it to the Southwest.

Reacting to claims that he enjoys Makarfi’s support, Secondus, who was a former deputy national chairman of the party, said “Makarfi is not paving way for my emergence. There is no truth to that statement. I have been going round quietly and canvassing for votes. I have not held any meeting with Makarfi and he has not endorsed me. There was no time that the office (national chairmanship) was micro zoned.

“The office of national chairman is zoned to 17 Southern states of the federation and president zoned to 19 Northern states. Let’s not dwell on misinterpretation; aspirants know this unless they want to be mischievous,” he added.

 Source : Leadership 

Anambra governorship election: How the battle was won and lost

Anambra guber: How the battle was won and lost

Governor Willie Obiano

By Temitope Ogunbanke

Anambra State governor and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Chief Willie Obiano, yesterday emerged the winner of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state to return for a second term in office. Obiano won the election with 234,071 votes to defeat his closet rivals, Hon. Tony Nwoye of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Mr. Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who had 98,753 and 70,293 votes respectively. According to the results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Obiano won with wide margin in all the 21 local government areas of the state.

The APGA candidate won conveniently in his local government, Anambra East. He got 20,510 votes to defeat APC and PDP candidate, who had 5,528 and 1,132 votes respectively. In Dunukofia, the local government of Nwoye’s political godfather, Prince Arthur Eze, Obiano polled 8,575 votes against Nwoye’s 7,016 and Obaze’s 1,530 votes.

He also won conveniently in Idemili North, the local government of the United Progressive Party (UPP) governorship candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka, as well as the Minister for Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, polling 12,180 against APC, UPP, and PDP, which had 4,632, 2,847 and 2,767 votes respectively.

In Anaocha, the local government of his predecessor, Peter Obi, Obiano had 11,237 to defect the PDP and APC, which scored 6,654 and 5,297 votes respectively. APGA also secured 6,615 votes in Ogbaru, the local government of the PDP candidate, Obaze to defeat PDP and APC, which scored 4,416 and 3,415 votes in the council. In Njikoka, Obiano won with 16,944 votes against Nwoye’s 5,756 and Obaze’s 3,477. In Awka South, APGA candidate won with 18,957 votes against APC’s 6,167 and PDP’s 5,354.

The governor had 7,162 votes in Awka North to also beat Nwoye and Obaze, who had 3,727 and 3,347 votes respectively. Obiano had his way in Ayamelum Local Government Area by scoring 14,593 to beat Nwoye and Obaze who scored 5,412 and 2,323 votes. In Orumba South, he scored 8,125 to defeat APC and PDP candidates, who had 3,808 and 2,412 votes. Obiano scored 8,595 against Nwoye’s 5,412 and Obaze’s 3,856 in Ekwusigo Local Government Area. In Aguata, he won with 13,167 votes, while APC and PDP candidates had 5,807 and 4,073 votes.

Obiano also recorded 10,138 votes in Onitsha North council against Obaze’s 4,143 and Nwoye’s 3,808. In Onitsha South, the governor scored 7,082 against PDP’s 3,423 and APC’s 2,012 votes. In Idemili South, Obiano got 5,742 votes against Nwoye’s 4,063 and Obaze’s 2,629. He also won in Oyi with 11,840 votes, while the APC and PDP candidates had 5,085 and 1,296 votes respectively.

Obiano also won in Orumba North with 8,766 votes while Obaze and Nwoye recorded 3,865 and 3,551 votes. Obiano had his way in Ihiala Local Government Area by winning conveniently with 14,379 votes against Nwoye and Obaze, who got 7,894 and 4,706 votes respectively. He won in Nnewi South with 10,465 votes against PDP’s 3,255 and APC, which had 2,765 votes. The governor also won in Nnewi North, securing 10,845 votes against Obaze and Nwoye, who had 4,157 and 3,616 votes respectively. He had 8,152 votes in Anambra West Local Government Area to also beat the APC and PDP candidates, who scored 4,261 and 1,578 votes in the council.
Source: New Telegraph

Anambra governorship poll: PDP’s candidate loses LG to Obiano

PDP’s candidate loses LG to Obiano

By Tonye Bakare

The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State Oseloka Obaze has lost his local government to the incumbent governor of the state and All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA) Willie Obiano.

Obiano took Ogbaru Local Government with a total of 6, 615 while Obaze secured 4,416 votes to pull ahead of All Progressives Congress’s Tony Nwoye who had 3. 415 votes.

Obiano has also won ten other local governments so far announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with 122,688 votes while both Nwoye and Obaze trail with 55,961 and 40,767 votes respectively.

Osita Chidoka of UPP is in a distant fourth position with a paltry 2, 746 votes.
Source: The Guardian 

Vote and die, IPOB threatens Anambra voters

Vote and die, IPOB threatens Anambra residents

Adelani Adepegba, Kunle Falayi, Olaleye Aluko and Tony Okafor

One week to the governorship election in Anambra State, the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra has threatened voters with death if they vote. They also vowed to disrupt the election.

The members of the group marched around some streets in Onitsha, Anambra State on Friday, vowing a lockdown on the day of the election, which is scheduled to hold on Saturday, November 18, 2017.

Members of the group can be heard threatening voters in videos of the march circulating online.

They said, ““If you vote you will die. Don’t go out, stay in your house. If you vote on November 18, you will die. We are not running around for the zoo.

“There will be no election. We will not participate, we will not vote. Nothing concerns us with any election. We are formidable.

“We are in Onitsha to tell the Federal Government to produce Kanu. They should release all the Biafrans in Nigerian prisons.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents on the telephone, IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, noted that the purpose of the demonstration in Onitsha was to show the world that “the threat of bullet” would not stop the group from realising its aim of having Biafra Republic.

He said Igbo people living outside the South-East should contact their families at home to boycott all future Nigerian elections, including the governorship election.

Powerful said, “Today in Onitsha, we broke the python Buratai, Ohanaeze, Obiano and Igbo governors brought to our land. Anybody doubting the resolve of IPOB under the supreme command of Nnamdi Kanu is mistaken.

“We will put Anambra State on lockdown on November 18. This is a taste of what is to come. Nigeria should be prepared.

“It is also very critical to inform every Biafran, be you IPOB family member, businessman, farmer, artisan, driver, teacher, doctor, motorcycle/tricycle union, civil servant, trader, market leader, National Union of Road Transport Workers, National Association of Road Transport Owners, fisherman, market men and women, including politicians who believe in freedom and liberty of a free independent State of Biafra, to boycott the Anambra State election.”

According to him, the election boycott will give their agitation a global momentum needed to make world leaders accept a peaceful break-up of Nigeria.

“They will be morally bound to consider a possible date for Biafra’s referendum for independence without delay. A vote in Anambra elections will mean electing into office the same people who, over the years, have been responsible for the death, pain, misery, agony and suffering of our people. We would have only succeeded in renewing our suffering for another four years,” Powerful said.

Steer clear of Anambra, police warn IPOB

But the Public Relations Officer, Anambra State Police Command, Nkeiruka Nwode, said the IPOB march was of no effect, as the state police command had concluded arrangements for effective policing of the state during the election. She asked residents of the state to go out en masse to exercise their franchise on the day of the election.

Also, the Force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, warned the IPOB members to steer clear of the state during and after the forthcoming governorship election, in their own interest, saying the police would deal with IPOB members “the way an outlawed group should be dealt with.”

He said the police were fully on the ground to ensure a hitch-free and violence-free poll, adding that battle-ready operatives including police special forces, anti-riot personnel, and counter-terror squad had been instructed to deal with troublemakers.

“They (IPOB) should steer clear of Anambra because we have deployed enough personnel in the state; any miscreant who misbehaves would have himself to blame as he would be dealt with. IPOB should not test our will or resolve,” Moshood cautioned.

Army places troops on alert

Meanwhile, the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, which covers the South-East region, has placed its troops on the alert to forestall any security breakdown in the Anambra governorship election.

Although the spokesperson for the division and Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said he could not comment on security measures for the elections, a top source from the division said the troops were on red alert.

“Talk to the Commissioner of Police,” Musa simply said when one of our correspondents called to ask for his response.

But, the source said, “The troops are always on ground to prevent any breakdown of law and order during the election. As you know, the police are the first line of security and we cannot usurp their role.

“On October 14, we ended the 30-day Operation Python Dance II in the South-East, including Anambra State, and the exercise was to sharpen the skills of troops for occasions such as this election. So, you cannot rule out our involvement.

“We have mastered the areas and we are familiar with the hideouts of the troublemakers. All these preparations will count for the troops on Saturday. But the army cannot deploy its troops unless the security situation degenerates, which is not anyone’s wish.”

We’ll deploy 5,000 men –NSCDC

Also, the spokesperson for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Emma Okeh, said the agency would deploy 5,000 personnel, including special forces and regular officers. He cautioned against disruption of the poll by any group of persons, stressing that the corps would not spare anyone caught violating the law.

He said about 1,000 intelligence and surveillance operatives were on the ground in the state, adding that regular personnel would move in soon with sniffer dogs.

“I urge the electorate to come out en masse and vote for the candidates of their choice. It is their election, it is their state and whoever they elect as governor would determine their future,” Okeh said.

No inconclusive election in Anambra, Senate tells INEC

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday asked the commission to make sure that the election was conclusive, saying the credibility of the election would serve as a litmus test for the 2019 general elections.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, stated this when he led other committee members, including Senators Mao Ohuabunwa and Aliu Sabi, to a meeting with INEC officials and political parties at the INEC headquarters in Awka, the state capital.

“I want the leadership of INEC to ensure that Anambra governorship election is conclusive, free, fair and credible,” Nazif said.

He urged INEC to ensure a level playing ground for all the political parties contesting the poll, adding that the committee members were in the state to find out the challenges of the commission, with the aim of putting heads together towards proffering solutions.

Speaking, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, noted that the state was second in the country in terms of the collection of permanent voter’s cards, stressing that the collection of the cards in the area would end on November 15.

He said the commission would deploy one card reader per voting point and that there would be field technical officers who would handle any challenges arising from the use of the card readers.

Orji also reiterated the commitment of the commission to conduct a free, fair, credible and acceptable election to the people of the state.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.

Atiku disowns video of 2019 presidential ambition

Atiku disowns video of 2019 presidential ambition

Buhari and Atiku

Former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday distanced himself from an online video in which he declared his interest to take a shot at the presidency in the 2019 general elections.

Reacting to the video, which is now in circulation, Abubakar said it was the handiwork of his detractors keen on doing mischief, saying those behind it used a video clip extracted from his 2011 presidential declaration to create a false impression that he formally declared for the 2019 presidential election.

He advised those involved in such “laughable and unintelligent propaganda of lies and intentional mischief to find something useful to do with their time, instead of using his name to achieve their malicious political objectives.”

Describing those behind the fake video clip “as a group of incompetent and bumbling political novices who cannot see the loopholes in their own stories,” the former vice president advised the Nigerian press to be wary of uncritically lapping up fake news materials from groups that do not care about their own credibility.

He explained: “While fake news merchants don’t bother about ethics and their reputation, members of the press have more to lose if they take stories from such disreputable groups without verification.”

The Waziri Adamawa added that spreading false stories about any individual politician is not within the protected boundaries of free speech and urged the traditional media to take the first step by not helping fake news merchants to promote their agenda.

Source: The Guardian