Kogi bye-election: stakeholders express fear over vote buying
Participants at a stakeholders meeting organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State in Lokoja have expressed fear over possibke repeat of the vote buying that characterised the recent Ekiti Governorship election in next month’s Lokoja/Kotonkarfe constituency by-election.
The death of the deputy majority leader in the House of representative Buba Jibrin sometimes in March 2018, necessitated a rerun election in the Lokoja/Kotokarfe federal constituency.
Many of the participants who spoke kept expressing the fear that the desperation with which the Ekiti election was won and lost may be brought to bear in the Lokoja/Kogi Bye election billed for August 11, 2018.
Some who spoke accussed the security agents as the pawn in the hands of the unscrupulous politicians that use them to buy the votes in remote villages.
They therefore pleaded with the resident electoral Commissioner to rise up to the ocasion by ensuring the polling units are not made porous for such activities.
The representative of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Lokoja Catholic Diocese, Simon Enejo pleaded with INEC to ensure the secret ballot system is reinforced to ensure cubicles are built at the polling units to conceal the voters from unsuspecting vote buyers who may want to ensure the voters actually voted for their candidate before payment.
He said vote buying has been with the Nigerian electorates but not to the extent of its being carried out at the polling units during voting proper as experienced during the Ekiti polls.
According to him, the poverty and hunger in the land makes it almost impossible for prospective voters to reject any gratification for votes however, he said if they are protected with the real secret ballot then they can vote with their conscience even after collecting the money.
The resident electoral Commissioner Professor James Apam said they have learnt from the Ekiti election and that they would try as much as possible to shielf the voters from possible vote buyers who may be hanging around to see whether the voter actually voted for their preffered candidates.
He said if there are other shops where votes are being sold and bought voters should not go to those shops even as he charged security operatives to go and close those shops.
“We learn everyday and as much as possible we would not allow that to happen around us.”
The deputy commissioner of police Monday Kuryas said vote buying is a security matter and therefore it should be everybody’s concern.
He said the onus rests on the voters to say no to vote buying as the giver and the taker are equally cupable.
In a related development, the assistant parish priest of the church of the archangels Gadumo Lokoja Rev. Fr Micheal last Sunday Osunayi challenged Nigerians to guide against selling their votes to unscrupulous politicians who will deceive them with some thousands of Naira only to win election and turn them in to paupers.
Speaking during his sermon on Sunday on the role of good Shepherd which is self sacrifice he said David as a good shepherd always made sure he tended the sheep by making sure none is devoured by lions.
He was speaking against the backdrop of the recent Governorship election in Ekiti was characterised by vote buying and intimidation of voters.
“What we are experiencing in Nigeria in terms of election and vote buying is a very dangerous trend that must be halted before the 2019 election if not the gains we have made so far will be eroded as international observers will loose confidence in the outcome of the election.
“We talk about good leadership yet the same leaders use money to entice voters who are mostly poor masses that will still bear the brunt of their I’ll conceived agenda.”
He said because the people are helpless due to poverty they dont know what to do but collect the money to solve their immediate needs only to continue with a worse outcome in leadership
“When they do that they will be contributing to the failure of the leadership in the country,
I am advising them to let their vote count as when they collect the money they should remember that the money will not last for that day and they have four years of bad leadership to contend with.
He admonished them to learn to work for their future rather than the immediate need by rejecting any inducement that will compel them to sell their rights (votes) because they know who is the best and capable hands to lead them
“Let them be bold to say they don’t need their money to vote for whom they believe can deliver the goods.
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Nasarawa PDP tackles Gov Sule over alleged poor performance
From Abel Daniel, Lafia
The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP Nasarawa State chapter has described Governor Abdullahi Sule as the weakest and non performing governor since creation of the state.
The state chairman of the PDP, chief Francis Orogu while addressing journalists in his office yesterday described Governor Sule as an impotent Governor who is doing nothing to develop the state since his emergence as Governor.
“Governor Sule is doing nothing to develop the state as far as I am concern. He is like a man married to a woman but cannot impregnate the woman”, Orogu lashed out at Sule.
Orogu alleged that Governor Sule has not started and completed any physical project since he took the oath of office.
Orogu however regretted that the media who are suppose to amplify the voice of the opposition are silent.
The chairman appealed to citizens to remain patient and prayerful despite the hardship and misrule of the ruling party.
INEC boss pledges to supervise direct primary if Buhari signs bill
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, said the electoral body would ensure implementation of direct primary as passed by the National Assembly as soon as it is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The INEC boss, at an interactive meeting with senior jdetaiists in Lagos, said he had the political will to implement any law that would advance democracy in Nigeria.
By this declaration, the electoral body might have put to rest speculations by opponents of direct primary that INEC may not have the capacity to supervise direct mode of electing party’s candidates if it becomes law.
Yakubu said: “Since it emerged that the direct primary clause was included in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, many of you have been asking the commission for its position. But the issue is not about our position, but the process. In the exercise of its constitutional power, the National Assembly has passed the bill into law awaiting the President’s assent. Once the process is concluded, the bill becomes law and every person and authority in Nigeria, including the commission, must obey.
“The commission will give expeditious consideration to the law, including the detailed regulations and guidelines for its implementation where necessary.”
When asked by The Guardian if the electoral body has the capacity to supervise direct primary if the President assents the bill, he said: “I won’t say more than what I have said. My point is very clear.”
Also speaking on the just-concluded Anambra State governorship election, Yakubu said despite the fact that the election was conducted under difficult circumstances, the commission was able to conduct credible and fair election, noting that few technical glitches experienced during the poll would be corrected before 2023 general elections.
He blamed the technical issues on some trained ad-hoc members of staff that absconded few hours to the election and difficulties posed by commercial transport owners hired to carry technical officers to some areas.
“I want to reassure Nigerians that we have learnt vital lessons from the Anambra pilot. There will be remarkable improvement in the next major election, which is the end-of-tenure area council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) scheduled to hold on February 12, 2022,” he said.
Culled from the Guadian
2023: Jigawa delegates urge Bello to run for President
An envoy from Jigawa made up of political and religious stakeholders have urged the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to throw his heart in the ring for the 2023 Presidential election.
The group of Jigawa leaders, who visited Bello on Saturday, based their call on what they described as above board performance, as they listed areas of security, inclusive governance, youth and women empowerment and infrastructure as his selling points
Bello, while responding commended the delegation promising not to take the call to serve for granted.
He told them that many Nigerians have continued to call on him to run for the Presidency and he would not betray them or breach the trust they have reposed in him.
“I am so happy to receive a delegation from Jigawa State. This delegation is not just an ordinary delegation, these are delegations who have always been with President Muhammadu Buhari ever since he ventured into politics till date. These delegations make things happen in Jigawa State.”
“They have come to lend their voices to very many Nigerians who have been calling me to run for the Presidency in 2023, and by the grace of God, I will not disappoint them.”
Governor Bello also said that the fight against insecurity would not succeed without carrying the grassroots along.
He stated that he was able to successfully fight against security challenges because he was more connected to the grassroots than most politicians in Nigeria.
According to him, the grassroots have assisted him in curbing insecurity and achieving the present level of development being recorded in Kogi State.
He said that like President Muhammadu Buhari, he was more at home with the people.
“I wouldn’t have succeeded in Kogi State in curbing the insecurity, unity, togetherness, and modest achievement without the grassroots.
“The difference between me and some leaders is that I am connected to the grassroots. The grassroots is where politics is and any administration that is not connected to the grassroots has no business with governance.
“We have learnt from President Buhari, that you must be connected to the grassroots, with the grassroots supporting me and all of us and supporting President Buhari to succeed, we can only come on board to build on his (Buhari’s) successes.”
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