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You created problems we’re dealing with, not Oshiomhole, APC replies Oyegun

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday hit back at the immediate past National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, saying is penchant for condoning indiscipline and the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party rules created the problems which the Oshiomhole led leadership is currently grappling with.

Reacting to a statement credited to the former Chairman accusing Oshiomhole of lacking the capacity to lead a political party, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu said that the resultant effect was widespread indiscipline across party ranks, lack of respect for party supremacy as witnessed in the 8th National Assembly leadership and its overall inability to align the varying interests of the legacy parties that came together to form the APC in 2014.

Onilu said that under the Oyegun leadership of the party, members merely saw the APC as a vehicle for acquiring political offices, stressing that the members who are not comfortable with the reforms going on in the party are free to join the PDP and other opposition parties.

“Let me agree that the NWC that led the party into the 2015 elections and continued till June 2018 did nothing different from what you would find in PDP. It was a period the party was seen as a mere vehicle to attain political office. The system accommodated impunity as certain members appeared to be superior to the party. Their interests were far more important than the collective interests of the APC, even when most times such interests are at variance with the ideals the party stand for.

“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC called the bluff of the party by imposing themselves on the National Assembly as leaders contrary to the position of the party. Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened?

“It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy cost APC over that period. The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable. We all saw the consequences on governance as the National assembly practically held our government to ransom.

“The impunity, which President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly described as lack of patriotism, constituted an unfortunate hindrance to the smooth running of government.

“The leadership under Chief Oyegun, with due respect to him, condoned all sorts of acts of indiscipline from certain members. It is not surprising that the current National Working Committee inherited such a huge mess, where the party was struggling to differentiate itself from the delinquent PDP.

“We all know that PDP was practically dead following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back not because the party has changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.

“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later. We should not be ashamed to say that our party’s leadership under Chief Oyegun lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules” Issa-Onilu said.

Speaking on the defeat suffered by the party in some states, Onilu, said there were peculiar issues in the respective states lost by the party that accounted for how the APC lost them rather than the voters preferring the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He said “if Oyo, Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa and Zamfara States were taken one by one, it will be discovered that there were peculiar issues in the respective states that accounted for how the APC lost them rather than the voters preferring the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“I would put the painful outcomes broadly under two reasons. One is indiscipline on the part of some members of our party in most of the states. The second reason is that the party leadership did not do much between 2015 and 2018 to move the party from being an amalgam of different political parties to become a truly blended progressive political party”, he said.

The APC spokesman said the next three years are very important as the APC under the leadership of the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will continue to strengthen compliance with the rules, build support structures for democracy, ensures discipline across board, and deliver good governance for the benefits of all Nigerians.

“We expect members who have different agenda to join their kind in PDP. We will welcome with open arms, those who share our progressive ideals, so that by 2022, we will have a party whose members are truly progressives.”

On the letter written by Senator Lawal Shuaibu to the National Chairman, Onilu said what the Deputy National Chairman succeeded in doing was to portray members of the NWC as a bunch of cowards, adding that he was only looking for a scapegoat to pass on the blame following undesired results in his home Zamfara State.

He said “when he Senator Lawal Shuaibu alleged that the National Chairman is running the party like a sole administrator, does that mean the rest of us are incompetent? I doubt if he would have many members of the NWC supporting him in this.

“The ability to face up to the challenges and to take responsibility for mistakes are important qualities of a leader. If the NWC had taken any action that did not produce the desired result, it would be plain cowardice to look for a scapegoat or pass on the blame to another person.

“Since the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC came to office, we have been doing our best to institutionalise the best ideals of progressive politics. We understand that we must bring everyone under the fold of the party, where all of us would be subject to our party’s rules and conventions.

“We understand that impunity can provide temporary advantage and even successes. But ultimately, those successes would be short-lived. PDP is a living example of the inherent calamity of impunity. The PDP era brought calamity to the country and ultimately led to the loss of power. What I read from that letter is a call to continue along that trend. With due respect, that is not what APC stands for.” Issa-Onilu stated.

Responding to the APC allegations that he condoned indiscipline, Public Affairs Adviser to Oyegun, Ray Morphy dismissed the claims saying Oyegun ran he party without blemish until Oshiomhole came and destroyed everything, running the most fraudulent primaries in the history of world politics.
Morphy said the “Oshiomole Executive is about a year in office, why does he find it hard to function without looking for excuses and scape goats?

“It is common knowledge that Oshiomole ran the most fraudulent primaries in the history of politics in Nigeria. Recall that INEC said so when it adjudged Oshiomole primaries as the worst so far. The courts are saying the same thing today by upturning many APC primaries for being undemocratic and less than fair. Was it Oyegun who ran the primaries?

“Oyegun, an accomplished technocrat, a super permanent secretary, a former Governor, a man without blemish working with others cobbled together creditably the legacy parties, and held them together with tact, diplomacy and finesse until Oshiomole came along. To his credit, Oyegun did not lose one member of the party.

“As an elder, as a leader, Chief John Odigie Oyegun will not join issues with those who apparently are casting about looking for excuses for their inability to manage a ruling party successfully.

“Indeed it is absurd to lose states with all the capacity at the disposal of the current Chair. Party members know that APC witnessed its golden years under the chairmanship of Oyegun and no one can change that bit of political history.

“By the way, the vote increase to Mr President is a reflection of the confidence the people repose in the President despite the fumbles of the Oshiomole sole administratorship of the party.

“It will be recalled that Chief John Odigie Oyegun just received The Zik award for Political Leadership alongside John Mahama, the former President of Ghana. In the award citation, he was extolled for exemplary political leadership of APC. Posterity has already given its verdict, Oyegun led the party to resounding victory.

“Oshiomole should not destroy what others had laboured to build. If he needs tutorial on how to run a party, he should ask for it civilly. John Oyegun will be more than happy to help, after all, no man would like to see his son scatter what he had laboured to build.”

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Kogi election: Gov Bello dedicates victory to mother, people

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Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has dedicated his victory in last Saturday’s governorship election to his mother and the entire people of the state.

The governor who spoke shortly after INEC officially announced him as duly returned after he beat his main rival, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, also expressed gratitude to all those who made the victory possible for his party, the All Progressives Congress.

Governor Bello paid tribute to those who lost their lives saying that their killers would not be spared the wrath of the law of the land.

“While we sympathise with those who lost their lives during the election, I assure you that everyone who had a hand in their killings will not be spared, they will be made to face the full wrath of the law of the land,” he said.

Bello said that his mother played a vital role in his quest for the position and deserved to be so honoured.

The governor assured the people that he will never go back on his campaign promises adding that the victory will inspire him and his deputy, Edward Onoja, to do more in taking the state to the next level of development as promised during the electioneering campaign.

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Armed men invade INEC office in Kogi community, chase officials, observers into hiding

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The atmosphere was tense Saturday night at about 10 p.m. in Ugwolawo community, Ofu local government of Kogi State, as thugs who claimed to be from Zamfara State invaded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office.

Collation of results was ongoing when the armed men arrived.

For more than an hour, the armed men shot sporadically into the air and are believed to have engaged a police team that arrived later in a shootout.

When they shot sporadically, they shouted on top of their voice for residents of the area to remain indoors and not come out to continue the collation exercise at the INEC office.

Our reporter, among other observers who were caught up in the fracas, had to run into a house and lie down for over an hour.

Residents and election observers were still in hiding at the time of this report.

Efforts to contact the INEC spokesperson and the police spokesperson in Kogi State were unsuccessful as both did not respond to calls and text messages.

Premium Times earlier reported how thugs allegedly loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) invaded Dekina community in Dekina local government of Kogi State in an attempt to hijack results sheets for the Dekina Ward.

The PDP collation agent for the ward, Obaka James, said the results were already collated and being signed by agents, when gunshot sounds rented the air.

Mr Obaka said; “We know the attackers, they had already operated in the morning and their leader was arrested. But we don’t know how he was released again. Now you can see the problems he is causing. But they don’t know that I have collated result with me.”

He said across eight other local governments in the senatorial districts, collation had been done in most wards.”So, why is ours different? Every time, there must be crisis claiming lives in this place. Is election war?”

Earlier, at about 1:13 a.m. on Saturday, thugs had invaded the registration centre for ward 2 in the local government, which is located at Odu Ofomu community and attacked the electoral officers.

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INEC speaks on violence in Bayelsa, Kogi elections

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The electoral commission, INEC has condemned cases of thuggery in the ongoing gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

The commission said this in a statement signed by the INEC Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the commission and the political parties to promote peaceful elections, including several engagements with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence.

“The commission unequivocally condemns this. We are still receiving, collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.”

Read INEC’s full statement

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

PLOT 436. ZAMBEZI CRESCENT. MAITAMA DISTRICT PM B. 0184 GARKI -ABUJA.

PRESS RELEASE

Voting has now closed in all polling units in the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States. The Commission deployed staff and materials in 4,352 polling units in the two States for the Govemorship elections, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election and Bras 1 State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa State. In addition, National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and other staff were deployed to monitor and supervise the elections. These field officers are regularly submitting real-time reports to the Commission on developments in the field.

The Commission is carefully monitoring the processes. Reports from accredited observers and our officials in the field indicate that most voters who were willing to vote had the opportunity to do so. The Commission delivered materials to its two State ofhces in good time and made adequate preparations for the movement of staff and materials to the various voting locations., Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the Commission and the s pf the political parties to promote peaceful elections, including several enga ents’ with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence. which the Commission unequivocally condemns We are still receiving. collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.

Results will be collated at Registration Areas, Local Government Areas and State levels. Staff of the Commission are ready to receive these results and stakeholders are advised to keep to their commitments to ensure peaceful conduct. All electoral officials are reminded of the oath of neutrality they subscribed to.

Finally, the Commission calls on the general public to remain calm, while assuring voters in the two States of the resolve of the Commission to ensure that the elections are concluded fairly and credibly.

Festus Okoye Esq. National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee

November 16th, 2019

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