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Secondus, Wike canvass free, fair election

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The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure a free, fair and credible governorship election on September 19 in Edo State.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike also made as similar call, vowing that the PDP would not succumb to intimidation at the polls.

Secondus spoke yesterday at the Abuja national secretariat of the PDP while inaugurating the party’s National Campaign Council for the Edo election.

“We call on President Buhari to rise to the challenge of leadership confronting our dear country and defend its unity by conducting a free, fair and credible election in Edo State,” Secondus said.

Cautioning the government against using the military and other security agencies to subvert the will of the voters, he urged respect for electoral rules.

Secondus said:

“By conducting free and fair election in Edo, the President will not only be stabilising the country politically, but will also be averting an impending doom that can make the doomsday prediction about Nigeria’s disintegration come true, God forbid.”

The national chairman noted that the growing tension in Edo State would be needless if the All Progressives Congress (APC) was willing and equipped to face the electorate.

“But where it’s obvious that they have nothing to offer to get the votes of Nigerians, they are resorting to devious means to undermine the democratic process.

“At this juncture, let me warn that APC may be standing on the excitement of its previously rigged elections in Osun, Ekiti, Kano and Kogi states and may think that their victories at the tribunals legitimitise their underhand acts. But they forget to consider the anger of God and that of the people against evildoers who refuse to change.”

Secondus enjoined Nigerians and lovers of democracy, particularly in Edo State, to rise and defend their votes.

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Wike said the PDP will win the election, noting that the party lost Edo in 2016 because it fielded Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as its candidate.

Wike said:

“In 2016, we never knew the candidate (Ize-Iyamu) had a lot of problems. That was why the people of Edo State listened to Oshiomhole at that time. You can see a party that has no principle.”

Wike slammed his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, for threatening to put him (the Rivers governor) in isolation before the election. Wike is the chairman of the PDP campaign council for Edo State governorship election.

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Saying that he did not take Governor Ganduje’s threat lightly, Wike expressed fears that the Edo election could be tampered with, going by Ganduje’s statements.

He said:

“But let us understand the statement made by Ganduje; don’t look at it ordinarily. What Ganduje said is that they have concluded with security agencies to make sure that the people of Edo State do not protect and defend their votes; that they will not allow them to come out and before you know it, they will announce the result.

“Nobody can intimidate us in this election. Yesterday, I was told and today I read on the pages of newspapers that Governor Ganduje said he was going to isolate me until the election is over. If Nigeria is supposed to be a country, who is supposed to be isolated?

“A man who pockets dollars in his babanriga from contractors is not isolated and you say that I should be isolated. Where are we heading to?

“Let me tell you why they made Ganduje the chairman of the campaign council of the APC. It’s because of the dollars they saw. But for dollars, Ganduje could not have been made the chairman of the campaign council.

“But what he doesn’t understand is that we from the Niger Delta, we shall chop his dollars and we will chop him into coma. So Ganduje, your dollar will not work in Edo State, we have integrity in our party.”

He cautioned the security agencies against any attempt to rig the Edo election, saying the people have already resolved to vote for the PDP.

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A number of past and serving governors, party leaders and National Assembly members were present at the inauguration of the 93-member campaign council.

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INEC fixes date to conduct all pending by-elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has fixed Oct. 31 for the conduct of the 12 pending constituencies by-elections in the country.

The commission disclosed this in a statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that the commission would have long conducted the by-elections but for the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since then, the commission has developed a policy on the conduct of elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It also revised its regulations and guidelines and engaged with health authorities and stakeholders on conducting elections in an environment that guarantees both credibility and public safety.

“The commission has also successfully conducted the bye-election to fill the vacancy in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency and is going ahead with the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, respectively,” he said.

The pending by-elections are Bayelsa Central Senatorial District; Bayelsa West Senatorial District; Nganzai and Bayo Constituencies in Borno State; Cross River North Senatorial District; Obudu Constituency in Cross River.

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Others are Imo North Senatorial District; Lagos East Senatorial District; Kosofe II Constituency in Lagos State; Plateau South Senatorial District; Bakura Constituency in Zamfara; and Ibaji Constituency in Kogi.

Okoye said that the decision was taken after reviewing preparations for Edo and Ondo states’ governorship elections as well as all outstanding by-elections.

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According to him, the by-elections in the federal and state legislative houses were due to resignation or death of members in eight states of the federation.

“By the harmonized timetable, the commission will give the notice of election on Aug. 17 while political parties will conduct their primaries to nominate candidates between Aug. 24 and Sept. 8.

“Submission of forms and personal particulars of candidates will commence on Sept. 9 and close at 6p.m. on Sept. 13,” he said.

Okoye added that the timetable and schedule of activities for the by-elections had been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.

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He added that INEC’s attention had also been drawn to the existence of vacancies in Isi-Uzo Constituency in Enugu State and Bakori Constituency in Katsina State.

Okoye, however, said vacancies had not been formally declared by the Speakers of the affected state assemblies.

He implored concerned stakeholders, particularly political parties, to take note of the timelines in the schedule and strictly adhere to them.

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APC praise Odigie-Oyegun as he clocks 81

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John Odigie-Oyegun,

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said its former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, is a voice of reason in national polity and a strong advocate of progressive ideals and mantra of the party.

The party eulogised him in a congratulatory message yesterday in Abuja by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, on today’s 81st birthday of the former Edo State governor.

The statement reads:

“The APC celebrates elder statesman and our former National Chairman, H. E. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on the occasion of his 81st birthday on August 12, 2020.

“Our great party rejoices with Chief Odigie-Oyegun and his family, friends and associates for the good health, exemplary life and good tidings the Almighty God has granted him.

“Chief Odigie-Oyegun is undoubtedly a man of many positive firsts. The country’s youngest Permanent Secretary, first elected governor of Edo State, first National Chairman of the APC, who led us as then opposition party to presidential victory in 2015 after defeating the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Indeed, there is much to celebrate as Chief Odigie-Oyegun clocks another year in an illustrious life’s journey.

“A gentleman with uncommon humility, our great party attests that Chief Odigie-Oyegun remains a voice of reason in the national polity and a strong advocate the APC’s progressive ideals and mantra.

“In the ongoing drive by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Committee to reposition the party and ensure peace and unity across party ranks, the party continues to count on the support of Chief Odigie-Oyegun and other party leaders to achieve this goal.

“The party prays for Chief Odigie-Oyegun a long, healthy and fulfilled years in service to the party and country.”

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Fani-Kayode threatens to dump PDP, vows party will split

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Let them go! we may not have their resources but we have God- Fani Kayode reacts to US, France, Israel evacuating citizens

A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has threatened to leave the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, if the party structure in Cross River State is taken away from Governor Ben Ayade.

Fani-Kayode said it would be a big mistake for the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, to come to such a conclusion.

According to him, if the party forces Governor Ayade out of its fold, he ((Kayode) will have no option than to leave too.

There is a running battle over who becomes the next Chairman of the PDP in Cross Rivers.

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Ayade and some party chieftains, including former governor, deputy governor, National Assembly members, state lawmakers and former elected and appointed party officers are at daggers drawn over who controls the structures ahead of 2023.

While Ayade is backing Alphonsus Eba (a.k.a Okadigbo) for the state chairmanship of PDP, the other aggrieved groups are totally behind the former PDP national publicity secretary and former Commissioner, Venatius Nkem, in the chairmanship race of the party.

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And reacting to the situation, Fani-Kayode tweeted:

“It would be a big mistake for the NWC of the @OfficialPDPNig to take the party structures in his state away from Ben Ayaade, Gov. of Cross Rivers state, and hand them over to anyone else. If this is done and Ayaade leaves the party be rest assured that many of us will leave with him.

“You cannot and must not undermine a sitting Governor or attempt to humiliate him in his own state and before his people. Some of those that are advocating and behind this nonsense would never allow it to happen in their own states. A word is enough for the wise.

“No-one, no matter how big or powerful, should think that they own the @OfficialPDPNig. If there is any attempt to undermine Ayade it will spark off a crisis in the party that will split it right down the middle and the consequences will not be limited to Cross Rivers state.”

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