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Edo 2020: I want INEC to conduct free, fair elections — Gov. Obaseki

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ASUU strike has worsened drug abuse – Gov. Obaseki

…PDP says Edo people will determine their governor with PVCs***

… As Ologbondiyan says Edo people will resist attempt to tamper with scheduled date of election***

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the Edo governorship election, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, on Sunday expressed the belief that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), would conduct free, fair and credible elections in Edo.

Obaseki stated this when he played host to the Senate Committee on (INEC), on a courtesy visit to the government house in Benin.

According to him, as a government, we have made all the resources at our disposal available to all agencies of government that are going to handle the conduct of the election whether INEC or the security agencies.

“We want to believe that INEC, the umpire, will conduct a free, fair and credible election.

“However, the perception with the public and our people is that the election will be manipulated.

“This has been the rhetoric of the opposition.

“And that it doesn’t matter what happens in the polling units, because of what they term federal might, and that federal might may be deployed to the state.

“Fortunately, also that perception has been reinforced by the caliber of people who are leading the campaign on the side.

Obaseki made references to Kano, Imo and Kogi and the alleged roles their governors were playing in Edo.

                                                                     Source: CHANNELS

 

“The governor of Imo came into the city with a full convoy of military men two days ago.

“So, with those kind of people around it doesn’t help the confidence.

“There is a massive fear that Edo election will be manipulated.

Obaseki also alluded to some survey reports that showed the respondent’s belief that they will not get fair outcomes.

Also read:  Edo governorship election: Police, Navy, DSS embark on combined ‘Show of Force’

“INEC has to convince the people even when they had made all preparations and put all the process in place.

“The issue of perception must be addressed. INEC must come out very clearly to prove that they are truly independent.

“Even when we are the opposition party at the national level, it does not mean that we will not get justice.

“The other area of concern to us is the issue of security.

“We had the opportunity to visit Inspector General of Police after our ward-to-ward rally and also to present a report to him.

“There were about 12 attacks on us the PDP.

“I appealed to him to make sure that people are apprehended and prosecuted, but if these people are not being prosecuted they may just do same during the election,” he said.

In his remarks, the Chairman Senate Committee on INEC, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, said that the visit was part of its oversight function to see how prepared INEC had been before the election.

“We went round the INEC headquarters in the state, and we plan to visit one of its local government offices to see how prepared they are.

“They told us that all the necessary materials are 90 per cent ready and they are expecting more of these materials before Thursday.

“We, the members of the committee, have seen and from the record they gave us I believe that they are ready for the elections.

“We have some of the areas that are riverine that they have already deployed boats that will be used in such areas.

“We are concerned about the issue of security, we expect there should not be any form of violence during the election.

“The governor here is the chief security officer in the sate, but here they are bringing more security officers into the state to assist him in maintaining peace.

“We will not tolerate any violence in the state, we will not tolerate any trouble because we believe that if there is any violence INEC will postpone the election which will not be good for us as Nigerians.

“Therefore, I am appealing to government and the people and all political parties to make sure that the election is trouble-free, violence-free so that people can go and exercise their rights to vote for whom they want. 

In a related development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Edo chapter on Sunday said the people of the state would determine who governs them for the next four years with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

Mr Chris Nehikhare, Chairman, Publicity and Media Committee, Edo governorship campaign council, said this during the party’s weekly media briefing to appraise the party’s campaign.

Nehikhare said that Edo was a proud race that could not be colonised by anybody or coerced into going against their convictions.

He noted that in view of this, Edo people would resist every form of intimidation on Sept. 19, as well any other template other than their PVCs to determine the governor.

He stressed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), must therefore abide by their oath of office and be neutral, transparent, fair and honest.

Nehikhare appreciated PDP supporters across the state as well as residents of the state for their support, requests and demands.

He noted that the requests were the government responsibilities, and that the Obaseki-led administration was up to the task.

He maintained that although the party had taken the election very seriously it was, however, not a do or die for the PDP candidate.

He appealed to the people of the state not to indulge in violence, and the party’s supporters not to retaliate any act of violence.

Nehikhare said it was shameful that some persons were propagating the template of vote-buying and rigging that should best be left to the relics of Nigeria’s political history.

He noted, “We are sure that the resort to this despicable tactic is because the party is certain of defeat at the poll and is only trying to save face.

“The people have been unanimous in their support for the candidate of the PDP and no matter the underhand tactic the will of the people must surely prevail.”

In the meantime, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Sunday said that the people of Edo state would resist any attempt by anybody to tamper with the state governorship election scheduled for Sept. 19.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja alleged that there were plots by certain interests to use frivolous lawsuits to scuttle the scheduled date.

“The PDP revealed that the said interests masquerading through certain political groups were seeking to blackmail the judiciary and stampede the court to violate the clear provisions of the Electoral Act and illegally halt the Edo election.

“Nigerians are already aware that section 87(10) (11) of the Electoral Act, clearly prohibits the courts from restraining the conduct of party primaries and general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“This section of the Electoral Act has put paid to situations in the past, where groups or individuals who have no real stake in elections were used as canon fodders by selfish individuals and groups to manipulate the courts and frustrate electoral process against the interest of the people,’’ Ologbondiyan said.

He said that the PDP stood with the people of Edo state in condemning the plot to derail the democratic order, scuttle the governorship election and create an emergency situation in the state.

“Our party, therefore, cautions such unpatriotic persons to note that the people of Edo state are ready to go to the poll on Sept. 19 and will vehemently resist any attempt by anybody to tamper with the schedule of election or attempt a forceful takeover of their state.’’

Ologbondiyan also alleged that the PDP had been informed of the drafting of soldiers to the residence of an APC chieftain in GRA Benin and Iyamho, ahead of the state election.

He urged President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw the alleged deployed troops to their constitutional duty posts in the interest of Nigeria.

The PDP spokesman also condemned the fire incidence at INEC head office in Akure, Ondo state.

He said that the destruction of INEC sensitive equipment was to frustrate the conduct of credible, free and fair governorship election in the state.

Ologbondiyan alleged that it was not by accident that the fire occurred in no other place than the facility where sensitive materials, such as card readers were stored.

He recalled that the fire incident lead to the destruction of no fewer than 5,141 card readers meant for the election.

He called on security agents to prevent any further attacks on other INEC facilities in the state to cripple the commission and impede the conduct of a credible poll.

Ologbondiyan said that the PDP would intensely monitor the process of replacement of the burnt card readers by INEC.

This according to him is to ensure that those behind any plan do not succeed in their plots to manipulate the programming of the new card readers to suit their plots of compromising sensitive data in the existing voters’ register in Ondo State.

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Onslaught: Troops Eliminate 105 Terrorists, Arrest 140 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Exercise Enduring Peace recording successes in FCT – Army

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria operating in different theatres of operation eliminated 105 terrorists and apprehended 140 others in the last one week.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also arrested 26 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 86 kidnapped hostages in the South-South region.

He added that the troops recovered 208 assorted weapons and 5,332 assorted ammunition comprising 95 AK47 rifles, one assault rifle, 39 locally fabricated guns, 34 Dane guns, 14 pump action guns, among others.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised seven terrorists and arrested four terrorists as well as recovered 20 AK47 rifles, two fabricated guns and 12 dane guns.

He added that 353 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 209 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 34 live cartridges, 62 mobile phones and the sum of N100,000, among others, were also recovered.

According to him, 224 ISWAP/JAS terrorists fighters and their families comprising 23 adult males, 126 adult females and 87 children surrendered to troops in the Bama and Konduga areas of Borno within the week.

Army raid kidnappers, rescue C/River commissioner; Police neutralise 3 suspected gunmen, recover 50 arms

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 35 insurgents, arrested 65 violent extremists and 15 rescued kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops also recovered various caches of arms and ammunition within different theatres of operation.

In the North Central, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operations Hadarin Daji and Whirl Punch, neutralised 57 insurgents, arrested five and rescued 66 kidnapped hostages during the week.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe destroyed 18 illegal refining sites and recovered 657,300 litres of stolen crude oil, 23,750 litres of illegally refined AGO and 1,050 litres of DPK.

He added that the troops discovered and destroyed nine dugout pits, 19 boats and 21 storage tanks, 35 cooking ovens, nine vehicles, nine mobile phones, and three pump machines.

According to him, troops rescued three kidnapped hostages and apprehended 50 people suspected of oil theft and other violent extremists/insurgents as well as recovered 20 weapons and 243 ammunition, amongst other items.

In the South East, Buba said the troops of Operation UDO KA neutralised six insurgents, arrested five and recovered various types of arms and ammunition.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action,” he said.

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Food Prices: Tinubu Directs Immediate Release Of Grains, To Foreclose Crisis

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A little respite in the nation’s food crisis is expected as President Bola Tinubu has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain including maize, millet, and garri. The gesture is to douse hunger and prevent looming protests.

Some Nigerians however told the Maritime First that the directive was a lot coming late; and the metric tonnes being expected, too little, for over a hundred million people. Some cynics bluntly blame the President for his inability to tame insurgency and terrorism, which apriori, prevented the farmers from going to work.

ALSO READ:… Nigerians Now Eat Junks as High Food Prices Put Balanced Diet Out Of Reach- Survey

Some states have begun dress rehearsal for the real crisis protests, over galloping food prices. A bag of rice which sold for N62,000 Tuesday, last week in Bodija Market in Ibadan, emerged N69,000 Wednesday morning. less than 24 hours later, throwing calculation to the winds.

The Maritime First can freely indicate that widows, single mothers, and those from polygamous-induced large families are presently, not finding it too easy to cope.

In the meantime,, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has also committed to immediately release over 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the public. The body however failed to indicate why they waited till the Presidential directive, before making their commitment.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this after the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention on Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister also failed to indicate measures to be adopted, to ensure that middlemen do not hijack and mess up Tinubu’s honest effort.

He said that these were immediate measures taken by the Federal Government to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high prices of food in the market.

“These will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigeria in the next couple of weeks. One month, six weeks, perhaps up to two months.

“Now the whole idea of this is to crush the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.

“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility of, if it becomes absolutely necessary and as an interim measure, to also import some of these commodities immediately so that these commodities can be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security would further invest massively in the farming process to boost production and ensure the country’s food potential is fully exploited.

He said that government would appeal to persons or groups to stop hoarding these products in order to maximise profit at the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.

“Government of course is also looking at all those who are hoarding these commodities because actually, these commodities are available in the stores of many traders.

“Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these commodities available in the interest of our nation.

“There is no point when the whole country is looking for this food you are locking up these products where you make more money and then Nigerians suffer. Of course, the government will not fold its arms.

“If they don’t respond by bringing these commodities to the market, the government will take appropriate measures to ensure that these products are made available to Nigerians.”

The Minister said that the government would also take measures to ensure that food continues to be accessible and affordable to Nigerians.

“We ask that Nigerians need to be more patriotic; be our brother’s keepers. Sell this thing, of course at a margin but at a margin that is not also killing to Nigerians.

“This is an emergency. Every nation faces emergency situations. This is our own time to face these challenges.

“The President has directed that whatever it will take, food will be available to Nigerians at a cost that is also very reasonable,” he said.

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President Tinubu Returns After Private Visit To France

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President Bola Tinubu has returned to the country after a two-week private visit to France.

The President arrived in Abuja aboard the presidential flight at about 9:0 pm on Tuesday.

He was received by top government officials led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume.

The president left Abuja on Jan. 24 for his first break since assumption of office on May 29, 2023

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