By Soni Daniel, Clifford Ndujihe, Joseph Erunke, Umar Yusuf & David Odama
•Court order cannot stop election – REC
•FG, APC plotting to use military to win Sokoto – PDP
•PDP, APGA reject gov results as hoodlums destroy property in Nasarawa
NINE days to the supplementary governorship election in six states, a Yola High Court, yesterday, stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from conducting the make-up poll in Adamawa, with the electoral umpire saying the court could not halt the exercise.
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Mahmood Yakubu addresses the audience on February 25, 2019 in Abuja during the presidential elections announcement. – Muhammadu Buhari got off to a winning start in his bid for re-election as Nigeria’s president, as the first result was announced today from weekend polls. The 76-year-old former military ruler won 219,231 votes in the southwestern state of Ekiti, while his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar, got 154,032, the electoral commission announced. (Photo AFP)
This happened on a day that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, alleged that the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress, APC, were plotting to use the military to manipulate the March supplementary governorship election in Sokoto. The party also boasted that it will win the re-run polls inspite of APC’s antics.
Apart from Adamawa and Sokoto, supplementary governorship polls will also be held in Bauchi, Plateau, Benue and Kano.
Indeed, the outcome of the March 9 governorship election is still raising dust in the polity. The opposition PDP and All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, rejected the outcome of the poll in Nasarawa as hoodlums numbering over 200, yesterday, went on rampage in Karu Local Council and vandalized property estimated at millions of Naira. They were protesting against last Saturday’s governorship election results released by INEC in the state.
Also, the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, alleged that the Presidency and the ruling APC were plotting to instigate violence in Taraba State in order to declare a state of emergency.
We won’t respond to infantile statements – APC
Contacted on the allegations of plotting to rig the polls with the military or instigate crisis in Taraba so as declare emergency rule in the state because it lost the governorship election, APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said elections were over and the party would not respond to infantile statements.
‘’I don’t respond to PDP’s infantile statement any more. Elections are over and we have very important things to focus on,’’ he said.
Court stops supplementary poll in Adamawa
The Yola High Court handed down an order restraining the INEC from conducting the supplementary election in Adamawa, following a request to that effect by Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy, MRDD.
Counsel to the Adamawa chapter of MRDD, Mr Mustafa Shaba, filed the request over the absence of the party’s logo on the ballot paper used for the March 9 inconclusive election.
Delivering the ruling after going through the two affidavits in support of the motion including that of extreme urgency, Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri, held that the request has merit.
His words: “After careful perusal of the a annexture of the MRDD 1 to 5 alongside written address of counsel urging me to grant the application, I am of the view that the application is pregnant with merit and must be granted. I hereby grant the following order.
“The defendant here in, the INEC is restrained whether by themselves, their executives, servants, privies, representative nominees or any other person or persons from proceeding with the supplementary election in respect of Adamawa State Governorship pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
The Judge ruled that all the processes relating to the suit be served to Adamawa INEC in Yola in compliance with Order 6 of the Court.
The case was adjourned to March 21 for hearing of motion for the interlocutory injunction.
Reacting to the ruling, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barrister Kassim Gaidam, said the commission is not aware of any court case banning it from conducting the supplementary election.
However, let me tell you that court order will not stop any election”
He cited Section 87 sub section 10 of the Electoral Act to buttress his point.
Nothing in this section shall empower the court to stop the holding of primary or general election or the process thereof under this act pending the determination of a suit,” the REC said.
PDP vows to resist electoral fraud in Sokoto
Accusing the Federal Government and the APC of plotting to use the military and other security agents to win the Sokoto State governorship election, the PDP vowed to resist any form of electoral fraud.
Sokoto State Governor and PDP Candidate, Aminu Tambuwal is leading his APC challenger with over 4,000 votes, which makes the supplementary election very decisive.
Chairman of the PDP in Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, in a statement said that any attempt by the government and its security agents to manipulate the process would lead to serious consequences.
The party said it was only asking the government to allow a level playing field for the two candidates in the poll and boasted that its candidate, Governor Tambuwal, would win given the electorate’s preference for him.
The statement said: “The People’s Democratic Party in Sokoto State is aware of plans by the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress at national level to massively deploy security agents and military troops to the State during the supplementary elections for governorship and State Assembly, scheduled for March 23, 2019.
‘’This is clearly with a view to militarising the polls in order to intimidate and terrify our people into submission and deny them the freedom and composure to elect candidates of their choice, the same game plan of the APC for the two subsequent elections.
“Our party is also in the know that prominent politicians from other states, especially those neighbouring Sokoto State, will be assigned into Sokoto to try to influence the vote in the areas affected by the election reschedule.
“Our party wishes to caution all the parties and individuals involved in the scheme against an infringement on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of our people to their choice.
‘’The PDP also draws the attention of these schemers to the inherent dangers of their plans to the safety of our people, their lives and property.
“Sokoto is a peaceful state, our people are peace loving and law abiding and therefore do not deserve this unwarranted interference and harassment that greatly threatens our lives, at the altar of crude quest for power.
“Sokoto State, as the originator of all its neighbours, deserves respect and the goodwill of its sisters, rather than be turned into a battle zone for unscrupulous politicians, who wish to rule our people against their will.
“Our people have expressed their will in the unjustifiably disrupted electoral process and will not be cowed into changing their choice by any force, however massive, contriving or strong.
“It should be noted however, that the APC, the institutions of the Federal Government and individuals involved in this plot will be held responsible for the possible negative consequences of their desperate designs for Sokoto State.
PDP, APGA reject result and hoodlums go on rampage in Nasarawa
Nasarawa State Chairman of the PDP, Francis Orogu, said his party rejected the result of the governorship poll because the election was a total fraud and has fallen short of the minimum standard ofa credible election anywhere in the world.
“The results were fabricated in connivance with INEC and the security agencies. Even when our agents complained about the irregularities and cancellation of results during the collation, nobody listened to them with the view of addressing them,” Orogu added.
Professor Abdulalahi Baba, the returning Officer of the governorship election had on Monday, March 11, declared Abdullahi Sule of APC as the Nasarawa State governor-elect. He said that Sule of APC got 327, 229, while PDP and APGA got 184, 281 and 132, 784 votes respectively.
Similarly, the Nasarawa State Governorship Candidate of the APGA, Labaran Maku, toed the same path.
According to him, the figures announced by INEC are pre-election figures written earlier. “APGA rejects the result because it is fictitious, fraudulent and unacceptable and does not reflect the will of the people.
“The election was preceded by widespread reports of illegal thump0printing and stuffing of ballot boxes on private farms, residence of some government functionaries in preparation for votes allocation to parties including APGA.
“State institutions including the military and other security agents were coerced to give cover to the criminal act orchestrated by APC.
Other reasons the party gave for the rejection of the result was the multiple cancellation of votes, polling units and wards.
“Before the elections all we were hearing was governor by all means whether you like it or not you can go to court,’’ said Maku who claimed that he called the attention of INEC and the security agents to the planned rigging because we have some privileged information, but nothing was done.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties called on their supporters to be law abiding as the parties would reclaim the mandate through lawful means.
The parties’ plea for calm was not heeded by some 200 hoodlums, who went on rampage in Karu Local Council of Nasarawa and vandalized property estimated at millions of Naira.
The hoodlums who were alleged to be reacting to the outcome of the last Saturday’s Governorship election attacked the local government secretariat that was renovated recently, destroyed doors, shattered glass windows, toilet fittings, furniture, and vehicle belonging to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, NSCDC, skill acquisition centre among others.
Governor Umaru Almakura who visited the scene to ascertain the damage done to the public property, described the action of the attackers as unfortunate.
He said those whose stock in trade is to foment trouble in the state should have a rethink as the government would not continue to fold its arms and watch government property and lives of the citizens being threatened.
Similarly, the traditional ruler of Karu, Esu Karu, HRH, Luka Panya Baba who visited the local council secretariat to see the extent of damage, and to commiserate with the council chairman, Samuel Akala, described the incident as sad.
“It is sad for the youths to take the law into their hands to this extent. They must avoid breaching the law and peace of the country. I condemn the destruction of the newly renovated Karu Local Government secretariat complex by these hoodlums over the outcome of Saturday’s polls,
This act is very sad. I am appealing for tolerance as development is better than chaos,” the monarch said.
Chairman of Karu Local Government Area, Samuel Akala confirmed the incident and said property worth million of naira were vandalized by the hoodlums
Presidency planning violence to declare state of emergency in Taraba – CUPP
Meanwhile, the CUPP, has alleged that the Presidency and the ruling APC were plotting to instigate violence in Taraba State in order to declare a state of emergency.
The coalition, in a statement by its spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, alleged that the loss of the just concluded governorship election in the state by the ruling party was the reason they want to plunge Taraba into crisis in order declare emergency rule in the state.
The group accused the APC-led federal government of being behind the ongoing religious crisis in Taraba State.
CUPP which raised alarm over what it described as “organised religious killings in Taraba”, accused “security agencies of tacit support with inability to quell the uprising.”
It also alleged that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was “plotting to arrest Taraba governor’s ADC, who it said had been to Abuja for undisclosed reason.
“The Coalition of United Political Parties has uncovered plans by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to ensure that a state of emergency is declared in Taraba State because of the party’s failure to win the state governorship election.
“We learnt on good authority that in order to achieve their aim, the APC party is instigating ongoing religious killings being experienced in the state.
“We have also discovered that the nation’s security forces are giving those behind the sponsored killings tacit support with their silence, hence their failure to quell the uprising,’it alleged in the statement.
“Insiders have also informed us that the acting Inspector-General of Police is planning to arrest the Aide-De-Camp to the governor, hence his invitation to the police headquarters, Abuja. The strategy is to accuse him of arming and working with some militia in a bid to get at the governor. APC leaders are clearly not happy that they lost the election and they are stocking the killings and crisis to cause reprisal attacks from other religious groups which will lead to the declaration of state of emergency.’’