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INEC Investigates Isoko South Electoral Officer For 'Compromise By PDP'

Sahara Reporters - Thu, 2019-02-28 14:09

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is currently investigating Blessing Suleiman, the electoral officer in charge of Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, over allegations of compromise levelled against her by a group, the Ithihikpe Campaign Organization, on the presidential and National Assembly elections held in the area.

The law firm of Felix, Igelige and Associates had, during the elections, on behalf of the Ithihikpe Campaign Organization, petitioned the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, accusing Suleiman of working with the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after allegedly receiving some gratification.

The petition, entitled ‘Demand for the Immediate Removal or Posting Away of Mrs. Suleiman, the Current Electoral Officer in Charge of Isoko South Local Government Council Area of Delta State Acts of Gross Misconduct, Betrayal of Trust and Breach of Oath of Office,’ was issued on behalf of the Ithihikpe Campaign Organization, signed by Rockson Igelige and obtained by SaharaReporters. It alleged, among other things, that there was compromise and fixing of names of PDP members in the area as ad hoc staff of the commission.

The petition read: "We act for and on behalf of the Ithihikpe Campaign Organization (our client) and it is upon their firm instructions that we forward this petition. Our client, which is an integral part of the Joel-Onowakpo Thomas Campaign Organization, has just discovered to their chagrin that one Mrs. Blessing Suleiman, who was recently posted to Oleh as your Commission’s Electoral Officer for Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, has been compromised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

"The above assertion is premised on the partisanship flagrantly displayed by the said Mrs. Suleiman in the selection of INEC ad hoc personnel, which clearly showed that apart from the current serving corps members, over 90% of all other categories of such personnel recruited are known card-carrying and active members of the PDP.

"For instance, one Oneke Michael, who is the current youth leader of the PDP for Oleh Ward 2, has been recruited as Asst. Presiding Officer II for Unit 18 of Oleh Ward 2.  Furthermore, one Mr. Emmanuel Oneke who is an ex-councillorship candidate under the PDP and currently the Personal Assistant to Mr. Kenneth Ogba a candidate of the PDP for Isoko South Constituency 1 also made the list as an ad hoc staff.

"Again one Ifoghale Osibi, who is PDP Chairman for Unit 12 Oleh Ward 1, has been recruited and is posted as an Assistant Presiding Officer Unit 13. The foregoing is the prevailing scenario all over the Isoko South Local Government and we dare say that this situation, if not checked, will smear the Commission with filth and rubbish the good effort of the Commission at ensuring free, fair and credible election.

"Even more worrisome to our client is the fact that other non-aligned working civil servants as well as ex-corps members, who applied and who are supposed to be the first line of persons for consideration for recruitment after serving corps members, have been deliberately and conspicuously left out of the recruitment net, all in an effort to favour the fortunes of the PDP.

"Our clients and indeed the great majority of the Isoko people have lost faith in Mrs. Suleiman as a person who is capable of delivering a free and fair election for the Commission in Isoko South Local Government Area. In view of the foregoing, we demand that the recent recruitment exercise carried out by Mrs. Suleiman, the Electoral Officer for Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, be cancelled and a fresh one which will remove any form of partisan toga or colouration, be carried out."

The petitioner also demanded the immediate redeployment of Suleiman and replaced.

Responding to the petition, Cyril Omorogbe, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, and obtained by our correspondent, said the commission is currently investigating the claims in the petition.

A letter personally signed by Omorogbe read: "We are in receipt of your letter to the commission dated 15 February, 2019. The letter alleges that our staff, Mrs. Suileman Blessing, Electoral Officer for Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, is compromised and that some categories of ad hoc staff are card carrying members of a party.

"While these allegations are yet to be established, the commission will leave no stone unturned to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible election. We make bold to say that all issues raised are currently being investigated and addressed. Once it is found to be as alleged, the commission will do the needful.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Akeredolu, Fayemi Meet With Ondo NURTW Chairman On How To Rig State Assembly Elections

Sahara Reporters - Thu, 2019-02-28 14:00

Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has given a "marching order" to members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state to begin mobilising for the next week state house of assembly election.

SaharaReporters gathered that the essence of the mobilization by the NURTW members is to prepare them for “war” if candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) do not emerge victorious in the House of Assembly election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rescheduled the state houses of assembbly election in the country for Saturday March 9, 2019, with no less than 250 candidates from the different political parties in Ondo fielding candidates for the 26 constituencies that make up the Ondo House of Assembly.

Many of the candidates have been campaigning vigorously and wooing the votes of the electorate in Ondo State with food stuffs and money.

However, it was exclusively learnt on Thursday that Akeredolu held a secret meeting with the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr. Jacob Adebo, popularly known as ‘Idajo’, where the plan to rig the poll was perfected. 

SaharaReporters can report that Idajo has been a machinery of destruction for Akeredolu’s APC government of Akeredolu led APC in Ondo State.

A source confirmed to our correspondent that the meeting was held inside Government House in Akure, the state capital, and that it held at the instance of the Governor. He added that Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, was also at the meeting.

According to the source, the secret meeting was summoned as a result of the defeat suffered by the ruling party in the Saturday's election in the state.

"Having realised that they lost in the presidential election and with their poor performance in the National Assembly election, Mr. Governor decided to call the secret meeting with the view to plan and also probably strategise ahead of the coming House of Assembly elections in the state.

"In fact, the Governor of Ekiti State Kayode Fayemi and some of the top government officials such as the SSG, Ifedayo Abegunde, were at the meeting, which was held right in the Government House in Akure from about 11am to 12 pm on Wednesday.

"They invited the NURTW Chairman, Idajo, and some executive members of his union to the meeting with the concluded plan that they should go and work for the victory of the APC in the forthcoming election.

“The two governors concluded that it is a 'must' for APC to win the House of Assembly election in all the LGAs and constituencies area so that the ruling party can still have the numbers to control the parliament.

"So, they have instructed ‘Idajo’ to begin mobilise thugs and members of the NURTW for the elections, and their mandate is to cause violence on election day and even snatch or destroy ballot boxes where APC is not popular.

"They even forced ‘Idajo’ to sign a post-dated resignation letter, which would come to effect if his boys do not help APC win next week, and they instructed him to begin clamp down on any stubborn members of the opposition parties in the state. 

"Don't forget that Mr. Akeredolu was not happy about the results of the last week Saturday's presidential and national assembly election in the state because he failed to deliver the state for Buhari despite his promises to the President.

"The Governor and his counterparts in Oyo have been mocked by some Abuja cabals for failing woefully to deliver their state to Mr. President, even when he got to Abuja shortly after the secret meeting, some of the governors were jokingly mocking him for his faliure.

"And since the President has been re-elected for a second term in office, Akeredolu wants to make up and have all his foot soldiers in the Ondo House of Assembly so that it will not be a double loss.

However, a source at the NURTW local branch office in Idanre could not immediately confirm the story when asked by SaharaReporters. But he confirmed that a meeting of chairmen of all local branches had already been summoned by Idajo.

"Well, I cannot really tell if they held that meeting with the Governor but I received a call yesterday night that our State Chairman, Idajo, would be meeting with all the branch chairmen today 

"And as I am speaking with you now, I am in Lagos to attend to my family but I have told my branch Secretary to attend the meeting and give me feedback later in the day. But I know the meeting is about the house of assembly elections in the state because the State Chairman told us on Monday evening that the Governor was not happy over last weekend’s election results."

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VIDEO: Female Corps Member In Tears As Gunmen Disrupt Elections In Rivers

Sahara Reporters - Thu, 2019-02-28 13:05

Video of Female Corps Member In Tears As Gunmen Disrupt Elections In Rivers Female Corps Member In Tears As Gunmen Disrupt Elections In Rivers

Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the presidential election, a series of videos howing how gunmen disrupted the electoral process in Buguma and Bonny, both areas in Rivers State, have emerged.

In an incident that took place in Bonny, an island in Rivers State, there were several sounds of gunshots, as people were seen trying to take cover. A female member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who was probably an ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was seen crying while a resident was trying to console her.

In another video, labelled Buguma in Rivers State, some people were seen carrying ballot boxes on their heads to an unknown location. 

The presidential and National Assembly elections, which took place on February 23, 2019, was marred with reports of ballot box snatching, harassment by security operatives, and violence at various polling units across the country.

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Tasks Before Buhari In The 'Next level' By Aroghalu Chidozie Law

Sahara Reporters - Thu, 2019-02-28 12:38

Some few days ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the current Nigerian President, for another four-year tenure.

Controversial as the election that ushered him in maybe, the tasks before Mr Muhammadu Buhari remains very huge.

During his 2015 campaigns, he premised his ambition on the need for change, while many have faulted his performance during the first time, others picked positives from it.  

Coming into a new tenure, the work of the All Progressives Congress candidate has been cut-out.

This election has shown us that Nigeria is yet a country divided by ethnic bigotry and lots of issues affecting us as a Country boils down to the fact that we need to be more United.  It was very painful to read people posting #IamNorth and #IamSouth on Twitter, the division did not just start today but it is getting worse by the day. The election period also exposed us to issues of ethnic emotions taking the incidence in Lagos as an instance. President Buhari must begin to nip these issues in the bud if Nigeria will work again.

It should be noted that during the 1st  tenure of this administration, many accusations bothered on the ethnic correlated appointment, alledged witchhunt of some persons holding key positions from other regions of the country among other dividing characters. This must not repeat itself during his second stint,  Nigeria cannot afford another four years of divide and rule, suspicions and tribalization. Nigeria is for everybody and that fact must be respected.

President Buhari must also understand that beyond white elephant projects, policies that affect the life of a common man should be introduced. When Nigeria was ranked as one of the less productive countries in the world and overtook India with the poorest persons in the world, I was really devastated and pained. Policies should not be geared towards infrastructural development alone but towards economic revitalization. Local production should be encouraged and policies such as N-power, Trader-moni should be reviewed for better policies.

The well-being of average Nigerians must be prioritised. 

I must also note that the fight against corruption has also been said to be lopsided with few instances to point out. The Nigerian President must understand that while fighting corruption is important, the importance of fighting corruption maybe diminished if those prosecuted are selective. A case which those who decamp to the ruling party become saints is very poor and must stop by all means. In the just concluded election,  We had persons who are undergoing trial and still stood for elections under the ruling party, infact some emerged. The fight against corruption must not be targeted at people who are not friends of the government. 

The Buhari's administration must as a matter of urgency take education as another serious business and must not shy away from funding all forms of education, that way many issues will be affected.

While I wish the government best of adventures, I won't but advise all those who have issues with the elections to approach a competent court of law.

The violence I saw in the video, read about is very disheartening but we must continue to work towards developing a system we are going to be proud of.

It must also be noted that Nigeria must strengthen her security system, we must fund the Nigerian Army, the police and other security units. We also need to monitor funds pumped into these sectors. We cannot afford a country where killings will continually be a ritual. Nigeria must outgrow obvious challenges and do that we need revamp of the security sector.

Nigeria must work effectively in another four years and should not be overshadowed by our inadequacies, we may not be perfect but our system must move to a greater level.

Aroghalu Chidozie Law
Writes From Abuja 

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