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2019: I’m weighing options between PDP, APC – Uduaghan

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Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, a former governor of Delta State, has said he was still a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but that he was weighing the options between remaining in the party or joining the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking in an interview in Lagos, Uduaghan – who is seeking to represent Delta South Senatorial District in the National Assembly in 2019 – said while he was desirous of going to the Senate in order to make laws that would benefit his people, the party leadership in the state had been very hostile to him just as opposition parties in the state were reaching out to him.

He said: “As I sit here, I am still a PDP member. I was a governor of Delta State, one of the prominent states in the Niger Delta, for eight years. I was SSG for four years during the administration of Chief James Ibori. The critical thing that my predecessor, Chief Ibori, myself and even the current governor had to deal with was the issue of security.

“In my time as governor, I had a three-point agenda which included peace and security.

“Now, in dealing with that peace and security, through what I called a 12-year period – four years as SSG and eight years as governor – I was exposed mainly to the strategy of engagement – engaging the youths, communities, and those aggrieved either directly myself or using various teams, people, traditional rulers, youth bodies who went and got involved in the engagement process.

“The other engagement process that we tried to do was to ensure that we kept our people busy by ensuring that we properly funded the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC).

“That kept people busy for so many years. The first, like I said, was engagement, the second was law and order, which had to do with the Joint Task Force that the Federal Government was bringing, which involved the police, SSS, and others.

“They did their bit but, for them to succeed, we had to put up a team of young people called the Delta Waterways Security Committee that was working with them because the terrain was quite complex.

“You might see a river and you’d think your boat could maneuver anywhere, but there were places that were shallow and some places like roads.

“Sometimes, it took these young people who knew this terrain very well to navigate into the creeks and that was what we did.

“Also, in the process, we noticed that there were lots of damages to the environment, either as a result of equipment by the oil companies, but later more of our own people who were trying to steal crude and also trying to operate illegal refineries.

“So, that was also a challenge. What I am trying to say is that in those my years of getting involved, in analysing those years, I have come to the reality that this Niger Delta crisis would continue if certain things are not done. We will just be having recurrent crisis if certain things are not done.

“I also believe that the things that are to be done have to be legislated upon. The security architecture that we have there now relies almost totally on the Federal Government outfit but I know that without the architecture revolving around the communities and our youths, we would not have solutions to our problems just as we have seen with the herdsmen issue.

“I analysed my future and say is it possible for me to remain in this place? Will I be able to get that platform to influence these things I am talking about?

“The answer I seem to get is that it is not going to be easy. It is not that it is not possible but it might involve bloodshed and other things.

“And when you look at it, you have a platform that is very difficult and you have another one that is not as difficult.

“You just have to weigh the options. So as at today, I am looking at the options because PDP has become too hostile to me, very hostile and it might just be very challenging.

“But I am still in PDP but very soon, a decision will be made. I am also still consulting with the leadership of our political family. That is where we are now.”

Uduaghan also added that while the people of Delta wanted him, the national leadership of the PDP was trying to frustrate his aspirations following reports that owing to its desire to return to power in 2019, it had promised automatic tickets to current members in the National Assembly.

“That is the people. They wanted me but in any political arrangement, there is what you call the leadership.

“PDP is anxious to come back as the ruling party in Nigeria. So, the leadership of PDP is doing a lot of things.

“One of the things we hear that they are doing is that they want to give automatic tickets to those who are currently in the National Assembly, it doesn’t matter to them the number of years you have stayed there.

“If you are coming from another party, maybe APC, to join them, in your constituency, they give you an automatic ticket.

“So, they are planning to give automatic tickets to those in the National Assembly and if that happens, you just find yourself struggling until the last minute and you won’t get the ticket.

“That is a very scary scenario but it can happen especially when the party is manned by those who might not want to be on your side,” he said.

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Osinbajo denies resigning as Vice President

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has debunked the rumour of his alleged resignation as the Vice President of the country.

On his verified Twitter handle, Professor Osinbajo said, “Misleading/FAKE news is on the rise especially in this season when Nigerians will make a choice about who will govern them for the next four years. I have not resigned! I remain committed to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Media aide, Bashir Ahmed, debunked same rumour on his Twitter handle.

He said Professor Osinbajo remains committed to serving the Nigerian populace.

On his verified Twitter handle, Ahmad said, “FAKE NEWS ALERT: Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has NOT resigned, he remains committed to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of Pre

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Only God can stop Feb. 23 elections – INEC chairman

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Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says “only an Act of God can stop the conduct of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly election slated for Saturday.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this in Abuja while addressing a cross section of the diplomatic community and international election monitoring groups in Nigeria, for the 2019 General Election.

The briefing which was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with INEC, is aimed at engaging with friends and partners of Nigeria on the rescheduled election.

Yakubu, who was represented by an INEC National Commissioner, Dr Mustapha Lecky, said that the commission had put in place everything possible to ensure the elections hold on Saturday.

The INEC boss said that the commission had no reason to feel that anything would stop the conduct of the election on Feb 23.

He said the commission has developed a six-point agenda of what needed to be done to ensure success of the election

He also said that the commission has completed the deployment of materials.

“We believe that as a prayerful nation the act of God has been assuaged and that things will go right, we have no reason to feel that anything will go wrong.

“We have received all the materials, they have been checked, audited people have been informed, party agents have gone there to check,” he said.

The official said that INEC had already taken responsibility for the postponement and that the body was committed to surpass achievement of previous elections in the country.

He blamed the postponement on logistics and problems associated with the primaries of some political parties, which according to him delayed the printing of ballot papers.

The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said the police was working with other security agencies to ensure maximum security during the elections

Adamu said that he would ensure ballot box snatchers and other criminal elements who may attempt to scuttle the polls are arrested and prosecuted according to the law.

He said, the force had taken measures to protect voters, officials as well as election observers during the polls and warned trouble makers to rethink or be made to face the consequences of their actions.

“The police will be professional, impartial and will create a level playing ground for all parties.

“All security personnel were trained by various security agencies, training was also given by Civil Society Organisations and other partners towards free, fair and transparent elections.

“I have spoken to Nigerians. We on our part, will be professional and impartial.

“We are going to create enabling environment for all the political parties to operate freely without molestation without favouring one party against another,” he said.(NAN)

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Elections: By Wednesday, Nigerians should know their president – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the timeframe for result declaration of the 2019 Presidential Election.

The commission assured that the results would not take longer than the 2015 elections, in spite of the number of presidential candidates, size of the result sheets and increased voter population.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said this on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing journalists on the state of preparedness of the commission for the polls.

Yakubu said the commission was working to ensure that it does not keep Nigerians waiting for days without declaring the results.

He said the time limit would not exceed what obtained in 2015.

Recall that in 2015, while the Presidential Election held on a Saturday, a winner was not declared until the following Wednesday.

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