The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Walid Jibrin has raised alarm over threats to his life and petitioned the Director General of DSS and Inspector General of Police, following his comments that the party will not zone its presidential ticket come 2023.
Sen. Jibrin recently stated that the party will give room for interested aspirants from all parts of the country to contest for the presidential primaries for the 2023 elections, which elicited various reaction including threats of demonstration against him and harassment.
According to him, “I have received call from some people threatening my life over my coming out not to mention that the presidency of this country be zoned to the Northeast. They were saying that I am a traitor, that I should have come out to say that it is only Atiku Abubakar, that because I said that Atiku was already overthrown by the Supreme Court. They said for that, I should say Atiku is the man.
“That I won’t do because I am a leader. I have to make a lots of consultations, the National Working Committee have to make a lots of consultations, our Governors have to make a lots of consultations, then the NEC had to take decision. And they should not forget the party has a Constitution and a guideline which says that there must be primary for whoever wants to contest.
“We have not even discussed about zoning so why are some people so concerned about the presidential ticket being zoned to a particular zone.
“About three people went to Wadata Plaza and demanded to see the Chief Security Officer, Munir Yerima. When they were there, Yerima rang me asking where am i and I said I’m in Kaduna, then he said some people want to talk to me and I said let me talk to them on phone, he said they are intermediary between me and some party people that they said i have gone astray and if I don’t recant they would hold a major demonstration against me and thew would arrange bandits to deal with me wherever I go.
“So I told the man to go and do whatever he wants to do that I’m equal to the task. Then I realise its not only a major demonstration but they may be planning to assassinate me.
“I have written to the DG DSS and the police IG to ensure that the matter is seriously handled as people can’t stand on their own. I’m an elder statesman in the party and in Northern Nigeria. I’m a Fulani herdsman who have tried to stop the threats of militant Fulani in my local government and in my state.
“I’m a very religious person who cannot even kill a rat or an ant, yet people are trying to harass me, to assassinate me. I want the police to give me protection and stop this harassment. They said the people are from Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi and Jigawa states.
“Its a gang from these Northern states who are planning against me. Let’s see if the security agencies would allow this to happen. I would do all expected of me, I’m not shaken.
“Our party has not finished arrangements towards 2023, all we are doing now is reconciliation to ensure that our party are together, we have concluded arrangements to hold congresses. Soon the NWC would convene a NEC meeting and convention to ratify the arrangements.”
He said as the BOT chairman of the party he is leader of members from every part of the country, wondering that, “If the Igbos ask me about the party’s choice for president in 2023, how do I explain to them? There are people agitating for the Southwest, so we have to bring people together to agree on what people want, so they should leave me alone”.
Heavy security at Benin Airport over Adams Oshiomhole’s arrival
There is heavy security at the Benin Airport in Edo state, south-south Nigeria over fears of possible booing of Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Witness understands that there are soldiers and two police vehicles at the Airport entrance gate, while others comprising officials of the Department of State Security, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were stationed at various points of the Airport.
According to a report on The Nation Newspaper, an armoured personnel carrier was also seen at the airport parking lot. The report added that the heavy mobilisation of security personnel was to forestall any attempt to boo Oshiomhole or prevent him from leaving the airport.
Ir was gathered that Dr Pius Odubu, General Charles Airhiavbere, Samson Osagie and APC chieftains loyal to Oshiomhole were at the airport to receive him.
Some youths were also seen in clusters at the airport. The youths were heard chanting anti-Oshiomhole songs.
Speaking on the incident, a security source who is familiar with the matter, said some APC chieftains have raised the alarm of an attack on Oshiomhole and his entourage from Abuja.
The Witness recalls that 15 supporters of the APC loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki were hospitalized in December last year after soldiers and policemen escorting some dignitaries including Oshiomhole that were to attend a political rally in the state fired shots at them
The APC supporters were carrying out a peaceful protest and had set bonfires along the Airport road when the soldiers opened fire on them. It took the APC national leader more than two hours to get to his residence that day.
Fresh petition seeks sack of Bayelsa deputy governor
Vijah Opuama, the governorship candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the last election in Bayelsa State, has approached the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja seeking the disqualification of the newly sworn-in Deputy Governor, Mr. Lawrence Ewrujakpor.
The Witness reports that in a petition he filed through his lawyer, Aluzu Ebikebuna, the LM governorship candidate further prayed the court to cancel the November 16, 2019 governorship election and order a fresh poll alleging that the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to comply with the 1999 Constitution.
Opuama listed INEC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri and his Deputy, Lawrence Ewrujakpor, as respondents in the petition which he ahalleged that Ewrujakpor, the 4th respondent, submitted an affidavit to INEC, the 1st respondent, that contained false information.
The governorship candidate said in a statement of facts to support the petition that: “I know that the 4th Respondent was admitted into Rivers State University of Science and Technology in the year 1991. The 4th Respondent is given notice to produce his admission letter into Rivers State University of Science and Technology to read Secretarial Administration.
“The 4th Respondent is due to graduate in 1994-1995 in that he was offered a four-year duration course of Secretarial administration. The Petitioner avers that upon graduation in 1994-1995, the 4th Respondent was supposed to enroll in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme having being born on 5th September 1965.
“The 4th Respondent was not qualified to contest the election in that he submitted an affidavit containing false information to the 1st Respondent. The 4th Respondent’s Degree certificate dated 3rd February 1998 purportedly issued by Rivers State University of Science and Technology and the 4th Respondent’s certificate of exemption from National Youth Service Corps purportedly issued on 2nd February 1998 are inconsistent with one another other and contradictory to one another and both forged.
“I know that by virtue of National Youth Service Corps Act, certificate of exemption from national youth service under the Act is only issued to persons who have successfully graduated from the University and have their Degree certificate as approved by the University’s Senate.
“I know that it is upon University Senate issued certificate that a candidate’s name and result is forwarded to National Your Service Corps (NYSC) for call-up to National Youth Service or exemption as the case may be.
“I know that in the 4th Respondent submitted in his INEC Form for the 16th November 2019 election a purported National Youth Service Corps certificate of exemption dated 2nd February 1998.
“I know that the said purported National Youth Service Corps certificate of exemption dated 2nd February 1998 is false and forged in that the 4th Respondent only graduated on 3rd February 1998.
“The 4th Respondent knows that the NYSC exemption certificate he submitted to the 1st Respondent is false and/bears false information and is forged as it was purportedly issued before his University senate approved certificate.
“The 4th Respondent knows that his purported Degree certificate dated 3rd February 1998 contains false information and is forged in that it ought to be issued before the date on his NYSC exemption certificate and/or in 1994/1995 when he was eligible for NYSC”.
Apart from the alleged forgery, which Opuama relied to seek the nullification of the election, the governorship candidate also claimed that Governor Diri, the 3rd respondent and his deputy were not qualified to contest the election on grounds of multiple nominations.
The governorship candidate said: “I know that both 3rd and 4th Respondents are not qualified to contest the election for invalid multiple nomination. I know that the 3rd and 4th Respondents did not poll any valid vote at the election of 16th November 2019 for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State as they were severally and jointly not qualified to contest the election.
“The 3rd and 4th are not entitled to any valid vote at the election of 16th November 2019 for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State as they were severally and jointly not qualified to contest the election.
“The purported 143,172 votes polled by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondent are invalid in that the 3rd and 4th Respondents are not qualified to contest the election and the 2nd Respondent had no candidate at the election of 16th November 2019 for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State.
“Petitioner avers that a candidate is not qualified to contest election into two different constituency election within the same election year or circle.
“The Petitioner avers that 3rd Respondent allowed himself to be nominated for both Bayelsa Central Federal Constituency election in the 2019 General election and the election to the office of the Governor of Bayelsa being another Constituency for the 2019 election as candidate of the 2nd Respondent.
“The Petitioner states that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents secured a minimum of 25% of the total votes cast in only 5 Local Government Areas falling short of the two-third requirement of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria which ought to be six Local Governments.
“The Petitioners aver that a candidate can be declared winner where he has more than the required one-quarter of all votes cast in at least two-third of all the Local Governments. The Petitioner avers that a candidate is not entitled to be returned where he fails to secure one-quarter of all votes cast at the election in at least two-third of all the Local Governments”.
Opuama prayed the court to declare that the 3rd and 4th Respondents were severally and jointly not qualified to contest the election to the office of Governor of Bayelsa State held on 16th November 2019.
The governorship candidate said: “That it may be determined and declared that the 3rd Respondent was not duly elected or returned by majority of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of Governor of Bayelsa state held on 16th November 2019.
“That it may be determined that the Bayelsa state Governorship election of 16th November 2019 be nullified for substantial non-compliance with the provision of the Constitution of Federal republic of Nigeria,1999 (As Amended), Electoral Act, 2010 (As Amended) and its place, make an order for fresh election to be conducted by the 1st Respondent with the Petitioner and other qualified candidates”.
INEC fixes date for party primaries ahead of Edo, Ondo elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire, has fixed dates for the conduct of primaries by political parties in Edo and Ondo States ahead of the governorship elections slated for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
The Witness reports that that the electoral umpire said party primaries for Edo state will hold from 2nd to 27th June, while that of Ondo State will hold from 2nd to 25th July.
Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, who made the disclosure during the Commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners on Friday, warned that the Commission will not shift the dates.
Speaking further, the INEC Chairman said given recent experience with some Governorship elections, political parties needed to do more to avoid the conduct of acrimonious primaries or failure to observe due diligence in the screening of their candidates, resulting in protracted litigations and eventual determination of the outcome of elections by orders of the court.
His words: “I wish to draw the attention of political parties to two critical dates in the timetable released by the Commission a few weeks ago. Party primaries for the democratic election and nomination of candidates for the Governorship election in Edo State must be held from 2nd to 27th June 2020. The date for Ondo State is 2nd to 25th July 2020. The Commission will not extend the dates. We will also rigorously monitor the primaries and where necessary, apply sanctions as provided by law.
“At the same time, the personal particulars of all the candidates nominated by political parties for the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, including their academic qualifications, will be displayed in our offices in the two States as required by law. This will enable citizens to scrutinise them and take legal action against any candidate who provides false information to the Commission.
“The personal particulars of candidates will be displayed on 6th July 2020 in Edo State and on 4th August 2020 in Ondo State. I wish to appeal to citizens to note the dates and to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the information provided on oath by the candidates in the interest of our democracy and good governance,” he said.
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