• Support my second term bid, Buhari begs Nigerians
• Stay away from politics, Atiku cautions security agencies
• Kinsmen allege impunity in move against Onnoghen
The national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, yesterday described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a beneficiary of rigged elections.At the party’s presidential rally in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Tinubu alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under former Obasanjo, rigged elections in its favour in 2003 and 2007.
Tinubu, who said the PDP was crying wolf about rigging in the forthcoming polls because it lacked capacity to win, added that Obasanjo who was among those raising the allegation benefitted from manipulated elections in the past. He implored the people to vote and prevent their votes from being stolen by the PDP.
At the rally, President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to Nigerians to consider him for second term in office, saying he had fulfilled all his electoral promises he made while seeking office in 2015. Buhari, who claimed victory in the anti-corruption crusade and other development projects embarked upon by his administration, said his scorecard made him deserve reelection.
The president said he had not failed the nation on the pledge to fight corruption to a standstill, secure the nation and develop the economy in order to make Nigeria self-sustaining in terms of local production.He said his administration was winning its anti-graft crusade while the economic policies of his government were designed to move the country from reliance on crude oil and food importation.
“The only thing I will remind you is my promise to fight corruption, revive the economy and fight the insurgency in the North.
“We are seriously fighting corruption and I can assure you that we will win the war as we are working with security agencies to ensure all corrupt officers face the music and justice,” he said.He assured that, if voted in, he would create more job opportunities for the youths, revive the power sector and empower women and youths to become self-reliant through interest-free loan.
Buhari canvassed for votes in Ondo as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, cautioned all security agencies in the country against getting involved in the political system, especially the forthcoming general elections.
Atiku, a former vice president, warned that forcing security agencies into the political process would not only destroy democracy in the country but also ruin the career of the obstinate security officers.At a rally in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, yesterday, Atiku said: “Our security services have no business to interfere with our political process, that is not their work. Your (security agencies) work is to make sure that there is peace, law and order. It is not your business to interfere in our political process, this is not your constitutional responsibility at all.
“Your constitutional responsibility is to make sure that we are all safe. Any government that draws the security agencies, the police, army, civil defence, into politics is doing more harm to the career and patriotism of the security men. “Don’t accept that, don’t get involved, allow us to choose the leaders we want to choose and to elect the people we want to elect, it is not your business whom we elect at all.”
The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be careful in the ways it handles electoral matters.He noted that the conduct of free and fair election is important for the sustenance of peace in Nigeria.
“INEC, you are quick to respond. That is a huge trick. We have seen your trick in Osun and Taraba and we are not convinced. We will continue to insist that this is an all-important election in the history of our country, and cannot be rigged.“If you rig this election, you are inviting crisis. And when we say so, people say why are you saying that? It is because we want peace in our country, we don’t want any issue, we don’t want violence. We believe that if INEC can conduct free and fair election, the entire country will be peaceful. That is why we will continue to hammer that the mandate of INEC is to conduct free and fair election,” he said.
In Anambra State yesterday, the PDP vice presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammadu Buhari had destroyed the economic, political and social bases of the country.
Fielding questions from journalists in Awka, shortly before embarking on street tour in the state, Obi said the country had almost collapsed on the watch of what he described as incompetent and incapable APC political officers.
The former Anambra State governor boasted that the PDP would come back to take over the reins of government and restore Nigeria to its former glory “which has been badly bastardized by the present APC administration.” He urged the electorate to ensure they come out on February 16 and vote for all PDP candidates, both at the national and state levels.
“Come out en masse on the 16th of February and vote out this incompetent government. Nigeria has the highest number of poor people in the world today. About 90 million Nigerians are poor, that is half of the population. About 21million youths are unemployed. Nobody is happy with the situation of things in the country today.
“Voting APC back is prolonging the suffering in the land, and any person that is happy with the situation is not a normal human being. The PDP is coming back to put smiles back on the faces of Nigerians again,” he said.The leaders of the south south region yesterday charged their kinsmen to rise against the alleged dictatorial tendencies and despotism of President Buhari.
The All Cross River Nationals Front, an affiliate of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), rose from a meeting yesterday, declaring support for the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, describing his ordeal as a crude display of impunity and crass abuse of power by President Buhari. In a statement, the seven- man executive council of the group asserted that if Buhari’s intent was ignoring the constitution, then there might be no elections and he should as well wear his military jackboots and continue to rule Nigeria by fiat.
Members of the executive council include Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Col. Pam Ogar (rtd) and AVM Eko Osim (rtd).They said: “For sometime now, we have watched with pain and fortitude, the macabre and brazen attack on Onnoghen. The obvious intent of the APC government led by Buhari is to decapitate Justice Onnoghen’s career and forcibly annex and subjugate the judiciary (an independent arm of government) to the whims of the executive.
“But let President Buhari also know that Nigeria has traveled down this road before, and Nigerians will rise up, resist despotism and stop him.“It will be recalled that Buhari bluntly refused to forward Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation after Justice Mahmud Mohammed retired in spite of the recommendations of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“Justice Mahmoud Mohammed retired on November 10, 2016, and it was only to avoid a constitutional crisis that Buhari reluctantly authorized Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to forward Justice Onnoghen’s name to the Senate on February 8, 2017, two days before the expiration of the three months allowed by the constitution regarding acting appointments for the office of the CJN.
“It is important to note that before February 8, 2017, President Buhari had ignored a public outcry and groundswell of condemnation of his bias and prejudice against the appointment of Onnoghen. When he was finally sworn in, Onnoghen became the first Chief Justice of Nigeria from Southern Nigeria in 30 years.“Justice Onnoghen was sworn in on March 7, 2017, nearly two years ago. It had to take Dennis Aganya, President Buhari’s former aide and former National Publicity Secretary of Buhari’s party, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), since that time, to discover Onnoghen’s false declaration of assets. But it took just two days 7th – 9th of January from when Aganya’s petition was received for the Code of Conduct Tribunal to complete its investigation and prepare charges against the CJN.
“Nigerians are yet to be informed how Aganya gained access into Onnoghen’s asset declaration form. Yet numerous petitions have been written against Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, Godswill Akpabio, Babachir Lawal, Abdulrasheed Maina, Adams Oshiomole, Abdullahi Ganduje, but no action whatsoever has been taken against them. They are all walking around free.“Once anyone moves into APC, he becomes a saint, as its party chairman himself declared recently. Buhari and his APC supporters’ club must remember that nothing lasts forever. Therefore, their desperation to cling to power cannot be an exception.”