• INEC declares Tinubu winner of Ekiti, shelves further announcement
• Says IReV portal experiencing challenges
• APC plotting to alter results in Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara,
others, PDP alleges
• LP: We have documentary evidence results were manipulated
• Allow INEC perform its duties, attempt to discredit election will
fail, says APC
• Only result announced by INEC is legitimate – Yakubu
• Ohanaeze warns against manipulating results
• Despite glitches, YIAGA Africa scores BVAS over 80% in areas
• CNPP wants results cancelled where BVAS machines were bypassed
• NHRC urges redress of rights violation to avert violence
Despite heightened hope, optimism and assurances over electronic
transmission of results, it was a torrent of criticisms, yesterday, from
Nigerians and election observers as the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) rescheduled vote counting for states till today, 48 hours
after the presidential elections.
The announcement was made by INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu,
shortly after the result of Ekiti State was read at the International
Conference Centre, Abuja venue of the 2023 presidential election collation
centre. Yakubu said the gathering would reconvene today 11:00a.m.
Opening vote count for the election held across 176,606 polling units, which
was overshadowed by widespread reports of delays, technical issues, attacks and
voter intimidation, INEC announced the 2023 presidential election results for
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ekiti, Ayobami Salami, and
Collation Officer for the election in Ekiti, Prof. Akeem Olawale Lasisi, who is
Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Health Sciences, Ila Orangun, Osun
State, reeling out the results, said Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All
Progressives Congress (APC) won all the 16 Councils of the state, polling
210,494 votes followed by Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who
scored 89,554 votes.
Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) polled 11,397 votes while Rabiu Kwankwaso of
New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) polled 264 votes; 1703 votes were cancelled
due to bye-pass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and
Yakubu said the Commission was expecting the results of the other 35 states
and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), before adjourning the national
The Commission noted that it was fully aware of the challenges with the INEC
Results Viewing Portal (IReV). This was contained in a statement by the
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee,
According to him, the portal was only experiencing challenges and not
sabotage, adding that the IReV is secured while INEC is working to address the
The statement read: “The Commission is aware of challenges with IReV. Unlike
in off-season elections where the portal was used, it has been relatively slow
and unsteady. The Commission regrets this setback, especially because of the
importance of IReV in our results management process.
“The problem is totally due to technical hitches related to scaling up the
IReV from a platform for managing off-season, state elections, to one for
managing nationwide general elections. It is indeed not unusual for glitches to
occur and be corrected in such situations.
“Consequently, the Commission wishes to assure Nigerians that the challenges
are not due to any intrusion or sabotage of our systems and that the IReV
“Our technical team is working assiduously to solve all the outstanding
problems, and users of the IReV would have noticed improvements since last
“We also wish to assure Nigerians that results from the Polling Units,
copies of which were issued to political parties, are safe on both the BVAS and
the IReV portal. These results cannot be tampered with and any discrepancy
between them and the physical results used in collation will be thoroughly
investigated and remediated, in line with Section 65 of the Electoral Act
THE major opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that
Governors Aminu Bello Masari, Nasir el-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and Bello
Matawalle of Katsina, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara states respectively, were
mounting pressure on INEC officials to alter results in favour of APC.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, in a statement
on Sunday night, claimed that the APC governors were allegedly blackmailing
INEC officials to manipulate the results and transfer massive votes validly
cast for PDP and Atiku to APC and Tinubu.
“Our party has been informed that this nefarious scheme by APC governors is
responsible for the stalling of collation of election results in Katsina, Kano,
Kaduna, Zamfara and other APC states, where Tinubu is alleged to have released
over N11 billion per state to rig the election in his favour.
“This, our party, has been made aware, is responsible for the unexplained
delay in the transmission of election results from the said states to INEC
server and commencement of formal announcement of results by INEC Chairman.”
LP, also last night, accused INEC of conniving with politicians to manipulate
the elections, claiming it has enough documentary evidence to back up its
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, National Chairman of the party,
Julius Abure, said: “We have sufficient documentary evidence that confirm that
manipulations of the presidential election results have occurred in Lagos,
Rivers, Imo, parts of Edo, Delta and some Northern states.
“These manipulations were carried out under the watchful eyes and connivance
of police officers at the various election units and INEC offices.”
He said the decision of INEC to go ahead to announce the doctored results
based on manufactured voting has defeated the efforts made by Nigerians to see
that the Electoral Act was amended to allow for electronic transmission of
“It is disheartening that 24 hours after the elections held across the
country, INEC is still yet to upload the authentic results of the
presidential poll on its Server.
“The excuse that the Server is down is not tenable, because we had meeting
with INEC before the elections and the electoral umpire assured all
political parties, and indeed Nigerians, that they had a Data Recorvert
Server and in the event of a technical hitch, the emergency server would
be used until the Main Server was brought back online. We find it
difficult to accept the flimsy excuse that the INEC Servers were
He also described the impunity, which occurred in the entire Lagos State
during the conduct of the election as another show of shame, where INEC
officials refused to upload presidential election results.
“There were widespread incidences of violence, ethnic profiling, and threats
meted out on Nigerians, particularly, those who supported LP and our
presidential candidate, Peter Obi. Information from our party agents has
it that in places like Agege, Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Surulere and Ibeju
Lekki, among others, where results shows that Labour Party won
convincingly, INEC officials claim that the BVAS suddenly developed fault
when it concerned uploading results of the presidential election.
“The same INEC officials uploaded the results of the National Assembly
elections to the server without hitches INEC officials used the police to drive
our agents and supporters out of the collation centre. And they said that
they have firm instruction from INEC headquarters not to upload.”
HOWEVER, INEC Chairman has urged Nigerians to disregard election results
trending on social media, saying only results released by the Commission is
legitimate. Yakubu stated this while declaring open the presidential election
While setting ground rules for the collation of results, Yakubu said the
collation of presidential election result in Nigeria is done at four levels
after the conclusion of voting, counting and recording of results at Polling
He said: “The results are first tallied and collated at the 8,809
Registration Areas (or Wards). The collated Wards level results are tallied and
collated at the 774 Local Government Areas nationwide. Thereafter, they are
tallied and collated at each of the 36 states and FCT. The collated figures for
each state and FCT are finally collated here in Abuja where the announcement of
the outcome of the election is made.”
In same vein, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has warned citizens, especially
social media influencers, to stop circulating fake election results as it could
heat up the polity.
AS Nigerians await the declaration of the winner, the Tinubu/Shettima
presidential campaign council has called on the opposition LP and PDP to
conduct themselves with decorum in a manner that would not overheat the polity.
The council’s Director of Public Affairs, Festus Keyamo, in a statement
maintained that the body officially designated to declare results remains INEC,
stressing that it cannot be bullied nor cowed into silence by the antics of LP,
PDP and other opposition parties.
He called on the International Observers and friends of Nigeria not to be
distracted, but to focus on the process leading to the declaration of results
as it unfolds.
Similarly, Director of Media & Publicity of APC campaign council, Bayo
Onanuga, has called on opposition parties to allow INEC do its job.
He made this known in a statement yesterday, saying: “We have noticed the
disingenuous attempts by opposition parties, spokesmen of their campaign
councils and their hired talking heads on television and radio stations to
discredit the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Both LP and PDP have accused INEC of conspiracy to rig election result in
favour of our party, anchoring their allegation on the agency’s inability
to upload election results on its website. While we call on INEC to expedite
action on the process of uploading the results, we want to state categorically
that there is nothing unusual about the seeming delay.
“INEC returning officers bringing the results to the National Collation
Centre from the 36 states, may be contending with possible travel logistics as
witnessed on Day One of the collation on Sunday, when only Ekiti was ready with
its result. There could also be technical issues with IReV, which we are sure
the Commission will quickly resolve.
“It is worth stating that election results have been announced and made
public at polling units and duly signed by accredited party agents in line with
the Electoral Law. There is no political party that does not have election
results from all the over 176,000 polling units across the country except for
few locations election didn’t hold. The Abuja Collation is merely ceremonial.
“While the law stipulates that the INEC Chairman who is the National
Returning Officer for the Presidential election should declare the result, it
is also a fact that no party can claim ignorance about its performance from
every polling unit through their Situation Rooms updates from party agents.
“This brazen attempt to discredit this election that is adjudged to be the
most peaceful, credible, open, transparent, free and fair in the history of our
country will fail.”
MEANWHILE, YIAGA Africa said the BVAS deployed in Saturday’s presidential
and National Assembly polls functioned properly in 88 per cent of the polling
units it monitored across the country.
YIAGA Africa’s Watching The Vote in its preliminary findings released in
Abuja on Sunday, said it observed that BVAS was deployed for the accreditation
of voters and matching of the results in the 99 per cent of the polling units
its election observers monitored.
“In 88 per cent of polling units, the BVAS functioned properly. However, in
nine per cent of polling units, the BVAS malfunctioned, and it was fixed and in
two per cent of the polling units, it malfunctioned and was replaced,” Yiaga
Africa’s Chair, Watching The Vote Working Group, Dr. Hussaini Abdu and
Executive Director, Samson Itodo, said in the report.
YIAGA Africa stated further that on adherence to election procedures and
additional process findings, it observed that in 93 per cent of polling units
monitored, the details of registered voters were systematically checked against
the register of voters.
It noted, however, that in over nine per cent of polling units visited, INEC
polling officials were unprofessional and partisan, while they also observed
that the secrecy of ballots were not upheld as voting cubicles were not
While stating that there were also attempts to influence polling officials
in some instances, the group said voting cubicles were not provided in five per
cent of the polling units, while in 13 per cent of the polling units, the set
up did not comply with the guidelines.
On voter intimidation, YIAGA Africa said its observers reported that it was
only in five per cent of the polling units that voters faced intimidation,
harassment or were assaulted, while situations that were identified as likely
voter inducement were observed at seven per cent of the monitored polling
As regards transmission of results at the polling units’ level, YIAGA Africa
Watching The Vote PVT said the Presiding Officer at 83 per cent of monitored
polling units used BVAS to scan/take a snapshot of the results sheet (Form EC
“In 69 per cent of polling units, the Presiding Officer attempted to
transmit/send the polling unit result image to the INEC’s online database
(IReV),” the group said.
THE Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has called on INEC to
cancel results in parts of the country where the newly introduced BVAS machines
were bypassed during accreditation.
CNPP, in a statement yesterday, signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy
Ezugwu, said: “When the Commission introduced BVAS machines, the device was intended
to serve as the only means of verification of the genuineness of Permanent
Voter Cards (PVCs) through fingerprint or facial authentication of voters
during accreditation. All verifications outside BVAS are invalid.”
“On the other hand, uploading the polling unit results to IReV was intended
to be in real-time on election day, which was substantially not the case.
“So, we are afraid that the results from polling units to IReV were
suspiciously delayed because even results from different major cities across
the country with good internet connections were not uploaded real-time to the
INEC results portal.
“Another very noticeable anomaly is on viral videos where clearly under-aged
voters in some states were seen thumb-printing ballot papers in parts of the
North. The use of violence to scare voters as well as vote-buying persisted in
parts of the country.
“We, therefore, call on the electoral body to exercise its powers under the
law to cancel results of polling units where violence, vote buying or mass
Thumb-printing of ballot papers took place.”
ALSO, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has observed the
disenfranchisement of many eligible voters during the polls. Executive
Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu (SAN), while giving a preliminary
statement on the election, called on INEC to ensure disenfranchised Nigerians
are allowed to vote at the rescheduled date.
Ojukwu attributed the disenfranchisement of eligible voters to factors such
as the late arrival of personnel and electoral materials, and the upsurge in
the number of voters without corresponding increases in the number of polling
The Commission noted that during human rights election monitoring, INEC
could not be reached for complaints through the provided complaint line, adding
that there were 43 incidents of reported vote-buying at different units across
Lagos, Imo, Sokoto, Jigawa, Edo, Nasarawa and Kogi states despite intervention
of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
APEX Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned of
consequences of using INEC to truncate the will of the Nigerian electorate as
expressed through the ballot on Saturday.
In a statement, National Publicity Secretary of the group, Dr Alex Ogbonnia,
stated that Nigerians have spoken, adding that it would be a disservice to the
nation to try to manipulate the outcome of the several hours under the rain and
sunshine by the people.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their courage,
steadfastness and the ultimate discharge of their civic duties by exercising
their franchise for a better Nigeria at the Presidential and National Assembly
It expressed immense delight that the youths of Nigeria walked their talk by
voting for Peter Obi and Datti Ahmed of the Labour Party, overwhelmingly across
“Going by the results so far released, Nigerians have fully expressed their
delight for a quantum leap from the asphyxiating ocean of darkness and want to
an inspiring gravy train of light and prosperity,” it said.
Expressing worry that “some agents of darkness are bent on using INEC to
test the will of Nigerians”, it warned that reactions so far were an indication
that it could be rejected.
OFF-CYCLE GOV POLLS: Uzodimma Retains Seat, Ododo Wins In Kogi, Diri Leads In Bayelsa
•Bayelsa collation continues today
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress, APC, won his re-election with a landslide victory. According to the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Returning Officer, Abayomi Fasina, Uzodimma won all the 27 local councils of the state. He polled 540,308 votes to floor Senator Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 71,503 votes and Senator Athan Achonu of the Labour Party, LP, who polled 64,081 votes.
Uzodimma’s victory elicited complaints from the PDP and LP candidates, who called for the cancellation of the result.
Ododo wins in Kogi
In Kogi, the APC Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Usman Ododo, coasting home to victory with 446,237 votes after the results of three remaining LGAs were released, last night. He was in massive lead in results from 18 of the state’s 21 LGAs released so far. He won 11 LGAs and garnered 417,166 votes, while his trailing Social Democratic Party, SDP, opponent, Murtala Ajaka won in six and polled 208,503 votes. The PDP Standard bearer, Senator Dino Melaye was yet to win any LGA and scored 41,925 votes. The African Democratic Congress, ADC Candidate, Leke Abejide, won one LGA.
The LGAs where election results had been collated and declared were Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Idah, Ijumu, Kabba-Bunu, Kogi, Mopamuro, Ofu, Okehi, Okene, Olamaboro, Omala, Yagba East and Yagba West, and the results from only one ward in Ogori Magongo LGA was received and announced.
The 11 LGAs the APC candidate won so far are Adavi, Ajaokuta, Bassa, Ijumu, Kabba-Bunu, Kogi, Mopamuro, Ogori Magongo, Okehi, Okene, and Yagba West.
The SDP candidate won in Ankpa, Idah, Dekina, Ofu, Olamaboro and Omala LGAs, with ADC candidate winning one LGA – Yagba East
after outstanding results from Ibaji, Lokoja and Igalamela-Odolu LGAs were released, Ododo jumped into an unassailable victory beating Ajaka(239,052 votes), melaye (46,237 votes) and Abejide (21819 votes.
Melaye quickly kicked against the results from three LGAs of Okene, okehi among others.
PDP maintains lead, wins 5 LGAs, APC wins 1 in Bayelsa
In Bayelsa, Governor Douye Diri, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the PDP was coasting to victory at press time after clinching five of the six LGAs so far announced by the INEC while Chief Timipre Sylva of the APC won in one LGA,Nembe.
According to the results announced by the State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof Farouk Kuta, the PDP won in Sagbama, Ekeremor, Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma, and Ogbia LGAs.
The PDP has so far garnered 137,909 votes while the APC is trailing with 73,503 votes.
Meanwhile, the results for Brass and Southern Ijaw LGAs are still being awaited as the INEC has adjourned the announcement of the remaining two LGAs to 12 noon today.
The Head of Department Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Bayelsa State, Mr Wilfred Ifogah who announced the adjournment after the session was reconvened by 7pm on Sunday, said there are challenges in coalition of some units and wards results of the two local government areas.
Earlier, yesterday, there was a protest at the office of the INEC over concocted election results from Nembe Bassambiri.
Top Bayelsa based civil society operatives, women groups, youth groups, state and National Assembly members and other concerned citizens gathered at the office of INEC to protest alleged moves by the top leadership of INEC to distort the votes in the Saturday election.
As early as 9am the angry protesters blocked the busy Swali Road location of INEC to prevent the commission from accepting the results from Nembe Bassambiri which they said were concocted.
The Bayelsa State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dambo Biriyai, SAN, told journalists during the protest that the election did not take place in Nembe Bassambiri.
He called on INEC REC in the state, Mr Obo Effanga, and South-South Commissioner for INEC May Agbamuche-Mbu to do what is right by rejecting the alleged fake results.
LP, PDP’s candidates reject Imo result
The Imo LP Governorship Candidate, Senator Achonu, has rejected the result of Saturday’s election, saying he would seek redress in court.
Addressing newsmen in his Umulomo country home in Ehime Mbano LGA of the state, Achonu alleged that the election was “marred by irregularities, including vote-buying and physical assaults of LP agents, and thus deserving of outright cancellation”.
He further alleged that voting in many locations was done without BVAS accreditation, contrary to the assurances of INEC before the election.
Achonu also alleged compromise on the part of security personnel, adding that “recorded evidence abound, such as that of a police officer who was beaten by voters for attempting to snatch a ballot box”.
He commended LP supporters for their steadfastness in the face of provocation and assured them that they would get justice through the courts.
“Our democracy was raped in the full glare of security personnel, whose salaries we pay from our commonwealth. Collation was suddenly moved from the ward to LG centres, and only APC agents were allowed to enter, while agents of other parties were locked out.
“I have not lost hope in the judiciary, there are so many men of integrity therein, and we shall reclaim our mandate,” Achonu said.
He condemned the assault and detention of LP Chairman in Imo, Mr. Callistus Ihejiagwa, at the state collation centre, and called for the immediate arrest of those who manhandled him.
“My party chairman was beaten up at the collation centre, as is evident in a widely circulated video. And instead of arresting those who beat him, the police arrested and detained him.
“Let’s save the drift into anarchy, let’s save our country and her democracy. There was no election yesterday and we call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to cancel the purported results,” Achonu said.
In like manner, Senator Anyanwu of the PDP while addressing journalists called for the cancellation of the election.
He said that INEC and the security agents failed in their constitutional responsibility to deliver credible elections to the people of the state.
He said that instead, the security agents protected INEC staff as the APC members rewrote results.
Anyanwu said that he and his party, the PDP, would not accept anything other than a total cancellation of the poll.
Elections didn’t hold in some PUs in Imo —YIAGA Africa
Meanwhile, the INEC has been urged to clarify and issue an official statement on areas where elections were not held during the Imo state governorship poll.
Nigeria’s foremost election observer group, Yiaga Africa, made this call in its post-election observation report, yesterday.
As contained in the report, Yiaga Africa revealed that elections did not occur in 12% of its sampled polling units.
The report confirmed that nine of the sampled polling units by Yiaga Africa in Orsu LGA did not witness any election.
The election observer group noted speculations that INEC might have relocated the polling units without an official notice or statement to prompt the electorate.
According to the report, in Okigwe LGA, observers also reported that elections did not occur in eight sampled polling units.
The report read in part: “In Oru East LGA, the election was not held in eight (8) of Yiaga Africa’s sampled polling units.
“In addition, elections were not held in seven (7) of our sampled polling units in Orlu LGA and in one (1) of our sampled polling units each in Ideato North, Ikeduru, Oru West and Owerri West LGAs.” The report also confirmed Yaiga Africa’s concern over uploading results from the enlisted LGAs where elections did not hold. “Yiaga Africa is deeply concerned with the upload of results from EC8A for some of the sampled polling units where elections were not conducted in Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ikeduru, and Okigwe LGAs on the IReV.”
Female NYSC member missing with BVAS, result sheet
Meantime, a member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, who served as an ad hoc worker in Mbaitolu LGA of Imo State during the poll has been declared missing.
The BVAS and results in the female corps member’s possession were allegedly not recovered. While presenting his result, the local government collation officer, Dr Bolaji Olaleye, disclosed that the corp member did not answer several calls, further heightening fear that something bad might have happened to her.
Olaleye said: “I don’t know what happened to the female Corps member but we couldn’t locate the BVAS and result sheets in her possession, which led to the cancellation of the election in ward three polling units.”
Uzodimma’s re-election well deserved — Sanwo-Olu, Nwifuru, Kalu
However, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Ebonyi State Governor, Francis Nwifuru, have congratulated their Imo State counterpart and APC Candidate, Governor Uzodimma, on his victory, saying his re-election is well deserved.
Sanwo-Olu, in a congratulatory message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said: “Uzodinma’s success in the election is a validation of people’s acceptance of his administration, having impacted positively in the lives of the citizens during his first term in office.”
He said the people of Imo State deserve commendation for coming out en-masse to perform their civic responsibility and for defying all odds to vote for the Governor Uzodinma-led APC administration in the state.
According to Sanwo-Olu, “Uzodinma’s victory is a clear manifestation that the APC remains the party of choice for Nigerians. The party will continue to work in the best interest of Nigerians in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
“I congratulate my brother and the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Governor Hope Uzodinma, for emerging victorious in Saturday’s gubernatorial election.
“I am glad that Governor Uzodinma was returned by the good people of Imo State after a convincing victory over his opponents as declared by the INEC at the poll.”
In his congratulatory message, Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State, expressed delight saying: “The outcome of the polls is a true reflection of the implicit confidence the people reposed in you. You have in the past four years offered quality leadership to your people through policies and programmes that have a direct and positive impact on the lives of the people.”
“This bold statement by the people at the polls has given you another opportunity to consolidate on your laudable achievements and continue with the reforms you have initiated in the State.”
Congratulating Uzodimma in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu said that Uzodinma’s margin of win has eloquently stated that the people of Imo State have reestablished their unwavering confidence in his administration, the renewed hope agenda of President Tinubu and the APC.
He said: “On behalf of my family, the good people of Bende federal constituency of Abia State, I congratulate you, my big brother, the indefatigable governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma on your big win at the polls.
“Your margin of a win has eloquently stamped one fact: that the people of Imo State have reestablished their unwavering confidence in your administration, the renowned hope agenda of President Tinubu, and our party, the APC.
“The resounding victory is also a testament to your tireless efforts to reposition Imo State.”
We haven’t learned anything —Catholic Bishops
Assessing the conduct of the polls in the three states, Catholic Bishops lamented that Nigerians were yet to learn from past mistakes.
Events in the weekend’s off-cycle elections, the brutalization of the President of Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and suffering foisted on innocent Imo people, were described as “a sure proof that Nigerians have learnt nothing from our history.”
President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, made the lamentation, yesterday, in a homily he delivered during his pastoral visit to Christ the King Parish, Umuoba, Uratta, Owerri North LGA of Imo State.
His words: “I have never ceased to ask whoever cares if we have learnt anything at all since 1999 when we started the current political engineering.
“Just yesterday (Saturday), I asked a few people if they were going to cast their votes during the off-cycle gubernatorial election and a number of them said they would not. They hinged their reason on the outcome of the February 25 polls and the judicial decisions.
“The police, army, State Security Services, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and other security outfits, came into the state in their numbers. Helicopters kept surveillance from the air.
“They were supposed to ensure that there was no violence in the state. This gave us a measure of hope, which sadly failed again. If the commentaries that followed the poll, are anything to be reckoned with, then, we have not learnt anything in Nigeria.
“Voting during all elections remains a civic responsibility. People should be allowed to vote freely, without intimidation, coercion, killing, or maiming.
“We have had this democratic engineering for 24 years, but what have we achieved? We should be free to determine who should rule or represent us at whatever level.
“While public office holders should know that power is transitory, our youths should resist the temptation of offering themselves as canon fodder or thugs.”
Addressing the recent brutalization of the NLC President, Ugorji said it was condemnable.
He said: “It is condemnable to mercilessly beat up, manhandle or brutalize the NLC President, as has been variously reported in the media.
“A more civilized way of handling whatever alleged sin, the NLC President may have committed, would have been to allow the laws of the land to take their full course. Resorting to self-help was not the best option.
“It is equally condemnable for labour to inflict hardship on hapless, innocent masses, which they are supposed to protect. There has not been a public power supply to the ordinary citizens, since the NLC President was assaulted and brutalized.
“NLC should allow the masses to breathe and survive the hard times. The people are not supposed to suffer for the sins of others.
“Government and the leadership of the NLC should quickly sort out their differences in the interest of the innocent masses. The warring parties must sheath their swords and let the poor masses.
Group Flays Moves To Re Arrest Emefiele
The Nigeria Citizens Watch for Good Governance, a group, has flayed alleged moves to re-arrest suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor; Mr Godwin Emefiele and expressed deep concern over his safety.
The group explained that it was deeply worried regarding the recent reports of a plot to kill Mr Emefiele while he was in detention.
In a statement issued by the group’s Chairman, Mallam Ahmed Yahuza Tanimu, it was stated that they believed every individual has the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, adding that any form of violence or threat against someone in custody is highly condemnable and goes against the principles of justice and human rights.
“We are also saddened by the revelation of the plan to re-arrest Dr Emefiele on Trump-up charges to further suppress his fundamental human rights. We are consoled that with the recent decisions of our courts, those who violate their decisions won’t have where to run to. Therefore, the Judiciary should be on the watch for further disobedience to their order.”
“We commend the judiciary for their prompt action in ordering the immediate release of Mr. Emefiele. This decision upholds the fundamental principles of justice and reinforces the significance of respecting the rule of law. We believe that it is crucial to provide every citizen with a fair and transparent legal process, and the judiciary’s intervention demonstrates their commitment to upholding justice in our society.”
“While acknowledging the importance of maintaining law and order, we urge security agencies to exercise restraint and caution in their operations. Excessive use of force against civilians can lead to unnecessary harm and violate their rights. We encourage security agencies to focus their efforts on combating banditry and other criminal activities that pose a threat to our nation’s security,” the group stated.
While condemning the labelling of the bail granted to Mr Emefiele as scandalous, the group stated that responsible journalism should play a critical role in upholding the truth and promoting democratic values.
“It is disappointing to witness sensationalized reporting that undermines the credibility and integrity of our judicial system. We urge media organizations to adhere to professional journalistic standards and respect the principle of fair and unbiased reporting.”
The group urged journalists to go to the Federal High Court and verify whether Mr Emefiele failed to meet the bail conditions, adding that the requirements set by the Court to grant him freedom, which included depositing his travelling documents have all been met.
“While we call on Nigerians to disregard those who are bent on destroying what’s left of Mr Godwin Emefiele through the use of the media, we also urge the Government to listen to the court and respect the law, accept that indeed the era of prolonged and illegal detention by security agencies is over,” they added.
Nigeria To Receive Another $150m Abacha Loot
*As Tinubu meets French Presidential envoy
President Bola Tinubu, on Friday in Abuja, expressed his appreciation to France for the return of $150 million stolen from Nigeria by former Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
In addition to the recovery of another tranche of Abacha loot, the President acknowledged the signing of a €100 million agreement between Nigeria and France to support the i-DICE programme — a Federal Government initiative to promote investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Creative Arts Industries.
The agreement was signed by Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Technology, and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, at an earlier event at Tafawa Balewa House, the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
President Tinubu commended the strengthening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and France, noting that this progress followed his visit to Paris after his inauguration.
“Thank you for the good news on the return of Abacha loot. We appreciate your effective cooperation concerning the return of Nigeria’s money. It will be judiciously applied in attaining our development objectives,” the President told Catherine Colonna, the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, who delivered the news.
The President, while emphasizing the need to reinforce collaboration on both political and economic fronts, welcomed the growing cooperation between the two countries in areas of shared interest, such as climate change, economic integration, education, and culture. On the situation in Niger Republic, President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said Nigeria is monitoring the situation in the neighbouring country, and exploring diplomatic channels to avoid bloodshed.
“Leadership is about responding to the needs of the people; their cries, and their frustrations. Nigeria shares a border with Niger across the expanse of seven Nigerian states, and most of these states are very populated. Therefore, I need to guide ECOWAS carefully and steadily so that we manage our anger carefully.
’We have a colleague and a democratically-elected leader, President Bazoum, being used as a human shield. If we are not careful, he and his family can be endangered.
‘’I am deploying all appropriate back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in Niger Republic. We recognize the wishes of our people; they do not want war, but that does not mean we can not take bold and decisive action,” the President affirmed.
President Tinubu said Nigeria will continue to galvanize international partners in the determined pursuit of a peaceful resolution to the situation in Niger Republic.
The French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs conveyed the goodwill of President Emmanuel Macron and expressed the readiness of France to expand mutually beneficial collaboration with Nigeria across multiple sectors.
She proceeded to extend a formal invitation to President Bola Tinubu to attend the forthcoming Paris Peace Forum.
Speaking on the Abacha loot, the French Presidential Envoy said the repatriation followed the completion of legal processes.
“It was a long process, but we are glad that it was concluded. Sometimes, justice may be slow, but this is a very good achievement,” she said.
Ms. Colonna also commended President Tinubu’s leadership in ECOWAS, saying: “We support your efforts at ECOWAS. We are behind you because we believe that constitutional order is a treasure for all countries, and democracy must be a reality.”