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My worry over 2019 polls, by Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked security agencies to ensure peaceful elections, warning it might be difficult to conduct the 2019 general elections across the country, if conduct of hitch-free elections in one state is difficult to achieve.

This came on a day lawyers and civil society organisations protested in Abuja, calling for the resignation of Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, over the manner he had handled conduct of elections in the country.

The President, who spoke in the light of the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State and National and State Assembly re-runs in Rivers State, directed security agencies to ensure violence-free elections in the two states.

R-L: Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; President Muhammadu Buhari; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun in one of the Lecture rooms in the Edo University, Iyamho, Edo State during the commissioning, on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Buhari, while giving the directive at a state dinner in Benin, the Edo State capital, on Monday night, said the elections would serve as a litmus test for the general elections in 2019.

“What happened in (the last elections) Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states disturbs me a lot.  I think we should go beyond these actions. Why do we kill each other? Putting tyres on people and setting them ablaze? “I have told the law enforcement agencies, if we can’t conduct an election in one state, then we should forget about 2019,” the President said.

Oshiomhole has done well  —Buhari Acknowledging the role played by outgoing Governor Adams Oshiomhole in ensuring the success of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the recent Edo State governorship election, President Buhari challenged the governor-elect, Mr Godwin Obaseki, to continue in Oshiomhole’s footsteps by providing purposeful leadership in terms of quality infrastructure, education and social services. “The publicity your predecessor has given his performance is going to stretch you to the limit. “Considering what he has done, you have to continue in his footsteps.

We wish you the best of luck and will do our best to support you,” he said. On the current economic challenges in the country, the President assured Nigerians that his administration was working hard on diversification of the economy to limit the country’s over-dependence on oil.

“This country has incredible mineral resources. All we need is to believe in ourselves so that we can have and leave a better Nigeria for our children and grandchildren,” he said. Lawyers, CSOs ask INEC chairman, commissioner to resign over Rivers re-run Buhari spoke as a group of human rights lawyers and civil society organisations, under the aegis of Alliance in Defence of Democracy, ADD, yesterday, called for the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and National Commissioner in charge of elections, Hajia Amina Zakari, over the forthcoming re-run polls in Rivers.

The group, which stormed the National Assembly, demanded a full scale investigation into the alleged production of fake INEC result sheets, ahead of the December 10 re-run senatorial election in Rivers State. The over 500 protesters described the printing of the result sheets as a high level plot to rig the forthcoming election in the state.

The protesters had earlier in the day, matched to the headquarters of  INEC and demanded immediate resignation of Professor Yakubu and Mrs Amina Zakari from office to allow for investigation into the alleged scam. Prior to the protest, National Secretary of ADD, Agu Okwukwe, who addressed journalists, called for immediate investigation into the  matter.. Accusing top INEC officials of masterminding the botched electoral fraud in Rivers, the group insisted that the commission must explain how the printer got information about the serial numbers of the commission’s result sheets for the December election.

Noting that the result sheets were printed “unit by unit for the eight local government areas in Rivers South East senatorial zone, Okwukwe added that the act was capable of truncating Nigeria’s democracy. He said:  “It must not be swept under the carpet.

In fact, it must be conclusively investigated immediately and every one directly and remotely involved be brought to book. “Actions such as this are akin to the incidence that led to the notorious 1983 Wild Wild West election crisis, which ultimately led to the return of military rule in that year.

” The Police, last weekend, arrested three persons, including the manager of a printing press, Mr Atonye Peterside, over alleged printing of fake INEC result sheets for possible use in the state. Multi-party democracy best for Nigeria  —Buhari Meanwile, against the background of its diverse population and ethnic plurality, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, declared that multi-party system  remained the best option for Nigeria’s democracy.

Speaking at the commissioning of  Edo University, Iyamho, in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State, President Buhari urged Nigerians to appreciate the strength in the country’s diverse ethnic and social groups. “We believe in multi-party democratic system. It is the best for us.

In a country of over 450 ethnic groups, it is not easy to come together, only God can do it. “We are doing our best because we have found ourselves as part of this great country called Nigeria,” the President said. President Buhari, who concluded a two-day state visit to Edo, encouraged Nigerians to see the current economic challenges in the country as an opportunity to set the economy firmly on the path of true diversification and sustainable economic growth.

He regretted that Nigeria had all the while, solely depended on oil, saying the economic recession was the price the country had to pay. “We are blessed with human and material resources. We made terrible mistakes in allowing ourselves to become a mono-economy and we are now paying dearly for our mistakes.

Nigeria made money from cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, groundnut, hides and skin and others. We threw everything away because of petroleum. We have to go back to the land and solid minerals and do a lot of savings so that we can leave a better country for our children”, he said. President Buhari expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their understanding and faith with the administration’s reform programmes. “This is a time for hardwork. This is a time of rebuilding Nigeria.

“During my campaigns, I emphasized three things: security, economy and fighting corruption. In each of them, we are recording successes,” the President said. President Buhari congratulated outgoing Governor Adams Oshiomhole on his stewardship during his eight-year tenure, demonstrated in the quality of projects completed in the state.

“Certainly, Governor Oshiomhole is lucky to have served two-terms in office and he has engraved his name in gold in the history of Edo State,” the President said. In his remarks, Gov. Oshiomhole urged Nigerians not to relent in supporting the current administration, saying “Nigeria has a future under Buhari; there is no overnight solution to the country’s problems.”

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Updated 2 Years ago

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