SULEIMAN Abba, inspector-general of Police, on Tuesday, January 13, warned officers and men of the force not to operate outside the Electoral Act as anybody going contrary would be severely dealt with. Addressing police officers under zone six in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, Abba said arrangements had been concluded for mass distribution of the Electoral Act to all the policemen across the country.
He reminded them of the need to conduct themselves within the guideline and provision of the Electoral Act, arguing that policemen were not expected to be partisans in the political dispensation.
To help their operations, Abba disclosed that the contract for the delivery of 2,500 patrol vehicles had been signed and that about 500 of the vehicles had so far been delivered. He promised that the vehicles would be distributed to various state commands on arrival.
“Don’t be discouraged any way. There is nothing new about the role of police during the election. It is simple the maintenance of law and order and protection of lives and property. The only new thing is that the Electoral Law has been added. Make sure you inculcate the value of hard work, honesty, humility, commitment and sacrifice, make sacrifice to you nation,” Abba said.
The IG further disclosed that enough personnel even from the sister agencies had been assembled to ensure all the polling units were protected during and after the election. He said although firearms would not be allowed within a give radius during election, the police would not allow any intimidation of voters and snatching of ballot boxes. “During election, people should be able to reach you and you should be able to render that assistant. You must be able to protect the person coming to vote, INEC officials, materials and result at the end of elections,” he said.
PDP Chiefs in Ondo State Defects to APC
SOME chieftains and members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ondo State on Tuesday, January 13, defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, citing the need for a change from broken promises and future as their reasons. Leading the park of the defectors were Femi Agagu, a younger brother of the late Olusegun Agagu, former governor of Ondo State, and Victor Olabimtan, a former commissioner in the Federal Civil Service Commission. Agagu, who was the chief of staff to his late brother for six years while in office, said: “Our hands are now on the plough and there is no looking back. Indeed we are convinced that in the battle between the people of Nigeria and PDP, the people shall surely win.”
Prominent among the defectors are Niran Sule, a former commissioner for Special Duties; Bukola Tenabe, a former commissioner for Women Affairs; Tola Wewe, a former commissioner for Tourism; Olaitan Ayeni, a former commissioner for Works and Tola Aworh, commissioner for Information.
Others are Kunle Adebayo, special adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, and Yinka Orokoto, a former senior assistance to the governor, and Banji Ajaka, a former local government chairman; Taofiq Abdusalam a former speaker and Eniolorunda Omosule, a member of House of Representatives.
Welcoming them to the party, Isaac Kekemeke, state chairman of the APC, said the new members would be integrated into the party not as joiners but co-founders. He appealed to the new members to work tirelessly for the party to win in the next month’s elections. The defection has been largely regarded as a serious indictment on the leadership of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who defected to the PDP with many of the defectors from the Labour Party late last year.
Obasanjo Absolves Buhari of Fraud in PTF
IT was no doubt a tactical endorsement for General Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday, January 13, said his administration probed the accounts of the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, formerly headed by Buhari and found nothing incriminating against him.
Obasanjo made the disclosure in Abeokuta, Ogun State when Buhari and other national leaders of the APC visited him at his Hilltop residence. The former president who scrapped the PTF and ordered the probe of its account as he assumed office in 1999, said when he looked into the report submitted to him on the alleged fraud in the PTF that he did not see anything incriminating found against Buhari.
He said: “When you were going to become the manager of PTF. We talked about it and when you finished and I took over, we looked into it. I haven’t said this publicly, I would say it publicly now. When we looked into it, there was really nothing amiss except that that organisation went from road building to mosquito net-buying and all sorts of things.
“And what the investigation discovered is a bit of inconsistency in prices and all that. In one area, mosquito net might have been given for N50; in another, N45. And I then remarked that this is fishy. We should look into it.
“And I called my brother and colleague (Buhari), I said see this and he said ‘look we are managing billions of Naira and I tried to make sure I see everything. But I will not say that what they have said about this is correct or not correct. But I can assure you, I tried to see everything.’
“I said okay Muhammadu, between me, you and God, was there any personal benefit for you? And you said ‘no.’ I said that is the end of the matter. Although there was that investigation, its report was not of any material importance.”
Buhari headed the PTF, inaugurated in March 1995, under the regime of the late General Sani Abacha. The PTF was established to manage the fund accruable from the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, from N3.25 to N11.
The PTF was scrapped by Obasanjo on assumption of the Presidency in 1999. The ex-President also set up a committee to investigate the accounts of the PTF following allegations of N25bn fraud in the agency.
On Buhari’s entourage to Obasanjo’s house were John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman of the APC; Bisi Akande, the party’s former interim national chairman; Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and a national leader of the APC, Bola and Governor Ibikunle Amosu of Ogun State, among others.
Let Us Unite Against Boko Haram – Mark
DAVID Mark, Senate president, wants Nigerians to stop the blame game and support the Armed Forces to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, and rescue the Chibok girls. Mark, who spoke while welcoming his colleagues back from the Yuletide holiday as the Senate resumed work on Tuesday, January 13, said every Nigerian irrespective of tribe, religion or political divide must support security agencies in their task of defeating Boko Haram for the nation to progress.
The Senate President specifically urged the federal government and the Armed Forces to intensify efforts to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls abducted from their school in Borno State, April 14, 2014. “Government must do all it can to end this insurgency. This is a war that we must win and we will win. The tendency is to blame government for this sore state of affairs. Every Nigerian, irrespective of partisanship, must demonstrate patriotism to our country. We must support our Armed Forces and other security operatives to stop this evil. Insecurity plagues all of us and must be tackled holistically,’’ he said.
According to Mark, members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies had paid supreme sacrifice to free the country from the activities of insurgents and described the victims as heroes and heroines whose deaths must not be in vain.
“We pray that the souls of the deceased rest in peace. They are our heroes and heroines and their deaths must not be in vain. We must not dishonour their memory by politicising the security challenges in the North-East,’’ he said.
Mark commended the National Assembly for its active roles in the fight against terrorism as well as the relevant committees that had engaged various stakeholders, especially the Armed Forces and other security agencies ”who risked their lives daily to protect our liberty, freedom and security.
On February’s general elections, the Senate president said: “We have a role to play in ensuring that Nigeria witnesses a peaceful general election. Despite the much vaunted fear, apprehension and anxiety that our nation may not survive the elections by some dooms-day prophets, I personally remain optimistic that we have the strength of character, the political will, the perseverance and maturity to rise above all the challenges that lie ahead. We are all leaders and I know that we will work towards peace and harmony. Our nation will not disintegrate after the elections.”