Monday, March 28, 2016

APOLOGY OVER VIOLENT POLLS: Nigerians deserve the best, PDP leaders, others tell Buhari

no-violence-e1427461733192He has to go beyond apology —Fayose

No need for apology —Chekwas Okorie

By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Dapo

Akinrefon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Rotimi


LAGOS—SOME Leaders and chieftains of the

opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have

advised President Muhammadu Buhari to go

beyond apologies and give Nigerians credible and

peaceful elections.

Last Thursday, President Buhari offered apologies

for the ill-tempered elections conducted under his

watch in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers States.

Commenting on the apology, Ekiti State Governor,

Mr. Ayodele Fayose, said it was not enough and

urged the President to take steps to redress the


In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr

Idowu Adelusi, the governor commended Buhari

for admitting some errors his government had

made but added that the President should be wary

of some selfish persons in the APC who were bent

on dropping his name to commit atrocities in the

name of politics.

“This is a moment of truth. I commend the

president for being bold enough to apologise for

his lapses. He has come out to admit and accept

that criticism is part of democracy. He can do

whatever he likes, but it must be within the ambit

of the law.

“The President has swallowed his pride by“The President has swallowed his pride by

admitting that there is a sharp drop in electricity

and that we are experiencing an agonising fuel

scarcity in the country. They told us the refineries

are working, but that is a lie, we are still importing

fuel. The President must not, however, stop at

apologising. He cannot continue to apologise over

everything, he must step up. A leader must think

very well before making policy statements.’’

Taking a swipe at the manner elections had been

conducted under the present regime, Fayose said

it had destroyed the legacy of credible elections

left behind by former President Goodluck


“It is an understatement to describe the conduct of

elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states by the

Buhari administration as a show of shame. This is

an aspect where the President has to be very

careful. He must not allow himself to be led by the

nose by some rejected and crooked politicians.

“Politicians that were soundly rejected in previous

elections by their people and who now want to use

state power and brute force to lord themselves on

the people because their party is now in power at

the federal level,” he noted.

Nigerians are disappointed – Ikokwu

Second Republic Politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, who

is one of the founders of the PDP, said it is sad

that peaceful and credible polls have become a

mirage in Nigeria.

He dismisses as hog wash complaints by the

federal government and APC that they were

battling with the rot left by the PDP’s 16 years

misrule because we can’t continue to dwell in the

past. We were told there would be change and

change mantra.

He said: “Majority of Nigerians are disappointed

that by this time we cannot hold credible, peaceful

and transparent elections, which are the true

ambient of democracy. There is so much apathy

because the government cannot provide security.

Why can’t the INEC release the Rivers results? Who

can the present INEC be giving us inconclusive

elections? Why will INEC tell us that what

happened in Kogi is okay with a governor sworn in

without a deputy. Somebody who did not take part

in the first election was allowed to take part in the

supplement art election?

“If Nigeria will have the courage to implement the

national conference resolutions giving political and

legislative powers to the six geo-political zones and

allowing the zones to move according to their

pace with the centre not as powerful as it is now,

things will be better The question of states running

to the Centre for bail out will not arise. Each will

bite the much it can chew. Each Zone will

determine the no of local councils it can cope


APC’s desperation was high – Senator


Also speaking, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, PDP,

Edo South, attributed the flaws to inadequate

security and desperation on the part of members

of the APC.

Senator Urhoghide who is the Chairman, Senate

Committee on Culture and Tourism said: “These

failures President Buhari has accepted border

more on the lack of adequate security measures

during the rescheduled polls in these states.

“The President ought to know better, knowing the

lack of tolerance of other opinions or choices, the

desperation of the political gladiators in these

areas, but he decided otherwise. Some of us

believe his attitude is such because the

preponderance of these individuals are in his

political party, the APC. After all, these states are

PDP controlled states or are places where

undoubtedly PDP has overwhelming support of the


“The APC chieftains in these enclaves are

desperate to have control so that they can be

reckoned with at the centre by the party and the


Buhari shouldn’t send wrong signals—


Pan -Yoruba Socio-Political organisation, Afenifere,

appealed to the president not to send wrong

signals to Nigerians.

National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka

Odumakin said: “Beyond apology, what the

president needs to do is to give correct signals to

the nation and agencies involved in election

management that he is a democratic president,

who wants smooth and peaceful elections across

Nigeria. For instance, not congratulating the

Baysela governor, after winning up till now is a

body language that shows that the president will

not be happy if his party does not win elections.

So, beyond the apology, he should build on what

Dr Goodluck Jonathan built and ensure that the

Rivers election results are announced. He should

ensure that our elections become a friendly affair

between opposing parties so that the spirit of

sportsmanship can come in.”

It is great statesmanship—Gbagi

However, another founding member of the PDP

and former Minister of State for Education,

Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, commended Buhari for

apologizing to Nigerians over the electoral crises in

Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers. According to him, the

apology indicates admission of mistake and

readiness to make amends.

His words: “It is an act of great statesmanship. For

the President to have come out to apologise for

the flaws unlike what happened in the past shows

that they admit mistakes have been made and

prepares the ground for amendment and

correction. I commend him for that matured


Senator, Rep

Rep Julius Pondi, who represents Burutu Federal

Constituency of Delta State in the House of a

representatives, said the President had to

apologise to Nigerians because of the alleged bad

choice of the Chairman of Independent National

Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood


Pondi said that ordinarily the failures were

supposed to be heaped on the doorsteps of the

INEC but because Mr. President appointed the

INEC chairman who had not conducted any credible

elections since he took over from Prof. Attahiru

Jega, it meant the President made a wrong


In the same vein, Senator Lee Meeba, who

represented Rivers East in the Sixth Assembly, said

that since Prof. Jega left as INEC Chairman,

conduct of elections had been poor.

No need for apology– Chekwas Okorie

In his comment, National Chairman and

Presidential Candidate in the 2015 elections, Chief

Chekwas Okorie, said at the President needed not

to apologise to anybody as he was not directly

involved in the conduct of the elections.

He, however said that the “INEC was nearly

incurable in the management of elections in

Nigeria,” adding that, “even if you bring a saint to

head INEC, as long as the bureaucracy has not been

cleansed, the Saint will turn to a villain.”

He also said that instead of apologising, the

president should initiate a bill on electronic voting

where even card reader that he said was causing

problems, will not be necessary.

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