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Ondo 2020: PDP rejects OAU VC as Chief Returning Officer

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…says don is Akeredolu’s crony

*With him, voters can’t get free, fair election 

– Makinde, PDP National Campaign Chair

*Calls on international community to call INEC to order

The National Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  for the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State, has rejected the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as the Chief Returning Officer for the election.

Chairman of the Campaign Council, who is also the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who addressed newsmen in Akure on Thursday, raised the alarm, declaring that the people of Ondo State could be shortchanged if Ogunbodede is allowed to serve as the Returning Officer.

He said that the VC is a crony of the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Areredolu (SAN), adding that such a situation cannot guarantee a free and fair election.

According to him, there appears a high plot to sabotage the will of the voters in the state by ensuring that they do not get a free and fair election.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the appointment of Ogunbodede, a crony of the incumbent Ondo State Governor, who is also the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will compromise the election.

Besides being a crony of the Ondo State governor, Ogunbodede equally hails from Owo town, the governor added.

Makinde called on INEC to replace Prof. Ogunbodede as Chief Returning Officer with a neutral individual, adding that such a sensitive position must be held by someone who has no affiliation with any of the parties in the election.

The PDP National Campaign Council also declared that Professor A.S. Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training for returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of the election.

The statement also indicated that the governor called on all lovers of democracy around the world to be alert to the machinations of the APC-led Federal Government to rig the Ondo State governorship election.

The campaign council urged the United Nations, the European Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom and all lovers of democracy to call INEC to order, stating that it is already compiling names of all actors and would not hesitate to recommend the same for visa ban based on their actions and inactions in Saturday’s election.

Makinde said: “All the hard work and support that we have provided for our candidate, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who will help us reclaim Ondo, comes down to one date, the 10th of October, 2020.

“However, it has come to our notice that the people of Ondo State will not be getting a free and fair election if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as presently composed, will be overseeing the election in Ondo State.

“We are speaking in particular about the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as the Chief Returning Officer of the Ondo State governorship election.

“The PDP totally rejects Prof. Ogunbodede, who is acting as the Chief Returning Officer. The reasons are very clear. He is a known crony of the current governor of Ondo State, who is also the candidate of APC, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). He hails from Owo, the same hometown as the candidate of the APC. He cannot be a fair party in the proceeding by the virtue of their association.

“We also want to state that Professor A.S Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training of returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of this election.

“We, therefore, call on INEC to stay true to their names and replace Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede with a disinterested party. The Chief Returning Officer should have no affiliations with any of the participating parties in the election.”

Governor Makinde, who called on the international community to be alert to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo, said: “We also take this opportunity to call on all lovers of democracy around the world to pay attention to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo State. 

“We call on the United Nations, European Union, United State, and the United Kingdom and, indeed, and indeed, all allies of democracy, to call INEC to order. 

“We are compiling the names of the people involved in there and I believe those people will be good candidates for the visa ban, because if they try to rig this election and they stay here with us, then we will reach out to them after the election to either say thank you or show them what it is if they allow themselves to be used to deny the people of Ondo State the free will to choose their leader.”

The governor commended security agencies in Ondo State for doing well so far, warning, however, that they should not allow themselves to be used as tools to subvert the will of the people.

He further said: “We call on all security agencies in Ondo State not to allow themselves to be used as a tool against the will of the people. 

“So far, they have done very well. So, we take this opportunity to commend them for what they have done so far. But we still have a long way to go. Until we see to the end of this process and a governor-elect is declared, it is going to be eternal vigilance for us. So, we urge the security agencies to still do more.

“Please, don’t forget that history and posterity have never been kind to people who allow themselves to be used as a tool for injustice. We urge our security agencies to read the mood of the people and act accordingly.

“Well, politicians, I am one, will come and go, but the people will always remain; and our state and our country will remain. And everyone should remember the world is watching us.” 

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Oyo PDP group tackles Lanlehin over attacks on Makinde

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…urges ex-lawmaker to eschew politics of bitterness

The recent tirades against the Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, by the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), in the 2019 governorship election,  Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, have been described as highly misguided.

A group within the state’s chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which identified itself as ‘PDP-Visionaries’ gave this position on Sunday, stating that Lanlehin’s new-found penchant for attacking the governor is an ill-wind that can blow the ex-lawmaker no good.

According to a statement signed by the group’s lead visioner, Comrade Qudus Olayide, Lanlehin, who represented Oyo South Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, should eschew politics of bitterness and live up to expectations as a statesman.

The group, which frowned on a statement released on Saturday by the Lanlehin Media Bureau, which cast aspersions on Governor Makinde for his role in the recent Ondo State governorship election, said it was contemptuous and utterly undignifying for Lanlehin to mock Makinde for delivering on a mandate of leading the PDP campaign, which was given to him by the national leadership of the party.

The statement read in part: “We have watched with measured caution recent developments involving the governorship candidate of the ADC, Senator Femi Lanlehin, who was an active part of the coalition of parties that worked for the election of Governor Makinde.

“It is sad to note that the Senator appeared to have missed his ways; first by returning to his vomit, the APC where he was rubbished, degraded and forced out in 2015 and second by seeking every little opportunity to launch attacks on Governor Makinde.

“The most noticeable was the mockery of the governor by Lanlehin over the role he played in the Ondo State governorship election and the loss of the PDP in the Kogi State governorship election.

“By using these two elections, which have been adjudged as unfair and lacking credibility owing to huge levels of violence and/or vote buying, to taunt Makinde, it became clear that Lanlehin does not believe in free and fair elections.

For making the Kogi election a benchmark for his criticism of Makinde, it shows that Lanlehin approves of the polls that have been roundly discredited by the international community. 

“While one would not have loved to join issues with the Senator or better still, his puerille media handlers in the Lanlehin Media Bureau, it becomes imperative to point out that Lanlehin has shown his real credentials. 

“But we must make it clear that he is not in any position to mock Governor Makinde on the losses of the PDP in Kogi and Ondo elections, having been a woeful failure in an election he contested as an incumbent in 2015.

“Though we understand that the once respected Senator may now be playing to the gallery, trying to justify the confidence of the APC National Leader, whose disciple he has always been, we believe that the attacks on Makinde are needless and a demonstration of bitterness.”

The group added that it was aware that Lanlehin and his supporters will bare their fangs the more as the 2023 elections draw near, as they will need to prove a point to their new party that they are relevant in the scheme of things politically.

“The group, however, warned Lanlehin, who it said is a journey-man politician, having traversed the Accord Party, PDP and ADC in just a few years, to direct his bitterness towards other sources, saying that if he is angered by the way he was treated in the coalition, he should seek out his real enemies and not continue to attack Governor Makinde without basis.

“Senator Lanlehin is human, he has a right to be angry if he feels he was not rightly treated by the coalition arrangement. But the truth of the matter is that Makinde is not the enemy. Senator Lanlehin has over time failed to see this reality. He needs to turn his bitterness to his colleagues in the ADC who distributed the party’s share of the coalition’s positions without considering his cronies. 

“If Senator Lanlehin feels that he can garner sympathy by attacking Makinde, then he should think twice, because the Makinde project is ordained by God and God has been using him to change the story of the state and its people for good. Lanlehin  or any one, no matter how highly-placed, cannot derail a God-ordained project, which is what Makinde’s mandate is.

“Whatever route Lanlehin takes going forward, we wish him well and hope we would not have to respond to inane statements attacking Makinde from his puerille media handlers in the future”

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#OndoDecides: Agboola accuses security agencies of compromise

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Agboola Ajayi

 

Ondo Deputy Governor and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Hon Agboola Ajayi has accused security operatives of compromise in the ongoing governorship election.

He said the security arrangement was faulty and compromised.

After casting his ballot at about 11.15 am, Ajayi told reporters at his polling unit in Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government that security agencies did a bad job from what he has observed so far during the election.

He said they had compromised the system.

He said: “So far, so good. The procedure being adopted by INEC is okay, but from what I have seen, there appears to be a compromise on the part of security agencies.”

The ZLP candidate said everyone celebrated following the relative success the electoral umpire achieved in the recent election in Edo State, “thinking that things were gradually going back to normal but it appears we are going back to the era of ballot box snatching and violence.”

He enjoined INEC to cancel the result of the units in Owo where a video making the rounds in the social media suggested that there were electoral malpractices at some polling units.

Ajayi said he has watched videos and in civilised climes elections in such circumstances are usually cancelled.

On the boat carrying electoral materials that capsized on Friday night, he said had suggested it in the past to INEC that they should always endeavour to involve people from riverine areas in conveying electoral materials on water, to avoid such mishaps.

 

The Nation

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#ENDSARS: Senate President, Lawan decries banning F-SARS

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The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan says banning the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) is not the solution to cases of extrajudicial killings by the Police unit.

His statement comes after the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, last week, banned F-SARS personnel and other Tactical Squads of the Force from embarking on routine patrols.

Senator Lawan stated this on Wednesday during plenary in response to a motion by Senator Oluremi Tinubu on extrajudicial killings and human rights violations by SARS operatives.

According to the Senate President, one of the solutions is to arrest and prosecute police officers who have engaged in extrajudicial killings.

Federal lawmakers who debated the motion say the abuse and human rights violations by the police, particularly, SARS have reached alarming levels.

The Senate is consequently directing its committees on Police and Human Rights to investigate cases of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings by the police.

The lawmakers are also asking the police to set up hotlines for Nigerians to report abuses and human rights violations by its officials.

The upper chamber is further asking the police to set up a monitoring unit to look into the operations of its men.

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