He has to go beyond apology —Fayose
No need for apology —Chekwas Okorie
By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Dapo Akinrefon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Rotimi Ojomoyela
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 lapses.
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 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 Jonathan.
“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? How 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 with.”
APC’s desperation was high – Senator Urhoghide
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 electorates.
“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 President.”
Buhari shouldn’t send wrong signals—Odumakin
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 acceptance.”
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 Yakubu.
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 appointment.
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.