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2019 Election: US, UK, EU Again Send Tough Warning|The Republican News

■ Defy FG’s warnings; insist on free, fair polls

Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja And Linus Oota, Lafia

 

Despitethe Federal Government’s warnings that the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union should desist from interfering in the nation’s internal issues, the three top players in the international community have maintained their earlier position, saying that their interest is to see free and fair elections conducted across the country next Saturday and on March 2.

They expressed their views in separate interviews with Saturday Sun between Wednesday and Friday. The United States said it supports only free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the Nigerian people. Responding to Saturday Sun inquiry on the forthcoming polls and its earlier statements, the United States, through its Public Affairs Section, Embassy of the United States of America, Abuja, called on every Nigerian citizen, official, political party, and members of the security forces, to support peacefully, the democratic electoral process in accordance with the Nigerian law.

Recall that the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, drew the ire of the Federal Government in their positions on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen. The trio had said the timing was wrong and would send a wrong signal as far as the forthcoming polls are concerned.

Earlier, the Governnent of the United States and the United Kindgom, issued a stern warning to would-be election offenders in the forthcoming elections, threatening visa sanctions to offenders and their relatives.

“The United States supports free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the Nigerian people. Our message has not changed.

“The United States does not support any individual candidate or political party.  We support the democratic process and the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission in managing the elections.

“We call on every Nigerian citizen, official, political party, and member of the security forces, to support peacefully, the democratic electoral process in accordance with Nigerian law,” the United States said. It further said it looked forward to the impartial and professional activities of Nigeria’s security forces during the elections. “We welcomed the signing of the Peace Accord by leaders of the aspirant political parties and look forward to seeing that accord honored by all,” the United States further said.

This position was further reinforced on Friday by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, who tasked the government and people of Nigeria to ensure a peaceful and credible general elections because “the world is interested and watching”.

Symington stated this in Lafia, after meeting with Mr Labaran Maku, the Nasarawa State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Noting that the responsibility of ensuring a peaceful, free, fair and credible polls rested with the government and all citizens, he said that Nigeria gained much credibility after the success of the 2015 general elections. “That election was credible; it lifted the country’s standing internationally. Nigeria must build on that because its citizens are desirous of a peaceful and credible election. All the candidates I have talked to, at all levels, have expressed the desire for a free, fair and credible elections, where all votes will count.”

According to him, peace is not just something you pledge but something that is planted and nurtured to growth using words and actions. “Truly, it’s up to each person to make a decision and take responsibility for doing what is right,” Symington said.

Also responding to Saturday Sun inquiry on its current position on the forthcoming polls, the UK, through its Senior Communications Officer, Press and Public Affairs, British High Commission, Abuja, TinuOluwa Adelegan, said the UK’s work regarding the elections; to support free, fair, credible and peaceful elections is focused on supporting the electoral process and the independent institutions. The UK further said it was working with civil societies to ensure that they are prepared to effectively monitor elections and call out problems when they see them. It added that in its advocacy role, the UK is speaking to all parties, including the two main parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), appealing to their leadership to live up to their obligations and to the peace accord.

The UK also said its appeal to all parties is that they ensure that the vote is conducted fairly and none of their supporters is involved in violence or vote buying, and ensuring that when it (UK) notices such issues, it calls them out. “We have over 100 observation groups covering the six geo political zones as part of our international election observation mission. They will be seeing the process for themselves first hand, and ensuring that all parties are behaving in a responsible way,” the UK further said.

On its part, the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria, said its recent comments on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was carried out in strict adherence to its code of conduct. The EU EOM denied any form of interference in the nation’s internal issues, stating that the EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis, and make recommendations about the electoral process.

In response to Saturday Sun inquiry on its current position on the forthcoming elections and the accusation of interference by the government, EU Deputy Chief Observer, Hannah Roberts said: “We are aware of the comments made, but it’s important to emphasise that the EU only deploys an election observation mission when it is invited to do so by the authorities of a country.

“The EU has been invited to observe all of the general elections in Nigeria since 1999. Thus, this is the sixth time the EU is observing elections in Nigeria, following an invitation from INEC.  EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis, and make recommendations about the electoral process. EU election observation missions are impartial, do not interfere in the electoral process, and operate according to a strict code of conduct.”

When contacted, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, did not respond to the positions maintained by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, saying the Federal Government will not want to join issues with them now.           (The Sun)

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2019 Elections: Era Of Landslide Victory Gone – INEC Chief |The Republican News

•Call politicians to order, FG urges monarchs

 

Fred Ezeh, Abuja 

 

TheFederal Government has asked traditional rulers to caution politicians against utterances that could affect the peace and unity of the country. 

President Muhammadu Buhari said this at the 10th general assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) in Abuja, yesterday, with the theme: “Building a synergy towards free, fair, credible and violent-free 2019 general election-the traditional rulers.

Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, described the traditional institutions as repository of local intelligence, hence, the periodic consultation and regular meetings with government for a better Nigeria. 

He said: “We have had in the past, various degrees of violence during previous elections which was the outcome of irresponsible utterances, hate speech by some ‘desperate politicians’ apparently designed to provoke or incite violence. That would not be tolerated again.

“Your positions as traditional rulers accord you considerable influence and respect of your subjects. So, I urge you to take up your responsibility of guidance and counselling, and enlighten your subjects on the need to shun animosity, conflict and violence during or after the elections.

“It’s also important that you mobilise them to participate in the electoral process by voting candidates or party of their choice; without fear of molestation, intimidation or harassment.”

On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad, who is the co-chairman of Council, expressed worry over the rate of insecurity in Nigeria, which, he said, could mar the credibility of the forthcoming elections.

He, however, challenged government to step up security, ahead of the elections, so they could guarantee safety of voters in and out of polling stations.

He equally challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to harvest views and suggestions of all stakeholders which are relevant in accordance to law, to ensure free, fair, credible and globally accepted elections by all parties.

Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the era of landslide victory in Nigerian elections are forever gone.

Yakubu linked his statement with the outcome off-season elections conducted in several states, before preparations for the general election.

He particularly said Osun state governorship presented the first case scenario in Nigeria where the difference between the leading candidate and the runner-up was little above 300 votes.

“That might have prompted the option of re-run that eventually produced the winner of that election,” he explained and also, made references to several by-elections conducted in Plateau and other states, which produced surprised outcomes.

Yakubu said the developments were clear indications that Nigerians are wiser, politically aware and enlightened in the governance processes and are determined to participate in the electoral process that would herald the emergence of new political leaders.

He thus challenged politicians to re-strategise on their campaign messages and device best ways to reach out to Nigerians and convince them to buy into their political ambition instead of relying on rigging and other malpractices hitherto used win elections.    (The Sun)

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2019 Elections Will Define Nigeria’s Future – US Ambassador |The Republican News

 

United States Ambassador to Nigeria Stuart Symington has stated that the forthcoming elections will define the future of the country and urged stakeholders to promote credible and peaceful elections.

Symington, while addressing journalists after meeting with the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, declared that all institutions of government must do what is right.

He said: “All of the institutions of government must do what is right. An election is not a matter of life and death.

“It is a matter of defining the future of Nigeria. There must be free, fair and credible elections,” Symington emphasised.

He said that the idea of a free people with the ability to make free decisions remains the most important idea in the world.

He said: “I am quite confident that on election day, the sons and daughters of the powerful will not be out there causing violence”.

The US envoy urged people to have the courage to reject any call for them to be engaged in violence during the elections.

On the campaigns, he charged the electorate to always ask their political leaders to outline ways through which they would actualize their promises.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, believe in the votes of the people making a difference during the polls.   (The Sun)

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Ekiti Guber: Kwankwaso, Fayose Solicit For Credible, Peaceful Election

Fayose-Kwakwaso

Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose and Former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwakwaso

Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti

Former Kano State Governor Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose have called for the credible and peaceful conduct of the upcoming July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.

Both men spoke in Ado-Ekiti during a call by Kwankwaso on Fayose at the Government House Monday.

This was contained in a press statement by Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi.

Kwankwaso, currently serving as an APC senator, addressing the northern community in the state, urged them to live in peace with their hosts and exercise their civic duties during the election.

He said elections should not be seen as a war, but that the votes of the people must be made to count.

Kwankwaso, decrying the spate of killings in some parts of the country, stated that it was the responsibility of the government to secure the lives and properties of citizens.

Asked whether he would defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the former Minister of Defence said whatever was collectively agreed upon by members of the New PDP would inform his next line of action.

In his remarks, Governor Fayose thanked the senator for the visit.

He added that peace was imperative for the unity and corporate existence of the country.

He lambasted the Federal Government for not being able to curtail the killings going on in the country.   (The Sun)

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