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APC, PDP clash over vote-buying, Oni’s camp mulls legal action

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The All Progressives Congress on Sunday took a swipe at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party over the result of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State.

The party, in a statement in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, said Nigerians were not deceived by PDP’s claim of being on a rescue mission in the country.

The PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, who responded to Morka’s statement, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the APC heavily induced the electorate whom it had pauperised.

But PDP governorship candidate, Bisi Kolawole, in a statement on Sunday, congratulated the APC standard-bearer, Biodun Oyebanji, who won the governorship election, urging him to take urgent actions to redress the plights of the people.

Also on Sunday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi  Adamu and the Progressive Governors’ Forum hailed the election of Oyebanji.

According to the result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday, Oyebanji won 15 out of 16 local government areas in the state, while Kolawole emerged victorious in the Efon Local Government Area.

Oyebanji scored 187,057 votes to defeat the Social Democratic Party’s candidate, Olusegun Oni, who came second with 82,211 votes, while Kolawole, who came third, polled 67,457 votes.

The APC spokesman,  Morka, in his statement, berated the PDP. He stated, “Unsurprisingly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party finished a distant third position in the just-concluded election. Despite its claim to a self-serving and self-assigned rescue mission of Nigeria, the people of Ekiti State and, by extension, Nigerians are not, in any way, deceived by the ceaseless propaganda of a desperate party that only seeks a return to power to continue its ruinous escapades.

“Without a doubt, the well-deserved victory in Ekiti State is an eloquent testimony of the acceptance of our party under the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the sagacity of our National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the uncommon commitment of other members of the National Working Committee  of our great party.”

‘APC pauperised Nigerians’

In his response, Ologunagba accused the APC of using poverty as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’  to manipulate the electorate and induce the outcome of the Ekiti election.

“I won’t react to the comment from APC but we are still reviewing the outcome of the Ekiti election. As a party, the PDP doesn’t react, we respond. The election in Ekiti is not a true reflection of what took place. It was a purging. That is the challenge we have about the electoral system.

“The APC has weaponised poverty and turns it into a weapon of mass destruction. What do you expect? Nigerians know the truth and must liberate themselves. In liberating ourselves, there are sacrifices to make. It must also include the willingness and capacity to say ‘No’ rather banishing oneself to a generational servitude.

“We all know what happened in the election. The outcome of that election is not the will of the people. It is a will induced by poverty. We saw the report everywhere in the media that about N10,000 were being paid for a vote. The report is there in the public domain. There were some voters who were spotted dancing in queues and displaying the N5,000 that they received. It shows the electoral system in our country has been bastardised by the APC. From ruining the economy, they have gone as far as disrupting the electoral system without shame. They have succeeded in weaponising poverty as an act of the policy of the government.”

“They have succeeded in turning poverty into a weapon of mass destruction, the capacity of people to make an informed and rational decision becomes difficult. That was what went down in that election.

“That’s the preliminary report we got. The APC has pauperised people and promoted disunity as an act of governance by the infamous statement by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).”

Oni’s camp

The SDP state collation agent and former state attorney general, Owoseni Ajayi, said that the results as declared by INEC did not reflect the true decision of the people, lamenting that the process was marred by financial inducement hence the need for legal redress.

Ajayi spoke in the early hours of Sunday after the collation of election results from the 16 council areas and the return of Oyebanji of APC as winner and governor-elect.

He said, “We reject the result of that election because it was fraught with violence, election malpractices, intimidation of voters, purchase of votes and others. The only way we can challenge that is to file our petition at the election petitions tribunal we shall do.

“This will enable generations coming to know that when conducting elections, you must follow the rules and procedures,” the former AG said.

However, the Media Director, Segun Oni Campaign Organisation, Jackson Adebayo, said that the party leadership would meet on the outcome of the election on Monday.

Adebayo said, “The leadership of the party has not taken a decision yet on the election. They will meet tomorrow (Monday), it is then that they will discuss and take a position, which will be made known to the public. Leaders have not met as I speak with you”.

But the PDP standard-bearer, Kolawole, said, “I believe that power belongs to God and He bestows upon whomever he chooses. I also believe in popular choice i.e the unfettered expression of the peoples’ mandate as one of the crucial hallmarks of democratic principle and practice.”

The PDP chieftain spoke in two separate letters – one addressed to the governor-elect titled “Congratulation on your victory” and another one to the people of Ekiti State, titled, “Thank you all, Ekiti”.

Kolawole advised Oyebanji, “Please take urgent actions aimed at redressing the plights of our people when you fully assume the mantle shortly. I wish you the guidance of the Almighty God in the onerous task ahead.”

He also stated, “With a deep sense of responsibility, I would like to thank the Ekiti people, members of the PDP and all sympathisers who believed in us and in our cause to raise higher the banner of Ekiti State.

“According to the scripture, the race is not for the swift nor the battle for the strong. We have tried our best and even though the election has not gone the way we had expected and deserved, we give all glory to God and wish Ekiti people well,” the PDP candidate said.

Kolawole, in a letter to the governor-elect, titled, ‘Congratulation on your victory’, said, “I hereby write to congratulate you. I believe that power belongs to God and He bestows it upon whoever he chooses. I also believe in popular choice ie the unfettered expression of the people’s mandate as one of the crucial hallmarks of democratic principle and practice”.

On his part, the APC National Chairman, Adamu, said Oyebanji’s landslide victory was an indication of the party’s popularity.

In a statement by his media aide, Muhammad Nata’ala Keffi, in Abuja on Sunday, Adamu disclosed that the election was a test of Oyebanji’s character.

The chairman paid glowing tribute to the leadership of the President who as a leader of the APC guided the party going into the Ekiti State election.

“In this first election to be held after he became National Chairman, the victory recorded at the election was a precursor to expected victories of the APC at the Osun election later this year and at the 2023 general elections,” he stated.

Buhari hails victory

The President said the victory of the APC and its candidate indicated the confidence of Nigerians in the party’s ability to deliver quality governance.

Buhari, in a statement s by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, stated, “ The APC is getting stronger and more united. The victory of our party in Ekiti is an indication of the confidence of Nigerians in the ability of our great party to deliver quality governance to all.”

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, his Kebbi State counterpart, Senator Atiku Bagudu and the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, lauded the Ekiti electorate.

The governors, who said the Ekiti electorate was sophisticated enough to identify and go for the best and most sellable candidate, expressed confidence in the governor-elect’s ability to build on Fayemi’s laudable achievements in the state.

They spoke at Oyebanji’s hometown, Ikogosi Ekiti in the Ekiti West Local Government Area while presenting the election result and declaration sheets to the candidate.

Bagudu is the Chairman of the APC National Campaign Committee. The Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, served as the campaign Manager for the Ekiti election.

Bagudu said, “Victory is sweet, but we still have to be humble in it. In 2018, Governor Fayemi won the candidate of the PDP with less than 20,000 votes. But this time, the governor-elect beat his nearest rival with over 100,000 votes.”

Fayemi described the victory as exciting, applauding President Buhari, the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the Progressives Governors’ Forum for their immense support during the electoral battle.

In the same vein, Oyebanji assured the Ekiti people of a new dawn with his being returned by INEC as the governor-elect of Ekiti State.

Also, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, congratulated Oyebanji on the victory in the state governorship election, saying the outcome of the election was the people’s verdict on Fayemi’s performance in the last three and half years.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola also congratulated Oyebanji.

The presidential candidate of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in a statement by his media office, commended Oyebanji for the steadfastness and passion he brought into the campaign, which he said paid off with the emphatic and outstanding victory.

The former governor of Lagos State also commended the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, its governors, and members of the National Working Committee, charging them to lead the APC to victory in the 2023 general elections.

The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr Richard Olatunde, on Sunday, said, Oyebanji’s “vast experience in public service is an asset that would be deployed for the good of the people of Ekiti State. As a former commissioner, chief of staff and later secretary to the state government, the governor-elect is well-equipped to take the state to the next level.”

On its part, the House of Representatives congratulated the INEC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police Force and other agencies in Ekiti State.

The House also noted its role in the success of the election with the amendment and passage of the Electoral Act, which INEC used in conducting the poll.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, in a statement issued on Sunday and titled ‘9th House of Representatives Congratulates INEC on its Successful Conduct of the 2022 Gubernatorial Election in Ekiti State,’ stated that the lawmakers were committed to enhancing the electoral processes.

Assessing the election, a Professor in the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Ojo, Sylvester Akhaine, in an interview with The PUNCH, stated,  ‘‘The announcement of the result was fast while underscoring the challenges encountered with the electronic transfer of results. I also heard that there were complaints about the process being monetised. I hope the electronic transfer of results will be improved upon before the 2023 election.’’

  • Leke Baiyewu, Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis, Grace Edema, Stephen Angbulu, el-ameen Ibrahim, Segun Adewole, Abiodun Nejo, Peter Dada, Bola Bamigbole, Peter Dada and Femi Olaniyi
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Governor’s wife advises Jerusalem pilgrims on conduct

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The returnees who participated in the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Jordan have held a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the successful journey.

According to a statement issued by the state government, the service, held at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, was graced by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

Represented by the wife of a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji, Sanwo-Olu advised the returnees to be true ambassadors of Christ and allow their encounters during the pilgrimage to strengthen their relationship with God and the people around them.

The governor’s wife said, “You cannot afford to go back to your old ways and lifestyles. As you have been described as the light and salt of the world in the Holy Book, it means that you have a lot of tasks ahead of you.”

Sanwo-Olu then thanked God on behalf of the pilgrims for the successful completion of the exercise and the journey mercies experienced.

She said, “We bless the Lord that there was no report of any negative eventuality. It is fitting at this point to state that we are indeed peculiar people with a deep sense of appreciation and we show this trait in praises and thanksgiving to God who specifically called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

In her remarks, the Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Yetunde Gbafe, said the thanksgiving service was in line with God’s injunction as recorded in Psalm 100 where believers were enjoined to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills – Report

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa State over a 12-year period, a new report revealed on Tuesday, as it singled out two international oil companies, Shell and Eni, for being responsible for most of the pollution.

Oil majors in Nigeria have long faced legal challenges over Niger Delta spills, which they mostly blame on sabotage and vandalism of pipelines and illegal refining.

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission said in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data, according to Reuters.

The investigation discovered, among other findings, that toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were many times higher than the safe limits in samples of soil, water, air, and in the blood of local residents, the commission said.

“The report finds failures of strategy, prevention, response and remediation by oil companies,” it said.

Reuters stated that a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said the oil firm was not privy to the final report and could not comment.

An Eni spokesperson said the oil spills were due to theft to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotage but the company undertook to remedy all spills.

Most of the gas produced from Eni’s Nigerian unit was converted into LNG and fed local power plants, the spokesperson said, adding that “Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis.”

Toxins that cause burns, lung problems and risk of cancer were widespread while oil company-led clean-ups were often poorly executed and could further contaminate soil and groundwater, the commission’s report said.

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Experts advise marketers to leverage technology

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Experts have advised marketing professionals to take advantage of technology to revamp marketing tactics.

The marketers were admonished at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Ikeja Chapter 3rd Annual Public Lecture held recently in Lagos.

Speakers at the event said due to the highly competitive marketing arena, marketers must be willing to adjust their approaches in response to shifting market trends and economic circumstances, to remain competitive and achieve success.

The Ikeja Chapter Chairman of NIMN and Chief Executive Officer of Procon Group, Adebayo Oke, noted that the conference was basically to review the position of things in the institute in the face of the country’s dynamic economy.

He said, “We all know that in terms of political economy, we are going to be having a change very soon. Where we are coming from, there are issues that have affected consumerism in terms of the power of a consumer, choices and whether it will get tougher or better that is why we are here. To also share knowledge among the top practitioners to floor it down.”

According to him, a lot of quacks are in the market and most companies believe marketing is anybody’s function.

“And going forward, we are going to be regulating the practice of marketing across all industries and in partnership with the international brands in the areas of marketing, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, amongst others,” he stated.

He disclosed that the institute would be partnering with most companies to ensure that only certified marketer would be allowed to practice marketing, to enable the institute get rid of all the quacks.

The President and Chairman of Council for NIMN, Idorenyen Enang, in his keynote address, highlighted the significance of marketers harnessing the potential of technology while ensuring that they adhere to ethical principles of the profession.

He said, “The benefits of technology in streamlining operations are widely appreciated. However, concerns about job displacement due to AI have arisen. Marketers must strive for a harmonious implementation of these technologies, striking a balance that mitigates such disadvantages.”

He added that while automation greatly enhances efficiency, there is a potential loss of intellectual capacity as the current generation prioritises speed, brevity, and simplicity.

Also, the Head Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Media & Insights of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc, Ifeoluwa Obafemi, said, “In the phase of technological advancement and changes in consumer behaviour, as marketing professionals, we should set our organisation in a future forward mode. For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in the present-day business environment, undergoing a marketing transformation is a necessary process.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Intel Limited, Kolawole Oyeyemi, said, “Marketers should attract and retain their customers. Nowadays, customers are now more informed and know your business more than you do because they now compare your services to global best practices.

“There is a revolution in technology which has assisted in creating tools and devices and building platforms to allow customers to interact with companies across the world.”

According to him, it is a volatile environment and things one does not think will connect one’s business may connect from a very long distance.

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