Alleged attack on Tribunal Secretary: SDP’s utterances ‘betrays suspicious knowledge of incident – APC NWC

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* Says SDP, PDP peddling falsehood, not focusing on reasons they were rejected

* ‘ Melaye has no confidence in himself, not just Judiciary’

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The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has said that the Social Democratic Party has a lot of explaining to do as regards the purported attack on the Secretary of the Election Tribunal in Kogi State, which was said to have occurred in “spurious circumstances”.

Addressing a press conference at the APC National Secretariat, in Abuja, on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary (NPS) of the party, Felix Morka, said SDP’s utterances and actions, prior to, and since the purported occurrence, betrayed “suspicious special knowledge of the incident” and called on security agencies to do a thorough investigation into the alleged incident.

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The party condemned, as dangerous, the incendiary rhetoric of opposition figures in Kogi State who continued to inflame passion and incite strife, noting that “their actions and utterances provide a charged atmosphere for escalation of violence in the state.”

It said, rather than carry out comprehensive evaluation of the reasons they were rejected at the polls, the SDP and PDP had continued to peddle falsehood and promote ethnic and social unrest in the state.

It noted that Ajaka made a U-turn, having initially said he would not contest the outcome of the election, and then decided to bring a petition before the tribunal even though “it appears that he is out time to validly do so.”

The APC said, “On his part, the candidate of the SDP, Murtala Ajaka, stated, on national television, that he will not challenge the election, for reasons similar to that advanced by his opposition counterpart, Dino, that has no confidence in the judiciary, especially as INEC will be a potential witness in the case to justify the outcome of the election.

“In a sudden u-turn, Ajaka, is now reported to have changed his mind and now intends to bring a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal, even though, it appears that he is out time to validly do so. However, we will leave that for determination by the courts.”

The party noted that the SDP and the People’s Democratic Party had been severally conflicted between accepting or challenging the result of the election.

“We participated in the Kogi election, our candidate campaigned widely and vigorously to win the hearts and minds of the good Kogi electorate. He built upon the strong record of achievement of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration and our Party’s progressive manifesto,” APC stressed.

The NPS said, aside from Dino having no confidence in the Judiciary as he said publicly, “it is worth noting, that Mr. Melaye did not also have the confidence to vote for himself during an election in which he was candidate of a major opposition party. So we must accept that Dino is very equitable in his ‘lack of confidence’, and, indeed, lacking confidence in himself.”

“This lack of confidence in himself also explains his loud but empty call for opposition parties to boycott future elections, in his twisted thinking, so APC may appear to have enacted a one party state. The fact remains that Dino did not go to court because he has absolutely nothing to stand on by way of evidence, other than his vituperations in the media space,” the party added.

It said, “Dino should know that participating in an election is a democratic right. Boycotting an election is also a democratic right. Dino is free to choose his democratic right but we hope he chooses wisely.

“That he chose not to vote for himself in the Kogi gubernatorial election did not stop the election process from going ahead in accordance with the Constitution. He cannot stop our democratic train from leaving the station or going on course of its journey to consolidation. He cannot hold back participation by the wonderful people of Kogi state by his infantile outbursts and irrational and vain charges against the APC, INEC and our judiciary.”

The party reiterated that it actively participated in the November 11 elections, having fielded candidates in the respective states, won in Imo and Kogi, but lost Bayelsa as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“Despite substantial compliance with electoral laws and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the conduct of the elections, the post-election situation in Kogi has been bedeviled by contrived controversies and orchestrated violence that now threaten the peace and security of the good state of Kogi,” it said.

The APC NWC pointed out that, prior to Monday’s incident involving the Tribunal’s Secretary, the residence of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Gabriel Hale Longpet, was also attacked on  Friday, December 1, 2023 by armed hoodlums.

“These and other acts of violence in Kogi state are barbaric, undemocratic and unacceptable. The people of Kogi State deserve to live in peace and security. These sponsored and senseless acts of violence must stop.

“We note and welcome the statement by the Kogi Police Command of an ongoing investigation of the alleged attack on  the Secretary to the Election Tribunal and the Resident Electoral Commissioner.  We urge the Police to do so thoroughly and expeditiously, and to bring the perpetrators and their sponsors to justice,” it stated.

See the full text below:

BEING TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC)  ON THE POST-ELECTION SITUATION IN KOGI STATE AT THE MEDIA CENTRE, APC NATIONAL SECRETARIAT, ABUJA, FCT ON DECEMBER 7, 2023*

PARTICIPATING IN AN ELECTION IS A DEMOCRATIC RIGHT, BOYCOTTING AN ELECTION IS ALSO A DEMOCRATIC RIGHT

On November 11, 2023, there were off-season gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states. The All Proggressives Congress (APC) participated actively in these elections, having fielded candidates in the respective states. We won in Imo and Kogi, we lost Bayelsa as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Despite substantial compliance with electoral laws and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the conduct of the elections, the post-election situation in Kogi has been bedeviled by contrived controversies and orchestrated violence that now threaten the peace and security of the good state of Kogi.

The opposition parties that contested that election, particularly the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are severely conflicted between accepting or challenging  the result of the election.

On his part, the candidate of the PDP, Dino Melaye, has emphatically and publicly declared his decision not to challenge the outcome of the election, according to him, because he has no confidence in the judiciary to fairly adjudicate any dispute he may bring forward.  It is worth noting, that Mr. Melaye did not also have the confidence to vote for himself during an election in which he was candidate of a major opposition party. So we must accept that Dino is very equitable in his “lack of confidence”, and, indeed, lacking confidence in himself.

This lack of confidence in himself also explains his loud but empty call for opposition parties to boycott future elections, in his twisted thinking, so APC may appear to have enacted a one party state. The fact remains that Dino did not go to court because he has absolutely nothing to stand on by way of evidence, other his vituperations in the media space.

Dino should know that participating in an election is a democratic right. Boycotting an election is also a democratic right. Dino is free to choose his democratic right but we hope he chooses wisely. That he chose not to vote for himself in the Kogi gubernatorial election did not stop the election process from going ahead in accordance with the Constitution. He cannot stop our democratic train from leaving the station or going on course of its journey to consolidation. He cannot hold back participation by the wonderful people of Kogi state by his infantile outbursts and irrational and vain charges against the APC, INEC and our judiciary.

On his part, the candidate of the SDP, Murtala Ajaka, stated, on national television, that he will not challenge the election, for reasons similar to that advanced by his opposition counterpart, Dino, that has no confidence in the judiciary, especially as INEC will be a potential witness in the case to justify the outcome of the election. In a sudden u-turn, Ajaka, is now reported to have changed his mind and now intends to bring a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal, even though, it appears that he is out of  time to validly do so. However, we will leave that for determination by the courts.

This is all against the backdrop of INEC’s declaration of the APC candidate, Ahmed Usman Ododo, who polled 446,237, as winner of the Kogi State election, with Muritala Ajaka of SDP polling 259,052, and Dino Melaye of PDP polling 46,362. Ajaka and Dino  rejected the election results, citing alleged irregularities.

As umpire, INEC is the only body with constitutional authority to determine and treat occurrence of alleged irregularities in the context of the election. And, in exercise of its powers, INEC, reportedly, cancelled election results in several wards, especially in Ogori-mangogo where over-voting was alleged to have occurred. INEC, then proceeded to declare the result of the election, which, for us, reflects the valid will of the Kogi electorate.

We participated in the Kogi election, our candidate campaigned widely and vigorously to win the hearts and minds of the good Kogi electorate. He built upon the strong record of achievement of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration and our Party’s progressive manifesto. Rather than carry out comprehensive evaluation of the reasons they were rejected at the polls, these parties have continued to peddle falsehood and promote ethnic and social unrest in the state.

We condemn, as dangerous, the incendiary rhetoric of opposition figures in Kogi state who continue to inflame passion and incite strife. Their actions and utterances provide a charged atmosphere for escalation of violence in the state.

We especially condemn the reported attack against the Secretary of the Election Tribunal, Mike Umar David, on Monday, December 4, 2023, in very spurious circumstances. The SDP clearly has a lot of explaining to do regarding this incident. Their utterances and actions, prior to, and since, that incident, betray suspicious special knowledge of the incident.

Prior to Monday’s incident involving the Tribunal’s Secretary, the residence of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Gabriel Hale Longpet, was also attacked on  Friday, December 1, 2023 by armed hoodlums.

These and other acts of violence in Kogi state are barbaric, undemocratic and unacceptable. The people of Kogi State deserve to live in peace and security. These sponsored and senseless acts of violence must stop.

We note and welcome the statement by the Kogi Police Command of an ongoing investigation of the alleged attack on  the Secretary to the Election Tribunal and the Resident Electoral Commissioner.  We urge the Police to do so thoroughly and expeditiously, and to bring the perpetrators and their sponsors to justice.

Signed:
*Felix Morka, Esq.*
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)

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