Abdulsalami-led National Peace Committee Hails Ondo Election

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•APC, PDP bicker over Akeredolu’s victory

Chuks Okocha, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC) and Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has described the conduct of the last governorship election in Ondo State as worthy of emulation.

In a statement issued yesterday, Abdulsalami congratulated the people of Ondo State for the way and manner they conducted themselves throughout the period of the governorship election, leading up to the announcement of the election results.

He said: “Through the expression of your exemplary sacrifice, decorum, and courage, you played your part in deepening the culture of peaceful elections in Nigeria.

“You have once again shown Nigerians that your votes count irrespective of the earlier fears, uncertainty, tensions and anxiety that preceded the election. Nigerians appreciate your conduct and display of patriotism, which is worthy of emulation.”

Abdulsalami also commended the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and his team for working tirelessly day and night, to consolidate on the gains of the Edo State governorship election.

He said that there is no doubt that the commission has been able to replicate the Edo State election’s success story.

Abdulsalami further expressed the appreciation of the National Peace Committee to the Nigerian Police, the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee for Election and Security, other security agencies, development partners, and civil society groups for their tireless efforts which led to the success of the governorship election in Ondo State.

He also commended traditional rulers who collaboratively deployed their moral authority in the appeal for peace and tranquillity in the state.

While praising candidates at the election for signing the Peace Accord, he urged all participants in the election to remain calm with the outcome of the election with respect to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord that was signed in the state.

APC, PDP Bicker over Akeredolu’s Victory

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday traded words over the demand by the ruling party for the PDP to congratulate Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on his victory in last Saturday’s governorship election.

The Chairman of the National Caretaker/Convention Committee of the APC and Yobe State Governor, Malam Mai Mala Buni, yesterday asked the PDP to congratulate the party following its triumph in last Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.

But in a swift reaction, the PDP argued that the emergence of Buni in the national leadership of his party is a subject of litigation, insisting that Buni’s nomination of any candidate for the election was seen, even among APC members, as a nullity until the court says otherwise.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Buni commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, local and international observers, for being professional and ethical in the discharge of their responsibilities during the election.

He stated: “It is said, one good turn deserves another, and just like we congratulated PDP in the Edo election, we look forward to seeing PDP and the other political parties extend similar gesture to us in the spirit of good sportsmanship. By so doing, we will make elections in Nigeria healthier and attractive, rather than making elections a do or die affair.”

Reacting to Buni’s call, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the opposition party won’t congratulate Akeredolu because the emergence of Buni is still a subject of litigation.

PDP said it was ridiculous for Buni to be begging it to congratulate Akeredolu for his re-election when the party is also aware that an unnamed official of the NNPC made money available for the APC to buy the votes in the Ondo State governorship election.

According to the spokesperson of the PDP: “It is indeed ludicrous and completely absurd that Governor Buni is begging for endorsement of the election in spite of his awareness that the internal mechanism that produced his party’s candidate, as presided over by him, was faulty.

“Nigerians already know that the emergence of Governor Mai Buni in the national leadership of his party is a subject of litigation and as such his nomination of any candidate for the election is seen, even among his party members, as a nullity until the court says otherwise.

“It will, therefore, be pathetic for Governor Mai Buni to attempt to use the PDP to build something on the nothingness of his position in his party. The PDP is too structured as a party to be used by anybody, under any guise, in that regard.”

“Governor Buni is not aware that information available in the public space and to the PDP showed that a very top-level management official of the NNPC, through a North-west governor elected on the platform of the APC, diverted huge amounts of money, in dollar, from our nation oil resources to fund vote-buying in the Ondo election.

“While our party will, in due course, make its official position on the outcome of the Ondo election known, the PDP urges President Muhammadu Buhari to take steps that will accelerate the amendment of the Electoral Act, which was stalled following his failure to sign the amended Act of the National Assembly in 2019.”