Stop playing politics after elections, Ekweremadu tells APC

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Wednesday asked the All Progressives Congress government to provide good governance and stop playing politics after elections.

Ekweremade said what Nigerians had been expecting after the elections was the dividend of democracy, asking the APC government to formulate policies and programmes that would benefit the majority of Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations.

Apparently referring to a recent statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, where he was quoted to have said that the election of Ekweremadu as the deputy senate president was unacceptable, he said the sanctity of the ballot must be respected.

He said, “We are about to form legislative agenda for the 8th Senate. This will include electoral reforms.

“As I said in the beginning, we have finished with politics, what is remaining now is governance and this country belongs to all of us and the constituents are not interested in whether you are APC or PDP.

“What they want is good governance and we must unite as a people to give Nigeria good governance. The issue of bickering and differences does not have any place in the minds of our people. What they want is performance, what they want to see is good governance and we must unite.”

The deputy senate president spoke when he hosted members of the Coalition of Election Observers, who visited his office in Abuja.

He cited the case of President Goodluck Jonathan, who he said conceded defeat in the 2015 general elections to the opposition party.

He also advised the political leaders across the African continent to borrow a leaf from Jonathan, pointing out that the former President had saved Nigeria from a crisis by refusing to bow to pressure to challenge the sanctity of the ballot.

Ekweremadu stated that the 8th National Assembly would further amend the Electoral Act to make the 2019 elections more credible and acceptable than that of 2015, adding that the alterations made on the 2010 Act had yielded important results.

The convener of the coalition, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel, condemned the Amnesty International’s report on civil rights abuses by the Nigerian military.

He urged the Senate to also condemn what it described as Amnesty’s “blatant act of irresponsibility” as well as defend the military.

Gabrirl said, “As a coalition representing more than 100 local and international civil society organisations, we are concerned by the manner certain individuals and organisations seek to denigrate the efforts of the Nigerian military in its determined bid to stamp out the scourge of insurgency, which has ravaged the North-East of our country in the last six years.

“We refer specifically to the latest report of the global human rights group, the Amnesty International.

“The report titled, “Stars on their shoulders, blood on their hands,” we believe that the Amnesty report, in addition to being a distraction of the Nigerian Armed Forces from its determination to extricate the insurgents from Nigerian soil is equally an attempt to denigrate the efforts of our gallant officers and men, who daily lay down their lives for our collective security.

“That this report is coming at a time the Nigerian military is inexorably routing the terrorists, surely speaks of a conspiracy somewhere.”

The group, therefore, called on the Senate not only to condemn the act of irresponsibility but to also rise up in the defence of the Nigerian soldiers.

He added, “We are mindful of the fact that the Nigerian military is one of the best military in the world. We are also mindful of the fact that the Nigerian military brought in a lot of both domestic and foreign civil society organisations and other reputable organisations to come to see what is obtainable at the detention camps of terror suspects.

“Even the International Red Cross absolved the Nigerian military of any wrongdoing. But we were surprised that the Amnesty International that is so respected could come up with such report.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday said the party would not respond to Ekweremadu’s charge to the party to shun politics and face governance.

“We won’t dignify him (Ekweremadu) with a response,” Mohammed said when our correspondent asked him for a reaction.

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