Don Kizi Blog

Mikel Obi sends strong message to President Buhari

Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has sent a strong message to President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government regarding the security situation in the country.

He spoke in reaction to the kidnap and release of the mother of fellow Super Eagles star, Samuel Kalu.

“I called Samuel when his mother was kidnapped and gave him my advice as someone who has been through it twice. I knew how he would be feeling. I was glad when his mother was released because you don’t want anyone going through that.

“I suppose these things happen every day with different families and obviously we want to see the authorities take more responsibility, but Nigeria is a very crowded place and you can’t manage the security.

“You go out and you don’t know if you will come back. The government need to look into it and they can do more,” Mikel said on BBC World Service’s Sportsworld.

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Ihedioha’s Victory Has Ended Tyranny In Imo – Politician

A former Secretary to the Imo State Government, Chris Okewulonu, has said that the emergence of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party as the state governor-elect has ended tyranny, Punch has reported.

He said, greed, nepotism, lawlessness, land grabbing and suppression would no longer have a place in the state.

The PDP chief said, “Ihedioha, known for his knack for hard work and dexterity in public service, will recover and rebuild the state already left in ruins by Okorocha.”

“Ihedioha is experienced, hardworking, selfless and has the capacity to revive Imo. That is the cheering news. Imo is indeed liberated.

“As Ihedioha’s campaign’s Director-General in 2015, we tried to let the people know what the state stands to benefit from Ihedioha’s leadership then, but enemies of democracy scuttled our efforts.

“I am happy that now, Imo people have appreciated our message of liberation, recovery and rebuilding of the state as well as the need to safeguard her from the hands of the oppressors of the people and economic plunderers.”

Okewulonu assured the people that the incoming administration in the state will restore the lost glory of the state.

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Biafra group mocks Okorocha, Uche Nwosu; advises Ihedioha

The Biafra Nations Youth League, BNYL, has mocked the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, following his failed attempt to install his son-in-law as the Governor of Imo State.

BNYL, in a statement to DAILY POST by its National Leader, Princewill Chimezie Richard, said that the people of Imo did not vote for Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but for the person of Emeka Ihedioha.

He, therefore, called on the governor-elect to put the interest of the people first before his political interest.

The statement added, “The people of Imo State did not vote PDP but voted for the candidate, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha.

“The people of the State resisted the Lagos type of politics where one man is lord over the people.
The outgoing Governor of Imo State wanted Uche Nwosu because he married his daughter.

“The Governor-elect, Ihedioha must consider the interest of the people of the State first before his political interest.”

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INEC fixes March 23 for extra polls in six states

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will on March 23, 2019 hold supplementary elections in the six states where the exercises were declared inconclusive. The states are: Plateau, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa and Kano.

According to a statement yesterday by Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, “supplementary elections will also hold in polling units in all states where state Assembly elections were declared inconclusive and winners could not be declared.”

It added that details of the constituencies including number of polling units and registered voters would be published today.

Besides, to prevent a violent reaction against the declaration of the Kano State governorship election as inconclusive, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi has cautioned the stakeholders against making unofficial and false comments on the outcome of the poll.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation officer, Prof. Bello Shehu, had said that the election became inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes was more than the margin figure between the two leading political parties.

According to him, the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje won in 28 local government areas with a total of 987,819 votes., while Abba Yusuf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won in 16 local government areas with the highest 1,014,474 votes.

Despite the PDP clear lead with 26,655, the verdict for a rerun was made due to the number of cancelled votes which stood at 141,694 votes, higher than the 26,655 with which Yusuf is beating Ganduje.

Votes were cancelled in 234 polling units, including the controversial Gama Ward in Nassarawa Local Government Area.

Bello explained that the majority of the votes were cancelled, especially in Nassarawa, due to an invasion of the collation centre by suspected political thugs who destroyed electoral materials and carted away some original results sheets.

Earlier, the collation officer for the Nassarawa Local Government, Prof. Ibrahim Kalil Abdulsalam, who narrated how he was maltreated by the hoodlums, said the results sheets were carted away as polls officials scampered for safety.

Ibrahim said the incident occurred about 1:00 a.m. on Monday when the collation of 10 out of 11 wards had already been concluded. According to him, the security lapses at the scene forced INEC to order that the collation be shifted to the commission’s head office.

The police have confirmed the arrest of Kano Commissioner for Local Government, Murtala Sule Garo, and Chairman, Nassarawa Local Council, Sani Lamin, for allegedly leading the hoodlums to disrupt the electoral process at the collation centre.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Abdullahi, said the suspects were already being charged to court.

He revealed that the Kano State Deputy Governor, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, was rescued from the scene of the incident where he went for an inspection.

To prevent the political situation from becoming volatile, Emir Sanusi yesterday gave the caution while addressing journalists on the INEC verdict at his palace.

He reminded the public that the electoral umpire reserved the constitutional right to announce the results of elections.

Ostensibly referring to some unverifiable results of the Kano gubernatorial election flooding the social media even when collation was still in progress at INEC office, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria warned the public against any act capable of disrupting the relative peace in Kano .

“We should avoid doing things that will degenerate into chaos, more so announcing results that are clearly spelled out as inconclusive by INEC. We should also know that the original results by all parties are intact and cannot be tampered with.

“You should not engage in any action that will bring Kano to disrepute and destroy its ancestral dynasty. Everyone should allow INEC, the authentic and legally recognised body, to complete its job,” the monarch said. .

According to Sanusi, an election is not a war but simply a participatory exercise where electorate take their destiny in their own hands by voting for whom they want to lead them for the next four years. He urged the people never to attempt killing themselves for no just reason.

The monarch spoke as INEC announced that a rerun of the election in Kano will hold in 30 local government areas where votes were cancelled. The election will be held in 234 polling units scattered across 88 registered areas (wards).

Meanwhile, the Adamawa State chapter of the PDP has urged INEC to declare its governorship candidate, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, as the winner, saying that the returning officer, Prof. Andrew Yakubu, declared the poll inconclusive in error.

Former governor, Mr. Boni Haruna, told journalists yesterday in Yola that the returning officer was not properly guided by INEC before he declared the election inconclusive.

He said that the ground advanced by Yakubu that the 44 polling units have 40,988 registered voters could not be transmitted into eligible voters because only those that collected their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) are classified as eligible voters.

Haruna pointed out that INEC records showed that only 31,027 registered voters out of the 40,988 in those 44 polling units collected their PVCs. He argued that since the PDP led with 32,476 votes, the party should, by law, be declared the winner of the election.

“To be an eligible voter is only when your PVC is with you, so since the number of those that collected their PVCs is lower than the number of votes with which Fintiri is leading Bindow, Fintiri is by law the winner and we demand that INEC, as an unbiased umpire, should correct the error of the returning officer and declare Fintiri winner,” he stated.

In Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom and PDP candidate appealed to the people to remain calm following the declaration of the gubernatorial election as inconclusive.

Ortom, in a statement by his Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, expressed appreciation to the people for their peaceful conduct during the election and urged them to continue to be law-abiding.

According to him, the results of the governorship poll as well as those of the national and state assembly elections have demonstrated that the PDP remains their preferred choice.

The controversy over inconclusive elections raged yesterday with proponents of “Third Force” under the aegis of Nigeria Intervention Movement describing the development as a “brazen corruption of our electoral system.”

The movement’s position was contained in a statement made available to journalists by its Director, Media and Publicity Bureau, Mr. Debo Adeniyi.

Adeniyi said NIM had decided to resist the development with everything at its members’ disposal. He said the INEC’s strategy was meant to put a machinery in place for an eventual rigging of the elections as allegedly seen in the case of Osun State governorship poll in 2018.

“The political Third Force in Nigeria under the umbrella of Nigeria Intervention Movement warns INEC to desist from the antics of declaring elections almost won as inconclusive to enable its ‘favoured’ political parties to put a machinery in place for an eventual rigging of the elections as cleverly invented during the Osun State governorship elections last year.

“We alert the entire country that we of the Third Force are already exhausted by this disingenuous antics of INEC officials and have decided to resist this with everything at our disposal as it is a brazen corruption of our electoral system by INEC in collusion with parties in power.

“We note that this style of mandate manipulation is again about to happen in the governorship elections in some states like Kano, which shall be resisted with a nationwide mass action in Nigeria to express our principled grievances against the obvious lapses in the 2019 elections.”

Adeniyi said the movement would on April 3 announce a day of national mass action against all lapses observed in the 2019 elections. He urged all allied movements, parties and stakeholders to be on the alert.

Also yesterday, the PDP candidate in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, was declared winner of the governorship election by INEC.

Declaring the results at INEC’s Office in Owerri, the Returning Officer, Prof. Francis Otunta, said Ihedioha polled 273,404 to defeat his closest rival, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA), who scored 190,364 votes.

The Taraba State Governor Darius Dickson of the PDP was also declared re-elected by INEC.

Ishaku triumphed with a total of 520,433 votes to defeat the candidate of the APC, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Danladi, who got 362,735 votes.

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APC wins majority seats in Senate

The ruling All Progressives Congress has won 62 out of 109 seats in the Senate. The People’s Democratic Party has 37 seats and the Young Progressives Party secured one.

Although the Senate is made up of 109 seats, the Independent National Electoral Commission has only announced 100 winners as the commission had ordered a rerun in some states

Reruns were held on March 9 in Abia South, Imo West and North, Kogi East, Ondo South, Plateau South, Rivers East, Rivers West, while Bauchi South Senator will be determined by a court.

Winners of those reruns are yet to be included in the list.

Of the 100 senatorial seats declared so far, six are to be occupied by women.

President Muhammadu Buhari said he was happy over the majority of the APC in the Senate.

Buhari said he was looking forward to a mutual and effective working relationship with the ninth National Assembly toward improving the budgetary process and restoring the country to the January-December fiscal cycle.

He recounted how the delay in the passage of budgets hindered timely execution of projects across the country. The general election budget approval was also delayed.

The presidency alleged that the National Assembly planned to sabotage the 2019 poll by deliberately withholding approval for funding as required by the electoral commission for the elections.

Senate chief Bukola Saraki dismissed the allegations and accused the presidency of not properly explaining issues regarding the budget before sending it for approval.

He said the legislature would not accept being treated as the “appendage of the executive.”

“No genuine leader of the legislature will be comfortable that the presidency will simply write a terse letter to the national assembly on key issues which the federal legislature is expected to later deliberate upon and give its approval,” he said.

“The Buhari administration consistently treats the legislature with contempt and acts as if the lawmaking body should be an appendage of the executive. To me, this is unacceptable.”

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Senate To Begin Debate Of 2019 Budget On Wednesday

The Senate will commence debate of the general principles of the 2019 budget Wednesday, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said.

Saraki scheduled the date of the debate of the general principles of the fiscal document shortly before the upper chamber adjourned plenary session in honour of late member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Temitope Olaoye “Sugar” who was killed by unknown persons.

President Muhammadu Buhari presented a budget N8.6 trillion to a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives for consideration and passage on December 19, 2018.

Christened budget of continuity, the 2019 fiscal document is planned to continue the country’s drive for inclusive economic growth, diversification and sustainable development.

Saraki asked Senators who have contributions to make on the budget to list their names for proper coordination of the debate.

He said that the debate will take two days, Wednesday and Tuesday 19, March 2019 to enable many senators to contribute.

The conclusion of the debate of the general principles of the 2019 Appropriation Bill will pave the way for its reference to the Appropriation Committee for further legislative action.

Saraki also mandated the ad-hoc committee on the new minimum wage Bill to hasten and conclude its assignment.

He directed Senator Francis Alimikhena to take over the chairmanship of the committee in the absence of its substantive chairman, Senator Olusola Adeyeye.

The House of Representatives had debated and approved the N30, 000 new national minimum wage as proposed by the Federal Government.

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Atiku vs Buhari: CUPP ‘leaks’ names of election petitions panel members, reveals president’s influence

The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has released a list of five Justices of the Court of Appeal, who they claim have been approved to hear the petition of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over the February 23 election results.

This was contained in a statement signed by its national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, in Abuja on Tuesday.

CUPP claimed that the list was approved by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, “with the endorsement of the Buhari APC.”

Ugochinyere listed members of the panel to include Bulkachuwa (Presiding Judge), Justice Abdu Aboki, Justice Peter O. Ige, Justice J. S. Ikyegh and Justice S. C. Oseji.

CUPP has now demanded that Bulkachuwa, Aboki and Ige immediately recuse themselves from the panel, because they are likely to be biased in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is based on the foregoing and the evidence in the custody of the CUPP that we immediately, categorically and unambiguously demand that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, Justice Abdu Aboki and Justice Peter Ige recuse themselves from the panel.

“The intelligence at our disposal, which formed the basis for all the views canvassed in this statement, is that these three Justices have already given their commitment to the Presidency that they will rule in favour of the President at the tribunal, hence they cannot dispense justice.

“Justices Aboki and Peter Ige, in furtherance of this commitment, had already and, very strangely so, denied Alhaji Atiku Abubakar his application for forensic analysis of the materials used for the presidential election.

“We also demand that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa recuse herself from the administrative duty of reconstituting the panel, but that should be done by an impartial senior Justice of the court.

“This idea of the Villa approving list of Justices that will sit over any matter, particularly the one where the President is a party, is novel and tyranny taken too far.

“The President has annexed the judiciary and the hope of the common man is blighted. Nigerians must rise in defence of the judiciary and insist that justice must be done in this circumstance.

“Let the world and Nigerians tell Justice Bulkachuwa not to take Nigerians for fools and bring the judiciary to further ridicule with her plan to constitute a tribunal panel that has been briefed with one agenda, which is to stamp the electoral robbery perpetrated by her husband’s party, APC.

“Announcing justices who have shown bias already to the case of Atiku, even at the preliminary stage of ordinary requests for forensic analysis of election materials, will not augur well for the stability of Nigeria and the institution/wheel of justice,” the statement read.

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Buhari meets seven APC Govs in Aso Rock

ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met behind closed doors with seven governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President arrived the Presidential Villa at about 1pm on Tuesday after spending five days in his home town, Daura, Katsina state where he went to participate in the governorship and state assembly elections.

President Buhari with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu as he receives in audience Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Some APC State Governors in State House on 12th Mar 2019
The agenda of the meeting was not made public and the governors did not talk to journalists when they finished, it is coming barely a day after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC declared six governorship elections in the north inconclusive.

The INEC, had declared elections inclusive in six states that are stronghold of the APC except Benue and Sokoto whose Governors were elected on the platform of the ruling party (APC) before they defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The states that have inconclusive elections are Benue, Sokoto, Kano, Plateau, Adamawa and Bauchi, while elections in Rivers State was suspended as a result of violence.

Five of the PDP governorship candidates that were leading in the elections according to the results declared by the INEC before the elections were declared inconclusive are Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Abba Yusuf of Kano, Umaru Fintri of Adamawa state and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state, while Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state who is seeking second tenure on the platform of the APC had higher number of votes against his opponent, Jeremiah Useni of the PDP.

INEC stated that the number of cancelled votes in the six states that elections were declared inconclusive were higher than the number the leading candidate has against his opponent.

The APC serving governors whose elections were declared inconclusive are Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano state and Jibrila Bindo of Adamawa state.

The Governors at the meeting were Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Abdulaziz Yari, Zamfara State, Abubakar Badaru, Jigawa State, Kassim Shetima of Borno State and Fayemi Kayode of Ekiti State.

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Rochas Okorocha’s In-law, Uche Nwosu Blows Hot After Losing Imo Governorship Election

The governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, has said he will challenge the election result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in court.

He rejected the outcome of the election which was announced by the (INEC) declaring the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Emeka Ihedioha winner of the governorship election.

He said, “It is a robbery of Action Alliance mandate and I believe the judiciary will take its course”.

Mr. Ihedioha emerged governor-elect of the state after polling 273,404 votes to defeat Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) and Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Nwosu, who was backed by Governor Rochas Okorocha, finished second with 190,364 votes; followed by Senator Uzodinma who got 96,458 votes.

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BREAKING: British Parliament Rejects Brexit Deal For A Second Time

British MPs overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday, pitching Britain into the unknown just 17 days before it is due to split from the European Union.

The House of Commons voted by 391 to 242 to reject the divorce deal, even after May secured further guarantees from Brussels over its most controversial elements.

The move risks unleashing economic chaos, as Britain is scheduled to end ties with its biggest trade partner after 46 years on March 29, no matter what.

Appealing to MPs in a voice half-breaking due to a cold, May had urged them to avoid the “economic shock” of leaving without an agreement.

But she also warned eurosceptics, many of whom have campaigned to leave the EU for their whole careers, that if her deal failed, so might Brexit.

May has promised to allow MPs to vote on a “no deal” option on Wednesday and if that is rejected, to decide on Thursday whether to ask the EU to delay Brexit.

“If this vote is not passed tonight, if this deal is not passed, then Brexit could be lost,” she said before the vote.

However, eurosceptics believe the deal is so bad it is worth the risk of leaving with no plan.

“We must take what now seems to be the more difficult route but in the end the one that preserves our self-respect,” said former foreign minister Boris Johnson, a favourite to succeed May if she steps down.

“It is to leave on March 29 as required by law and to become once again an independent country able to make our own choices.”

Not a single change

After MPs first rejected the 585-page Brexit deal in January, May promised changes to the hated backstop plan which is intended to keep open the border with Ireland.

Weeks of talks failed to make a breakthrough, but May made a last-minute trip to Strasbourg to meet EU leaders on the eve of the vote.

She announced she had secured the promised “legally binding changes” to the backstop, which would keep Britain in the EU’s customs union if and until a new way was found to avoid frontier checks.

But hours later, however, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the additions would not completely allay MPs fears of being trapped in the arrangement forever.

It did not take long for Brexit-supporting MPs in May’s Conservative party, and her allies, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to declare their opposition.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also urged parliament to vote down May’s plan.

“After three months of running down the clock, the prime minister has, despite very extensive delays, achieved not a single change to the withdrawal agreement,” he said.

Some eurosceptics changed their mind, however, urging their colleagues not to risk everything.

Former minister Edward Leigh said: “You may not like the deal, it’s not perfect, but it delivers Brexit and let’s go for it.”

The pound, which has been highly volatile since the 2016 referendum which saw Britons narrowly vote to leave the EU, made gains against the euro after May’s deal on Monday but fell sharply on Tuesday as it became increasingly clear the deal would be defeated.

‘No third chance’

The backstop is designed to protect the peace process in Northern Ireland, which involved the removal of border checks with EU member Ireland.

Brexit supporters wanted a unilateral way out of it, or a time limit to the arrangement, but the EU said this would make it worthless.

But leaders across Europe also united behind a message that this was the best and final offer Britain could expect.

“There will be no third chance,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said after his talks on Monday with May.

If MPs vote against a “no deal” exit on Wednesday, and want to postpone Brexit, the other 27 EU nations would need to agree.

Their leaders will meet in Brussels for a summit on March 21-22.

But any postponement may have to be short-lived. Juncker on Monday said Brexit “should be complete before the European elections” at the end of May.

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PDP’s Okezie Ikpeazu Re-Elected As Abia Governor

overnor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has been declared the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

The Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, Professor Damian Ozurumba, declared him as the winner of the poll after he secured 261,127 votes, more than double the 99, 574 votes his closest rival, Dr Uche Ogar of the Peoples Democratic Party, got.

Dr Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) finished third with 64,366 votes.

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Gov. Ugwuanyi wins Enugu governorship poll for second tenure

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the winner of Saturday’s Governorship election in Enugu state for a second tenure.

The state Returning Officer, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, who announced the result in Enugu on Sunday, said that Ugwuanyi won in the 17 local government areas (LGAs).
Ahaneku said that the governor polled 449,935 votes against his closest rival, Sen. Ayogu Eze of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 10,423 votes.

Enugu State Governor and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, casting his vote for the governorship election at his Amube Ward II Polling Unit, Ohom Orba, Udenu Local Government Area.

Mr Emmanuel Nwankpa of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Mr Ekene Uzodinma of the United Peoples Party (UPP) polled 2,547 and 1,476, respectively.
Ahaneku, who is the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said that there were 1,944,016 registered voters in the state.

He said that 478,241 voters were accredited, adding that 470,927 valid votes were recorded, while 7,314 votes were declared invalid.

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Woman Snatches Ballot Papers In Nasarawa, Arrested By Soldiers

A Nasarawa woman suspected to be a political thug, has been arrested by soldiers after she snatched ballot papers from electoral officials  and ran away.

The suspect who is said to be loyal to  one of the parties, grabbed the  ballot papers from the National Youth Service Corps members at Polling Unit 026, Gayam Ward,  Lafia in  Nasarawa State on Saturday and ran away.

While policemen struggled in vain to arrest her, the lady was chased by some soldiers on Makurdi Road who retrieved some of the ballot papers from her. 

Mr Peter Bitrus, a domestic election observer who disclosed that the incident occurred just 30 minutes after Salamatu,  wife of Governor Tanko Al-Makura,  voted at the unit,  some suspected thugs working with the lady aided  her  escape.“It was a conspiracy.

The governor’s wife voted  in this polling unit and we expected  that security would be tight here.

“The exercise had  been largely peaceful before this woman came and caused pandemonium. She was dressed in a long black gown and she hid the papers under the gown.”

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Nigeria election: Abia gets new Police Commissioner

Less than 24 hours after the commissioner of police in Abia state, Etim Okon joined the DIG Anthony Ogbizi to speak on strategies and level of preparedness of the state command for the governorship and House of Assembly elections scheduled for this Saturday, a fresh CP, Awosola Awotinde has been sent to take over from him.

Awotinde, upon arrival, met with heads of all the sister security agencies at the police headquarters in Umuahia to familiarise with them as the new CP.

He also called on the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr. Joseph Iloh, to acquaint him on developments and possibly give him assurances of the police commitment to work.

In an interview with newsmen on Friday, CP Awotinde stated that he has no problems getting the job done as a professional irrespective of location.

He also solicited the cooperation of sister agencies in the discharge of their duties for Saturday’s elections.

Etim Okon has been moved to Ebonyi state where Awotinde came from to replace him.

Meanwhile, the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, has called on Abians to strongly consider political platform and personal character while voting on Saturday.

Chief Okiyi Kalu, who made the call in Umuahia while speaking to newsmen, stated that it is difficult to divorce leaders from their personal character and political platform while in office.

According to him, “A politician might claim that he will not implement grazing colony as Governor but same politician will be helpless if his political party supports the setting up of grazing colonies.

“Voters are therefore advised to consider the tendencies of the political platform of contestants to office as well as their personal character while choosing who will govern them.

“An arrogant man is a dangerous proposition that voters should distance themselves from as the individual will ultimately mistreat common folks or lead them with the mentality of a “Mr Know All” even while operating within our democratic space.”

He called on INEC to ensure that all observed lapses in the recent Presidential and National Assembly Elections were corrected, and urged security agents to ensure that they are not used as tools by unscrupulous politicians to thwart the will of the people of the state.

“We have received reports of plans to use security agents to intimidate Abia voters, compel INEC officials to announce wrong results and provide cover for hoodlums to unleash electoral mayhem on the people of the state, and have reported to appropriate authorities. Rogue security agents must know that they are answerable for their actions and will bear full responsibility for any breakdown of law and order in any part of the state.

“Our party, PDP, is ready for free and fair elections and have confidence in the determination of the people of the state to re-elect high performing Governor Okezie Ikpeazu by landslide margins. All we are asking is for the election to be free, fair and peaceful,” Kalu said.

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INEC set for polls to elect 29 Govs, 991 state legislators

ABUJA: The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has expressed readiness for tomorrow’s election which will throw up 29 new governors and 991 members of the 36 state Houses of Assembly in the country.

Going along with the state level elections will be supplementary elections supplementary National Assembly elections in 14 states of the federation. That is besides the Federal Capital Territory, FCT elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who disclosed this Thursday in Abuja at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Security ICCES held in Abuja also pledged the commission’s readiness to partner with security agencies for the prosecution of electoral offenders.

“On Saturday 9th March 2019, Nigerians are once again going to the polls to elect Governors in 29 States, 991 members of Houses of Assembly in all the States of the Federation, 6 Chairmen as well as 62 Councillors for the Area Councils in the FCT. A total of 1,082 candidates will be elected by citizens across the country.

“Learning from the experience of the presidential and National Assembly elections held two weeks ago, the commission has effectively tackled the challenge of logistics.

“Materials for the election have been delivered to all States and the FCT. Movement to the Local Government Areas will be completed today. By tomorrow, all materials and relevant personnel will arrive at the Registration Area Centres RACs. With this arrangement, we are confident that all polling units will open at 8.00 am nationwide.

“In addition to elections into 1,082 constituencies nationwide, the Commission will conduct supplementary elections in 14 States of the Federation covering 7 Senatorial Districts and 24 federal constituencies. elections in the affected areas were disrupted mainly by acts of violence involving ballot box snatching, abduction of INEC officials, over voting and the failure to adhere to regulations and guidelines.

He said, for Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies in which winners have already emerged, the Commission will issue their Certificates of Return next week.

“Preparations for the elections holding this weekend into 1,082 constituencies require the full attention of the entire Commission. We reckoned that the elected candidates are also busy campaigning in their constituencies for the remaining elections”, he said.

Accordingly, Certificates of Return shall be presented at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Thursday March 14 for Senators Elect and later same day for Members of the House of Representatives-elect.

“Certificates of Return for Governors and Deputy-Governors-elect, Members of State Houses of Assembly-elect and Chairmen and Councillors for the FCT shall be presented in each State of the Federation by the Supervising National Commissioners and the Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs on a date to be announced next week.

On behalf of the Commission, I extend our deepest condolence to the families of those who lost their lives, including personnel of the security agencies. We are glad that the Police has made several arrests and investigation is ongoing. I wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will work closely with the Police to ensure the diligent prosecution of all violators of our electoral laws. Citizens are asking for effective but non-intrusive protection before, during and immediately after the elections in which their rights are respected and their choices safeguarded.

“The Commission is concerned that many of our materials, including ballot boxes, voting cubicles, voters’ registers and Smart Card Readers were lost to acts of hooliganism and thuggery in the elections held two weeks ago. Most worrisome is the attack on electoral officials. Some of our staff were abducted and taken hostage in an attempt to disrupt elections or influence the outcome. In fact, some of the supplementary elections I referred to earlier were caused by such acts of thuggery.

Under our Regulations and Guidelines, there are clear penalties for the deliberate failure to deploy them on the part of our staff. Where such happens with the connivance of communities, the result of election in the polling unit(s) will be cancelled and zero vote recorded.

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Vice President Osinbajo turns 62

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo turned 62 years today, with the professor of law along with wife, Dolapo giving praises to Jesus as the “lover of his soul” and ‘strong tower’.

Osinbajo, who escaped death last month in a helicopter crash in Kogi state, won re-election on February 23 for another four year term, along with his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.

A video post on Osinbajo’s Twitter post, where he commands almost two million followers, shows him and wife sing to the glory of Jesus.

He attended the Igbobi College, Lagos, University of Lagos (UNILAG) from 1975 to 1978, and London School of Economics and Political Science.

He was Attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State from 1999 until 2007.

Osinbajo worked as a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos for many years; he was also a Senior Partner with SimmonsCooper Partners, a commercial law practice.

To the lover of my soul,
My Strong Tower,
My Jesus,
Thank you for 62 years!

— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) March 8, 2019

In 2015 presidential election, he was President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate and was inaugurated as Nigeria’s Vice President, on May 29, 2015.

On Feb. 23, Osinbajo and President Buhari were reelected for a second term in office.

He is also a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

Osinbajo and his wife Dolapo Osinbajo have three children. (NAN)

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Both PDP and APC Don’t Deserve Our Votes – Prof. Wole Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka, says the two leading political parties – the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party – do not deserve to return to power.

Speaking on Thursday, however, he said, “It is time for a totally new direction, and when an alternative emerges, we will give the candidate our backing,” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me make my position quite clear because I don’t want any ambiguity; I, Wole Soyinka, will not be voting for either the two so-called contesting parties. I find both of them worthy of absolute rejection.

“For a number of reasons which I will not go into here, I’m not interested in a comparative assessment. My position is simply that it is time for a totally new direction. And obviously, I’m not the only one, as I’m speaking, there is a coalition having its meeting in Lagos from which they hope to produce a consensus candidate.

“There is another group meeting in Abuja, also at the end would send us their consensus candidate. Things have been going on quietly in the background to try and change the direction of this nation in a very positive way and to make the public understand that they do not have to be enslaved permanently to the old discredited order. It is my sole business in this election.

“I don’t believe in what is called negative vote which means, for me, throwing your vote in a wastebasket, I believe instead in a creative vote, not a protest vote, not a negative vote but a creative vote.

“And a creative vote means that the will to at least sow a seed through your vote that will germinate eventually. The pace of germination is beyond the control of everyone, but it is never too early to make a beginning. It has happened before in other societies. When a dark horse emerges from nowhere and trumps all the political juggernauts caterpillars and so on with their performers, worthless, their capacity for violence and treachery.”

He added that the reason they are yet to arrive at a consensus candidate was because the supposed genuine third force was hijacked.

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Fire Engulfs INEC Office In Akwa Ibom

Less than 24 hours to the governorship and House of Assembly elections, the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has been gutted by fire.

Although the cause is yet to be known, the fire is said to have started at about 2:00 am on Friday.

While a good portion of the building was destroyed, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini told Channels Television that the materials for tomorrow’s elections were not affected.

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March 9 election: Enugu APC calls for postponement

Members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Enugu State chapter, Thursday, took a protest to the Enugu office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, demanding postponement of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in the State.

The party members were led by the State Chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye.

DAILY POST reports that this came as an Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal earlier in the day reinstated Senator Ayogu Eze as the party’s governorship candidate.

An Abuja Federal High Court had sacked Ayogu and ordered the INEC to recognize Barr. George Ogara. However, in a judgement today, the Appellate Court said Senator Eze remained the party’s candidate.

Following the development, the party members demanded a postponement of the exercise to enable them carry out campaign across the State.

“We have written the INEC; we are demanding that they should postpone the exercise. They should push it forward to enable us carry out our campaign,” Nwoye said.

Earlier Senator Eze had boasted that with the Court verdict, the coast was clear for him.

He said nobody would be able to stop his political movement, which he described as a tornado.

“I want to assure you that our spirit is not down. This tornado is on the move,” he stated.

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Buhari Meets With Labour, Gives Assurance On N30,000 Minimum Wage

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that his government will meet their N30, 000 minimum wage demand.

The President gave the assurance when the NLC leadership visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Buhari questioned what the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did with the oil money when they were in power, reminding the NLC that he had intervened when they made their demand for 30,000 Naira as minimum wage, at a time when the nation was barely struggling to survive.

He also noted that the rail system was left undone and the power sector was left unfixed despite the 16billion naira earmarked for these projects.

The President described that expenditure made by the previous government as unprecedented and irresponsible.

He said the present administration was saddled with dealing with the ‘terrible mismanagement of the country’.

He acknowledged the pressure the union had faced in calling for an increase in the minimum wage and thanked them for the support they gave him during the elections.

On their own part, the NLC leaders congratulated President Buhari on his election victory.

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Okorocha dares APC, attends campaign rally of Son in-law in another party

Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State has again damned all consequences and gone ahead to attend the governorship election campaign rally of Uche Nwosu, governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA).

The governorship election hold in Imo and  many other states of Nigeria on March 9.

Okorocha was recently suspended by the National Working Committee,NWC of the All Progressives Congress, APC alongside his counterpart in Ogun state, Ibikunle Amosun over allegations that they carried out ‘anti party’ activities.

The two APC governors who are also senator-elects, have been sponsoring candidates from other parties that couldn’t get the ticket to run on the platform of the APC for governor.

Okorocha, who was  suspended for endorsing Nwosu, his son-in-law, and causing a big strain between him and APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole is  currently at the vocational/support groups rally for Uche Nwosu  to round off campaign ahead of elections on Saturday.

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Breaking: Why I want INEC to surrender election materials for inspection – Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party,  PDP,  Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday, adduced reasons why he applied for an order to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  to surrender all the materials used for the February 23 presidential election, for inspection.

He said the request was to establish that the exercise was fraught with manifest irregularities, including multiple thumb-printing of ballot papers, saying he intends to engage forensic experts to analyse the election materials.

Consequently, he prayed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, for leave to be allowed to obtain some of the sensitive materials that INEC deployed for the presidential election.

Meantime, the tribunal, stood-down its proceedings for one hour to enable it to consider the merit or otherwise of the request.

The three-man panel tribunal headed by Justice Abdul Aboki, reserved ruling on the motion marked CA/A/P/EPT/1/2019 after it heard from Atiku’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN. 

Uche told the tribunal that the motion dated March 4, was brought pursuant to section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution,  as amended and section 151 of the Electoral Act, sought for six reliefs, among which included an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to surrender all the sensitive materials that were used for the presidential poll, for forensic scrutiny.

Among items, he said his client wants to be inspected by forensic experts, include over 80million ballot papers that were used for the election, which he said would be subjected to thumbprint analysis.

Other items the motion is asking the electoral body to release to the intending petitioners for scrutiny are the Voters Register, the Smart Card Reader Machines, as well as information stored in INEC’s back-up server.

He said the first prayer in the motion paper was for leave of the tribunal permitting Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party,  PDP, to file the action before the pre-hearing session of the tribunal, as prescribed by the Electoral Act. 

The Applicants (Atiku and PDP) urged the tribunal to direct INEC to allow their agents to scan and make photocopies of vital documents used in the conduct of the election, for the purpose of establishing manifest irregularities they said led to President Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as the winner of the presidential election.

They maintained that the six reliefs sought against INEC were for the purpose of filing and maintaining an election petition they intend to lodge against the outcome of the 2019 Presidential Election.

Chief Uche, SAN, said his clients decided to approach the tribunal with the motion, in view of the fact that the Electoral Act stipulated that filing of the petition must not exceed 21 days after the election result was announced.

“Because of the limited time,  the Applicants who intend to file a petition, want to go and inspect, to be able to secure some of the documents that will be relied upon to maintain the petition.

“We are urging your Lordships to grant us this orders so that if we are inspecting, we can make copies by way of scanning or photocopying.

“The entire process will be conducted in the presence of INEC officials, and even the Respondents if they so wish”, Uche submitted.

However, the tribunal Chairman Justice Aboki queried Uche on why his clients would not simply apply to be issued with Certified True Copies of the requested items, and if the extant electoral law permits a litigant to scan election materials.

The tribunal panel stressed that opinion of forensic experts may not be admissible in evidence under the existing Electoral Act which it said specifically okayed the admittance of certified documents.

A member of the panel, Justice Emmanuel Agim, noted that some of the requests by Atiku and the PDP were “outside the precincts of section 151 of the Electoral Act”. 

However, in his reply, Uche argued that the court had in a plethora of decided cases, held that the sort of evidence his clients are seeking to secure, could be admitted if it were obtained with the leave of court.

He said it would be practically impossible for INEC to certify over 80million ballot papers that were used in over 172, 000 polling units in the country where the presidential election took place.

According to Uche, with leave of the tribunal, forensic experts would be brought to testify and give evidence during the eventual hearing of the petition.

“My lords if they are not allowed to secure the evidence and testify, it will deprive us of the ability to identify those abnormalities when we find them. 

“Besides, if one individual thumb-printed over 500 ballot papers, the certified copies cannot reveal it. That is why we want to scan them and send for expert analysis.

“That is why we need INEC to allow us access to scan the required documents. Going by section 72 of the Electoral Act,  all the materials are in the custody of INEC. 

“The information we want to go is just to help us to package our complaint, at the end of the day,  INEC will also have the opportunity to confirm the authenticity or otherwise of any of the items we tender in evidence before the tribunal.

“In essence my lord no one will be prejudiced if our requests are granted.

“We make this application, knowing the very limited time and very disadvantaged position of any petitioner so far as gaining access to the election infrastructure is concerned”, Uche added.

After it had listened to the motion, the panel stood-down for one hour to deliver its ruling, even as directed Atiku’s counsel to supply it with the said court decisions that allowed the grant the reliefs sought by the Applicants.

The motion ex-parte motion was supported with a 12 paragraphed affidavit that was deposed to by one Col. Austin Akobundu, rtd, the director of Contact and Mobilization of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter are the INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC.

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Army Vows Tough Action Against Perpetrators Of Electoral Violence

Ahead of the March 9, 2019 Governorship and House of Assembly elections, the Nigerian Army says it will deal decisively with persons planning to perpetrate any form of violence during the polls.

Addressing senior officers of the Army in Abuja, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieut. Gen. Tukur Buratai said the army would enforce all guidelines in support of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections in line with its constitutional roles.

The Army chief said, “We shall be tough on those who plan to rig or disrupt the electoral process.

“I, therefore, want to appeal to Nigerian youths to shun any attempt by any politician to use them to perpetrate any form of violence.”

According to him, “Recent security threat assessment and analysis of the coming elections show that politicians have made plans to use all means available to truncate the peaceful conduct of the elections.”

He said part of the plan to disrupt the elections involves the use of the farmers/herders crisis, armed political thugs and ethnic militia to perpetrate acts of violence, including bombings.

“Some of them also intend to infiltrate domestic staff of political opponents, employ mercenaries to carry out acts of assassinations, use of the social media for the smear campaign, hate speeches and spread fake news,” said Lieut. Gen. Buratai.

Against the backdrop of the killing of the young officer and soldiers during the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Chief of Army Staff gave the assurance that those desperate politicians and criminals that attacked the troops would be tracked down and brought to justice.

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‘I will try and work even harder’, says Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he will work harder in his second term as president.

Buhari gave the assurance on Wednesday when he received the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on a courtesy visit in Abuja.

The president, who campaigned on security, improving the economy, creating jobs, fighting corruption and upgrading infrastructure, said he will intensify efforts to fulfil campaign promises.

“This is my last lap. I will try and work even harder than I have done. I assure you that I will not let you down. I pray that my best will be good enough,” Buhari said.

The incumbent president defeated his closest challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the presidential elections conducted in February.

Buhari, who commended members of ACF for their consistent support, said he remained appreciative of their goodwill.

Chairman of ACF Board of Trustees, Adamu Fika said the organisation visited to congratulate President Buhari on his re-election.

Fika said it was pleasing that the president has been committed to some strategic projects important to the country.

“It is pleasing to note that since then, the Baro Dry Port has been commissioned, while some other projects have been reactivated and are now being implemented.”

“We pray that those organs of government charged with the responsibility for the implementation will double their efforts to ensure that these projects are executed fully to their logical conclusion within a reasonable time,” Fika added.

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We have made no plans to stop Atiku from going to court – APC debunks allegations

Festus Keyamo, SAN, who was the Director of Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council has dismissed claims that the party is using every means possible to ‘prevail on Atiku Abubakar not to proceed to court’.

The official spokesperson of the APC campaign organization dissociates the APC from a letter written by the Buhari Campaign Organization, saying the BCO “does not represent the APC or the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation in any way. ”

See full statement below

Our attention has been drawn to some news item and posts on social media reporting that we wrote a letter to some international bodies to prevail on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar not to proceed to court to challenge the result of the 2019 Presidential Election.

Our investigation reveals that a letter to that effect was purportedly written by a certain ‘Buhari Campaign Organisation’. This is the second time we will be informing the public that the said ‘Buhari Campaign Organisation’ does not act at the behest of the APC Presidential Campaign Council nor does it represent the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation in any way. As a result, whatever it has released DOES NOT REPRESENT THE POSITION OF THE APC PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN COUNCIL OR PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI.

Our official position is that we believe that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has a constitutional right to seek redress in court and we do not seek in any way to curtail that right. In fact, it is the resort to court that is the only democratic way to ventilate his perceived grievance and any attempt to restrict or discourage the exercise of such right would be an invitation to anarchy.

In addition, we are very anxious to meet Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in court in order to show the world in a conclusive manner the free and fair nature of the comprehensive defeat of Atiku at the polls. An election is not termed ‘rigged’ only by the mere claim of it by the loser. That is what Atiku and the PDP want to ram down our throats. Unfortunately for them, international, continental and sub-regional observers (who can be seen as neutral by all standards) ALL declared it to be free, fair and credible. No ego-massaging narrative can change that.

We therefore totally disassociate ourselves from the letter purportedly written by one of, perhaps, many support groups of President Muhammadu Buhari. They may have a right to their opinion, but it does not represent our official position.

Thank you.

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Breaking: Presidential Commtt orders APC to lift suspension on Okorocha within 48hrs

Following the suspension given to the Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha by the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Working Committee last week, the Presidential Support Committee, PSC, South East Zone, has given the APC committee 48 hours ultimatum to lift the suspension.

According to the Presidential Committee, the suspension on Governor Okorocha came to it as a rude shock.

At a press briefing in Owerri on Tuesday, the presidential committee condemned the suspension of Okorocha, saying the act was done by a cabal.

It also wondered why the party would suspend what it described as one the ‘major financier of the party.”

The presidential committee said the suspension was a ploy to disorganise Ndigbo ahead of the 2023 presidential election believed to be the turn of the zone to produce a president.

The Presidential committee were led by the Director of Inter-Party Affairs, South East; Robert Ngwu, National Legal Adviser; Ejikeme Ugwu and Director, Political Matters; Comrade Maxwel Okoye.

Recall that the APC NWC had suspended Governor Okorocha over alleged anti-party activities.

But the Presidential Committee threatened legal actions on the APC if the suspension is not lifted.

According to the presidential committee: “Okorocha’s suspension came to us as a rude shock. There is no way a cabal can suspend a major financier of the party. We give the NWC and the national chairman 48 hours to reverse the suspension without delay else, we will resort to legal and mass action against the leadership of APC.

“The suspension is aimed at disorganising Igbo ahead of 2023. Oshiomhole cannot wake up and suspend a major financier of the party. We plead with Buhari not to allow some few individuals to rubbish his friends because we know that Okorocha is a good friend of the president.”

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Breaking: Atiku, PDP file motion compelling INEC to surrender election materials for inspection

ABUJA—-The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have filed a motion to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to surrender all the materials that were used for the February 23 presidential election, for inspection.

The motion ex-parte was lodged before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Tuesday.

The Tribunal will conduct its proceedings at the Court of Appeal Headquarters in Abuja.

In the motion ex-parte dated March 4, Atiku and the PDP, applied for leave of the tribunal to allow them to inspect the Voters Register, the Smart Card Reader Machines, Ballot Papers and other vital documents that were used in the conduct of the presidential election.

They equally prayed the tribunal to compel the electoral body to allow their agents to scan and make photocopies of vital documents used in the conduct of the election, for the purpose of establishing alleged irregularities.

The Applicants, through their lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, told the tribunal that the reliefs sought against INEC was for the purpose of filing and maintaining an election petition they intend to lodge against the outcome of the 2019 Presidential Election.

The motion ex-parte motion was supported with a 12 paragraphed affidavit that was deposed to by one Col. Austin Akobundu, rtd, the director of Contact and Mobilization of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council.

Meantime, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the motion which has INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, as 1st to 3rd Respondents.

Atiku who came second behind President Buhari of the APC, had earlier vowed to challenge the outcome of the presidential election in court, alleging that it was fraught with manifest irregularities.

He maintained that results collated by agents at various polling units across the federation, was at variance with what was eventually declared by INEC, in favour of President Buhari.

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March 9 election: INEC retrains ad-hoc staff to address electoral hitches

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Plateau State has commenced a refresher training for its ad-hoc officials to mitigate against hitches experienced during the Feb. 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Plateau, Mr. Osaretin Imahiyereobo, made this disclosure on Tuesday in Jos at a town hall meeting on Voter Education, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The meeting was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with a private radio station to review the lessons learnt during the national elections and proffer solutions.

Imahiyereobo said the training was for confidence building for the staff as well as to acquire more requisite skills ahead of the March 9 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.

“We received reports that many ad-hoc officials were intimidated at polling units to use manual polling which is zero voting.

“We want them to have the boldness and courage to coordinate the activities of their polling units because they are representatives of the INEC chairman,” he said.

He added that INEC guidelines must be adhered to including using the card reader machines, adding that where there were hitches, its technical officials would address such.

“All the card reader machines are working, but the ad-hoc officials may not be effective in using them hence the training. The use of the machine would prevent multiple voting,” he said.

The INEC official urged voters to be patient with the machines and cooperate with officials to enable them to conduct the forthcoming elections successfully.

Mr. Bulus Dabit, the Director of NOA in Plateau said that the Agency was worried about the number of invalid votes recorded during the last elections, saying voter education was critical to ensure votes counted.

“I want to commend voters in the last elections for being resilient and coming out en masse to exercise their franchise.

“We want to appeal to political parties and traditional leaders to educate electorates on how to vote accurately,” he said.

Narrating the challenges of the last elections, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Akeem Yusuf in Plateau stated that some INEC officials were overwhelmed with some of the challenges they encountered at their various polling units.

“Some challenges were what the officials can address but some of them were afraid to take appropriate measures, they need reorientation to address this issue,” he said.

NAN reports that participants at the town hall meeting included security agencies, faith-based organisations, civil society organisations and journalists among others.

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Only certified vehicles legitimate to move election materials – FRSC

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says that only certified vehicles by it and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be allowed to move election material during the governorship election.

Mr Hyginus Omeje, the FRSC Lagos State Sector Commander made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

Omeje said that INEC had had Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Union of Road Transport Workers on the legitimate movement of the election materials to the various polling unit.

According to him, they have provided vehicles and we have certified and given stickers to them to show that they are fit for the election duty and that is what we will adhere to.

”It is those vehicles given to us that we are going to make use of and we were able to certify 1,650 vehicles plus additional vehicles from INEC itself arranged to be use for the election.

”And every vehicle to move election materials must have stickers of FRSC and INEC showing that the vehicles are legitimate on election duty anything short of that will not be allowed,” he said.

Omeje said that about 750 FRSC personnel had been deployed in the governorship election and attention would be given to those flash point areas to provide intelligence to the police.

He said that FRSC would be working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies as the corps mandate was to ensure that no movement order was adhere to.

”We are going to block all the road leading to Lagos State to ensure restrictions of movement is adhered to, though police provide the lead while we assist,” he added.

NAN reports that the NURTW, Lagos Council, had said that all the vehicles assigned to move election personnel and materials to various polling units were in good condition.

Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede, the Lagos State Chairman of the union had said in an interview with NAN on Feb. 15,

Agbede said that all the union members involved in the exercise were ready and the vehicles to be used were in good condition ready for the elections.

”All our vehicles are in good condition and everybody involved in moving election materials are ready to perform their duty effectively in Lagos State,” the union chairman said.

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EFCC reportedly stopped from probing plane loaded with cash on election eve

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has reportedly been barred from investigating a private jet loaded with money on February 15, 2019, the eve of the aborted presidential and National Assembly elections.

On February 15th, a video of a plane unable to fly because of the huge amount of cash stuffed on it, went viral. According to Punch, multiple sources said the EFCC operatives thereafter stormed the area after a tip-off from some people about the cargo.

They demanded the source of the money, its owner and destination. The crew was said to have informed the operatives that the money was meant for election expenses in Kwara State, but the detectives reportedly insisted on taking away the cash haul.

“The EFCC operatives interrogated the crew and they claimed they were part of the government. They also gave a code which they assumed the operatives would understand, but the detectives insisted on taking away the money. 

However, a phone call came from the Presidential Villa ordering them to hands off the matter and clear off from the scene. Shortly after, armed soldiers took over the scene and the money was transferred into another plane which took off by 10pm that night.”

Speaking on the incident, the spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, Tony Orilade, said he doubts if the incident really happened.

“On the plane-load of cash you asked about, I saw the pictures and we know that these pictures are things that can be manipulated to achieve the purposes by their producers. All the reports from the field are being reviewed and we shall come out with our position once it is ready.

Let’s not be carried away by the activities of mischief-makers; like the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu said, we shall continue to do the right thing to make Nigeria a better country for everyone.”Orilade said

Meanwhile, findings have indicated that the EFCC may not investigate the movement of huge cash into two bullion vans by a leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on the eve of the elections.

Although Tinubu admitted in an interview with journalists in Lagos that he transported the bulk money into his Ikoyi residence, it was gathered that the anti-graft agency had no plan to probe the incident.

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Breaking: INEC adjourns Presidential Collation till Monday

ABUJA : The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has adjourned the final collation of the Presidential Election results to Monday by 11am.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu announced this Sunday evening while formally declaring open the National Collation Centre.

“From today, the collation centre is hereby declared open until the final determination of the 2019 presidential election. During the course of proceedings, there may be interludes or adjournments and these will be announced by the Chief Returning Officer.

“At the moment no State Collation Officer has is around. Some of them are expected tonight. Accordingly, proceedings are hereby adjourned. We will reconvene by 11am tomorrow Monday 25th February for the collation of results”, he declared.

INEC had earlier said in Ekiti, the process had since been concluded and the State Collation Officer was being expected in Abuja but as at 7pm, he was yet to arrive. Some of the officers would come by road while others would come by air depending on their proximity to Abuja.

“Meanwhile, collation of results from yesterday’s elections continue nationwide. Almost all the states have concluded RA Collation and are now collating results at the LGA level. Some have commenced state level collation. We expect the state collation officers for the Presidential elections to start arriving at the National Collation Centre later today and early morning tomorrow. Accordingly, the National Collation Centre will be officially declared open today at 6pm. Collation will commence as soon as the results arrive from the states. On this note, I wish to state that Ekiti state has already concluded the process. The state collation officer for the Presidential election is, as we speak, on his way to Abuja with the result of the Presidential election for Ekiti”, Yakubu had said.

According to him, the collation officer has also made returns in the National Assembly elections in Ekiti state.

He said though the commission was generally satisfied with the way Nigerians conducted themselves during the exercise, it was disheartening to note the killing of one of its ad hoc staff in Rivers by political thugs.

“While in all these attacks, electoral staff sustained injuries, we have unfortunately recorded the first fatality in Rivers state. An ad hoc staff, Mrs Ibiseki Amachree was hit by a bullet while returning from election duty in Degema. May her soup rest in peace. We condemn this attack and have lodged a comprehensive report with security agencies for expeditious investigation and prosecution of those involved”, he said.

This was as the INEC boss said the commission has also handed over one of its Electoral Officers in Imo to the Police for election duty infractions.

” All election duty personnel have sworn to an oath of neutrality. We have reports of possible dereliction of duty by some electoral officials. They refused to activate or deploy the smart card readers. The failure to fully account for materials for the elections, absconding from duty and a host of other infractions. In Imo state, one of our Electoral Officers had already been handed over to the Police. We will not tolerate violations against, or by our own officials”, he warned.

Buhari leads in Alagomeji, Lagos

He spoke of how INEC staff and policemen were held hostage in a place in Rivers, saying he had to immediately initiate their rescue process by calling on the heads of security agencies.

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Two men arrested with 14 sacks containing fake ballot papers in Kano

The Kano Police Command says it has arrested two suspects in possession of 14 bags of fake ballot papers in Kano state.

Spokesperson of the command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, who disclosed this to newsmen, said the suspects were arrested with the fake ballot papers around Metro Police Area Command on Wednesday night, February 13th.

Upon interrogation, the suspects said they were from Jigawa state and were only going to sensitize the people in Kano on how to cast their votes correctly during the elections.

Haruna added that investigation was still ongoing as the case had since been transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Development (CID). 

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President Buhari to address Nigerians by 7pm today!

Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari will make a nationwide broadcast tonight at 7pm.

“President Buhari will Thursday broadcast to the nation at 7 pm with a repeat at 9 pm. All television, radio stations and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the NTANews and Radio Nigeria for the broadcast,” said Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

The reason for the broadcast is yet to be ascertained but it’s believe to be connected to the presidential election on Saturday.

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Niger Delta Avengers backs Atiku for president

A rebel group in southern Nigeria that has carried out dozens of attacks on the oil industry declared its support on Thursday for the main opposition candidate in this weekend’s election.

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) called on people in the region to vote for Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging incumbent Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency.

The group said Abubakar’s “political ideology” fitted its campaign for “equitable and fair principles of federalism.”

But it warned that Abubakar had to implement restructuring reforms “within six months to forestall further agitation.”

The group also warned that “strike teams are active and gallantly waiting to receive instructions from the high command to cripple the Nigerian economy again” if Buhari wins.

The Avengers have attacked oil and gas pipelines in a campaign for a more equitable distribution of revenue from Nigeria’s energy treasure.

Despite the billions of dollars in earnings since oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in the late 1950s, the majority of people in the south still live in poverty.

That has fuelled protectionist sentiment from some in the south that the oil “belongs” to the people of the region and should not be shared across the rest of Nigeria.

Restructuring Nigeria’s federal system is a perennial election issue and Abubakar has said he is in favour of devolving more power and resources from the centre.

Under the current system, federal funding is given every month to Nigeria’s 36 states, the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja and 774 local government areas.

The money comes from revenue generated by the states themselves.

But more prosperous states — particularly oil-producing ones — have long complained they are subsidising their less productive counterparts.

Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer but the NDA attacks cut output, combining with low crude prices globally to plunge the country into recession.

Oil sales account for some 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of government revenue.

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JUST IN: PDP campaign spokesperson arrested in Kaduna

The spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign in Kaduna State, Ben Bako, has been arrested by security operatives Saturday night.

The reason for the arrest is not yet clear as men believed to be State Security Service (SSS) took him to Abuja.

The arrest has been confirmed by the deputy director of publicity of the party, Yakubu Lere.

Confirming the arrest, the deputy director of publicity of the PDP campaign, Yakubu Lere, said Mr Bako was taken by the SSS to Abuja

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Fire guts INEC Office, destroys election material

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State has been gutted by fire.
The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Qua’an Pan Local Government area in Plateau State on Saturday night gutted by fire.

This is coming less than a week to the 2019 presidential election.

Osaretin Imahiyereobo, Plateau State INEC Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, in a statement, confirmed the disaster.

“The INEC office is completely burnt with all its content…ballot boxes, Generators serviced and filled with fuel, cubicles, newly printed electronic and manual voters register, uncollected PVCs, materials for the preparations of RAC and other materials yet to be identified,” Imahiyereobo said.

According to Imahiyereobo, the incident was caused by a drunken security man.

Imahiyereobo described the incident as a setback for the preparations for the general elections in the Local Government Area.

“The management team led by the Administrative Secretary, Gbadamasi Rasheed are on their way to assess the situation.”

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Okorocha Explains Senatorial Ambition As Ihedioha Campaigns In Orlu

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Saturday explained why he is seeking to be elected into the Senate in the general elections.

Governor Okorocha who is contesting for the Imo West senatorial seat on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) addressed a crowd of supporters while campaigning in Isu, Nkwerre and Nwangele Local Government Areas of the state.

He said his decision was not just for the development of Imo West senatorial district but to be a voice for the entire Igbo nation in the National Assembly.

The governor pledged that compared to other senators from the area, his tenure as a senator would bring about massive development in his senatorial district.

Elsewhere, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Emeka Ihedioha, has promised to eradicate poverty in the state.

Ihedioha, who is also a former deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, explained that he intended to achieve this through wealth creation if elected governor of Imo in the coming polls.

He was also speaking at a campaign rally in Orlu Local Government Area of the state where hundreds of party supporters were on the ground to receive him.

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I’ll never change – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday assured Nigerians that he would not change from being who he is in the fight against eliminating corruption in the country.

He stated this at the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential campaign in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

According to him, he will remain steadfast in delivering effective leadership if re-elected in the February 16 presidential election.

Vanguard quoted him as saying, “I assure you, I am not going to change. I am going to be consistent, I will remain steadfast. Anybody who abuses trust will be exposed and he will be dispossessed

“I stand before you to thank you most sincerely for defying the weather and standing for hours to come and see and listen to us. I am very grateful.

“I am convinced that you believe in what we are doing and that you stand to support us even further. When I came to look for your vote in 2015, I promised three fundamental issues based on our party manifesto. Security, economy and fighting corruption.

“We will do roads, rail ways and provide electricity with monies recovered from looters.”

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PDP reveals what APC ‘plans’ to do with uncollected PVCs

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, had planned to use the uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVCs, to allocate votes to President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement yesterday night by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for extension of time by three days for collection of the PVCs.

The party said the demand of three days extension was predicated on reports across the country that some compromised INEC officials at the collection centres were deliberately refusing to issue the PVCs to voters, thereby frustrating millions of registered voters.

According to him, “The PDP believes that this deliberate refusal to release the PVCs is part of the wider plot by the APC to disenfranchise millions of Nigerians and frustrate their eagerness to vote out President Buhari at the February 16 presidential election and elect the peoples candidate, Atiku Abubakar.”

The party demanded explanation from INEC for turning back registered voters who went to collect their PVCs and directed them to come at a later date for an exercise that is programmed to end on Friday.

It also called on the leadership of INEC not to plunge the election into a needless controversy but to redeem itself by extending the closing date for the collection of PVCs by three days.

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Atiku warns INEC, security agencies against rigging

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies against interfering in the conduct of February 16 and March 2 general elections, as any attempt will be strongly resisted.

The presidential candidate handed down the warning at a PDP campaign rally held on Wednesday in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

Abubakar, while addressing the mammoth crowd of supporters, said, “People of Yobe State, three and the half years, you have voted APC and I want to ask, what has APC done to you? APC has promised to restore security, provide employment and revive the country’s economy all have failed thereby subjecting you to abject poverty, hunger and insecurity among others.

“People of Yobe State, all Nigerians have made a positive change; you should not be left behind. Don’t make the mistake of re-electing APC again,” he warned.

He assured the electorate that, if elected into power, his government will be exclusively for youth and women, saying, electing him as president was a rare opportunity for people of Northeast since he came from the region.

The former Vice President also warned security agencies and the electoral umpire against interfering in the conduct of the general elections

On his part, the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, said the wind of change blowing across the nation has arrived in Yobe State.

“By the mandate of ordinary people, I believe and convince on behalf of the leadership of the party that your votes will count on the February 16th and March 2nd. Therefore, come out in your numbers to vote and defend it,” he urged.

The National chairman alleged that INEC planned to use manual collation of results instead of e-collation in Borno and Yobe States, claiming that will give room for results manipulation.

He assured the people of the state that Atiku Abubakar will not let them down as he has all the experiences to lead the nation to a greater height.

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Saraki Asks Buhari To End ASUU Strike Without Delay

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has urged the Federal Government to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU).

Saraki made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

“The Federal Government must immediately work to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU), because this issue goes beyond negotiations.  It is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general elections,” he stated.

Saraki warned that the undergraduates might be denied the opportunity to vote in the general elections if the demands of the lecturers are not met.

While noting that the youths make up over 51 per cent of the voting population, the Senate President noted that a situation whereby the strike prevents them from participating in the polls where they registered isn’t acceptable.

“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.

“In this regard, I call on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments. On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the Federal Government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue,” Saraki said.

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