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BREAKING: Court Clears The Way For Dapo Abiodun To Contest Ogun Gov Election

7 March 2019 - 9:27am


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking the disqualification of Dapo Abiodun, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ogun State.

One Abdulrafiu Adesina Baruwa had filed a suit against Abiodun, alleging that he made a false claim about his educational qualification in the Form CF001 and the accompanying affidavit he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to Baruwa’s suit, Abiodun did not participate in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.

However, giving his ruling on Thursday, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the FCT High Court 15, dismissed the case on the premise that the NYSC certificate is not a constitutional requirement for electoral office.

The court ruled that Abiodun is qualified to contest in view of Section 177 of the Constitution.

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'$16bn But Where Is The Power?' — Buhari Says PDP Still Has Questions To Answer

7 March 2019 - 9:19am


President Muhammadu Buhari says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has questions to answer on the “irresponsible expenditure” of $16billion claimed to have been channelled into the power sector when the party was in government at the federal level for 16 years.

The President said this on Thursday when he hosted members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the State House, Abuja.

According to a statement by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), NLC came on a congratulatory visit on Buhari's victory in the presidential election.

Berating the PDP for squandering the resources of the country, he said: "PDP has not successfully explained to the country what they did with the money. There were no roads, no rail, no power. They said they spent $16 billion on power, but where is the power? The irresponsible expenditure of that period has not been explained, and Nigerians deserve an answer on that terrible mismanagement of the country."

Thanking the NLC for their “support and patriotism", even in the light of the “unexpected postponement” of the elections, he added: “You and your members stepped in to support willing Nigerians to exercise their civic and patriotic rights to vote. You intervened as patriots, and not for political, religious or tribal purposes. You simply did the right thing during a difficult period for many of us."

He also restated his commitment to remaining focused on the party’s “core pillars of security, economy, and fight against corruption”, just as he urged organised Labour to partner with the government to make the country peaceful, prosperous, and corruption free.

In his remarks, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, said: "We all remember the special bailout and budget support you introduced to support state governments during the recession. Your directive during this intervention was that state governments must offset accumulated arrears of salaries and pension liabilities. I remember you publicly asked state governors, 'how do you manage to sleep at night when the salaries of workers in your state are not paid?'

"For us, that was one of the finest moments we have had with any President in this country. I can stand here today and say your intervention was the difference between life and death for many workers."

The labour leader appealed to the National Assembly to earnestly pass the National Minimum Wage Act, while also asking the President to thereafter sign it into law within the shortest possible time.

NLC pledged to remain "veritable partner in progress with government," counseling the President to continue to "make the Nigerian people, especially the poor, the centre-piece of your policy initiatives and actions."

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BREAKING: Men In Military Uniform Break Into Ateke Tom's Palace In Rivers

7 March 2019 - 9:13am


Breaking News

Men in military uniform have invaded the palace of Ateke Tom, the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The men broke into the palace and ransacked the building.

The motive is yet unknown as of the time of filing this report.

This is coming days to the governorship and state house of assembly elections slated for Saturday.

Tom Ateke, a former ex-militant leader, embraced amnesty in 2008 alongside his fighters.

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Socialist Workers Reject Amaechi's 'Sham Of An Endorsement' Of AAC Candidate In Rivers

7 March 2019 - 9:07am


The Socialist Workers and Youth League has rejected the endorsement of the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers State by Rotimi Amaechi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The rejection of Amaechi’s endorsement was contained in a statement by Andrew Emelieze, National Chairperson of the group, which was issued on Thursday.

According to the group, Amaechi’s endorsement was not done with “sincerity of purpose”.

The statement read: “The Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL) rejects the sham of an endorsement of the African Action Congress (AAC) by Rotimi Amaechi and the APC in Rivers State. It is the support of the poor and working masses that is important, not the endorsement of a moneybag who is part of the oppressors of the masses.

“As a member of the Alliance for the Masses Political Alternative, which is in coalition with the Take It Back movement, we call on the people of Rivers State to vote out the PDP and march under the banner of the AAC on Saturday, not based on one supposed godfather’s endorsement but because AAC represents the best opportunity for the self-emancipation of the masses, through struggle. 

“Amaechi’s endorsement of Mr Awara Biokpomabo, the African Action Congress (AAC) gubernatorial candidate, for this coming Saturday’s state election, was not done with sincerity of purpose. It is rather out of sheer desperation to cling on to the political power of government in the state. 

“Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL) thus backs AAC's rejection of the endorsement. This is because the party differs politically and ideologically from the APC, PDP and every other pro-establishment parties. AAC stands for the poor masses and youth – we want to make a revolution and change the system. APC and co want the system which makes life terrible for the vast majority of Nigerians to continue, because they benefit from it.

“We therefore urge members of the AAC in Rivers to understand that APC only recognizes AAC and its gubernatorial candidate, Mr Awara Biokpomabo, because of the party’s revolutionary and transformative character, which endears it to young people in the state. There is no fundamental difference between Rotimi Amaechi and APC on one hand and Nyesom Wike and PDP on the other. 

“We must to unite our ranks and take collective action against the few elites represented both in APC and PDP as we organize to take back our history and destiny with revolutionary democracy from below.”

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INEC Recovers 22 Of The 63 Stolen Card Readers In Bayelsa

7 March 2019 - 8:45am


Monday Tom Udoh, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Comission (INEC) in Bayelsa State, on Thursday said the commission had retrieved 22 smart card readers out of the 69 stolen by political thugs during the February 23 presidential and national assembly election in the state.

He also said INEC would take strict penalty measures in areas where card readers are yet to be recovered.  

Udoh declared a two-day amnesty for card reader thieves during the February 23 elections, warning them to return the commission's property in their possession. 

Speaking in Yenagoa on Thursday during the stakeholders meeting with leaders of political parties, he further explained that out of the 24 missing in Nembe Local Government area, only 14 were recovered, while three of the eight stolen in Sagbama had been recovered. In Southern Ijaw LGA, out of 24, two were returned, while three of the six stolen in Yenagoa had been seen.

Commending the Civil Liberty Society (CLO), religious leaders, community chiefs, youth, women groups and major stakeholders for reaching out to electoral thugs before some of the cards were returned, Udoh said INEC would continue to perform the role of the unbiased umpire in the elections.

He also urged the people of the state to leave the incident of the past elections and eschew violence for a better election in the state, adding that election is not war but a process for leaders to emerge.

"If those you are to lead are all dead, what is the gain?" he asked.

“Election is not war. Where there’s peace you find progress and development. So by the time you kill those you are to lead what is the gain and who will you lead? Let us all allow peace to reign in the state, before, during and after the elections."

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Ahead Of 2019 Nigeria Governorship And State House Of Assembly Elections

7 March 2019 - 8:24am

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BREAKING: PDP's Gbenga Daniel Directs Supporters To Vote For APC's Dapo Abiodun

7 March 2019 - 6:27am


Gbenga Daniel, a former Governor of Ogun State and Director General of the Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign organisation, has directed the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Remo, Ogun State, to vote for Dapo Abiodun, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State.

Daniel made this known in a statement he issued on Thursday.

The PDP governorship candidate in Ogun State is Buruji Kashamu.

However, Kashamu's candidature, which was affirmed by a court ruling in January, did not sit well with the national leadership of the party, which presented Ladi Adebutu as its preferred candidate in the state. A court ruling on Wednesday then reaffirmed Kashamu's candidature.

Making reference to Wednesday's ruling, Daniel said: "You would have noticed my studied silence in our local politics in recent times. I have busied myself with national politics, having served the state for eight years.

"I have also been very busy supporting the ambition of the son of our great philanthropist in Remoland to become the next Governor of our dear state. You, however, would have become aware of the court decision yesterday which did not favour him.

"Going forward, I have directed all our Structures statewide to cast all their votes on Saturday for Prince Dapo Abiodun, another bona fide Remo son despite current party differences. I therefore, enjoin all to please go and cast your vote on Saturday for Dapo Abiodun in the overall interest of our people."

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JUST IN: Last-Minute Good News For APC As Court Affirms Ayogu Eze As Enugu Gov Candidate

7 March 2019 - 6:13am


A Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed Senator Ayogu Eze as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State — less than wo days to the election.

The candidates for APC in Enugu State were missing in the final list of governorship and deputy governorship candidates published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

However, in the ruling given on Thursday, Eze was affirmed as the APC governorship candidate.

Setting aside the judgment of Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja directing INEC to replace Eze with one Barrister George Ogara as the Enugu APC governorship candidate, Justice Abdul Aboki upheld the appeal filed by Eze asking the court to recognise him as the authentic APC candidate of the party.
 

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How Female Super Eagles Fans Were Deceived Into Prostitution After Russia 2018 World Cup

7 March 2019 - 6:09am


Young Nigerian women rescued from human traffickers gather in a shelter


Blessing Obuson from Nigeria, 19, rescued from human traffickers, poses for a portrait in a shelter on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia February 21, 2019. Picture taken February 21, 2019.


Momoh Alifat Omotese who was killed in September 2018 in a shelter on the outskirt of Moscow

Young Nigerian women rescued from human traffickers gather in a shelter REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“I cried really hard. But what choice did I have?” were the words on 19-year-old Blessing Obuson, a Nigerian ‘Super Eagles fan’, forced into prostitution in Russia.

Another 21-year-old woman said: “They don’t give you food for days, they slap you, they beat you, they spit in your face... It’s like a cage.”

In roughly three months, it’ll make it one full year thousands of fans flew across countries to cheer the Super Eagles as they participated in the World Cup which took place in Russia in June 2018.

However, contrary to expectations, not only are thousands of supposed Super Eagles fans missing, it turned out some members of the Nigerian fan base were sold into prostitution.

One of such victims is 19-year-old Obuson, who went to Russia in the hope of finding a job.

Blessing Obuson from Nigeria, 19, rescued from human traffickers, poses for a portrait in a shelter on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia February 21, 2019. Picture taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

According to a report by Reuters, Obuson had nursed dreams of working as a shop assistant to help with her two-year-old daughter and younger siblings resident in Edo State, but she ended up locked up in an apartment in the outskirts of Moscow and forced into becoming a sex slave alongside 11 other Nigerian women.

They were under the strict supervision of a madam, also a Nigerian, who confiscated the passport of the victims and forced them to work to pay off certain debts. In Obuson’s case, she had to work to pay off a debt of $50,000.

Reprieve, however, came the way od Obuson and other victims when she told her story to a client, who spoke English and involved anti-slavery activists, leading to a raid on the apartment.

According to the case, which is still under investigation, a police officer had posed as an interested client willing to buy off Obuson for 2million rubles (around $30,000), which led to the arrest of two Nigerians.

Momoh Alifat Omotese who was killed in September 2018 in a shelter on the outskirt of Moscow REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Eight other Nigerian women, between the ages of 16 and 22, also told Reuters how they were victims of violence and also came into the country as Super Eagles’ fans. The fan identity cards grant them access to the country without necessarily needing visas.

According to the Police in Russia, 1,863 Nigerians had not left the country as of January 1, 2019 — six months after they came into the country for the World Cup, and at the time the IDs expired.

In September 2018, 22-year-old Alifat Momoh was said to be the victim of murder by a man who refused to pay for sex.

Kenny Kehindo, an anti-slavery activist who works with non governmental organisations in Moscow, puts the figure of women who came into the country as fans at more than 2,000.

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BREAKING: Suspended-By-APC Okorocha Attends AA Rally For Uche Nwosu

7 March 2019 - 5:27am


Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, is currently at the vocational/support groups rally for Uche Nwosu, governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA).

Okorocha was recently suspended by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for endorsing Nwosu, his son-in-law, over the governorship candidate of the party, Hope Uzodinma.

The rally is taking place in Imo state to round off campaign ahead of Saturday's governorship election.

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EXCLUSIVE: Tinubu's N25m Gift Tears Lam Adesina's Followers Apart

7 March 2019 - 5:07am

There is trouble in the camp of the political followers of the late Lam Adesina, popularly called Lamists/Unity Forum, following Bola Tinubu’s N25million gift to some of its members to secure their endorsement of Bayo Adelabu, the Oyo State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

After last year’s contentious primaries of the Oyo State APC, some followers of Adesina, the Oyo State Governor between 1999 and 2003, defected to the African Democratic Congress (ADC), to further pursue their political ambitions.

Those of them who contested the February 23 elections under the ADC — 14 house of representatives and three senatorial candidates — all ended up on the losing side. With APC performing poorly in that election and fearing that Saturday’s governorship election will not be as straightforward as previously thought, Tinubu, the National Leader of APC, invited the Lamists to Lagos in a last-ditch to get them to back Adelabu. SaharaReporters undertands they were given a sum of N25million.

Alhaji Fatai Ibuikunle, former Personal Assistant to the late Lam Adesina, led the delegation of Lamists that visited Tinubu in Lagos, selecting 11 others. They collected Tinubu’s N25m without informing the others, particularly those who contested. On their return to Ibadan, they endorsed Adelabu on Tuesday.

In a statement announcing the endorsement, Ibikunle said the group “bowed to pressure from the national leadership of the APC and resolved to team up with their former party to ensure victory for Chief Adebayo Adelabu in this Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state".

“In an emergency meeting held on Tuesday at a private location in Ibadan, leaders and members of the Forum unanimously considered the reports of a delegation which had earlier met with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and agreed to unite for the sake of peace and progress of the pacesetters state," he further said.

“According to the leader of the delegation which recently had an interface with Tinubu in Lagos home, all the issues that led to the schisms within the Oyo APC were presented and treated accordingly while far reaching agreement were reached by both parties with a view to facilitating victory for the APC gubernatorial candidate, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, on Saturday.”

Irked by the “ignominious development”, the other Lamists, mainly the 14 reps and three senatorial candidates of the ADC met at the Lam Adesina Hall in Felele, Ibadan, on Wednesday to dissociate themselves from the defection of the other group to the APC.

The group, predominantly populated by political ambassadors drawn from various political parties, condemned “the surreptitious conduct and purported endorsement of the gubernatorial candidate of the APC by some few individuals masquerading as adherents of the late former Governor”. 

In a communique issued after the meeting, seen by SaharaReporters, they said, among others: “Lam Adesina's political family remains an indivisible one. 

“Lamists/Unity Forum have nothing to do with All Progressives Congress, APC, with its sheer disdainful conduct to rubbish and obliterate the legacy of the late former Governor.

“We have not endorsed any gubernatorial candidate as we are still consulting far and near. This is to make sure that opinions of all members of Lamists/Unity Forum as well as of those who contested the National Assembly elections are sought before arriving at a conclusion on who to support.”

They also maintained that they were “NOT rejoining the APC” because the reasons they left the party had not been addressed. They also said their membership of the ADC remains valid, and that Senator Olufemi Solagbode Lanlehin remains the leader of the group.

“Sen. Monsurat Sunmonu, Hon. Adedapo Lam Adesina, Hon. Sumbo Olugbemi, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun and a host of others remain members of the ADC as long the national leadership of APC refuse to do the needful in addressing the injustice that characterized the conduct of the last congress in Oyo State,” the group added.

On Monday, SaharaReporters had reported how APC’s woeful outing in Ajimobi’s senatorial district prompted protests from party leaders, with Tinubu now personally overseeing the campaigns in a desperate bid to prevent a potential surrendering of the governorship to Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Incensed by the report, Tinubu — according to a statement by Tunde Rahman from his media office —  described it as “beyond a lie… a vindictive attempt to sow discord because the writer is angered by the APC’s success in the presidential election”. 

Surprisingly, for two straight days after issuing the statement, Ajimobi has not been “in the forefront” of the governorship campaign in Oke-Ogun, comprising 10 local governments. On Tuesday and Wednesday, for example, Adelabu campaigned in Oke-Ogun, comprising 10 local governments, without Ajimobi.

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After Receiving Last Tranche Of Paris Club Refund, Bayelsa Set To Pay Outstanding Salaries

7 March 2019 - 4:11am


The Bayelsa State government has received the last tranche of the Paris/London Club refund from the Nigerian government.

Maxwell Ebibai, state Commissioner for Finance, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, has directed the immediate payment of the one-month outstanding salaries of workers and pensioners in the state.

The commissioner said that the government committed N4,346,099,382.28 out of the sum to settle the outstanding salaries in fulfillment of the commitment made by the Governor to clear out the salary arrears with the last tranche of the Paris Club refund.

Ebibai said the decision to announce the receipt of the Paris Club refund was in line with the government’s policy of transparency and accountability.

He stressed that the government had religiously discharged its responsibility of prompt payment of salaries to workers in demonstration of its commitment to their welfare until the economic recession which culminated in salary arrears in the state and across the federation.

Ebibai commended the state’s civil servants for their patience and understanding during the economic recession and urged them to sustain their support for the government and the PDP in the forthcoming election.

He said: “In line with the Restoration Government’s policy thrust on transparency, accountability and continuous engagement with the public, we hereby announce that the State Government has received the last tranche of the Paris/London Club loan over deduction refunds.

“Consequently, His Excellency, the Governor has directed the immediate payment of the last one month of outstanding civil servants and pensioners' salary arrears amounting to N4,346,099,382.28.

“We thank our civil servants for their patience and understanding during the economic crisis, while soliciting their votes and support to be extended to all candidates put forward by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming state House of Assembly elections.”
 

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24 Hours After Hosting APC Meeting, PTI Management Stops Group's Election Summit

7 March 2019 - 4:00am


A Peaceful and Violence-Free General Election Summit to ensure peaceful elections in Delta State, organised by the Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State, was brought to an abrupt halt on Tuesday.

This came barely 24 hours after the venue was used for an event attended by national leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The summit was scheduled for Tuesday with security agencies, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Civil Society Organisations, among others, billed to attend.

According to VATLAD, the PTI management based its decision on the summit being a political gathering.

VATLAD had organised a similar summit in Abuja on February 7, 2019, which was attended by the acting Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, among others.

Addressing journalists at the venue of the aborted summit, Odafe Emmanuel Igbini, VATLAD National President, frowned at the way and manner the PTI management abruptly stopped the proposed summit when the same premises was on Monday given to the APC to hold its political meeting.

He said: "We wish to draw the attention of the good and peaceful people of Delta State, and the general public, to the shocking decision of the management of Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Delta State, to thwart a scheduled summit focused on ensuring peaceful and violence-free general election in Delta State ahead of March 9, 2019. Just at the time respected invitees to the summit were arriving the venue and others on their way, the management of PTI decided to stop the event by refusing us one of its halls we had earlier applied to use.

"The management claimed that it could not allow us the use of the hall because it believes that the summit is a political gathering and that it is the policy of the management to prohibit the use of their halls and other facilities for political meetings or events.

"This is despite the fact that our organisation made several efforts to convince the management that the summit is not a political gathering. In addition, about a week before today, precisely on February 28, 2019, we submitted a formal application and names of invited guests for the event as demanded by the management.

"It is also important to inform the general public that our organisation has since year 2001 been consistently using these PTI halls to organise our Peace, Good Governance and Media summits. The last was held on 9th August, 2018. In all, we have never organised a political gathering or meeting there. What is even surprising is the fact that this management granted the APC permission to use its hall and facilities on Monday to host a large political meeting. Why then not extend same to our summit, which is not a political gathering but a summit of a few carefully selected respected people?

"This summit was solely aimed at bringing together respected national security chiefs, INEC officials, legal luminaries from Delta State, CSOs and the media. As at the time the summit was aborted by the PTI management, the Delta State Commissioner of Police represented by ACP Aiki James; Delta State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner represented by Electoral Officer, Mr Akhigbe; former Delta State commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Victor Otomewo, journalists and many other Peace and Good Governance Advocates had already arrived the venue, while other invited guests were on their way.

"We are now very worried that preventing this critical summit at a time it is predicted that Delta State will witness massive electoral violence in the forthcoming March 9, 2019 elections,  could encourage desperate politicians to commit evils as predicted. We will continue to appeal to Deltans to remain law-abiding and peaceful before, during and after the March 9, 2019 elections. We also appeal to the candidates and their political parties to ensure the elections are not do-or-die, and that no supporter of theirs should engage in any form of violence and electoral crime."

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Now That The Elections Have Been Won And Lost, Shall We Discuss Governance And Development? By Abdullah Abdulganiy

7 March 2019 - 3:59am


The last few months had been a tortuous one for dear country. Since certain figures declared interest in certain political posts, the political atmosphere of Nigeria had been intense. Ever since then, governance had taken flight for politicking as discussions on how to move Nigeria forward were largely put on hold, and political discussions took the center stage.

Last year heralded the primaries of different parties and we all know the sham that characterized the whole exercise. Where dollars did not rain, figures were simply inflated through invisible party members who suddenly came out from the moon. And on other occasions, standard-bearers were cherry-picked by some oligarchs. This is Nigeria, and that is politics.

The atmosphere became more intense as we rammed into the electioneering year (2019) and the flagbearers of various registered political parties came to the limelight. More than 73 parties contested for the numero uno office in Nigeria. As we counted a week to the D-day, the tension became higher. Then, lies, rumours, fake news, baseless allegations, political witch-hunting, personal attacks, permutations and whatnot were already dotting the Nigerian political space. The last minute postponement of the election by the INEC on logistic ground also elicited mixed reactions.

Foot-soldiers on social media would not rest as they hurled abuses and diatribes at one another, obviously doing the biddings of their paymasters. Some of us that did not receive a dime from these aspirants but stood our ground based on our personal convictions also became victims of their ceaseless invectives. In fact, it got to a level that I was pushed to the wall, and had to enter into written missiles with some of them all in the name of who gets what, when and how (copyright: Harold Lasswell).

We told them that ceteris paribus the contest was between two parties, they shrugged it off. We proceeded that from all indications Buhari will re-emerge, they called us names. We also tipped them that Saraki would lose barring any last minute change, they said we knew nothing about politics. Finally, the dust is settled. Winners had emerged; losers should try again later. After all, there is always a lesson in failure.
Personally, I believe this year’s election was free, fair and credible. Though violence and inadequacies marred the electioneering process in few areas, the credibility of the election should not be ruled out outright. On a scale of 10, I will score the electoral umpire 7. At no time have elections been 100% free and fair in the history of representative democracy. Even in advanced democracies, inconsistencies are still pronounced in electoral processes; a pointer to the fact that perfection solely belongs to the Creator.

If a Dino Melaye who had been at loggerheads with the presidency could still win his seat back, it speaks volumes to the independence of the electoral commission. On the flipside, if an Ajimobi who is in the good book of the ruling party could lose his constituency, one thing is clear: the will of the people prevailed. The case of Bukola Saraki should be a story for another day. The man who boasted that he would teach Nigerians how to play politics as though he had a PhD in Political Sciences now understands that the electorate are the best tutors when it comes to democratic politics.

Moving forward, if an Osibanjo --- the second citizen of Nigeria --- could lose his polling unit, it shows the manifestation of democracy as government of the people in the exercise. In essence, I don’t think there should be much ado about the elections again. Those who are not content should head to the court rather than disturb public peace. The cumulative effect is that lawyers will get fatter (But why didn’t I do law? Well, I am pleased with my sociology).

Moreover, some governors who ran their buccal cavities in the outgoing dispensation; played God and dubbed themselves constituted authorities now know that when we talk of democracy the people are the “constituted authorities”. Some supposed godfathers of Nigerian politics now know their worth as they could not deliver their wards for their preferred candidates. It was not business as usual where the people would win the ELECTION, but the political stalwarts would win the COUNTING. In short, political actors should be humble; they should realize that democracy which operates in Nigeria is a government of the people and for the people. The people are the employers while they are mere employees --- servants if you like.

On a final note, now that the elections have been won and lost, shall relationships that had gone sour on the altar of politics go sweet again? I hope you know a man divorced his wife for supporting Buhari. Silly, right? I must also have offended some friends due to my political leanings in recent times, do accept my unreserved apologies. Shall our friendship retain its normal course again? Above all, shall Nigerians come together despite the differences in their political sentiments before the elections to ensure that governance and development prevail? Shall the winners see themselves as government officials rather than party-men, and thus encourage a level playing field for all? In all, let’s come together again to discuss how Nigeria can be better again. If you have to criticize, be civil and constructive. May the incoming dispensation be a turning point in the life of every Nigerian. Amin somebody!

Abdullah is of the better-by-far University of Ilorin. Reach him via 08090637356.

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Ibadan Mogajis Ask: 'What Is Tinubu's Interest In Oyo Governorship Race?'

7 March 2019 - 1:17am


Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Family heads in Ibadan land, under the auspices of Authentic Mogajis, have queried the interest of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the governorship election of Oyo State.

The group, on Wednesday, also admonished Adebayo Alao-Akala, former Governor of Oyo State, on his recent statement against Rasheed Ladoja, his former boss and the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland.

Alao-Akala, who had initially been considered an initiator of a coalition of the opposition parties in the state, made a U-turn last week, dropping out of the gubernatorial race and joining the APC.

While addressing his supporters, Alao-Akala was quoted to have said Ladoja once said he could not become a governor of the state because he was not an Ibadan Indegene.

The former Governor claimed he took the decision to back of the coalition with the opposition in the state for the sake of posterity in Ogbomoso, his hometown, so that Ibadan people would stop considering themselves as the only thoroughbred indigenes of the state.

However, a statement issued on Wednesday by the family heads, berated Akala for insensitivity regarding the progress of Oyo State, by urging the coalition to field him as the governorship candidate when he knows he is not fit health-wise to be the governor of the state.

The statement read: “We believe that Ogbomoso and Ibadan are from the same mother, therefore, we don’t expect Akala to cause crisis between the two ancient cities.

"What is the interest of Tinubu in Oyo guber politics? It is an open secret that he is instigating two brothers against each other and it is not acceptable to us.

"The candidates of PDP and APC are sons and we don’t want external forces to create divisions among them.

"Both of them are gentlemen from Ibadan, but we realise that Seyi Makinde is more of a grassroots person than his younger brother. Therefore, we appeal to our people, especially the entire Ibadan indigenes, Ibarapa, Saki, Iseyin, Oyo and the entire people of the state to consider the closeness of Seyi Makinde to the grassroots before voting. We implore Adelabu to wait till 2023 to actualize his ambition.”

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Obasanjo Was A Brutal President, Says Buhari Media Organisation

7 March 2019 - 1:11am


The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of using brutal methods to govern while in office.

BMO also says the statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that he would continue to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari is a confirmation that his pre-election criticism was fueled by ego.

This was contained in a statement by the pro-Buhari group in response to  Obasanjo's insistence that he would continue to criticise the President.

The former President made the statement at an event to mark his 82nd birthday on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

In a statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju, and Cassidy Madueke, Chairman and Secretary of BMO, respectively, the organisation said it was worrisome that Obasanjo had always insinuated that all the past heads of state and presidents he had criticised did not perform creditably in office.

The pro-Buhari group added that in terms of performance, Obasanjo had a  lot of failings in office, saying that the former President was averse to criticism throughout his tenures in office.

“It is a matter of public record that Chief Obasanjo did not entirely cover himself in glory while in office, especially with the removal and attempted removal of state governors in violation of the constitution. His methods were simply brutal and were in most cases spearheaded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and in at least two cases, Anambra and Oyo States, led by his enforcers.

“And can anyone forget so soon how Senate Presidents were impeached unceremoniously under his watch, as well as the incident that eventually led to the death of former Senate President Chuba Okadigbo soon after he was tear-gassed at a political rally in solidarity with the then candidate Muhammadu Buhari in 2003.

“The previous elections under Obasanjo in 2003 were hardly different. Chuba Okadigbo, the running mate of the opposition presidential candidate at the time, could not leave his house to vote for himself because soldiers had stationed an armoured tank in front of his house with the nozzle directly facing his gate.

"General Yakubu Gowon is one Head of State who has no record of public criticism of his successors in office. He was Obasanjo’s boss for nine years, from 1966 to 1975 and not once did he utter a public criticism of the former President throughout his two tenures from 1976 to 1979 and 1999 to 2007."

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Perpetrators Of Electoral Violence Risk UK Visa Restrictions

7 March 2019 - 1:08am


The United Kingdom has warned against violence during Saturday’s governorship and state House of Assembly polls, saying perpetrators of violence and other dastardly acts during the elections could face UK visa restrictions.

Speaking through Tinuoluwa Adelegan, its Senior Communication Officer, the British High Commission made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

The UK expressed concern over reports of violence that marred the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections in some states.

The statement read: “We condemn all acts of violence and call for those responsible to be brought to justice. We call on all actors, including political parties and security personnel, to work together to provide a peaceful environment for Nigerians to vote on March 9.

“We remind all actors that anyone involved in violence or inciting violence, including on social media, could face restrictions on their ability to travel to the UK.”

The commission expressed hope that logistical issues which plagued the February 23 elections had been identified and resolved. They, however,  commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its ad hoc staff for the role they played in the conduct of the polls.

"We hope they will be given every support and protection necessary to ensure the smooth and peaceful delivery of elections free from fear of intimidation or interference in the electoral process.”

The UK stated that it would be actively involved in Saturday’s polls by deploying observers to monitor the  elections “as part of our efforts to support Nigerian democracy.”
 

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Fayose’s Ex-aide Joins APC, Claims To Love Fayemi’s Leadership Style

7 March 2019 - 1:03am


Ayodeji Adu, former Special Assistant on Local Government Affairs to Ayodele Fayose, former Governor of Ekiti State, has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Adu says he loves Governor Kayode Fayemi’s leadership style, hence his decision to join APC.

Speaking on Wednesday in Afao Ekiti, where he, alongside hundreds of PDP members, officially joined APC during the party’s campaign rally, he said: "This decision to dump the PDP for the APC was borne out of patriotism and it is for the betterment of my state and country home.

“Afao Ekiti, despite producing the governor of the state for eight years, is still in shambles without meaningful development, hence the need to embrace the right ideas that can take the town out of the current economic and social despondency.

“I pledge my commitment to the success of the APC candidate in Afao-Ekiti. I want to assure you that the APC will have a block vote in the town come Saturday."
 

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'No Alliances With APC' — Sowore's Party AAC Rejects Amaechi's Rivers Endorsement

6 March 2019 - 2:08pm


The leadership of the African Action Congress (AAC) has clarified its stand on the endorsement of its Rivers State governorship candidate by the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying it has "no alliances or coalition with the APC or any other parties in Rivers state".

At a meeting with APC supporters in Rivers State on Wednesday morning, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation and leader of the APCin Rivers State and the South-South, had pitched his tent with Awara Biokpomabo, the AAC governorship candidate in the state, saying: “This morning, the leadership of the party met and agreed that we would work with a party called African Action Congress (AAC), while we are still in court to reclaim our mandate.

“So, on Saturday (March 9), we will vote for AAC. You must go home and vote for AAC. There should be no excuse not to vote, because there will be security for everybody. You must prepare and make sure you win the governorship election."

However, in a denouncement conveyed in a press release signed byits Deputy National Chairman (Administration), Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi, AAC said: "We were made aware of the APC’s recent endorsement of the AAC’s Rivers State gubernatorial candidate in the forthcoming elections on the 9th of March. Rotimi Amaechi, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, has pitched his tent with Awara Biokpomabo, our governorship candidate in the African Action Congress (AAC).

"While we have no influence over who other parties might choose to endorse, we wish to make it unequivocally clear that we have we not entered any alliances or coalitions with the APC or any other party in Rivers State, neither have we made any decisions to dovetail parties or seek strategic alliances as we approach the state elections in a few days."

Fabiyi reassured the public that "the AAC, led by Omoyele Sowore, promised Nigerians a different style of governance at the national level; we also believe we can bring this new promise of transparency and progress to bear at the state level".

"We urge all PVC-bearing Nigerians to come out en masse on the 9th of March and vote for transformation and a true paradigm shift, the kind that only the African Action Congress can bring," he said.

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I'm Going To Daura To Settle Down After My Second Term, Says Buhari

6 March 2019 - 1:08pm


President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to return to his hometown, Daura, after his second term in office.

He stated this on Wednesday, just before he addressed the nation on the forthcoming governorship and national assembly elections.

On the elections, he called on Nigerians to ensure that the governorship and state houses of assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2019, are better than the February 23 presidential election.

The President also restated his commitment to ensuring that he does the best for Nigeria.

His words: “At the end of this second and final term, I will, God willing, return to Daura and settle down. Until then, I will continue to do my best for Nigeria, in security, infrastructure, jobs, fighting corruption. I will work even harder than I have done; I will not let Nigerians down.”

In his national broadcast on the Saturday elections Wednesday evening, Buhari urged Nigerians not to be complacent but ensure active participation in the elections.

THE FULL SPEECH

The second and final phase of the 2019 general election comes up on Saturday, March 9, with Nigerians voting for governors and members of the Houses of Assembly in the states.

Let me once again extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and who sustained injuries as a result of accidents or criminal violence during the elections.

The onus is once again on qualified people to turn out in large numbers to exercise their civic rights. With the presidential poll behind us, let us not become complacent or fail to vote in the gubernatorial poll. The forthcoming elections are as important for good governance as that of the presidency and the National Assembly.

Indeed, governance at the state level is closer to us and should touch our lives more directly. That is why it is vital for us to participate in the choice of who governs us at the state level. I, therefore, urge you to troop out massively on Saturday to elect your governors and state lawmakers.

As a member of the All Progressives Congress, I recommend those standing on the platform of the party to you as we are guided by progressive ideals and would not disappoint you. Equally, I urge you to comport yourselves properly as you turn out for the elections. Avoid all deviant behaviours like ballot stuffing, ballot snatching and any other action that does not conform to best electoral practices.

I assure you that the security agencies will be on hand to protect the voters, and ensure that the process is not undermined in any way. Let us make the gubernatorial polls much better than the presidential, which local and international observers have adjudged to be free and fair. May I repeat my appeal to our young people: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence or to break the law or otherwise disturb the peace.

I pledged decent and credible electoral system for our country. I stand by that promise. Let us together do the right thing on Saturday so that the best hands can emerge in the states and take us faster to the next level.

Thank you and God bless our country. Amin.

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