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INEC Refusing To Release Election Materials To Atiku, Says PDP

17 March 2019 - 1:09am


Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of willfully ignoring court orders directing the commission to release the presidential election materials to Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.

Ologbodiyan said this in a press statement issued on Saturday.

Atiku and his party had approached the court to challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential election, alleging electoral malpractices.

Atiku secured his first victory when the court ordered the commission to release copies of the electoral materials to Atiku.

However, the party’s spokesperson said INEC has refused to obey the order despite notice and follow-ups.

The statement read: “It is imperative to inform Nigerians that upon obtaining the lawful order of the Court, directing INEC to forthwith, avail Atiku Abubakar and the PDP copies of all the documents and other materials used for the presidential election, our legal team wrote to the INEC Chairman on the 11th and 12th of March, 2019, respectively, causing the order to be served on INEC and requesting access to the said documents and materials.

“Despite being served with the order and several follow-ups, the leadership of INEC has refused to grant the PDP and Atiku Abubakar access to the materials and documents, notwithstanding the urgency of the matter.

“This action by the leadership of INEC has further exposed that it has been heavily compromised by the Buhari Presidency to rig the February 23, 2019 presidential election and to frustrate the quest by Nigerians to reclaim the mandate from President Muhammadu Buhari and save the nation from the crisis of an illegitimate government.

“The leadership of INEC and the APC are seeking to frustrate our court option, seeing that the documents and materials will expressly show that Atiku Abubakar clearly won the election by the votes directly delivered at the polling units across the country as well as expose how the commission and the Buhari Presidency manipulated the results for President Buhari.

“The PDP cautions the INEC to note that Nigerians are now aware of its manipulative tendencies and that any further delay in granting access to the materials might attract public odium.

“INEC should, therefore, end its unpatriotic partisan shenanigans with the APC and immediately obey the Court of Appeal and grant the PDP and Atiku Abubakar access to the documents and materials and free itself from unholy entanglement with the APC against Nigerians.”

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Ganduje Boasts Of Victory At Governorship Rerun

17 March 2019 - 1:02am


Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State, says his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would emerge victorious at the rerun election scheduled for March 23 in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Ganduje stated this while addressing a crowd of his supporters, who gathered to welcome him upon his return from a one-day official visit to Abuja.

He expressed delight over the peaceful conduct of last Saturday's gubernatorial election in the state which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared inconclusive.

He assured Kano people of his unshaken belief that he would win in the 2019 rerun elections which would be conducted across some identified polling units as announced by INEC.

Professor B.B. Shehu, the Returning Officer for the Kano State governorship election, had said a winner could not be declared in the election because the cancelled votes were more than the margin of victory.

His position was taken in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act.

Hailing the electorate for the support, he said: “We saw their unflinching support in joining the long queues at their various polling units. As you are all aware, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the 23rd of this Month (March) for rerun election in some identified polling units in the state.

“I am therefore using this medium to call on the electorate to come out en masse and vote for the ruling APC in an orderly manner.

“By the grace of Allah, The Almighty, APC will emerge victorious after the rerun election. We are grateful to all. May we have peaceful conduct of this election."

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Gunmen Shoot Former NHRC Boss

17 March 2019 - 12:59am


Suspected gunmen have shot Ben Angwe, a former Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

According to Punch newspaper, the incident happened around 10am on Saturday at a filling station in Gboko town, headquarters of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.

An eyewitness said: “Around 10 o'clock this morning (Saturday), some hoodlums shot at an elderly man around Gyado area in the ancient city of Gboko.

“The gunshot caused pandemonium in the area as people ran for their lives. When the dust settled, we discovered that the victim was a prominent person in the state.”

It was gathered that the suspected gunmen left the scene of the incident unchallenged.

A source said he was earlier moved to a hospital in Gboko, but was later transferred to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital in Makurdi for further treatment.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Benue State Command, Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident.

Anene, a deputy superintendent of police, however, said the command was yet to get full details of the development.

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Okorocha Withdrew 17bn From State Coffers In Three Days, Says PDP

17 March 2019 - 12:57am


Charles Ezekwem, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State, has accused Rochas Okorocha, the incumbent Governor of the state, of withdrawing N17billion from four banks in three days and converting government property to personal use.

Ezekwem said this while addressing a press conference in Owerri, the capital city of Imo State, on Saturday. 

The state chairman claimed Okorocha withdrew the funds between Tuesday, March 12, 2019, and Thursday, March 14, 2019, from Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Unity Bank and Skye Bank (Polaris).

He said: “In the last two days alone, Governor Okorocha and his cronies transferred ownership and re-registered more than 150 government vehicles to individuals. Government property including furniture and electronics in Government House, Owerri, are being moved out to Ogboko, Ideato South, the governor’s country home.

“About 300 uninstalled transformers have been moved to the governor’s home in Ogboko.”

The party further alleged that there was ongoing mass employment and back-dating of dates of employment with a view to creating problems for the incoming government.

“We are also aware of the rampant issuance of Certificates of Occupancy to family members and friends of the Okorocha family," the party said.

According to the party, those involved in the act do so at their own peril.

However, in response to the allegation, Okorocha, through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, urged the public to ignore what he termed the posturing of the incoming PDP government, saying the party lacked the right to harass the current government and financial institutions until they were sworn in.

He said: “There is a government in place and until May 29, 2019, that government should continue to work in the interest of the state and her people and also continue to carry out programmes and policies for the same purpose, until its tenure ends. To begin to harass or give directives to financial institutions in the state is an act of hostility and they should know that.

“The financial institutions in the state should disregard such directive and continue to do the right thing and take the right action since the best they can do is to confront the outgoing government on any financial transaction they have reservations about when they take over.’’

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'He Lives On' — University Of Ibadan Celebrates Pius Adesanimi With Candlelight March

16 March 2019 - 1:15pm




On Wednesday, some members of University of Ibadan community as well as many others who identified with the late Canada-based Nigerian satirist, scholar and public intellectual, Professor Pius Adesanmi, gathered for 'A March' in honour of the late professor who lost his life in the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crash of Sunday, March 10.

It was indeed a sobering Wednesday on the university campus, as many professors, doctorate holders, students and media personalities marched to celebrate the life of the brilliant public intellectual.

According to the anchor of the March, Mr. Ropo Ewenla, it was not a time to mourn the late Adesanmi but a moment to celebrate a self-immortalised man whom many described as “too good to die”.

Adesanmi, who was referred to as a friend of the University of Ibadan's Institute of African Studies, probably foretold his departure from this realm in his ever last Facebook post.

Many people within and outside university who participated in the march testified that Pius Adesanmi lived as a sage despite his young years. 

Professor Ademola Dasylva, the Dean of Faculty of Arts celebrated Adesanmi's exploits as a young professor, describing his passing as "a great loss to everyone, to Nigeria, to Africa and to the world".

While lamenting the “executive murder” of his friend by the Boeing airplane, Professor Aderemi Raji-Oyelade reflected that it was quite unfortunate that Adesanmi fell victim to the failures and mediocrity which he often criticized. 

Barrister Femi Aborisade, who rounded off at the point of lighting the candles, said he was mourning Adesanmi regrettably because he had met the Kogi-born scholar only once before the accident that claimed his life. He, however, remarked that Adesanmi resolutely and consistently stood for the masses, an act which he said is worthy of emulation. 

Adesanmi’s writings live on even as he predicted in one of his posts: "A thousand years from now, archaeologists would be interested in how some people called Nigerians lived in the 20th and 21st centuries. If they did and excavate, I am hoping that fragments of my writings survive to point them to the fact that not all of them accepted to live as slaves."

Pius Adesanmi studied for a master's degree in French from the University of Ibadan in 1998.

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APC Kicks Against INEC’s Final Decision On Bauchi Governorship Election

16 March 2019 - 11:58am


The Bauchi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the governorship election in the state.

In a statement issued over the weekend, INEC had said it would resume the elections in the state on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, noting that the results for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) were available and in safe custody.

However, at a press conference in Bauchi on Saturday, APC stated that the action taken by the electoral body is null and void.

Addressing the press conference, Alhaji Uba Ahmed Nana, the state chairman of the party, said the position taken by INEC contravened the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

He said: “Considering the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended), and the INEC Guidelines for 2019 general election, INEC is not empowered to reverse any decision taken at the collation centre by the Returning Officer appointed for that purpose.

“Such decisions can only be reversed by a court of law, especially when INEC cannot approbate and reprobate.”

On the committee appointed by the commission to investigate the controversy surrounding the Bauchi election, he accused INEC of not giving party fair hearing, and also questioned the members that constitute the committee.

“The composition of the committee is also questionable as the Committee Chairman, Festus Okoye, Esq., is a close ally of and ex-personal solicitor of Honourable Yakubu Dogara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“No justice can be done by the committee chairman, who is interested in the whole issues and the instant circumstances.”

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Police Narrate How Unknown Gunmen Killed Two Officers And Injured One In Bayelsa

16 March 2019 - 11:47am


The authorities of the Bayelsa State Police Command have confirmed that yet-to-be-identified men carried out an attack on its personnel at a hotel in Opolo area of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported that bandits shot two policemen at a hotel owned by a Senator in the National Assembly.

According to a statement by Butswat Asinim, spokesman of the state Police Command, the armed men came in a car and open fire on the policemen.

The statement read: “On 15 March, 2019, at about 2100hours, unknown gunmen operating in a Toyota Camry car, registration number unknown, went to a hotel at Opolo, Yenagoa, and without provocation opened fire on the two policemen on duty.

“The policemen fired back at the armed robbers and in the ensuing gun battle, one sergeant was fatally wounded. He was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, where he was later confirmed dead. The other policeman is responding to treatment.

“The unknown gunmen escaped with bullets wounds. Based on a tip-off, a notorious criminal hideout was raided, where their cohorts were arrested and they have volunteered useful information. Efforts have been intensified to arrest the gunmen.”

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Nine Villagers, Including Children, Killed In Latest Kaduna Attack

16 March 2019 - 11:22am


File Photo

The Kaduna State government has confirmed the killing of nine citizens after an attack on Nandu village in Sanga Local Government Area (LGA) in the early hours of this morning.
 
In a statement issued by Samuel Aruwan, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor (Media and Publicity), on Saturday, the government condemned the killings.

Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, commiserated with the survivors and the families of the victims after being briefed by security agencies.

The statement read: “The Kaduna State Government has been briefed by the security agencies on the killing of nine persons by criminal elements, who attacked Nandu village in Sanga LGA, in the early hours of today. 

“The security agencies have so far recovered nine corpses, including children. The attackers also burnt several houses in the village. The government condemns this attack on the lives and security of citizens and appeals to our communities to resist those who do not want peace.

“The governor, on behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, commiserates with the families of the victims and prays for the repose of their souls.

“Government, security agencies, traditional and religious institutions will continue to work towards sustainable peace. In this moment of grief, we must come together to defeat the machinations of those who have no notion of respect for the lives of others.

“Violence has left an unacceptable toll of death and injury, loss of livelihoods, pain and fear. We must overcome this by respecting our common humanity, settling differences peacefully and promptly reporting threats and suspicions to the appropriate authorities. Evil will never triumph over our common humanity.

“Security agencies have been deployed in the area, and the State Emergency Management Agency has been directed to immediately provide relief materials to the affected community.”

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Letter To Mr. President On APC By Olatunji O. Abayomi

16 March 2019 - 10:12am


President Muhammadu Buhari

President,

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Aso Villa, Abuja.

 

Dear Mr. President,

It is appropriate and proper to congratulate you and your Vice on the presidential election which you won by the lawful declaration of INEC. Victory is clearly sweet but the challenge of nursing Nigeria to greater health in all ramification can be bitter. I wish you every need required in the seriousness demanding adventure of transforming Nigeria

Mr. President, let me briefly introduce myself to you. I first met you in President Olusegun Obasanjo's House in OTA, Ogun State so many years ago. As I admired your legendary discipline which is exampled not only in your character, choices and desires but even in physical look, I demanded then to take a picture with you. You obliged. That picture which was taken long before you ventured into politics remains an important part of the record of my journey.

Again sometimes in 2012/2013 I think, I had the rare chance to interact with you at Nicon Hilton now Transcorp. Present at the meeting too, was Malam El-Rufai as he then was. I recall during that meeting that I participated in the important discussion of that moment strongly urging you to run for President as I laid out the compound challenges of corruption and insecurity facing our beloved nation. You listened with curious mind to a new uncommon voice and face around you.

In 2015 I was appointed – the only South Westerner - into the 8 member APC Presidential Screening Committee under Dr. Ogbonaya Onu (Chairman) and Ambassador Fatima Abubakar (Secretary). I had a good opportunity to tax your intellect with tough questions on the challenges of Nigeria. My strong defence of your education qualification during the unnecessary controversy promoted by opposition parties confirm my conclusion that you were fit in learning to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As I recall now, I had written on January 3, 2015 in Sahara Reporters "As a member of APC Screening Committee, I can affirm unequivocally that General Buhari met the education qualification prescribed by the Constitution."

My final direct meeting with you was in Akure during your visit in 2015 at the Dome. You were curious why all the Governorship Aspirants kept calling me "The Dean". I laughingly explained to you my fortune or misfortune of emerging as the only candidate that had ran for Governorship election twice in Ondo State and lost each time. You had during your impressive speech jokingly referred to yourself as a better "Dean" having lost election thrice. That occasion affirmed your sense of humour, a character often typifying strong, intelligent and confident leaders.

Mr. President, I have laid out the background of our various interactions as I desire to speak to you boldly on the House now called APC that we all struggled to build. In particular I established my past contacts with you so that you will see the need and reason to take me seriously.

Mr. President until two important Ondo State women invited me into politics in 2003, I was solely pre-occupied with law, human rights and social justice. The failure of political leaders who became the beneficiaries of our titanic struggle for democracy against the military order, to work well and effectively for the good of common man compelled the change in my path and my 2003 detour into politics. Since the 2003 entry, I have worked very hard with the energy of mind, strength of body and power of purse to promote and raise progressive politics in Ondo State. But it was always on principle of right and honor not the mad desire typifying our present politics to win at all cost regardless of the vileness and unworthiness means.

Mr President you can then appreciate why after I lost again in the third Governorship Contest in 2015 I stood by and with the winner Rotimi Akerelodu notwithstanding the unwarranted attempt to overturn his righteous victory by all sorts of shenanigan

He won as I saw it, fairly and honorably. I lost justly as I reviewed it. It follows that truth and character, principle and honor demanded that I support him. That I did and will continue to do. Yes, to stand for what is right in all circumstances dismissing benefit or detriment as condition for my standing.

Mr President your citizen Tunji Abayomi who since 2003, despite several tempting offers from sources we expected and corners least expected, stood immovably on the progressive path from AD to AC to ACN to APC writes to you as a candidate of AA (Action Alliance) in the ongoing elections. So why the detour, why the choice, why the change.

The recent suspension of Governor Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Rochas Okorocha and the querying of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu by the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC confirms clearly the tragic leadership presiding and prevailing at the moment at APC Headquarters. I speak of a leadership thạt barely reads the Constitution of APC, a leadership that fails to regard the Constitution with the required reverence or attention or respect or binding effect. I speak of a low rated leadership that prefers to deal with effect rather than cause. A leadership that prefers rulership by the force of office instead of the force of law like the tyrant who broods no contradiction regardless of how sensible the contradiction is. APC has at the present under its corrosive Chairman a fatalistic leadership that acts as it pleases and wants. No wonder there is scarcely ever a reference to the laws or the Constitution of APC.

Mr. President the Constitution of APC mandates the people as part of their organic right to elect their representatives by open election at all levels in keeping with democratic grundnorm. In a democracy, the people are expected unalterably to govern themselves through the exercise of the right to choose.

This right to choose, by their votes, is the only equal possession the neglected, the poor, the vulnerable, the rejected, the abandoned, commonly called the Mekunnu' have in common with the rich, the influential and the pitiless powerful.

You can appreciate why the Nigeria Constitution protects the paramountcy of this right, why the APC Constitution affirms it, why the norms of democracy demand it. You further wonder why a Political Party headed by supposedly civilised men and women in APC NWC would simply disregard it.

Mr President, I say to you even if there was no Constitution an enlightened and civilised democratic leader who cares for the right of the people should promote and work to enhance the right of the people to elect or select their leaders.

Mr President with regard to the leadership of APC it simply abandoned the Constitution. It always forgets, rather distastefully, that winning is never a justification for wrong nor victory a worthy affirmation of unconstitutionality. The Constitution of APC mandates a Primary by direct or indirect means for candidates, the NWC of APC contrary to its powers under the said Constitution promoted automatic candidates in Ondo State to contest for election to the crude detriment of co competitors. The Constitution of APC requires honest service, the NWC preferred to dishonestly collect aspirants huge monies, subject them to pretended process when in fact the same NWC had intentionally and unconstitutionally defeated their hopes in competitive democracy.

Mr President, the reason for my detour to AA should now be apparent. I made the choice on principle and on protest for the right of just and fair competition and the right guaranteed to citizens under democracy to choose who they wish to represent them. It is their exclusive right NOT that of NWC.

Mr President virtually every decision of NWC that brought APC to this sorrowful state where disorder and chaos of governance prevail violated APC Constitution. They are largely inappropriate for the development of democracy. Please take your time to read APC Constitution to see how far NWC has gone into the bush of error, disorder and unconstitutionality.

Mr President you are the leader of APC, you have won the election contest largely because, in our minds, we have separated the respected Mohammadu Buhari from the reckless leadership of APC. The time has come to do something wonderful in the life of APC.

Nigerians have voted for you to lead them in honor and in value and not merely in power, as indeed you have done most of your life and for which you now reap the benefit. You need to think of the failings of APC under its current NWC. The Constitution of APC in several sections warns against imposition because in its view imposition is likely to lead to crisis. How right! How True!

Yes, you have won Mr President. Now in addition to helping Nigeria to win, assist APC to rise from the current abyss to which the NWC has pushed her. The only thing that is supreme in a democracy is the Constitution. That is why older democracies revere the Constitution. The same is true of a political party. Its Constitution is the social contract with her members and the people at large. How then can it not have binding effect if leadership is to be respected in a primary nation like Nigeria. Mr President in the same way you cling to the Nigerian Constitution, please compel the NWC to immediately cling to APC Constitution and reverse its many unconstitutional decisions that are still reversible. Compel APC NWC to respect the Constitution of APC and avoid government of 'as we want it'. It is only in this way you can guarantee peace, order and good government in APC today and tomorrow. It is only in this way we can assure the elective right of our people in this democracy or ensure the security and stability of the government by the people.

Your victory Mr President will not be celebrated effectively by the structures you build noteworthy as they may become but by laying appropriate framework for democracy especially through orderly intra party government in Nigeria. I suggest you need to exercise power strongly in APC to bring about lawful governance above and beyond unlawful powers.

One important and significant way to do so, is to worry about how political parties in this particular case APC is managed. Thank you and happy victory. Sir, Yours truly,

Olatunji O. Abayomi

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'Ballot Paper Nonsense' — Nigerians In The Diaspora Reject Buhari’s Reelection

16 March 2019 - 10:09am


Nigerians in the Diaspora under the platform of the Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria (GCSDN) have rejected the outcome of the presidential election that saw President Muhammadu Buhari win a second term in office.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Frederick Odorige, the Global Coordinator, said the election was “ill-fated” and the worst that he had seen since he was born.

The group cited the “militarisation of the elections”, as well as the violence that marred the process.

A presentation made by Odorige on Youtube read: “The election was marred by killing, apparent rigging, ballot box snatching and destruction of ballot papers by hired thugs. It was highly militarized by soldiers loyal to Muhammadu Buhari. An election that culminates in the killing of 47 unarmed Nigerians is not an election. On the contrary, the coalition noted that it was significant that no cases of violence was masterminded by any of the presidential candidates from the new political parties.

The coalition decried the sad fact that Nigerian youth surrendered themselves to their oppressors by allowing self-seeking politicians to use them as paid thugs instead of aligning with young presidential candidates to actualize the dream of a new Nigeria. They further noted that votes were insidiously awarded to young presidential candidates in such a way that the popular candidates among them were awarded very low number of votes in order to demoralize their enthusiastic followers.

“Through a general questionaire answered by members of the coalition from thirty-two countries, 100% responded that the election was clearly not free and fair; 95.5% further agreed that some persons who played disastrous roles in the election should be declared persona non grata.”

GCSDN listed the persons and their alleged roles to disrupt the electoral process as follows:

“Muhammadu Buhari: For giving permission to Nigerian soldiers to participate in our elections and killing innocent Nigerians thereof.

“Adams Oshiomhole: For sponsoring thuggery, masterminding massive rigging, electoral malpractices and luring corrupt Nigerians to their political party known as the All Progressives Congress (APC) for their sins against the Nigerian state to be forgiven.

“Rotimi Amaechi: For leading soldiers to terrorize, disenfranchise and kill our compatriots in Rivers State.

“Godswill Akpabio: For hijacking ballot boxes, violently harrassing electoral officers and criminally allotting votes to himself at gunpoint.

“Rochas Okorocha: For forcing a Returning Officer of INEC to write a fake result in his favour.”

According to the coalition, the consequences of the declaration are: “That they do not recognize the positions that some of the mentioned persons have imposed on Nigerians; That they shall continue to mount pressure on the international community to disregard the positions the persons forcefully occupy; That whenever the listed persons travel abroad, Nigerians shall legally congregate and embarrass them as permitted by law.”

Odorige called for the forensic examination of all card readers and the fingerprints on the ballot papers, because he „strongly believes that the same persons thumbprinted thousands of ballot papers in favour of APC and PDP as shown in various video recording.

He said: “We refuse the thief of our stolen mandate nicknamed Mr integrity. Retired Muhammadu Buhari is not our democratically elected President. This is not a military regime. This coup has failed. We vehemently reject the so-called election of Muhammadu Buhari.

“As long as we continue with this ballot box and ballot paper nonsense, Nigerian elections will continue to be theatres of war. We must quickly develop an electronic voting system for the 2023 elections where data in our PVCs are transferred to our telephone sim cards that will enable Nigerians to vote from the convenience of their homes. Nigerian elections will continue to be theatres of war unless we reduce the salaries of politicians strictly according to the law as stipulated by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. A Senator must not be earning more than a Permanent Secretary and no former governor must receive pension. Politicians kill Nigerians not because they want to serve us, but because they want to serve themselves and their families through looting and receiving mind blowing salaries. Yet our country is highly indebted. Machinery should also be set in motion that will allow Nigerians in diaspora to vote in upcoming elections.

“Section 14 subsection 2b of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended) states that the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of the government. Instead of securing Nigerians, people in positions of authority are killing them. Chapter 1 article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights states: Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.  Article 3 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations affirms: everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

“GCSDN referred to Buhari as a killer President who had ignored the many deaths of Nigerians before now; therefore more deaths mean nothing to him. They did not see any reason why the validity of our election results must depend on the pronouncements of foreign observers, who had earlier been threatened by el-Rufai at the expense of their lives. The coalition declared that any foreign leader that stretches his or her hands to congratulate Muhammadu Buhari equally has blood in his or her hands. We refuse to address Muhammadu Buhari as His Excellency since he rode to power with the blood of Nigerians. “The members further called on the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Nigerian Bar Association and other bodies to mobilize Nigerians to reject this election results.”

GCSDN is currently the fastest growing and largest platform of Nigerians in the Diaspora with presence in thirty-two countries.

It is currently open to all Nigerians in all the thirty-six states of Nigeria, including the FCT.

According to Odorige, “the movement is a non-violent association designed to bring Nigerians together as a way of forming a common platform and speaking with one voice with the goal of entrenching good governance for the good of all Nigerians.”

The movement operates with a political ideology formulated by Odorige known as ’Revolution without Ammunition.’

The full speech of the presentation is available on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0448cYilz4&t=30

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Five Rescued, None Killed In Ibadan Building Collapse

16 March 2019 - 8:08am


The Oyo State government says there was no fatality in the building collapse incident, which occurred on Friday in Sogoye area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

A statement by Toye Arulogun, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, issued on Saturday, noted that the multi agency rescue operation team set up by the Governor was able to evacuate the victims from the building. In all, five trapped victims were retrieved.

The building was under construction at the time of the incident.

He also noted that the injured were taken to the hospital and are in stable condition, and that no death was recorded.

He said: “Upon hearing the news of the incident, the Governor set up a multi-agency rescue team which promptly swung into action, mobilising equipment, materials and personnel.

“The team was able to rescue the two victims trapped in the rubble of the collapsed building as three were initially rescued manually and no fatality was recorded in the rescue operation which ended 3:45am today.”

The state government also said it would investigate the incident, just as building construction practitioners were admonished to desist from cutting corners and using cheap materials.

He restated the imperative of adhering to approved building plans.

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PDP's Internal Disputes Force Gbenga Daniel To Quit Active Politics After 17 Years

16 March 2019 - 7:48am


Gbenga Daniel, Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, has announced his decision to quit active politics.

In a letter dated March 14, 2019, and addressed to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the former Governor of Ogun State noted that the decision is personal as he has decided to take on “new challenges”.

He also said he had decided to “rejuvenate” his charity-based organization, the Gateway Front Foundation (GFF), just as he had plans to resuscitate the “non-partisan Political Leadership Academy (POLA)”, which he said was “established some years ago as a platform of political education to our citizens”.

His most detailed explanation, though, is the series of internal crises that the PDP has grappled with since losing control of Ogun state in 2011, the peak of which was the 2019 governorship candidature tussle, which saw the court endorse Buruji Kashamu despite the party's preference for Ladi Adebutu.

THE LETTER IN FULL

14th March, 2019

The National Chairman,

Peoples Democratic Party,

Wadata Plaza, Michael Okpara Street

Wuse Zone II, Abuja

Attention: Prince Uche Secondus

Mr. Chairman,

Resignation from Partisan Politics

This is to inform you of my intention to resign from active and partisan politics with effect from today, the 14th day of March, 2019.

My decision in this regard is entirely personal to me and having served in various capacities, including as Governor of Ogun State, I have resolved to immerse myself in some other vocations and take on some new challenges.

Preamble

My Political Journey so far

I joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State on Sunday, the 9th of September, 2001 at an event which was described as one of the most ceremonial political rallies in our recent political history in the South Western part of Nigeria. We rose from that rally to create a highly robust and effective political campaign machinery which resulted in an electoral victory for the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State in 2003; this movement and vibration affected the politics of the region positively with a victory in five (5) states of the South West.

2. I served as Governor of Ogun State for eight (8) years and our administration till today remains a point of reference in terms of physical, social, economic, educational and human capital development since the State was created in 1976.

3. Notwithstanding these widely acclaimed achievements however, our party, the Peoples Democratic Party ran into trouble waters towards the end of our administration (about the year 2009) which led to the sad loss in the election of 2011, and regrettably ten (10) years after the party has been unable to resolve those internal disputes and challenges.

4. Meanwhile, the PDP in Ogun State was confronted with a very difficult situation in matter of choice. Whereas the national leadership of our party, recognized one candidate for the 2019 election, by court pronouncements another candidate, and in compliance with those court orders, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recognized was on the INEC list. The candidates recognized by INEC were not acceptable to the national leadership of the party. Our situation was then compounded because the candidate which the court and INEC recognized and accepted as valid has also been expelled by the party. This was the dilemma we found ourself as we approached the March 9, 2019 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.

5. Going forward, we have responded to the yearnings of our people and joined others in emplacing an administration that we believe will better serve the interests of our people than what currently exists. The rest they say is now history.

6. I must say that looking back, I do not have any regrets over that patriotic choice and decision, especially as several of our citizens, leaders and stakeholders in the state and outside have commended that singular action. Many stakeholders within and outside Ogun State feel fulfilled, excited and grateful about our decision to join others in putting a stop to a regime that was believed to be against the collective and general welfare of our people.

7. Let me also add, that in the last few months, I have had one of the rare privileges of traveling round the entire length and breadth of our great country on at least two occasions; the first being during my campaigns to become the National Chairman of our great party, and later as the Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization (APCO).

8. I must sincerely admit that in the course of all these travels, I have built a network of contacts, of friends and associates in a mutually rewarding relationships which I cherished most and greatly too. I am therefore persuaded that I have fewer points to make and prove in my Political journeys in partisan politics.

9. My decision to quit partisan politics notwithstanding, I have decided to rejuvenate my charity based organization, the Gateway Front Foundation (GFF) which will literally continue to dispense succor to our people in need, address and assist in the areas of some of their health challenges; I also plan on resuscitation of the non-partisan Political Leadership Academy (POLA) which I established some years ago as a platform of political education to our citizens.

10. Without doubt, I will miss the company of my friends and associates and all those relationships I built in the course of the years all over the country..

While I crave for your kind understanding, accept assurances of my highest regards.

Yours faithfully,

Otunba (Engr.) Gbenga Daniel, FNSE, FNAEng

Governor of Ogun State (2003-2011).

Cc:

His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar GCON

Chairman, Board of Trustees (PDP)

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Right Of Reply To Pendulum Open Letter To The VP By Laolu Akande

16 March 2019 - 6:50am


My dear Bob Dee!

One could have easily made up his mind not to read or respond to anything you wrote after seeing the rather unprincipled queuing up behind Senator Bukola Saraki and then abandoning him, moving on to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and then deserting him as well. 
But I felt one should respond to your attempts to create a false narrative from the very hollow lamentation of the recent elections as the “worst in our history”.

In my view, those like your good self, veteran journalists, who have built a formidable platform in the public arena must strive always to use the platform for the larger public good. There have been several interventions from you that reflect such true public spirit, but some of us stridently disagree with what at times could be perceived as a self-serving journalistic conduct. Many would seem to agree that this was obvious in your recent open letter to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

But first, let me thank you for your gracious words of congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, and your admiration for the VP’s commendable performance in office. I am certain that your quest for public accountability derives from that admiration.

It is important to state that a citizen’s open letter to public figures or government authority is always welcome here and not necessarily a matter of right or exclusive access. For us, such matters of access for the people to their elected leaders is of normal cause and ought not to be a matter of exclusivity nor should we make a play of it as so special.

As is typical of your propaganda machinery, it begins with an outrageous lie by the principal then the operatives like yourself repeat it ad naseum. It appears you were not in this country when foreign and local observers accepted the results.Independent Foreign Observers commended the transparency and credibility of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Also, the Independent ElectionMonitor group, supported by the French Embassy, concluded that “based on the analysis carried out in this document as well as the actual observations of the election activities across the country, it is Election Monitor’s considered opinion that the 2019 Presidential Election results are consistent with the will of the majority of voters who took part in the elections notwithstanding the various infractions which also occurred as they were not on a scale significant enough to affect the overall outcome of the election.(http://electionmonitorng.blogspot.com/2019/03/analysis-of-2019-nigerian-presidential.html)

YIAGA Africa’s Parrallel Voting Tabulation, relied on by international agencies, embassies and funders also said its  "findings show that for the presidential election the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the vote." And that “the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2 per cent and 47.0 per cent of the vote; these figures are consistent with the official results as just announced by INEC.

“For both APC and PDP, the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.” That YIAGA AFRICA results statement was based on reports from 1,491 polling units which are 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA’s projections were reportedly also consistent with the officially announced vote shares for the other 71 parties who contested in the presidential election. It is also believed that the group’s projections were based on the results announced in the polling units and would have detected any significant manipulation occurring during collation at the ward, local government area, State and national levels. Also, "INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also generally consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates.” (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/02/yiaga-africa-verifies-election-results/)

These are empirical facts, my dear Bob Dee, especially if you your analysis through any rigorous tests. Propaganda and falsehood only need a willing sponsor.

Yes, observers mentioned pockets of violence and some malpractices, but none felt that these were sufficient to affect the credibility of the elections or its results. Frequently cited is Ago Palace in Lagos. One unit in a city of 20 million! In any event, the real question is, how did the violence in the comparatively few places where it happened favour the President? And how come the strong allegations of foul play by the likes of Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom, George Akume in Benue and Ndoma-Egba in Cross Rivers State (all APC Senatorial aspirants!) escaped your eagle eyes?

It is sometimes forgotten, and Bob Dee , you chose to forget, that for the previous 16 years before 2015, the PDP governments had conducted elections. Everyone is familiar with the incredible excesses of the elections and the election-observer reports so poignantly describe some.

In the 2003 elections which gave Atiku Abubakar and his boss a second term, Wikipedia observes that “Millions of people voted several times. The police in Lagos uncovered an electoral fraud, finding five million false ballots."

But the 2007 elections got even worse reviews: “Following the presidential election, groups monitoring the election gave it a dismal assessment. Chief European Union observer Max van den Berg reported that the handling of the polls had "fallen far short" of basic international standards, and that "the process cannot be considered to be credible", citing "poor election organisation, lack of transparency, significant evidence of fraud, voter disenfranchisement, violence and bias."

They described the election as "the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world", with "rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation").One group of observers said that at one polling station in Yenagoa, in the oil-rich South-South, where 500 people were registered to vote, more than 2,000 votes were counted.”

Your choice of words such as “theatre of war” to describe the presidential polls is not only inaccurate and questionable by and large, but also surprising considering the recent history of past presidential polls. And you have to tell us who described the elections as “the most dreadful and desperate”?

Besides this facts that you carefully chose to ignore, the contents of your letter read in part like a brief for the opposition, and, at other times, a judgment of an electoral tribunal in favour of the opposition. And such bias undermines the credibility of the author such as yourself.

It could even render the write-up confusing rather than informing the readers. For good measure, Bob Dee, maybe we should just remind our readers that not only are you an active member of the opposition, you have also benefited from significant business relationships with some in the opposition circles. And this is entirely within your right.

But that certainly discounts your assessment about the direction of our administration. It also devalues your criticism of the narratives that hold those who raped this country in the past responsible for the consequences of their corrupt activities while in government.

One also wonders whether it is your well-known personal relationship with the opposition that has beclouded you so much that you seek to assail the anti-corruption efforts which ordinary and well-meaning Nigerians have embraced.

Let me make it clear that the facts show that while some old members of the opposition have joined APC, that has not shielded those responsible for corruption and graft. In any case, even if old PDP members are now APC members, the current leadership of the country under the APC stands out as it is made up of two gentlemen with impeccable integrity. 

Old PDP members and all Nigerians are welcome just like sinners are embraced in the church, Inf act, the church was opened for sinners to be converted. And what is skewed about the anti-corruption campaign when the two governors who have now been convicted for corruption are both APC?

Having said that, be rest assured that the APC as a party will articulate its defences to any allegations. For the records, it is an obvious fact and this must be reiterated that the Buhari administration has a commendable record of respecting the independence of INEC, a clear departure from what occurred under previous administrations. This government also ensures that it provides all the support INEC requires, as well as respects the independence of the judiciary and has ensured that security forces act within the ambits of law. Even international observers have made their comments accordingly and positively. 

As the Buhari administration always noted, every single loss of life is sad and lamentable. And previous elections have regrettably caused even far more losses. We must achieve an electoral system that doesn't result in any such loss of life. However, the record of improvement from the past is clear as it were.

To characterize the will of the people as Pyrrhic victory represents what exactly needs to change in and about our nation. Indeed, our privilege as elites imposes the responsibility of trustees of power, wealth, values and direction of and for a nation in the interest of the people upon us. To narrow this interest or substitute our amplified voices as the vocal minority for the silent majority is not only taking liberties a little too far, but also losing tune and touch with our national realities. As leaders, we must reflect introspectively on how we have prioritized the people, and how we must continue to do so going forward.

This is what President Muhammadu Buhari is known for and it is what played out in the elections. It is the voices of the few and the devices of the privileged that the Opposition regarded and expected to hold up. That did not happen.

We respect the right to disagree and exercise that right through the established mechanisms, but we reject any denigration and the diminishing of the electoral outcome which is the true voice and expression of the people of this country.

As you noted, the whole concept of sin in the worldly context is a violation of the law of the land, and in the spiritual context, a violation against God. That you judge either as a matter of law, or ecclesiastically when you by yourself determine that this administration is "committing sin" is a departure from what your letter identifies as its objective. Victory in an election is a nation speaking up, while the victor is the symbol of that nation's victory.

Both life, by its temporal nature, and the Constitution, by its term limitations and periodic elections, already ensure that we all know that everything but eternity is transient, and the example of that in our nation today is the rejection of the old order four years ago, and the most recent confirmation of that rejection by preferring the new and current order, and the Next Level of our national restoration and growth. 

Finally, thank you for declaring your belief that the APC “would have won” a handsome victory because that was exactly what happened! It is your equivocation about Atiku’s loss expressed in the same letter where you said you expected an APC “handsome victory” that left me and other readers confounded. What are we to believe?

Again, thank you for your open letter. Be rest assured that the Vice President and the President would continue working for the good of all Nigerians in the Next Level.

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INEC Working In Favour Of Wike, Says Rivers AAC

16 March 2019 - 6:37am


The African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers State has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of working in favour of Nyesom Wike, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the state.

A statement issued by Felix Enimini William, AAC Publicity Secretary in Rivers, noted that the statement issued by INEC on Friday is the commission’s “latest move to short-change the party”.

The party alleged that the electoral umpire was working to “sway the outcome of the process” in Wike’s favour.

INEC had issued a statement on Friday night, noting that the “results of 17 out of 23 Local Governments are available and in the commission's custody”.

The 17 LGAs were not listed, but the commission said the elections would be concluded on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

However, the AAC rejected INEC’s position, in its statement which read: "Sadly, we are curiously surprised and disappointed that INEC deliberately refused to name the 17 Local Government Areas. As far as this information is concerned, it is manifestly false and the attempt to shroud the LGAs claimed to have results in secrecy is a serious step by INEC to sway the outcome of the process in favour of Gov. Nyesom Wike, its preferred candidate.

“We suspect that INEC might be working to surreptitiously bring in cooked up results credited to Obio/Akpor to skew the balance of reality of things in favour of Wike. We vehemently reject this and will resist it with every pint of blood in us.

“It is now clear to all that INEC has become deaf and blind to the fact that Gov. Nyesom Wike invaded the Obio/Akpor collation centre and ordered his security men to shoot an Army Captain and another soldier providing perimeter security to the collation centre. The Captain and his colleague are still in hospital after undergoing serious surgery.

“We ask: Is it so difficult for INEC to name the 17 LGAs? If INEC has agreed and accepted that four collation officers are card-carrying members of PDP and INEC has now sanctioned them, what happens to the results they collated having not been qualified to do so ab initio?

“The AAC calls on INEC to stop its collaboration with Gov. Nyesom Wike and the PDP. It must declare Engr. Biokpomabo Awara, our governorship candidate, winner of the March 9 governorship election as it was glaring that he was winning until INEC stepped in to halt the process apparently to save Wike from an earth-shaking defeat.

“Finally, those (including Gov. Wike) who make the argument that our party and candidate are not popular enough to win the Rivers State governorship election are simply being clever by half. Can the governor and his ilk also say that APC that threw its weight behind us, for obvious reasons, are not popular and on ground in Rivers State?”

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Southeast Excluded From National Assembly Leadership A Repeat Of Azikiwe, Awolowo's Mistakes By Fredrick Nwabufo

16 March 2019 - 6:32am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

Southeast excluded from national assembly leadership a repeat of Azikiwe, Awolowo's mistakes by Fredrick Nwabufo

Building a cohesive society starts with delivering justice to all and protecting the interest of not just a few, but all in the composite unit. Justice is the adhesive which cements the foundations of attuned societies.  And it is the scaffold on which national balance rests.

Mauritius is a poly-ethnic island country in Africa. The nation is a congruence of different peoples of Indian, African, European and Chinese of descent. But this tiny country is the most advanced democracy on the continent. It has been able to manage the disparate interests by maintaining a balance of power in its parliamentary system of government.

In 2016, the Economist Intelligence Unit described Mauritius as a full democracy. It has also been projected to be the first developed country in the third world.

Nigeria cannot exit the jungle, if it does not put the piece to the puzzle of political justice. It will always take one step forward and five steps backwards.

Nigeria is like a locomotive operated by different drivers who take turns at the engine, and when one driver makes effort to get it moving, another one tries to sabotage him. This cycle is repeated as the drivers take turns. How can such a country move forward?

The attempt to scheme out the south-east in the politics of the national assembly leadership should be interrogated by every Nigerian who truly holds this country dear. In 2015, the south-east had no representation in the leadership of all the arms of government. This was rationalised at the time with a bogus claim, "the zone did not produce any ranking senator or member of the house of representatives on the platform of the APC".

And in 2019, the same game is at play. Ahmed Lawan has been singled out to be the president of the senate and Femi Gbajabiamila "anointed" to be the speaker of the house of representatives. If this crystallises, with Buhari and Osinbajo as heads of the executive; Lawan and Gbajabiamila as leaders of the legislature and Ibrahim Tanko as the head of the judiciary, the entire government will be in the hands of two groups in a multi-ethnic country.

Really, it will be dangerous for national coagulation to allow this imbalance. The refrain that there is no “ranking APC senator” from the south-east is a moot point. This is not entirely true. Besides, there are senators from the southeast elected on the platform of the APC. The rules of “ranking” can be circumvented for the sake of national balance and cohesion. I believe achieving political balance and fostering unity is more important than any rule which only favour a few.

We must protect our unity. Imagine if it was the other way around. Imagine if it was the southwest or the north that is facing this obvious political marooning. Repeating a bad precedent and rationalising it with political niceties will only deepen recriminations and provide ammunition for future generations to trade hate.

Every day young people on social media trade hate over what Azikiwe and Awolowo did and did not do in the 1960s and 70s. Both men have been blamed for being the fount of Nigeria's political challenges - depending on the divide.

While the Igbo blame Awolowo for introducing ethnic politics into the system, the yoruba blame them as well for the same reason.

Today, our political leaders and particularly a certain godfather, for selfish reasons, are introducing "maroon politics" into the system, creating minefields for future ethnic wars and bashing by their actions.

How bleak is the future of our unity? 

Righting the wrongs of yesterday and avoiding the pitfalls of tomorrow begin with doing justice to all and making compromises where necessary.

Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter @FredrickNwabufo

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Does Buhari Second Term Smell Nice? By Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

16 March 2019 - 6:26am



The election is settled and after it comes governance. Of course, the leading loser, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party has headed to the courts (or has threatened to do so) basing his loss on being rigged out alongside electoral malpractice and so the elections in a sense may not be settled. However, pending the determination of his suit by the courts, the elections are settled. Most observers agree on the near hopelessness of the suit but urge him to go ahead in order to strengthen our democracy.

What 2019-2023 holds would always be out of the scope of anyone to accurately foretell because even our Prophets/Imam and Pastors have been demystified in the business of making predictions. “Thus saith the Lord” went wrong severally in the last election. From the ‘governotorial’ level (apologies to the President) to the Senatorial and Presidential, the predictions did not materialize. 

However, there are strong indications from visible premises that the next 4 years would be very much like the past 4 years. If difference would be envisaged, it would be coming off the back of say different candidates holding the elective positions or that the election results reflected radical difference. Largely across the country, it is a recycle of leadership who have just held power or who are staging a comeback after a while. What difference does one possibly expect?

The Presidential election has returned for a second term the President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. While the President appears more healthy and his speech has become more clear than it used to be, the fact still remains that there may be need due to his age for further treatment at the expense of government. The Ministerial cabinet is yet to be constituted but already, those lobbying for Ministerial appointments are not much different from those presently there.

The programmes of the Buhari administration in the first term that are expected to bring Next Level are really not there to see. The railway appears like the only major project which would generate much functionality or add to the economic structure by making transit cheaper, safer and faster. 

In the different areas of governance, the expectations of Nigerians does not reflect much optimism with everyone already back to their normal lives and the political discussion has begun to die down. For the next 4 years, citizen interest in politics and how they are governed will drop considerably low till there is another electoral season.

Insurgency and herdsmen crisis which require to be tackled have not been completely eliminated. Thus, while one is not a prophet of doom., the lack of serious approaches to these issues which will ensure they stop is absent. 

The herdsmen crisis is not envisaged to stop soon as the cows will still need to graze and the farmers would still need to plant and the conflict would be unavoidable. What has the government done on this issue that will ensure it stops?

The Boko Haram insurgency on the other hand has become doused to an extent. However, it is not coast clear and the allegations that war profiteers are delaying the extermination of the sect so they can continue to get money may be very valid. 

The budget for defence will drop considerably low should Boko Haram be defeated or exterminated and adding two plus two to make four, or adding four plus four, if soldiers at the front complain of not being well treated, it means the Defence budget is being pocketed somewhere. This is Nigeria.

The economy does not show much promise as the conditions are largely the same. Dependence on oil may have started reducing but Nigeria is still in a situation where any slight that occurs in the international crude oil market will reflect on the economy in huge terms. 

The approval of 30k minimum wage has still not materialized with the discussion still ongoing and a Governor even advising his successor not to pay it because it is the manifesto of another party. ASUU does not appear completely pacified and they may pull the shock at anytime to complain on the conditions of education in the country.

The problems for which restructuring became a loud cry have still not been addressed and so far nothing has been restructured nor does it appear like anything would be. Restructuring gathered a lot of momentum towards the last election. However, the noise has fizzled away while the complains are still there.

Technological advancement or even innovation in the areas of science and technology remains a myriad. The Nigerian government has refused to sponsor scholarship and research and the contribution of Nigeria to the international body of knowledge and science continues to wane. 

While Nigerians who travel out of the country manage to record huge success in the areas of technological development for humanity, there is still the concern that our Universities are caught up in the past dropping low in international ranking and what innovation can be expected from the learning, teaching and research conditions?

The politicking for 2023 and principal offices in the Senate and National Assembly has already begun in earnest. Suggestions are already being made for who would contest for what and yet there has been no concern shown towards the life of average Nigerians whose country continues to remain the poverty capital of the world. Nigeria seems to exist merely for the purpose of political activities.

With a lot of states still having their elections inconclusive and the attendant violence in the last elections, one merely wishes that more trouble is not to be envisaged in the polls yet to be completed. 

While the APC seemed to say they are ready for a Next Level. Which can be translated as an advancement on the hardships of the first term. One wishes it happens. But where are the pointers that much difference would happen between 2019-2023?

With the exception of the anticipation of a working Nigerian refinery belonging to Aliko Dangote which may lower the price of PMS and other fuel products, one does not see what should really make Buhari second term smell nice(to borrow from Twitter trend) in terms of upgrading the lives and standard of living of the Nigerian masses.

Daily across this country, more and more are becoming hopeless. Immigration is becoming the hope of the brightest minds and a lot are either about to leave, have already left or plan to leave. The dust poor continue to hope for more. A lot of the rich are also not laughing as in all sincerity, some polices of the Buhari regime such as the Treasury Single Fund have taken corrupt wealth out of circulation. 

It is not a prediction of doom. Only a mere search for the foundation on which development is intended to be laid. What has been done that will make the next four years better?

Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa writes from Obafemi Awolowo University. He is a Law Student. A Civil Rights Activist. A Public Policy and Economic Analyst. A public commentator, Legal opinion contributor and Opinion essayist with several reputable print and online media such as Premium Times (Campus Reporter), Sahara reporters, Lawyard.NG and several other outlets. He can be reached on 

koyetolu@gmail.com. 

Twitter @Koye_tolu 

LinkedIn: Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

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PIUS ADESANMI…And I Cried! By ‘Remi Oyeyemi

16 March 2019 - 6:17am


"Do not go to my grave

......I am not there. Look for me in between pages and on people's lips. Do not go to my old school. Do not go to my old house -  I am not in any of those places. Look for me in your hearts and greet me there."         - Kamand Kojouri (Author of "Eternal Dance")   It was not a busy day. I had finished very early from the Adetokunbo Ademola Avenue office of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign in Abuja. Ayo, the guy who drives me around Abuja when my brother Olusola Sanni was too busy, had picked me up and dropped me at the estate where I had been hibernating, with a promise to be timely the following day. To my hosts disappointment, I had chosen not to go with him to the Ibrahim Babangida Golf Course today.   The time was around 7.30 pm. My host was yet to return from the Golf Course. His wife that I had christened “Madam Justice” since she became a judge several years back was home in her library working on some judgments to be delivered. I peeped in to alert her of my intention. She gave me a judicial approval to exercise that fundamental right of freedom of movement.   I had put on my jalamiya and a pair of slippers to take a stroll through the estate. As I stepped out of the palatial compound, the glittering neon lights percolating the fences of the buildings that lined the streets stood a guard of honour as I sauntered along lackadaisically. My steps were measured. I was slow, steady and calculated in my strides. It was a perfect study in ìrìn fàájì. As has become my practice, I had my cell phone with me. But I was not really expecting a call, sùgbón a kìí mò.    The humidity was lenient to the quiet neighbourhood this evening. There was no excessive heat. There was no cold wind. The atmosphere was copacetic. Unbounded by the humidity, the breeze took advantage of that magnanimity as it gently bruised my arms, exerting its will, which in itself was comforting and pulsating in its subtle aggression.   The sky, illuminated with stars, glittered in its darkness. It was lusciously alluring, despite being expressionless in its mien, as it commixed its colours behind the clouds. The air, freshly minted by nature, oozing a genre of strange aroma akin to that of my favourite champagne, was irresistible. I intermittently inhaled in pleasure, taking deep breaths in relish, to strengthen my lungs.    And my telephone rang.   It came in from Canada. And the person putting the call through was no other person than Professor Pius Adesanmi. Immediately, I had to put him in the dock, asking how he was able to trace me. He told me if I ever thought that I could hide from a dear brother like him, I must have missed it. And we laughed.   Then, he said, “Egbon, I am calling you because of Omoyele Sowore.” He informed me that he met Sowore in Ghana a day before the latter was in Nigeria to declare his Presidential interest. He asked me a number of questions as we discussed. Some of our colleagues’ names also came up in the discussion.    But he was very particular about Rudolf Okonkwo, our fellow contributor on Saharareporters. The kernel of that discussion was about the coming Presidential Elections in Nigeria and wanted to find out some information which I readily provided. He expressed surprise about some of the things that had happened at and to that point.   He expressed the hope that we would have to meet to review the situation again. I told him that I had been in Canada three times already that year, though I did not make attempt to see him or other friends, because those were business trips that left little or no time for socializing. I informed him that I did not see myself paying another visit until 2019 after the elections. He made me promise to call if I came to the US before the Presidential Elections may be we could arrange to meet and with others. I did.   We never got to have that meeting.   Then, I learnt he had an accident on Oyo – Iseyin Road. This was the following day of my own return from Shaki where I had gone for an assignment. We had missed each other because he said he thought I was in Abuja. I was aghast on learning of the accident. I knew the roads either from Akinyele end or from the Oyo City end to Oke-Ogun area. The roads were and are still treacherous. We thanked God for escaping with his life. We had continued to exchange calls intermittently.   I was having breakfast at a Hotel on the border of the State of Maryland and Delaware on this Sunday morning. I decided to see what was going on as I visited the social media. First it was Facebook. Barr. Ayo Turton page was the one that first came up. And he was posting parables. He was writing in tongues. He was raising suspicions. He was keeping many in suspense.   I kept trying to figure out what was going on. Who could he be speaking about? I was gripped with a degree of fear. Anxiety was ruthlessly ripping my physiology relentlessly. I kept reading and searching for an answer. Then, Barr. Turton posted, “I have been calling his line and there is no answer.” I still did not know who the subject matter was.   In my apprehension, I found out it was my brother, Prof. Pius Adesanmi. Now, I became more nervous. Great unease enveloped me. A cocoon of cruel cold encapsulated my vicinity.  At this point there was no confirmation. There were speculations here and there. I scanned to and fro, up and down to see if anyone could confirm the situation. No one was sure. My legs began to shake. My hands began to tremble. My tummy began to throb. I was palpitating. I was rattled.  I became jittery.   I could not wait any longer. I put a call through to Barr. Turton. He did not pick up the first time. I called again, and he picked up.   He confirmed my worst fears.   My own Pius Adebola Adesanmi had died in the crash!   And I cried…. And cried! Omije kíkorò!   I was shocked. I was bewildered. And I became numbed. While many sympathizers were posting condolences, I could not. I was simply numbed. The reality of this was too blistering to me emotionally. It was scalding and scorching. It was very sweltering. I probably would not have felt this devastated if hit by howitzer. I began to ask “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” This was a nightmare. It did not qualify as a dream by any stretch of imagination. It was a hobbling nightmare. How could this happen? How did this happen? Why my own Pius? Why?   Prof. Adesanmi was a brilliant mind, and dazzlingly so. He was deep and expansive in his intellect. He was an intellectual giant. He was scholarly and effervescently so. His literary works exuded liveliness and mirthfulness. Like a cascading charming cataract, Pius poured his prose quixotically, to inebriate in its beatification. He penned his poetry purely piusly, to pierce the pulse of the primer in a manner only Pius could do it.   He was simple. He was smooth. He was silky. He was lucid, luminous and limpid. He was racy in a very steady manner. Deliberate in his cautious celerity, his style of rapidity was ringed with conscious torpidity.  He often flavoured his writings with beautiful Yoruba words, something I have begun to copy, as one would have done with Latin or French to get the message across without any adumbration.   He was very sincere. He was committed. He was consistent. He was determined. He was dedicated to the struggle to make our society better. He was driven, propelled and possessed by the objective of a sane society. He wrote in search of a society that is functional, fair and frank with its citizens; a society that is motored by justice and sanctity of life.   He was an advocate of intellectual honesty in public discourse. Impatient and unable to tolerate foolishness, he still found a way to usher them away from his social media vicinity with some degree of civility without mincing his words. He suffered the untutored very gladly and with a controlled but ferocious intensity.   Pius Adebola Adesanmi was born in Isanlu - Makutu, in Yagba East Local Government area of Kogi State. (Yagba has a reputation to have an educational institution in the distance of every 500 metres radius). Professor Adesanmi attended Titcombe College, Egbe (named after Rev. Tommy Titcombe, a British – Born Canadian missionary who came to Egbe in 1908). He had a BA (First Class honours) from University of Ilorin in 1992, a Masters in French from the University of Ibadan in 1998 and a Ph.D. in French Studies from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in 2002.   Between 2002 and 2005, he was an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania (Penn) State University, USA. 2006, he joined the Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada as a Professor of Literature and African Studies. Earlier, between 1993 and 1997, he has been a fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA). He was also a fellow of the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) in 1998 and 2000.   He was the author of “The Wayfarer and Other Poems” which in 2001 won the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize. In 2010, his book “You’re Not A Country, Africa,” a collection of essays won the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing in the nonfiction category. He also authored “Naija No Dey Carry Last” in 2015. In 2017, Adesanmi was a recipient of Canada Bureau of International Educational Leadership Award.   In his last post on Facebook on Saturday March 9, 2019, Pius must have had the immortal words of Eric Pevernergie in mind while he penned his own immortal words. Pevernergie had posited, "Some ephemeral moments must be given a memory, because the temporality of an instant may radiate a twinkle of eternity." And Pius with his last post did exactly that as he put forth the following:   "If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. - Psalm 139:9-10"   He was a proud Yoruba man. He was a proud African. He was a world class citizen. Passionate about his people. Passionate about their well being. Passionate about knowledge and its deployment to changing and improving the polity. He was a focused fighter, tireless in his efforts, humorous in his style, but dead serious about his intentions.   The words of Neetal Parekh, an Electronics Engineer, rings so true for our own Pius Adesanmi. "We are here for a second, but our impact ripples through time." Pius was here for a second, played his own roles, left his indelible footprints in the sands of time and his impact is already rippling through time; and will do through eternity.   Prof. Adesanmi is a great loss to Isanlu. He is a great loss to the Yoruba Nation. He is a great loss to Nigeria. He is a great loss to Africa. He is a great loss to forces of social change. He is a great loss to the civic society. He is a great loss to his genre of academics. He is a great loss to Journalism. He is a great loss to his readers. He is a great loss to his friends. He is an irreplaceable loss to his beautiful daughter, Tise. He is an irreparable loss to his wonderful wife, Muyiwa. He is an immeasurable loss to Mama Isanlu.   I feel greatly deprived by his demise. It is a very painful loss. A very hurtful one. May his brilliant, passionate, kind and beautiful soul rest in perfect peace. May Eledumare, the God of my fathers, grant us all the fortitude to bear his loss. Ase.   Once again, I have to end with a verse of John Donne's immortal lines: “Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.”   'Remi Oyeyemi   OBITUARY Opinion TRIBUTE AddThis :  Original Author :  'Remi Oyeyemi Disable advertisements : 
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Concede Defeat To PDP Candidate, APC Chieftain, Others Tells Adamawa Gov

16 March 2019 - 6:00am


Jibrilla Bindow, Governor of Adamawa State, and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been urged to concede defeat to “save the state unnecessary trouble”.

The governorship election in the state was declared inconclusive by Professor Andrew Haruna, the Returning Officer for Adamawa State, who said the number of cancelled votes was higher than the margin between the two leading contestants.

However, in separate appeals, elders in the state insist that Ahmed Umar Fintiri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won the election.

Babachir David Lawan, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and a chieftain of the APC, said: "The only honourable thing to do is for my party's candidate, Governor Bindow, to concede and give peace a chance. The next election is only four years away, Bindow can go back to the drawing board and launch himself back; therefore let's not allow elections to cause trouble between brothers.”

Boni Haruna, former Governor and one-time minister, said: "We have reliably gathered that the total number of Permanent Voter Cards collected in the 44 polling units is 31,027, a figure that would not reverse Fintiri's winning lead, even after the supplementary elections in the 44 units. This is just as the registered voters in the PUs are now only 34,101.”

"We have gleaned from INEC records that 34,101 is actually the number of registered voters in the affected polling units, as against 40,988 declared by the state returning officer,” Abdullahi Prambe, a leading political figure in the state, said.

The results of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows that Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the PDP candidate, won the elections by 367,472 votes against 334,995 votes polled by the APC candidate.

Speaking on the elections, Haruna continued: "The margin of win by the PDP candidate is 32,476 votes. While we were waiting for the outright declaration of Fintiri as to have won by a clear majority, we were taken aback with INEC's declaration of the elections as inconclusive, on the grounds that the margin of win by PDP (32,476) was less than 40,988 in 44 polling units where the elections did not hold or were cancelled."

"The electoral body relied on Sections 26 and 53 of the electoral act and regulations and guidelines, page 17, paragraph C, to justify its actions. We wish to state that the action by the electoral body to declare Adamawa election as inconclusive is not only absurd, but untenable, most unfortunate and unacceptable.

"We wish to state or note that the National Chairman had told the world that elections starts and end at polling units. It is our understanding that if elections were cancelled at polling units or wards collation centres, it stands cancelled. We therefore find it curious for the electoral body to resurrect the issue of election results that have been cancelled at the polling units to justify its action of declaring the governorship elections as inconclusive at the level of state collation or declaration of results.

"The position of the electoral body ordering a supplementary election on the basis that the margin of win was less than the number of cancelled results in the 44 polling units was untenable. This is because we have been able to establish that the number of PVCs collected in the 44 polling units was 31,027; these are the only eligible voters if there is going to be a rerun.

"The 31,027 figure is far less than the number of registered voters that INEC relied upon to decline declaring PDP winner of the governorship elections."

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INEC Replaces Bauchi Collation/Returning Officer; To Resume Elections On Tuesday

16 March 2019 - 4:37am


The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will resume elections in Bauchi State on March 19, 2019.

The commission also says it will replace the collation/returning officer for Tarawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) in the state.

Mrs. Dominion Anosike, the Returning Officer for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in the governorship election, had written to Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, requesting to appear before the Committee set up to investigate what led to the cancellation of the results of the election,over threat to her life.

According to INEC, a report on the electoral process in the state was considered on March 12, 2019, which detailed the disruption of the process at the Tafawa Balewa collation centre, which led to the cancellation of results for the entire LGA.

A statement issued on Friday by Festus Okoye, Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, noted that committee was set up by the commission to investigate the incident.
The Investigation Committee came out with the following findings:

"That Governorship and State Assembly elections were held on 9th March, 2019, in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area and the votes scored by candidates were announced at the polling units and collated at the 11 registration areas of the local governments.

"Halfway into the Local Government collation, armed gangs attacked the collation centre and destroyed the Local Government Result Sheet (EC8C) and some collated results from the registration areas. The results for seven out of 11 registration areas for governorship, and six out of 11 for state assembly elections were affected.

"INEC guidelines provide that where violent disruption affects collation in this manner, results should be regenerated from duplicate copies on a replacement result sheet.

"The collation officer, under pressure from party agents who could not wait for the arrival of the replacement result sheet, decided to collate the result on an available RA result sheet, instead of the replacement LGA result sheet.

"When the result was presented at the state governorship collation centre, the Returning Officer rejected the regenerated result because it was on a wrong result sheet.

"The investigation committee established that the result for polling units and registration areas are available and in safe custody.

"The Investigation Committee also established that the number of cancelled votes for the four polling units in Ningi Local Government Area, which was recorded as 25,330 in form EC40G (1) was incorrect. The actual figure is 2,553."

The commission, thereafter, resolved to conclude the election as the results for Tafawa Balewa LGA are available. It also approved the replacement of the collation/returning officer for the LGA.

The elections for Bauchi State would resume on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.
 

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BREAKING: Gunmen Kill Two Policemen In Bayelsa

16 March 2019 - 4:36am


Two policemen have been shot dead in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Unknown gunmen on Friday night stormed Odeme Hotels at Alamieyeseigha road in Yenagoa, killing two policemen on guard.

The hotel is owned by Emmanuel Paulker, the senator representing Bayelsa Central in the National Assembly.

The gunmen shot sporadically, and also carted away two service rifles belonging to the policemen.

An eyewitness told SaharaReporters that the shooting lasted for about 30 minutes.

“I don’t know where the men came from, but there was serious shooting and most us living around there had to take cover. When we came, we heard that they killed the policemen.”

The Bayelsa State Police Command is yet to make any official statement on the incident.

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