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VIDEO: Customs Officer Tries To Escape After Shooting Civilian 'Because Of N5,000'

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 1:11pm

Video of Customs Officer Tries To Escape After Shooting Civilian 'Because Of N5,000' Customs Officer Tries To Escape After Shooting Civilian 'Because Of N5,000'

A video has surfaced online showing an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) shooting an unarmed man, now simply identified by NCS as Godwin.

The incident was said to have occurred along the Sagamu Interchange in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

From the video, it didn’t seem like there was a physical struggle, although tempers were flayed, before the officer simply cocked his gun and fired.

The person who recorded the video was also threatened but he stood his ground, insisting that the officer had no right to confiscate his phone.

A lady who seemed like an ally of the deceased was heard lamenting that they had just returned from outside the country, and the man was shot because they refused to part with N5,000.

However, the NCS has taken a contrary position to what happened in the video, stating that the person who shot the gun is a friend of the NCS.

According to the statement by DC Joseph Attah, Public Relations Officer of the Comptroller-General of Customs, issued on Sunday, there were attempts to interfere in the NCS’ interception of a bus conveying passengers which contained smuggled bales of used clothing into the country, and that led to the death of the man, as well as injuries sustained by a Customs officer.

The statement read: “The attention of Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a disturbing video going viral with conflicting narratives.

“While it is painful and totally unnecessary to lose life in anti-smuggling operations, today at Shagamu interchange along Ijebu Ode, attempt to obstruct lawful performance of duty by passengers of a commercial bus (a white Toyota Hiace) suspected to be carrying bales of used clothing led to the death of a young man (Godwin) and serious injury of a Customs Officer, ASC1, Destiny Onebamho.

“Contrary to some narratives, the young man was not a passenger of the bus but a good citizen who always come to fetch water for Customs Patrol men anytime they return to the base.

“Preliminary findings indicate that it was during the skirmishes and struggle to disarm the Officer that the rifle discharged and hit the friend of the Customs (Godwin) who lost his life. The Service is already in touch with the bereaved family.

“Sadly, it should be noted that while attention shifted to the dead and the wounded, the passengers who filmed with inciting commentaries boarded their vehicle and left, leaving the wrong impression that it was one of them that was killed.

“While the wounded officer is under intensive care at the hospital, the patrol team has been recalled to the office for further investigation.”

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Finidi George Endorses Sowore, Says 'The Young Gentleman Will Take Nigeria To The Future'

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:39pm


Former Nigerian international footballer, Finidi George, has endorsed the presidential candidature of the African Action Congress's Omoyele Sowore.

In a video posted on his Instagram handle @officialfinidi, Finidi, who played as a Nigerian right winger from 1999 to 2000, said: "Election is around the corner, my question is, 'who are you voting for'? I know who I'm voting for; I'll be voting for Sowore".

On his choice of Sowore, Finidi said: "The young lad is vibrant, and he will take Nigeria to the future. Anyone who is over 60 cannot take Nigeria to the future. We are tired of voting the same old men that I think someday will sell Nigeria."

He encouraged Nigerians to use their votes properly and vote for "the young gentleman who will take Nigeria to the future".

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Okowa's Kinsmen Protest Assassination Attempt On APC Reps Candidate

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:38pm



Kinsmen of Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, in Umunede kingdom, Ika North East Local Government Area of the state, on Saturday, embarked on a peaceful protest over an “assassination attempt” on Sebastian Okoh, the House of Representatives candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for Ika Federal Constituency.

SaharaReporters gathered that the assassination attempt on the APC candidate, a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Okowa’s close ally, occurred in his Umunede hometown, where he and his family had gone to participate in the presidential and National Assembly elections, which were eventually postponed by one week.

Narrating the incident, a political associate of Okoh said: "The ugly incident happened when Okoh was in his residence with his family for Saturday's elections, when suddenly heavy shooting rented the air and bullets started hitting his building. In the process, there was serious damage to vehicles parked inside and outside the compound.

"It was a clear case of assassination attempt on Okoh, because his acceptance and popularity is becoming overwhelming for his political opponents in the federal constituency. Following the incident, his followers, supporters and indigenes of his community staged a mass protest with a clarion call to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime against our son. We thank God for saving him and his family from the war-like situation that lasted for a few minutes and we are also using this medium to appeal to his teeming supporters to remain calm, because God has saved him and preserved him for a purpose."


It was learnt that Okoh reported the presence of suspicious individuals in his community to the Agbor area command of the Nigerian Police.

Locals, who spoke with SaharaReporters on the issue, said at the time of the report, ACP Cordelia Ikejiani, the commandant of the Agbor area command, has since visited the scene of the incident, noting that the Police would carry out detailed investigation into the incident with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

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The Cost Of Postponing The General Elections By Ehi Braimah

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:24pm


I woke this morning and my wife told me the elections had been postponed. I replied her by saying that must be another piece of fake new because we have too many misleading and false stories in circulation these days. After I checked several news outlets, it turned out my wife was right.

And I asked myself a very simple question: what’s going on here? Clearly, the postponement looked like a joke taken too far; the kind of stunt you pull on April Fool’s Day. To start with, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has put our lives on hold even if the electoral umpire had good grounds to postpone the elections – the same announcement at the eleventh hour could have been made last week; at least one week before the elections. It is now evident that INEC was not prepared to conduct these elections or they were just deceiving Nigerians and other stakeholders.

Unfortunately, what INEC has done has become a familiar pattern; an egregious culture of impunity at all levels and we are supposed to just accept what has happened as normal and move on with our lives. But it is not that simple. The economy has been practically shut down because of the elections – movements are usually restricted. This is actually strange in the age of information technology and social media opportunities; so many degree programmes are now run online without students seeing the four walls of a classroom. We can now also run virtual meetings without the participants physically coming together.

February 23 is a special day in the Rotary calendar because that was the day in 1905 that Rotary, a global humanitarian service organisation, was founded by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney. The Rotary family worldwide marks the day with different activities. Here in District 9110 Nigeria, a public lecture had been planned for February 23 – venue booked; chairman, guest speaker, discussants confirmed and invitation cards printed. When we received news of the postponement, the planning committee of the event immediately reached out to all our guests to confirm a new date that was not agreeable to some of them for obvious reasons. In fact, our guest speaker and chair of the occasion have scheduled trips outside Nigeria but we had to appeal to them to accommodate the new date. Please begin to count the cost of the postponement – economic activities that are grounded at a time the economy is coming out of recession; lost time, anger, frustration, disappointment and so on. Next Saturday, we are required to just vote and sit at home; no economic activity will take place. Each time the economy is shut down, commercial activities cannot take place and the country bleeds.

I have friends who travelled so they could vote where they registered and you can imagine their sense of frustration and negative reactions to the postponement. The same thing can be said of election monitors/observers and journalists on assignment around the country and wedding ceremonies and other events shifted from February 16 to February 23 because of the elections. I have checked with family and friends in different places, it is the same story of woes and disappointment everywhere. What will be the impact of the postponement on the elections now scheduled for February 23? Your guess is as good as mine.

I watched Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chair, on television announcing the postponement of the elections and I was not impressed. I could tell from his body language that he was not sure whether he was doing the right thing – he did not appear convinced; he looked disengaged, distracted and worried. The INEC chair said the postponement was a very difficult but inevitable decision for them to take but the last minute decision is very suspicious. Prof Yakubu, the postponement at the time is was announced damages the credibility of the entire electoral process and makes us look very bad on the world stage.

How do you plan for an election that has a cycle of four years and issues of postponement would arise in this day and age? I thought it would be different this time because Prof Yakubu and his colleagues ought to know the implications of the postponement in a country where we are highly suspicious of each other. This is the same man who said many times over that there would be no postponement because INEC was fully ready to conduct the elections. So, what do we believe? As a friend noted, this is Nigeria and anything can happen.

This is precisely why we should begin to ask ourselves very hard questions about building strong institutions that can stand the test of time and protect the integrity of our democracy as well as the future of our children. The good news is that Nigerians - both at home and abroad – are becoming more aware of the roles we all have to play in the task of building a better country. The stakes in this election and in every subsequent election would be high because of the increased awareness - we need redemption to change the culture of engagement that would lead to progress and a better society.

It has never happened before in the history of this country that you will find several young presidential aspirants seeking to make a difference in the way the affairs of this country is run; it’s a new culture taking root and I can predict that in the foreseeable future, the scale will tilt in favour of these ‘angry young men and women’ with winning mindsets who are determined to chart a new course for Nigeria. More of their tribe would change the narrative that ‘politics is a dirty game’; instead of staying away from politics, this new generation who live on ideas day and night would go into politics and take control of the destiny of our country because the world runs on ideas. Their mandate would be to tackle key issues such as unemployment, poverty and a stagnating economy.

Their number one goal, in my view, would be to dismantle the so called ‘vested interests’ holding the rest of us captive and this characteristic was demonstrated by some of the young presidential aspirants during their campaigns and media interviews – you could feel their energy, sense of purpose and vision for a better Nigeria. The answer to Nigeria’s numerous problems will come from Nigerians – and that would be very soon. It might take some time to build a critical mass required but it will surely happen. May God bless Nigeria.

Braimah is public relations and marketing strategist based in Lag

I woke this morning and my wife told me the elections had been postponed. I replied her by saying that must be another piece of fake new because we have too many misleading and false stories in circulation these days. After I checked several news outlets, it turned out my wife was right.

And I asked myself a very simple question: what’s going on here? Clearly, the postponement looked like a joke taken too far; the kind of stunt you pull on April Fool’s Day. To start with, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has put our lives on hold even if the electoral umpire had good grounds to postpone the elections – the same announcement at the eleventh hour could have been made last week; at least one week before the elections. It is now evident that INEC was not prepared to conduct these elections or they were just deceiving Nigerians and other stakeholders.

Unfortunately, what INEC has done has become a familiar pattern; an egregious culture of impunity at all levels and we are supposed to just accept what has happened as normal and move on with our lives. But it is not that simple. The economy has been practically shut down because of the elections – movements are usually restricted. This is actually strange in the age of information technology and social media opportunities; so many degree programmes are now run online without students seeing the four walls of a classroom. We can now also run virtual meetings without the participants physically coming together.

February 23 is a special day in the Rotary calendar because that was the day in 1905 that Rotary, a global humanitarian service organisation, was founded by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney. The Rotary family worldwide marks the day with different activities. Here in District 9110 Nigeria, a public lecture had been planned for February 23 – venue booked; chairman, guest speaker, discussants confirmed and invitation cards printed. When we received news of the postponement, the planning committee of the event immediately reached out to all our guests to confirm a new date that was not agreeable to some of them for obvious reasons. In fact, our guest speaker and chair of the occasion have scheduled trips outside Nigeria but we had to appeal to them to accommodate the new date. Please begin to count the cost of the postponement – economic activities that are grounded at a time the economy is coming out of recession; lost time, anger, frustration, disappointment and so on. Next Saturday, we are required to just vote and sit at home; no economic activity will take place. Each time the economy is shut down, commercial activities cannot take place and the country bleeds.

I have friends who travelled so they could vote where they registered and you can imagine their sense of frustration and negative reactions to the postponement. The same thing can be said of election monitors/observers and journalists on assignment around the country and wedding ceremonies and other events shifted from February 16 to February 23 because of the elections. I have checked with family and friends in different places, it is the same story of woes and disappointment everywhere. What will be the impact of the postponement on the elections now scheduled for February 23? Your guess is as good as mine.

I watched Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chair, on television announcing the postponement of the elections and I was not impressed. I could tell from his body language that he was not sure whether he was doing the right thing – he did not appear convinced; he looked disengaged, distracted and worried. The INEC chair said the postponement was a very difficult but inevitable decision for them to take but the last minute decision is very suspicious. Prof Yakubu, the postponement at the time is was announced damages the credibility of the entire electoral process and makes us look very bad on the world stage.

How do you plan for an election that has a cycle of four years and issues of postponement would arise in this day and age? I thought it would be different this time because Prof Yakubu and his colleagues ought to know the implications of the postponement in a country where we are highly suspicious of each other. This is the same man who said many times over that there would be no postponement because INEC was fully ready to conduct the elections. So, what do we believe? As a friend noted, this is Nigeria and anything can happen.

This is precisely why we should begin to ask ourselves very hard questions about building strong institutions that can stand the test of time and protect the integrity of our democracy as well as the future of our children. The good news is that Nigerians - both at home and abroad – are becoming more aware of the roles we all have to play in the task of building a better country. The stakes in this election and in every subsequent election would be high because of the increased awareness - we need redemption to change the culture of engagement that would lead to progress and a better society.

It has never happened before in the history of this country that you will find several young presidential aspirants seeking to make a difference in the way the affairs of this country is run; it’s a new culture taking root and I can predict that in the foreseeable future, the scale will tilt in favour of these ‘angry young men and women’ with winning mindsets who are determined to chart a new course for Nigeria. More of their tribe would change the narrative that ‘politics is a dirty game’; instead of staying away from politics, this new generation who live on ideas day and night would go into politics and take control of the destiny of our country because the world runs on ideas. Their mandate would be to tackle key issues such as unemployment, poverty and a stagnating economy.

Their number one goal, in my view, would be to dismantle the so called ‘vested interests’ holding the rest of us captive and this characteristic was demonstrated by some of the young presidential aspirants during their campaigns and media interviews – you could feel their energy, sense of purpose and vision for a better Nigeria. The answer to Nigeria’s numerous problems will come from Nigerians – and that would be very soon. It might take some time to build a critical mass required but it will surely happen. May God bless Nigeria.

Braimah is public relations and marketing strategist based in Lagos

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Categories: audio

AUDIO: Buhari Doesn’t Have The Kind Of Money I Can Steal, Says Tinubu

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 11:31am


Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been captured on audio saying President Muhammadu Buhari doesn't have the kind of money he can steal.

The former Lagos Governor said this in an audio recording of an event that seemed to have taken place on February 14, 2019, during which he addressed a crowd of supporters and told them whoever could mobilise votes would be adequately compensated for their efforts.

He made reference to President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that the latter did not have the kind of money required for “mobilisation” of voters.

He also made reference to the elections in Osun, noting that his efforts on it paid off.

Speaking in Yoruba, he said: “Today is Valentine’s Day, the day of love. Today is for the women. They said I must put on this cap and I had to because of you, the women. This is the cap of the children of our mother, the children of Okoro, (and he greets the crowd ‘Igbo kwenu!)

“Let’s make things snappy because I still have to attend another meeting before I go to Abuja. Those of you that say you come to Bourdillon for mobilisation, it’s mobilisation we’re doing here. Or don’t you understand?

Video of #NigeriaDecides: Tinubu Caught On Tape Promising To 'Pay Money That Will Surprise' Voters #NigeriaDecides: Tinubu Caught On Tape Promising To 'Pay Money That Will Surprise' Voters #NigeriaDecides: Tinubu Caught On Tape Promising To 'Pay Money That Will Surprise' Voters...

"Definitely, if you know people in your neighbourhood, who are our members, you should be able to call them out. If you’re a registered member, go out and vote. Vote and let it be much, and when I see the result, that’s when I’ll bring out money that is worthwhile for you. Even if your footwear is worn-out, as long as you can deliver on votes, I guarantee that I’ll pay you money that will surprise you. May we not lack!

“They said I used my mouth to speak anyhow. However, that rough-handedness paid off in Osun. They claimed that we brought candidates from Lagos to become governors in Osun; people like Aregbesola and Oyetola. If we train your children, and they become experts in their fields, won’t we ask them to come home to make things better? How much is your money that I’ll embezzle? You can’t match my pocket. I told them so, and their traditional rulers were seated. They were even recording the incident and published it. Let me not say something like that again today. However, Buhari doesn’t have the kind of money I can steal, neither does he have the money I can collect. He doesn’t even have the money for Lagos votes. So, whatever I promise, it’s for real and is coming from my pocket. It’s not until I go to Alausa before I get money to give you.”

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CISLAC Wants National Assembly To Urgently Investigate Postponement Of Elections

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 11:15am


The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on the National Assembly to “urgently investigate” the postponement of the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The demand was contained in a statement sent to SaharaReporters by Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, the Executive Director of the organisation, on Sunday.

CISLAC, which is the branch of Transparency International in Nigeria, said it is perturbed by the sudden postponement, and accused the electoral body of abuse of its independent powers.

The statement read: “We are not unaware of systemic conflict of interests and questionable procurement process imbibed by the various positions in the Commission creating tendency for mutual sabotage among the three (3) levels of appointees—National Commissioners, RECs and appointed relatives to the Directors in various Departments.

“We are concerned by the wastages and losses the postponement would have caused the country, civil society and international community that have committed whopping financial and human resources to deployment and observation missions to ensure free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable to all.

“Given large presence of youth deployment for anchoring electoral processes and international electoral observation missions across the country, such abrupt postponement is a huge setback to our nation’s democracy which may breed electoral apathy and distrust at all levels.

“With the new electoral dates, giving the space of a week extension, we are as well worried for the safety and integrity and security of elections materials which have been disseminated across the country.

“We therefore call on the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency constitute an ad hoc Committee to investigate the sudden postponement to clear the Commission of public doubt that her decision was not informed by desperate desires of unjust individuals or groups, who want to assume or sustain power by all illegitimate means.

“We demand adequate security for both materials and human resources deployed by the Commission so far to the field to avert susceptibility to violations and attacks by unpatriotic individuals or groups across the country.”

The group also called on INEC to apologise to Nigerians and international observers for the postponement.

“We call on the Commission to tender unreserved apologies to Nigerian and international observers, who have committed their time, presence and financial resources to monitor the electoral process with assurance that elections would hold as earlier scheduled. These apologies must also be rendered to Nigerian voters who have invested time and resources to sacrifice the day for them to discharge their civic responsibility.

“We demand immediate assurances by the Commission that the new electoral date—February 23rd—is certain, and the distributed sensitive materials will be kept under appropriate supervision and security till the new date.

“We further encourage civil society groups, media, national and international observation missions to sustain surveillance on the electoral process to promote free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable to all.”

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El-Rufai: Those Politicising Kajuru Killings Are 'Irresponsible, Bigoted Busy Bodies'

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 10:37am



Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, says those minimising the casualty figures or denying the killings in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state, are “bigoted busy bodies”.

He also condemned the "attempts to politicise the killing", stating that “only irresponsible and insensitive people can recklessly dismiss the deaths of members of a community with whom they have no contact”.

On Friday, February 13, 2019, el-Rufai had announced that 66 people lost their lives in an attack that occurred in Kajuru.

However, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) have insisted that the Governor gave false information on the incident.

Meanwhile, a statement by Samuel Aruwan, the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Governor, dismissed the claims, stressing that they are “specious arguments”.

The statement, issued on Sunday, read: “The Kaduna State Government notes the concerted and apparently coordinated efforts by bigoted busy bodies to deny the Kajuru killings, or to minimise the casualty figures, and the specious arguments being deployed in this despicable quest. The Kaduna State Government condemns in the strongest terms attempts to politicise the killings. Only irresponsible and insensitive people can recklessly dismiss the deaths of members of a community with whom they have no contact. Private individuals and unelected actors cannot be allowed to reduce weighty matters of state security to the province of their limited networks, inexperienced lenses and narrow agendas.

“The government of a state cannot be detained by parochial, ethno-religious, partisan or electoral calculations from doing its duty to provide security, confirm incidents of security breaches, take steps to reassure affected communities and ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.”

El-Rufai was also said to have visited the scenes of the Kajuru killings on Saturday, accompanied by Major-General Faruk Yahaya, GOC 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Air Cmdr. I. Sani of the Nigerian Air Force, Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman, State Director of the SSS, A.I. Koya, and Cafra Caino,Chairman of Kajuru local government council.

He also warned against reprisals and urged communities to shun violence and respect the right of everyone to live in peace.

According to the statement, “Gen. Yahaya briefed the governor on the recovery of 66 corpses by soldiers in the Maro and Iri axis of Kajuru local government. The general conducted the governor around the scenes of the crime which were littered with the burnt wrecks of buildings and dead animals.

“Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman confirmed that some arrests had been made in connection with the incident and that the suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are completed.

“Before visiting the scene of the killings, the governor, accompanied by the security chiefs, stopped in Kasuwan Magani for a meeting with village heads and community leaders from Kajuru LGA.”

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El-Rufai 'Deliberately Orchestrated' The Killings To Inflame Yet Another Cycle Of Bloodshed, Says SOKAPU

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 10:07am


The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has accused Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, of plans to “produce yet another cycle of bloodshed”, as a result of his comments on the killing of people in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.

El-Rufai had announced the deaths on Friday, hours before the presidential and National Assembly elections. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Sixty-Six Killed In Kaduna On Eve Of Presidential Election 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

However, the Kaduna chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), say the Governor lied, as the killing occurred days before it was announced. See Also Politics 'It Was A Rumour To Instigate Violence' — CAN, NEMA Say el-Rufai Lied About Killing Of 66 People In Kaduna 0 Comments 16 Hours Ago

In similar fashion, SOKAPU also noted that the Governor’s claims were not true, as the killings occurred on Sunday, February 10, 2019, and lasted till the following day.

A statement issued by Yakubu Kuzamani, National Public Relations Officer of SOKAPU, over the weekend, read: “The attention of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has been drawn to a report credited to Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai over alleged killings of 66 Fulani in Kajuru Local Government Area. We are at a loss as to the real motive behind the governor’s disclosure, made public less than 24 hours before the commencement of national polls that were postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). We are of the view that el-Rufai’s comments over the Kajuru killings were deliberately orchestrated to inflame ethnic and religious sentiments to produce yet another cycle of bloodshed.

“SOKAPU has reached out to the various community leaders in Kajuru, including officials of the Adara Nation to ascertain what actually happened.  On Sunday, February 10, 2019, the Adara natives residing in Ungwar Barde in Kufana District of Kajuru Local Government Area came under attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen. The attack lasted from 10pm of Sunday to 4am of Monday February 11, 2019. By the time the merchants of deaths and destructions were through with their mission, no fewer than 11 lives, including a pregnant woman, were lost. Scores of victims of the attack on Ungwar Barde sustained injuries, with some of them presently receiving treatment at some health facilities in the state capital. We have been informed that the attackers, seven of them in number, were arrested by a team of policemen. Sadly, not a statement was issued by el-Rufai over that gruesome attack on Ungwan Barde.

“Following the Sunday attack on Ungwan Barde, residents of Ungwan Busa and Doruwa located in Kajuru LGA deserted their villages for safety. Presently, the District Head of Kufana and four of his village heads, on the directive the governor, have been summoned to Kaduna and ordered to produce persons behind ‘reprisal attacks’. However, the monarchs have told their interrogators that they are unaware of any ‘reprisal attacks’ and, therefore, unable to identify persons behind such attacks. Apart from the 11 corpses of Adara natives that were killed during the Sunday attack, the community leaders have denied knowledge of any attack.

“Arising from the above, SOKAPU is shocked at the deliberate falsehood by el-Rufai who found it convenient not to inform the world of an earlier attack that claimed the lives of 11 Adara natives. SOKAPU is convinced that Governor el-Rufai is on an irrevocable journey of inflaming ethnic conflagration that has always been in line with his deliberate chronicle of profiling Southern Kaduna people as favourably disposed to violence.”

The group berated el-Rufai for deliberate attempt to incite violence and called on the Police and the Department of State Service (DSS) to carry out independent investigation and “tell the world the truth”.

The statement continued: “We wish to inform Nigerians and the world that it has always been in the character of the governor to promote violence through spreading hate speech for the advancement of his waning political survival.  If the governor, who was aware that Adara natives were killed on Sunday, neglected to come public, then Nigerians and the world  are well placed to understand the nebulous and evil motives of el-Rufai who once shocked Nigerians on national television that he had paid whopping sums of money to foreign herdsmen involved in attacking communities in Southern Kaduna.

“SOKAPU is calling on the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Department of State Service (DSS) to carry out an independent investigation and tell the world the truth of what actually happened in Kajuru. We are startled that it was the governor and not the police that announced the alleged killings in Kajuru. Let Nigerians and the world know that, should there be any breakdown of law and order in Kaduna State, Governor el-Rufai should be held responsible.

“We wish to appeal to Kaduna State people to remain calm and not react to any form of provocation, including the current attempt to incite ethnic and religious brushfire. We call on our people, comprising diverse ethnic members of various religious persuasions, to be steadfast in our collective resolve to stand together and not allow ourselves to be divided by this divisive governor. We call on men and women of good conscience to condemn el-Rufai’s dastardly antics as he attempts to goad our state down the slippery slope of yet another round of unprecedented crisis.”

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Those Who Had A Grip On INEC Have Inputted A Failure Mechanism Into It, Says Bayelsa Deputy Gov

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 10:02am


Real Admiral John Jonah (rtd), Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, has expressed disappointment over the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections, stating that it is a setback to the nation’s electoral process.

The elections were postponed hours before they were scheduled to begin on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

Speaking in his country home in Nembe Local Government Area of the state, Jonah said people who had a grip on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have inputted a failure mechanism into the agency.

He urged the electorate to be patient and steadfast in ensuring the success of the elections. He, however, decribed the action of INEC as shameful and disappointing.

"The postponement is a setback to national development of the electoral process. It has shown that Nigeria has not learnt in the area of logistics management. I am ashamed as a person who has a deep knowledge of logistics management, especially in the build-up to the election process,” he said.

Jonah, who is the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the area, said the indigenes of communities in Nembe had gathered en masse to cast their votes, before the report of the postponement filtered in.

“We had all gathered to cast our votes. We are here to win, but some persons who had a grip on INEC input a failure mechanism into INEC. I’m ashamed. What they have done is to delay the inevitable and the doomsday. They have built-in mechanism for INEC to fail. I feel disappointed,” he added.

He called on the PDP supporters and Nigerians to be calm, and not lose hope, adding that “They have the belief that the election is to choose the right people to represent them; they should be steadfast and vote the right candidate."

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'Owned By An APC Candidate' — PDP Asks INEC To Re-evaluate Card Readers

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 9:56am



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for a re-evaluation of the card readers expected to be used in the elections scheduled to hold on February 23 and March 9, 2019, respectively.

Uche Secondus, the PDP National Chairman, made the request in a letter addressed to Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), dated February 17, 2019.

At a conference in Abuja on Saturday, the PDP through, Osita Chidoka, had raised concerns over the issue that a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was behind the company that manufactured the card readers used for the elections.

In a follow-up letter on the matter, the PDP had called for independent assessment of the card readers, and went ahead to suggest two independent firms.

The letter read: “We would like to pass on our thanks to you and your staff for the robust response to the logistical challenges you faced that led to the election postponement and for explaining the issues as well as your implementation plan to ensure free, fair and credible elections hold on February 23rd and March 9th.

“We support your decision to ensure full national elections and resist pressure to implement a partial postponement which would not have been in the best interests of democracy in Nigeria.

“On behalf of the PDP and our Presidential Candidate, HE Atiku Abubakar, I would like to follow up on the two questions we raised and the answers you gave.

“1. We ask INEC to confirm that Activate Technologies Ltd will have no involvement in the collection and reconfiguration of any card readers when they are taken to state-level to have the new date and time of the 23rd of February election programmed into them? Your reply did not answer the question so we have to assume this company will.

“You stated that you were aware and have no issue with the fact that Mohammed S Musa is both a Senatorial Candidate and Owner of this company that produces highly sensitive election materials including Card Readers and PVCs.  This goes against every international and Nigerian convention and law of nature – it is the equivalent of letting the fox into the hen coop or getting a student to answer their own homework.

“So we have two supplementary questions: i. Why would you not require an individual who is participating in an election in which he is providing the means to count his own vote demand immediately that his contract is terminated? ii. Furthermore, in the spirit of transparency that you stated today that INEC works to, why would you hire a company where the owner hides his ownership of the company through proxy shareholders?

“2. Will INEC allow independent verification that none of the potentially compromised card readers supplied by Active Technology Ltd in the polling units in the 10 effected States have not been tampered with? We thank you for agreeing to this and hereby provide two ICT and audit firms who have the expertise to evaluate whether the Card Readers have been compromised. We would be grateful if you could confirm which one is acceptable to INEC and make provision for them to have unfettered access between 18-21st February  as they are brought to CBN offices in the following States to do tests on units selected at random.  We also asked and you agreed whether independent verification that the sensitive materials returned to the CBN offices at State Level have not been tampered with.  We believe it makes sense to appoint one company to verify both issues or on the issue of sensitive materials we can use the Party officials and Observers.

“i. KPMG ii. Price Waterhouse

“As promised I attach the list of Polling Units which have had Card Readers supplied by Activate Technology Limited which we believe may have been compromised to receive multiple fake PVCs, provide slower operation (in PDP strongholds to suppress our vote), count one card multiple times or other such manipulation.  Once the audit firm is agreed we would want to agree their methodology and the minimum number of units to represent a statistically significant number.  Given the short time frame this appointment we believe will need to be made by Monday 18th February.

“Finally, in the Press Conference you stated you have evidence of ‘sabotage’ so we would be grateful if you could confirm the specific incidents you have identified?

“Affording you my best personal wishes.”

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#CorpersNotSlave: The Plight, Unjust And Unfair Treatment Of NYSC Members By Alao Abiodun

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 2:28am



The youth in any nation represent the future of that nation because they play a very vital and crucial role in the development of their nation in all ramifications and have always been the major key actor to any of the activities in the country. 

Few days ago, Corps members across the nation were stranded in an horrifying and terrific state. The lamentation and complaints by corps members in various RACs across the nation over the very poor and shoddy welfare condition underscores the inhumane treatment, highly egregious preparations and pathetic welfare conditions for corps members in Nigeria especially during elections.

Sadly, various RACs were looking like displaced settlements with no adequate shelter, poor security, no water and other basics. Many took a lot of risk, journeying through the cold night, sleeping in the classrooms, on bare floors, many fought the 'mosquitoes infestation' war. Corps members displayed 'patriotism' on their own part to carry out the assignment with all sense of diligence while INEC reciprocated by treating corps members as "slaves". 

Few weeks ago, the management of INEC in collaboration with NYSC repeatedly assured that the welfare of corps members had been adequately factored into the welfare and security arrangement for administering the 2019 elections but the ridiculous situation and heart-rending images which was widely seen few days ago scornfully depicted the faux pas, unreadiness of the commission and the unfair treatment melted out to corps members. 

Just like the case of corps members, a lot has been said about the appalling state of welfarism of Nigerian workers in general. Rather than improve or get better, the situation seems to be getting worse. The dignity for which corps members are known for in various communities has been eroded and the Nigerian authorities seems to be uninterested.

Using the employer-employee analogy as an example to illustrate the whole scenario, it should be of note that treating employees fairly in the workplace is not just a moral responsibility, it is highly necessary to ensure maximum company growth. So therefore, when an employee is treated 'unfairly', it results in decreased employee 'morale'. Low morale results in decreased employee 'productivity'. 

While the paid 19,800 monthly allowance of a pittance still remains a conundrum, the invaluable services that corps members provide to the country is such that the government cannot truly afford to pay for it. Nigerians are left to wonder if the government has any iota of care left for the plight of the corps members scattered across the country serving the nation under the sun and in the rain as instructed and mandated. 

There should be dignity in labour and dignity of labour. Corps members shouldn’t have to suffer serving their country. Sadly, the silence of some candidates and stakeholders on how corps members were treated seems pathetic. It shows that they've only been concerned about their chances of winning the election. 

Apart from working in inclement environments, corps members actually deserve a raise in the elections stipends to meet their basic needs and complement their various efforts. As a kind advice, the NYSC should stop allowing corps members to be used as adhoc staff if there is 'zero' or no provision for their welfare and accommodation.

Meanwhile, the Director General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Corps Welfare and Inspectorate Department in charge of INEC as a matter of urgency should consider a review of the Memorandum of Understanding the scheme signed with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the participation of corps members in the electoral process.

Despite the over N140 billion budget by Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) for the 2019 elections, INEC had 4 years to plan for this election, yet the reality has dawned on them, it is crystal clear that the commission has displayed incompetence on its own part to ensure proper logistics and welfare are put in place.

Corps members have shown determination to serve their fatherland, they've have collectively resolved to conduct free, fair and credible polls hence INEC and other concerned agencies must commensurate their efforts with good welfarism, this can help in boosting the morale of corps members in the discharge of their duties. 

It's highly imperative to stress that 'Corps members are not slaves' - the concerned and respective agencies must as a matter of urgency before the 2019 rescheduled General and the state elections respectively re-modify a reasonable welfare package to restore confidence and erase the grimaces on the faces of corps members.

We need to learn from yesterday and live with hope for a better tomorrow - the current situation shows that INEC has tactically wasted another opportunity to showcase its readiness for a system which guarantees hitch-free elections in Nigeria especially with respect to inadequate preparation, delay in deployment of equipments, poor staff welfare and poor mobilisation of logistics.

Alao Abiodun is a Journalist, He can be reached via email - Alaojoshua200@gmail.com. Tweets - @Kingbiodun_
 

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ECOWAS, EU, US Urge INEC To Adhere Strictly To New Date

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:51am



The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU), United States of America, among other foreign election observers, have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to adhere strictly to the new date announced for elections.

They also appealed to Nigerians to support INEC, despite the outrage over the sudden postponement of the elections by one week.

A statement issued on Saturday by the US Embassy, noted that it fully supported the position on the joint statement by international election observers on the postponement of the elections.

The said statement was jointly signed by the leader of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission, former President of Liberia, Johnson Sirleaf, African Union Election Observation Mission leader, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn and Commonwealth Observer Group leader, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete.

Others include the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Election Observation Mission leader, former President of Zambia, Rupiah Banda; European Union Election Observation Mission Chief observer, and Belgian Member of the European Parliament, Maria Arena; National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute Election Observation Mission co-Chairmen, former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, and ex-President of Latvia, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

Others are the Director of African Political Affairs Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Amb. Boubakar Adamou and the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The statement by the US Embassy read: "The U.S. Embassy fully supports the joint statement by the heads of the ECOWAS and other international election observation missions on the postponement of the February 16 Nigerian elections.

"We join in encouraging all Nigerians to ensure a free, fair, peaceful, and credible election by supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission while it finalizes electoral preparations this week and by voting in peace together on February 23."

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Nigeria's Borders Reopened

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:47am



The Nigerian government has announced that all borders initially scheduled to be opened at noon on Sunday, be reopened at noon on Saturday.

Government had ordered a closure of all borders in the build-up to the presidential and National Assembly elections, earlier scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019.

However, the elections have been postponed by one week.

As such, a statement signed by Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller General of Immigration, noted that Abdulraman Danbazau, Nigeria's Minister of Interior, has ordered that all borders be reopened due to the postponement of the elections.
 
He said officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service will continue their normal border control duties to ensure that all persons crossing the nation’s land, air and sea travel with valid document and also pass through recognized routes.
 

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'It Was A Rumour To Instigate Violence' — CAN, NEMA Say el-Rufai Lied About Killing Of 66 People In Kaduna

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:34am


The Guardian

The Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have denied the claims by Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, regarding the killing of 66 people in Kaduna.

CAN also accused the Governor of deliberately giving out false information.

Addressing a press briefing last Friday, el-Rufai had claimed that 66 people were killed in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state, on the eve of the Saturday earlier scheduled for the presidential and National Assembly elections.

However, a statement by Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna CAN Chairman in the state, stressed that the killing happened days earlier than el-Rufai's claim.

He said: “We are aware that the incident happened in the late hours of Sunday 10 February to February 12, 2019, at about 1am at Gindin Gada in the Maro Ward of Kajuru Local Government, Kaduna State, where unidentified hoodlums went into the village and killed about 11 people in their sleep.

“The incident led to reprisals. Two of the suspects were said to have been apprehended and handed over to the Divisional Police Officer in the area. It was in the afternoon of the said date of the attack (as contained in the press statement) that the District Head of Kufana, Mr Titus Dauda, and four of his local chiefs were released after their invitation by the Department of State Services.

“We see this as an illogical intentional, premeditated attempt at stirring violence in the state for whatever expected gains. The incidence of raising false alarm by the Kaduna State Government should make Nigerians realise that some of our leaders are also guilty of hate speech and that makes them major actors in the game that has denied us peace and has claimed the lives of our love ones.’’

In a related development, Ishaya Chonoko, Zonal Coordinator, North-West office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told SUNDAY PUNCH that there were no fresh killings in Kajuru LGA on Friday as claimed by the governor.

He said: “It is not true that 66 people were killed in Kaduna State. I am in Kaduna now and I can confirm to you that I am not aware of any 66 people that were killed in Kajuru Local Government Area by any unknown gunmen.

“There was an attack last week (Sunday), where 11 people were said to have been killed. It was the usual tribal clash between the Fulani and the indigenes. Anytime there is a clash between two tribes in Kaduna, there is usually reprisal.

“We made necessary contacts only to discover that it was merely a rumour to instigate violence. Please disregard it. It is not true at all.”

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We Must Take INEC’s Statement On Postponement Of Elections At Face Value, Says Tinubu

Sahara Reporters - 17 February 2019 - 12:29am



Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged Nigerians to take the statement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding the reasons for postponing the elections, at "face value".

He also called on the electorate to remain calm and not be discouraged.

This was contained in a statement he issued on Saturday, following the announcement of the one-week postponement of elections by INEC.

He said: "Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights. What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23.

“INEC could have and should have given the nation more ample and earlier warning. This could have perhaps lessened the pervasive disappointment that we all now feel. It also would have helped people better order their steps.

“We have reports of eager voters rising early to leave their homes to cast their ballots only to be told upon arriving at their appointed polling stations that the election had been postponed.

“This should not have happened for it could well discourage people from coming out when the election takes place. Thus, we heartily commend those people for coming out in exercise of their fundamental rights and duties as citizen voters, who vote by vote, seek to build and perfect our democracy.

“For each voter is in part an architect and each one of your votes is a brick by which, when lain together, shall construct a strong democracy in such a way that it shall forever stand and endure.  Thus, we appeal to all who actually came out to vote and to those who intended to vote today, to maintain your commitment. Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights. What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23.

“INEC has stated the reason for the delay and has expressed regret over the inconveniences it has caused. We must take INEC’s statement at face value and hold to the belief that INEC understands even more than ever the sober and grave responsibility it has to our nation and our democracy. INEC can only properly discharge that responsibility by conducting free and fair elections.

“While we cannot go back to repair what did or did not happen to cause this postponement, we all must encourage INEC to do all that is necessary so voting can smoothly proceed on February 23. Whatever our political affiliation, we must encourage INEC to overcome the difficulties in order to rise to this most important occasion. INEC must commit itself more than ever before to perform to its utmost so that these elections will be remembered as a free and fair exercise consonant with the best of international standards.

“In the end, elections must be held in such a manner that every vote carries the same weight and no vote is  minimized because elections took place much earlier or later in one place than in another. Thus, it is better to experience a slight delay to conduct the elections properly rather than to conduct the elections piecemeal and uneven fashion.

“No one will absolve INEC if such a fate befalls this all-important election. The electoral body must use the one-week extension to mend its logistics gaps and lapses. This delay has clearly provoked significant anger and disappointment among the people. The voters were ready and INEC should have been equally as prepared and ready as the voters. Yet, we ask that the people contain their anger and remain calm. Let no one be tempted to breach the peace because of this delay.

“In the greater scheme of things, a one-week delay is not overly burdensome when compared to the importance of conduct of free and just elections in the establishment of representative democracy and good governance in our land. Please, persevere just a bit longer to ensure that the elections on February 23 truly reflect the will of the people. Whatever obstacles may come, be they large or small, let us show the world the Nigerian people will not be deterred from realizing the democracy for which we have fought and sacrificed so long and so hard to achieve."

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Election Postponement Can’t Be Justified By Law, Says Falana

Sahara Reporters - 16 February 2019 - 3:07pm


Femi Falana (SAN)


Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has urged Nigerians to address the issues that led to the postponement of the presidential election, rather than calling for the resignation of the Independent National Electorla Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
 
Speaking on Sunday after INEC announced the postponement, Falana said there is no legal basis for shifting elections in Nigeria on grounds of logistical and operational inadequacies.

"Postponement of elections for logistical and operational reasons cannot be justified under the electoral law applicable in Nigeria," he said.

"Since the country is not a Banana Republic, the law never envisaged a situation whereby elections would be shifted on account of inadequate preparations by the electoral management body. Hence by virtue of Section 26 of the Electoral Act an election can only be postponed if a serious breach of peace or violence is likely to occur or on account of natural disaster or other emergencies.

"To prevent any abuse of power the reasons for postponement must be cogent and verifiable. Furthermore, Section 105 of the Constitution of Nigeria provides that if the federation is at war in which the territory of the country is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to elections the National Assembly may pass a resolution to postpone the election. And such postponement shall not be more than six months at any one time. Therefore, I can say, without any fear of contradiction, that there is no legal basis for shifting elections in Nigeria on grounds of logistical and operational inadequacies.

"But since the country is administered in an atmosphere of impunity, illegal postponement of elections has become an integral part of the electoral system. In 2007, the voting materials printed in South Africa by the Independent National Electoral Commission arrived late in many parts of the country. The presidential election was April 14 but the bulk of the election materials arrived the country from South Africa on April 21. In fact, in some states, the election materials arrived after the conclusion of the general election. Consequently, many voters were disenfrachised.

"In the appeal arising from the petition filed against the controversial election of President Umaru Yar’Adua by General Buhari the Supreme Court of Nigeria almost annulled the charade as the ballot papers were not marked and serialised. In 2011, voting had actually commenced in many parts of the country before the general election was cancelled at about 11 am and then postponed for two days due to logistical problems encountered by the Independent National Electoral Election. The 2015 general election was also shifted due to the pressure mounted on INEC by the Jonathan administration when it claimed that it needed six weeks to fight the insurgents who had illegally seized and occupied 14 local governments in Borno State. In the early hours of today, the Independent National Electoral Commission took the nation by surprise when it announced the postponement of the 2019 general election for one week.

"Since we operate in an atmosphere of impunity INEC officials will neither be sanctioned nor surcharged for the huge financial loss suffered by political parties, candidates, voters, election observers and monitors in the past. Hence, the postponement was so casual that INEC did not even deem it fit to apologise to the Nigerian people who have been so scandalised and embarrassed by the shameful development.

"We are dealing with a systemic crisis of monumental dimension fueled by incompetence and impunity. It is a disgraceful system which allows late arrival of election materials from foreign countries where they are printed and imported into the country three days to the election and then delivered in all the states of the federation on the eve of elections."

Falana also said the postponement will not significantly affect the outcome of the election, as voters appear to have made up their minds with respect to the candidates of their choice.

"But the political parties that have no access to funds will certainly find it difficult to mobilise party officials and agents to cover the rescheduled elections," he said.

"It is also clear that candidates with limited financial capacity cannot afford to campaign during the extra period of seven days while many of the voters who have no interests at stake have been frustrated from participating in the democratic exercise. But going by our recent experience, shifting of elections has not helped candidates who had cheap access to public funds.

"You would recall that the candidate who took advantage of the six-week postponement to distribute huge funds including tonnes of dollars lost the 2015 presidential election. I can say, without any fear of contradiction, that there is no legal basis for shifting elections in Nigeria on grounds of logistical and operational inadequacies."

On calls for the INEC chairman's resignation, he said: "The resignation of the INEC Chairman will not solve the problem. We are dealing with a systemic crisis of monumental dimension fueled by incompetence and impunity.

"It is a disgraceful system which allows late arrival of election materials from foreign countries where they are printed and imported into the country three days to the election and then delivered in all the states of the federation on the eve of elections.

"If WAEC papers, JAMB papers and other examination papers are printed in Nigeria what is so special or sensitive about ballot papers that they cannot be printed locally. For goodness sake, why should INEC fly materials to the states 24 hours before elections? Since our elections are held between January and February in the election year, has it not occurred to INEC that planes may not be able to land and deliver election materials because of the harmattan?

"Why should INEC officials, ad hoc staff and security personnel be deployed to election venues a few hours to the commencement of voting in all the 36 states of the federation? In this age of technology why is it impossible for voters to cast their voters where they reside? Why is the country shut down on election days? Why are all the four elections not held on the same day? These are issues to address instead of calling for the resignation of the INEC Chairman."

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The Election Postponement And Everything It Reflects About Nigeria By Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

Sahara Reporters - 16 February 2019 - 12:53pm


“No, no, no. We cannot continue! We cannot Proceed. Mr. Chairman, you have been compromised”- Elder Orubebe 

The introductory quote of this article was uttered at a similar election period. Unlike the present matter however, the election had ended and strange things such as a Professor not being able to read his own hand writing had just occurred. 

Within a fully lighted hall, a torch light had to be procured before the figures could be read by the same Professor who wrote it “by myself”. The concerns Elder Orubebe expressed at that collation center 4 years ago may not have meant anything then but they surely do now.

The  Nigerian senate approved the sum of 189billion naira for what has still turned postponed. As at now, it is still unclear if the conduct of the election later might even be more catastrophic than it has already been. It is clear still that despite such a huge sum of taxpayer money going into the election, the Electoral Commission INEC has shown early signs of incompetence.

The INEC chairman Prof. Yakubu Mahmood now reels out as his reasons for postponing the election and they are not things he could not have envisaged. Everything Prof. Mahmood gives as a reason asides the excuse of weather and fire outbreak in INEC offices (which he even claimed to have solved by getting spare Smart Card Readers from other states to make up for those that burnt in Anambra), the other excuses the Chairman now gives are things he should have reasonably forseen acting in his capacity. 

It says a lot to the international community that a nation where an important event such as her national election is being postponed at the eve of the event when great personal sacrifice and effort had gone into it especially on the part of corpers undergoing their NYSC programme. 

It is impossible not to notice this same lackadaisical attitude in virtually all other institutions in this country. Without regard for people, sudden actions and decisions are taken and people are waved away without any sense of importance given to their effort or individual sacrifices.

In Nigeria, following a waste of people’s time and effort through energy sapping ventures. Leadership tends to go ahead as if nothing happened and refuse to offer due explanation to the Nigerian people. It is too frequent that people do not get as much as an apology and the INEC chairman has still not issued any form of public statement acknowledging the amount that went into transport, lodging, feeding and other such that people incurred to ensure they can vote.

The financial implications of this to the country are not even favorable as economic activities have been greatly affected in the time taken towards preparation for the election.

Away from INEC, there is the issue of how Nigerians have learnt too much adaptation if there is any such thing as too much adaptation. One would expect massive rage following the postponement but rather there is an attempt on Twitter to be the one with the most comic tweet caption for such a bitter national episode that brings shame to the entire country in the international community. All sorts of jokes and satires are being thrown around in a bid to trend by social media icons. 

There is lacking now the tough frown that will ensure such does not repeat itself nationally. A walk this morning through a market in Osun state revealed how quickly Nigerians have adapted and moved on with the announcement.

In no time, the “unshockable” nature of Nigerians has made it seem like a normal thing and the Saturday has continued a normal Saturday with no trace of what was supposed to be an Election Day where movement is restricted.

The “unshockable” nature of Nigerians is manifested in how quickly life has gone back to normal. Markets are open. Okada men out. Public vehicles are moving in large numbers indicating there is a market for transportation and more people are going out and coming in. In fact, interstate vehicles have started calling passengers. You would think everyone was prepared already for the postponement.  But no they weren’t, Nigeria woke up to the announcement everywhere in this country and they have responded by moving on with their lives.

All shops are open in the market where I did this survey and activity is ongoing like a normal Saturday. Even food vendors have cooked so fast this morning and are already hawking. 

In mere seconds, Nigeria has risen above the disappointment and we have moved on like we have learnt to do. Only few dots of people can be seen conversing about the issue. The numbers in the heated public discussion that started at the newspaper stand in the morning has reduced too and people are leaving the place to engage in more productive tasks.

This episode reflects a lot that is recurrent in Nigeria. Lack of planning such that our Super Eagles, the national football team have even travelled before without their soccer boots for a tournament and had to send someone to bring the correct boots for the players to use moments to the start of the competition.

Our people have died at poorly coordinated recruitment exercises especially the unforgettable Immigration matter under the Jonathan administration. Our examination questions have leaked before the examination held such that the Presidency had to intervene. Light has gone off during a major FIFA lower age tournament we were hosting beaming total darkness to the world that was watching. It is not specific to this issue and this is not the first time Nigeria will cause herself this type of embarrassment. 

There constant recurrence of impunity in Nigeria and the attendant disregard for what people think or feel and the sacrifices they have made. In fact, has an entire election not been cancelled in this country to the whim and caprices of just one Nigerian after millions have voted their choice?

Moving forward, our people take it as it is. Nobody wants to bell the cat. The rage begins and ends on radio, Twitter, Facebook and articles such as this one that will proliferate the Internet. Nigerians are yet to really frown on this national problem of impunity.

Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa is a student of Obafemi Awolowo University. He writes for several reputable print and online media. He is a member of several volunteer organizations and human rights bodies. He can be reached on koyetolu@gmail.com or on Twitter @Koye_tolu.

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Independent National Electoral Criminals (INEC) And 2019 By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Sahara Reporters - 16 February 2019 - 12:25pm


Bayo Oluwasanmi

Bayo Oluwasanmi

For any democracy to succeed, free and fair elections must be guaranteed. To ensure free and fair elections, our Constitution established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). An independent electoral commission must be insulated from political pressures and executive influence. The commission must be free from external pressures from the party in power or executive of the day – the president.

One of the most important features of democracy is elections at regular intervals. Elections reflect the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the people in a democracy. Elections is the only method by which we select and control leaders. Elections make it possible for people to choose and elect a government and confers constitutional right on the government to govern those who elect it. Elections prove the sovereignty of the people and provide legitimacy to the authority of the government.

It is the responsibility of the electoral commission to organize, supervise, and conduct free and fair elections into the various legislative bodies in the country. In addition, the electoral commission issues a model code of conduct for political parties and candidates to conduct elections. For 2019, INEC will spend N242 billion to conduct the general elections.

Few months to the 2015 presidential elections, the then President Goodluck Jonathan requested $1 billion to fight Boko Haram terrorists. Rather than use the money to fight Boko Haram, Jonathan PDP administration deployed the money into vote buying to rig the election. Not long ago, President Buhari asked for $1 billion to fight Boko Haram the same Boko Haram Buhari claimed has been “technically defeated.” Given the open market selling/buying of votes that accompanied Edo, Anambra, Ekiti, and most recently Osun elections, it is fair to conclude that APC and Buhari will use the Boko Haram budget for vote buying to ensure President Buhari is re-elected.

We all know the INEC is anything but independent. It is not independent of the executive arm of government. It does not maintain a non-partisan stand. In fact, INEC has proven to be an extension of Aso Rock. It is not transparent in its dealings. It is not impartial in the discharge of its functions. It is not accountable to the Nigerian people. Indeed, INEC is nothing but Independent National Electoral Criminals. We have seen instances where state governors had purchased INEC wholesale by bribing the officials who are in their states to supervise elections with accommodation, cars for transportation, and cash. In many instances, INEC had failed to arrest and prosecute vote sellers and vote buyers.

Sometimes ago, at a Channels TV interview, INEC director of publicity and voter education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi confessed that though it was the responsibility of the commission to prosecute those who infringed on electoral laws, including those involved in the act of inducement during elections, the commission does not have the power to arrest. “Inducing people is a criminal offence,” says Osaze-Uzzi, “but when it happens around an election hall, then it falls under the provision of the electoral laws and other criminal provisions. When it is under the electoral law, the commission has the duty and responsibility to prosecute,” says Osaze-Uzzi. 

The free for all open market vote selling and vote buying by both APC and PDP during the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States have salient implications for 2019. It means INEC is not a credible, trustworthy, impartial umpire. It means rigging has been incorporated into the statute of INEC. If APC had won Osun election in the first round, INEC would not have called for re-run. It means APC cannot win state wide elections without rigging. 

The fact that APC with all the power of incumbency, limitless resources of cash and control of the military and police failed to win Osun State without manufacturing a re-run and without rigging the re-run, means Nigerians are dissatisfied and disenchanted with Buhari and APC. It means Buhari will loose gallantly in 2019. PDP will not fare better. The federal government is the king pin of election rigging, the law breaker as opposed to law enforcer.

How can we entrust our political destiny in 2019 in the hands of Independent National Electoral Criminals? Well, I have news for both APC and PDP for any attempted rigging in 2019 presidential elections: It is never the disasters you see coming that finally come to pass – it is the ones you don't expect at all. That's the fire next time... Let's go there!

bjoluasanmi@gmail.com

AddThis :  Original Author :  Bayo Oluwasanmi Disable advertisements : 
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CDHR Demands Probe Into Factors That Led To Postponement Of Elections

Sahara Reporters - 16 February 2019 - 12:12pm


The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has demanded an investigation into the factors that led to the postponement of the elections.

The group also expressed disappointment with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the postponement of the elections.

INEC had announced the postponement of the elections earlier on Saturday by one week.

A statement by Malachy Ugwummadu, the CDHR President, noted that the postponement has cast “serious shadow on the integrity of the commission” to conduct credible elections.

The statement read: “The CDHR notes with utter disappointment the postponement of the 2019 general elections on account of general poor logistics. This development, just hours before the elections, raises so many questions as to the capacity of INEC to conveniently discharge on their mandate. The Presidential and National Assembly elections were postponed to February 23, 2019 while the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections were postponed to March 9, 2019.

“This postponement has cast serious shadow on the credibility and integrity of the entire election process. As a contest, this unfortunate development has unwittingly created fertile grounds for competing political parties to discredit the process. International and local observers have mobilized at high costs and resources and are now demobilized. The entire economy and education sector in particular suffered the worst hit having been shut down for the period under review.

“By Section 15(a) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), INEC is vested with global powers and vires to organize, undertake and supervise all elections. Under Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2011 the same INEC drawing from the broad powers to organize and conduct elections can postpone an election earlier than scheduled but for the restricted reasons of insecurity, natural disaster or emergency. It is expected that concerns of logistics may not be profound enough to ground suspension of general elections over which huge budgetary allocations have been approved and received.

“Recall that both in 2011 and 2015 when there were such postponements the context are different from what we have just witnessed in the instant case where INEC consistently reassured the nation that the elections will hold with no possibility of postponement. On this score alone, INEC have not been truthful with the people since all the variables founding the bases of earlier assurances could not have changed in less than four hours to the election. The President, though a contestant, had in a national broadcast addressed the public on the scheduled election for today 16 February 2019. INEC itself has over a year ago released a comprehensive timetable of this election.

“In 2015 it was the executive through the National Security Advisor to then President Goodluck Jonathan and after due consultations with National Council of States and all stakeholders announced the postponement. What is more? We appreciate that at all times material to the postponement, the election materials including sensitive materials have been dispatched and a lot more already at their relevant locations. What happens to those materials? To what extent can the integrity of those materials already dispatched be guaranteed?

"In blaming INEC whose responsibility it is to generally organize the election, it should be recalled that it got caught in the interplay of power when the National Assembly foot-dragged on the consideration and approval of INEC budgetary allocation leaving them with serious time constraints in sourcing and procuring election materials. No doubt INEC trudged on as though all was well and even issued timetable and guidelines based on those assurances.”

The CDHR went on to make five demands: “An unequivocal apology to the Nigerian people and representatives of international communities that are here in the country; clear explanation from INEC as to the circumstance and exact reason why the election was postponed; a serious and thorough inquiry by an independent panel to ascertain what happened; appropriate sanction to relevant persons who failed in their responsibility and consequently took this decision in order to serve as a deterrent; consideration for decentralization and unbundling of INEC along the multifaceted responsibilities of that commission have now become imperative.”

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Call Intensifies For INEC Chairman Mahmud Yakubu To Resign

Sahara Reporters - 16 February 2019 - 12:07pm


Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, the INEC chairman, displaying the ballot paper specimen to political parties.

Nigerians have called for the resignation of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following the sudden postponement of the scheduled 2019 election, hours to the poll.

Nigerians took to social media to express displeasure and call for the resignation of the INEC boss.

Also, in an online poll conducted by Kadaria Ahmed, a renowned journalist and host of the 2019 Presidential Town Hall meeting, asking if Yakubu should resign, 49% of 14,173 who participated in the poll said he should resign.

The poll had only been live for 17 hours at the time of filing this report.

Ayo Obe, a popular activist and member of the Bring Back Our Girls Movement (BBOG), also sexpressed support of the resignation of the INEC chair.

She said: “Before signing off, let me just say I am one of those who thinks that the @inecnigeria chair should resign. INEC’s eleventh-hour decision has put thousands of Nigerians through avoidable hardship, and caused unnessariy stress."

In another tweet that has been retweeted by 144 people, @cardinalkuzy1, asked that Yabuku resign or be sacked.

“N190 billion spent on election and our youth corps members were not even accommodated? INEC chair should resign or be sacked,” the tweet read.

TallJohn, a Twitter user, also said: “INEC postpones an election the exact day it is supposed to hold, and also provided zero welfare conditions for the corps members that were to be used as ad hoc staff. This is very embarrassing from an organization that used more than 3 years to plan. The INEC chair should just resign!”

Another user, Baban Junior, with the handle, @HonSadeeq, tweeted: "The INEC chairman should resign with immediate effect! This is purely evil. People have traveled across Nigeria to vote not to even talk of the foreign observers. I strongly condemn this incompetence and the disgrace this INEC have caused Nigeria. It is a shame.”

While taking questions from the audience during a press conference held in Abuja on Saturday, the INEC chair claimed arrangements were made for the youth corps members. He also apologized to Nigerians for inconveniences caused due to the postponement.

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