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The Nigerian Youth Of Blurry Future By Ibrahim Adeyemi

13 December 2018 - 11:33am


"Parents listen to your children, 
We are the leaders of tomorrow, 
Try to pay our school fees, 
And give us sound education"
— marching song for elementary school pupils.

Whosoever wrote the above marching song for pupils in their preliminary level of education had done nothing good for the Nigerian youth than making us unreasonably excited when those lines are being sung. I think the killing of the youths' bright future starts from what is inculcated in us from our primary level. Setting the future of the youth ablaze by the ageists did not start today; it started before our fathers could eat themselves with their first right fingers. Those who intend to rule this country forever had and still have a good architectural plan on today's youth, psychologically.

In a more microscopic point of view to the above marching song, the writer begins by ordering the parents to listen to the illusionary dream of their children. What's the so-called dream? "We are the leaders of tomorrow."

However, one will wonder why we are  not the leaders of today. What is today and what is tomorrow? When shall we witness the tomorrow? Is there any forethought tomorrow when today is carousing? How on earth will today assume duty when yesterday has not retired or resigned, let alone tomorrow that is even likely to be uncertain?

The 'leaders of tomorrow' as we are called, is not only mystical but also mysterious; there is something seemingly obscure and nebulous about the so-called nomenclature which is used to refer to the Nigerian youth. There is something unsaid or not well said about something and, that is the word 'tomorrow'. When we intend to have today, we shall have tomorrow and whenever we have tomorrow, we shall always have another tomorrow. Calling us "the leaders of tomorrow" is like placing us properly on a legless high chair. The ageists have their own conspirational meaning for 'tomorrow' for today's youth.

Jon Earthneel said this about Tomorrow: "Tomorrow doesn't exist. Tomorrow shouldn't exist. And we should try to comprehend tomorrow. Since it is so beyond our brain capacity, it will destroy our sanity". This as implied by Jon is what the ageists mean by 'tomorrow' and not 'the day after today'. And, here we are, willing and hoping for ourselves, by ourselves to be the leaders of tomorrow, thinking things will be different, yet, tomorrow is nothing but often the redundancy of today. We are dissatisfied and disappointed again and again every now and then.

The truth is clear except we wish to hold the lips. That tomorrow when we shall be ruling our Motherland may not come since those who ruled yesterday are ruling today and still willing to rule tomorrow. They want to be in power for ever and ever and if at all, death will have to stop them. They still want their children to further rule us and continue from where they stop in setting our bright future ablaze. Only the sons and daughters of the poor are done in or done for; they will ever be subservient to the sons and daughters of these devilish gerontocrats.

Furthermore, the marching song writer urges our parents to do two things: "Pay our school fees" and "give us sound education". Whether our parents or government is responsible for paying "our school fees" is not my modus operandi now. But the winning worry on my mind is the "sound education". This, we already know, is one of the plots made to make us believe that free education is not the responsibility of the government but the duty of our parents to "pay our school fees". But then, what about the sound education? What Nigerian youth are getting is not education; I suppose it is called schooling. Technically, it is one thing to be schooled and another thing to be educated. Both of them are not the same, are they?

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education," said, Martin Luther King. Webster’s dictionary defines schooling as "the process of being taught, such as in a school". The process of educating is really not tantamount to schooling; they are two different things. Education is productivity, creativity and the ability to make things real. "Any system of education which does not help a man to have a healthy and sound body and alert brain, and balanced and disciplined instinctive urges, is both misconceived and dangerous," said Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

It is said that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Because the evil ageists are aware of this fact, they have refused to give the youth qualitative education. Teachers are treated scornfully. Students are good for nothing because they have received nothing good from their badly treated teachers. The system of education in this country is as poor as the church's mouse. Creativity is misplaced in arts; technology is dead in sciences and productivity is not found anywhere. Cramming is encouraged and comprehension is discouraged. Students read with pressure and not pleasure. While ASUU strikes the Federal Government by not working, our public servants and leaders travel abroad to celebrate their children's convocations. All these are exactly why we are aback in everything. Nothing worthy of appraisal is coming from Nigerian youths. This is consequentially a reflection of our impoverished state of education in Nigeria.

The ageists or the gerontocrats believe that both the elephant and its calf are not expected to trumpet at the same time. They say the young bird does not crow until it hears the old one. But then, if these evil habituated old men will not desist from setting the future of the youth on fire, isn't it high time we let them know that the youth are not too young to run?

Courage, ability, responsibility and responsiveness, integrity and the mind to serve humanity are all that we need to tool in fighting against the so-called evil-minded old men. Nigeria will never move forward unless we employ youthful minds that are up to the minutes, rather than the barbaric sexagenarians, septuagenarians, octogenarians and so on. To make mincemeat of these aging men, we youth have a mountain to climb.

Ibrahim Adeyemi is a student of English and a campus reporter from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

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Nigerians In The Diaspora Cannot Vote But IDPs Can, Says INEC

13 December 2018 - 11:26am

The Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) has described as untrue, reports that displaced Nigerians abroad will be able to participate in the 2019 general election.

According to Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, there is no truth in such claims, as the Framework and Regulations for IDP Voting was presented and validated by stakeholders at a conference held in Abuja on Wednesday, with it not containing diaspora voting.

“The attention of the independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) has been drawn to a report by a section of the media which gave a false impression that the Commission has ‘made special provisions for internally Displaced Persons outside Nigeria to Vote in the 2019 General Elections,’” he said in a statement. 

“The Commission wishes to state unequivocally that there will be no Diaspora or Out-of-Country voting tor any Nigerian, in accordance with extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended). Only duly registered Internally Displaced Persons (lDPs) within Nigeria will be allowed to vote. 

“The Framework and Regulations for IDP Voting was presented and validated by stakeholders at a conference held in Abuja on 12th December, 2018. However, there was no reference whatsoever in the remarks made by the Hon. Chairman. Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu or during deliberations at the validation meeting that special provisions will be made tor lDPs outside Nigeria to vote in the forthcoming general elections, contrary to the said media reports. 

“It should however be noted that while Internally Displaced Persons currently residing in states where they registered can vote in all elections. those displaced from their states and are currently living in states other than where they registered can only vote in the Presidential election. 

“The framework validated by stakeholders at the conference is in consonance with the provisions of Section 26 (1) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2015 which provides that ‘in the event at an emergency affecting an election, the Commission shall as far as possible ensure that persons displaced as a result of the emergency are not disenfranchised.’”

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ALERT: Niger Delta Projects Listed Among Buhari's 'Achievements' Are 'Nowhere To Be Found'

13 December 2018 - 8:27am


Ijaw youth leaders from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to probe some ministers from the region over alleged non-execution of federal projects awarded by his administration.

According to the youth, the projects listed by President Muhammad Buhari as part of his administration's achievements, while commendable, are nowhere to be found.

The leaders, under the auspices of the Ijaw Unity and Peace Committee (IUPC), lamented that some of the projects listed as Buhari's achievements in Bayelsa State, for instance, are not in the state.

They threatened to carry out massive protests against the "diversion of projects". The leaders particularly said projects awarded to Bayelsa under the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Niger Delta Affairs were not being implemented.

In a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei, the convener of the group, lamented the underdevelopment in the region, stating that there were persons within the presidency working against the present administration.

Kemepadei, who is also the leader of Egbesu Brotherhood, said contrary to claims that there were rural road projects in Bayelsa as part of Buhari's achievements in the Niger Delta, nothing of such could be found anywhere in the state.

He also said claims by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs that the Federal Government constructed a cassava processing plant in Bayelsa were false and misleading.

"I seriously think President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of what is going on in Bayelsa State because what the Presidency listed as part of its achievements in the Niger Delta is just a figment of someone's imagination," he said.

"It is only in the media that we read of projects awarded to Bayelsa by his administration, but in reality this is not true. Those representing Buhari in the state are deceiving him; they are not reporting the true situation of things. We have nothing to show as benefits from the present administrations. The agricultural loans, fertilisers, rural road projects, empowerment schemes, awarded by Buhari to Bayelsa, are not being effected. There are no named Bayelsans that are beneficiaries of such programmes.

"This is not only painful, but wicked. How can Buhari be awarding to projects, releasing funds, yet nothing is happening?

"It is on this note that we are bent on staging this protest. We want the Presidency to be aware and discipline whosoever that may be involved in the diversion of Bayelsa projects. The date for the protest will be made public very soon. No individual has the monopoly to cart away with public properties."

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Sowore's Supporters Protest At Channels TV To Demand His Inclusion In Presidential Debate

13 December 2018 - 7:56am





The #TakeItBack movement has conducted a peaceful protest to express their grievances over the exclusion of Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, from the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).

NEDG and BON had announced only five political parties — Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) — scheduled to participate in the presidential debate scheduled for January 19, 2019.

The protesters marched to the headquarters of Channels Television in Isheri, Lagos on Thursday, bearing placards with inscriptions such as '#SoworeMustBeIncluded'; '#DemocracyIsParticipation'; '#LetNigeriansDecideCharacter', among others.

         

The selection of only five presidential candidates has generated much criticism against NEDG and BON, with many calling for more candidates to participate in the debate.

Speaking at the event, one of the members of the movement, identified as Juwon, said the selection of only five candidates is “thoroughly unfair corruption in an election with more than 30 presidential candidates".

He called on Nigerians to “ensure that more candidates, including Omoyele Sowore, participate in the debate, and also that President Muhammadu Buhari does not send a representative to the debate or else it would disrupted”.

Similarly, another member of the movement, Comrade Femi Adeyeye, said: “Nigerians have the right to interview who they are going to employ for the next four years, hence the demand to fairly include candidates contesting the elections."

On Thursday, Oby Ezekwesili, ACPN presidential candidate, and Fela Durotoye, ANN presidential candidate, also called on NEDG and BON to include Sowore and other presidential candidates in the debate.

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Durotoye Asks NEDG/BON To Include 'My Brother' Sowore In Presidential Debate

13 December 2018 - 7:12am


 

Fela Durotoye, presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), has urged the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) to include Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) and the former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the presidential debate slated for January 2019.

NEDG and BON had selected only five political parties — All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) and Young Progressive Party (YPP) — for the presidential debate. See Also Elections JUST IN: NEDG, BON Pick Only Five Political Parties For Presidential Debate 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

The selection has since generated much debate among Nigerians, with many berating NEDG and BON for limiting the selected candidates to only five.

According to Durotoye, presidential debates must be inclusive and "as many candidates as possible" should be given the opportunities to share their vision with Nigerians.

A tweet by Durotoye read: “Our #PresidentialDebates must be inclusive and opportunities given to as many candidates as possible to share their vision with all Nigerians. My brother @YeleSowore and @Donald_Duke should be allowed to participate in these debates. That’s the beauty of democracy. #YOUNITED

“Inclusiveness is the beauty of democracy and I believe the organIzers of the #PresidentialDebates should include other frontline candidates."

Oby Ezekwesili, the ACPN presidential candidate, had also earlier called on the organising bodies to include Sowore and other candidates in the debate. See Also Elections I Especially Want To See A Candidate Like Sowore Participate In Presidential Debate, Says Ezekwesili 0 Comments 1 Day Ago

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Where’s The Devil In The Electoral Bill? By Azu Ishiekwene

13 December 2018 - 5:30am


Exaggeration is the most common strain of fever at election period. Politicians make voters – and the general public – believe that the world might end on ballot day, when in fact what they are playing for is their own survival.

The Electoral Bill is not just the biggest talking point; it’s been perhaps the deadliest battleground since last week. What is it about the bill that gives the impression that its immediate non-passage is not only a threat to the 2019 general elections but also proof that President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) is determined to rig the elections?

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among others, has said Buhari’s repeated claims of commitment to free and fair elections next year are just what they are – lip service. 

The party insists that the extension of the tenures of the service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, recent encounters between some members of the opposition with security agencies, and now, Buhari’s refusal to assent the Electoral Bill, will undermine next year’s poll.

The opposition, particularly the PDP, said while the card reader and electronic transmission of results, which it favours, would make the process more transparent, the criminalisation of the non-use of card readers and transmission of results, which it claims the ruling party is opposed to, would encourage under-age voting, especially in APC strongholds.

Among what the PDP-dominated leadership of the National Assembly described as “the nine benefits” of the just concluded amendments to the Electoral Bill are, a) stopping of manual transmission of results, in fact, manual transmission of results has been criminalised b) online publication of voter register c) full biometric accreditation d) removal of “unfair” qualification processes e) limit on election expenses, including party form fees f) amendment in the process for dealing with substitution, resignation and replacement by the parties, and so on.

On the face of it, it’s difficult to argue with the good intentions of the amendments. Some of the best laws are the ones made by crooks, who have gamed and benefited from the system and who therefore know exactly where to fix the plugs. Or perhaps by those who think like them. The contentious amendments are no exception.  

Our election process has improved over time and the best in recent times has been the one in 2015. Before then, elections were conducted pretty much the same way they were done in ancient Greece, only with the worst rigging mechanisms included. 

Up till 2010 and well beyond, for example, anyone could claim to be a registered voter and the only way an electoral officer at the polling unit could verify that from his register was the presentation of an ID card, which could have been printed in the potential voter’s backyard. 

That was how Mike Tyson and Nebuchadnezzar were found in the register. In the more decent examples, there were also cases of ghosts who thumb-printed with palm kernel nuts.

That changed in 2015 with the introduction of the card reader and the requirement of full biometrics. The problem was that under the 2015 Electoral Act, the use of the card reader, which digitised voter data and also facilitated biometrics collections, was only a regulation, an expediency if you like, not contained in the Act. 

But like a child that had been born, the pregnancy could no longer be aborted, nor the child’s existence denied. On March 26, two days to the last general elections, former President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law an amendment to the 2015 Act, empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to use any device, including the electronic register, to conduct elections. In other words, the expediency became law.

It’s been said in some quarters that Jonathan took this step, in spite of himself. His close advisers were betting that the elections would be massively rigged in Buhari’s stronghold and pressed him to sign off the amendment to catch the riggers. He did, but somehow left the law in the closet. 

The test came later. In spite of the law, two of the greatest unfathomable rulings of the Supreme Court (in the Rivers State and Akwa Ibom governorship elections), the Court still gave precedence to the manual register against smart card reader. 

Even though the Court did not say the use of the card reader was illegal, its confusing verdict left enough room for even an educated few to make the convenient case that the court had ruled the use of the card reader illegal.

If the National Assembly’s amendments are intended to cure that defect, once and for all, what is the problem with that?

The problem is that the National Assembly has weaponised the bill; it has become one more tool in the war theatre between the legislative and executive branch, a theatre that Buhari himself helped to install by his standoffishness at the beginning of his administration.   

To understand the odyssey of the electoral bill is to trace the feisty legislative-executive relationship, especially the defection of key members of the National Assembly to the opposition. The moment Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara decided to leave the APC, anything to undermine the executive, including the electoral bill, was fair game. 

The long delays (especially in the House of Representatives, where the bill languished for over one year); the four cycles of back-and-forth, which saw multiple amendments and a self-serving attempt to usurp INEC’s role; the omission of even the card reader in the third draft bill passed in August; the disgraceful typographical errors by the National Assembly bureaucracy; the needless multiple postponements of resumption by the National Assembly, all served to bring the country to this sorry pass. 

Of course, the executive was not blameless. It simply took a leaf from the survival script of the legislature and served a backhand to avoid the booby traps and save its own neck. 

Buhari said there were serious drafting and scheduling issues with the bill; that signing the bill will create confusion of interpretation; that while he supports the use of the card reader and biometrics, he is opposed to the criminalisation of non-electronic transmission of results, as contained in the bill. 

An additional concern, according to Buhari and his party, is that whatever the merit of the electronic transmission of results, it has not been tested, even on a limited scale, and therefore should not be deployed in a major election.

And, on top of that, he said, signing the bill now will be a violation of Article II (1) of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance 2001, a consequential factor in the last election crisis in Kenya.

Where is INEC in all this? The Commission has said there’s no going back on smart card readers and that the “incident forms”, which dubious officials often exploited as excuse to use the manual method, would not be allowed next year. That should, for now, sufficiently address the concerns on all sides about the potential second coming of Mike Tyson and co.

I think the defining question is, what likely danger does Buhari’s non-assent, pose to free, fair and transparent elections next year?

Next to zero. The Electoral Act under which Buhari was elected was passed, and tinkered with up till the last minute, by a PDP government. So, why is the PDP worried about contesting under a law passed by its own government? And if Buhari has said he does not mind assenting if the amendments would commence after the next general elections, what is wrong with that?

I long for the day when elections would be held without the militarisation and near-complete grounding of normal life; when elections would be held in the morning of a working day and the results are electronically transmitted and declared within the shortest time possible. 

Not because technology does not have its problems (after all Florida, in the US, is the world’s election recount capital) or that hackers and meddlers have not shown us the perils of technology, but because whatever its flaws, technology increases transparency and confidence in the system, making the vote really count. 

If, all said and done, the National Assembly believes that we are doomed without the amendments, then it can save us by overriding the President’s veto. Surely, it wouldn’t be hard to find the two-thirds required to do so. Or is this just politics of exaggeration, as usual?  

 

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

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Shiites Hold Protest To Mark Three Years of El-Zakzaky's Detention

13 December 2018 - 4:18am


Shiites during the procession in Abuja

Shiites during the procession in Abuja

Followers of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky have staged a peaceful protest to mark three years of Zaria massacre and El-Zakzaky's "unlawful detention" by the Nigerian government.

The protesters carried placards and stormed the federal secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday, chanting anti-government songs and demanding the release of their spiritual leader, who has been in custody since December 2015.

Addressing the protesters, Abdullahi Musa, Secretary of the Academic Forum of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), said El-Zakzaky is being kept in detention for "no just cause".

His words: "On 12 December, 2015, a planned and systematic attack on Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was launched by the Nigerian Army under a hoax of road blockage. The attack lasted for more than 48 hours and led to the killing of more than 1,000 people, including women and children. Those killed during the attack include sons of Sheikh Zakzaky namely, Ali, Hamid and Humaid. After the attack, the Buhari-led administration detained the Sheikh without proper medical care.

"The attack started when soldiers of the Nigerian Army were stationed directly opposite Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah Centre (where teaching sessions and other activities are held) located along Sokoto road, adjacent to polo pitch, Zaria, Kaduna State. On that day, the followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky were to commemorate the arrival of Rabiul Awwal, the birth month of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA)."

According to Musa, the soldiers burnt many people alive, including an elder sister to Sheikh Zakzaky. He also accused the Nigerian Army of conducting a "secret mass burial of the victims at a site in Mando Kaduna".

He continued: "Three years after the Zaria massacre and despite the recommendation made by the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) of July 2016 for the prosecution of the perpetrators of the Zaria massacre, the Nigerian government under Buhari is yet to prosecute the perpetrators of these great atrocities.

"In fact, instead of prosecuting the perpetrators, Tyrant Buhari continued to give orders for further killing of the followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. The recent killing is the attack made by the Military and Nigerian Police during the annual Arbaeen Symbolic Trek between 27th and 30th October, 2018 where more than 50 followers of Sheikh Zakzaky were killed in Abuja."

He, however, stated that the group would not relent in its demand for the unconditional release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife.

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I Especially Want To See A Candidate Like Sowore Participate In Presidential Debate, Says Ezekwesili

13 December 2018 - 3:42am


Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has called on the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) to include Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the presidential debate scheduled for January 2019.

NEDG and BON had issued a statement on Tuesday, noting that only five political parties — Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) — would participate in the presidential debate scheduled to hold on January 19, 2019. See Also Elections JUST IN: NEDG, BON Pick Only Five Political Parties For Presidential Debate 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

The announcement had been greeted with criticism as Nigerians across various platforms demanded for more candidates to be included in the debate. See Also Elections 'They Used An Alarmingly Secretive System' — Nigerians Criticise NEDG, BON Over Candidates' Selection For Presidential Debate 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

Also lending her voice to the calls for inclusion of more candidates, Ezekwesili noted that she especially wants to see Sowore on the platform.

Making her comments on the subject, she tweeted: “As a country with huge contingent of parties fielding candidates for election, it does make sense to at least allow more than five such parties, at least 25 per cent of those candidates, to participate in the most influential of presidential debates. #PresidentialDebates

“I especially want to see a candidate like @YeleSowore whose AAC has been diligent in crisscrossing universities to awaken our young to engage in our politics.

“He is doing the country a great service, because we must have that generation of Nigerians fully understand and embrace Plato’s counsel: 'those who think that politics is beneath them shall be ruled by their inferiors'."

He is doing the country a great service because we must have that generation of Nigerians fully understand and embrace Plato’s counsel: “those who think that politics is beneath them shall be ruled by their inferiors”. #PresidentialDebates

— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) December 13, 2018

The ACPN candidate and former Minister of Education also asked that APGA, KOWA and Socialist Democratic Party be added to the list of parties.

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Sultan To Politicians: Don’t Use Other People’s Children As Thugs

13 December 2018 - 1:10am


Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has cautioned politicians against using other people’s children as political thugs.

He spoke yesterday at the flag-off of senatorial districts voter education and sensitization exercise organised by the National Orientation Agency.

Sultan, represented by Chiroman Sokoto, Alhaji Buhari Abubakar, reminded politicians that God gives power to whom He wishes, asking them not to see politics as a do-or-die affair.

NOA Director in the state, Maude Danchadi, cautioned Nigerians against vote-buying and violence.

He also stressed the need for Nigerians to avoid election apathy.

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2019: IDPs To Vote In 15 States – INEC​

13 December 2018 - 1:06am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday hinted that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are to vote in 15 states of the country in the 2019 general elections.

LEADERSHIP reports that the number of displaced persons expected to vote at the IDPs camps in the 2019 general elections increased from the three Northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to 15 states, cutting across North West, North Central and the Southeastern part of the country.

It was gathered that the circumstances that led to the displacement of people in 15 states is as a result of insurgency in the North East, farmers herders clashes in north central,  banditary in the North West and communal conflicts and environmental issues in the Southeast.

Out of the 15 states with IDPs that are to vote in the 2019 general elections, majority are from: Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Zamfara, Kaduna  Anambra, Ebonyi, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Cross River, and Benue states.

But speaking at a Stakeholders’ validation conference on the framework for IDPs’ voting, INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said no registered voter will be left out in the 2019 general elections.

Yakubu who said that neither displacement nor disability would be a barrier for the Nigerian voters, added that it was worrisome that the commission has more displaced persons that will vote in 2019 than what happened in the 2015 general elections.

“We have 15 states with displaced persons that need to vote in the 2019 general elections,” Yakubu said adding that these electorates are not living in normal places as a result of the insurgency, farmers /herders and communal clashes, and environmental factors. “I want to assure Nigerians that they will not be disenfranchised,” Yakubu said insisting that Nigerians should expect free and fair elections in 2019.

“We have afforded many of them the opportunity to register. Those who registered in 2015, we advised them not to register again and we printed their cards,” Yakubu said of the efforts the commission made to ensure that voting takes place at the IDPs’ camps in 2019.

The head of the INEC’s committee on IDPs’ voting, Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu said they activated an existing legal framework that was used by the commission in the 2015 general elections.

According to Ibeanu, the framework has been enhanced so that people can participate in the election at the IDPs’ camps.

He said INEC developed a skeleton plan in 2015 that helped the three North Eastern states IDPs to vote adding that the amendment to the Electoral Act that was signed into law helped immensely in giving credence to  IDPs’ voting.

Ibeanu said the amendment of section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act, helped the displaced persons’ voting right.

“It created an inclusive system,” Ibeanu said of the section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act which INEC pursued to ensure that IDPs vote in all the elections.

“We reviewed the 2015 framework and improved on it. It was not just a committee by INEC members alone, but included other stakeholders,” Ibeanu said of the framework for IDPs’ voting that was reviewed yesterday.

“Three documents were produced. The report of the committee, framework and the third document was a set of regulation to bring the framework into effect.

“The amendment to section 26 (1) needs a clear regulations not just the present, but for the future election,” Ibeanu added.

He said that they adopted Intra-state and inter state categorizations of the displaced persons adding that IDPs outside the states of their registration can only vote in the presidential election.

He said they made the voting pattern that way because of the challenges of results collation and the difficulties in organising the election.

“That is why IDPs outside the states of their registration can only vote in the presidential election,” Ibeanu said adding that they are embarking on stakeholders’ engagement, voter education and publicity for IDPs’ camps voting rights.

The representative of International Federation for Electoral System (IFES), an organisation supporting INEC to conduct a credible election, Uloma Osuala said they would ensure a smooth voting in the IDPs’ camps.

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APC Asks Supreme Court To Sack Tambuwal

13 December 2018 - 1:04am


The All Progressives Congress (APC) Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to sack Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, on the grounds that the election that produced him as the party’s candidate in 2014 was marred with irregularities.

Counsel to the APC, Abduganiyu Arobo, in a new twist to the appeal seeking the removal of Tambuwal for not being the lawful candidate of the party, conceded to the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru to get judgment entered in favour of the appellant.

At the resumed hearing of the appeal yesterday at the apex court, the APC also de-briefed its lead counsel Mr. Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who stood for the party at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal where he got favourable judgments for the party. When the matter was called Arobo announced his appearance for APC shortly after the senior lawyer made same appearance.

In the drama that ensued, Arobo told Justice Mohammed Musa Dattijo-led panel that the senior lawyer had been asked to step aside from the suit and that a letter to that effect had been served on him.

Okutepa in response admitted receiving a letter but insisted he would not step aside until the issue of his legal fees is resolved.

Justice Dattijo who demanded for a copy of the letter, drew the attention of the senior counsel to a portion of the letter that he was engaged for the party by governor Tambuwal and that he should approach Tambuwal for the payment of his legal fees.

Consequently, Okutepa announced his withdrawal from the appeal.

He however, told the apex court that he ran into stormy waters with the party when he declined to agree to reverse the positions canvassed by APC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.

He said he declined to agree because in law, parties must be consistent with their position and that APC was no longer ready to be consistent with its earlier position in two previous courts.

Okutepa further said that the new position of APC came about because of the defection of Tambuwal from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), adding that since he is not a politician but a minister in the temple of justice, he could not join them in the new position.

The apex court however, declined to hear the appeal, pending its decision in the preliminary objection against hearing of the suit filed by Tambuwal.

Justice Dattijo subsequently adjourned till March 5, 2019 for hearing of the appeal.

Dahiru also of APC had challenged the nomination of Tambuwal on the ground that the list of delegates who ought to vote at the 2014 primary election of the party was fraudulently swapped to favour governor Tambuwal.

He urged the court to nullify the primary election or in the alternative, declare him as the rightful candidate of the party for the 2015 governorship election.

The appellant lost at the high court and Court of Appeal prompting him to approach the Supreme Court for final decision.

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Army Holds Private Burial For 100 Soldiers Killed By Boko Haram

13 December 2018 - 12:44am


Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai

Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai The Nation

The Nigerian Army has organised a private burial for over 100 officers and soldiers killed during terrorist attacks on Nigerian Army 157 Task Force Battalion last month, The PUNCHhas learnt.

Our correspondent was told by one of the widows of the officers that the burial would take place in Maiduguri on Friday.

It was, however, learnt that the army wanted the event to be private so that the real number of slain soldiers will not be known.

One of the widows who did not wish to be identified said, “I was invited for the burial of my husband with a few others this Friday in Maiduguri.

“Sincerely, we don’t even know how many will be buried and the army is not giving us any information.”

A colonel, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the army decided to make the burial private in order to hide the true casualty figure.

He said, “Gen Buratai said only 23 soldiers were killed in the attack. He also put the number of troops wounded in action at 31. However, we all know that is not true. Over 100 were killed and a private burial is now being organised in order not to expose their lies.”

When our correspondent called the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.Gen Sani Usman, for comment, he cut all calls, asking our correspondent to send a text message instead.

However, he refused to respond to a text message sent to him as of press time.

Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba had died alongside over 100 soldiers on November 18, 2018.

His younger brother, Lt. Yakubu Sakaba, was also killed by Boko Haram on October 5, 2014.

In a video circulated recently, soldiers deployed in the war-ravaged North-East blamed obsolete equipment and corruption among top military brass for the massive losses in personnel since the latest attacks on military formations began in July.

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ASUP Commences Indefinite Strike​

13 December 2018 - 12:39am


The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) Wednesday began an indefinite strike over non-implementation of the 2009 and 2017 agreement reached with the union by the federal government.

The polytechnic lecturers have joined their university colleagues who have been on strike since November 4.

The National President of ASUP, Usman Dutse, said the federal government had invited the union for dialogue on December 17 but the strike would continue till then.

Prior to the strike, the union had on October 2 issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government before it extended it to November. But even then, it did not commence the strike.

But Dutse said the strike had commenced, adding that there is total compliance by all chapters.

“We have zonal coordinators and a monitoring team, zone by zone, all over the country. Already from the report we are getting, we are satisfied with the level of compliance from all our zones but we are reviewing the day’s activity in a meeting now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that students were seen writing their 2017/2018 second semester examination at the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos.

But none of the striking lecturers was seen in all the examination halls monitored.

At the Lagos State Polytechnic, an official, Salami Olugbenga, said they could not join the strike because there was no organ of the union in the polytechnic since December 2017.

Dutse said the government has failed to implement and fulfill agreements it reached with the union as contained in the memorandum of understanding signed.

The union went on strike over non-implementation of the NEEDS Assessment report of 2014, non-payment of salaries in state-owned institutions, non-payment of allowances, and the victimisation of union members, among others.

ASUP went on strike in November 2017, but when the federal government reached an agreement to implement the recommendations of the 2014 NEEDS assessment, the strike was suspended 15 days after.

The agreement particularly highlighted the need for increased funding of polytechnics.

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Abia Pensioners Lament Govt’s Neglect, As One Slumps

13 December 2018 - 12:25am


The neglect and insensitivity of the Abia State government towards its pensioners was yesterday confirmed by the absence of the governor or his representative at the 2018 Pensioners’ Day.

The event which held at the Pensioners’ House (under construction) at Ogwurube Layout was not attended by any government official. One of the pensioners slumped but was quickly revived by his colleagues using the programme booklet as hand fans.

Addressing the pensioners, Chairman of the Abia State Council, Comrade Chukwuma Udensi, explained that the members were adorned in black attire to show their dismay with the treatment meted to them by the state government.

“Let me quickly explain that the black attire worn by delegates to this function signified the mourning over unusual neglect of pensioners by government and death of many of our colleagues as a result of sickness, frustration, hunger and lack of medicare.”

He explained that after series of meeting with the governor, he ended up with mouth-watering promises on clearance of arrears of pensions whose implementation is yet to begin.

Udensi listed huge arrears of unpaid pensions and gratuities owed retirees in the state as among the constraints to the completion of the secretariat, lamenting the complicity of the State House of Assembly and the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), which he said was “playing the Ostrich, forgetting that a worker today will obviously become a pensioner tomorrow.”

The chairman called on the state government to begin to pay them on monthly basis from the federal accounts allocation and set up a committee to work out the modalities for implementing the various percentage awards to pensioners by the Federal Government.

Chairman of the occasion and traditional ruler of Nise Nvosi, Professor B. O. Dike, said after years of selfless service to the government the pensioners deserved to be given their due pension and gratuity, especially because some of them did not achieve much within the years of service.

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APC Has No Candidate In Rivers, Appeal Court Rules​

13 December 2018 - 12:22am


The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, on Wednesday confirmed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State will not field any candidates during the 2019 General elections when it dismissed the appeal filed by the factional Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate Mr Tonye Cole.

The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division also confirmed the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu that Rivers State has no ward executives, local government executives and State Executives as it dismissed the appeal filed by Sacked Rivers State APC State Chairman, Mr Ojukaye Flag-Amachree.

The Court of Appeal Port Harcourt Division Special Panel Chaired by Justice Abubakar Yahaya dismissed the two appeals for lack of merit.

The third appeal which centred on the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu was dismissed because it was filed out of time and therefore statute barred. Delivering his judgement Justice Yahaya, said the appeal against the Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgement on the party Congress crisis lacks merit, adding that the application for joinder failed to observed the 14 days rules of Appeal.

Delivering judgement on the substantive appeal number CA/PH/198 which bordered on Justice Nwogu’s judgement, the panel ruled that the Ojukaye faction failed to seek leave of court before appealing against the judgement.

Justice Yahaya ruled that the judgement delivered at the lower court was a consent judgement, adding that Ojukaye faction should have done the needful legally before approaching the court. Counsel to Ibrahim Umar and 22 others, Mr Patrick Luke said that the rulings of the Court of Appeal confirm that the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu remains valid and is still subsisting. Counsel to Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, Emenike Ebete noted that the court heard the three matters and in her wisdom arrived at the rulings confirming the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu.

He said: “Arguments were taken but the Court in its infinite wisdom held that in appeal 461, that is the substantive appeal, that the consent judgement of the High Court of Rivers state and by provision of the constitution, we ought to have sought leave of court to appeal against that consent judgement. That is their own decision and they struck it out.

“The one for the candidates and the party state executives, we were dismissed on the ground that it was a pre-election matter, that we did not bring the application within 14 days after decision was delivered on October 10. What that means is that, we will approach the Supreme court to contest the judgment.”

On October 10, 2018, a High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the APC governorship candidate in Rivers; on the ground that his nomination is a function of illegality and unconstitutional acts.

The court also nullified the state’s APC senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries conducted on the premise of the illegal ward congresses.

The High Court further nullified all the elections of Rivers APC Ward Executives, Local Government Executives and State Executive Committee that arose from the illegal ward congresses.

In a judgment delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu, in a suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and 22 others, against the APC, the court declared that the ward congresses of Rivers APC were illegal because they were not conducted in line with the APC Guidelines and Constitution.

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Facebook Post: Court Admits FRCN Reporter To N2m Bail

13 December 2018 - 12:18am


Segun Onibiyo

Segun Onibiyo The Nation Newspaper

A Kaduna State High Court yesterday admitted Segun Onibiyo, a reporter with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), to bail in the sum of N2 million.

He is charged with defamation of character and false statement against Governor Nasir El-Rufai.

Onibiyo is accused of inciting disturbance, defamation of character and injurious falsehood against the Kaduna State governor on his Facebook account.

The judge, Justice Darius Khoboh, granted Onibiyo bail in the sum of N2 million and a surety in the like sum.

He ordered that the surety must live within the court’s jurisdiction and must be a property owner in Kaduna.

Justice Khoboh also ordered that the property must be verified by the Kaduna Geographic Information Service.

He adjourned the matter till January 17.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), the Chief of Staff, Government House, Malam Mohammed Bashir, on November 14, wrote a letter of complaint to the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State, against the defendant.

The defendant was alleged to have posted on his Facebook page an inciting, defamatory and injurious falsehood statement against Kaduna State governor.

The offences are contrary to sections 78, 372 and 373 of the Penal Code.

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Declare State Of Emergency On Kidnapping In Ondo, NBA Tells Akeredolu

12 December 2018 - 12:20pm


The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Owo local branch in Ondo State, has accused the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the state of not doing enough in terms of securing lives and properties, and called for a state of emergency to be declared on kidnapping.

The lawyers said this on Wednesday during a peaceful demostration over the spate of kidnapping and armed robbery on the Akure/Owo/Akoko road in the state.

They marched with placards with various inscriptions such as: 'Kidnapping is A Crime Against Humanity'; 'Let Us Say No To Kidnapping, It is A Heinous Crime'; 'All Hands Must Be On Deck Against Kidnapping and Robberies', among others.

Noting that the road leading to the Northern senatorial area of the state was no longer safe for motorists and travellers, they also lamented that failed portions of the Akure/Owo/Akoko roads have become a trap as kidnappers operate along the route, even in broad daylight.

Speaking on behalf of the lawyers on Wednesday, Tajudeen Olutope-Ahmed, the Owo branch Chairman of the NBA, said the rampant cases of kidnapping in Ondo State was becoming a source of concern to members of the legal profession.

Olutope-Ahmed expressed displeasure over security lapses in the state in recent times and also demanded that more security measures are put in place to curb the menace of kidnapping. He also condemened the kidnapping of some victims (three medical workers and two lecturers of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo) and called on the Police to wake up to its responsibilities of providing security for the people.

“While eye witnesses said the victims were five, that is, three FMC Owo staffers and two Rufus Giwa Polytechnic workers, the Ondo State Police was reported to have put the number of the kidnapped victims at two individuals; this is worrisome," he said.

“We therefore call on the Police authorities to wake up to the present security challenge in Owo. This is not the time to slumber. It is not the time to be supine as well. Police must, as a matter of necessity, be at alert to the security situation in Owo and its environs. To this end, we suggest that the idea of mounting Police check points — which are nothing but avenues to rake bribes from commuters — be reviewed.

“Constant Police patrol of the roads should be embarked upon. In this way, Police will be able to foil any attempt by the men of the underworld from showcasing their daredevil skills on the roads."

The NBA Local Chairman, however, accused the state government of having failed in its constitutional responsibility of providing security to its citizens.

“The kidnappings ad ifinitum in Owo and its environs, of which one of our members was once a victim, is an indication of total collapse of security in Owo and the triumph of kidnapping and armed gangsters. It is on this note that we hereby invite the Government of Ondo State and that of the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping on Owo roads and that of the entire federation," he added.

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Fashola Asks Court To Dismiss Falana’s Suit Compelling Nigerian Govt To Fix Oshodi/Apapa Expressway

12 December 2018 - 11:36am


Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, has urged the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to dismiss the fundamental right suit filed by leading human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) challenging the failure of Nigeria's Federal Government to remove the gridlock on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway.

A counter-affidavit deposed to by one Ayodele Otedola, a litigation clerk at the Federal Ministry of Works, on behalf of the Minister, noted that the gridlock on the road “is always caused by tanker drivers who normally follow the route to NPA for the purpose of loading and offloading their goods” and that the Minister’s “effort to clear the road and remove the trailers and tankers has not been easy but that effort has been redoubled to achieve this goal”.

In his preliminary objection against the suit, Fashola contended that the failure to repair the road has not in any way restricted or breached Falana’s freedom of movement. He also challenged Falana’s locus standi to file the suit, since he has not shown that he has suffered over and above other motorists or people who use the road.

In the suit, Falana argued that the state of the road constitutes a threat to his life and violation of his fundamental right to move freely in Lagos guaranteed by Sections 33 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Articles 5 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. In the substantive case, the rights lawyer is also seeking the following reliefs:

“1. A DECLARATION that the refusal or failure of the Respondents to remove obstructions, repair and maintain the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway is illegal and unconstitutional as it constitutes a threat to the fundamental right to life of the Applicant guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"2. A DECLARATION that the failure or refusal of the Respondents to make the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway safe for motorists is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates the Applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"3. A DECLARATION that the parking of tankers and trailers on the overhead bridges in Lagos is illegal and unconstitutional as it constitutes a threat to the fundamental right to life of the Applicant and other motorists guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"4. A DECLARATION that the Applicant is entitled to his fundamental right to economic, social and cultural development guaranteed by Article 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"5. AN ORDER directing the Respondents to remove all obstructions, repair and maintain the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway forthwith.”  

The Federal High Court has fixed January 19, 2018 for hearing the substantive suit and the preliminary objection.

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How Saraki, Melaye, Dogora, Tambuwal Lured APC Lawmakers To PDP

12 December 2018 - 11:27am


Bode Ayorinde, a member of the House of Representatives representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency of Ondo State at the National Assembly, has given insight into how federal lawmakers elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) dumped the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ayorinde spoke on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting and flag-off ceremony for his campaign in Owo area of the state.

According to the lawmaker, a series of meetings were held at different locations in Abuja where they perfected their defection from APC to PDP. He also explained that the meetings were planned by the duo of Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogora.

Speaking on the moves that led to the defection of the lawmakers, Ayorinde said: "We held a series of meetings on how to move this country forward since the 'Change' agenda that the APC-led goverment promised the people of this country seems to be a total scam and nothing is working.

"Senate President Bukola Saraki chaired the meeting; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogora was there, as well as the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and many other former senators. They felt the need to change the man in government, who is not making things work perfectly.

"Later, they called about 34 of us at the House of Representatives to come into the meeting where a group was formed, while they also called on 15 rebel senators to join us. We held no less than 59 meetings, planning and strategising on our breaking away from the ruling APC. We all contemplated on whether to form a new party or join an existing one."

The Ondo Federal Lawmaker, who is also the candidate of the PDP for the same Owo/Ose federal constituency, said three political parties — Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — were suggested to them during their meetings.

He continued: "We called on the leaders of these political parties to come and talk to us on how they can develop the country if we moved en masse into their fold. It was Professor Adediran who led those from SDP to come and convince us that we should defect to their party while talks were ongoing. It was Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who led those from the camp of the ADC, and he begged us to join because it is Baba Obasanjo's political party and that if we join, we can join them to move Nigeria forward.

"And for the PDP, it was the National Chairman of the umbrella party, Mr. Uche Secondus, who led the team of about 20 people to convince us about the PDP. We now sat down and looked into the strengths of these parties, then we asked them what they would do for us if we joined them. However, they asked us to pen down what we wanted from them. Then, we went back and wrote that we wanted the security agencies to be more strengthened, so as to tackle the security challenges in the nation such as the herdsmen crisis, Boko Haram and others, for peace to reign.

"We also demanded that they provide jobs/employment in all senatorial districts of the nation in order for the youth to be gainfully employed and leave the streets. Also, we told them that we hoped they would give all of us — serving Senators and the House of Representatives members — automatic tickets, if we defect from APC to their own party. They said they were satisfied with all our demands and they shall do as we asked. We documented these demands and both parties signed the the six-point agreement."

According to Ayorinde, the federal lawmakers decided to form the R-APC within the ruling party, when they were still strategising on their next move from APC to PDP.

"We later got back to the National Assembly and we gave ourselves a name, which is the Reformed-APC. I was the Chairman of the House of Representatives, while Senator Dino Melaye was Chairman of the Senate House. While others in the group were still afraid to announce their defection, I was the first person to announce my exit from the APC to the PDP on the floor of the National Assembly.

"After our announcement, we travelled to our constituencies to register as bonafide members of PDP, and we were all accepted into the umbrella party with the aim of winning the election for our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar."

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We Chose Debate Candidates Based On Their Character And Popularity, Says NEDG

12 December 2018 - 10:25am


The Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG), organisers of the presidential debate in collaboration with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, has revealed that it selected five candidates were selected based on “character, conduct and other things of the candidates".

Eddi Emesiri, Executive Secetary of the NEDG, made the revelation during a telephone conversation with one Issac Obasi, a Lagos-based human rights activist, about why some candidates were excluded from the debate.

In the four-minute 53-second conversation between the duo, when queried on the narrow selection of candidates especially to the detriment of more popular candidates, Emesiri said: “Popular where? We did research from September to November this year in the six zones of the federation. We did vox pop; we did social media and also voting, and then we also have character conduct and other things that we are looking at. So, we matched this and this and this and we arrived at this conclusive report."

Queried further as to why the result of the research purportedly conducted was not made public, Emesiri said: “We based our research on the whole of the country. Please, we are taking a totality of the reports we got from across the country. Everybody has his area. This is the 13th call I’ve received today."

Interrupting, Issac Obasi said: “Oh you see, people are calling because they want to find out."

Responding, the Executive Secetary said: “That is why I am taking my time to explain to you. We had to put all the information together and that is why we said if we had to select, we will select only five."

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