Supreme Court decision on PDP appeal, affirmation of popular will of Nigerians – Presidency

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

The Presidency says it welcomes the elucidation of the Supreme Court ruling on the PDP petition. It reiterates that the onus of proof must necessarily fall on those that challenge the vote, according to a statement by Garba Shehu.

Allegations must be substantiated if they are to hold, and this requires producing credible witnesses that verify key claims. As the Supreme Court has stated, the case failed this test.

On the issue of qualifications, President Buhari has a long history of service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The questioning of this fact seems to fly in the face of all evidence.

However, now it is time for the PDP to take up the service mandated by this election.

The legislative agenda of the ninth assembly is ambitious in both size and scope. It is critical the opposition is there to scrutinise bills and policies, rather than preoccupy themselves with unsustainable court cases.

We appreciate the PDP and their candidate for taking these claims to courts rather than expressing them in other ways, but now Nigeria needs a robust and rigorous opposition. The nation needs to move on.

While it is correct to give credit to the courts for affirming this electoral victory-and we commend the courage of the bench to arrive at the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise-the reality is that courts were convinced by arguments from the lawyers representing the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari that results reflected the true wishes of a majority of our citizens.

President Buhari won four million more votes than his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the February poll.

No serious electoral observers have challenged this result. And now the Supreme Court has explained why the PDP appeal is unsubstantiated. We hope this finally puts the matter behind us.

We should now grasp this moment to move forward – together.

Masked security men ‘storm Kogi hotel’ where Oyo gov lodged ahead of election

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Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo
Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo

Masked security operatives stormed Suitorial Hotels, Lokoja, Kogi state capital, where Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state, lodged ahead of Saturday’s election.

Makinde is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign council for the governorship election.

According to Taiwo Adisa, the governor’s spokesman, Makinde and members of his campaign team were inside the hotel when masked security operatives attempted forcing their way in.

He said they shot sporadically into the air and the security operatives attached to the governor responded swiftly.

“Some of the hooded security operatives scaled the fence of the Hotel and attempted to gain entrance into the main Hotel,” Adisa quoted a witnesses as saying.

Adisa said the hooded policemen came in about 100 vehicles.

He quoted another witness as saying: “They came fully armed and hooded. Some of them scaled the fence of the Hotel and made to enter the Hotel proper. But pandemonium ensued, as there was commotion between security operatives attached to the Governor and the invaders.

“However, some residents in the neighbourhood of the Hotel soon mobilised and joined the Governor’s security to resist the invaders.”

When one of our correspondent visited the hotel on Friday afternoon, some staff who spoke off the record, confirmed that policemen came to the hotel.

They said wanted to search the facility but they were not allowed to do so because they could not provide any search warrant.

The hotel officials also said only 20 policemen came into the facility, denying that there were gunshots.

“There was no shooting or any form of violence as claimed,” the official said.

Yahaya Bello is irredeemable, your plea came too late – PDP tells el-Rufai

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Gov. Nasir el-Rufai addressing Kogi voters
Gov. Nasir el-Rufai addressing Kogi voters

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the plea made by Nasir el-Rufai on behalf of Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, came too late.

During a rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lokoja, on Thursday, el-Rufai and Philip Shuaibu, deputy governor of Edo state, appealed to the people of the state to forgive Bello for any wrong he has done.

El-Rufai said Bello was young when he became governor and that he made many mistakes.

But reacting in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, its spokesperson, the PDP said Bello is irredeemable and that he does not deserve a second chance.

The party said the appeal shows it is public knowledge that the governor misused the opportunity given to him to lead the state.

“Unfortunately, the apology is coming too late in the day and cannot be accepted by the people of Kogi State, whose lives, Yahaya Bello had turned into a living hell in the last four year.

“Moreover, Yahaya Bello openly confirmed that he is irredeemable as he stood without any sign of remorse while El-Rufai and the Edo State deputy governor begged the unimpressed scanty crowd.

“Governor El-Rufai and the APC ought to have counselled Yahaya Bello at the time he was busy suppressing, insulting, abusing and making life unbearable for the people of Kogi State as if there will not be a day of reckoning.

“The irreversible fact is that the day of reckoning has come. The people of Kogi state have moved beyond Yahaya Bello and APC.”

The party advised el-Rufai to help Bello in preparing his handover notes “as he will surely face a crushing defeat at the polls”.

Former information minister, Alex Akinyele, is dead

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Alex Akinyele
Alex Akinyele

Alex Akinyele, former minister of information, is dead. According to his family, Akinyele died after a brief illness on Thursday night.

An administrator and public relations specialist, the late Ondo chief once served as the chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission and was also a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.

He died at the age of 81.

President Muhammadu Buhari commiserated with the family of the former minister.

”The President commiserates with the government and people of Ondo State, friends and professional colleagues of the departed, urging them to take solace in the lasting legacies of the former colorful minister, who also served as Chairman of National Sports Commission and Chairman of National Reconciliation Committee,” a statement issued by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, read.

”As a trained teacher and Public Relations Specialist, President Buhari affirms that Chief Akinyele’s scrupulousness, discipline and diligence were always obvious to those who worked closely with him, and his love for the nation, which was zealously demonstrated through providing exemplary leadership.

”The President prays that the Almighty God will grant the soul of the former minister eternal rest, and comfort all members of his family.”

Similarly, the All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has commiserated with the family and professional colleagues of former Information Minister, Chief Alex Akinyele, who died on Thursday at 81 after an illness.

Asiwaju Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, described the late Akinyele as an elder statesman who contributed immensely to Nigeria’s development.

In a condolence message released on Friday in Abuja by his Media Office, the APC leader said the late minister would be deeply missed by the country he served to the best of his abilities.

“Chief Alex Akinyele was an elder statesman. He served the country to the best of his abilities. He did his best as Minister of Information and later Chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission.

“He was also one leader who was very proud of his Yoruba, indeed Ondo heritage, and demonstrated this often in his appearance and conduct.

“Chief Akinyele radiated warmth and tenderness. To meet him is to like him. He was full of life. He was unmistakable with his sartorial elegance.The country he did his best for will sorely miss him.

“My thoughts are with his family, friends and relations at this moment. May they find the strength to live through his passing. I mourn with his professional colleagues, the Public Relations practitioners and members of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations.

“My condolences also go to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the government and people of Ondo State. May the soul of Chief Akinyele find eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord.”

We uncovered N12.4bn padded in 2019 budget – ICPC

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ICPC boss, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye
ICPC boss, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), says the agency uncovered N12.4 billion padded into 2019 budget.

Owasanoye said this on Thursday in Abuja while giving a report on the tracking of constituency projects in the country.

The ICPC chairman said about a month ago, the commission prevented N9.2 billion from leaving government’s purse.

According to him, budget padding is still prevalent in the MDAs because “oversight is not strong enough”.

“We broke down the 2019 budget and we are going to announce publicly what project is allocated to each state,” he said.

“People can call ICPC and ask for it and we will tell them what project they should expect. This is much more effective way of fighting corruption.

“Part of our prevention mandate is to go into government agencies and look at how public fund is used. A month ago, we restrained N9.2bn from going out. What happened was that when we looked at the budget and what has been appropriated and how it was to be used, I can tell you authoritatively that there is still budget padding.

“This is because the oversight is not strong enough. If you have personnel vote that is not exhausted and people do not complain that salaries have not been paid, you can tell that someone has made budget proposal of more than what is needed to pay salary. The agency involved did not dispute it and we informed the ministry of finance, budget and national planning.

“The figure has moved because it is an ongoing exercise. As at this morning (Thursday), we found an additional N3.2bn. Hopefully, by the time we finish, we would have found more money and saved government personnel cost.”

When votes begin to count, politicians will stop recruiting thugs like dogs, says Jonathan

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Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says when citizens’ votes begin to count, politicians will stop recruiting thugs.

He described the signals coming from Kogi and Bayelsa states as “disturbing” adding that people are already being killed before the governorship elections scheduled for Saturday.

Jonathan spoke in Port Harcourt during the presentation of a book by Gabriel Toby, a former deputy governor of Rivers, on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Simon Onu, a van driver with Bayelsa Radio was shot dead while several other people were injured during a rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nembe area of the state.

In Kogi state, the campaign train of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was attacked at the venue of a peace accord meeting set up by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lokoja.

This was after suspected thugs set fire to the secretariat of the party.

The former president said the country would not have deteriorated to this point if people’s votes mattered.

He said only electronic voting could stop violence during elections in the country, adding that with that, people would be able to elect those they believe in.

“Look at what is happening now; we have governorship elections in two states in Kogi and Bayelsa. The signals coming from both are quite disturbing,.

“The use of thugs, shooting guns and our people are already being killed when the voting process has not even started is disturbing. This would not happen if we have got to a point in this country where voter card matters.

”That is why I have always advocated electronic voting. We must go into electronic voting.

”If people these days can transfer billions of dollars from one bank to the other, using electronic means, then I believe that we can do electronic voting perfectly and that will ensure that the use of thugs during elections would not come up again.”

He said he believes that when the country develops to a point where voter cards matter, politicians would change their bad ways.

“My opinion is that people don’t change when they get into political office; we vote people that we don’t know into offices and it is difficult to know the true character of a person; it is hard to understand, but the fact is we don’t really vote people we know. People tend to use different means to get into office, “he said.

“When we develop as a nation to the point where our voter cards matter, where the people can vote, who they believe in, the behaviour of the politicians would change; politicians would stop recruiting group of boys and feeding them like dogs, calling them thugs to be used for elections while their children attend the best universities abroad,“ Jonathan said.

Court only disqualified party’s candidates, APC will feature in Bayelsa election – INEC

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Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner
Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the All Progressives Congress (APC) will participate in the Bayelsa governorship election.

Festus Okoye, commissioner of INEC voter education and publicity said the party’s name is among those to be featured on the ballot papers on Saturday.

He said the court disqualified the party’s candidates from the election but that it did not rule that the party will not be featured in the ballot papers already printed.

“We do not have any court judgment that said the APC should not be on the ballot paper, what the court said is that the party does not have a candidate.

“Where we are currently is that we have 45 political parties on the ballot papers and the APC is also on the ballot. Their votes will be counted as well.

“It is only after we collate the votes from the various registration areas up to the state level that the declaration will be made and that is when candidates will be revealed.”

Asked if votes cast for the APC in the election will be invalidated since the court sacked its recognised candidate, Okoye said INEC “has not gotten to that stage yet”, adding that ”this will be decided after the voting process”.

The commission earlier recognised David Lyon as the APC governorship candidate in the election after he was declared winner in the party’s primary poll.

But a federal high court sitting in Abuja disqualified Lyon and ruled that the APC does not have a candidate in the election after its deputy governorship candidate was discovered to have submitted false academic information.

Another court in Bayelsa also sacked him while ruling on a separate suit filed by Heineken Lokpobiri. It held that the party did not conduct a credible primary election.

The ruling, however, came about 48 hours to the poll, long after INEC had printed ballot papers for the exercise taking place on Saturday.

Why we upheld Buhari’s election – Supreme Court

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Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

The supreme court says Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, failed to prove his claim that INEC had a server through which election results were transmitted.

The court said this on Friday while giving reasons for dismissing Atiku’s appeal, which he filed against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court held that the petitioner was wrong to have relied on results from “www.factsdontlieng.com”, a website whose owner he could not establish.

Inyang Okoro, the justice who deliver the lead judgement, said: “I agree entirely with the court below that the appellants failed to prove that INEC has the server from which they got their figures.

“As a result, all the results, calculations and analysis based on the results claimed, are of no moment.”

The apex court also held that Buhari possessed the required educational qualification to contest the election and that he did not submit false documents to INEC.

It held that the constitution does not require anyone to possess a secondary school certificate to be qualified to run for president.

The court said the constitution allows a candidate who possesses a primary school certificate and has worked in the public or private service for a period not less than 10 years, and can read, write and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of INEC to contest the election.

Also, the court held that the appellant failed to prove the allegation of voting against Buhari.

We’ll never abandon you, youths assure Gov. Obaseki

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Gov. Godwin Obaseki
Gov. Godwin Obaseki

Youths of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State have vowed not to abandon Governor Godwin Obaseki in his quest to get the party’s ticket for a second term in office.

The Edo APC youths said they supported former Governor Adams Oshiomhole to have a peaceful eight years in office and as such they would not allow any group or persons to stop Governor Obaseki.

They said Governor Obaseki has performed beyond expectations in all sectors of the state economy.

State Youth Leader of the APC, Valentine Asuen, who spoke to newsmen at a press briefing in Bénin City said youths in the state were solidly behind Governor Obaseki because they have benefitted more from the administration.

Asuen dismissed the purported letter the National Working Committee of the APC relied upon to uphold the suspension of the State Chairman of the party, Barr. Anselm Ojezua.

The Edo APC Youth Leader stated that he had to sign to remain alive so as to ensure Obaseki gets the second term ticket.

He urged the APC NWC to disregard the letter saying the signatories were fake as they were obtained under duress.

According to him, “Governor Obaseki has done well in the education sector, health sector, transportation, rule of law and most especially the revenue profile of the state. We are not going to abandon him.

“It is only in Edo local government can now pay salaries without waiting for money from the federation account. The people fighting him are those that have been feeding from the state revenue.

“We will not allow them to succeed. We are with Obaseki and will mobilise Edo APC Youths to ensure Obaseki gets the needed support. Edo can not afford to

Obi calls for revolution, demands free and fair elections in Kogi, Bayelsa

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Peter Obi
Peter Obi

Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 elections, Peter Obi, has said that only a revolution will save Nigeria and launch her into the league of countries towing the paths of development. Obi made the submission while speaking at Baze University, Abuja, on Wednesday.

The former Anambra State Governor, who spoke on the theme, “The Role of Young Nigerians in the Development of Sub-Saharan Africa”, said that young Nigerians must be made to understand that nations that are doing well today went through revolution and that, that is what Nigeria needs to drive development within sub-Saharan Africa.

Explaining the nature of the revolution he is advocating, Obi said it was “not the old type of revolution understood in terms of guns and cudgels, but the type of revolution that sees digital camera displacing manual ones; electric cars threatening to displace fuel-driven cars; knowledge economy displacing baggage economy; industries displacing manual production, among others.”

Obi advised the youth to remain committed to positive ideals. He reminded them that one of the problems of Nigeria is the celebration of impunity, whereby Nigerians clap and dance with those destroying the country because of their ability to part with stolen money.

In another development, Obi has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police, as well as other security agencies and organisations that are directly or remotely involved in the conduct of election to see the elections holding tomorrow (Saturday) in Kogi and Bayelsa states as opportunities to redeem the bartered image of Nigeria as a country incapable of conducting free and fair elections.

He gave the advice Thursday during the 7th anniversary lecture of News Express at held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Recalling the gains Nigeria recorded from the conduct of elections during the immediate past Goodluck Jonathan Administration, Obi said that it restored the hope of Nigerians on elections as a means of freely expressing their franchise as against what he called the “return to kangaroo elections marred by violence and all that was vile” as recorded during the last election.

He insisted that free and fair conduct of Saturday’s elections would restore hope to the country, adding: “Besides, it would also encourage well-meaning Nigerians to join in the future elections.”

Concluding, Obi, who was the Guest Speaker at the event, said: “As has become the norm in many countries, the issue of electoral malpractice is becoming a thing of the past. As the giant of Africa, Nigeria ought to be showing example to other African countries by encouraging free and fair election and allowing candidates with the highest vote cast to emerge winners.”