NEWS AND STORIES
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) has argued that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is not eligible under the constitution to contest for President.
The AGF argued that, having not been born a Nigerian or by Nigerian parents, and having not met the provisions of Sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution, Atiku would be violating Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act should he put himself forward as candidate.
These form part of the AGF’s arguments in support of the suit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA).
The EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for President and praying the court to hold among others, that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice president cannot contest for the top office.
In documents filed for the AGF by a team of lawyers, led by Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), it was agreed that, as argued by the plaintiff, Atiku is not a Nigerian citizen by birth.
Although the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 was filed before the 2019 presidential election, it is yet to be heard and determined.
However, it was mentioned on March 15, during which Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the suit was ripe for hearing and fixed May 4, for that purpose.
The AGF in the affidavit said: “The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The first defendant was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon. By the plebiscite of 1961, the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria.
“The first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”
In his written address, the AGF argued that the effect of the June1, 1961 plebiscite was to have the people of. Northern Cameroon integrated into Nigeria as new citizens of the country, even after Nigeria’s independence.
He added: “This qualified all those born before the 1961 plebiscIte as citizens of Nigeria, but not Nigerian citizen by birth. Consequently, only citizens born after the 1961 plebiscite are citizens of Nigeria by birth.”
He cited provisions of the 1960, 1963, 1979 and 1999 constitutions and noted that the “reasoning of the lawmakers in ensuring that the persons to be the President of Nigeria is a citizen of Nigeria by birth is because such a person is the number one citizen and the image of the Nigerian state.”
The AGF argued that, where it is revealed that a person was born outside Nigeria before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, in a location which was never part of Nigeria until June 1, 1961, as it is in this case, such a person cannot claim citizenship of Nigeria by birth.
“This is even more so where his parents do not belong to any tribe indigenous to Nigeria until their death. The facts of his (Atiku’s) birth on the Cameroonian territory to Cameroonian parents remain unchallenged.
“At best, the first defendant can only acquire Nigerian citizenship by the 1961 plebiscite. The citizenship qualifications under Section 26 and 27 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), by implication, has limited the first defendant’s privileges or rights and cannot be equal or proportional to the privileges of other citizens who acquire their citizenship status by birth.
“This would include the legal preclusion of the first defendant from contesting for the office of the President of Nigeria.
The AGF noted that the only situation where Atiku could have acquired Nigerian citizenship by birth under the 1999 Constitution was if both or either of his parents and grand parents were Nigerian citizens by birth.
He added that another way would have been “if either his parents had become Nigerian citizen by virtue of Section 25(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which must be in compliance with Sections 26 and 27of the same constitution.
“With no concrete proof of compliance, we submit that the first defendant cannot contest election to the office of the Nigerian President.”
Section 26 contains the process of obtaining citizenship by registration, while Section 27 provides for the process of obtaining citizenship by naturalisation.
The AGF argued that Atiku, having contested election to the office of the Vice President before now, knowing that he is not a Nigeria citizen by birth, committed an offence under Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act.
Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on whose platform he contested the last election, have denied the plaintiff’s claims and prayed the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.
They also filed a joint notice of objection, in which they insisted that Atiku is “a bonafide citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Atiku stated that aside serving as Nigeria’s Vice President from 1999 to 2007, he held many public/private offices, including serving as Governor of Adamawa State and as a Commissioned Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service.
He said both his parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in Nigeria and they lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.
Atiku argued that he is qualified and eligible to be elected into the office of the President of Nigeria, adding that the plaintiff filed the suit in bad faith and in an attempt to malign his person and integrity.
He queried the plaintiff’s right to challenge his nationality, arguing that it failed to show the interest it has above other citizens of Nigeria to be entitled to approach the court on the issue.
Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi and former President Olusegun Obasanjo are in a meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.
Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, confirmed the meeting.
“I am not there and the meeting is still going on,” Akinyemi said when asked what the meeting is about.
“It is not just the two of them present; it is stakeholders meeting holding at his residence here in Abeokuta.”
The meeting, according to sources, may not be unconnected insecurity in the country.
Gumi has been meeting with various stakeholders to solve the security challenge.
He has been advocating amnesty for bandits, arguing they should not be treated as criminals.
Governor Samuel Ortom on Saturday credited God, his security aides and his physical fitness for his escape from death at the hands of some people he identified as herders.
The governor alleged that he was attacked on his farm at Tyo-mu on the Makurdi-Gboko Road by about 15 gun carrying men.
He called for the arrest and prosecution of leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who he alleged had singled him out for assassination at a recent meeting in Yola, Adamawa State.
However, a former chairman of Miyetti Allah in Benue State, Garus Gololo, dismissed Governor Ortom’s claim as a mere propaganda and an excuse by him to avoid paying workers’ salary at the end of the month.
Ortom’s party, the PDP, condemned the alleged attempt on his life and demanded the arrest and prosecution of the brains behind the plot.
Narrating his ordeal to reporters in Makurdi moments after escaping the attack, the governor said he ran for more than one kilometer on foot as the herders swooped on his entourage.
“I thank God for my fitness to have run for more than one and a half kilometres without stopping,” he said.
“It means that God has given me strength and I am grateful to God.”
He said the six security aides who were with him did a yeoman’s job, taking on the 15 armed herders who came for his life.
While the security aides engaged and repelled the bandits, Ortom said he seized the opportunity to take to his heels, running a distance of over one and a half kilometres.
His words: “I appreciate the security men attached to me. They were able to repel them and they could not have access to me.
“And I thank God for my fitness to have run for more than one and a half kilometres without stopping. It means that God has given me strength and I am grateful to God.
“I don’t have problems with any Fulani man or Fulani race. But I have a problem with Fulani bandits who have vowed to take over Nigeria as their ancestral home. And I say no. Not when I am here and when I am governor leading my state.
“If I can’t go to farm as a governor with the entire security around me, then who else can go to farm? You can imagine the pains that we have here in Benue State.
“Thank God for Mr President who responded to my letter that anyone with AK-47 should be shot on sight. I’m yet to see that. Let me see it happen in Benue State.
“I have reported this to the security agencies and I hope that this will be done so that the land will be safe for our people to go back to farm and do their work and survive and live their lives.
“I want to call on Mr President, on the security agencies to fish these people out. They are in the forest between Makurdi and Abinse.
“They are living there and they are coming out to commit atrocities – rape women, kill our people, maim them, destroy our farmlands. And anytime the security agencies go after them, they run across the river and back to the forest.”
An eyewitness told The Nation last night that Ortom’s understanding of the terrain went a long way in saving his life yesterday.
The witness said the governor and his security aides had gone to the large-scale farm on foot after parking their vehicles along the highway.
The vehicles were not driven to the farm because of the terrain, which was rated as “marshy and un-conducive for them.”
Unknown to them, the attackers had laid an ambush.
It was learnt that it was while going round the different segments of the farm that the attackers struck and opened fire on Ortom.
After the successful evacuation of Ortom and his details, Operation Whirlstroke troops were drafted to the farm settlement and its adjoining areas.
The troops were still on the trail of the suspected attackers at press time.
A top source said: “The governor has a large-scale multi-purpose farm around Makurdi, the state capital.
“On Saturday, the governor took time off to go to the farm along Makurdi-Gboko Road. Due to the terrain, his vehicle and those of his security escorts parked by the roadside and trekked to the farm.
“It was while they were trekking that the attackers, who had already hidden on the farm, shot at the governor and his team.
“Ortom ran for more than one kilometre, navigating the farmstead to where all the vehicles were parked.
“I think his familiarity with the farm curves saved his life.
“The suspicion is that the attackers might have kept a tab on his schedule to the farm which made them to lay an ambush.”
Asked about the nature of the farm, the source added: “It is a large-scale type. Governor Ortom does crop farming, piggery, poultry, a large rice farm, soybeans, fishery and he has a cattle ranch.”
When contacted last night, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Terver Kaase, confirmed that Ortom was “on foot when he was waylaid.”
“Officers and men of Operation Whirlstroke have moved to the area. Both the police and other security agencies are investigating the incident.”
No arrest had been made at press time.
There was also no response from the State police Command.
All attempts to reach the command’s spokesman, Sewuese Anene, proved abortive.
He neither picked his call nor responded to the SMS sent to him.
Governor Ortom’s party, PDP, condemned what it called “reckless attack and assassination attempt” by suspected bandits, reported to be killer herdsmen.
It asked President Muhammadu Buhari to “put machinery in motion by ordering an immediate manhunt, arrest and prosecution of the assailants and beef up security around the governor.”
The party in a statement expressed shock that the assailants “trailed Governor Ortom and opened fire on him and his aides along Makurdi/Gboko Road, in an attack that by every indication is aimed to assassinate the governor.”
The party said it was “worried that this brazen attempt on Governor Ortom’s life is coming on the heels of his outspokenness in exposing those allegedly behind the incessant attacks of communities in the state and demanding that the Federal Government should live up to its responsibility on the protection of life and property in the state.”
Continuing, it said: “The @OfficialPDPNig fears for the life of Governor Ortom and we urge Nigerians to hold the @OfficialAPCNg -led administration responsible over its failure to take a decisive step to check the escalated insecurity and brazen attacks on innocent Nigerians.”
The PDP however told Ortom not to be “deterred by the attack but to remain courageous and at alert, at all times while providing leadership to the people of his state.”
Governor Nyesom Wike said the Federal Government should be held responsible if Ortom is killed.
He said killing the Benue State governor could plunge Nigeria into another civil war.
Wike in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said: “If you kill Ortom, then be prepared to bury Nigeria. If anything happens to Governor Ortom, the Federal Government will be held responsible and they should be prepared that there will be no more Nigeria.”
Wike claimed a former General Officer Commanding (GOC) in the army and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains concluded plan to assassinate him during the 2019 general election.
Wike described as disturbing the growing trend of threatening the lives of incumbent governors.
To a former chairman of Miyetti Allah in Benue State, Garus Gololo, the governor’s allegation of attempt on his life is nothing more than mere propaganda.
Speaking on the phone to The Nation yesterday, Gololo said it could also be a ploy by Ortom to avoid paying workers’ salary at the end of this month.
He alleged that it has become a tradition for the governor to make up issues towards every month-end so that he would not pay salaries.
He said: “There are no herdsmen in the area he is talking about.
“I grew up in Makurdi. What I understand is that towards the end of every month, he will bring up herdsmen issue to confuse the workers.
“For almost two years, he has not paid salaries, and for almost three years, he has not paid pensions.
“Every of his problems is herdsmen. I think today is 20th, so he is looking for an excuse not to pay salary.
“Herdsmen have no grudges against Ortom. He was invited to Port Harcourt where he saw what Wike is doing.
“You as a journalist, how many times have you reported what Ortom did? Have you seen any project that he did? He does not know what he is doing.”
Ortom is locked in a running battle with herdsmen who, he says, are making life difficult for the people of the state through their open grazing.
He was recently involved in a standoff with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State after Mohammed defended the right of herders to carry AK 47.
Their quarrel was settled by their party.
One of Ortom’s predecessors, Chief George Akume, also came under a similar gun attack in March 2004, leading to the death of a close friend of the former governor, Andrew Agom, who shared the back seat of the Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep in which they were travelling.
Agom, a former managing director of the Nigeria Airways died instantly when gunmen opened fire on Akume’s convoy near Nasarawan Gwong village, in Nasarawa State.
They were on their way to Abuja.
Also killed in that incident was one of the former governor’s police security guards, Sergeant John Ngam, who was in the Pilot car.
He was hit in the head. He died at the National Hospital, Abuja where he was rushed to for medical attention at about 12 noon.
Another gang of gunmen killed a personal aide of the immediate past governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
Alhaji Abba Abbey Gidan Haki, 50, was abducted and killed on Thursday night.
His corpse was found on the road to Durbawa town in Kware Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
He was buried on Friday night according to Islamic rites.
Katsina Governor Aminu Masari has argued the south should produce the next president.
Masari spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today monitored by The Nation.
He stressed a non-northerner should succeed President Buhari in 2023.
“If you ask me as a person Aminu, I think we should move the presidency to the southern part of the country,”
Although he did not specify which particular geographical region of the south should produce the next Presidency, he simply said “South is South.”
The governor expressed confidence the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will fare well after President Buhari’s tenure despite current national challenges.
Masari stated no political party has brought social interventions for the masses in Nigeria’s history like the APC.
When asked if the APC was the nation’s saviour, the Governor replied: “Of course, by all means. Let everybody come with a balance sheet of what they got yesterday and what we get today and compare notes.”
By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna)/ GUARDIAN.NG
*Assembly gets 21-day ultimatum to kill bill
An attempt by the Enugu State House of Assembly to amend the law that provides life pensions for former governors and their deputies has elicited outrage.
This is as a known socio-political group, Save Enugu Group (SEG), yesterday, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the lawmakers to kill the bill in the interest of peace and good governance.
Also, the Enugu State Continuity and Equity Movement (ESCEM) described the move as “disappointing, misappropriation of priorities and legislative rascality”, wondering why such a bill should come up for deliberation at “ a time the state is facing numerous challenges that required urgent legislative input.”
In a statement by its Acting State Coordinator, Chukwuebuka Aneke and State Publicity Secretary, Onyendozi Onwe, the movement stated that it was a pointer that the lawmakers were not aware of the sufferings of the residents and challenged them to initiate a bill to criminalise non-payment of gratuity and pensions to retired civil servants as and when due.
The executive bill, which was presented for first reading during plenary last Thursday, seeks to provide gratuity as well as pension for life for governors and their deputies upon successful completion of tenures.
It also makes provision for medical allowance not exceeding N12 million yearly for one surviving spouse once married to the governor while in office.
Whereas the state government would provide adequate security for the ex-governors for their lifetime, proposed legislation, when passed, would also mandate government to provide three vehicles for the erstwhile chief executive replaceable every four years.
The bill reads: “A person who had held office as elected governor or deputy governor in Enugu State or any other state should be entitled to pension for life.
“When a former governor or former deputy governor dies, the state government should make adequate arrangements and bear the financial responsibility for his burial.
“The state government should pay a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the yearly basic salary of the incumbent to his next of kin, among others.”
Reacting to the development, National Coordinator of SEG, Chief Willy Ezeugwu, submitted: “It is shocking that while a state like Lagos, with high internally generated revenue (IGR) that runs into billions of naira monthly, has abolished pensions for former governors, the Enugu State House of Assembly allowed such a bill to pass first reading when such a law will deplete the state’s meagre revenue by over N2 billion yearly.”
He said the group was mobilising “conscious citizens, civil society groups and labour unions to shut down Enugu State House of Assembly for as long as it will take to kill this most insensitive bill.”
But justifying the move, Leader of the State House of Assembly, Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, told The Guardian that the bill had been in existence since 2007, stressing that the review was prompted by the fact that it was not all-embracing.
Main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday gave reasons while the power pendulum will swing in their favour in 2023.
While the PDP argued that its reconciliation drive and APC’s inability to tackle the nation’s myriad of problems, including insecurity, would give it a victory, the ruling party stated that the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari and the gale of defections from the opposition pointed to one direction: Continuation of the Next Level.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan spoke for his party during an interview on Arise TV’s “The Morning Show” monitored by The Nation.
He said: “In one zone out of six, we are having contestation of power that is leading towards disagreement, which is already being reconciled by the Senator Bukola Saraki-led reconciliation committee.
“Our party is a hope of Nigerians as we speak today. The acts of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping have subsumed our nation …show clearly that Nigerians are thinking of who will rescue our nation.
“Prior to the 2015 elections, insurgency was fought to the fringes.
“The PDP is ready and prepared to take over the mantle of leadership through the ballot box in 2023.”
The PDP spokesman also said the feud between former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, and Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde was being resolved by the Saraki committee.
Earlier yesterday, Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) had said Nigeria’s redemption would depend only on the return of the PDP to power in 2023.
The governors claimed that the main opposition had demonstrated proven ability to improve the living condition of Nigerians, arguing that this had diminished under the APC.
They spoke at the PDP Southsouth zonal congress in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
While Wike told the delegates that Nigerians were yearning to return the opposition party to power in 2023, Okowa said the nation was better under PDP’s administration than the APC.
But Secretary of the Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe said the PDP and its leaders were deluding themselves of returning to power.
“The PDP is apparently deluding itself that its desperate cravings to return to power at the centre amounts to the wishes of Nigerians.
“This is incredibly delusional. It is important to remind the PDP that in a democracy and progressive politics, power is not ‘taken’ but given through a popular mandate by the people.
“The current state of the PDP does not show the failed opposition party is anywhere close to earning such mandate from the electorate.
“From previously abandoned to new projects, under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, every state of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has an ongoing and major federal road and other critical infrastructure project. This is a fact and it is verifiable.
“The coming of CECPC has compelled the opposition to go on futile and desperate attempts at begging its members and leaders to remain in the party.
“President Buhari’s administration is implementing one of the world’s largest and wide-ranging social investment programme, which is benefitting the vulnerable and has taken many Nigerians out of poverty. Commendably, we are well on course to delivering other aspects of the Next Level agenda,” Akpanudoedehe said.
Also, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), a group sympathetic to the APC, described PDP’s statement as wishful thinking.
The BMO reminded the main opposition that it takes more than gathering “loud-talking leaders” to sway the electorate.
Also, opposition political groups, under the platform of National Consultative Front (NCFront), have inaugurated a 22-man merger committee to negotiate with existing political parties across the country.
The committee is to work out modalities for unseating the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It is headed by former House of Representatives Speaker Ghali Umar Na’aba and mandated to negotiate and facilitate an all-inclusive Mega Party Movement for Nigerians.
The coalition also planned to mobilise massive resistance to national elections without a brand new constitution, biometric accreditation, electronic and Diaspora voting, among others.
At a virtual inauguration of the merger committee yesterday, the Chief Convener of the coalition, Prof. Pat Utomi said there was need to reclaim the country from political pillagers and build a Nigeria that “our children will be proud of”.
A communiqué issued after the meeting and signed by NCFront’s head of secretariat, Olawale Okuniyi, announced that “leaders of conscience under the umbrella of the National Consultative Front (NCFront), in a conscious effort to provide a credible ideological mega political alternative to rescue Nigeria from the predatory and disastrous grip of the ruling political leadership of the APC and PDP today inaugurated a 22-member Political Merger Committee, headed by Ghali Umar Na’aba, former Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives”.
It added: “The high-powered political merger committee, which includes 12 national chairpersons of national political parties and nine major political movements and interest groups, was mandated to use its inclusivity to ensure the fusion of various platforms, allies and stakeholders that share NCFront mission to rescue and save Nigeria from the avoidable misery and hopelessness brought upon the Nigerian Peoples by the ruling political parties in Nigeria.”
The Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers has resolved to prevail on Governor Kayode Fayemi to contest for Presidency in 2023, stressing that he is well qualified for the task of leading the nation.
The Obas said they would send a delegation at an opportune time to prevail on him to contest for the position. The monarchs took the decision at their statutory monthly meeting in Ado-Ekiti after listening to a four-man voluntary organisation, known as “Our Belief Project”, led by Aloba Abejide.
Abejide had pleaded with the traditional rulers to call on the governor to make up his mind early and declare his intention to contest in the 2023 presidential election.
The state Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, who is the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi Afuntade I, who welcomed the team to the Obas Council Chambers, in tandem with complimentary remarks from several traditional rulers, spoke at length on the sterling qualities of Governor Fayemi.
He stressed that the challenges confronting Nigeria today would definitely need a young, dynamic, energetic and brilliant Fayemi who has the wherewithal to be a good president.
Oba Alabi noted that Governor Fayemi was one of those who fought the military to bring back democracy to Nigeria and that a man of his calibre, with a higher degree in war studies would know how to resolve the issue of insecurity in Nigeria.
Summarising the views of his fellow Obas, the foremost traditional ruler said this was the time for an Ekiti indigene to become the President of Nigeria, adding that Ekiti people had helped many other tribes in the past to get to the top.
“All Ekiti Obas will support Fayemi wholeheartedly in the 2023 presidential election,” the Alawe stated.
Oba Alabi recalled the memorable and positive remarks made by the Sultan of Sokoto and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State during the October 2020 Arewa Summit in Kaduna. He said they expressed implicit confidence in Governor Fayemi.
The monarchs concluded that Fayemi would make a good President to lead Nigeria at this critical period of the country’s history. They, however, advised politicians in Ekiti to be united and work together on the project.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the Federal Government against further increase in fuel price in the country.
PDP said this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja on Saturday.
Ologbondiyan said that Nigerians were already faced with economic hardship following the November 2020 increase in the price of fuel to N170 per litre, adding that further hike in fuel price would worsen the situation.
He said that Nigerians might not survive a further fuel price increase with its attendant increase in cost of goods and services.
He said there was no justication in comparing Nigeria’s fuel price with those of other countries whose citizens have better purchasing power.
“With a N30,000 monthly minimum wage, which represents N1,000 daily wage, compared to a countries like Saudi Arabia with a monthly minimum wage of 3,000 Riyals; a daily pay of100 Riyals (N10,161).
“There is no foundation to base fuel price in Nigeria with that of Saudi Arabian where citizens earn ten times higher.
“Our party therefore rejects any contemplation towards fuel price increase,” he said.
MUIDEEN OLANIYI/ DAILYTRUST.COM
The ousted National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said that he will decline to return to the seat if another National Executive Committee (NEC) decision or a court order reverses the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) which he led.
Oshiomhole, in a statement on Monday titled ‘My Position Has Not Changed’, dismissed the insinuation that he was behind the ongoing court cases seeking to upturn the June 25 NEC decision on his dissolved leadership.
He said: “In reporting the legal action taken by a member of the dissolved NWC of the APC, some attributions have been made to the effect that the plaintiff is an “ally of Oshiomhole” or an “associate of Oshiomhole.” This is despite the fact that the court documents are clear on who the plaintiff really is.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the 21-member NWC under my leadership largely worked cohesively and harmoniously. The only exceptions were the three members used by forces desperate to take control of the party. They contrived a crisis and abused the judicial process to undermine the constitution and integrity of the party. The majority of 18 members worked as a team and not as allies or loyalists of anybody.
“When the NEC in its wisdom dissolved the NWC, I immediately announced publicly that I accepted the decision, regardless of its legality or otherwise, as it affected my position as national chairman. I was the only one at the press conference where I made the announcement. The reason, of course, was that some of my colleagues in the dissolved NWC obviously didn’t share my position not to contest the dissolution in court. “Since I could only accept responsibility for my own decision, I instructed my lawyers to withdraw the suits challenging my purported suspension from office by the proxies of those bent on removing me as chairman.
“It is, therefore, the height of mischief to insinuate, as it is being done in some quarters, that I would publicly accept the decision and later surreptitiously seek to contest it in court. That chapter of my political life is closed.
“Even if another NEC decision or a court order reverses the dissolution, I will, with utmost humility, decline to return as APC National Chairman. I am proud of the accomplishments of the NWC under my leadership and I am grateful to the principled 18 members who worked as a team committed to the cause of the party.
“Above all, I bear no grudge against any one for the manner of my removal. Instead, I am grateful and loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari who in the first place encouraged me to contest the chairmanship of the party.
“I am particularly appreciative of the presidential support and encouragement which enabled me to assert the authority of the party without fear or favour. Indeed, I would not have lasted as long as I did as national chairman but for the President’s support.
“I will therefore continue to support his administration to succeed in serving the common good of the people of Nigeria.”
The 36 state governors have resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari “as soon as possible to address security challenges across the country, particularly in the light of the carnage in Borno State”.
The governors took the decision at the 22nd meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held on Wednesday.
They had been briefed by the delegation they sent to commiserate with Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State on December 1, 2020, over the killing of more than 40 rice farmers in Garin Kwashebe in Jere Local Government Area of the state.
The victims were harvesting rice when the terrorists unexpectedly pounced on them, killing them in gruesome manner.
The terror sect has since claimed responsibility for the massacre, claiming that the farmers once arrested one of its members and handed him over to the authorities.
The NGF, in a communiqué issued in Abuja on Friday, also elected to support the necessary reforms that will result in a police force that works for all.
“As an immediate to medium-term measure, members agreed to pay close attention to the conduct of police officers across the country in order to get them and other internal security operatives fully back to work as they have not been functioning to full capacity since the EndSARS protests with the attendant security exposure to the safety of lives and properties of the ordinary citizens,” they said.
The governors also discussed the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) industrial action and urged the Federal Government and the union to urgently resolve their differences to allow for immediate reopening of the nation’s tertiary institutions.
They asked both sides to “hasten the implementation of the truce elements in their resolutions so as to allow schools reopen immediately.”
They faulted the practice where the Federal Government is currently collecting stamp duties, insisting that stamp duties “belong primarily to states and the various collection platforms are channels of payment to the states; while aligning with the guidance provided by its lawyers and experts.”
The governors also endorsed the two proposals canvassing infrastructure development by both the Governor Nasir el Rufai Committee and the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The el-Rufai’s Adhoc Committee Leverage Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds for Investment in Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is proposing the creation of a National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) such that a total sum of N2 trillion at 9% interest can be accessed through the NSIA.
The Governors’ Forum Chairman, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, told the meeting about a similar proposal by the CBN Governor to enable states access N15 trillion naira for national infrastructure funding through INFRACREDIT at a lower interest rate of 5%.
The governors agreed to keep active and operational the State COVID -19 Task Force Teams and Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in addition to ensuring the prompt release of funds as outlined in the State Incidence Action Plans (IAP).
They also agreed to keep temporary treatment centres open, ensure ramping up COVID-19 testing across the country and support the planned “COVID-19 Testing Week’ to be launched by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
The governors expressed their commitment to achieving the second Eligibility Criteria (EC) requirement of publishing online their approved FY21 Annual State Budget prepared under the National Chart of Accounts by January 31, 2021.
Besides, they restated their commitment to implementing reforms associated with the programme, including the deployment of a Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to support effective land administration and an efficient property tax system and resolved to inaugurate the NGF-NESG Economic Roundtable (NNER) Steering Committee, whose technical committee is to commence the implementation of the strategic plan, which includes but not limited to the national mapping of sub-national endowments, global mapping of sub-national entities for global competitiveness and development of competitiveness toolkits.
POLLS closed in Burkina Faso on Sunday after a presidential and parliamentary election dominated by the threat of Islamist violence that prevented voting in hundreds of villages.
President Roch Kabore is seeking a second five-year term, campaigning on achievements such as free healthcare for children under the age of five and paving some of the red dirt roads that snake across the arid West African country.
But a surge in attacks by groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State has eclipsed everything. The violence has cost more than 2,000 lives this year alone.
After voting in a school in Ouagadougou, Kabore told reporters: “I call on all Burkinabe to vote, whatever their leaning. It’s about the democracy of Burkina Faso, it’s about development, it’s about peace.”
The election went smoothly in the capital and there were no reports of large-scale violence elsewhere during the vote. But some polling stations in insecure eastern areas had to be closed because of threats, the electoral commission said.
“People were threatened. They told them: ‘those who put their fingers in the ink can say goodbye to their finger’,” the commission’s chief, Newton Ahmed Barry, said at a press conference, referring to the ink marks people are given to show they have voted.
At least 400,000 people – nearly 7% of the electorate – are expected to have been unable to vote due to polling stations not opening for fear of violence, official data forecast ahead of the vote.
“Before we had peace, now we have none,” said 48-year-old security guard Gilbert Alalinga at nightfall outside a polling station in Ouagadougou.
“I didn’t hear of violence today, that was encouraging. I want to be able to travel to the north, the east, the south without problem,” he said as children raced on bicycles in a sandy field beyond.
Election officials began counting immediately after the polls closed, chalking up each vote on school blackboards across the city.
Komboigo yesterday joined Diabre in claiming the vote had been marred by fraud. Both vowed to challenge the results by filing a formal complaint today. They have not provided evidence for their claims.
Analysts expect a tight race that could go to a second round if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote.
Overall provisional results from the first round are expected by the middle of the week.
The US’ Federal Election Commission, FEC, has punctured claims by President Donald Trump that there is fraud in the presidential election.
Trump has consistently claimed that illegal votes were being counted in favour of challenger, Joe Biden.
He said if legal votes were counted, he truly won the election, but noted that several illegal votes were being counted at the moment.
But Ellen Weintraub, Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, wants Americans to know that “there really has been no evidence of fraud” in the election this year.
“State and local officials and poll workers throughout the country really stepped up. And there have been very few complaints about how this election was run,” Weintraub told CNN Saturday morning.
“Very few substantiated complaints, let me put it that way. There is no evidence of any kind of voter fraud. There is no evidence of illegal votes being cast.
“In fact, and you don’t have to take my word for it, because people throughout the country, non-partisan election experts, have come out and handled this election and how it was run.”
Weintraub added: “There really has been no evidence of fraud. None of the complaints have attached any evidence of fraud.”
Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu has said that the convergence of the diverse core value systems of the North, West and East is posing a serious obstacle for Nigeria to function as a viable state.
Kanu who said this on Friday in an interview with an publisher of Ovation magazine, Chief Dele Momodu on an IPoB community radio, argued that bringing Nigerians together without paying attention to the core value system of these ethnic groups was the bane of development and unrests in the country.
”So, these are the anomalies that Africans particularly educated Nigerians need to sit down to address. That’s why we have unrested development, that’s why nothing seems to be working because the convergence of these diverse core value system of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo is making it impossible for Nigeria to function as a viable state.”
The IPOB leader made it clear that he would not have been agitating for sovereign state of Biafra if Nigeria was created by a Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa man.
“Nigeria was not constructed by a Yoruba man, if it were I would have accepted it, Nigeria was not created by a Fulani man, if that was the case who knows I might have accepted that, Nigeria was not created by an Hausa man either, Nigeria was created by a white man and named by a woman.”
“Nobody came from these ethnic groups, they never got together to say our name should be Nigeria. A white man determined that. I cannot get to England to say to the English people I want to rename Liverpool, I want to give it another name, I am sure they will think I am mentally ill or unstable and put me in jail.
Now the problem is why should Nigerians or Africans accept the name Nigeria, which does not mean anything in Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa language,” he stated.
BY DENNIS EREZI/ GUARDIAN.NG
Kano State governor Umaru Ganduje has suspended his media aide for “unguarded utterances on the person of President Muhammadu Buhari on the social media platform.”
“I’ve never seen a govt with zero empathy like that of Buhari,” Salihu Tanko Yakasai, a special adviser to Ganduje on media, tweeted with his verified Twitter handle @Dawisu on Saturday.
“So many times when his people are going through difficult time and expect some sort of shoulder to reassure them that he is in charge, but he failed to do so.”
One of the the tweets has been deleted.
Kano State commissioner for information Muhammad Garba said in a statement that said the suspension of Yakasai took immediate effect.
He said that, although the media aide has owned up the indiscreet comment as his personal opinion, it may be difficult to differentiate between personal opinion and official stand on matters of public concern.
Yakasai posted the tweet at the height of #EndSARS protests across the country.
The now-disbanded controversial SARS police unit was the point of global attention since last Saturday over cases of brutality, extortion, extrajudicial killing and harassment of Nigerians.
Street protests against SARS received a boost from several countries after many celebrities joined the advocacy.
Nigerian youths in thousands led protests in different parts of the country, demanding total scrapping of the controversial police unit. Many of these protests were held overnight, most especially in Lagos State – in front of the state House of Assembly.
President Buhari only reacted to the global advocacy against the misuse of power by the Nigeria Police on Thursday night.
“I am being briefed regularly on the reform efforts ongoing to end police brutality and unethical conduct, and ensure that the Police are fully accountable to the people,” Buhari said in a tweet.
The president’s promise was not relied upon as more Nigerians and the international community joined the #EndSARS protests.
Reacting, Ganduje’s aide – Yakasai said, “This I-dont-care attitude is on another level.”
“To speak to ur own ppl (sic) over issues that are bedevilling them has become something like a favour u’re doing to them,” Yakasai said in a follow-up tweet to the former.
“Over & over again, u cannot spare 5mins & address the nation to calm them down, the same people u went to the 36 states to beg for their votes, its heartbreaking.”