NEWS AND STORIES
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the late President Umaru Musa-Yar’adua as a honest and sincere public servant.
President Buhari, in his message to commemorate the 10th year remembrance anniversary of the former President’s death, also described him as a patriot, whose primary focus as a leader was easing the pains of ordinary Nigerians.
According to President Buhari, the political differences he had with the late President Musa-Ya’adua notwithstanding, he would always give him his regards as an outstanding leader in the history of Nigeria.
While extending his prayers to the family of the late President and the government of Katsina State, he charged all Nigerian politicians to emulate his rare gentle nature and avert character features that would corrupt political opposition, making enemies out of political opponents.
“Despite our political differences, President Yar’Adua was unarguably a patriot because of his passion for the masses and his reversal of policies he believed were hurting ordinary Nigerians.
“Every leader should be given the credit that he deserves, whether you agree with President Yar’Adua politically or not, I must say that history will always record his honest and sincere service to the country.
“As we remember President Yar’Adua today, let us emulate his patience and gentle nature so that we don’t introduce toxicity into our politics where opponents perceive each other as enemies.
“Let me also use this occasion to extend my prayers and goodwill to his family, and Katsina State Government on the 10th anniversary of his demise. May Allah continue to bless and comfort his gentle soul.’’
According to the PDP, the President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of this tenure.
In a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described President Buhari’s new year message as completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous, and that it not galvanise any form of hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria.
“The PDP holds that Mr. President should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.
“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.
“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of ‘standing down’ or not being ‘available’ for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.
“Mr. President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law. Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits.
“Moreover, President Buhari and his extinguishing APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.
“The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr. President’s new year message”, the PDP said.
The party called on the President to end what it described as “showboating” by issuing a fresh new year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the 8th Assembly Electoral Act amendment bill, which he refused to sign, to the present National Assembly without any further delay.
It also called on the President to waste no time in signing the bill into law after it might have been retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.
The President was also called upon to order the immediate prosecution of his party leaders who allegedly perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election.
Specifically, the main opposition party charged the President to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the killings that characterised the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi States, where APC used thugs and security agents allegedly unleashed mayhem and killed innocent persons who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls.
“Mr. President should apologise for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.
“Furthermore, the PDP charges President Buhari to use the opportunity of a fresh New Year Message to apologise for his administration’s failure to secure the nation and for plunging our country into a biting economic recession occasioned by the incompetence, corruption and unbridled treasury looting in his government which led to the degrading of our nation from one of the world’s fastest growing economies to world’s poverty capital with an excruciating unemployment rate, decayed infrastructure and accumulated $83 billion debt.
“Such course of humility in showing remorse, seeking help and getting competent hands to manage our economy and security system should be the legacy which Mr. President is expected to pursue without which history cannot be kind to his administration and his APC”, the party stated.
Year 2019 was a very eventful year for Nigeria as a country. It was a year the country experienced unforgettable events among which shook it to its very foundations. Some of the events are here brought back to readers’ memory:
1. Vice President Osinbajo’s copter crash: What would have been a day of national mourning, by sheer providence, turned into a moment of excitement, singing, dancing and praising of God by Nigerians when the number two citizen in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo survived an air crash for the second time. Osinbajo and few of his aides were on election campaign visit to Kogi State on February 3 when his helicopter crash-landed in Kabba. Undeterred, the VP who was unhurt alongside his aides, continued the campaign trail for his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The first incident was in June 2017 when he went to Gwagawalada Area Council, Abuja FCT to attend graduation of 40 senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service. The chopper he was traveling in crash-landed shortly after take-off. He was unhurt. These two similar events earned him the sobriquet “Ojabo koku” (One who fell from up without dying) among his Yoruba kinsmen.
2. 2019 General Elections: The elections were held across the country between February 23 and March 16, with the presidential being expectedly the most acrimonious. As a matter of fact, the kind of gang up against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari overtly staged by various categories of people mostly from the opposition camp, some former leaders, religious leaders mostly from the Christendom, and corrupt politicians who were choking under his anti-corruption crusades had never been witnessed in the chequered history of Nigeria.
It started with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, leading a revolt against the government, as he had done to every government that has ruled Nigeria, except his own. Other disgruntled elements who could not wait to see Buhari’s back, for various reasons, seized the opportunity to join the wagon kick-started by the former President. Even the main opposition party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whose image, had in the past been ruined by Obasanjo, in his desperation to clinch the position of number one citizen, swallowed all the bitter pills Obasanjo had rammed down his throat and went back to his traducer like a prodigal son, giving effect to the saying: ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. Obasanjo also reciprocated by going back to his own vomit, asking Nigerians to vote for the same man he had warned the people to steer clear of. Primordial sentiments capable of destabilizing the country such as ethnicity and religion were employed by the opposition camp as tools of campaign. It got to a point that fear that the country was going to break up was palpable.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Saturday, marked properties belonging to former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
According to EFCC, the marking is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of Justice Muhammed Idris sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Kalu, who is the Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, had been arraigned alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, his Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, over an amended 39-count charge bordering on conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called 19 witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.
The defendants, however, testified on behalf of themselves during the trial.
The parties, during the proceedings on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, adopted their final written addresses.
In his final submission, the prosecution counsel, Jacobs, urged the judge to jail the defendants, saying the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.
Jacobs also urged the court to wind up the company as provided by the Law and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
However, the defence counsel urged the court to “dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge” their clients.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris found the defendants guilty on all counts.
Justice Idris held that the prosecution had established its case against the defendants.
The Judge further held that “the case was conclusively investigated, as the prosecution conducted thorough investigations.”
Justice Idris, therefore, convicted and sentenced the first defendant, Kalu to five years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11; three years on counts 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,
33; 12 years on counts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 and five years on count 39.
The second defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment on counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 10 years on counts 34, 37, 38 and 39.
Justice Idris further held that “In respect of the third convict, Slok Nigeria Limited, an order is hereby made that the company shall hereupon and without further assurances, but for this order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arraigned a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu, for an alleged fraud of N1.23bn.
He pleaded not guilty. Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted him bail and adjourned till November 25, 2019.
Siddin Sarkin Kano, Alhaji Auwalu Maja, has revealed the circumstances that prompted his sack by Emir of Kano, His Highness Muhammad Sanusi 11.
He told reporters on Monday at Kano that he was sacked for honouring Kano Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje during the march for his tribunal victory.
Maja alleged he has been relegated to the background since the emergence of Sanusi, saying his hard work was not commensurate with what he gets.
Recalling the incidents that led to his sack, he said: “When Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje returned to Kano after two weeks of official trip with President Muhamamdu Buhari, last Wednesday, I was one of the people that joined the mammoth to welcome him.
“On that fateful day, I presented a regalia and the portrait of the late Emir of Kano, Sarki Ado Abdullahi Bayero to Governor Ganduje to show my excitement and joy as I joined the good people of Kano state to celebrate with him over his victory at the Tribunal.
“It was that singular action of mine that prompted the current Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11 to give a verbal instruction for my dismissal and vacation from my official residence where I have lived for over 20 years.
“When they conveyed the Emir’s instruction to me, I immediately complied and vacated the residence. This is the third time I have been asked to vacate that office!
“Apart from that, I was also asked to hand over the keys of my office to another person as well as, all other properties belonging to the Palace and I complied.
“By virtue of my assignment, I used to work with Shamaki (the head of the Place Guards) directly. It was the Shamaki, Alhaji Wada Najalo that carried out the Emir Sanusi’s instruction to sack and dismiss me from the Palace.
“Based on the instruction given to me to hand over all the properties of the Palace, I asked my boys to bring out all the Palace properties under our care and present them to Shamaki, which they did.
“However, my utmost concern is that since the coming of Emir Sanusi, I am being relegated to the background.My official assignment is a tedious one which I carried out religiously but my hard work is not commiserated with my welfare.
“I have no personal animosity against Emir Sanusi or anybody in the Emirate. They humiliated me because I honoured Governor Ganduje. Now my appeal to the emir is restore my position.”
WASHINGTON — As he tries to tackle the greatest challenges to American power in Asia, President Trump is overturning policy toward China and North Korea that for decades was as canonical as Confucian ritual.
With North Korea, he is engaging with the enemy in hopes that negotiations will yield a surrender of nuclear weapons. With China, Mr. Trump says the United States must take a big step back from an economic relationship that has strengthened a formidable rival.
The shifts were prompted by internal changes in each country, combined with Mr. Trump’s unorthodox instincts and the views of his senior Asia advisers. The administration now has growing bipartisan support in Washington to widen an emerging global conflict with China and build diplomacy with North Korea.
This week, American negotiators are pressing forward with the policy transformations.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, spoke to Chinese counterparts on Tuesday by telephone to continue tough trade negotiations. Meanwhile, Stephen E. Biegun, the special representative for North Korea, was in Brussels and Berlin to discuss diplomatic approaches to North Korea.
The meetings follow Mr. Trump’s June trip to East Asia, where he met separately with President Xi Jinping of China and Kim Jong-un of North Korea.
“The administration has changed the nature of U.S. government interaction in many ways with both North Korea and China,” said James Green, the former senior trade official in the United States Embassy in Beijing. “In both cases the traditional mechanics of diplomacy have been upended.”
More important, Mr. Trump has smashed the very foundations of longstanding policy.
That has alarmed some experts. More than 150 former officials and scholars signed an open letter that the writers posted last week, denouncing the administration’s combative China policy as “fundamentally counterproductive.”
“We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted in every sphere,” said the letter, which was organized by scholar Michael D. Swaine.
Yet the aggressive approach to China has drawn many supporters, including some Obama administration officials and Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer. “Hang tough on China, @realDonaldTrump. Don’t back down,” Mr. Schumer tweeted in May. “Strength is the only way to win with China.”
Since the 1970s, when presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter re-established relationswith Beijing, American officials and experts have contended that economic ties between the United States and China would anchor the relationship between the two nations and, perhaps, coax Communist Party leaders toward Western liberalism.
But Mr. Xi, who took power in 2012, has exercised expansive authoritarian controls. He has detained more than one million Muslims in camps, reinforced the party’s role across strategic industries and expanded the military’s footprint in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
One economist who advised Chinese leaders in the 1980s, Janos Korani, wrote this weekthat Western experts like himself had been Dr. Frankensteins, helping build up China without realizing the eventual consequences for the West. “Now, the fearsome monster is here,” he wrote.
Trump administration officials argue that economic engagement without appropriate guardrails created a tyrannical behemoth that could supplant American supremacy. Some call for long-term tariffs to “decouple” the economies of China and the United States by breaking supply chains and other business ties.
”We seem to be at a unique confluence of Xi and Trump,” said Bill Bishop, an analyst in Washington who publishes Sinocism, a China briefing. “And Make China Great Again meets Make American Great Again is a recipe for friction.”
But Mr. Trump rarely if ever talks about strategic concerns and speaks admiringly of Mr. Xi, leading China hawks to fear a trade deal with Beijing that relents on national security issues like Huawei.
On North Korea, the general policy since the George W. Bush administration has been to avoid bilateral diplomacy and impose economic isolation to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.
But Mr. Trump upended that by doing face-to-face diplomacy with Mr. Kim, most recently when the two strolled for a minute in North Korea — the first time a sitting American president had entered the country. It was their third meeting, after a failed Hanoi summit in February and initial talks in Singapore in June 2018.
Former officials and analysts increasingly say diplomacy is the only way forward with North Korea, given that it already has an estimated 30 to 60 nuclear warheads. Longtime advocates of rapprochement point optimistically to the shifting consensus in Washington.
“My impression is that they are certainly singing in a new key, and it’s a good thing however or why ever they are doing so,” said Robert L. Carlin, a former North Korea analyst at the C.I.A. and State Department.
He added that if the foreign policy establishment was “reconsidering the situation, what’s possible, what’s pragmatic and realistic after nearly two decades of feckless policy, that’s all to the good, and maybe just in time. “
A notable figure now preaching diplomacy is Michael Morell, the former acting C.I.A. director and host of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast.
“A negotiated solution is the only solution to this problem,” he said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on June 30. “There isn’t a military option. There’s not a covert action option. So getting back to talks with the North Koreans is important, and I think that’s a good thing.”
He also said the United States would have to live with a nuclear North Korea because Mr. Kim would not give up his nuclear weapons program — an assessment reached by the intelligence community. “We should push for the whole thing, but the best we can hope for is limits,” he said.
“Containment?” asked Margaret Brennan, the host.
“Containment,” Mr. Morell agreed.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Morell said the administration’s ability to shift consensus thinking is only possible because of Mr. Trump “being the Republican president that he is.”
“So political Washington in its entirety has come around to the opinion that talking to North Korea is good,” he said.
Trump administration officials stress that the goal of negotiations is to get Mr. Kim to give up all of his nuclear weapons. But senior State Department officials are now contemplating intermediate steps — including reaching a freeze of nuclear activity — rather than going for a grand deal, as Mr. Trump tried to do in Hanoi.
Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said Tuesday that a freeze would be the “beginning of the process.”
Mr. Trump could shift the consensus further, if he decides the United States can tacitly accept a nuclear North Korea. Beyond Mr. Morell, other analysts are coming to that conclusion — one that would have drawn outrage if mentioned aloud during the Obama administration.
“I can’t see Kim giving up his nuclear weapons entirely,” said Jean H. Lee, a Korea expert at the Wilson Center in Washington. “They are his ‘treasured sword’ and all that he has to give him leverage. But he is willing to barter some dismantling of his nuclear program in exchange for concessions.”
Under former President Barack Obama, the United States reached a nuclear freeze deal with North Korea in 2012 but quickly backed out when Pyongyang announced a satellite launch.
Obama officials stuck to a strategy of pressuring North Korea through sanctions, which the Trump administration is also doing. But Mr. Obama did not try face-to-face diplomacy with Mr. Kim — something that one senior Obama official, Daniel Russel, called “diplotainment” when done by Mr. Trump.
“It was something the North Koreans repeatedly requested,” said Mr. Russel, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
He said Obama officials considered it, “but immediately recognized that it would be worse than foolish to legitimize Kim with a summit before the groundwork had been laid for a denuclearization deal.”
The move left Ms. Pelosi’s natural allies in the House’s Hispanic and progressive caucuses stunned and feeling betrayed. “Since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus?” Mr. Pocan said on Twitter. Representatives Max Rose, Democrat of New York, and Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota, were later seen angrily confronting him on the House floor.
Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona and a former co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the episode left him “very resentful,” and feeling as if the moderates had essentially forced the House to silence its natural inclinations.
“I just hope that in forcing us to do nothing, they don’t feel like they’ve actually accomplished anything,” Mr. Grijalva said. “I don’t know what the motivation was, to try to assert some power or what, but in the future, we shouldn’t hesitate bringing our agenda and our legislation forward because it might offend 23 or 24” centrists.
The episode also exposed divisions among the moderates themselves. On the House floor on Thursday, about 10 moderate freshman Democrats huddled near the marble dais, arguing about the way forward. One lawmaker said if they sided with the other party in a bid to force the House to consider the weaker Senate bill, “we might as well be Republicans,” according to one person familiar with the exchange who described it on the condition of anonymity.
Representative Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia, grew red-faced and emotional during the exchange, and stormed off the House floor, returning a short time later and accepting an embrace from Representative Katie Porter, Democrat of California. Both ultimately supported the bill.
It was a version of a point that had been made, in much gentler fashion, during floor remarks by Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the Rules Committee. He warned that the procedural move the moderates were threatening to join “is a vote to give control of the House floor to the Republicans.”
But the moderates said they had done the party a favor, getting the House to the only tenable position as quickly as possible.
“The one lesson from Trump that Democrats may want to take to heart is the value of saying things clearly and unambiguously, not in nuanced shades of gray,” he said. “But it’s incumbent on any Democrat to appeal to a different set of values and completely avoid the clownishness.” He said that what a winning Democrat needs to project is the “return to the power of a good idea well expressed.”
Mr. Trump would not have to insert himself into the Democratic primary process for his presence to be felt in the air over two hot Miami nights. But it has at least been suggested that he could live-tweet the proceedings during his trip to Asia for a major international summit meeting with foreign leaders.
If he follows through, it would be a change from how Mr. Trump typically employs the medium — he more often reacts to coverage of events, rather than the events themselves. In 2016, he live-tweeted only one event, the vice-presidential debate, when he retweeted accounts that mocked Senator Tim Kaine’s appearance.
Ms. Dunn said that if Mr. Trump chose to weigh in, it would be a gift to the candidates he targeted. “I would think the candidates would think, Terrific,” she said. “Nothing could be better than walking out of the debate with the president tweeting at me.” In terms of appearing to present a real threat and contrast to Mr. Trump, she said, “you couldn’t make the point better.”
The Republican National Committee is not outsourcing all of its rapid response to the president. The committee’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, will be in Miami during the debates, talking about the “socialist policies” promoted by the Democratic field, according to an organization official. The committee, officials said, is also planning to put out a response to the debates in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
That piece of the Republican response is more similar to how incumbents have outsourced reaction in the past.
“We, as a campaign, monitored and commented on statements that were made during debates,” said David Axelrod, a former adviser to Mr. Obama. “Occasionally, the president may have inserted a comment in a speech based on something that was said. But he wasn’t live-tweeting the other side’s race. He was busy with his day job.”
It takes a lot for C-Span to get mad.
But an unusual move by the South Carolina Democratic Party to bar the network from putting on a live broadcast of its annual convention — which is doubling as a major showcase for 21 presidential candidates — has left executives at the strait-laced public affairs network fuming. CNN and Fox News aren’t thrilled about it, either.
The source of the friction is a deal struck between the state party and MSNBC, the liberal-leaning cable network, granting the channel exclusive rights to show the candidates’ speeches live on Saturday.
Under the party’s rules, which were abruptly announced this week, rival television networks will have to wait three hours after the event concludes before broadcasting their footage.
News organizations always scrap for exclusive interviews with prominent politicians. But the South Carolina convention, virtually a required stop for presidential hopefuls, is typically open to all journalistic comers. The decision to restrict coverage set off broader concerns that the state party was picking and choosing the news organization allowed to cover what is a crucial event in an early-voting state.
“This has never happened before, ever,” said Steve Scully, the C-Span political editor, who has overseen the channel’s campaign coverage since the early 1990s.
Mr. Scully, who also hosts C-Span’s popular call-in show, is perhaps best known for a stoic onscreen demeanor that remains in place even when callers rant and complain. On Wednesday, Mr. Scully sounded more animated.
“You have what is an open event, and a political party dictating who can and cannot carry it live,” he said in an interview. “It really is a very undemocratic move. If they’re trying to get access to the widest audience possible, why not let everyone in?”
C-Span lodged a formal complaint on Wednesday with the convention’s organizers, calling their move “the antithesis of openness” that “could set a precedent that would end up seriously limiting citizen access to key presidential electoral events.”
Fox News, which was also barred from broadcasting the event live, said it planned to sign the C-Span letter and had lodged its own complaint.
In an interview, a spokesman for the South Carolina Democratic Party, Tim Sullivan, disputed the notion that networks had been “barred” from covering the convention, though he conceded that MSNBC had indeed been granted the exclusive live rights.
Mr. Sullivan said the decision was part of a broader agreement with MSNBC that, he argued, would enhance the proceedings. Two MSNBC hosts, Joy-Ann Reid and the Rev. Al Sharpton, are set to interview each of the Democratic presidential candidates from a set constructed inside the convention hall.
“This is probably one of the first times that a major state convention is going to have a show broadcasting from inside of it,” Mr. Sullivan said, adding, “We wanted to put on this big show for our conventiongoers and for our viewers.”
MSNBC declined to comment.
Mr. Scully, of C-Span, said he went public with his objections in an effort to prevent a troubling precedent. C-Span, he noted, has generated a library of decades’ worth of unfiltered appearances by presidential candidates, useful for historians and citizens alike.
“I worry it could be the start of a slippery slope,” he said.
Philip Hammond is set to warn that a no-deal Brexit would harm the British economy, devour a £26.6bn Brexit war chest, and risk the break-up of the UK.
The chancellor is expected to say that Conservative candidates who are vying to be the next prime minister that they must come up with a Brexit plan “B”.
If they do not, he will hint that a second referendum could be needed to break the Parliamentary deadlock.
He will also pour cold water on tax and spending pledges by the candidates.
Mr Hammond is set to say in a speech at the annual Mansion House dinner in the City of London on Thursday that a no-deal Brexit would soak up £26.6bn that has been set aside that could otherwise be spent by an incoming prime minister.
In a BBC debate on Tuesday, leadership candidates promised tax cuts and increased spending on public services.
However, a no-deal Brexit would mean that was not possible, and would also leave the UK economy “permanently smaller”, Mr Hammond will say.
In March, the chancellor pledged to spend the war chest to boost the economy, if MPs voted to leave the European Union with a deal.
Conservative candidates including Boris Johnson have pledged to leave the EU by 31 October, even if that means quitting without a deal.
But a no-deal Brexit would “risk the Union”, Mr Hammond is expected to say.
“I cannot imagine a Conservative and Unionist-led government, actively pursuing a no-deal Brexit; willing to risk the Union and our economic prosperity,” he will say.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson told party members on Tuesday to “take a long, hard look at themselves” after a YouGov survey suggested 63% would back Brexit even if it meant Scotland leaving the UK.
In April, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would push for a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 if the country, which voted Remain, is taken out of the EU.
NEWYORKDAILY247.COM: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said at a fund-raiser in New York on Monday night that he had already amassed 360,000 donors with an average contribution of $55 — a disclosure that appeared to reveal he has raised $19.8 million for his presidential bid.
That is more than any other candidate raised in the first quarter of the year, when Senator Bernie Sanders paced the Democratic field and raised $18.2 million from more than 500,000 donors, and there are still two weeks remaining in the second quarter for Mr. Biden.
The revelation came at an unusual moment.
Campaigns typically guard their financial hauls closely, only releasing figures at strategic moments to maximize their impact. Mr. Biden made the declaration at the Upper East Side home of the hedge fund manager Jim Chanos.
Mr. Biden thanked the crowd, which Mr. Chanos estimated at 180, for having “allowed me to be able to compete in a way that I’ve never been able to before.”
“We’ve raised a great deal of money,” Mr. Biden said.
The Biden campaign declined to comment on its fund-raising totals or say whether the figures Mr. Biden revealed were accurate. It had previously only announced raising $6.3 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate.
Mr. Biden still has two full weeks remaining in the second quarter to gather checks from large donors. He has more finance events in New York scheduled for Tuesday, and a big West Coast swing to the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle to close out the month following next week’s first Democratic debate.
In the first quarter of the year, the only two Democrats to raise more than $10 million were Mr. Sanders of Vermont ($18.2 million) and Senator Kamala Harris of California ($12 million). Mr. Biden entered the race in late April, after the first-quarter deadline had passed.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., is expected to be among the strongest fund-raisers in the second quarter, as well.
Malam Garba Madami, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara on Monday said that he resisted money offered by politicians to compromise the just concluded 2019 general elections in the state.
Madami, who hails from Gurara Local Government Area, of the state made this known to newsmen after his daughter’s wedding in Minna.
“There was pressure by politicians who offered me money to compromise the 2019 general elections in Kwara state but I stood my ground and refused to give in.
“The nature of our job at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is too tempting.
“It is left between you and God to do the right thing and keep your integrity or compromise and lose your integrity. You may even go to jail,” he said.
He decried money politics and a situation where politicians think they can buy peoples conscience to do their dirty work.
“The politicians have money and some of them feel that they can buy anybody with the money.
“It is a matter of integrity, it is left for you to be careful and work transparently to keep your integrity.
“What I did in Kwara state before the elections was to go on air and tell the people that no amount of money can buy me.
“I made them to understand that their votes will count and was not ready to compromise,” he said.
The REC however said that the 765 cases before the elections petition tribunal across the country owed to lack of internal democracy by political parties.
“If the various political parties respect their constitutions and do the needful you will have less to worry about,” he said.
He said that INEC was the most organised agency in the country because all the systems are working.
“All the personnel and departments are functioning, in other words INEC is working,” he said.
OSUN State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to uphold the governor’s victory in the governorship election held on September 22 and 27, 2018.
Their request was contained in three separate appeals they filed against the majority judgment given by the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal on March 22, 2019.
The tribunal had, in the majority judgment, given by two of its three members upheld the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke and voided Oyetola and APC’s victory.
In their appeals, argued yesterday, Oyetola, the APC and INEC prayed the five-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Jummai Sankey, to set aside the majority decision of the tribunal, uphold their appeals and dismiss the October 16, 2018 petition by Adeleke and the PDP.
They equally urged the court to dismiss the cross-appeal filed by Adeleke, on the grounds that it is unmeritorious.
In the appeal by Oyetola, his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), faulted the reasons given by the tribunal in reaching the judgment appealed against, arguing that the decision was not supported by the evidence led by the petitioners.
He urged the court to void the judgment because the judge, Justice Peter Obiorah, who wrote and delivered it, did not participate in all the proceedings of the tribunal.
Olanipekun noted that “the judge, who did not sit, came to write the lead judgment and reviewed the evidence of February 6, 2019 proceedings, where he was absent”.
“Adjudication is like video watching. It cannot be done by proxy. The judge cannot analyse the evidence of a witness, whose demeanour he did not observe. The judgment should be declared a nullity on this ground alone,” he said.
Olanipekun, who said he and some named senior lawyers were at the tribunal on February 6, 2019, faulted the argument by lawyer to Adeleke and the PDP that it was not clear from the record of proceedings, whether or not Justice Obiorah was absent on the particular day.
He argued that the judge’s failure to sign at the end of the proceedings on February 6, 2019, was enough evidence to justify the appellant’s claim that Justice Obiorah was absent on the day in question.
Olanipekun also faulted the tribunal’s cancellation of results in 17 polling units in the state, and noted that the petitioners did not tender any result of the election before the tribunal.
He argued that the tribunal went beyond its powers by annulling results in the 17 polling units to justify the judgment it gave in favour of the petitioners.
Lawyer to the APC, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), while arguing the party’s appeal, contended that the tribunal was wrong to have allowed the petition, which was incurably incompetent.
“The 1st and 2nd respondents sought to be declared winner of the election, held on September 22, 2018, which was declared inconclusive. They also asked the tribunal to void the rerun election held on September 27, 2018, because they believed it was unlawful.
“You cannot say you should be declared a winner on the election that you said was unlawful and void,” the senior lawyer said.
Olujinmi accused the tribunal of exceeding its jurisdiction when it engaged in amending the petitioners’ reliefs to make them grantable.
“No tribunal has the jurisdiction to reframe, amend or formulate reliefs for the petitioners.
“On realising that the reliefs could not be granted, they (members of the tribunal) amended the reliefs and granted it by themselves.
“We are saying the tribunal has no power to amend a petitioner’s reliefs. The much they ought to do, on realising that the reliefs could not be granted, was to have dismissed the petition.”
He faulted the tribunal for holding that the petitioners proved its case of non-compliance in respect of the polling units where it voided results.
Lawyer to INEC Yusuf Ali (SAN), who argued in a similar manner, contended that the tribunal erred in its majority judgment, particularly as regards the issue of non-compliance.
He noted that the tribunal, having found that accreditation was properly done and that all witnesses agreed that the votes scored were not affected by the omissions noted in some result sheets, ought not to have voided any results.
Citing Section 134 (b) of the Electoral Act, Ali argued that non-compliance means not compliance with the provision of the Act, not an act of omission on the part of INEC officials, which are not contrary to the provision of the Act.
Ali also argued that since the tribunal held that the petitioners did not prove over-voting and non-compliance, it ought not to have turned around to void votes in some polling units.
On the question of why INEC did not call it witnesses at the tribunal, Ali said it was unnecessary because the petitioners did not discharge the burden of proof placed on them by the law to warrant INEC to call fresh witnesses.
Lawyer to Adeleke and the PDP, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), faulted the three appeals and the arguments proffered by Olanipekun, Olujinmi and Ali.
Ikpeazu argued that the tribunal was right in its decision to have declared Adeleke and his party as the winner of the election.
He faulted the argument that Justice Obiorah did not participate in all the proceedings of the tribunal, arguing that there was no sufficient evidence to that effect.
Ikpeazu urged the court to dismiss the three appeals and uphold the judgment of the tribunal.
Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), who argued Adeleke’s cross-appeal, urged the court to allow his client’s appeal and reverse the portion of the judgment, where the tribunal rejected the evidence the petitioners lead in relation to six polling units.
Ogunwumiju argued that the tribunal wrongly excluded some of its evidence, because while it called 23 witnesses to prove it’s allegation of non-compliance in 23 polling units, the tribunal only upheld 17 where it voided elections.
Olanipekun, Olujinmi and Ali argued that the cross-appeal was incompetent on several grounds and urged the tribunal to reject it.
At the conclusion of proceedings that lasted over eight hours, the presiding judge, Justice Sankey, said judgments would be reserved till a later date.
She told the parties that the date of the judgment would be communicated to them by the court’s Registry.
Other members of the court’s five-man panel are: Justices Abubakar Datti Yahaya, Ita George Mbaba, Isaiah Olufemi Akeju and Bitrus Sanga.