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  • 'Don't Return To Your Stations Yet' — Ohanaeze Ndigbo Appeals To Nigerians Over Postponement Of Elections

    Ohaneze National President, John Nwodo at Ukehe
    Ohaneze National President, John Nwodo at Ukehe

    Ohaneze National President, John Nwodo at Ukehe


    The Ohaneze Ndigbo group has urged Nigerians not to be discouraged by the postponement of the elections, and encouraged them to come out and masse and ensure they vote for their choice candidates.

    A statement on Sunday by John Nwodo, leader of the group, noted that freedom is never secured on a platter of gold, adding that it is better to wait for seven days than for another four years.

    Nwodo said: “My dear brothers and sisters, I am aware of the immense hardship the sudden postponement of the 16th February 2019 election has brought on all of us.

    “This I know is one of the prices we can be called upon to make for independence. After all, freedom is never secured on a platter of gold. It is a struggle.”

    The leader of the Igbo socio-cultural group appealed to all Igbos who had travelled not to return to their stations, until they exercise their constitutional right to vote.

    “I, therefore, urge all Ndigbo who relocated for the purpose of the election to remain in their places and not travel back to their stations, but wait or ensure they come back, if they travel, for the Saturday, 23rd February election. A few days’ wait is better than another four years of uncertainty, hardship and slavery.

    “May the Almighty God safeguard and guide you as you labour to fulfil our collective agreement.”
     

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  • 'I'm No Longer Interested' — Bauchi Campaign Director From Dogara's Constituency Dumps APC

    Honourable Lura Musulmi, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State, has resigned his membership of the party.

    His resignation is coming a few days to the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.

    Musulmi, the APC Deputy Director Campaign for Dalhatu Abubakar Kantana, the APC House of Representatives candidate for Dass/Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, said he no longer has interest in remaining in the campaign team for the upcoming polls.

    Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, is the current representative for Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency in the National Assembly.

    Speaking on his reason for dumping the party, he said: “I am no longer interested in the APC, neither am I interested in remaining in the campaign team of the party for Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro local governments in these elections. And please, note that it is a personal decision.”

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  • 19-year-old Stabs Husband To Death For Accusing Her Of Infidelity


    Mary Adeniyi, aged 19, has confessed to killing her husband for accusing her of sleeping with other men.

    Commenting on the incident, Chike Oti, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), stated that the late husband was fond of accusing his wife of infidelity.

    Oti said: “The man has been accusing his wife of infidelity. Fight broke out between the couple when the man accused her again on Friday. The suspect grabbed a knife and stabbed the man on the neck. The man died on the spot.”

    Mary, who lives in Shagamu area of Ikorodu, said she stabbed her husband to death out of anger.

    Regretting her actions, Mary said she was angry and acted out of control.

    “I never knew when I grabbed hold of a kitchen knife and stabbed him out of anger. I never meant to kill him. I regret my action and ask for forgiveness,” she said.
     

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  • Adamawa REC: Atiku Doesn't Even Know What I look Like, How Can He Give Me $1m Bribe?

    Kashim Gaidam, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has debunked a report claiming that was implicated in a bribery scandal involving Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

    There had been reports earlier on Monday that Gaidam rejected an offer of $1million as bribe from Atiku.

    The offer was also said to have included a house in Dubai.

    Gaidam, who threatened court action, emphasised that he had never met Atiku in his life.

    “I’ve never had any contact with Atiku all my life. I can state without fear of contradiction that Atiku probably does not know how I look, because I’ve never met him personally, all my life. I was shocked to read what was credited to me by some unscrupulous persons,” he said.

    Gaidam further stressed that the report “reflects the handiwork of desperate politicians who want to achieve cheap popularity through blackmail”.

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  • Bi-Courtney Makes U-Turn, Allows Staff To Join Unions

    Less than five months after the industry unions picketed Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, for banning its staff from joining any union of their choice in the Nigerian aviation industry, the company has rescinded its decision.

    In an internal memo obtained by SaharaReporters, the company indicated that members of staff who wanted to join the unions could do so with immediate effect.

    The management also backdated the dues deducted from its staff by nine months — May 2018 to January 2019 — and remitted them to the coffers of their respective unions.

    The company said it would henceforth deduct 2.5 per cent of basic salary from any of its staff who joined the unions and remit such.

    The memo, dated January 8, 2019, with the subject: ‘Deduction of Monthly Union Check Off Dues from May 2018 – January, 2019’, was signed by its Human Resources Business Partner, Adeola Dayo-Kazeem.

    The memo read in part: “Your expression of interest to join the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) through the submission of duly filed form by you from their secretariat refers;

    “We wish to inform you that the sum of thirteen thousand, four hundred and forty two naira, seventy three kobo (N13,442.73) will be deducted from your January, 2019 salary as payment of check off dues to the ATSSSAN.

    “It is statutory that as a union member, remittance of 2.5 per cent of your monthly basic salary be deducted every month and some be made out to the union – ATSSSAN. This payment deduction — 2.5 per cent of your monthly basic salary — is from month of May 2018 till January 2019.

    “Subsequent deduction of the above percentage from your monthly basic salary will be remitted to the union on a monthly basis.”

    It would be recalled that the industry unions had, last October, kicked against the management of Bi-Courtney for sacking 29 of its staff for joining the unions.

    The sack of the workers led to the picketing of the terminal for almost a week. The terminal operator claimed to have lost about N1billion to the closure, as some of the operating airlines relocated to the General Aviation Terminal.

    After management reached an agreement with the unions, Wale Babalakin, the Chairman of Bi-Courtney, was said to have been peeved by the closure and took drastic action against some top management staff.

    At least, seven of its staff, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Jari Williams, were sacked by the company.

    After the sack, the company also recalled some of the staff, but declared them redundant and issued them exit cheques. 

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  • BREAKING: 'Without Consulting INEC, We’re Proceeding With Campaign', Says APC

    The All Progressives Congress (APC) has resolved to continue with its campaign in the light of the postponement of the elections.

    This was announced by Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, at the party’s national caucus meeting held in Abuja on Monday.

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the postponement of the elections by one week, respectively, hours before the presidential and National Assembly elections were scheduled to begin on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

    At another conference with political stakeholders later that Saturday, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, had stressed that campaigns remained suspended.

    However, the APC has taken a contrary position, insisting that it would continue with campaigns till Thursday, in line with the provision of the Electoral Act.

    Oshiomhole said: “You know that when you have low voter turnout, that is when election rigging is most easy. Voter turnout and voter apathy can result from the confusion. If at our level, we are sufficiently disturbed, what would be the fate of the ordinary man? I think we need to remind them across the country that elections have been rescheduled and they should have trust, faith, and remain determined to vote. The process of doing that would require that we return to campaign between now and Thursday this week. Friday is not a campaign day.

    “To ask us as a political party not to go out? The members, our people, would have forgotten. Some would have assumed that ‘look, I’m not sure what these people want’. And the result could be very, very low turnout. That is not good for a party that has huge, huge support base. It can only be good for a party that is not sure of its level of grassroots support.

    “So, without consulting INEC, we are proceeding and we are ready to meet them in court. Because they cannot by administrative fiat amend or distort extra provisions in the relevant electoral act and those laws are not secret to INEC.”

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  • BREAKING: Buhari In Attendance As APC Caucus Meets Over Election Postponement


    The All Progressives Congress (APC) has just kicked off a meeting of its national caucus to discuss the way forward after the last-minute postponement of the 2019 general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    In attendance at the meeting, which is holding at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, are President Muhammadu Buhari, Yemi Osinbajo; Vice President; Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman; Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the party; Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport and other notable leaders of the party.

     

    More to follow…

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  • BREAKING: INEC Endorses Resumption Of Political Campaigns

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved the resumption of political campaigns ahead of the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections slated for February 23, 2019.

    A statement by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, issued on Monday, noted that the commission took the decision after reviewing its preparations for the elections, as well as consultations with political parties.

    The campaigns are expected to end officially by midnight on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

    The statement read: “After consultations with political parties, the Commission has approved that campaigns by parties and candidates can resume forthwith and end by midnight of Thursday, 21st February, 2019.

    “Media organisations are at liberty to accept, publish, broadcast and circulate campaign materials up till midnight of Thursday, 21st February, 2019. Political parties and their candidates are enjoined to abide by the extant laws governing campaigns.”

    The commission also thanked Nigerians for their understanding regarding the rescheduling of the elections, just as it appealed to stakeholders to be “dispassionate and circumspect in their comments”.

    “The Commission is focusing on the elections to be held on 23rd February and 9th March to ensure that they are free, fair and credible. We urge all Nigerians to participate fully in the elections, notwithstanding the disappointment,” the statement added.

    A press conference on the updated preparations of the commission is scheduled for Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja at 3pm.

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  • BREAKING: Kano Court Grants Deji Adeyanju Bail

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    Deji Adeyanju

    Deji Adeyanju, convener of Concerned Nigerians, has been released on bail by a Kano State Magistrate Court.

    Adeyanju has been remanded in a Kano prison after he was rearrested and charged for culpable homicide by the Nigeria Police Force, over a case said to have been decided upon by the Kano State High Court in 2009.

    Adeyanju was granted bail in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties. The court also ordered him to deposit his international passport.

    Confirming the bail granted to SaharaReporters, Oluyemi Fasipe, one of Adeyanju’s allies, said: “I can confirm to you that he has been granted bail. The bail bond consists of N500,000 and sureties with landed properties in Kano.”

    Adeyanju had spent 63 days in prison before his release was granted on Monday.

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  • Can Political Parties Lawfully Resume Campaigns After Election Postponement? By Timothy Ola Bamgboye


    1. It is public knowledge that all campaigns and advertisements of any sort for the presidential and National Assembly election earlier scheduled for 16th February, 2019 were expected to cease 24 hours immediately preceding the polling day.

    2. With the shift in election by a week, the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu had directed that campaigns remain suspended till the new election day. The AkwaIbom State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Mr Mike Igini reiterated this on 17th February, 2019 during the programme, Sunday Politics on Channels TV.

    3. The duo hinged their position on the constitutional mandate given to INEC by virtue of Section 15 (f) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which empowers INEC to “monitor political campaigns and provide rules and regulations which shall govern the political parties.”

    4. The Peoples Democratic Party have rejected this directive and have threatened to resume campaigns, arguing that the postponement of the elections should automatically result in continuation of campaigns up till the eve of the new election date pursuant to S 101 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

    5. With due respect to the INEC boss and his officers, the Commission’s legal position is grossly misplaced and unconstitutional. The PDP is right on this one, and has every legal right to resume campaign if it so desires.

    6. First, while S 15 (f) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution (supra) empowers INEC to “monitor political campaigns and provide rules and regulations which shall govern the political parties,” the “rules and regulations” in question are not arbitrary decrees but written, procedurally correct and well documented rules. I am not aware of any rule and regulation made in this manner by INEC on campaign activities.

    7. In a constitutional democracy, there must be certainty of laws. A public officer is not in the least authorized to make proclamations arbitrarily as though we were in a military regime.

    8. INEC knows this but is only being clever by half. A cursory look at the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections published by it lends credence to this assertion. The preamble of that legislation clearly states that it was issued as a Decision Extract of the Commission of the 12th day of the month of January, 2019 purusant to the powers conferred on it by the Constitution and the Electoral Act. It even states further that it shall remain in force until replaced by new regulations or amendments supported by a Decision Extract of the Commission or an official gazette. Talk about certainty of the Law.

    9. INEC should specifically reference the provisions of any regulation of hers, that empowers her to terminate campaigns after postponing an election, for her to be taken seriously. Regulations are not made by fiat, and certainly are not products of an afterthought.

    10. Second, assuming there is any such regulation, same should be regarded as unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void for the reasons to be enunciated presently.

    11. S 15 (f) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution that was relied on by INEC for its claims ought to have been read in concert with S 15 (i) of the same provision which mandates INEC to “carry out such other function as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly.” Apparently, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), being a product of S 15 (i) is on the same constitutional footing as S 15 (f).

    12. The point is that the Constitution does not purport to empower INEC to make any regulation that is inconsistent with an Act of the National Assembly on electoral matters. Any such regulation would to the extent of its inconsistency and by virtue of the extant principles of hierarchy of laws be void.

    13. Indeed S 101 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) criminalizes broadcasting, publishing, advertising or circulating any election related material if done during 24 hours immediately preceding or on polling day. INEC has no powers to restrict the timeline for campaigns having shifted the polling day.

    14. It would have been a different case if the election had held in some states but were staggered for other states. The logical argument would then have been that the election had commenced, and campaign ought also to have ceased.

    15. The only legal remedy available to INEC as of now (and for future purposes) is to lobby the National Assembly to amend that provision of the Electoral Act to accommodate incidents of postponement of an election and what should be its attendant effect on campaigns.

    16. In the light of the above, I submit that political parties can lawfully resume campaigns until 24 hours immediately preceding 23rd February, 2019.

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  • CSOs Express Doubt Over Integrity Of Nigeria's Electoral Commission


    The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and the Election Observation Platform have expressed doubts over the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral commission.

    In a statement signed by Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, Chairperson, TMG and Suraju Olanrewaju Chairman, HEDA, the groups, expressing disappointment in the last-minute postponement of the election, noted that the commission cannot continue with the poor management of logistics.

    The groups opined that the continuous postponement of elections in Nigeria has raised more questions on the integrity of the electoral system.

    The statement read: “Despite repeated assurances of preparedness, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) attributed the postponement to logistics and operational challenges.

    “The details were, however, not explained, neither was any apology tendered. We also note that these challenges have continued to plague our elections over time and now constitute a threat to the integrity of the electoral system. We cannot continue with the template of poor management of logistics as a reason for postponing elections.”

    The groups said they hope INEC would resolve all of its problems before the rescheduled date, and urged Nigerians to come out en masse to participate in the elections.

    “We, however, hope that INEC would resolve its logistics issues before the newly scheduled dates for the elections, as we urge Nigerians and friends of Nigeria not to be discouraged in exercising their civic responsibility to elect the leaders of their choice to various political offices.”

    TMG, HEDA and the Election Observation Platform compelled political parties not to act in a way that would affect the elections, urging them to rise above partisan considerations.
     

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  • Danish Citizen Peter Nielsen Accused Of Murdering Wife, Daughter 'Is A Drug Addict'

     


    Babashola Afolayan, a Police Inspector, told a Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere on Monday, that he only investigated a Danish citizen, Peter Schau Nielsen, who is standing trial over the alleged murder of his Nigerian singer wife, Zainab, and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Petra, as he is the principal suspect.

    Afolayan said between 9am and 5:09pm on April 5, 2018, at the scene of crime, he only investigated the defendant as he was the principal suspect in the murder of the deceased persons

    The officer, who is the seventh prosecution witness, said this during a cross-examination by Olasupo Shasore (SAN), the defence counsel.

    When asked if he questioned neighbours, investigated the Close Circuit Television (CCTV), telephones and fingerprints, the witness said he did not see any other suspect as the defendant was the only suspect.

    Afolayan also told the court that the defendant was the only suspect because on July 18, 2017, the deceased’s wife had come to the Ikoyi Police Station at 2am, and made a report against her husband of how he assaulted and beat her up around 1am, on that same July 18.

    He said: “On July 18, 2017, the defendant’s wife came around 2am, and complained about the defendant that at about 1am, he pushed her to the bed and pressed her neck and beat her up. It was a case of assault and occasional harm against the defendant. She further reported that day was the third time.

    “She also added that she suspects that he is a drug addict, because whenever he takes drugs, he beats her up. All these made him the principal suspect.”

    At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Afolayan, who was led in evidence on January 16, 2019, by Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), concluded his testimony, which followed a cross-examination by the defence.

    The officer said though he wasn’t the Investigation Police Officer (IPO), it’s on record that on July 18, 2017, he saw the defendant.

    When asked if he restricted movement to the flat, he responded that there was nobody going in and out of the flat.

    Nielsen, aged 53, was arraigned on June 13 on a two-count charge of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

    Kazeem Adeniji, Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, had told the court that Nielsen murdered both Zainab and Petra at about 3:45am at 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island Ikoyi.

    Nielsen denied the charge.

    However, Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile adjourned the case till February 20 for continuation of trial.

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  • EnergyNet Holds Powering Africa Summit In Miami


    An international organisation that facilitates energy conferences and investment drive, EnergyNet Limited, has announced the 5th edition of the Powering Africa Summit.

    The event will take place for the first time in Miami between February 25 and 27, 2019, at the JW Marriott Miami. It will be co-located with the third Latin American Energy Forum (LAEF) with focus on regional investment structures across Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

    The summit will present opportunities to engage and network with senior decision makers from professional services, financial institutions, developers, government representatives, technology providers, law firms, non-governmental organisations and distribution companies. There will also be answers to pressing questions challenging businesses in Africa.

    Participants will also meet with some of the solution providers behind many of Africa’s and Latin America’s energy projects.

    According to the Senior Marketing Executive, Partnerships, EnergyNet, Monique Bonnick: “The event will address the needs of Latin America’s evolving energy sector as well as exploring the evolution of the region’s energy mix and the role of gas in supporting the increased use of nonconventional renewable. Investors from across North America, Africa and Europe are expected to present energy projects, discuss investment opportunities and build relationships within the international power community.

    “The summit will host case studies and exclusive presentations on the Cerro Dominador 210mw solar project in the Atacama Desert in Chile by the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Fernando Gonzalez and ‘Waste-to-energy: A Niche in the Energy Mix’ by Wieland F. Uchdorf, Facility Engineer, Resources Recovery Facility, Department of Solid Waste Management, Miami-Dade Country.”

    The programme will also feature the United States Policy on Africa, US/Africa ministerial roundtable, gas policies and generation, the alliance between IFI and public sector utilities; FinTech — increasing efficiency and collections and off-grid energy access.

    Accordingly, over 340 investors, 80 speakers and four ministers will be in attendance, while 18 African countries from across North America, Africa and Europe are expected to meet with the leaders of Africa’s energy sector to form partnerships, sign deals and move the industry forward.

    Key speakers expected at the event include: the Head of Infrastructure Investments, Africa 50, Raza Hasnani; Country Programme Coordinator, Nigeria, United States African Development Foundation, Andrew Echono; Chairman, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Yusuf Abubakar; the Chief Executive Officer/Founder, Dell’Amore Consultants, Idris Mohamed; the Acting Director, United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Thomas Hardy; the Director-General, Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE), Said Mouline; Chairman, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN), Joshua Choge; Partner, DLA Piper, Joseph Tato; the Coordinator, Power Africa, Andy Herscowitz and the Commissioner, Legal, Licensing and Compliance, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dafe Akpeneye.

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Fuji Stars Saheed Osupa, Remi Aluko Endorse Sowore For Presidency

    Fuji icons Saheed Akorede Okunola, popularly known as King Saheed Osupa, and Igwe Remi Aluko, have announced their support for Omoyele Sowore, seeking to become the next President of Nigeria on the platform of the African Action Congress (AAC).

    The duo made the confirmation when they appeared on Sowore’s daily broadcast, #OurTime.

    #OurTime is a daily programme by Sowore, streamed live across various social media platforms, to acquaint his followers with updates on his presidential campaign and funds raised.

    Urging Nigerians to support Sowore, Osupa said: “If you are a Nigerian that has conscience, vote for Sowore, but if you don’t, you can do whatever you like. Vote wisely, vote Sowore. Parents, youth, male and female should come out and vote for Sowore.”

    On his part, Remi Aluko lamented the deplorable state of the country, and called on Nigerians to take back the country for themselves.

    “It’s a lie that the country will be better. I can’t tell my children that the country will be better because there has not been change at all. Let’s find a way and solution for this country to be better,” he said.

    Throwing his weight behind Sowore, Aluko continued: “Nigerians, please vote for Sowore because he is the one that can make the country better. There has been an increase in the price of fuel, the market prices of food have also gone up, and the value of Naira has dropped.

    “Let us think well and choose a candidate that will make Nigeria habitable for future generations. The old politicians cannot do more than we have seen, let us all support Sowore. I know who I am voting for; I am voting for Sowore. I want everybody to give Sowore a chance; take your PVC and vote for Sowore.”

    Sowore thanked the musicians and called on more celebrities to take a similar stand.

    Sowore has also been recently endorsed by ex-Super Eagles international Finidi George, as well as Table Tennis star Aruna Quadri.

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  • Gunmen Kill Benue Local Government APC Chairman

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    Some unknown gunmen have assassinated Boniface Okloho, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ohimini Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

    Okloho was said to have attended a party meeting on the postponement of elections, but was killed on his way home.

    Speaking on the attack on Sunday, the Benue State Police Command said it has commenced investigation to arrest everyone involved in the murder of Okloho.

    In a separate statement, Emmanuel Jime, Benue State APC governorship candidate, commiserated with the deceased’s family and urged the Police to ensure the arrest of the perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to others.

    Jime said: “I condemn in very strong terms this unnecessary politics of violence and bloodshed that has claimed the life of Okloho, our beloved brother and staunch member of our great party in Ohimini.

    “Okloho was one of the very committed leaders of our party in Zone C and we regret that he lost his life in such a horrible circumstance in the service of his state and his party. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”

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  • INEC: Only Duly Stamped, Dated Ballot Papers Endorsed By Presiding Officers Will Be Counted


    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated the stance of the commission that only duly stamped ballot papers signed by election presiding officers would be recognised.

    The commission stated this in reaction to the allegation that some political parties are in possession of thumb-printed ballot papers.

    It also assured Nigerians that all sensitive materials have been retrieved by the commission.

    A statement by the commission read: ”INEC’s attention has been drawn to stories that ballot papers have found their way to the hands of politicians who are thumbprinting same for their favoured party. Specifically, reference has been made to Kogi Central Senatorial District.

    “This allegation is not true, as all sensitive materials are in the Commission’s custody or in the Central Bank’s vaults. The stamps in the ballot papers displayed do not represent any of the official stamps to be used in the forthcoming election.

    “It should be noted that only duly stamped and dated ballot papers with the endorsement of the INEC Presiding Officer’s signature are valid and will be counted.”

    The postponement of election by INEC few hours to the election have raised fears of election manipulation among Nigerians and politicians, as election materials had already been distributed to polling booths across the country before the late-hour postponement.
     

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  • INEC's Logistical Challenges Can't Be Resolved In Six Days, Says Dickson

    Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, on Monday, says six days are not enough for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resolve the logistical challenges that prevent the presidential and National Assembly election from holding on Saturday.

    Dickson, who briefed journalists at the Government House in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, also spoke on the need for all stakeholders to work collectively to “avert a crisis”.

    “This postponement belittled our country. It doesn’t show us as a serious country. Unless all stakeholders drop the habit of name-calling and claiming to be right, we are moving close to a major constitutional crisis,” he said.

    “If anything should go wrong, we will have a full-blown crisis; crisis of succession at a time the Supreme Court is also undergoing crisis. We should not call for the removal of the INEC chairman. If INEC is in crisis and the Supreme Court is in crisis, I don’t know where we are headed.

    “I call on President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the country to convene an emergency meeting of the National Council of State to enable service chiefs and INEC brief stakeholders on their preparations.

    “The meeting should involve the political party chairmen with the presidential candidates to examine the developing scenario which may plunge our country into crisis. I believe that if we all sit down and know the circumstances, we should agree on a new date.

    “I disagree with INEC’s unilateral announcement of Saturday as a new date. I do not believe that all the challenges that INEC has can be resolved within six days. A more sensible approach is needed. Our nation cannot afford another postponement.”

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  • National Assembly Shifts Resumption Date Over Postponement Of Elections


    The National Assembly has postponed  resumption of plenary for seven days due to the rescheduling of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    According to a statement released by Mohammed Sani-Omolori, Clerk to the National Assembly, on Sunday, plenary had to be shifted because of the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections

    Plenary was initially slated to resume on February 19, 2019, but both chambers of the National Assembly will now resume on February 26, 2019.

    He said: “This is to inform all Distinguished Senators and Honourable members that resumption of plenary session earlier scheduled for Tuesday 19th February 2019 has been postponed to Tuesday 26th February 2019 due to the postponement of the national elections.”

    He added that legislative activities would fully resume on the February 26, 2019, at 10am.
     

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  • Nigerian Youths: For Once On Saturday Be Shadrachs, Meshachs, And Abednegos And Vote Sowore! By Bayo Oluwasanmi


    The Independent National Electoral Criminals (INEC) truly behaved like the name suggests. No warning, no credible reasons and in dismissive manner postponed the presidential election six hours before the polls open. INEC had four years to prepare, plan, and hold hitch free and fair elections. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Like I have argued in the past, APC and PDP cannot win any election without rigging. The INEC is a willing accomplice in the criminal act.

    The postponement gives me another opportunity through this medium to talk to Nigerian youths which represent 70% of our population. What I learned as a kid in Sunday school about the story of the three Hebrew brothers – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is about defying a government, about standing firm in the face of oppression, about taking unpopular stand, and above all, making a choice. 

    Much of our biblical story is about political issues: liberation from pharaohs, conquest of foreign lands, rivalry between kings, laws governing society, prophets critiquing kings, political exile, and empires trading places.

    The three Hebrew brothers refused to bow down for the image of king Nebuchadnezzar. The king offered them a simple choice: worship the idol or die. For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego it was no choice at all. They refused to bow down to the image of the king saying “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

    The event took place over 2,600 years ago. But details of the story is happening in today’s Nigeria. In a country where the arrogance of power, the cravenness of institutional authorities, and the punishment of dissent are routine features of life of oppressed poor Nigerians, Nigerian youths are Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos of our day being tortured and persecuted and being thrown into the fiery furnace of socioeconomic and political hara-kiri. 

    But the stark difference between them and the three Hebrew brothers is that Nigerian youths for 58 years remained scared and silent in the face of oppression and what’s more, they are in love with their oppressors. They don’t have the courage to tell their oppressors to go to hell like the three Hebrew brothers told king Nebuchadnezzar.

    The story of the three Hebrew brothers provides Nigerian youths an iconic model, the defiant character, unshakable conviction and act of conscience they ought to show the tyrannical powers – the Nebuchadnezzars – who held them captives for 58 years. They bent their spirits. They impoverished them. They turned them into armed robbers and prostitutes. They turned them slaves and refugees in their own country. They wrote them off as inconsequential. They wasted their generation. 

    They shattered their dreams. They were forced to worship their oppressors. They became drawers of water and hewers of firewood. They told them they ain’t good for anything. They told them they are not qualified to run for president. They were told they are lazy bums. They convinced them they don’t have the experience, the ability and capability to run for president. They advised them to wait till eternity. They were persuaded that they are as good as dead!

    What do Nigerian youths want to be in the next four years? As dinners or a waiters/waitresses? As servants or free born? As armed robbers or prostitutes or gainfully employed citizens? The two old Nebuchadnezzars begging for their votes see them as fickle minded, easy to please, unintelligent, dimwits, uneducated, ignoramuses, fools, idiots, and cowards. Our youths were raped and ripped apart and left as dead. Ones attitudes, decisions, behaviors, are determined by one of two things: External pressure or internal principle. They cashed on our youths being swayed by external pressures as opposed to internal principles.

    No doubt, our youths have been victims of external pressure given what they know about the unfitness, unpreparedness, incompetence, selfishness, wickedness, greed and graft, insensitivity, nepotism, bigotry, blindness, deafness, dumbness, corruption, poor judgment, and so many flaws of the two old Nebuchadnezzars running for president. One promised them next level of suffering and sorrow while the other vowed to make Nigeria work only for his family and friends. 

    But what our youths needed most on Saturday is to function on internal principle. As we approach Saturday, our youths must learn from the three young Hebrew brothers. I want them to put themselves in the shoes of the courageous three Hebrew rebels. I want them to see themselves in the next four years in the fiery furnace of poverty, unemployment, death, slavery, ignorance, illiteracy, oppression, subjugation, and total darkness prepared by the two old Nebuchadnezzars who want to be president.

    The first prayer I want Nigerian youths to pray from now till they cast their votes on Saturday is “God make me brave to make the right decision.” It’s important to remind them that life and death don’t matter – right or wrong do. I want them on Saturday like the three Hebrew brothers, to defy the two old Nebuchadnezzars by voting Omoyele Sowore of African Action Congress (AAC). I want them to base their decisions not on any external pressure but on principle. 

    On Saturday, their story should flow like the three Hebrew brothers from persecution to command, to conspiracy, to coercion, to courage, to consequences, to triumph, to commendation, to victory and to celebration. Saturday is their date with destiny. Nigerian youths, for once, be Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos and vote AAC/Sowere… Let’s go there!

    bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com

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  • No Bad Weather; We Worked 24 Hours To Distribute Election Materials, Says NAMA


    The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has countered the claim by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that bad weather was part of the reasons the commission resolved to postpone the elections.

    In a statement issued on Sunday, Khalid Emele, General Manager, Public Affairs, NAMA, accused  INEC of finding  excuses to justify its inability to carry on with the elections.

    Stating the reasons for the postponement just few hours to the commencement of the general election, Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, had claimed that flights were affected by bad weather and as such the commission could not transport election materials by air.

    Mahmood said: “Unfortunately, in the last one week, flights within the country have been adversely affected by bad weather. For instance, three days ago, we were unable to deliver materials to some locations due to bad weather.

    ‘We, therefore, had to rely on slow-moving long haulage vehicles to locations that can be serviced by air in spite of the fact that we created five zonal airport hubs Abuja (North-Central), Port Harcourt (South-South and South-East), Kano (North-West), Maiduguri and Yola (North-East) and Lagos (South-West) to facilitate the delivery of electoral logistics.”

    However, in his response to the claim by INEC, Emele said the Nigerian airspace was directed to work round the clock in order to transport election materials for the commission.

    Emele said: “The Management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) hereby wishes to inform the general public that there was no disruption in the provision of air traffic services on Saturday, the 16th of February 2019 in line with the agency’s mandate to provide uninterrupted safe, effective, efficient, and economic air navigation services in the country.

    “Furthermore, the agency in line with the directive of the Honourable Minister of State (Aviation), Sen. Hadi Sirika, had earlier ensured a 24-hour operation at all Nigerian airports on Friday 15th February 2019 to facilitate the transportation of INEC materials nationwide.”

    He urged Nigerians that airlines would remain open and continue to operate under safe conditions.

    “NAMA wishes to reassure all airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace shall remain open for all airspace users before, during and after the rescheduled 2019 general election.

    “Thus, the agency has put in place appropriate contingency measures to ensure safe flight operations within the period, as well as possible extension of operational hours of any domestic airport when the need arises.”

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  • Okowa's Kinsmen Protest Assassination Attempt On APC Reps Candidate


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

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

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

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


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

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

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  • Presidential Candidate Olawepo-Hashim Writes INEC, Seeks Further Postponement Of Elections

    Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, presidential candidate of the People’s Trust (PT), has written Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to seek a further extension of date for the presidential and the National Assembly elections rescheduled for Saturday, February 23, 2019.

    In a letter obtained by SaharaReporters, Olawepo-Hashim said the one-week extension of the 2019 polls was “too short” for the electoral body to conclude the logistics requirements for the general election.

    The letter read: “The candidates and the parties would now have to repeat logistics preparations that have hitherto been deployed to achieve the level of mobilization at the February 16 scheduled election.

    “It is my considered opinion that in the haste to stick to a quickly announced date for the election, the Commission may not have paid adequate attention to the attendant voter apathy that may result if adequate confidence building measures are not implemented to win back ‘would-be’ voters for the next date of polling.

    “As a result, and because a potential voter apathy in some sections of the country or all of the country may substantially affect the result of the election, a new date of election should be between three to four weeks from February 16, not one week from February 16 as previously announced. 

    “This is more so for self-funded candidates and political parties who do not have the possibilities or intentions of falling quickly on the state treasuries to refinance another logistic deployment.”

    The letter copied the United Nations representatives, observer and civil society groups, the diplomatic community and the media.

    He called on the Commission to “liaise with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), who should use their national networks to ensure mobilization of communities, social and interest groups to reach potential voters in order to avoid voter apathy at the next date of election”.

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  • QUESTION: What Punishment Does The Law Stipulate For Ballot Box Snatching? Death?

    President Muhammadu Buhari caused quite a stir on Monday when he said those who influence ballot box snatching at the 2019 elections do so at risk to their lives.

    The President, speaking in Abuja at a meeting of the national caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the one-week postponement of the elections announced on Saturday, had said: “Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or lead thugs to disturb, it may be that [this will be] the last unlawful action you will take…

    “The whole 36 states in Nigeria, I went round. I think I have got enough support across the country to look after me. So I’m going to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system, he will do it at the expense of his own life.”

    Having also said he was “giving the military and the police [the power] to be ruthless”, it appeared Buhari had no problem with security forces gunning down ballot box snatchers.

    But what exactly does the law prescribe for this electoral offence?

    Sections 129 (1) and (2) Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2010 list Election Day offences as follows:

    129 (1)      No person shall on the date on which an election is held do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 metres of a polling unit-

    (a)    canvass for votes;

    (b)    solicit for the vote of any voter;

    (c)    persuade any voter not to vote for any particular candidate;

    (d)    persuade any voter not to vote at the election;

    (e)    shout slogans concerning the election;

    (f)     be in possession of any offensive weapon or wear any dress or have any facial or other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters;

    (g)    exhibit, wear or tender any notice, symbol, photograph or party card referring to the election;

    (h)    use any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party by any means whatsoever;

    (i)     loiter without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote;

    (j)     snatch or destroy any election materials; and

    (k)    blare siren.

    (2)    No person shall within the vicinity of a polling unit or collation centre on the day of which an election is held-

    (a)    convene, hold or attend any public meeting during the hours of poll as may be prescribed by the Commission;

    (b)    unless appointed under this Act to make official announcements, operate any megaphone, amplifier or public address apparatus;

    (c)    wear or carry any badge, poster, banner, flag or symbol relating to a political party or to the election.

    “A person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months for every such offence,” Section 129 Subsection 3 confirms. 

    The following subsection lists the penalty for ballot-box-related offences. It says: “Any person who snatches or destroys any election material commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment.”

    Therefore, any other punishment beyond two years, such as the one advised by Buhari, runs foul of the law.

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  • The Cost Of Postponing The General Elections By Ehi Braimah


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Braimah is public relations and marketing strategist based in Lag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Braimah is public relations and marketing strategist based in Lagos

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  • Timi Frank: Three Serving Ministers, Two Former Governors, Three Businessmen Want To Bomb INEC Headquarters

    Timi Frank, the erstwhile Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has raised the alarm over an alleged plot to destabilise the rescheduled polls after the postponement of the presidential elections last Saturday.

    According to frank, there is “a plan to bomb the INEC headquarters in Abuja”.

    In a statement made available to newsmen on Monday, he noted that the plan is being orchestrated by those who are “bent on destroying democracy in Nigeria at all cost, even if it amounts to total breakdown of law and order, or the loss of lives in achieving their agenda”. 

    His words: “Top among the planners includes three serving Ministers from the Niger Delta, two former governors and three businessmen all within the ruling party and benefiting from its largesse.

    “Following the postponement of the February 16th polls and realizing that the plan for staggered elections may have been busted, these desperate political crooks are at it again, devising yet another grand plan to carry out this evil plot against the Nigerian people. 

    “Nigerians may recall the mysterious arson on INEC facilities and buildings all around the country happening simultaneously days before the elections. 

    “Starting off with the burning of the INEC office in Qua’an Pan, Plateau State, to the burning of card readers in Anambra State, to the burning of INEC materials in 5 buses at Akwa Ibom and other INEC facilities nationwide, it will be safe therefore to note that these events are not a coincidence, but rather a grand plot to disenfranchise the opposition strongholds which is currently underway.”

    He also alleged that there were plans to seek the services of militants in the Niger Delta region, noting that the militants would have the backing of the Nigerian Army.

    “Having realised that the grand scheme of rigging the polls may have been busted by the INEC chairman giving to the postponement of the elections, these desperadoes are bent on doing everything possible in achieving their aim, including the truncating of our hard-earned democracy for selfish gains. We are also aware that the services of some Niger Delta militants are being sought after to carry out this dastardly act, even at a time when the region is being faced with its worst times under the current administration. 

    “These militants are being promised the backing of the military authorities as well as being rewarded handsomely should they succeed in carrying out these attacks. I am, therefore, urging all true sons of the Niger Delta to desist forthwith from allowing themselves to be used by these agents of darkness, as no true son of the region will volunteer for such doom, irrespective of any pecuniary gains. 

    “I would like to thank our foreign partners (EU, UK, US, ECOWAS monitoring group) on the electoral roles already carried out in Nigeria and also urge the US, UK and the EU to continue with its good works and to further beam its satellite on Nigeria in the wake of this grave revelation at a time when the country prepares for its general election. 

    “The desperation by these individuals for their paymasters is as deadly as treason committed on the Nigerian nation. Furthermore if this plot is true, then we may be faced with the likely scenario of the ‘body bags’ as suggested by a chieftain of the ruling party on all who may be present at the INEC office including the foreign observers.”

    Frank urged security agencies to beef up security and surveillance around the INEC headquarters and appealed to the INEC chairman to remain resolute in the delivery of duty. 

    “We are aware of the happenings in INEC including the role to be played by Amina Zakari, who is now in charge of Collation and RACTEC unit under the IT Department. Let it be known that any move to frustrate the wishes of Nigerians will be resisted by all peace loving Nigerians,” he added.

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  • Trouble In ALGON As National President Refuses To Relinquish Office

    A power tussle is currently rocking the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), following the refusal to relinquish office and several antics of Gambo Tanko Kagara, the immediate past National President of the association, and his group.

    SaharaReporters reliably gathered that the tenure of the Kagara-led administration — Kagara was until now the Chairman of Rafi Local Government Area, Niger State — elapsed February 12, 2019, following the dissolution of council administration in the state. But he has refused to leave as the ALGON National President.

    It was learnt that following expiration of his tenure as ALGON President and as Rafi LGA Chairman, a new leadership, the Transition Management Committee (TMC), under the leadership of Odunayo Ategbero, was set up to man the affairs of the association, pending when a substantive leadership would be put in place.

    According to sources who spoke to our correspondent, Kagara has called a NEC meeting of the association for Tuesday when, constitutionally, he no longer has the right to call for any meeting of the association, as that is the exclusive and constitutional right of the newly constituted Transition Management Committee.

    Confirming the planned NEC meeting, Ategbero stressed that only the TMC has the constitutional powers to do so.

    Meanwhile, in a press statement obtained by SaharaReporters, and titled ‘Only The Transition Management Committee Has the Mandate to Call ALGON NEC Meeting’, the association admonished its members and the general public to disregard any NEC meeting convened by Kagara.

    The statement was signed by Ategbero; Itiako Ikpokpo, Chairman, ALGON Delta State (South South); Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe, Chairman, ALGON Zamfara State (North West); Kolade Alabi, Chairman, ALGON Lagos State (South West); Sani Dogarai, Chairman, ALGON Gombe State (North East), and Taofiq Isah, Chairman, ALGON Kogi State (North Central.

    The statement read: “The general public, especially members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), is hereby notified that only the recently constituted Transition Management Committee under the leadership of Hon. Odunayo Ategbero (JP) has the mandate to summon the NEC meeting of ALGON.

    “This clarification has become expedient in view of the several antics of the immediate past National President of ALGON, Hon. Gambo Tanko Kagara, to continue to hold onto power, the most recent being the attempt to summon the NEC meeting of the association for Tuesday 19th February, 2019.

    “The prerequisite for ALGON membership is first being a local government chairman/administrator. Hence, the dissolution of the twenty-five local government administrations in Niger State by the state government on February 12th affected the immediate past President of ALGON, who until the dissolution was the Chairman of Rafi Local Government of the state. He has, therefore, ceased to be a member of ALGON or any of its organs.

    “The constitutional provision under which the Deputy President, Hon. S. Amaechi, could have taken over cannot be implemented as Hon. Amaechi has also left office as a local government chairman since December, 2018. As a way out of the sudden leadership vacuum, the association in obedience to section 17.1 of its constitution therefore constituted a 21-man Transition Management Committee (TMC) with Hon. Odunayo Atebgero, a member of ALGON’s Board of Incorporated Trustees, representing the South West, as Chairman. 

    “The TMC is to oversee the movable and immovable assets of the association for the time being and to conduct elections to fill all vacant positions within sixty days from the day of its inauguration. The planned emergency NEC meeting by the erstwhile National President is, therefore, a distraction and outrightly unconstitutional. Upon his removal as Chairman of Rafi Local Government, Hon. Kagara no longer has constitutional powers to preside or participate as a member in a meeting of ALGON.

    “It is worthy to note that there is no emergency whatsoever as the TMC, upon its constitution, resolved that all members of ALGON NEC should take time out to participate actively in the 2019 general elections. TMC is to reconvene after the national elections to set out modalities for election to fill its vacant positions. The Secretary General of ALGON must therefore take cognizance of the change in the leadership of the association. Her loyalty must therefore be to the leadership of the ALGON NEC.

    “The challenge before ALGON today is how to strengthen local government administration in the country. Chairmen of local governments must therefore rise to the occasion and avoid all forms of divisionary tendencies and extraneous manipulations aimed at strangulating the local government system.”

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

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


    Customs Officer Tries To Escape After Shooting Civilian ‘Because Of N5,000’


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Wife Helpless As Gunmen Kidnap Pentecost Agiso, PDP 'Pillar' In Adamawa

    Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped Chief Emmanuel Pentecost Agiso, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State.

    Chief Agiso, who hails from Girei Local Government Area, is said to be the central rallying point of his people in terms of political decisions.

    Tyros Agiso, younger brother of the victim, confirmed the kidnap to SaharaReporters on Monday in Yola, saying: “My brother was abducted from his Girei residence at about 2am Monday, while his wife looked on helplessly.

    “The abductors came in well armed but did not hurt anybody. They only carted away his wife’s mobile phones and left the chief’s mobile phones behind. We suspect the abductors left chief’s mobile phones behind to use as medium to demand for ransom. We’re waiting for them to call.”

    Agiso said they had reported the incident to the Divisional Police Headquarters in Girei.

    Cheif Pentecost Emmanuel Agiso retired as a Director of Finance in the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. He is a pillar in the PDP governorship campaign organisation in the state.

    It is widely speculated that his kidnap is politically motivated because of the political influence he wields in the area.

    Othman Abubakar, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), could not confirm the abduction when our correspondent put a call to his mobile phone.

    “I’ll call you back because I’m with the Commissioner of Police at the moment,” he said.

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  • You’re The Kind Of Candidate I’ll Endorse, Femi Kuti Tells Sowore

    Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigerian musician and son of the late afro-beat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has called on young people to plan for a landslide victory against the corrupt establishment. 

    He made the call at the New Africa Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos while hosting Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC).

    Femi, who is also a human rights activist, spoke on the sudden postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    “This bunch of people, them yeye no be small.How can you just wake up and say you are not ready? What have you been doing for the past four years?,” he asked.

     

    Lifting Sowore’s hand, he continued: “If I’m going to endorse somebody, this is the type of person I will endorse. If there is a person I will endorse, I will endorse a young man that will lead a young generation to the future, to provide good schools, to provide good health care, good roads, electricity.”

    He advised Sowore to keep to his promise, saying: “This country needs this; do this now; every corner of this country. Roads must be fixed; a minimum of five great hospitals; all universities must be of international standards. Nothing less; no excuses. A government that will not give you excuses; a government that is ready to work immediately it is empowered; a man that is ready to go to the four corners of this country not that he will be sweating: ‘Hey, I don tire, hospital today hospital tomorrow’.

    “I told you, this is the time to plan. They are a bunch of failures. The youth must be ready so that there is a landslide in every corner. Nobody must steal again in this country; everybody must have equal opportunity to be successful; one man’s success is everybody’s success.”

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