Wike, Okowa face panel today, camps fight over Atiku’s VP slot - AfrobadooTV
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Wike, Okowa face panel today, camps fight over Atiku’s VP slot



The opposition Peoples Democratic Party will on Thursday (today) screen nominees for the vice-presidential position.

A chieftain of the party, who confided in one of our correspondents on Wednesday, said contrary to reports, three candidates were shortlisted for the position, not one as reported by some newspapers (not The PUNCH).

According to him, those shortlisted include Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike and the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

This came to the fore on Wednesday as supporters of Okowa and Wike disagreed over the party’s VP slot.


There were reports on Wednesday that a committee headed by the PDP Deputy Chairman, Ambassador Umaru Damagun, had on Tuesday nominated Wike as the running mate of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar when 13 out of the 17 members voted in favour of the Rivers State governor.

When contacted on Wednesday, the PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, told The PUNCH that the nomination of Wike remained a rumour.

He stated, “The party is going through its processes. When it comes in a name, it will be announced. We don’t rely on rumour, we don’t work on that, in the next couple of hours or probably just before the expiration of the time, we will come out with a position and the name will be announced.”

But a member of the PDP advisory committee disclosed to one of our correspondents on Wednesday that three names were recommended by the panel.

According to the source, the three aspirants who were recommended would face the screening committee of the party before the party’s final decision would be made known to the public.

The source said, “The matter is not in the hands of Atiku yet, When the committee members are done with their job, they will report back to the leadership of the party.

“That committee recommended three people, not just one as is currently being speculated in the media.”

But according to the Coalition of South-South and South-East Youth Forum, Okowa remains the best man for vice-presidential slot.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Eziwomano Ighoegwu, in an interview with The PUNCH, stated, “Governor Okowa is a man with proven records that can deliver peace and unity to Nigerians, adding that his good work of transforming the state and ensuring peaceful co-existence among indigenes and non-indigenes of the state, can be attested to.

“The decision of endorsing Okowa is to ensure that Atiku has a running mate who would support him in rescuing the country from the insecurity and social vices that have hit Nigeria under the Buhari–led administration.”

On their part, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Communication, Mr Fred Oghenesivbe, and the Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area, Dr Tidi Michael, said Atiku needed a trustworthy, incorruptible, competent, wise, good listener, intelligent and experienced politician to be by his side as Vice President.

A top government official and chieftain of the party, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said Okowa had the population of Christians on his side.

“When you talk of national structures, acceptability, give it to Okowa. The relationship between Okowa, CAN and PFN is very cordial compared to Wike.

“He can woo the Christian community for Atiku. He does not talk too much but thinks faster and his role in national assignments over the years gives him an edge over Wike.

“In terms of voters, there is not much difference between Delta and Rivers’ votes, so it is not an edge for Wike over Okowa. We are talking of acceptability among the six geopolitical zones,” he said

The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said the PDP would unveil Atiku’s running mate on Thursday, adding that the report on Wike’s nomination was a rumour.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, stated, “It is the party and the candidate that pick VP. It is not a contest or race. Nobody buys a form for it rather the party and the candidate take decision who to pick based on good performance.”

But a PDP and former Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Ogbonna Nwuke, said picking Governor Wike as vice presidential running mate would be the right choice.

Nwuke, in an interview with The PUNCH, said Atiku and Wike would make a good pair, as they both had political structures and leadership acumen.

He said, “If we were to look at what transpired during the PDP presidential primaries, we will all agree that Wike ran a strong race for a newcomer.

“Therefore, if Wike and Atiku’s political structures are brought together, it will be in the best interest of the PDP. We are happy that a great majority of people in the party believe that Wike indeed has what it takes to be the running mate to Atiku.

“We are aware a committee has been constituted and a final report will come and we are very hopeful.”

On his part, another party chieftain and Chairman of the Ikwerre Local Government Area, Samuel Nwanosike, said the choice of Wike would be good for the party.

He said Kano, Lagos and Rivers are three important states anyone wishing to pilot the affairs of the country must win.

Nwanosike stated, “You must win Kano, Lagos and Rivers. If you look at our sister party, the APC that has brought us the worst state of insecurity and destruction of lives and property as well as the destruction of our resources because of their inability to understand the Nigerian nation and lack of capacity to deliver the dividends of democracy, you will see that the candidate they choose has a hold on Kano because of his relationship with the Governor, Ganduje.

“Because of that relationship, you can take it to the bank that the APC will win the Kano votes.

“In Lagos, you don’t need to be told that Tinubu has a stronghold there. So, the only state left is Rivers State. So if the PDP didn’t take this decision, the answer is what you and I know,” he stated.

Efforts to reach Mr Kelvin Ebiri, the Special Assistant on Media to Governor Wike, proved abortive as his mobile telephone was not connecting as of the time of filing this report.

In a related development, the PDP NWC led by its Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, on Wednesday received the report of the advisory committee.

The NWC was handed the report on Wednesday during a meeting with the Vice-President Advisory Committee in Abuja.

It was learnt that the party had presented the report to a committee headed by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, who would screen the three nominated candidates at the party’s headquarters on Thursday (today).

Meanwhile, Wike on Wednesday said he would not leave the PDP, saying a viral video suggesting that he was threatening to defect to the APC was manipulated.

Wike in a statement issued by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, on Wednesday night said the video being circulated was intended to mislead members of the public.

Ebiri said the video was an excerpt of an old interview the governor granted a popular television station while reacting to the defection of the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, from the PDP to the APC.

He said the ‘manipulated video’ which was now being circulated as if it was new was the handiwork of unscrupulous persons and should be disregarded.

The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to a manipulated video circulating on social media, purporting that the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, intends to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party.

“It will be recalled that in June 2021, Governor Wike was interviewed on Arise Television, following the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress.

“During the interview, Governor Wike while reacting to the reason given by Ebonyi State governor for his defection, dismissed it as untenable.

“The excerpt of the interview in circulation has been deliberately manipulated by some desperate and unscrupulous persons with obnoxious agenda.

“The intent of the video being circulated is intended to mislead the unsuspecting public, particularly members of the PDP.

“We, hereby urge the public to disregard the manipulated video.

“Governor Wike has repeatedly maintained that he will never under any circumstances defect from the PDP, which has offered him the platform to excel in his political career.

“We urge the public to ignore the distorted video. Those behind it are desperately wicked and intend to mislead the public. Governor Wike remains a faithful, committed member of the PDP and will never leave it for cancerous APC.”

Muslim-Muslim ticket controversy

The All Progressives Congress was still battling the Muslim-Muslim ticket controversy that has surrounded the choice of vice president slot for the 2023 presidential election.

Groups including the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Catholic Society of Nigeria had on Tuesday warned political parties against fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 presidential election.

CAN, in an open letter addressed to all political parties on Tuesday, said it would take a Muslim-Muslim ticket as a declaration of war and would mobilise against political parties that adopted it.

However, some APC chieftains remained committed to the Muslim-Muslim ticket and expected the party’s presidential candidate to run with a Muslim deputy in order to get votes from the north. Northern APC governors had supported Tinubu to clinch the ticket of the party at a presidential primary held in Abuja recently.

The Senate whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, lent his support to the Muslim-Muslim ticket.

Uzor-Kalu told Christians that there was nothing to fear as Tinubu’s wife is a pastor who would always have the interest of the people at heart.

He said, “If I am in Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s position, the wife is a pastor in a Pentecostal church. I will go for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. The most important thing is for the party to win. We should stop this rubbish about religion.”

He added that it wasn’t about a person’s religion but the person’s conscience and more importantly for the party to win.

He added, “But you can also play Christian-Christian tickets depending on the scenario. Because if we don’t play the Muslim- Muslim ticket, we are in trouble, and it will be difficult to win the election because the only thing left for Ahmed Tinubu today is to play a Muslim-Muslim ticket.”

Bello wants merit

On his part, the Kogi State Governor and presidential aspirant in the just concluded presidential primary of the APC, Yahaya Bello, said the party must prioritise merit while choosing Tinubu’s running mate.

Bello said this in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd,) in Abuja.

He stated, “Whether Muslim-Muslim ticket or a Christian, whether from North-East or from wherever, I am confident that the party is going to come up with someone who will assist in the already victory that we are envisaging ahead of us. So whether you’re Muslim or Christian, we’re all Nigerians.”

The immediate past chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Chief Henry Ajomale, hinted that Tinubu’s running mate would be announced on Thursday night.

In an interview with The PUNCH, he stated, “By tomorrow night (Thursday), the party will announce the VP candidate because we have to deliver the name to INEC latest by Friday,” he said.

He warned those distracting the party with the noise of Muslim-Muslim to redirect their energies into picking a competent candidate to complement Tinubu’s presidency.

He said, “If you ask me, I don’t think Atiku can pull this country out of its present mess. To put food on someone’s table doesn’t require you to be a Christian or Muslim. I am a Christian myself. The major problem really is who will give Asiwaju the votes. We have no problem about his competence because we know he can deliver and do what he promised the electorate.”

The Chairman of North-East APC Youth Stakeholders Forum, Haruna Sardauna, also confirmed to one of our of correspondents that the party had yet to take a final decision on the issue.

He stated, “I am certain by the midnight of tomorrow (Thursday), they will announce Tinubu’s running mate.”

According to him, If the party decides to run with the Muslim-Muslim ticket, which many of the governors have anticipated, two people have been shortlisted – Kashim Shettima and Mai Mala Buni.

When our correspondent reached out to Tinubu’s campaign director, Bayo Onanuga, he confirmed that the discussion on the running mate was still ongoing.

“I am just arriving in Abuja this afternoon. I really don’t have much information on that now. Let’s just wait till tomorrow,” he said.

As of the time of filing this report, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, too could not be reached for comment.

The Spokesperson for the Christian Association of Nigeria, Adebayo Oladeji, insisted that the choice of the ruling APC to opt for a Muslim-Muslim ticket would incite violence in the country.

He said the association would act accordingly should the APC go ahead with the ticket.

Oladeji said , ‘’We will all see it together, if anyone thinks they can Islamise this country or they are going to persecute Christians, it is a lie. We have stated our mind that it is an invitation to chaos , we know they are going to do it, let them go ahead and we are going to take the right actions at the appropriate time.”

A political scientist, Dr Adekunle Akinola, said the emergence of Tinubu, who is a South-West Muslim, had put the party at a tight corner.

Akinola, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “Since 1999 till date, this has brought a new phenomenon into our political system in which people are frowning at a Muslim-Muslim ticket, this is because Nigeria is a highly religious country but does that enhance good governance? No. We need to question whether Buhari having Osinbanjo helped the incumbent to deliver on his campaign promises?

“But the politicians themselves introduced religion and ethnicity into our political system to get votes, now it is working against them. It has made it difficult for Tinubu to pick a Northern Muslim. But politically speaking, Tinubu, based on the way they view religion in the North, a Northern Christian may work against him. Atiku will sweep the votes of Muslims in the North. It is a dicey situation for the APC.”

On his part, the Head of Department, Political Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Dr Olugbenga Afolabi, said, ‘‘There are several dynamics with same-religion ticket. It is more balanced to have a mixed ticket. It will sure we have a balanced team in the office.”

A lecturer, Anchor University, Ayobo, Lagos, Prof. Olusola Oyero, explained, ‘‘I believe that if the APC is going for a Muslim-Muslim ticket, they should be able to convince people that Christians will not be short-changed.”



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Tinubu sues for peace, condemns ethnic slurs, election violence




President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, yesterday condemned what he described as “isolated” cases of infractions, ethnic slurs and violence that trailed the 2023 General Elections, declaring that elections were now over for the healing process to begin.

But the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in a swift reaction, dismissed Tinubu’s call for healing after a violent election as the height of hypocrisy.

These came as The Washington Post commended the general elections, stating that despite some obvious flaws in the process, the democratic system had held and was holding — far better, so far, than might have been expected.

This is even as the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, asked those not happy about the outcome of the just-concluded general elections to seek redress in court and avoid the violent protest.

In what appeared a post-mortem of the polls, Tinubu said the polls, which were held across 28 states and the state legislative poll across the 36 states of the federation had brought the 2023 election cycle to a fitting close.

While he praised President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, and other stakeholders, Tinubu said consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level will bring more development and improved quality of life to the masses.

‘Let’s rise above foibles of sentiments’

Condemning the violence and other negative trends that followed the conduct of the elections, the President-elect appealed to Nigerians to rise above the foibles of partisanship, ethnicity and religious sentiments and focus more on the “valued strings that bind us together as a people.”

He said; “I am saddened by the reported isolated infractions during the elections and its aftermath in some states. I strongly condemn it. Also, the report of arson after the announcement of governorship results in one state that did not represent who we truly are: peace-loving people.

“The physical and verbal assaults committed are unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos.

“Elections should be a celebration of our maturing democracy and freedom of choice and ought not to be moments of grief. I am particularly pained by cases of ethnic slurs, which are capable of creating needless mischaracterisation reported in some locations.

“My appeal is for us to rise above our differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind us together as a people, irrespective of the circumstances of our births.

“As former governor of Lagos State, I can attest to the strength in our diversity and togetherness. As your President-elect, it is that spirit of inclusiveness we engendered in Lagos that I intend to bring into national governance so that together we can attain our full potential.

“I will give priority to expanding the civic space and safeguarding citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law.

“Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us.

“In a democracy, the majority would have their way but that majority must not suppress the minority from having their say. As democrats, we have to safeguard free expression. Winners must be magnanimous and those who did not win should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the greater interest of the nation.’’

He called on all elected officials to take urgent steps to unite the people and champion the healing process.

“We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters.

‘’As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation-building, a task beyond one individual or a section of society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck,” said Tinubu.

Tinubu’s call for healing after unleashing violence, is hypocritical, says Atiku

Reacting to Tinubu’s call, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, dismissed it as the height of hypocrisy.

He, however, commended the United States government for condemning the violent and ethnically charged election in Lagos State.

Tinubu had, in a statement he personally signed yesterday, expressed sadness by what he described as “ infractions in some states as well as the divisive rhetoric that characterised the polls.”

In response, Atiku, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr Phrank Shaibu, in a statement, described Tinubu’s statement as an “after-thought and hypocritical garbage.”

He said it was curious that Tinubu was talking about reconciliation after his loyalists attacked Igbo voters in Lagos in order to give his party- the All Progressives Congress, APC, an advantage during the governorship election.

Shaibu said Tinubu had continued to protect transport hooligans, politicians and even traditional leaders in Lagos who were seen on video threatening non-indigenes.

Atiku said: “Tinubu’s latest statement is laced with hypocrisy and lies. For a whole month, traditional leaders, transport hooligans and politicians in his camp threatened non-indigenes but Tinubu kept mute.

“His lackey, MC Oluomo, who is a member of his presidential campaign council, was seen on video threatening Igbo people but Tinubu said nothing.

“His campaign spokesmen, Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani-Kayode, went on social media to warn Igbo people against exercising their franchise but Tinubu looked the other way.

“Traditional rulers imposed curfews and went about slaughtering goats and placing them in front of polling units but Tinubu said nothing.

“A traditional leader and council chairman in Gbara community, Eti Osa local government summoned non-indigenes to a meeting where they threatened non-indigenes with eviction if they failed to vote for the APC but Tinubu said nothing.

“Those invited by the police ignored invitations because Tinubu is shielding them. On the day of election, many people who looked Igbo were beaten and prevented from voting but Tinubu kept mute.

“Now that his party has stolen the election, he has found his voice and is preaching reconciliation. He should tell that to the marines.

“If Tinubu is serious, he should ensure that all those found culpable are arrested and prosecuted. But we know he cannot do this because he is their godfather.”

He also described the statement by the US Embassy in Nigeria condemning the violence meted out to the Igbo as a welcome development.

He, however, said the US ought to have gone further by mentioning the names of those found culpable and exposing the identities of those it will hit with visa restrictions.

Atiku added: “We commend the US and the EU governments for condemning the violence and intimidation that marred the governorship election, especially in Lagos, where Tinubu’s henchmen held the state to ransom.

“But the US knows the identities of the perpetrators of violence and ought to have mentioned their names. MC Oluomo is an American citizen.

“The US must also go further by mentioning the names of others, including the traditional rulers in Lagos who were complicit.

“The US has in the past openly condemned Vladmir Putin of Russia and others found wanting in other countries.

“This is not the time for political correctness. Those who will be slammed with visa bans should be named and shamed.”

Atiku maintained that there could be no reconciliation without restitution, adding that anything short of this would not heal any wounds.

He further argued that Tinubu had shown from his electioneering that he had no plan to unite Nigeria but was only after one thing – power and the resources of Nigeria.

“Tinubu is only after power. Before he took over power, Lagos was known for its urbane and accommodating nature. The late Nnamdi Azikiwe built his political base and business empire in Lagos.

“Mbonu Ojike, born in Imo State, was the Deputy Mayor of Lagos in 1951. Many others from around the country and beyond built businesses and political careers in Lagos unmolested.

“But on Bola Tinubu’s watch, Lagos has become an intolerant state where non-indigenes are openly beaten on election day and threatened with eviction if they don’t vote for his party. Now he seeks reconciliation? What a joke!

“There will be no reconciliation until MC Oluomo and all his minions who took part in issuing threats and brutalising people are diligently prosecuted.”

Nigeria points way towards democracy in region – Washington Post

In a related development, The Washington Post has commended the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly election and the March 18 governorship and Houses of Assembly polls, stating that despite some obvious flaws in the process, the democratic system has held and is holding — far better, so far, than might have been expected.

In its editorial dated Monday, Marched 20, 2023, the publication described the election as a ‘messy affair’ but added that much good came out of it.

It stated that leading opposing candidates’ decision to challenge the outcome of the election in the court, instead of resorting to violence and absence of military interference, were pointers that Nigeria’s electoral process could stand as a reference point for other African countries where post-election violence and coup had become a pattern.

The publication stated: “It might be tempting for opponents of democratic governance to take Nigeria as a case study in why democracy can’t work in Africa. Actually, the opposite is true.

‘’In Nigeria, even with its chaotic and flawed process, the system has held and is holding — far better, so far, than might have been expected. True, Nigeria’s presidential election on February 25 was a messy affair.

‘’Some polling places didn’t open on time. A new electronic voting system to upload results from the 176,000 scattered polling places to a central website seemed to collapse. There were reports of scattered violence in a few places, with ballot boxes stolen at gunpoint. Turnout was disappointing, at 28.6 per cent.

“The candidate of the current ruling party, Bola Tinubu, was declared the winner with 36 per cent of the vote on March 1. But because of the problems, the result is being challenged by his two closest rivals, Atiku Abubakar, who won 29 per cent and Peter Obi, who got 25 per cent.

‘’Mr. Abubakar, Mr. Obi and their supporters claim the election chaos means the voting was rigged in favor of the ruling party, but they have yet to produce concrete evidence of malfeasance. They are demanding the election be rerun. That doesn’t mean the vote should be discounted. In fact, much good came from it.

“It is encouraging, first, that the losing candidates are pursuing their claims through the courts. They have until March 31 to present their petitions to Nigeria’s appeal court tribunal, which would be expected to issue a written decision within 180 days.

‘’While the rhetoric has been heated, remarkably there have been no reports of post-election violence, intimidation or threats. No one has blocked highways, as happened in Brazil after Jair Bolsonaro lost his re-election bid. Opposition party supporters have not attempted an insurrection.

Nigeria’s military stayed out

“Second, Nigeria’s military has stayed out of the fray. This was not a given, since Nigeria’s generals ruled the country after a series of coups for most of the 1980s and ’90s. In Africa and elsewhere, a supposedly flawed election has been a handy excuse for militaries to annul election results and seize power for themselves.

‘’It happened in Myanmar in early 2021, for example, despite no evidence of any fraud. If Nigeria’s generals remain on the sidelines this time, it could be taken as evidence that Africa’s most populous country, and its largest economy, has moved past its coup-prone history.

“Third, this proved to be Nigeria’s most competitive election since democracy was restored in 1999. Each of the three top candidates — Mr Tinubu, Mr Abubakar and Mr Obi — won 12 of the country’s 36 states, a surprisingly even split. And Mr Obi, who was projected to win in some polls, could claim a stunning victory in Lagos state, Mr Tinubu’s home turf.

‘’Mr. Obi’s campaign was powered by young, better-educated urban voters savvy with social media, but he was unable to make inroads in more rural and traditional areas. But at 61, he is nearly a decade younger than Mr Tinubu, 70, and can be expected to be in politics for years to come.

“Nigeria’s neighbours and its major trading partners, including the United States, have all accepted the result, which most international observers said was largely free and fair, despite problems.

‘’But a delicate period lies ahead. If President-elect, Tinubu, is eventually confirmed as the winner, he will need Nigerians to fully accept that he was the legitimate victor. This means the losing candidates should have their day in court and be able to present any evidence that election-day problems affected the final result.

“Officials have asserted that technical glitches, not sabotage, were the issue and have cited poor internet connections and heavy traffic that slowed the system. But to restore trust, they need to demonstrate this with transparency.

‘’All election day irregularities need to be thoroughly examined. And the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, needs to assess what went wrong and fix it.

“A round of elections on Saturday for 28 governorships and state assemblies seemed to be much better managed and passed without major snafus, despite some scattered reports of violence.

‘’Even a flawed election in Nigeria can set a standard in a part of Africa where staging a coup is more common than canvassing for votes. Among Nigeria’s neighbors, Chad’s military leader, Mahamat Idriss Déby, who seized power when his father was killed in 2021, has repeatedly delayed elections and halted a return to democracy.

“Military leaders in Mali, which saw coups in 2020 and 2021, have delayed elections until 2024. Guinea’s first democratic leader was toppled in 2021. Niger has been rocked by coup attempts.

‘’Benin’s President, Patrice Talon, has clung to power and stacked the parliament, which must approve presidential candidates, with his supporters. In Cameroon, President Paul Biya has ruled since 1982.

‘’An election in Nigeria won’t turn Africa into a democratic utopia. But it can point the way to a different path.”

Those aggrieved should go to court —Sultan

Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, and President General, of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, have asked those unhappy about the outcome of the just concluded general elections to go to court.

Recall that complaints have continued to trail the presidential/National Assembly and governorship/State Assembly elections, prompting calls from prominent Nigerians on those aggrieved about the outcome to seek redress, rather than adopting a violent approach.

The Sultan, who spoke at a Ramadan symposium with the theme: “Ramadan, the Month of Blessings”, organised in collaboration with the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, JNI, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and the Islamic Education Trust, IET, yesterday, also urged Nigerians to embrace peace and ensure peaceful coexistence after the general elections.

He said: “We should embrace peace with our brothers and sisters, not allow politics to destroy our relationships. Any politician, who feels aggrieved should seek redress in court.

“Politics and elections are all over and the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching, we should then seek forgiveness from one another.

“This is in order to be among the ones Allah will bless with multiple rewards in the sacred month.’’

The sultan further advised Nigerians to eschew differences and shun violent tendencies as the elections were over and God had chosen leaders for the country.’’

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How I curbed vote-buying — Buhari




PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, narrated how he told the electorate to collect money from candidates that offered money to them to buy their votes in the February 25 and March 18 elections but vote according to their conscience.

He also said given the chance of a free and fair election as well as non-interference as witnessed in the elections, Nigerians had proved to be capable of deciding who led them without anyone telling them what to do.

The president, who expressed satisfaction with the remarkable passion towards democracy exhibited by Nigerians through the choices they made in the presidential, National Assembly and the subsequent governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections, said Nigeria’s democracy had truly matured.

In a statement, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying: “People are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do. I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election.

“But I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost. With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”

The president, who spoke at a farewell meeting with the outgoing United States Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard, at the State House in Abuja, said he was completely satisfied with his role in the election process.

He commended the outgoing ambassador for the enormous achievements recorded in Nigeria-US relations in the three-and-half years she had been here.

In an answer to a question posed by Ambassador Leonard, President Buhari said he planned to be a “big landlord” back at home, working on his farms and tending his more than 300 animals, adding: “I am eager to go.”

In her remarks, the American Ambassador said she was happy with the progress made in Nigeria-US relations in the three–and–half years, specifically citing the recent institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware including warplanes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters; and also cooperation in the health sector to fight HIV and COVID response, giving assurances that US will continue to assist in the strengthening of Nigeria’s health sector.

Ambassador Leonard expressed her gratitude and that of the US government for the continuing role of the President in ensuring regional security and strengthening democracy as a system of government, citing his strong response against the recent surge of coups-d’état in West Africa as worthy of commendation.


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Election petition: Tinubu about to be cleared of all allegations – Keyamo




The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has reacted to the petition filed by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, calling for the annulment of the February 25 Presidential Election won by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.

Obi had previously challenged the outcome of the election and had also sought the court requesting to have access to all the sensitive materials Independent National Electoral Commission deployed for the election.

On Tuesday, the LP candidate filed another suit at the election tribunal challenging the declaration of Tinubu by INEC who he said “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”

The former Anambra State governor claimed there was rigging in 11 states including Rivers, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Imo, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, and Plateau, adding that he would demonstrate this in the declaration of results based on the uploaded results.

Reacting to his petition in a post via his verified handle on Wednesday, Keyamo said that all the deceit, lies and disinformation about simple and clear issues would be busted in the court.

He wrote, “I am excited about the issues raised in those Election Petitions. All the deceit & lies & disinformation & misinformation about otherwise very simple and clear issues are about to be busted by our Law Lords. Whoever continues to argue after that should relocate to another planet.

“Nigerians will finally see a huge difference between calm, dispassionate adjudication of issues and all the hoopla caused by garrulous spokespersons shaking and falling on stage, ignorant TV hosts turned debaters, misinformed documentaries, illiterate tweeps and some dancing Hijabi mamas.”

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