Shettima gets nine APC governors’ support amid criticism of Muslim-Muslim ticket
Nine governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, after an hour-long closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at his private residence in Daura, Katsina State, declared their support for Senator Kashim Shettima as running mate to the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the 2023 general election.
The governors, led by the chairman of Progressives Governors’ Forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, including their host, Aminu Masari (Katsina), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Bello ( Niger), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), said they had come to pay Sallah homage to President Buhari.
They expressed confidence in the combination of both Tinubu and Shettima to ensure victory for the party at the presidential election.
Bagudu said: “We were pleasantly surprised when Asiwaju Tinubu announced in Daura on Sunday that Senator Shettima was the vice presidential candidate.
“We are very happy at the choice. The two will complement each other and will surely consolidate on the achievements of the President in the past seven years.”
Also speaking, the Imo governor, Uzodinma, said Shettima’s pick as Tinubu’s running mate was a collective decision by all the progressives governors and all the APC governors would work hard to ensure victory for the party next year. He boasted that APC governors would deliver 22 states for Tinubu.
Sources, however, disclosed to The Guardian that APC governors from the Northwest geopolitical zone have decried the choice of Shettima.
A former governor from one of the states, who is now a Senator, confided in The Guardian that incumbent governors from the zone are angry with Tinubu for despising their demand that one of them should be considered.
The Senator disclosed that during series of consultative meetings, the APC presidential candidate was given reasons why he should pick an incumbent, especially from Northwest, but he regretted that Tinubu shamed the governors after they worked for his emergence.
“The governors are very angry now and I do not know how this is going to affect our participation in the election next year. We all know the place of governors in the scheme of things in this country.
“During the consultative meetings that were held to ensure that everybody was on the same page, the governors pointed to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where one of them is the running mate. They said they needed that to be sure that they would have a stake in the next administration.
“When Tinubu indicated his desire to look towards Northeast for his running mate, our governors reminded him of how far they went to override President Buhari and ensure that he won the presidential primary. They argued that if he (Tinubu) wanted to go to Northeast for balance, he was invariably showing that the ticket should have gone to Southeast,” the Senator narrated.
He further stated: “Now that Shettima has been chosen, the governors are wondering what they would campaign for in the zone. They are now looking towards Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Atiku Abubakar to be relevant in the incoming dispensation.
“Things are going to be very challenging for us in the zone, because you have seen that the Labour Party has selected its presidential running mate from Northwest. We all thought that Tinubu would settle for el-Rufa’I or Abubakar Bagudu. He has disappointed everybody and this is a sign of the kind of administration he wants to run,” the source remarked.
The Senator disclosed that it was out of pain and indignation over the development that some governors did not accompany their colleagues to pay Sallah homage to President Buhari, whom they blame for being careless about his succession plan.
MEANWHILE, the Bishop of Anglican Communion, Diocese of Calabar, Rt. Rev. Nneoyi Egbe, has warned that Muslim/Muslim or Christian/Christian ticket should not be encouraged, adding that Nigeria’s secularity must be respected. He stated this, yesterday, during a media briefing at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, to mark the second session of the 11th Synod of the Diocese of Calabar scheduled for July 13 to 17.
For the popular priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John, also known as Fada Oluoma, if the ruling party wins in 2023, Muslims would continue in power after Tinubu’s administration.
Oluoma expressed concerns that the move by APC would continue to trigger religious sentiments in the country. He, however, urged aggrieved citizens to vote for other political parties, stressing that other candidates were ready to change the status quo.
He said: “APC is just one party, we have other parties in Nigeria. One of the beauties of democracy is the availability of options. Crying over APC’s candidates in the midst of other candidates questions our readiness to change the status quo or our capacity to make and accept informed decisions.
“There’s only one major reason behind the Muslim-Muslim ticket by APC; electoral victory. Without a Muslim VP, the APC will lose significant votes from the North and probably lose the entire presidency. This is the fear and the reason for a Muslim VP. Don’t let anyone beguile you to make it a religious problem, if you do, you will keep losing the big picture.
“If APC wins 2023 presidency, Nigeria will be democratically handing over power from one Muslim to another. This means that religious sentiments can be thumped in our quest for a better nation. That also means that kindred sentiments like tribe and region can also be thumped,” he said.
IN the same vein, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has said the decision by APC to present a Muslim-Muslim ticket was a teamwork based on calculation of what would work for the party.
In a statement he personally signed on Monday, Kukah said the decision by Tinubu to pick Shettima as his running mate should not be a thing to worry about, while those angered by the development should support other candidates they feel are better.
The statement reads: “This is what you call team selection and everybody will choose depending on what they think will give them a fair chance. So, people will take responsibility for the choices they have made. For me, it is not something to lose sleep over.
“If people feel unhappy with the kind of choices that have been made, that is why we are democrats, you can’t force it. We outsiders cannot force a choice of any candidate. It is now left for you to look at the choices that have been made. And there is no guarantee that all Christians will vote for Christians and all Muslims will vote for Muslims.”
THE Council of Church Leaders and Ministers in Nigeria has said that the APC Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket is trampling on the religious rights of Nigerians. Addressing a press conference in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital yesterday, the Council expressed disappointment in the choice.
The Chairman, Church Leaders and Ministers Fellowship of Nigeria, Pastor Abel Aiyedogbon, speaking at a press conference to herald their 26th yearly conference, said: “Our political leaders are not sensitive to the feelings of citizens because the behaviour of the political class most of the time evidently shows that personal ambition and interest are the overriding goal and not patriotism.
“How will anybody think about fielding candidates of the same religion for the first and the second place when the Constitution of the country recognises secularity?
“One will not be wrong to say that trampling on the religious rights of Nigerian is manifest in the idea of the Muslim-Muslim ticket, which some people are now championing. It should be noted that people maligned and presented as inconsequential are not likely to forget. The suggestion of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is all about impunity and a callous lack of consideration for others.”
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South leader, Chief Edwim Clark, has lampooned the nomination of Shettima. According to Clark, the convener, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), with the action of Tinubu in appointing a Muslim to run with him, even as a Muslim, in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, he feels threatened for Nigeria as a country.
In a statement in Abuja, the elder statesman, who is the leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) lamented that with a very sharp division in the country, Tinubu’s action and that of the APC would further worsen the situation.
He said: “I feel threatened for our beloved country because of the way things are going. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, with Christianity and Islam as the major religions, even though Nigeria is a secular state.
“In compliance with Constitutional provisions of inclusiveness, the number one and number two positions in the country, viz, President and Vice President, have always been occupied by practitioners of the two major religions, to ensure balancing.
“It will be recalled that Tinubu could not be chosen in 2015 as VP to President Buhari because he is a Muslim. What has changed? One quality of a good leader is consistency. A good leader must act in the same way at all times, to all people. He must not display double standard.”
FORMER governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has described the APC pairing as provocative and insulting in a secular country like Nigeria.
Ezeife, in a chat with newsmen, said Nigeria has two strong religions, Christianity and Islam, and wondered why anyone would consider fielding a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in the 2023 general elections.
“There was a time MKO Abiola and Kingibe, two Muslims, ran and won the election but that time had gone. We didn’t have the kind of religious intolerance that we have now, then.
“Yes, it happened in the past and that past had a different tone. We shouldn’t use it as precedence. This present time is pregnant with hatred, with all kinds of men exhibiting hatred for man and religion.
“If I were to meet Bola Tinubu tomorrow, I will tell him to change and have a Muslim-Christian ticket. It is just like saying, you Christians can go to hell. It looks like an insult, provocative to field Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket,” he said.
THE youth wing of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide (OYC), in its reaction, has said that it is looming danger ahead.
OYC, in a statement signed by the National President, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, said the choice of Shettima was against the law of natural justice. He said the level of killings and violence targeted at Christians under the present administration was unprecedented and expressed concern that the Christian community would become a totally endangered specie under a Muslim-Muslim presidency.
HOWEVER, President of the Senate and the Northeast caucus of the APC in the National Assembly have described the emergence of Shettima as the vice presidential candidate as an excellent choice. In a statement Lawan personally signed, on Monday, he said the former two-term governor of Borno State entered public service with impeccable credentials, which he has burnished by demonstrating great competence, integrity and courage in all the positions that he has held.
“On behalf of myself and the Northeast caucus of our great party, I congratulate Shettima on his nomination as the running mate to our presidential candidate. Tinubu and our party have made an excellent choice in Senator Shettima.”
ALSO, a group, Northern Progressive Christian Alliance (NPCA), has thrown its weight behind the APC Muslim-Muslim pairing. The group challenged people with evidence of Shetima’s link with Boko Haram to present their evidence.
The group said the decision to back Shettima was on the ground of competence, performance and love for Christians during his days as Borno governor. “It is high time Nigerians rose above ethnic or religious sentiments in the consideration of choice of leaders at all levels of governance,” it stressed.
The group, which disclosed this in a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Reverend Moses Bwala Bitrus and Pastor Nicolas Abimaje respectively, said the election of a president and his running mate as well as other political positions shouldn’t be measured on basis of tribe, religion and regional interests, but on who can work and tackle the plethora of problems facing Nigeria.
Reacting to an allegation that Shettima was sponsoring Boko Haram, it stated: “We challenge those behind the allegations to provide evidence with an assurance that our group will mobilise Nigerians to reject him outright and if there is none, they should stop the campaign of calumny.”
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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.’’
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.
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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