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JUST IN: Tribunal sacks Dino as Kogi West senator

The Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has quashed the victory of Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial district.

Melaye (PDP) was declared winner in the February election by INEC, but Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC) approached the tribunal, challenging INEC’s declaration citing, irregularities, over voting and non compliance with the electoral acts.

The three man panel led by Justice A. O. Chijioke in a unanimous judgment on Friday accepted Adeyemi’s ground and order for reelection into the senatorial axis.

Details shortly…

Ambode: CACOL cautions EFCC against selective investigation

 

The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, has faulted the action of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to allow themselves be used by some perceived political enemies to raid the country home of former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode in Epe.

Adeniran spoke on Thursday during an interview on Arise TV’s Morning Show, where he picked holes in the selective method of the investigation by the anti-corruption agency.

Recall that on Tuesday, EFCC raided the residence of Ambode in Ikoyi and Epe over allegations of corruption allegations leveled against him, but could not find anything incriminating.

“That account we were told is the account of the Lagos State government. It is not a functional account for the former governor or anybody in that government and that because it has to be operated. Nobody is above the law actually and we are not saying that if any corruption issues are developed against the former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode that he should not be investigated or brought before justice.

“The reason why we have to believe that you have to connect with it is that, that is the only corruption allegation that has been leveled against the former governor. And we don’t have anything against that if on reasonable ground that have reasons to believe that maybe the cash is starched in that house just like that found in Osborne’s house, Falomo, Ikoyi or shopping complex. They could raid the place and they can break it down if they refuse to open the place. But then you have to have reasonable reasons to do that. Unfortunately, Epe youths might be too zealous to protect one of their own, that might be the reason.

“But we were told that they actually penetrated the premises and did the search and even going by the account of the young lawyers they said that they insisted that they needed to witness the search. And they actually search the searchers before they started the operation. At the end of the day, they never found anything incriminating in that house except for a stark of files. And those stark of files we wouldn’t know if they suspected that it contains documents, but they could have checked it to find out the contents of those files so that if the files contain secret documents they could have easily tell the world what they have found in the house.

But since there is no incident, it means it’s only normal that people would think it was maliciously done. We believe that EFCC as an anti-corruption agency shouldn’t have allowed itself to be used. Of course, they need to investigate all petitions that have been sent to them,” Adeniran explained.

 

A’Ibom PDP members at war with chairman over N2.6bn contract

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Akwa Ibom have drawn the battle line with the state chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, over his failure to deliver N2.6 billion contract to ward chapters of the party.

It was gathered that Governor Udom Emmanuel had during his electioneering campaigns promised to award contracts to members at the ward levels.

Piqued by the failure of the party to implement the Governor’s promise, members of the party across the wards on Wednesday booed Ekpo during a stakeholders meeting of the party.

It was gathered that the party had promised “ward contract” to the people of the party before the re-election of the Governor.

Sources in the party disclosed that each of the 329 wards was to be awarded the contract of N8 million, making a total of 2.6b for all the wards.

The sources also revealed that some of the wards were given N2 million before the general elections while others received nothing.

Emmanuel has vowed to speedily implement all the earlier decisions the party had with wards in the state.

Emmanuel said it was not wrong for the people to speak up as that has helped him to know that all is not well with the people.

He said: “If I don’t do this, do not believe whatever I will say again.”

Tribunal reserves judgment on PDP, Atiku’s petition against Buhari’s election

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, on Wednesday, reserved its judgment on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the February 23, 2019 poll.

The five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba announced this after listening to the final arguments of the parties to the case.

Justice Garba said the date for judgment would be communicated to the parties through their lawyers.

“‎Judgment in this petition is hereby reserved and will be delivered on the date to be sent to counsel for the parties,” Justice Garba said.

At the Wednesday’s hearing the petitioners, through their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), urged the court to uphold their case by either declaring them the winner of the election or order a fresh one.

But the respondents – the Independent National Electoral Commission, represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), Buhari, whose legal team was led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and the All Progressives Congress represented by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) – urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

The petitioners had called 62 witnesses to prove its case.

While the INEC and the APC called none, Buhari called seven in defence.

The tribunal, on August 1, directed parties to file and exchange their final addresses and fixed Wednesday for the adoption of the addresses.

Why Lagos Assembly dropped three commissioner-nominees

The three commissioner-nominees, who were not confirmed on Monday by the Lagos State House of Assembly, were victims of high-wire politics, it was learnt.

Three nominees are: Prince Olanrewaju Sanusi, Obafemi George and Ms Adekemi Ajayi-Bembe.

A party source said the Assembly could not resist the pressure to deny them clearance, owning to the weight of allegations against them.

According to the source, the politics of confirmation overwhelmed the Assembly, adding that “the matter was beyond the control of the lawmakers”.

“It is now evident that nominations and screening were not final. Post-screening hurdles may arise from familiar and strange quarters,” the source stressed.

The source, who sympathised with the dropped nominees, said the governor may still represent them, if they overcome their challenges.

Asked to shed light on what he described as “high-wire politics”, the source said: “I suspected that the outcry against them arose from their people; from their constituencies where leaders and critical stakeholders, who cannot be ignored, kicked.

“I don’t think it was due to poor performance at the screening, although we heard that a particular nominee did not measure up during the exercise and the House Committee that screened them noted the non-display of competence.

“They were not confirmed because of politics of preference and rejection. The influence of powerful people, who didn’t want them, dwarfed those of their supporters in their respective constituencies. They did not play their cards well at home. It can happen because it is politics.”

But, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, also said the governor was at liberty to represent them to the House.

The Assembly, however, at plenary, confirmed 35 of 38 persons Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu nominated as commissioners and special advisers after the final screening by the whole House.

The nominees were cleared after the adoption of the recommendations of the ad hoc committee constituted by the lawmakers on the screening.

The committee’s report, which was read by the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru, recommended that the nominees be confirmed by the whole House, according to section 192 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Obasa, however, cautioned those confirmed that the House would not hesitate to pass a vote of no confidence on any member of the state exco found wanting after they assume office.

The 38 nominees had before yesterday been screened by a 16-man ad hoc committee set up by the Assembly for the exercise.

They were, however, called individually on Monday to appear before the whole House at plenary to introduce themselves fully.

The speaker told the nominees that the House would not fail in its oversight to ensure that each performed his or her responsibility to the people.

The Speaker added that the House was not concerned about the academic qualifications and oratory prowess of any of the nominees, but readiness and commitment to serve the state.

“Even after the confirmation, we will continue to monitor whatever offices you are assigned to ensure value for public fund. We will continue to oversight your activities.

“We will not hesitate to pass vote of no confidence any time anyone is found wanting,” the Speaker said.

Those cleared as commissioners and special advisers are: Mr. Oladele Ajayi, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, Mr. Kabiru Abdullahi and Mr. Joe Igbokwe.

Others are Bonu Solomon Saanu, Lola Akande, Prince Anofi Elegushi, Solape Hammond, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, Shulamite Adebolu, Tokunbo Wahab., Rabiu Olowo Onaolapo, Folashade Adefisayo, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Dr. Idris Salako, Tunji Bello, Gbenga Omotoso, Toke Benson-Awoyinka and Mrs. Bolaji Dada

Included are: Lere Odusote, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde, Gbolahan Lawal, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN), Hakeem Fahm and Ajibola Ponle.

Also confirmed are Aramide Adeyoye, Segun Dawodu, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Sam Egube, Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, Mr. Tunbosun Alake and Mr. Afolabi Ayantayo.

The rejection and confirmation were done through a voice vote supervised by the Speaker.

However, the swearing-in and inauguration of the cleared nominees has been fixed for today at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, Ikeja by 10a.m.

Buhari to tribunal: Atiku’s petition worthless, meaningless, ungrantable

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atikiu Abubakar, as the most worthless in election litigation history.

The President thus urged the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.

But the PDP candidate insists that the President is unqualified to contest the election. He urged the tribunal to quash his victory.

These are the highlights in the final written addresses submitted to the court, which they are expected to adopt on August 21 when the court will hear final submissions from parties to the petition by Atiku and the PDP, challenging the outcome of the last presidential election.

In a leaked report by The Nation, Buhari and the APC argued that not only are the reliefs sought by the petitioners “ungrantable and meaningless”, they (Atiku and the PDP) failed woefully to prove the allegations as contained in their petition.

Buhari and the APC, after analysing the evidence by witnesses called by the petitioners, argued that in their attempt to establish their allegations, they dumped documents on the court in the name of tendering documentary evidence.

They said: “It is submitted with every force that in the annals of election petition proceedings in Nigeria, this particular petition has been the most starved in terms of evidence, whether oral or documentary.

The petitioners also woefully failed to appreciate that this court does not wrought miracles, but decides cases according to law, and not based on sentiments.

“Whereas, the petitioners are challenging results of election in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and have pleaded in paragraph 107 of their petition that there were 119,973 polling units in the country, they called only five polling unit agents to give evidence, i.e PW5 of Mai Angwa Yclwa 008 Polling Unit of Jigawa State; PW6 of Farin Dutse 001 Polling Unit of Jigawa State; PW12 of Polling Unit 009 of Nasarawa “B” Ward of Niger State; PW46 of Unit 009, Karu Ward of Nasarawa State, and PW49 of Unit 1, Morowa of Nasarawa State.

“Apart from the fact that these witnesses made no impression on the petitioners’ case, a pertinent question arises, to wit, what happens to the remaining witnesses in respect of the outstanding 119, 968 polling units in the country?

Respondent submits that the petitioners are not in the least bit, serious at ventilating any grievance against the presidential election of 23rd February, 2019 before this honourable court. From the presentation of the petition, through to the calling of witnesses, the petitioners would appear to be very unsure and unsteady as to what they want precisely.

“This is not surprising as the entirety of the petition is based on assumptions, speculations and conjectures. The petition itself is based on conflicting and irreconcilable grounds, the last two of which glibly suggest that the 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not qualified to contest the election under reference.

“As against the grounds, the evidence given, both oral and the dumped documentary, suggests something different; the five reliefs sought are not any shade better than the grounds, but they vividly bring to the fore the confusion enveloping the entire petition.”

Lawan, other senators arrive Daura to pay Buhari Sallah homage

Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Friday led some senators to Daura to pay Sallah homage to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Some of the senators, who made the trip include Senate Leader Abdullahi Yahaya, Deputy Senate Leader Ajayi Borrofice, Deputy whip Sabi Abdullahi Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe Minority whip Sen. Philip Aduda and Deputy Minority whip, Sahabi Ya’u.

Also on the senate entourage were the three senators from Katsina State, Senator Babba A Kaita, Senator Abdullahi K Barkiya and Senator Bello Mandiya.

A photo of the Senators arriving at the airport was shared on the verified Twitter handle of the Senate.

Lawan returned from the 2019 hajj on Thursday.

Buhari had left Abuja for Katsina last Thursday to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir in his hometown of Daura.

The Eid-el-Kabir had been celebrated on Sunday and the Federal Government had declared last Monday and Tuesday as public holidays.

PDP, Atiku to tribunal: We have built iron-cast case for Buhari to be sacked

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku, have asked the presidential election tribunal to sack President Muhammadu Buhari on account of him not possessing the requisite academic qualifications to have contested the Presidency in the poll.

While insisting that it has made an iron cast case against the eligibility of the President to have contested for the number one position in the country, the petitioners further maintained that the election that produced him did not meet up with the standard set out in the Electoral Act.

This was contained in the 43-page final addresses to the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five- member presidential election tribunal filed by their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), on August 14, 2019.

The petitioners who are challenging the return of Buhari and the credibility of the election had closed their case after calling 62 witnesses and tendering over 4, 000 documents.

Meantime, the tribunal has fixed August 21 for the adoption of final addresses by parties to the petition.

But in its final written address, the PDP and Atiku insisted that they have proved all allegations contained in their petition against the conduct of the February 23 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitioners further claimed to have established the fact that Buhari does not possess the requisite academic qualification for the position of President of Nigeria.

They stated that even Buhari’s own witnesses under cross-examination admitted to the fact that Buhari does not possess a school certificate, being the basic requirements for contesting the office of the president.

“We therefore submit that all the purported evidence led by the 2nd respondent (Buhari) to prove that he attended a secondary school or a primary school or that he attended some courses, is irrelevant because he did not rely on any of those purported qualifications in exhibit P1, he relied on primary school certificate, WASC and Officer Cadet.

“Equally futile is his attempt to prove that he can speak and write in the English language. That is all irrelevant to his inability to produce his primary school certificate, secondary school certificate or WASC and his Officer Cadet qualification, whatever that means. Officer Cadet is not a qualification or certificate under the Constitution and Electoral Act; nor is it known to any law.

On the purported Cambridge University certificate tendered by Buhari before the tribunal, the petitioners asked why, “it was easier for Buhari to go all the way to Cambridge in the United Kingdom to obtain a bogus documents that his own witnesses said was not a certificate, instead of just driving down the street in Abuja to the Army Headquarters or placing a phone call to the Secretary of the Military Board in Abuja to hurry over with his certificate or certificates.”

They further contended that, “A comparison of the purported Cambridge Assessment International Education Certifying Statement of the purported West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate and a certified true copy of the purported confidential result sheet of the University of Cambridge West African School Certificate of 1961 for the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, reveals many discrepancies in the supposed result.

“One listed 8 subjects that the candidate therein mentioned one ‘Mohamed Buhari’ allegedly sat for, the other 6 subjects, both documents are therefore unreliable as both cannot be correct. The contradiction must count against the 2nd respondent.

Another false claim by Buhari, according to the petitioners is that he attended, “Elementary School, Daura and Mai Aduwa 1948-52”. Elementary School Daura is totally different from Mai Aduwa, their locations are totally different. He also claimed he entered Middle School Katsina in 1953, however, the petitioners submitted that by 1953, the Middle School system had been abolished in the Northern Region of Nigeria.

On the claim that his certificates were with the military, the petitioners submitted that Buhari failed woefully to prove the claim, “rather the petitioners’ evidence to the contrary was not contested nor challenged.

It is also the case of the petitioners that they have successfully proved that the Nigerian Army had denied being in possession of Buhari’s alleged certificates.

“One of the strongest evidence on the issue was given by the second respondent’s own witness, RW1, General Paul Tafa, (Rtd), who under cross examination by the 1st respondent (INEC), told the court firmly and unequivocally that the Army did not collect the certificates of military Officers and added, ‘there was no such thing”.

On the issue of rigging and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the petitioners said with the plethora of evidence tendered and witnesses called they have been able to show to the tribunal that Buhari’s election was invalid.

They added that analysis of results from 11 states showed how INEC in connivance with Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) wrongly and unlawfully credited Buhari with votes not valid or lawful.

According to them documents tendered before the tribunal showed huge discrepancies between collated results as contained in the tendered Certified True Copies of forms EC8A and polling units.

They further alleged that a total of 2, 906,384 votes were cancelled across the country, while 2, 698,773 Nigerians were disenfranchised.

They said the two figures when added exceeded the 3, 928,869 differential between the votes as stated in INEC form EC8E.

INEC has no power to sack me, says ex-Cross River REC

The immediate past Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Frankland Briyia, on Wednesday, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacked powers to unilaterally sack him.

Briyia said his preliminary investigations revealed that the report that he was sacked by the commission was fake saying that he only resigned his appointment to join partisan politics and participate in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Speaking at the secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Yenagoa, Briyia said he was at the party office to inform the officials that he was a registered member of the party and intended to contest the forthcoming poll.

There were reports that INEC sacked the former REC for using its premises in Cross River to declare his membership of the APC.

But Briyia said: “No, INEC did not say so. INEC never meant to say so. I officially and legally resigned my appointment and INEC will attest to that. Let me state this. The REC is nominated by the President and the President sends the nominees to the Senate.

“The Senate screens them and if they’re found worthy confirms them and sends them to the President and the President eventually gives them appointments. The moment the appointment is given to the REC and the REC does anything wrong, INEC will investigate and sends its reports and makes its recommendation of what will happen to the REC whether he will be disciplined or not to the President.

“If the President and his team actually investigate and if he sees that what the REC has done actually contravenes the code of conduct, he will send the report to the Senate. The Senate will debate it, if the two-third majority of the Senate finds what the REC wrong, the Senate will rectify it and send it back to the President.

“It thereafter the President only, can sanction the REC. I have contacted INEC headquarters and the news about my sack is fake news. INEC said they didn’t say a thing like that. I’m sure you have watched or maybe read INEC publication, you won’t find anything like sack because I resigned officially.

“My departure created a vacuum and in INEC tradition the moment there’s no REC the administrative secretary takes over, that was what INEC meant. INEC doesn’t mean that I was sacked. So, don’t misquote INEC”.

Briyia said he had mapped out robust programmes for Bayelsa adding that if he became the governor of the state he would focus on human capacity and infrastructural development.

He said the people of the state were generally unemployed lamenting that most of them could no longer go to school.

The aspirant observed that civil servants were not re Irving their full salaries while most pensioners were languishing without their pensions.

He said: “I came because the good people of Bayelsa state called me to come and contest the gubernatorial election. We have insecurity in this state and insecurity has so many factors that cause them.

“When we identify those factors, we intend that God helping us after the gubernatorial election, we are going to turn this state around for the betterment of everybody that’s living in this state, whether you are indigenes or non-indigenes.

“Some of you have traveled out of this state. Ebonyi state and some of them were created the same time with Bayelsa. if you travel to Ebonyi state you will see infrastructural development. I was in Ebonyi state in January last year and I passed through some of those states that were created the same time with Bayelsa state.

“As a matter of fact, Bayelsa state is the list developed, in terms of human capacity and infrastructural development. Bayelsa state is the smallest and wealthiest of these states. That was the reason they asked me to come and contest because they found worthy and capable of turning this state around”.

Why Yahaya Bello Missed APC Governor’s Meeting With Buhari – Garba Shehu

The Presidency has explained why Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, missed the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Progressives Governors.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu  gave the explanation in a statement on Tuesday, shortly after the governors paid homage to his principal in Daura, Katsina State.

He noted that Governor Bello was absent at the meeting because of the burial of his stepmother who died recently.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, expressed sorrow on the death of Madam Rekiya Momoh Bello, the stepmother of Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State.

“The governor’s absence at the meeting of Progressive Governors with the President in Daura, Katsina State earlier in the day got the attention of President Buhari and was informed of the death of Madam Rekiya, whose burial made Governor Bello to stay back in his state,” the statement said.

The President, according to Shehu, expressed condolences to the family, the government and people of Kogi State over the irreparable loss.

He also wished peace for the departed soul and prayed to Allah to grant her bereaved families the strength to bear the loss.

Earlier, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and other governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s platform paid homage to the President.

Among the visiting governors were Babajide Sanwoolu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has also commiserated with Governor Bello on the death of his stepmother.

“My heartfelt sympathy goes to the governor, his family, the State Government and people of Kogi,” the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi.

The Senate President prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for Allah to comfort the family.

Obaseki pays surprise visit to Oshiomhole

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, on Monday, paid a visit to Adams Oshiomhole, his predecessor, despite the reports of disagreement between them.

Obaseki visited Oshiomhole, who was with his mother, Aishetu Oshiomhole, for the Eid-el-Kabir holidays, at his Iyamho country home.

The governor was said to have expressed his appreciation for the support he received from the Muslim community while reiterating his commitment to the development of the state.

On his part, Oshiomhole commended the governor for his “uncommon leadership” and advised him not to succumb to the “forces of darkness preaching division” in the state.

Speaking after the meeting, Crusoe Osagie, special adviser to the governor on media and communications, lauded Obaseki “exemplary leadership”.

He noted that the notion that Obaseki and Oshiomhole are adversaries is being propagated by “morally bankrupt individuals” whose interest is to cause tension and division in the state.

“The notion that these two men are adversaries is being propagated by morally and financially insolvent people seeking to profit off of the challenges they have been working so hard to foment,” Osagie said.

“You cannot blame such people really. Their talents and abilities are severely limited, so it is in their collective interest to stoke tension and drive division, but I can tell you that they have already failed.

“It is not in their interests for Edo state to peacefully progress, so they will try to twist the purpose of this visit. This is what they’ve always done and it’s their stock-in-trade.

“True leaders understand that they represent the people in whose interests they must serve. This is why his excellency has always said that the resources of the state are for the people only, and not for a negligible minority and nothing can ever change this.”

When asked if Obaseki would agree to the directive of the national assembly to issue a fresh proclamation for the state house of assembly, Osagie said he could not comment on the matter as it was already in court.

“I cannot speak on this matter as it is sub-judice. But I think the whole world knows that the Edo state house of assembly has already been inaugurated,” he said.

“No person or group of persons or institution other than the judiciary can order a state governor to do anything on a matter that is presently before courts of competent jurisdiction.

“We are a nation of laws and by the special grace of God, we will all be alive to witness the law run its full course.”

A misunderstanding between Obaseki and Oshiomhole had led to the factionalisation of the state assembly.

Nine lawmakers loyal to Obaseki were secretly inaugurated on June 17, leaving their colleagues in the camp of Oshiomhole stranded.

 

Buhari drops Ita Enang as National Assembly aide, picks Omoworare

President Muhammadu Buhari has dropped Ita Enang as his aide on National Assembly Matters (Senate),  according to multiple reports.

Enang, a former senator from Akwa Ibom state, was appointed a special adviser to Mr Buhari during the president’s first term.

He has continued to act in that capacity in Mr Buhari’s second term, even when his appointment, like that of several other aides, has not been renewed.

A source close to the Presidency disclosed that President Buhari has dropped Mr Enang as his aide on National Assembly Matters.

The president has picked  Babajide Omoworare a former senator from Osun state, as Mr Enang’s replacement, the source said.

The belief in the Presidency is that Mr Enang did not perform well in managing the relationship between President Buhari and senators in the eighth Senate, despite being a former senator himself, it was learnt.

The relationship between President Buhari and the Bukola Saraki-led Senate was characterised by deep animosity.

Saraki was elected a senator in 2015 under the same party — the All Progressives Congress — with Mr Buhari, but the two parted ways politically.

Saraki later defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and became a critic of the Buhari administration.

He contested but failed to win the 2019 PDP presidential primary. He was also unable to return to the ninth Senate.

“He (Enang) didn’t have the temperament to deliver anything substantial,” the source said of Mr Enang’s performance as Mr Buhari’s aide.

“Despite the experience he has and the senators being his former colleagues, he could not resolve the frequent crisis the senators were having with the president.”

The source said Mr Enang may, however, be compensated with another position – possibly the president’s adviser on Niger Delta matters.

The new appointment is among those to be announced this week by the presidency.

Enang’s spokesperson, Essien Inyang, said on Monday he was not aware the former senator had been dropped by the president.

The Presidency did not respond to telephone calls on Monday seeking comments.

PDP BOT Chairman declares support for RUGA

Senator Walid Jibrin, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party has urged Nigerians to embrace the establishment of Rural Grazing Areas programme of the Federal Government.

Jibrin told newsmen at his Nasarawa country home on Tuesday in Nasarawa State that the proposed settlement policy for herdsmen would promote peace and security in the country.

He also explained that the programme would boost food security and improve the health and standard of living in rural communities.

Jibrin, who is also the Sarkin (leader) of Fulani in Nasarawa State, commended the federal government for introducing the RUGA programme in the country considering its importance.

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“I am not in APC, I am a PDP chieftain. But when we talk of development and security, we should leave anything about politics, religion and tribe.

“Whoever is ruling in Nigeria, if he brings any programme that will do away with insecurity, killings and will take care of the welfare of the people, I will go by that. My politics is not do or die and I play politics without bitterness.

“That is why I am and we Fulani commend the Federal Government for introducing the RUGA project in the country.

“I and our tribe (Fulani) have embraced the programme. RUGA project includes the provision of hospitals, schools, water supply and electricity, among other facilities, which will have a direct bearing on the lives of the herders.

“Apart from that, it will also tackle incessant farmers/herdsmen conflicts as well as boost food security in the country,” he said.

Jibrin also called on the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups to embrace the programme in the interest of national development.

“About 12 states in the North have already embraced it and have already started the project including Nasarawa State.

“So, I am calling on the Southerners, the Igbos, the Yorubas, among others, to embrace it, even though the project is not compulsory.”

(NAN)

Joe Igbokwe, Anofi Elegushi make Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet

Joe Igbokwe, spokesman of the Lagos state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has been appointed into the cabinet of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state.

Gboyega Akosile, deputy chief press secretary to the governor, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.

Akosile said 13 commissioners and special advisers nominees made the list which has been transmitted to the state house of assembly.

The governor’s media aide said the selection process was “rigorous because of the need to constitute the best team that would serve Lagos in line with the administration’s vision of delivering a city-state that will rank among the top most liveable cities in the world”.

Below are names on the list:

Oladele Ajayi
Oluwatoyin Fayinka
Yetunde Arobieke
Olanrewaju Sanusi
Joe Igbokwe
Bonu Saanu
Kabiru Ahmed
Lola Akande
Anofi Elegushi
Solape Hammond
Moruf Fatai
Shulamite Adebolu
Tokunbo Wahab

The governor had sent the first batch of 25 of commissioners and special advisers to the lawmakers for screening, in July.

Tunji Bello, former secretary to government, Gbenga Omotoso, editor of The Nation Newspaper, were among those on the first list.

 

Eid-el-kabir: Reps minority caucus want Sowore released

The Minority caucus of the House of Representatives, has  called for the release of  political activist, Mr Omoyele Sowere, in the spirit of Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

In a goodwill message to Muslims on the celebration, the Minority Leader, Rep. Tony Elumelu, said although the challenges facing the country were enormous, they could be surmounted if government rallied all Nigerians to work together as one people.

Sowore, the 2019 Presidential Candidate of  African Action Congress (AAC), was arrested and detained for organising the ‘RevolutionNow’ protest to demand for major reforms in the country.

“The house minority caucus felicitates with Muslim faithful at Eid-el-Kabir, we call on our Muslim brothers and sisters to use the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir to pray for  peace and wellbeing of our nation.

“There is need to reflect on and imbibe the exemplary legacies of Prophet Mohammed, especially his life of love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

“In the same vein, we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of Sowere, in the spirit of Eid-el-Kabir and in deference to democracy,” Elumelu said.

He noted that Nigeria was facing enormous economic and security challenges and urged the Federal Government to direct attention, energy and state resources toward surmounting them.

Elumelu said the expectation was that the government would rally Nigerians across political, religious, and ethnic divide to work as one people to deal with the challenges.

He called on Muslims to pray for peace and security in the country and to imbibe qualities of peace, forgiveness and sharing as practised by Prophet Mohammed. (NAN)

APC fabricated lies to discredit Jonathan – Timi Frank

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timi Frank Saturday disclosed how the leaders of the party fabricated lies in 2015 to sabotage the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

With the rising incidence of killing, violence and insecurity nationwide, Frank disclosed that Jonathan managed security challenges in the country better than the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the disclosure in a statement he issued Saturday, claiming that many lies were fabricated against Jonathan that made his re-election impossible.

Frank made the call in a statement he issued yesterday, claiming that many lies were fabricated against Jonathan that made his re-election impossible.

He said unless Nigerians preferred to continue in pretence, Jonathan managed security challenge in the country well compared to what is being witnessed now under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He acknowledged that all Nigerians made a wrong choice of electing Buhari, though there were things the Jonathan administration should have done better.

He, therefore, called Nigerians “to beg former President Goodluck Jonathan for wrongly voting him out and sabotaging his government. I must confess that as an APC figure in 2015, we fabricated many lies against Jonathan.
“However, I have publicly apologised to him. Other Nigerians, especially the pastors, Imams, traditional rulers and other opinion leaders should beg for forgiveness too.

“It is obvious now that insecurity in our Nation has gone out of hand. The challenge was limited to a zone under Goodluck Jonathan but presently no state, including Buhari’s home state is secured.

“Under Jonathan, Fulani herdsmen were using stick. But they now carry AK 47. Under Jonathan, lives of Nigerians were more important despite the challenges but under Buhari, cows are more important than lives.

“There was democracy and rule of law under Jonathan. But it is now rule of force and impunity. Under Jonathan, National Assembly were active and working, but it is now a rubber stamp.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians abroad were relocating back home but under Buhari Nigerians are running away. Under Jonathan Nigerians are respected all over the world but that has since gone under Buhari.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians were crying in tears. But now Nigerians are crying in blood. Under Jonathan, there was freedom of speech, but that has long gone under the APC administration.

“Under Jonathan, poverty, hunger and unemployment were not as bad as it is today. Under Jonathan Nigeria was a United Nation but sentiments have taken over now. As it is now, all the institutions of government that were working well under Jonathan have all been blackmailed and politicised.”

On these grounds, Frank called on all Nigerians, who betrayed Jonathan to come out publicly and apologise to him, thereby appealing to Jonathan on behalf of Nigerians “to forgive Nigerians and bless the nation against the evils that have pervaded the land.”

He, also, urged all religious leaders, traditional rulers and all Nigerians who directly or indirectly worked against Jonathan’s government to ask for forgiveness before it is too late.

He added that Nigerians should ask the APC administration what happened to the $1 Billion ECA money removed to fight insecurity in Nigeria.

He equally charged all Nigerians “to support a peaceful revolution to take back Nigeria to the good old days from the hands “evil men in power.”

INEC fires Cross River REC after resigning to contest guber poll

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday sacked the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River State, Dr. Frankland Briyai.

Briyai had announced his resignation on Thursday.

He said he wanted to contest the forthcoming Bayelsa governorship election scheduled for November 16. However, the commission claimed it had yet to receive his resignation letter.

A statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, frowned at the use of its premises or facilities for any political purpose.

He described the act as unlawful and contravened the Code of Conduct subscribed to by all INEC officials.

While announcing his sack, INEC directed its Administrative Secretary in Cross River State to oversee the office and take over the functions and duties of the REC until further notice.

The statement by Okoye reads: “The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cross River State of INEC, Dr. Frankland Briyai yesterday (Thursday) addressed the media to the effect that he has resigned his position as REC with effect from August 8 2019 and joined a political party on whose platform he intends to contest the November 16, 2019 governorship Election in Bayelsa State.

“Although this was done at the commission’s Cross River State office in Calabar, the commission is yet to receive any communication on this from Briyai.

“Section 306(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that the resignation of such appointment takes effect on receipt of the letter of resignation by the appointing authority – in this case, the President.

“While it is the right of any Commissioner or official of the Commission to resign his or her appointment and join any political party of his/her choice and to aspire for any office or position, INEC frowns at the use of its premises or facilities for any political purpose as this is unlawful and contrary to the Code of Conduct subscribed to by all its officials.

“Following his declaration, the commission has relieved Briyai of his duties as a Resident Electoral Commissioner and withdrawn all powers delegated to him. Consequently, the Administrative Secretary of Cross River State has been directed to oversee the office and take over the functions and duties of the REC until further notice.”

 

N1.23bn alleged fraud: Court imposes N1bn bail on Maurice Iwu

A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Maurice Iwu, who was charged with an alleged fraud of N1.23bn, has been admitted to bail in the sum of N1bn with two sureties in like sum.

Justice Chuka Obiozor said, in his ruling on Friday, that one the sureties must own a landed property in Lagos while the other must be a professor or a civil servant not below Grade Level 16.

The judge said both sureties must furnish the court with the statement of their bank accounts, showing a minimum balance of N1bn.

The sureties are also to submit their recent passport photographs.

In addition, Iwu was ordered to deposit his passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.

The judge ordered that he should be remanded in the prison custody pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on Thursday arraigned the ex-INEC chairman on four counts bordering on fraud before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Iwu committed the offence in the build-up to the 2015 general elections in which President Muhammadu Buhari defeated then-incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to the EFCC, Iwu, between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, “aided the concealment of N1.23bn in the account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited with number 1018603119, domiciled in the United Bank for Africa.”

The EFCC said Iwu “ought to have reasonably known that the N1.23bn formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud.”

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the ex-INEC chairman acted contrary to sections 18(a) and 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering ((Prohibition) Act 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

But when the charges were read to him, Iwu pleaded not guilty.

While moving Iwu’s bail application on Friday, his lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), urged the judge to admit his client to bail in liberal terms but the EFCC vehemently opposed the bail application.

The EFCC counsel, Oyedepo, told the judge that Iwu might likely interfere with the witnesses assembled to testify in the case as they were INEC officials with whom he had worked closely.

Bayelsa guber poll: Cross River REC resigns, joins APC

Frankland Briyai, resident electoral commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Cross River, has resigned his appointment to contest the November 16 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa state.

Briyai, a native of Bayelsa, had announced in June that he might contest in the election due to “pressure” from his people.

Briyai announced his resignation and made his intentions known on Thursday while addressing journalists at the INEC headquarters in Calabar, Cross River capital.

He disclosed that he would be contesting the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“On Saturday, the 21st of July, 2019, a mammoth crowd of Bayelsans held a peaceful rally in Yenagoa, calling my humble self to contest the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election,” Briyai said.

“I was called upon by my people; my people believe in my ability and capacity to lead. They are impressed and also believe that I have what it takes to take Bayelsa and its people to a higher ground and next level.

“They understand that I can bring back the lost glory of the state; I have to answer the clarion call by resigning today the 8th of August so that I can formerly go back to Bayelsa and register as a party member.

“I am progressive. I believe in being pragmatic and proactive and I want to contest for the governorship position under APC in Bayelsa state. The people of Bayelsa are more interested in the integrity and character of the person. My people have grown and they are now after men with credibility, with capacity.

“All politicians are not dirty; there are still many honest person involved in politics. We have a master plan that will ensure that all graduates who are from Bayelsa become gainfully employed.

“Youth restiveness will become a thing of the past; we will take young people off the streets. We have plans for agriculture, ICT and other skill and profession and a lot more. We urge the youths to eschew violence and thuggery. But when you eliminate idleness, restiveness will automatically stop.”

The development comes six days after Attahiru Jega, former INEC chairman, announced that he had joined the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

Kogi APC suspends Yahaya Bello’s deputy

The Kogi state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suspended Simon Achuba, deputy governor of the state.

This comes 24 hours after the state house of assembly commenced impeachment proceedings against Achuba who has been having a long running battle with Yahaya Bello, the governor.

Achuba had alleged that he is being owed over N800 million in salaries and allowances as a result of directives from the governor.

He also said Bello was after his life. The governor had denied all the allegations.

Abdullahi Bello, chairman of the APC in the state, told reporters on Thursday that Achuba was suspended over alleged anti-party activities before, during and after the 2019 general election.

He described some of the actions of the deputy governor as embarrassing to the “APC family in Kogi state”.

He said a committee set up to probe the actions of Achuba indicted the deputy governor and also recommended his suspension.

“As we are all aware, the All Progressives Congress does not condone acts of indiscipline, indiscretion and anti-party activities from any party member, no matter how highly placed,” he said.

“His series of reckless, damaging and unsubstantiated allegations against government of Kogi state was an action that constitute a serious violation of Article 21A(ii), (v) and (vii) of the APC constitution, amount, amounting to acts of disloyalty and embarrassment to the party.”

Bello added that the decision of the state working committee will be communicated to the national working committee of the ruling party.