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Tinubu has fascist agenda to control all levels of power – Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has attacked a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bolaji Ahmed Tinubu, saying that the former Lagos Governor was pursuing fascist agenda to control all levels of power in Nigeria.

Dogara, in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Turaki Hassan, and made available on Tuesday, said that only the ignorant with dubious academic certificates will say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make.

Dogara was reacting to an earlier statement by Tinubu, where he accused Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Dogara of having padded the country’s budget for four years.

Dogara’s statement added, “We have noted the statement issued on April 21, 2019 by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu wherein he stated his reasons for sponsoring or supporting some aspirants to various leadership positions in the forthcoming 9th Assembly. Ordinarily, this would not have elicited any response from His Excellency, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, as Asiwaju is entitled to sponsor those he believes will have no choice but answer to his dog whistles anytime he blows same in his capacity as the self acclaimed National Leader of his party.

 

“If Asiwaju had confined his intervention to stubborn facts, this response would not have been necessary. He, however, used the opportunity to manufacture falsehoods and paint a non-existing picture of the stewardship of Mr Speaker and the work of the 8th House of Representatives under his watch. It is therefore, incumbent on us to set the records straight for posterity.

“Asiwaju Tinubu accused the leadership of the National Assembly of stymieing ‘the APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation.’

“He said further: ‘Just look at the way Saraki and Dogara and their ilk hijacked the Budget Process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them”.

“He continues ‘Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.’

“He generously used the usual unexplained words like installing a progressive leadership and so on.

“We do not expect Asiwaju Tinubu to dwell on brazen mendacity, much less murder facts and decorum in his rabid bid to justify his patently clear fascist agenda of controlling all levers of power in Nigeria. Asiwaju Tinubu’s nocturnal agenda has no parallel in the history of any democracy and it is more loathsome when he throws caution to the winds and maligns government officials who are doing a yeoman’s job of stabilising the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even in spite of political differences.

“It is on record that the Rt. Hon. Speaker has done more to stabilize this government more than Asiwaju Tinubu and his ilk whose stock in trade is scheming, manipulation and subversion especially when they feel they cannot be caught. When the history of Buhari’s administration is written by those who know the truth of what really transpired in the last four years, Asiwaju’s pretentious loyalty to President Buhari will then be exposed. We won’t say more but no matter how long it may last, the truth will one day overtake lies. Perhaps, Asiwaju is still bitter about the leadership contest for Speakership of the 8th Assembly, even though the actors have moved on culminating in Speaker Dogara magnanimously facilitating the appointment of his opponent in the race and Tinubu’s protege as House Majority leader.

“The chief cause of delay in enacting the budget is the persistent refusal or neglect of the Executive to present it in good time.

“For the records, in the last four years, there was no urgency or plan by the Executive to achieve a January to December budget cycle. For the avoidance of doubt, we will show the dates the Budget estimates were submitted by the Executive in the last four years below.

2016 Budget was submitted on December 22, 2015, exactly nine days to the end of the year.

2017 Budget submitted on December 14,2016, just 17 days to the end of the year.

2018 Budget was presented on November 7, 2017, the earliest even though it also fell short of the 90 days stipulated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

2019 budget was presented on December 19, 2018 exactly 12 days to the end of the year.

“As if the late or delayed submission of budget estimates wasn’t enough, in most cases, Ministers and heads of agencies contributed to the so-called delay by consistently refusing to appear before National Assembly Standing Committees to defend their budget proposals in line with the provision of the Law. At some point, the leadership of the National Assembly had to take up the issue with the President who advised his Ministers to honour legislative invitations to defend their budgets.

”What Nigerians don’t know is that the Executive, through the various Ministries, continued to propose additional projects to be included in the 2018 budget even as at April and May of 2018 which further delayed the passage of the 2018 budget. These were communicated officially and if anyone is in doubt, we will exhibit the letters with the dates they were written and received. In any case, the National Assembly inserted a clause in the Appropriation Bill consistent with S.318 of the Constitution which allowed the Budget to last for 12 months after Mr President’s Assent. This enabled the Executive to spend more of the capital component of the Budget as it still had 12 months protected by law.

“As an activist legislature, the National Assembly effected an amendment to S. 81(1) of the Constitution to compel Mr President to present the Budget estimates not later than 90 days to the end of a financial year in order to solve this problem but unfortunately, very unfortunately, Mr President declined assent to the bill which was passed by both the National Assembly and over 2/3rds of the State Assemblies.

“The National Assembly made a further attempt to make the Budget process much better by improving the institutional capacity of the Parliament to process and pass National budgets by passing the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) Establishment Bill into law. It was loosely modelled after the American Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Again, Mr President declined assent to the Bill.

“It is important to emphasize that the National Assembly is not a Rubber Stamp Parliament and reserves the right, working cooperatively with the Executive to interrogate projects unilaterally inserted by the Executive branch without the input of or consultation with Parliament. The legislature cannot be accused of padding a Budget it has unquestionable constitutional power to review

“The Budget is a law and the Executive does not make laws. Therefore, it’s only the ignorant and those who hold dubious academic certificates that say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make. In the words of his lordship, Hon Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High court, in suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2014 delivered on March 9, 2016, ‘the National Assembly was not created by drafters of the Constitution and imbued with the powers to receive ‘budget estimates’ which the first defendant is constitutionally empowered to prepare and lay before it, as a rubber stamp parliament. The whole essence of the budget estimates being required to be laid before Parliament is to enable it, being the Assembly of the representatives of the people, to debate the said budget proposals and to make its own well informed legislative inputs into it.’

“The parliamentarians are representatives of the Nigerian people and you don’t expect them to rubber stamp budgets that are heavily skewed and lopsided against most sections of the country. It is their responsibility to ensure equitable and even distribution of capital projects across all the nooks and crannies of the country, if the Executive fails to do so. In any case, it is false to state that legislative intervention in the Budget Process is to benefit the legislators and not their constituencies.

“We challenge Asiwaju Tinubu to prove otherwise. He should also show in what way the 8th Assembly acted differently from other Assemblies of the past to warrant the kind of language used. In any case, all the aspirants to the Senate Presidency and Speakership he is sponsoring are majority leaders in the 8th Assembly and took part in the Budget Process that he made the chief basis of his crude attack. This proves beyond doubt the hypocrisy of Asiwaju’s stated reasons for supporting his candidates.

“He should find better reasons other than the lies being peddled about the Budget and obstructing government business. Asiwaju shouldn’t take better informed Nigerians for fools. Otherwise, when he sought to take control of the 8th Senate and 8th House in 2015, was it because of any Budget Saraki and Dogara had delayed or pet projects they had inserted into any Budget before 2015? Asiwaju must come clean on this matter. He should let Nigerians know why he wants to install both the Senate President, the Speaker and leadership of the 9th Assembly. He may yet win the support of some of them if he comes clean on this matter.

“The 8th National Assembly is on record to have supported Mr President’s requests on critical issues of governance. We backed him by Resolution on the issue of fuel subsidy, we backed him on the National Minimum wage, even though we were more sympathetic to workers’ rights. In security matters, we never cut any proposal from Mr President save our refusal to rubber stamp a clear constitutional overreach of spending $1 billion in arms purchase without appropriation. We have passed more Bills than any Assembly before us including Bills that are helping the government improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, and there were times we passed Bills within 2 legislative days. Is Tinubu genuinely ignorant of all these?

“We challenge Asiwaju Tinubu to list out the Bills he claimed were not passed by the National Assembly. The oil and gas or petroleum sector is the most important and critical sector of our economy which accounts for over 70 percent of our earnings, the Executive didn’t forward a single Bill to the National Assembly to reform and reposition the sector in the last four years even when repeatedly urged to do so by Mr Speaker in his first year in office. The lawmakers waited in vain and had to take the bold initiative of crafting a Bill – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PGIB) among others, passed it in record time and transmitted same to Mr President for assent. This Bill was vetoed without an alternative Legal framework proposed by the Executive. Did Asiwaju miss this also?

“Asiwaju Tinubu should mention the so-called bills the Executive sent to the National Assembly and were delayed to show he is a man of honour or forever keep his peace.

“Could someone also challenge Asiwaju to list all the “ noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation”? Can he name the bills that are reactionary and not in the national interest? Is this how wayward lust for power blinds the reasoning of people we should ordinarily respect? Is it not most unfair, unpatriotic and wicked for Asiwaju Tinubu to have resorted to factoids in promoting his known fascist agenda which he mistakenly thinks he is keeping secret.

“Finally, we advise Asiwaju Tinubu to be circumspect in his use of language. In this case, he spoke as a spokesperson of depravity. Our reaction must therefore be seen as a provoked counter-punch. Any one can descend into the gutter if he so wishes but no one has a monopoly of gutter language. We won’t run an adult day care centre anymore on matters like this.”

Yahaya Bello will end up in prison, says Melaye

Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, says Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, will end up in prison for alleged corruption.

In a tweet on Tuesday, he said he would sue Bello and members of the state house of assembly  over “the illegality of the L.G caretaker chairmen.”

Melaye said he was fine-tuning his petition which would make the whole world shocked.

“I’m heading to court this week to sue Yahaya Bello and Kogi State House of Assembly over the illegality of the L.G caretaker chairmen,” he tweeted.

“From my concluded investigation they will all end up in prison for corruption. We are fine tuning our petition and the world will be shocked.. SDM.”

Senator Dino Melaye. (SDM)@dino_melaye

I’m heading to court this week to sue Yahaya Bello & Kogi State House of Assembly over the illegality of the L.G caretaker chairmen. From my concluded investigation they will all end up in prison for corruption. We are fine tuning our petition and the world will be shocked.. SDM

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On at least two occasions, the governor has had cause to extend the tenure of the transition committee chairmen of the 21 local government in the state by six months.

Bello, in a letter to the assembly in October, said there was no funds to conduct elections at the local government level.

“This administration would have preferred to hold election at the various councils but our financial realities have constrained us to focus on salaries and recovery from the recent natural disaster, among other pressing needs,” he said.

“It, therefore, falls on the assembly to keep our local government administration running within the ambit of the law by again extending the tenures of the transition committees in our local government areas.”

Appeal Court fixes April 24 for hearing of Osun gov dispute

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has scheduled hearing for April 24 in the appeals filed by the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the March 22, 2019 by the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal.

The tribunal, in a split decision of two-to-one, voided the victory of Oyetola and the APC in the election held on September 22, 2018, but concluded with a rerun on September 27, 2018.

Two members of the tribunal’s three-member panel upheld the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Senator Ademola Adeleke against the outcome of election, while its chairman dismissed it for being unmeritorious.

Justices Peter Obiorah and Adegboye Gbolagunte gave the majority decision, which replaced Oyetola and APC with Adeleke and PDP as winners of the election.

The tribunal Chairman, Justice Muhammad Sirajo, in his dissenting judgment/minority decision, held otherwise.

He dismissed the petition by Adeleke and PDP on the grounds that the petitioners failed to prove their claims.

In the separate notices of appeal they filed against the tribunal’s majority judgment, Oyetola and the APC ripped the judgment apart, arguing that “it is perverse, replete with contradictions and against the weight of evidence.”

The want the Court of Appeal to uphold their appeals, set aside the majority judgment and dismiss the October 16, 2018 petition by Adeleke and the PDP.

Oyetola and the APC said they were contesting the entire majority judgment, except where it held that it lacked jurisdiction to set aside the INEC Guidelines used for the election; that the allegation of over voting was not proved; that the petitioners did not prove voided votes, and other parts of the judgment where it agreed with their arguments.

They queried the validity of the judgment, which was authored and delivered by Justice Obiorah, who they noted, did not participate in all the sittings of the tribunal during trial.

The appellants are of the view that the entire of the majority judgment is a nullity, because it was written and delivered by Justice Obiorah “who did not participate in all the proceedings of the tribunal and who was not present when all the witnesses gave evidence.”

They noted that Justice Obiorah was absent on February 6, 2019 when the respondents witnesses (RWs) 12 and 13 – Ayoola Soji and Oladejo Kazeem – testified and tendered exhibits, which the tribunal admitted in evidence.

The appellants are contending that, having not attended the tribunal’s siting on February 6, 2019, Justice Obiorah did not see the two witnesses and was unable to examine their demeanour, as required, and therefore, it was unlawful for the judge to have authored a judgment in which he reviewed the evidence given by the witnesses.

In the notice of appeal filed for Oyetola by his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), it was argued that: “The writing of and or the participation of the Honourable Justice P. C. Obiorah in the writing of the judgment of the lower tribunal of 22nd March 2019 and delivery of same, vitiates the entire judgment.”

Oyetola and the APC faulted the decision of the tribunal, in the majority judgment, to declare the rerun election unlawful and proceeded to set it aside.

They also faulted the tribunal’s finding that the respondents did not deny the claim by the petitions, through PW74, that the Returning Officer cancelled election in the seven polling units and ordered a rerun.

The appellants said: “The first and third respondents (INEC and APC), in their pleadings, did not admit that it was the Returning Officer that cancelled the result of the election in the seven polling units, but rather, that it was the 1st respondent that cancelled the election in the seven units as distinct from the units’ results.

“Indeed, as pleaded at paragraphs 24, 25, 27 and 29 of the petition, it was the 1st respondent that cancelled the election in the seven units for the reasons alleged by the petitioners.

“The tribunal ought to have held the petitioners bound by their pleadings that it was the 1st respondent that cancelled the election in the units and the fact that the 3rd respondent also pleaded that it was the 1sy respondent that cancelled the election in the units.”

They argued that even if it was any of the electoral officials that announced the cancellation and rerun election, in law, they acted as INEC’s agents of the first respondent (INEC).

The appellants noted that the petitioners did not only fail to tender results from the seven polling units to support their claim that election actually held in the polling units and the results were cancelled; they also failed to exhibit the votes scored by the parties that participated in the election, if actually their was an election.

Oyetayo and APC argued that, rather than holding against the petitioners, for not supplying the necessary evidence, the tribunal wrongly relied on the evidence of PW74, which it had earlier expunged from the record for being hearsay.

They argued that, in the absence of vital evidence, “the tribunal ought to have held that the petitioners did not make out the case that there was any election in the seven polling units and that the Returning Officer cancelled the results of the election in the seven units.”

Saraki challenges Tinubu to provide proof of budget padding

Senate President Bukola Saraki has challenged Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to provide proofs of how the leadership of the national assembly padded budgets.

The senate president’s statement is coming barely a day after Tinubu claimed that budgets were hijacked under him and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives.

“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” Tinubu had said in a statement from his media office on Sunday.

Saraki, however, in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesperson, on Monday, said Tinubu’s statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the eighth national assembly and its leadership.

The senate president challenged Tinubu to make reference to where the leadership of the national assembly “sought to pad with pet projects.”

He described the allegation as careless, irresponsible and callous, while demanding that Tinubu withdraws it.

“Yesterday, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, released another of his now well expected quarterly vicious attack on the person of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate,” Saraki said.

“Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months (Quarterly) will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations.

“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works.

“The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate. Most of the work is done by the various committees. These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties.

“It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed.

“So, if a man like Tinubu is spreading this falsehood about budget passage and delay being deliberately orchestrated by the National Assembly leadership, one wonders whether he tries to even understand what happens in the federal legislature at all or is that the only thing that is of interest to him is ‘jockeying and maneuvering for influence’, as he puts it.

“In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make specific reference to where Dr. Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly “sought to pad with pet projects” as he alleged. Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation.”

Listing some of the bills passed under his leadership, Saraki said he is proud that the eight assembly has surpassed the records of all previous senate in the number of bills passed and its significance to the economy.

“As a leader of the Eighth National Assembly, Dr. Saraki is proud that under his watch, the Senate has surpassed the records of all previous Senate in the number of bills passed, the significance of these bills to the revival of the economy, the fight against insecurity and corruption, improvement in the provision of health service and the education sector, as well as better social service delivery to the generality of the people,” he said.

“The bills passed, motions moved, intervention made and frequent engagement with the people were all directed towards addressing the day to day issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.

“However, Tinubu should leave Dr. Saraki out of his schemes and manipulations towards 2023. It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through.

“Our only advice for him is that if he is interested in the stability of the National Assembly, he should allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership.”

Tinubu reacts to reports on rumoured bid for presidency in 2023

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has described as “untrue” reports that he is planning to strengthen his presidential ambition by planting his allies in key positions at the national assembly.

The politician said those who feel they know his mind better than he does are spreading such rumours.

Tinubu said he aligned with President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the leadership of the national assembly in order to show support for his second term in office.

Buhari and the leadership of the ruling party have endorsed Ahmad Lawan as senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the house of representatives.

Gbajabiamila, an ally of Tinubu, was elected into the lower legislative chamber of the national assembly during the second term of the APC leader as governor of Lagos state.

In a statement from his media office on Sunday, Tinubu said he has no ulterior motive backing Lawan and Gbajabiamila.

He said his mind, heart and efforts are focused on making the APC and Buhari in achieving their “shared vision of a flourishing economy and a prosperous people”.

“We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the national assembly leadership,” the statement read.

“The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle. Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.

“The peddlers of these rumors have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country would be much the better.

“This attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth. While the headlines are sensational they are also senseless because they are not grounded in fact.

“The rumor-mongers should court greater discipline and wisdom. As Asiwaju recently said there is no action a person can take that constitutes a political guarantee as to what may come four years from now.Moreover, that having allies in the national assembly leadership positions will greatly enhance someone’s presidential ambitions is a spurious claim.”

Taking a swipe at Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of reps, Tinubu said the APC must do its best to avoid those who would frustrate Buhari in power.

He said under Saraki and Dogara, budgets were hijacked while the interest of the party was not duly served.

“As he enters his second term, President Buhari has stated that he will give the economy special priority. His goal is to defeat poverty and joblessness while spurring the type of growth and development that will make Nigeria’s a durable and flourishing economy. These goals are laudable and necessary to move Nigeria forward. However, the obstacles before us are vast and complex.

“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” he said.

“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.

“If we are truly committed to optimal governance, then we also must be equally committed to ensuring that the National Assembly leadership be competent and experienced as well as imbued with a progressive mindset and a desire to work in close cooperation with executive. This is all Asiwaju has hoped to achieve. There are no ulterior motives. Everything he has done is in concert with and in furtherance of the wishes of President Buhari and the party.”

Tinubu warned those who are against the president to be bold enough to make their stand known rather than trying to drive a wedge between him and Buhari.

“Thus, those who cast aspersions at Asiwaju, in reality are bucking against the stated position of the President,” he said.

“This is a democracy and people have the right to oppose whomever they wish to oppose. However, if these mongers oppose the president let them be of sufficient courage to plainly say so. They should not disparage Asiwaju as an indirect way to contend against the President.

“What everyone who cares about Nigeria should now do is rally around the president to give him all possible support in driving to reality his economic policies and objectives. This is how we progress as a nation.”

My parents are fully Nigerians — Atiku replies APC

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has dismissed claims that he is not a Nigerian by birth.

In his submission at the presidential election tribunal, Atiku detailed “how he is a Nigerian by birth”, saying he has a right to contest the presidential election.

The PDP candidate had gone to court to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, his APC rival at the poll.

But the ruling party told the tribunal that Atiku is not a Nigerian by birth and thus, not qualified to run for president, going by the provisions of the 1999 constitution.

However, in his response, copy of which was sent to TheCable, Atiku said he was born in Jada, Adamawa state, by Nigerian parents and is therefore a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

He also argued that his parents were both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria.

Below is his full submission in response to APC’s argument about his Nigerian origin:

In further response to paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the 3rd Respondent’s Reply, the Petitioners state as follows:

The 1st Petitioner (Abubakar) was born on 25th November, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa State by Nigerian Parents and he is therefore a citizen of Nigeria by Birth.

The 1st Petitioner’s father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir was a Nigerian by Birth who hailed from Wumo in present day Sokoto State while the mother, Aisha Kande was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in present day Jigawa State.

The parents of the 1st Petitioner are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria. The birth of the 1st Petitioner in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku who was an itinerant trader, from Wumo in present day Sokoto State to Jada in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman.

That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st Petitioner gave birth to Garba who in tum gave birth to the 1st Petitioner and named him after his own father Atiku.

The 1st Petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in present day JigawaState.

That all averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons, League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the 1st Petitioner and therefore completely irrelevant more so that the 1st Petitioner is a Nigerian by birth within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

viii. The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st Petitioner.

In response to paragraph 7 of the 3rd Respondent’s (APC) Reply, the Petitioners aver that the votes of the 1st Petitioner in the Election of 23rd February, 2019 to the office of the President are not wasted votes, and the 1st Petitioner being a qualified candidate in the said Election indeed secured majority of lawful votes over and above the votes of the 2nd Respondent.

In further reaction to Paragraph 7 of the 3rd Respondent Reply, the Petitioners hereby plead and contend that at all times material the 1st Petitioner has been a Nigerian by birth and has participated in the following career and political activities and has also received the following awards and honours:

. the 1st Petitioner was a civil servant in the Nigerian Customs Service for over 20 years and retired as a Deputy Director.

. the 1st Petitioner has been a Nigerian politician for about 30 years and in 1992 he contested in the Presidential Primaries under the platform of then Social Democratic Party (SDP) alongside the late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Baba GanaKingibe.

. the 1st Petitioner contested for and won the 1999 Gubernatorial election in Adamawa State under the platform of the 2nd Petitioner.

. the Former President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR and the 1st Petitioner contested for and won the 1999 and 2003 Presidential Elections, respectively as President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the 2nd Petitioner.

. the 1st Petitioner is the recipient of the National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger(GCON).

. the 1st Petitioner was the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017 when he was elevated to WazirinAdamawa.

In 2007, the 1st Petitioner contested Presidential election under the platform of Action Congress (AC) and the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) contested under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP).

In 2014, the 1st Petitioner and the 2nd Respondent contested the Presidential Primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the 3rd Respondent for the 2015 Presidential Elections.

In reaction to paragraph 10 of the 3rd Respondent’s (APC) Reply, the Petitioners contend that there was no admission of conspiracy and criminality by the Petitioners and reference to admission of conspiracy and criminality is false and unfounded.

Buhari: I’m more academically qualified than Atiku

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is far more academically qualified than Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The president’s statement comes on the back of a petition filed by Atiku and the PDP challenging his victory during the February 23 presidential election.

The former vice president alleged that the result from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed he defeated Buhari in the election.

According to the result declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

But the PDP candidate claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

He also alleged that Buhari was unqualified to contest for the presidential election as he did not possess the minimum qualification of a school certificate as required by the constitution.

But in a response filed by a team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, Buhari said it was Atiku who was not qualified to contest the election, challenging him to produce his educational certificates indicating the schools attended by him with dates.

The president said he “was way above” the former vice president in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.

He also denied submitting false information to INEC concerning his qualification.

“He (Buhari) did not, at any time, provide any false information in the Form CF001 submitted to the 1st respondent, either in 2014 or 2018,” he said.

“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.

“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.

“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected for a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The respondent avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner (Atiku); and that in terms of educational qualifications, trainings and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.

“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner, who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.

“1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”

The president asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying it contained more of pre-election issues, which the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear.

He further challenged the petitioners to produce evidence of their claims that their votes were manipulated.

Jega: Some lecturers in Kano conspired with politicians to rig elections

Prof Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has faulted Nigeria’s electoral system which he says has been under assault.

Jega also alleged politicians used university lecturers to commit irregularities during the elections, particularly in Kano state.

According to Guardian, the former INEC chairman spoke at the annual conference of the Fulbright Alumni Association of Nigeria at Bayero University Kano (BUK).

He said the BUK lecturers who worked with politicians to perpetrate “all sorts of irregularities” betrayed the confidence reposed on them by compromising the electoral process.

A former vice-chancellor of BUK, Jega oversaw the 2015 election which was widely described free and fair.

“I think the major crisis in Nigeria’s democracy is that our electoral integrity has been under assault, compromised and undermined by those who have control over the process,” he said.

“Look at what happened during the last elections, and the story of irregularities being spread even in the four walls of BUK.

“The politicians, through crooked means, got alliances with lecturers in the university to compromise the system and they perpetrated all sort of irregularities, which pave way for a faulty process for the continued entrenchment of bad people in governance.

“Maybe, I am preaching to the converted or I am talking nonsense but frankly speaking, I am beginning to think that we are not taking the obligations of scholarship and intellectual engagement with the seriousness it deserves.”

INEC server: Atiku to invite Microsoft, IBM, Oracle experts as witnesses

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, is willing to engage experts from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle to verify his claim that the servers belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari by 1,615,302 votes.

INEC’s polling figures from the 36 states and federal capital territory (FCT) gave Buhari 15,191,847 votes, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

But in his petition submitted at the tribunal, the PDP candidate alleged that he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes in the presidential election held on February 23.

INEC, in response, said the results being paraded by Atiku was fabricated and not from its website.

But in their response to the INEC’s submission, a copy of which was obtained by TheCable, Atiku and the PDP said address of the server from which the results were obtained is unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

According to PUNCH, Atiku and the PDP would rely on the services of some prominent technology companies to argue the case at the presidential election tribunal.

“The petitioners will at the trial of this petition rely on experts on Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, amongst others,” they added.

JUST IN: Fayemi wins as supreme court dismisses Oni’s appeal

The Supreme Court has dismissed the suit of Segun Oni, a former governor of Ekiti state, who challenged the candidature of Kayode Fayemi.

Oni had filed the suit after losing the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket to Fayemi in 2018.

In a unanimous judgement on Wednesday, the five-man panel held that the appeal by Oni was without merit.

In the lead judgement, Amiru Sanusi held that the case was not opened at the trial court, within the required time, as stipulated under the Forth Alteration Act.

Oni had asked a federal high court in Ekiti to determine if it was proper for Fayemi, who was at the time minister for solid minerals, to contest the primary without resigning as a member of the federal cabinet.

He also asked the court to determine if Fayemi’s action did not violate the Nigerian constitution and the guidelines of the ruling party primary.

El-Rufai’s resignation order – Full list of those affected

Governor Nasir El-Rufai has directed political appointees in Kaduna  state to resign by 30th April 2019.

According to a statement signed  by Samuel Aruwan,Senior Special Assistant to the Governor (Media & Publicity) the governor has directed all appointed to submit their letters of resignation on the said date.

According to Aruwan, “Each notice of resignation must be submitted along with a handover note, signed by the political appointee on behalf of the MDA or office to which he or she had been appointed. All resignation letters should be properly addressed to the Principal Private Secretary.”

The statement, which also contains the list of those expected to tender  their resignation letters reads:

“As he commences selecting the team for his second-term in office, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has directed all political appointees to submit letters of resignation by 30th April 2019. The governor will exercise his constitutional prerogative to decide on re-appointments while giving the Kaduna State Ministry of Finance adequate time to compute severance payments and reconcile any liabilities.

“According to the directive, each notice of resignation must be submitted along with a handover note, signed by the political appointee on behalf of the MDA or office to which he or she had been appointed. All resignation letters should be properly addressed to the Principal Private Secretary.

“A government notice issued in Kaduna State stated that Malam Nasir El-Rufai has thanked all political appointees for their contributions and service to the state during his first-term. As he constitutes the team that will assist him in his second-term, the governor said he expects the process to be enriched by the handover notes from the political appointees, and the report of the Transition Committee headed by the Deputy Governor-elect, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe.

THE LIST: “The government notice specified that the following appointees are expected to comply with the directive:
• All Commissioners in the State Executive Council,
• All Permanent Secretaries,
• Special Advisers,
• Directors-General, Executive Secretaries, Managing Directors, General Managers and other Heads of Agencies,
• Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants and Technical Assistants to the Governor, other than the Kashim Ibrahim Fellows.

“Excluded from compliance with this directive are full-time Commissioners of certain State Executive bodies who retain their tenured appointments in the following agencies:

i. Fiscal Responsibility Commission
ii. Civil Service Commission
iii. Judicial Service Commission
iiii. Assembly Service Commission
v. The State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECOM)
vi. The Peace Commission
vii. Public Procurement Authority
viii. Water Regulatory Authority

“Due to recent adjustments in roles within the government, the occupants of and recent appointees into the following offices are also exempted from the directive to resign:
a. Commissioner of Finance
b. Principal Private Secretary
c. Accountant-General
d. Special Adviser, Intergovernmental Relations
e. Managing Director, Kaduna Markets Development Company
f. Managing Director, Kaduna Investment and Finance Company, and
g. Any other political appointee sworn-in or appointed to their current role within the last six months.”

Supreme Court to give verdict on Fayemi’s eligibility

The Supreme Court will on Wednesday deliver judgment in the appeal filed by former Ekiti State Governor Segun Oni challenging the eligibility of Governor Kayode Fayemi to stand as a candidate in the July 14, 2018, governorship poll.

Oni in the suit claimed that Fayemi was not eligible to run as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate having not resigned as Minister of Mines and Steel Development 30 days before the party’s primary election.

The ex-governor who came second in the APC governorship primary also claimed that Fayemi shouldn’t have contested on the strength of an indictment by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by former Governor Ayo Fayose.

The Panel’s White Paper which indicted Fayemi and banned him from office for 10 years has been quashed by a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

Oni’s cases before a Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti and the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti were dismissed for lacking merit.

The judgment notice of the case marked SC 205/2019 which was seen by our reporter was signed by one Ibrahim Gold, Director/Head of Litigation, on behalf of the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court.

The notice reads: “Take notice that the judgment on the above appeal will be delivered at 9.00hrs before the Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting at Abuja on Wednesday the 17th day of April, 2019.

“And further take notice that this Notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is delivered on your legal e-mail or/and telephone via this number even if same is not acknowledged.

“This Notice Supersedes the earlier one.”

Nnamdi Kanu offers to give Atiku legal advice over Cameroon citizenship debate

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has offered free legal advice to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking during a broadcast on Radio Biafra, Kanu said Atiku’s defence in court regarding his citizenship is “weak and porous”.

The PDP candidate had gone to court to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.

But the APC in its defence, told the court Atiku is not a Nigerian by birth and as such, is not qualified to contest the election.

The issue of Atiku’s citizenship was first raised by Kanu in the build up to the 2019 elections.

In his latest broadcast, Kanu said he merely used the issue of “Atiku’s citizenship of Nigeria, via a referendum”, to buttress his point about the need for a referendum on Biafra.

“When I first raised this issue, which incidentally has been ignored by all arms of government including INEC whose duty it is to ensure that candidates meet all stipulated constitutional requirements, it was not to insinuate or imply that Atiku is not a Nigerian, but rather to highlight the very constitutionally critical point at the heart of IPOB agitation for Biafra independence; which is that asking for a referendum is never a crime in any law known to man,” he said.

“However, the weak and porous argument Atiku’s defence team is making in response to this line of attack by APC is to say that, ‘it is ludicrous to allege that a man who became Nigeria’s vice-president, who has lived, invested and paid tax in the country for years is not a citizen.

“This is a wholly unnecessary digression that failed to address the constitutional question of place of birth as key qualification for anybody seeking to become the president of Nigeria. That Atiku was the Vice President is not the issue at hand but rather his suitability as defined by the constitution of Nigeria.”

He said APC putting up the argument in court is a “vindication that everything I say on Radio Biafra is the truth.”

“It may appear outlandish and unbelievable at first, but eventually history always vindicate me. It is now over the Atiku’s team to unleash what they have against Jubril,” he said.

“I will offer free legal advice to Atiku live on air in the hope that they will use it because it is obvious Atiku won the election and APC are deploying all instruments of coercion at the disposal of the Nigerian state to deny him his mandate. Between Atiku and the man occupying Aso Rock, only Atiku is a Nigerian, the other is Sudanese.”

Atiku releases ‘evidence’ of election result from INEC website

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has insisted the result from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election.

In his submission to the presidential election tribunal, the former vice president gave the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” from where the results were obtained.

According to the result declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

But in his petition submitted at the tribunal, the PDP candidate claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

INEC, in response, said the results being paraded by Atiku was fabricated and not from its website.

But in their response to the INEC’s submission, a copy of which was obtained by TheCable, Atiku and the PDP said address of the server from which the results were obtained is unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the Petitioners. The figures are factual. The Spokesperson for the 2nd Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the 1St Respondent and obtaining the data in question.

“Specifically, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesperson of the 2nd Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server.”

Atiku and the PDP also alleged the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”

“The grave errors referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above were under the hands and signature of the first Respondent’s Chairman, (who was also the Returning Officer) in the conduct of the final collation of the results of the Presidential Election,” they added.

“The Petitioners state that the final results as declared by the first respondent are those that were transmitted online to the website of the first Respondent (www inecnigeria.org).”

Atiku scammed, no poll result on server, says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission said it never transmitted the 2019 presidential election result on a server as claimed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The rebuttal was stated in INEC’s reply to the petition filed by Atiku and PDP challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, as declared by INEC on 27 February.

The commission, which is being represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), as lead counsel, said the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically.

The vehement dismissal of Atiku and PDP’s claim meant that the petitioners must have been scammed to believe that the results were stored electronically.

To be sure, INEC added in its response, that it kept no such server where such electronically transmitted results could have been obtained.

INEC on February 27, 2019, four days after the poll on 23 Februaray, declared that the All Progressives Congress candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, won with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.

But the petitioners stated that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” from the “state to state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who they said scored 16,741,430 votes.

They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as there was “no report on sever” about the results from Rivers State as of February 25, 2019.

By calculation, Atiku and the PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes. But the commission, urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition, said in its reply filed on April 10, that the petitioners’ claims were false.

The INEC’s Director, Information and Communications Technology, Mr Chidi Nwafor, in his witness statement on oath attached to the reply, specifically denied the “server results” which the petitioners were laying claim to.

He said all the results were collated manually and were never transmitted electronically.

9th Assembly: APC clears Lawan, others to consult PDP colleagues

All Progressives Congress (APC) National Assembly members on Sunday got the nod to negotiate with the opposition in their bid for principal positions in the Ninth Assembly.

It is democratic to do so, the party said in a statement signed by National Publicity Secretary Lanre Issa-Onilu, who stressed that the party has nothing against its members seeking cooperation with other legislators as it is confident that they will not betray the party.

There has been reports of Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan, who has been adopted for Senate President, holding meetings with members of the opposition, but Issa-Onilu said that Lawan was adopted by the party for the position in the first place because of his ability to carry everyone along, which is needed for such a position.

He also said that the party will announce its zoning arrangement for the National Assembly leadership in the coming days.

The statement reads: “We are inundated with reports of our members in the National Assembly holding consultations with members of the opposition over the election of leaders into the Ninth National Assembly. Let me state that our party has no objection to such consultations.

“It is a normal democratic practice world over to stretch hands across the divides.  And contrary to some media reports, the actions of our members do not contradict the party’s position. APC has a comfortable majority in both chambers. Therefore; we have the number to produce the leadership.

“But democracy recognises the importance of the opposition, especially when you do not have two-third, which would be required at some very critical situations. For us as a ruling party, we understand that a stable and peaceful National Assembly would enhance our capacity to deliver more for the people of Nigeria.

“So, the party is not averse to negotiation by Senator Ahmed Lawan and our other senators-elect working to fulfil the position taken by our party.

“It is important to note that one of the key considerations for adopting him as the party’s candidate for the Senate presidency is his ability to carry everyone along. On top of that, the party has confidence in him not to compromise the progressive ideology of APC. So, clearly, Senator Ahmed Lawan is capable of conducting his negotiations within the prism of APC’s objectives.”

On zoning and the leadership of the House of Representatives, Issa-Onilu  assured Nigerians that the party will put to rest ongoing agitations and “will soon release the zoning arrangements for the principal positions of the incoming Ninth National Assembly.

“The party will also make its position clear in the coming days on the principal positions in the House of Representatives,” the party’s spokesman said.

He said that the nationwide consultations being championed by the Senate Leader and Leader of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, who is seeking to become the Speaker of the Green Chamber, were in line with the party’s policy of inclusiveness.

According to him, national interest is guiding the ongoing rapprochement between APC’s candidates and members-elect from the opposition.

Issa-Onilu said: “It is just part of politics and in a democracy, consensus is a key element. To have a smooth sail in the National Assembly, you don’t go to the floor pretending that the opposition parties do not exist.

“Even if the opposition parties cannot defeat you, in the spirit of national interest, you must work with them. We want to run a government of inclusiveness, we need every party.

“We will support every effort by our candidates for principal offices in the Senate and the House of Representatives to carry elected members from the opposition along.

“As long as we can, we will keep our members-elect united to present common candidates to lead the National Assembly. The fact that we are saying that we can go it alone is not the same thing as saying that the opposition does not matter.

“We have the numbers to achieve our aim but we have to ensure comfort for the opposition too. Unlike in the past, what we are pushing before the 9th National Assembly is a national interest agenda.

“We want them to see our candidates within the prism of the national agenda we are pursuing.”

The Senate Leader at the weekend had audience with more senators-elect from PDP.

He was busy selling his vision of a united Ninth National Assembly.

A PDP senator-elect said: “Actually, Lawan met with us to seek our support. He tried to make a few clarifications which boosted our confidence in him.

“It is not a party affair at all. It is left to individual senator to decide who to vote for.”

Lamido didn’t import fetish blind men for Bindow’s election, says royal family

The Modibbo Adama Descendants Liaison Office, a body of descendants of the founding Lamido of Adamawa, has dismissed claims that the incumbent Lamido, Muhammadu Musdafa, imported three blind men from Burkina Faso “to perform fetish” acts to win the March 9 governorship election for Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow.

The group described the claim as a brazen and misguided form of hate speech by its author, Ibrahim Mustapha, otherwise called Baba 10, in an advertorial published in a newspaper.

The Modibbo Adama Descendants Liaison Office said the “cock and bull story of the three blind men” was an obnoxious and unfounded claim intended to tarnish the image of the Lamido Adamawa and the traditional institution.

The body also faulted the claim by Mustapha that the reigning Lamido was foisted on the emirate, asserting that the Lamido ascended the throne in March 2010, when a duly formed kingmakers committee selected him and was approved by the state government.

The Adama Modibbo descendants, in a refutal signed by its liaison officer, Aminu Nyibango, said the claim and other allegations were calculated to insult the Lamido and desecrate the legacy of the founder of the throne.

“Evidently, the euphoria of the author on the victory of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the recent governorship election in Adamawa State has provided a platform for him to launch another wave of blackmail and mischief in the media.

“The author, who was defeated as a candidate of another political party for the seat of House of Representatives, hijacked the victory of the PDP candidate to vent his anger and frustration,” the group stated.

The group demanded formal apology from the author of the controversial advertorial.

Atiku disowns ‘Pukka’ billboards, posters in Abuja, Yola

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has disowned campaign posters titled “The Pukka’’ that festooned some of the major streets of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

Atiku disowned the posters in a statement issued by his media adviser, Mr Paul Ibe, on Wednesday.

Pukka, an Hindi word, means “authentic, genuine, sure, solid and excellent”.

The posters boldly carry Abubakar’s portrait and the message, ‘HE Atiku Abubakar GCON, The Real and The Right’, with a web address www.deservation.org, which the News Agency of Nigeria found belongs to a group of the same name based in Magaji/Sanda ward in Yola.

NAN correspondent in Yola confirmed that the posters have also appeared on some streets in the capital of Adamawa, Atiku’s home state.

Dr.Sani Adamu, the director-general of the Atiku Deservation Group, an Atiku Abubakar campaign group, claimed the group was not waging a political campaign or breaching the campaign rules of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“Our attention has been drawn to posters of Abubakar, Presidential candidate of PDP in the 2019 election being circulated in Abuja”, said Paul Ibe in a statement.

“We dissociate the former Vice President of Nigeria from the said posters in circulation. The campaign season is over. The tainted electoral victory by the incumbent is being challenged in court.

“We refuse to be distracted, which is exactly the objective of our opponents, but to remain focused on diligently pursuing our election petition with a view to retrieving the stolen mandate.’’

Ibe earlier in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the posters had nothing to do with the just concluded elections and the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization had no connection with it.

“I have not seen the posters. I am just hearing it from you. We are not aware of it. Whatever it is it not connected to the PDP campaign organisation.

“The campaign season has long been over but following the electoral hype by the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar, as a democrat has submitted himself to the electoral tribunal to decide on matters arising from the concluded election.’’

A search on the web address (www.deservation.org) shows Atiku Deservation Movement (Project 774 for Atiku 2019) with RC 1167591 with the contact Magaji/Sanda Ward Yola South Adamawa State as well as phone number and a mail address.

The boldness of the campaign and the meaning it connotes have triggered questions whether the group behind it has not breached the electoral law. The campaign for presidential election began on 19 November 2018 and officially ended 48 hours to the election initially scheduled for 16 February, 2019.

Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 1999 as amended states that every political party shall commence campaigns 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.

Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of  the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in an interview with NAN, said that the posters could not be considered as campaign materials.

Oyekanmi, who said he had not seen any of the posters said if a poster has no party logo or name, the commission does not consider it to be campaign materials.

“Is there anything like party name or logo on it? If a poster does not contain any of these or ‘vote for a person’ the commission does not see it as campaign.The election is over and I wonder if anybody will be campaigning for an election that had been concluded,’’ Oyekanmi said.

Dr. Sani Adamu, the Executive Director of the Deservation group in a telephone interview with NAN, justified the poster’s PUKKA theme. He claimed that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the PDP in the just concluded presidential election is Nigeria’s authentic president.

Reminded that Abubakar already has a case before the presidential election petition tribunal, Adamu expressed confidence that Abubakar would get justice at the tribunal.

He insisted that the posters in circulation were not for campaign, adding that they did not carry the logo of any political party.

He also explained that the posters did not carry ‘vote’ Abubakar, insisting that it was not for campaign.

He said that the group was established to galvanise support for credible candidates that can make Nigeria great.

“We support only candidates and not political parties,” he said.

Abubakar was also recently reported to have hired two American lawyers, close to President Donald Trump, to lobby Trump’s inner circle and the Congress, so that the United States can delay recognising President Muhammadu Buhari as the elected President of Nigeria. He also wanted to be recognised ‘as the authentic President’ of Nigeria, going by the claims he has made at the tribunal.

PDP abusing freedom of speech, says AGF

Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of “taking the freedom of speech too far”.

Malami was reacting to the allegations that he was involved in a plot to cause constitutional crisis in Rivers state.

The PDP had alleged that Malami and Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, were pressuring the supreme court to reverse the nullification of the primaries of Rivers chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

The court had upheld the verdict of the trial court that excluded the APC from participating in the general election that held in the state, ruling that the APC did not conduct credible primary elections.

But fielding questions from state house correspondents on the outcome of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday  Malami said “the PDP has taken freedom of speech too far.”

He said unless otherwise proven in court that he is involved in the act, the allegation will remain an accusation.

“Regarding what was leveled against me by PDP, I think it remains an accusation. It has to remain so until proven through a judicial process,” he said.

“But for me I think it is freedom of speech that has been taken too far.”

Courts have legitimised vote buying – Falana

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says the courts have legitimised vote buying.

Speaking on Wednesday at the ninth forum of the anti-corruption situation room in Abuja, Falana said since 1999, the purchase of votes has been the order of the day.

He said measures should be put in place in a bid to reform the country’s process “in a way that we will not be all collectively disgraced.”

The event was organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and some civil society groups.

“Unfortunately, under the current political dispensation, our courts have legitimised vote-buying and other violations of the provisions of the electoral act,” Falana said.

“I will refer to few cases. In the case of Falae and Obasanjo, in 1999, it was proved in the court of appeal that bags of rice, salt and garri were distributed to entice voters for the candidate of the ruling party, general Olusegun Obasanjo.

“The court of appeal so found such infraction of the law, however it turned round to say even those distributing were said to be PDP stalwarts, the court of appeal said it was not proven that there were winners of the election.

“Since then, the purchase of votes, bribing of voters have been the order of the day.

“The battle ahead is how we are going to reform the democratic session in a way that we will not be all collectively disgraced. We have never gone this low where publicly people are trading in votes. We never went that low.”

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said vote buying comprises the free choice of the voter.

Yakubu, who was represented by Festus Okoye, national commissioner, urged the national assembly to clearly define what vote buying is and provide stiff sanctions.