Saturday , 16 February 2019
Latest
Home » News

News

Buhari knocks INEC over election postponement

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed the Independent National Electoral Commission over the sudden postponement of the general elections slated for February 16 and March 2 saying it was a big disappointment.

Buhari is a statement personally issued by him noted that INEC has been given a free hand to operate and it had kept assuring Nigerians that it was ready for rhe poll only to announce a shift just a few hours to commencement.

Below is the full statement:

 

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT BUHARI ON THE POSTPONEMENT OF GENERAL ELECTIONS BY INEC

I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.

INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections.  We and all our citizens believed them.

This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.

We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.

I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.

 

Muhammadu Buhari

Daura, February 16, 2019

Poll postponement is hand of Esau but voice of Jacob, says Atiku

Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has appealed to his supporters to remain peaceful following the postponement of the presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced early Saturday morning that it was moving the elections by one week because of logistics.

Atiku, who is flying the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential election, alleged that the shift in date was the handwork of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, employing the biblical expression “hand of Esau, voice of Jacob”.

He said: “As you know, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced a postponement of the elections until 23 February and 9 March respectively.

“The Buhari administration has had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, 16 February, 2019.

“This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. By instigating this postponement, the Buhari administration hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date. Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively.

“Knowing that the Nigerian people are determined to reject them, they are desperate and will do anything in their power to avoid their rejection by the Nigerian people.

“Their plan is to provoke the public, hoping for a negative reaction, and then use that as an excuse for further anti-democratic acts.”

He asked his supporters to be patient “in the face of provocation”.

Atiku also urged them to come and vote en masse on the new dates.

“I call on all Nigerians to be patient. We have tolerated the maladministration of this government for four years. We can extend our tolerance a few more days and give them our verdict via our votes,” he said.

“Maintain the peace and be law abiding. Do not react to this provocation with anger, violence or any action that might be exploited by those who do not want this election to hold. Remain calm. We will overcome this. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny.

“Please come out to vote on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively. Frustrate those who do not want this election to hold by coming out in very large numbers. That is the best antidote to their plans.

“May God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Buhari’s desperation to win caused election postponement, says CUPP

The Coalition of United Political Parties has claimed that the desperation of President Muhammadu Buhari and his men to win the presidential election, by all means, was responsible for the last minute postponement of the election.

The coalition’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Saturday morning.

He said, “In their bid to once again foist an unpopular government on Nigerians, they threw caution to the winds and started setting electoral materials on fire in states that are well known to be strongholds of opposition.

“These acts of sabotage, no doubt, ruined the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the elections.

“We have raised the alarm many times that agents of the government were working hard to ensure that elections are not held or are declared inconclusive in areas they know that the All Progressives Congress will never win. We have been vindicated.

We blame the international embarrassment this last minute postponement has caused the nation on the President, the desperate leaders of his party, APC, and the nation’s security agencies who failed woefully in their duties to protect electoral materials and INEC offices from attacks by these enemies of the nation.”

Ugochinyere added that with the postponement, “President Buhari’s judgement day with the people has just been shifted.”

He, however, said the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, displayed courage by shifting the election.

He said the postponement averted what he could have resulted to “national bloodshed because we are aware that APC wanted to proceed with election after compromising distribution and destroying materials in over 15 states.”

APC campaign blames PDP for poll shift

The presidential campaign council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suggested that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was behind thepostponement of the general electionbecause it was heading for defeat.

Expressing disappointment with the postponement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Festus Keyamo, the spokesman of the council, said PDP social media influencers already knew the elections would be moved before the umpire announced it.

He said every poll had suggested that the PDP would lose.

HERE IS HIS FULL STATEMENT.

We have just received with great disappointment and disillusionment the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its decision to postpone the Presidential/National Assembly and Gubernatorial/House of Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019 and Saturday, March 9, 2019, respectively.

We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible. President Muhammadu Buhari had since cooperated fully with INEC by ensuring EVERYTHING it demanded to conduct free and fair elections were promptly made available to it. This news is therefore a huge disappointment to us and to our teeming supporters nationwide and around the world, many of whom have come into the country to exercise their franchise.

We do hope that INEC will remain neutral and impartial in this process as the rumor mill is agog with the suggestion that this postponement has been orchestrated in collusion with the main opposition, the PDP, that was NEVER ready for this election. We note that all the major credible demographic projections have predicted a defeat of the PDP and it seriously needed this breather to orchestrate more devious strategies to try and halt President Buhari’s momentum. It did the same as the ruling Party in 2015, when it realized the game was up, by orchestrating the postponement of the 2015 elections by six weeks. Now, it may be up to its old trick again.

We have earlier raised the alarm that the PDP is bent on discrediting this process the moment it realized it cannot make up the numbers to win this election. We are only urging INEC not collude with the PDP on this. We are truly worried because as early as Friday morning, some known PDP Social Media influencers unwittingly announced this postponement, but quickly deleted the message and apologized to the public that it was fake news. We do not want to be forced to a situation of announcing our total loss of confidence in INEC, because we know where that would leave our democracy.

It is in the light of the above that we wish to appeal to Nigerians and our supporters to be patient, calm and resolute despite this temporary setback. Let us not give anyone, especially the PDP, the opportunity to plunge this nation into a crises, which is what they earnestly desire. Its imminent defeat is just a few days away.

Lastly, we wish to draw the attention of INEC and the world to observe that the PDP has clearly and openly said it plans to announce parallel results through some funny device it has procured or developed. We wish to re-iterate that it is ONLY INEC that is legally and constitutionally empowered to declare results and it constitutes an offence for anyone to do so. We urge INEC to SPEAK UP NOW and warn the PDP to desist from this ignoble act that is capable of plunging the nation into a crises of immeasurable proportions.

PDP asks INEC chairman to resign, accuses APC of ‘grand conspiracy’

Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asked Mahmood Yakubu to resign as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Speaking through Ike Abonyi, his media aide, shortly after the elections were postponed by INEC, Secondus said his party was rejecting the new dates.

He said it was a “deliberate, pre-determined agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power even when it’s obvious to him that Nigerians want him out”.

Secondus said the postponement was part of a “grand design” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to thwart the will of Nigerians “at all cost”.

He said the APC “in connivance with INEC have been trying all options including but not limited to burning down INEC offices in some states and destroying of electoral materials to create artificial problems upon which to stand for their dubious act”.

“With several of their rigging options failing, they have to force INEC to agree to a shift in the election or a staggered election with flimsy excuses pre-manufactured for the purpose,” he said in the statement.

“For the avoidance of doubt the PDP sees this action as wicked and we are also aware of other dubious designs like the deployment of hooded security operatives who would be ruthless on the people ostensibly to scare them away.”

Secondus said the “wicked killing” of over 60 persons mostly women and children in southern Kaduna on the eve of election “is a copious ploy by the APC to frighten the people away from voting knowing too well that they were not going to record any vote from the area”.

“Recall that the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai had earlier threatened international election observers of going to their country in body bags and with the fatal violence in the state on the eve of election, it’s clear what the motives are, to frighten the observers from the state so that he can carry out his nefarious acts,” he said.

The PDP chairman also drew the attention to the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari that nobody can unseat him from office as an indication of what he wanted to do.

Election postponement: ADC asks Buhari, INEC boss to resign

The National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress, Chief Ralphs Nwosu, has called on Nigerians to reject the sit-tight script of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which he said had unfortunately been unveiled with the most irresponsible and scandalous postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections on the day Nigerians had prepared to cast their votes.

Nwosu said, in a statement released, on Saturday, by the National Publicity Secretary of ADC, Yemi Kolapo, that the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission had, until the morning of elections, assured Nigerians that it was fully prepared for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, despite concerns from credible quarters, made the sudden postponement suspicious.

The chairman, therefore, called for the immediate resignation of both the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said, was the author of the script being presented by the former, noting that the flimsy excuse of logistics issues could not have surfaced on the very day of the elections.

He said, “This is a well orchestrated ploy by the APC to rig the elections that they know they will not win, considering Nigerians’ open resentment for the despotic and clueless leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari and his cohorts, which they have demonstrated at every APC mega rally, even in their strongholds.

“No discerning Nigerian would again trust the perpetrators of this biggest embarrassment in Nigeria’s democratic history to conduct any credible election in Nigeria. The INEC chairman must, therefore, resign immediately and a competent chairman announced with immediate effect. President Buhari must also resign for taking Nigerians for granted and making a mockery of the country’s democracy before Nigerians and the international community.”

According to the party, Nigerians have never had it this bad, as the 2015 postponement by the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration was done two weeks before elections, and when sensitive materials had not been shamefully dispatched as in the case of the present INEC under Buhari.

The National Chairman observed, “One of their strategies is to make the opposition parties spend all their resources, mobilising their agents and officials to travel to their duty posts. As at now, inasmuch as I can only speak for our political party, I can say, authoritatively, that billions of naira have been spent by both the party and our candidates on logistics and agents.

“How can a responsible government wait till when all these have been done to cancel all arrangements and postpone elections? For wasting both the executive/business time and hard earned resources of the opposition and Nigerians, at large, owing to the ruling government’s desperation to cling to power by all means, both the INEC chair and the President are not expected to stay one more minute in office.”

He appealed to members of ADC and its candidates, nationwide, to remain calm as the party continues to struggle with the challenges of nation building.

“As the most trusted and credible option, we ask the Nigerian public not to lose their cool. We’re determined to get this country working, and we will work with other people, who have shown true sense of integrity to achieve this,” the party leader assured.

Nwosu, however, concluded that the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which had already been achieved without consultation with stakeholders, should not affect the dates of the governorship and state assembly elections, slated for 2nd March, 2019.

“We expect the new INEC, yet-to-be-inaugurated, to go ahead with the governorship and state House of Assembly elections and stop the financial, emotional and psychological drain on candidates, political parties and Nigerians as a whole,” he declared.

He urged Nigerians to condemn the APC’s insult by way of their reaction to the national embarrassment, which blamed the INEC.
“Informed Nigerians know the source of this unprecedented show of shame,” he said.

INEC postpones elections by one week

The Independent National Electoral Commission has decided to shift Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections till next week 23 February.

The governorship and house of assembly, FCT area council elections have also been shifted from 2 March to 9 March.

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu confirmed the shift of the presidential election, attributing the postponement of all the scheduled elections to logistic and operational problems.

He said the postponement will afford the commission the opportunity to address the identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of Nigeria’s elections.

The postponement of the election came after more than six hours of meeting between INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and 12 national commissioners in Abuja.

The meeting, which began Friday evening ended early on Saturday.

Professor Yakubu said the INEC will be meeting all stakeholders at 2pm on Saturday at the International Conference Centre in Abuja to explain the commission’s position.

INEC-statement-on-the-postponement-of-the-election
INEC-statement-on-the-postponement-of-the-election
Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman had hinted newsmen earlier that some decisions about the election had been reached and that the decision would be communicated later.

“I can confirm to you that the INEC Chairman and the 12 national commissioners are in the meeting. Decisions have been taken and you will be addressed later,” Oyekanmi said.

Presidential and National Assembly elections were scheduled to take place throughout the country today, while governorship and state assembly elections were slated for 2 March.

The national elections are expected to hold at 119,973 polling units across the country while collation of results will take place in 8,809 Registration Areas or Wards, 774 Local Government Areas and 36 States and the FCT.

It will not be the first time that the commission would postpone a scheduled general election.

In 2015, the presidential election was shifted from February 14 to March 28th, 2015; while the governorship and assembly elections scheduled for 28 February were shifted to 11 April.

I haven’t fled Nigeria —Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said he has not fled Nigeria, contrary to a social media report that he had travelled out of the county ahead of the presidential election scheduled for Saturday.

Obasanjo spoke with newsmen at his Presidential Library, Abeokuta, describing the Social media post as “fake news.”

The former president was reacting to a Facebook post of one Gbenga Lawal who posted: “Breaking: Obasanjo jets out of Nigeria. He can’t even wait for the thief he is imposing on Nigerians.”

In his reaction, Obasanjo said “Why should I travel out of the country before the election?

“If not for anything, I believe I should be here to perform my civic responsibility, which is to vote according to the dictate of my heart tomorrow and on the second of March.

“Those who are carrying that type of rumour or fake news; I leave them in the hands of God; I am used to that kind of thing.

“In Yoruba land, if your head is hard, you don’t have to worry yourself.

“Let anybody tell lies against you, let anybody issue fake news against you, let anybody abuse you, God will deal with them rightly and appropriately.”

FRSC releases election hotlines

 

In view of the need to ensure a smooth and safe motoring environment , during the 2019 general elections, the Federal Road Safety Corps will be operating a 24 hours daily situation room for updates and information from the public on safety and traffic related issues including clearing of obstructions, recovery and prompt rescue services, enforcing traffic restrictions.

A statement by FRSC spokesman,  Bisi Kazeem urged the general public not to hesitate from forwarding any such information on safety, obstructions and rescue related matters noticeable during the pre election, election and post election period to the following emergency numbers for swift response:
FRSC TOLL FREE: 122
09055792372
09055792374

 

Hoodlums insert hot iron into private part of LG chairman

Some hoodlums are reported to have inserted a hot iron into the private part of the Vice Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.

They also cut the tendons of some men in the area.

Expressing pains over the incident, Ebonyi Governor Dave Umahi, has demanded for the immediate arrest of the perpetrators and would never allow the matter to go untreated.

“I will follow the matter up to any level, even reporting it to President Muhammadu Buhari because the victims were actually kidnapped,” he said.

The governor said that he always insisted on fairness and justice to all and had never abused his office to order that anyone be punished unjustly.

“I have always maintained that whether it is the Peoples Democratic Party or All Progressive Congress, among others, the life of every human being is important to us.

He ordered the new Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi, Mr Awosola Awotunde, to fish out the suspects.

Gov. David Umahi gave the directive on Thursday, when the new police boss paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Abakiliki.

Umahi, who expressed bitterness over the incident, described it as “barbaric”.

“I hate to see blood and your officers can attest that I have never supported evil,” he said.

Umahi said that he had always propagated the philosophy “that all perpetrators of evil must be arrested and prosecuted, even if they are my brothers or sisters.”

He pledged to cooperate with the new CP but insisted that his work would only be made tedious, “if a man is made a woman.”

He said: “Where there is fairness, there is no crisis as someone without a gun can neutralise another with a gun by insisting on his right, which should not be matched upon.’’

Nobody will unseat me, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says nobody can unseat him via the February 16 presidential election.

In a brief interview with CNN, Buhari he is ready to take Nigeria forward over the next four years.

When asked if he feared he could be defeated the way he defeated former president Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari said: “No. Nobody would unseat me. I am ready to take this country forward for the next four years.”

Speaking on the Boko Haram crisis in the northeast, Buhari said: “We have 774 local governments in this country. They used to hold 17. They are not technically holding any local government now.

“But they are indoctrinating young men and women, especially girls, wrap them up with explosives and let them explode them in soft targets like churches, mosques, marketplaces, motor parks and other places.”

 “We are doing our best (to contain the terror) and we thank some foreign countries in Europe and the United States for training our armed forces and going to the battlefront to see how they have performed.”

He said those who said he does not have the stamina to run for a second term can find something else to say, now that he has gone around the country to seek votes.

Many of Buhari’s critics and some of his supporters had called on the president not to run for a second term, following his health challenges.

In 2017, the president was away from Nigeria for a medical leave in the United Kingdom, which lasted over 100 days. Before the long trip, Buhari had initially gone on a medical vacation that lasted 57 days.

Upon his return to Nigeria, Buhari spent at least 50 days away from the public eye, after confirming that he had a blood transfusion, and had never been this sick in his life.

A security source said at the time that his disappearance from office due to rat infestation of his presidential office was a decoy to keep him under medical care.

The president has since recovered and resumed his duties as the commander in chief of the armed forces and the leader of the nation.

Buhari suggested that he has shown his detractors that he has the stamina to run Nigeria for a second democratic term.

When asked about those who say he does not have the stamina to go round all the states for the campaign, Buhari said: “Well, I have done it, so they can give you another answer”.

Buhari visited every geopolitical zone in Nigeria in the build-up to the February 16 election, kicking off his campaign in enemy territory of Akwa Ibom, and ending the same in his home state of Katsina.

Police surround venue of Kogi PDP leaders’ meeting

Less than 24 hours to the presidential and national assembly elections, police have surrounded the Lokoja residence of Ibrahim Idris, former governor of Kogi state, where Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders in the state are meeting, The Cable is reporting.

The road to the residence, which is behind the government house, has also been cordoned off, making it impossible for other PDP leaders to join the meeting.

A source at the meeting said the PDP stakeholders were perfecting their plans for the elections when security operatives stormed the residence.

“As I speak to you, about 50 armed mobile policemen are mounting strategic position on the street and in front of the house,” the source said.

“They just retreated but their trucks are parked within 100-meter radius.”

It is unclear why the police took action but opposition leaders have raised the alarm that there are plots to deploy security operatives in their stronghold to destabilise the PDP during the elections.

When contacted, William Aya, spokesman of the Kogi police command, said he was unaware of the blockade.

“I am not aware of that. I don’t know anything about it,” he told the paper via telephone.

On Thursday, Kola Ojo, chairman of the PDP in Kogi west senatorial district, said the party had uncovered plans by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to arrest its members, intimidate and cause mayhem all in their attempt to rig the presidential and national assembly elections.

“We make bold to state that while as a party we’re worried by the desperate moves to cause violence, mayhem, arrest PDP members ahead the Saturday’s poll, a plan that would be resisted,” Ojo had said.

US secretary of state calls Atiku, seeks credible elections

Michael Pompeo, the United States secretary of state placed a call to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Friday.

Atiku disclosed this via his official Twitter handle but did not give details of his conversation with Pompeo.

He, however, said Pompeo affirmed the international community’s commitment to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

The presidential and national assembly polls will hold on Saturday, while that of the governorship and state house of assembly will hold on March 2.

“Earlier today I received a call from US Secretary of State, @SecPompeo, who reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria,” he wrote.

“Wishing you all a peaceful elections, wherever you are. God bless Nigeria.”

Atiku Abubakar

@atiku

Earlier today I received a call from US Secretary of State, @SecPompeo, who reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria.

Wishing you all a peaceful elections, wherever you are. God bless Nigeria.

4,534 people are talking about this

There have been speculations that the US is in support of the candidature of Atiku, especially after he visited the country in January, 12 years after being denied visa.

Festus Keyamo, spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari reelection campaign, had accused the US of protecting and seemingly supporting Abubakar.

Keyamo said Stuart Symington, the US ambassador to Nigeria, “seems to be saying that only a PDP victory will be evidence of a fair election”.

The US has denied the allegation, saying it is not in support of any candidate.

“The United States Embassy in Nigeria wishes to reiterate unequivocally that we are not taking sides in Nigeria’s election. We do not support any party or candidate,” Symington had said in response to Keyamo’s claim.

BREAKING: CCT adjourns Onnoghen’s trial till March 11

Amid amusing displays by the Chairman of the Code of Tribunal, Danladi Umar, the tribunal on Friday, adjourned the trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on charges of non-declaration of assets, till March 11.

The tribunal chairman had earlier insisted on adjourning the matter till February 21 in defiance to an agreement between the prosecuting team led by Ibrahim Musa and the defence team led by Chris Uche SAN.

Defying the the pleas by both the prosecution and the defence to shift ground to either March 18 or 11 which they had agreed on, the tribunal chairman kept shaking his head and contorting his lips in disagreement and in a manner that continually  threw everyone in the court into intermittent laughter.

With his face squeezed in an amusing manner, Umar turned sideways to confer with the two other members of‎ the tribunal seated on his left and right sides.

Afte‎r a relentless plea by the defence and the prosecution that he should allow the March 2 governorship and House of Assembly to be over before the next sitting, the tribunal chairman agreed to adjourned till March 11.

The March 11 proceedings are for the hearing of all pending applications by both the defence and the prosecution.

The pending applications includes one by Onnoghen challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear the charges.

Onnoghen had earlier on Friday pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him by the federal government.

Speaking with journalists after the proceedings on Friday, Onnoghen’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uce (SAN), said with the arraignment of the topmost judicial officer, “It is a very said day for democracy, a very sad day for Nigeria.

“It is a struggle for the maintenance of the due process and it is a struggle for separation of powers.

“The CJN had to suffer the dignity of coming before  this tribunal to take his plea.

“But we are happy that the world will now know the truth that there is more to this case.‎”

JUST IN: Onnoghen docked, pleads ‘not guilty’ as CCT sets aside arrest warrant

Walter Onnoghen, suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The embattled CJN entered the dock shortly after the tribunal began sitting at about 10.30 am. He was offered a seat but chose the remain standing.

Onnoghen is being arraigned for a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets.

There had been moves to remove Onnoghen from office before the general election.

On several occasions, he had failed to appear before the tribunal. His lawyers had challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the matter.

The appeal court also refused to stay proceedings at the CCT.

At the tribunal on Friday, Danladi Umar, CCT chairman, set aside the order for the arrest of Onnoghen before he took his plea.

Umar said the warrant of arrest has been set aside because Onnoghen appeared at the tribunal.

“He must henceforth make himself available throughout the proceedings,” the CCT chairman said.

After the plea was read, Uche Chris, counsel to the suspended CJN, applied for bail.

The counsel to the federal government did not oppose the application.

Onnoghen was then granted bail based on self-recognition.

Umar adjourned the matter till February 21 to hear all pending applications before the tribunal.

Aisha Buhari urges Nigerians to vote again for husband

Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari has expressed gratitude to Nigerians for the support they have given to the President in the last four years, saying it is unprecedented.
She expressed delight in the show of love he received wherever he went across the country, especially during the electioneering campaign.
Mrs. Buhari also expressed the hope that Nigerians will vote for her husband en masse to return and continue the good job he is doing.
She used the opportunity to thank officials  and members of the 700-strong Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team for traversing the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. She also thanked wives of governors and elders who were on the advisory council.
Mrs. Buhari is optimistic that the government of President Muhammad Buhari has done a lot in the area of social engineering, infrastructure, and overall development. She cited the effort of government in reducing the gap between the haves and have-nots and the school feeding programme.
She promised that government will continue these good works and introduce many more until Nigeria returns to it’s pride of place in Africa and the global community.

Election: Police order 12 hours vehicular restriction on Saturday

The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered vehicular restriction from 6am – 6pm on Saturday 16 February during the presidential and national assembly electiond

Adamu said the restriction was in furtherance of the overall interest of public order, public well-being and safety and national security.

IGP Adamu said the restriction will assist the security agencies in effectively policing the electoral process, thereby preventing hoodlums and criminally-minded elements from hijacking and disrupting the electoral process.

Adamu urged the citizens to troop out en-masse on the day of the election to exercise their franchise without any fear or apprehension as the Police and other security agencies have already put in place adequate security measures to ensure a safe, secure and conducive environment for a peaceful and credible election.

While regretting the inconveniences the restriction will cause the citizens, the IGP warned that the Force will deal decisively with any individual or group that will want to test our common will in our resolve to ensure a peaceful election.

“He therefore enjoined the citizens to steer-clear of vote buying, vote selling, hate speeches, circulating fake news, snatching of ballot boxes and other act(s) capable of truncating the people’s will noting that the Force will not hesitate to bring to bear the full weight of the law on anyone who engages in any crime during this period”.

Buhari dissociates FG from ‘body bags’ threat

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the diplomatic community and foreign election observers in Nigeria of their safety during the elections

Many will interpret this as an indirect rebuttal of threats by Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, who recently said “we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags”.

He later said he was defending “Nigeria’s integrity” while Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said what the governor said was “in the national interest”.

But Buhari, in a state broadcast on Thursday evening, said the foreign community has nothing to fear.

“I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection. Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Buhari said.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the federal government “to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere”, adding that “just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates”.

I still hope to be friends with Atiku after we retire him on Saturday —Tinubu

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, said on Thursday in Lagos that the APC would send the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, into retirement on Saturday for the good of Nigeria.

Tinubu said this in a statement by his Media Officer, Mr. Tunde Rahman.

“This election is more than a contest between two men, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for that one exalted chair.

”Look, I have made no attempts to hide my friendship with Atiku. We are friends before this election and hopefully we will be friends after February 16 when he goes into retirement.

”For the good of Nigeria and even the good of Atiku himself, we will do well to send him into retirement on Saturday.

”Perhaps, we should also send Obi into retirement along with his boss come February 16. Perhaps, together, they might manage to discover the place where they might learn compassion for the common man,” he said.

Tinubu said there was not much good that could be found in the policies and programmes announced by the PDP.

“Atiku’s answers to our economic challenges are to shrink and restrain government from being the active catalyst toward a diversified economy that assured broadly-shared prosperity through the just allocation of wealth and reward according to sweat and toil put forth by the Nigerian people.

“They seek an unfair, unjust and unequal Nigeria. Their definition of Nigeria is a nation run by the greedy, for the profit of the rich, at the command of the mighty,” he said.

Tinubu said that the objective of the APC was to remake Nigeria into a great nation.

“Our vision is the opposite of theirs. Unlike the PDP, we, the APC, are anchored to the proposition that every Nigerian is entitled to equal access and sufficient economic opportunity so that he may use his talents, skills and committed exertion to carve for himself and his loved ones the decent and good life every human being seeks.

“The ordinary person is not to be shortchanged of the fair dividends of his honest sweat and diligent labour simply because he may be poor or because the powerful and wealthy want more.

“Because of the APC’s concerns for the struggles of the average person, we launched beneficial social welfare programmes such as the school feeding programme, TraderMoni and N-Power.

“As such, we have made progress caring for our most needy and vulnerable through these and other innovative and unprecedented policies. These programmes are of the type all great nations do for their citizens,” he said.

Tinubu said that the APC was not satisfied by what had been accomplished, saying that what had been done was but the opening phase of a more ambitious undertaking.

“We have just begun to fight poverty and reform this economy on the scale required. Though we have helped millions, several millions more are needed to end poverty’s stranglehold on their lives.

“We must expand the scope and reach of our social welfare programmes to encompass those other people who have been denied access to the productive economy through no fault of their own.

“Additionally, we must put idle hands to work to build a modern infrastructure that will energise agricultural output in rural areas and foster labour-intensive industrialisation in our growing cities, ” he said.

The former governor of Lagos State said that the second term of President Buhari would be dedicated to changing the structure of the economy for the better.

“We must amend our national economic architecture to unlock the full potentials of our people and our land. To me, this is the core mandate of government for and of the people.

“Throughout the campaign, we have talked about taking Nigeria to the Next Level. To me, this Next Level is informed by forging a new partnership between government and the governed to create a more just and prosperous economy for all.

“The beginning of this new partnership is already taking shape. As stated before, we have initiated a first phase of social welfare programmes,” he said.

Tinubu urged the people of South West to join APC in implementing the Next Level agenda.

“The South West has always been at the vanguard of progressive governance in Nigeria. Today should be no exception to this historic role we have played.

“I ask the people of the South West to join the APC so that we attain the Next Level by implementing this bold and good new partnership built on the following pillars: power, infrastructure, housing, industrialisation, agriculture and social security,” he said.

Tinubu said that the coming elections were a choice between progress and retreat.

“The future is uncertain until we enter it. Feb. 16 is Election Day and on that day Nigeria shall step into its future.

“How you vote on that day will determine whether we walk into the future in a manner that guides our subsequent steps toward the national greatness that calls to us or will we walk into it backwards as if feebly trying to reinvent the past.

“One road leads to a certain replay of the economic injustices of the past. It is a road well-worn with familiar pitfalls and setbacks built into the very nature of it.

“The other road provides the truest, brightest chance for us to enter into our hopeful future but only if we are brave enough to believe in our capacity to improve our nation,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for President Buhari for a secure future.

“This is the future we must enter. This is the future the APC champions. This is future you must choose on Election Day. Vote for yourselves by voting for President Buhari,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections to ensure a violence-free exercise.

“In the exercise of our civic duty at this historic and important moment, I ask that you conduct yourselves with utmost tolerance and in equal peace towards both political ally and political opponent.

“Let us show the world that we know the true meaning of democracy. On Election Day let not an angry hand be raised against any Nigerian.

“No matter our political differences, let us remember we are of one land and of the same national family.

“This election shall be free and fair and conducted without the arm of violence. For this is as Nigeria and our democratic exercise must be to achieve the excellent destination intended for us.“

(NAN)

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has announced the release of Invitation to Tender (ITT) to contractors for the development of the Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil field.

According to a statement by Shell spokesman , Gbenga Odugbesan, the project’s initial phase includes a new Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, more than 20 deep-water wells and related subsea infrastructure. The field lies across Oil Mining Leases 118, 132 and 140, about 15km southwest of the existing Bonga Main FPSO.

The ITT is for engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the 150,000 barrels per day project in the Gulf of Guinea.

“This is a new vista for deep offshore oil and gas exploration in Nigeria based on a revised commercial framework embraced by government and the project investors,” SNEPCo’s Managing Director, Bayo Ojulari, said on Thursday, 14 February, 2018  a day after the execution of the Heads of Terms  by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), SNEPCo and its Unit partners, revising the terms of the OML 118 Production Sharing Contract.

Ojulari said, “SNEPCo has concluded OML 118 negotiations with the NNPC. We now have a clear commercial framework, supported by the government and project investors, toward a potential Bonga South West Aparo Final Investment Decision (FID).”

Ojulari described the conclusion of the commercial framework as a key milestone for the project and the development of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas industry. “The new framework marks the start of the second generation of deep-offshore exploration and development, not just for SNEPCo but for all players in Nigeria’s deep water. This is a model that we see being replicated in the industry to further unleash Nigeria’s potential in deep-water exploration.”

On the estimated project cost, SNEPCo’s General Manager for BSWA, Adam Bradley said, “The release of ITT will allow ourselves, government and investing parties to understand the actual costs for the initial phases which we expect will be very competitive.”

Minister of State for Petroleum,  Dr Ibe Kachikwu had but the field development cost of BSWA at some $10bn.