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IPOB: AU acknowledges receipt of Petition against Buhari, FG

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Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has commended the African Union Human Rights Commission for their prompt acknowledgement of the petition submitted to them by IPOB team of lawyers.

In a statement signed by Emma Powerful for the separatist group, IPOB said that the petition became necessary as it is evident that have to explore other legal remedies outside Nigeria given that ‘due process of law is virtually non-existent in the country under the current Buhari administration’.

The statement read in part, “Against the backdrop of well documented incidents of human rights abuses by the Nigerian Government and her security operatives, it has become necessary to escalate the matter to the African Union level given that both ECOWAS and Nigerian courts are terrified to rule against the Buhari regime in any matter concerning Biafra.

“We hope and pray that the African Union Court on Human Rights will prove to be the opposite of ECOWAS and Nigerian courts where the presidency determines every legal outcome or which judgement to obey or ignore.”

IPOB allege that the Nigerian Government through the Attorney General of the Federation including those in the judiciary have been using delay tactics to frustrate every case involving IPOB since the invasion and alleged abduction of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at his compound in Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia Abia State.

In a letter of acknowledgement from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, signed by Dr. Mary Maboreke, the Secretary to the Commission and addressed to the lead counsel of IPOB, Barrister Aloy Ejimakor, the Commission noted that it was in receipt of the petition by IPOB against the Federal Government of Nigeria dated 5th December, 2017 and received by the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, on the 14th of December, 2017.

The letter noted that the complaint by IPOB is presently being processed for consideration by the Commission.

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Twenty-four govs endorse Buhari’s re-election

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, has said that the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari liberated the country from an impending economic doom. This came just as Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday endorsed Buhari for President in 2019, stating that all the 24 APC governors will give him full and unalloyed support to ensure his re-election. Speaking while receiving some defectors into the APC in Lokoja yesterday, Chief Oyegun said: “Today, Nigeria under Buhari no longer depends on oil to survive.

 

Today, Nigeria under Buhari has taken the lead in agricultural production.

 

Today, Nigeria under Buhari is operating on a stable economic progression. So let those who are saying the Buhari-led government has failed go back to their holes and keep quiet while we continue in delivering dividends of democracy to Nigerians.”

 

Chief Oyegun, who led some of the national officers of the party, including the National Secretary, Mala Buni, itemized Buhari’s success in fighting Boko Haram, also commended Governor Bello for his efforts in attracting more members into the party. According to him, the large turnout of people at the rally is an indication that the APC is sure of victory come 2019 elections.

 

“With what I have seen here today, Kogi State APC will continue to be victorious in 2019 and future elections. I will go back to Abuja and tell them that Kogi APC is very much in charge and ready to maintain its position as the most acceptable party.

 

“Kogi State will be among the first states that will endorse President Muhammadu Buhari after he has declared for reelection next year. Kogi people, I want to congratulate you for having an energetic governor in Yahaya Bello. This is a governor that is a good organiser at any time the party needs him. He is always restless, energetic and full of ideas. I can feel a new energy in Kogi State,” he said.

 

The ancient city of Lokoja, the state capital came back to life at the gathering described as “Mother of all Rallies” to usher in thousands of defectors from the opposition of Peoples Democratic party (PDP), to its fold.

 

The ceremony which attracted several party supporters across the 21 local government areas of the state was held at the main bowl of the Confluence Stadium Lokoja.

 

Governor Bello said APC is the only viable and strongest party in Kogi State, as PDP is no more on the state’s political map. The governor stressed that all the PDP members that matter have all decamped to the APC, because they have seen the light and realized that APC has a better programme for the people of the state and Nigeria in general.

 

Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the APC in Kogi has assumed a new dimension as Governor Bello on yesterday announced the constitution of a new state executive to pilot the affairs of the party in the state.

 

This follows the dissolution of the state executive last Thursday by the North Central Zonal Exco which allegedly found the Hady Ametuo-led executive culpable of the anti-party activities accusations leveled by the governor.

 

However, in a statement issued on Saturday announcing the constitution of a new state executive council, the Director General Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, stated that Ahovi Salam Ibrahim is the State Acting Chairman while Abdulrahman Ibrahim, the Acting Deputy Chairman and Mr. Bola Oshe is the State Acting Treasurer.

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2019: Unease over spread of PVCs

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There are palpable reservations in some parts of the country over the distribution of the number of registered voters in the on-going continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise being carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Figures released by INEC show that 73,944,312 people have so far registered across the country, with the North-West, North-East and North-Central having 18,505, 984, 9,929,015 and 10,586,965 respectively, an indication that about 39 million have registered for the elections in the North.

 

Conversely, in the South- West, South-South and South-East, the figures of registered voters are 14,626,800, 11,101,093 and 8,293,093 respectively, totalling about 35 million.

 

Lagos State alone has over six million registered voters. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, is, however, optimistic that the number of registered voters would hit 80 million mark before Nigerians go to the polls in February next year to elect their leaders.

 

Prof. Yakubu said INEC disclosed that out of a total of 68, 833, 476 persons that registered before the 2015 election only 56, 431, 255 collected their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).

 

Also, only a total of 31, 756, 490 registered voters were at the polling stations across the country to cast their votes during the last presidential election. However, the latest figures coupled with the appearance of photographs of some under-age persons who allegedly participated in last weekend’s local government election in Kano State and the constraints being experienced by many prospective electorates to get their PVCs in the South have made many people to allege that the PVC collection is skewed in favour of the North.

 

The Commission is further accused of conniving with politicians from a particular section of the country to deny eligible voters, registration, as well as sending few and non-functional registration machines to attend to intending voters who besiege registration centres on a daily basis.

 

The General Overseer of City of Refuge Ministries, Bishop Oscar Ossai, did not mince words when he accused INEC of robbing eligible voters in the southern part of the country of their fundamental right to register and be able to vote in the forthcoming 2019 general elections. Bishop Ossai said: “What we are seeing is that this same government is frustrating people who want to register.

 

For instance, between Epe and Lekki Phase One, in fact the whole of Lekki, in Lagos, Marwar Primary School is the only registration centre. And if you go there, they say they only register 30 people in a day. So this and other instances show that they want to prevent us from registering in the Southern part of the country.

 

“I went there to register, there was a large crowd but you could not even see the register, because of the large crowd. So what they do is to make everybody to take a number and come back three days later for their turn. Knowing that we have suddenly woken up and we are willing to let our votes count so they are trying to frustrate us by making our people not to register,” he added. Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West, Chief Eddy Olafeso, said if the picture of under-age voters in the Kano election and allegation of favouritism of the North is true, then it means that “INEC has been overtly biased and the whole incident makes a huge joke of President Buhari’s victory in 2015 and portends great danger for the nation in 2019.”

 

Olafeso, who acknowledged that INEC has commenced investigation into the pictures and allegation, said “it is not only very ridiculous to see under-age people having PVCs and voting, that singular act is a great embarrassment to our democracy.” Deputy National Chairman of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), one of the recently registered parties, Mr. Niyi Dada, not only decried the allegation, but also called on the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KNSIEC) to cancel the results of penultimate Saturday’s local government elections because the exercise was fraught with irregularities, including alleged under-age voting.

 

“NRM believes that a faction of the All Progressives Congress-led government that participated in the election could not have garnered over 2.6 million votes to clinch all the election in the 44 local governments which is a touchstone for future elections,” he said. The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recently told the visiting United Nations (UN) delegations that the party does not have confidence in INEC to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.

 

PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, told the delegation led by Mr. Serge G. Kubwimana that the 2019 general election would make or mar the country. “We have had our fears since APC came on board, if an election is not in their favour there is a rerun….

 

 

There is a great fear whether INEC will be able to conduct free and fair elections. Free and fair elections will guarantee the unity of this country, and we are afraid if INEC will conduct free and fair election,” Secondus stated. And last week, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, also alleged plans by the Commission to rig the Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta State governorship elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

The governor also alleged that the mass registration of new political parties was a deliberate plan by INEC to manipulate elections in the three states. But Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, expressed surprise that people were coming up with such insinuations. “Nobody is tele-guiding INEC on how to register voters. People are free to go to registration centres close to them where they are sure to vote in 2019 and register.

 

“Since April 2017 when the Commission rolled out the continuous voter registration exercise, we have registered over four million people.

 

Of course, we appreciate the fact that probably because of the confidence people have in INEC, many more people have turned up to register, and that has created hiccups… but then, we are addressing the challenges as much as we can,” Oyekanmi stated.

He denied the allegation that the Commission was registering more people from one region than others, adding: “This should be a continuous exercise, there is no closing, except, of course, we will close, 60 days to the 2019 general elections because the law says we should produce the voters’ register and distribute to all the registered political parties. After the conclusion of 2019 elections, we will still continue to register more voters.”

 

 

Again, INEC assured that it would not engage in any election rigging, telling Governor Wike that if he is entertaining any fear that he would be rigged out, “such fears should not be located in the INEC’s conduct of elections.” INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu also disclosed that about eight million PVCs were yet to be collected by their respective owners but said the Commission was making arrangements with the states to ensure they were collected. Some state governors have, however, made presentation of PVCs as condition for payment of workers’ salary.

 

Also, former Education Minister and Leader of the Red Cap Movement, Dr. Oby Ezekwesile has taken to her twitter handle and media interviews, calling Nigerians of voting age to ensure they obtain their PVCs in order to vote out the current government in 2019. However, a PDP chieftain in Lagos, who pleaded anonymity, said there has been tremendous awareness ahead of the 2019 elections and many Nigerians are clamouring to change the change.

 

“Many religious leaders like Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Tunde Bakare and Bishop David Oyedepo have been calling on Nigerians to obtain their PVC ahead of the elections. “There has been massive registration of voters in many parts of the country in recent times. We have been motivating our people and hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have joined the clarion call in order to ensure that they go beyond being arm chair critics to being active participants. They know their vote is their power,” he said.

 

Afenifere Spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said: “With the great consciousness of 2019 gaining ground now, it is incumbent on all churches and other religious institutions, community leaders and Non-Governmental Organisations to enlighten the people to register en-mass for the next elections. “Already, we are aware of the desperation to register under-age people in some parts of the country, but all eligible ones should register first while deliberate efforts must be taken by INEC and law enforcement agencies to stop ineligible voters.”

 

Last week, two staff of a local government in Enugu State died in an accident while going home to pick their PVCs, which the council said was a condition for payment of last month salary. Despite assurances of free and fair polls, some politicians still doubt the sincerity of INEC to conduct free and credible elections in 2019. Olafeso said PDP has continued to sensitise the people not only to register but to collect their PVC and come out to vote on election day.

 

“It is part of the strategic plan of the National Working Committee that powers are devolved to state local government and ward executives. In line with this, they are also mandated to mobilise people to register as party members and also at INEC to collect their PVCs.

 

“The PVC is the electorate’s power to effect change, not only in 2019, but to also contribute to national electoral process and governance. Leadership of the party at all levels must pay special attention to the on-going registration and mobilise people for it.

 

“The South-West is of strategic importance not only to our party but also because of the central role it plays in elections. It is a fact of history that it determines the direction of the elections and who wins. So the current figures from INEC are challenging and it means that we must continue to mobilise our people not only to collect their PVC but also come out and vote in the elections,” he said.

 

On her part, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State, Mrs. Kate Offor, called for the creation of more registration centres in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country for easy registration and collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) by the people.

 

Mrs. Offor while reacting to the low registration and collection of PVCs in the zone, told Sunday Telegraph in Enugu, at the weekend, that there were few centres in the zone, and even then, they were located far in between. The APC spokesperson said a situation where some people had to travel to such centres constitute a great disincentive to the people to do so.

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Reconciliation: Tinubu in Sokoto, meets Tambuwal, Wamakko

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Akande: APC will forever be Tinubu’s baby

 

National Leader and Head of the Presidential Reconciliation Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was yesterday in Sokoto where he met with the state Governor Aminu Tambuwal and his predecessor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko. Tinubu, accompanied by APC chieftain Alhaji idi Farouk, held a two-hour closed door meeting with his hosts at both the Government House and at Senator Wamakko’s residence in Gawun Nama Area of the state capital.

 

The meeting was later expanded to include Deputy Governor Ahmed Aliyu and National Vice Chairman of APC (North West), Malam Inuwa Abdulkadir. Speaking briefly to reporters after the meeting, Tinubu said he was in Sokoto for a family meeting.

 

“Family members meet regularly to talk to each other and I’m here for that purpose. “This is a family meeting for today, tomorrow, for the good of Nigeria and the APC,” he said.

 

After the meeting, a prominent cleric in the state, Malam Bashir Gidan Kanawa, prayed for peace and stability of the country. He called on Nigerians to continue to pray fervently for the leadership of the country.

 

Meanwhile, former Interim National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bisi Akande, yesterday, said those decamping from APC were not part of its initial making, even as he called on the National Leader of the party, Chief Bola Tinubu to continue his service to the party as his own child. Referring Tinubu as the father of APC, Akande said the responsibility to save the child comes suddenly upon the father, saying APC cannot be allowed to wither away due to omissions and commissions.

 

“Times like this call for sacrifice and service. Of note is the saying that a real man, a hero is known by where he stands in the time of adversity.

 

To avoid the journey to the undertakers, we are all agreed that prevention is often a wise counsel. More so, for the APC,” he said. Akande, who noted that nobody watches the child he birthed to die, said Tinubu was a major participant in the emergence of APC and will never be happy to see the party being destroyed.

 

“Let APC be, no matter who may be lucky, using it to gain power, make money, get famous; be such lucky ones born by Yoruba, Ibo or Hausa-Fulani. For as long as APC remains relevant, so long shall Bola Tinubu’s contributions to nation-building be magnified in Nigerian History,” echoed.

 

In a statement made available to Sunday Telegraph, titled: ‘Let Our Party Not die,’ he said APC is a party born out of necessity at a time Nigeria needed a life boat, giving reasons Tinubu must serve the party irrespective of who is in power.

 

Praising the ruling APC, he said, the party is a new lease of life and for the purpose it was birthed, it succeeded in unseating an incumbent government; and for a higher purpose, it is working hard to succeed at good governance.

 

He furthered: “Bola Tinubu, myself and President Muhammadu Buhari stand together in this effort to save APC from itself. Serving the nation has complex colours, which constantly dazzle distant onlookers.

 

The job at hand is not about Buhari.”

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