Obasanjo Insists On Issue Based Campaign As Buhari Visits

BuhariA former Nigerian President, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has stressed the need for politicians to focus on the issues needing solutions in Nigeria in their campaigns.

The former president made the request in Abeokuta on Tuesday in a meeting with a former military Head of State and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari.

General Buhari’s visit was barely hours after the President and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, visited the former president.

At the meeting with Buhari were other top leaders of the APC, who sought Mr Obasanjo’s support for the party’s candidate in the February 14 presidential election.

Mr Obasanjo is a member of the PDP and he had told members of the APC in a previous meeting that he was a card carrying member of of the PDP.

While the APC candidate called for Mr Obasanjo’s support despite his party colouration, the former president called for issue based campaigns, emphasising that he had always had the interest of the nation, Nigeria, at heart above any party concern.

The APC team was led by the national chairman of the party Mr John Oyegun.

Others at the meeting were a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Ahmed‎ Bola Tinubu and the Vice Presidential candidate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo amongst others.

On Saturday, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a spokesman for the campaign team of President Goodluck Jonathan, said General Buhari was not qualified to contest in the election that is less than 34 days away, insisting that General Buhari had not provided his primary school leaving certificate to the electoral body.

The APC insisted that their flag bearer had his credentials, describing Mr Fani-Kayode’s claims as preposterous and an attempt to destroy the image of the military, an institution that had been built over the years.

The electoral body had advised the PDP to go to court to air their grievance over the credentials of General Buhari, who the PDP claimed only submitted an affidavit in place of his credentials.

Victims Protest in Kaduna, Threaten to Boycott 2015 Polls

Election ViolenceVictims of the 2011 post election violence in Kaduna on Wednesday staged a protest over failure of federal government to pay their compensation four years after the violence that claimed many lives and properties worth millions of naira across the state.

They threatened not to participate in the coming general election if the federal government fails to pay them their compensation and wondered why Kaduna and few other states were exempted during the payment last year.

Addressing journalists in Kaduna during the protest on Wednesday, the victims said they have been unfairly treated by the delay and also threatened to storm Abuja, the nation’s capital if after one week, the federal government fails to release the money meant for their compensation.

The victims carried placards with various inscriptions, lament that despite the  Vice President, Namadi Sambo and other notable citizens of the country are from the state, no form of assistance has come their way.

They are therefore calling on the relevant authorities to expedite action and pay the compensation before the next general election.

The 2011 presidential election was marred by violence following the declaration of a candidate of a political party winner of the election.

Upon the announcement, angry youths took to the streets, destroying properties and killing people. Kaduna, like some other states across the federation had its won share of the crisis. Many people were killed and properties worth billions destroyed.

It would be recalled that following the post-election violence and civil disturbances in some states after the April 2011 elections, President Jonathan set up a panel amongst other things, identified the spread and extent of losses suffered across the country.

Four years after, it is expected that those saddled with the responsibility of settling these victims, should do so in the spirit of equity and fairness. And most importantly, for government and security agencies to forestall a reoccurence of the ugly incident of 2011 now that the elections are around the corner.

Ogun PDP Blasts Former Speaker Over Alleged Defection

Dimeji_BankoleThe Ogun State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Bayo Dayo, has said that the alleged defection of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), would not affect its chances in the general elections.

He was speaking in Abeokuta, the state capital on Tuesday while inaugurating a 35-member Governorship Campaign Committee, which has Mr Yomi Majekodunmi, as its director general.

The Chairman of the party asked members to be proactive in carrying out their assigned task of delivering the party come next governorship election.

Speaking on behalf of other members the Director General of the Campaign Committee, Mr Yomi Majekodunmi, promised an issue based campaign during the exercise.

The former Speaker had indicated interest in contesting for the governorship position in the state on the platform of the PDP but was beaten to the ticket by Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.

PDP Youths Protest Alleged Manipulation Of Primaries

PDPAngry protesters have stormed Ahoda street in Rivers State to protest the outcome of the just concluded PDP senatorial primaries, claiming it was fraudulent and manipulated by the party against the popular wishes of the people.

The protesters, who marched to the Party Secretariat in Ahoada to bare their minds, insisted that the party is set to lose in the elections if these issues are not resolved.

However, in a swift reaction, a leader of the PDP in the state debunked the claims, insisting that the party ran a transparent primary calling on the protesters to sheathe their swords.

With protests greeting the emergence of many candidates across the country, it remains to be seen how this will affect the eventual outcome of the 2015 elections.

Fayemi Hails Osinbajo’s Choice As Buhari’s Running Mate

Kayode Fayemi 1Former Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the National Convention Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Kayode Fayemi, has hailed the choice of legal luminary, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as the running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari, 2015 presidential election.

Fayemi, whose committee conducted the APC convention and presidential primary that produced General Buhari as the party’s presidential flag bearer, said in a statement in Lagos on Thursday that Prof Osinbajo’s choice has further reinforced the party’s determination to effect the change which Nigerians have for long clamored for.

Describing Osinbajo as a renowned teacher, legal expert, administrator and a reform-minded technocrat, who embodies the virtues of honesty, integrity, selflessness and dedication to the overall good of the society, Fayemi said the university Don remains a strategic partner to General Buhari in the onerous task of driving the change.

“Every time pundits come up with their doomsday predictions of APC’s imminent collapse, APC comes out stronger right from its founding. The choice of Osinbajo is also leaving us much stronger for the task ahead. I commend General Buhari and other party leaders for arriving at a choice that is bound to strengthen our ticket”, Fayemi said.

Fayemi added that regardless of what skeptics are saying the APC is set to run an issue-based campaign and carry along every segment of the society in the electoral process that would culminate in APC emerging victorious at the 2015 presidential election.

He added that the choice of Buhari as Presidential candidate and Osinbajo as running mate has re-defined the 2015 contest and become a concern to the ruling party.

Fayemi urged Nigerians to support the APC in bringing about the change which the country and its people so urgently need, by voting massively for the party at the coming polls.

Edo State: Suspended PDP Lawmakers Unite With APC Counterparts

PDPThe Edo State House of Assembly has lifted the suspension of Emmanuel Okoduwa and Kingsley Ehigiamusoe.

Since June, the Edo lawmakers have been holding parallel sittings at the separate venues.

The House was divided after the suspension of three PDP members of the House and the deputy speaker, who is a member of the APC. They were accused of gross misconduct.

Three of the suspended lawmakers defected from the APC to the PDP before they were suspended. The lawmakers dismissed the allegations and insisted that they would continue to attend plenaries. They claimed that the House did not follow due process in suspending them.

However, the suspension over Emmanuel Okoduwa and Kingsley Ehigiamusoe was lifted after the two PDP lawmakers decided to join the fifteen APC lawmakers, who have been sitting in the old assembly chambers in the Edo State Government House premises.

Emmanuel Okoduwa and Kingsley Ehigiamusoe, were elected on the platform of the PDP and had been sitting with seven others at the Edo state House of Assembly complex at the Kingsquare in Benin city.

Edo State Factional Lawmakers Reach Peace Agreement

Meanwhile, the two factions on Wednesday reached an agreement to end the  six-month long crisis after a plenary where both groups were represented, leaders of the factions told reporters that they arrived at the decision in the spirit of Christmas.

They blamed the crisis on external motivation and said they decided to resolve their differences in the interest of the people.

Sitting as one, the lawmakers voted against the Local Government Autonomy Law.



Post-Election Violence Victims Lament Government’s Neglect

Election ViolenceThe victims of the post-election violence in Kaduna State and some states in the northern part of Nigeria are lamenting what they called government’s neglect and failure to keep to its promise to disburse funds, in form of relief assistance, to people who suffered losses during the incident.

On April 24, 2013, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced the approval of 5.7 billion Naira relief assistance to nine out of the 14 affected states for disbursement.

But the Kaduna victims on Wednesday complained that three years after the crisis, they were yet to receive any assistance from the Federal Government despite the fact that the state was the worst hit.

They lamented that life had become unbearable since they lost their means of livelihood in the incident..

Among the properties destroyed was an eatery outlet located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe western bye-pass in Kaduna metropolis. It was among the buildings razed by hoodlums during the incident.

The owner of the property, Mr Godwin Idika, said he lost about 200 million Naira and had been out of business in the past three years. He asked the government to assist him and other victims to move on with life.

Fourteen states were affected during the violence, but the Federal Government allegedly released funds for only nine states. The victims in Kaduna State, who did not benefit from the largesse have accused the Federal Government of being discriminatory in the exercise.

States that benefited from the disbursed funds are; Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Adamawa and Akwa-Ibom, while Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, and Nasarawa States are yet to receive anything.

Though the election is two months away, many residents of the state are already planning to relocate their families. Their fear here is not to witness the ugly incident of 2011.

The spokesman to the Kaduna State Governor, Mr Ahmed Maiyaki, while reacting to the complain of the victims, said that the State Government was yet to receive any money from the Federal Government and stated that the State Government had so far disbursed over 500 million Naira to assist the victims.

Meanwhile, the expectation of the Kaduna victims and other states that are yet to benefit from the relief assistance is that the authorities concerned should, as a matter of fairness and justice, try and extend the assistance to them, and most importantly, provide adequate security for the citizens ahead of the 2015 elections in order to avoid a repeat of the ugly incident of 2011.

They also expressed hopes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would ensure that politicians, no matter their status, abide by the Code of Conduct in any election and that Nigerians would feel free to belong to any political party of their choice and be free to elect their leaders.

Kaduna State has witnessed about four major ethno-religious crises since 2000 to date, but that of 2011 was more devastating due to the high number of casualties recorded. More than 4,000 people were reportedly killed and 50,000 displaced after supporters of a defeated candidate went on a rampage in the Northern part of Nigeria.

PDP Is The Party To Beat – Governors

PDPGovernors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) say the ruling party remains the party to beat, as the 2015 elections draw closer.

Speaking after a meeting in Abuja, the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio, said the governors reviewed the state of the PDP and were confident that the party remained the only national party in Nigeria.

The meeting had 14 state executives present with Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and his counterparts from Gombe, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Benue and Ekiti noticeably absent.

The Akwa Ibom Governor, who explained the absence of the governors, blamed it on flight problems caused by bad weather.

Supreme Court Dismisses Case Against Jonathan’s Eligibility To Re-contest In 2015

AdekunleThe Supreme Court ‎has dismissed the appeal filed by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Umar Ardo, challenging the decision of the court of appeal which stopped him from joining in the lawsuit challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s eligibility to re-contest in 2015.

The dismissal was sequel to an oral application by counsel to Ardo, Dr Amuda Kannike, seeking to withdraw the appeal.

In dismissing the appeal, the panel of seven justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Mahmud, said the appellant had ‎no business joining in the appeal challenging Jonathan’s eligibility, as no law stopped him from participating in the just concluded convention of the party.

A litigant, Cyriacus Njoku, had earlier approached an Abuja High Court to stop President Jonathan from re-contesting in 2015, but had his suit dismissed on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.

Unsatisfied, Njoku approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the lower court.

Attempts by Mr Umar Ardo t to join in the suit were denied on ground that he did not show a reasonable interest that could have warranted his joinder.

Obahiagbon Loses APC Edo South Senatorial District Primaries

Patrick-Obahiagbon-BellaNaijaThe Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr Samson Osagie, has emerged the Edo South Senatorial District candidate of the APC in Edo state in the primaries conducted  at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin yesterday.

Rep. Osagie beat other aspirants including Patrick Obahiagbon, Fred Emokpai and Jim Adun.

Francis Inegbenekin emerged the candidate for Edo Central Senatorial District while Major Francis Alimikhena emerged the senatorial candidate for Edo North Senatorial District.

They will be paired in the 2015 elections against their PDP opponents – Matthew Uroghide for Edo South Senatorial District, Clifford Odia for Edo Central Senatorial District and Paschal Ogbomeh for Edo North Senatorial District.

Group Advises INEC To Emulate Brazilian Election Management

INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been advised to emulate the Brazilian Election Management’s seamless conduct of the nation’s election and replicate same in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, which gave the advice on Tuesday, said that the smooth management and conduct of Brazil’s October 4 general elections was something the INEC could learn from for the smooth conduct of the 2015 general election.

The Brazilian Election Management was able to conduct elections for the President, State Governors, National Congress and state legislators in one day.

In the said election more than 80% of Brazil’s 142, 822, 046 registered voters voted, registering the highest voter turnout in any liberal democracy in recent times. The figures were; Null Votes – 6,678,580, Blank Votes – 4,420,488 and Total Valid Votes – 104,023,543.

“Our interest was elicited because the results were out in less than 48 hours and up to date no Election Tribunal was set up, all the presidential candidates agreed to the 26 October run-off between Dilma Rousseff of Workers Party (PT) that polled 43,267,668 votes making 41.59% and Aecio Neves of Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB) that polled 34,897,211 votes making 33.5%,” the group said.

The members of the group further pointed out that the Electronic Voting and E-Card reader mechanism were adopted in the conduct of the general elections.

They emphasised that Nigeria, like Brazil, is multi-cultural, heterogeneous, literate and illiterate, rural and urban and among the 10 most populated countries on earth.

The CNPP, therefore, urged Professor Attahiru Jega led electoral body to study the procedure, processes, mechanisms and technology adopted by the Brazilian Election Management for a successful conduct of Nigeria’s general elections.

“For it is our considered view that the transparency, fairness and credibility of the conduct of elections reinforces the trust and confidence of the electorate; hence maximising their electoral worth and value. This is what led to large turnout of voters in Brazil,” the group explained.

U.S. Tasks Nigerian Parties On Violence Free Elections

James Entwistle urged political parties to ensure a violent-free general elections in 2015.

The United States has tasked Nigerian political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a violent-free election that will be free, fair and credible.

The call was made in a meeting on Friday between the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Oyegun, and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.

Mr Oyegun stressed that a credible election would only be achieved in Nigeria where there is fairness, equity, justice and the right to choose is respected and guaranteed.

He asked the US envoy to advise all political parties, particularly the ruling party, to help ensure that elections in Nigeria were truly free, fair and credible.

“A proper level playing field should be guaranteed,” he said.

John Oyegun said that Nigeria’s election would be free and fair if a level playing field is created.

Mr Entwistle stressed that the American government was not holding the meeting with political parties to express its support for any party, but emphasised that its interest was in ensuring that Nigeria’s election was credible.

“We are not here to support any party. We are just here to support what you have just talked about – a credible process in which the Nigerian people can freely express their wishes. That is what it is all about and that is why we provide support for INEC and we have tried to provide support to civil society as we get ready for this elections.

“That is where we are coming from. Now you have probably seen on TV, radio and all of these things. As I travel around this country, I talk quite a bit about the importance of non-violence in elections, before during and after elections.
We can all agree that there is no place for it and I encourage all candidates or parties to commit themselves now well ahead of the elections to not participate in or sponsoring violence in any way,” he said.