Uganda Regulator Orders Social Media Shutdown Ahead Of Vote

A billboard of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who is running for his 6th presidential term is seen in Kampala, Uganda, on January 4, 2021. – Uganda gears up for presidential elections which is scheduled to take place on January 14, 2021, as President Yoweri Museveni seeks another term to continue his 35-year rule. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP)

 

Uganda’s communications regulator has ordered the shutdown of social media and messaging applications, ahead of a highly-charged election on Thursday.

The vote will come after one of the bloodiest campaigns in years, as veteran leader Yoweri Museveni seeks a sixth term against popstar-turned-MP Bobi Wine, who has managed to fire up a youthful population that has mostly known only one president.

Wine, who has spent most of the campaign in a bulletproof vest and combat helmet facing teargas, bullets and numerous arrests, on Tuesday urged his supporters to “protect” the election from rigging.

Despite the 38-year-old’s popularity, few observers believe he can pull off a victory against Museveni, a 76-year-old former rebel leader who has ruled since 1986 and effectively crushed any opposition.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were down in the East African nation on Tuesday, after the communications regulator ordered a social media shutdown.

In a letter seen by AFP, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) executive director Irene Sewankambo ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.

READ ALSO: UN Seeks $35 Million In Emergency Aid For Madagascar

An industry insider who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said that the order was first communicated in “nasty and aggressive” phone calls to the telecommunications companies on Tuesday morning.

The calls made it clear the order was retaliation for Facebook deleting pro-government accounts for seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the election.

Facebook said Monday that the accounts were linked to the ministry of information and technology.

UCC spokesman Ibrahim Bbosa told AFP: “I am not aware of a directive to switch off internet or social media platforms.”

“There has been slow connectivity on the platforms which can be partly due to heavy traffic as a result of the forthcoming elections” he said.

– ‘Guard the vote’ –

Some 18 million voters are registered for the presidential and parliamentary ballot, which takes place after a chaotic campaign.

Journalists covering opposition rallies have been attacked, government critics locked up, and election monitors prosecuted, raising concerns over the transparency of the electoral process.

Two days of protests in November left 54 people dead.

European Union High Representative Josep Borrell said in a statement calling for a credible vote that “the excessive use of force by law enforcement and security agencies has seriously tarnished this electoral process.”

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told journalists his home had been raided and his staff beaten by security forces on Tuesday morning.

He said the ruling party was trying to scare voters away from the ballot box and urged them to record any abuses or irregularities on polling day.

“We are telling you, you will not be breaking the law when you stay and protect your vote. We encourage you to use your phones, use your cameras. Your phone is a very powerful weapon, that camera is very powerful, use it.”

– Young and free –

Wine’s rise has rattled Museveni, who has outlasted all but two of Africa’s long-serving rulers, and watched as ageing strongmen elsewhere on the continent have been ousted in popular, youth-led uprisings.

Mueveni presides over a population with a median age less than 16, that is increasingly urban and educated.

Though he has campaigned under the slogan “securing your future”, the economic boom enjoyed during his early years has faded.

Only 75,000 new jobs are created each year for the 700,000 youth reaching working age, trapping most in poorly-paid farm labour, the World Bank says.

“We want change. There are no jobs, no money, we can’t go to study and when we go to the hospital, there is no medicine,” said 23-year-old Dorah Wasswa, hawking cheap wares on a pot-holed Kampala street.

– ‘We are too many’ –

A wily strategist, Museveni has outfoxed challengers to remain firmly in control, though analysts say his position is largely assured through patronage and force, rather than popular appeal.

He confronts in this election a divided opposition, with 10 candidates tackling him individually rather than presenting a united front.

Uganda is experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases and the United Nations and rights watchdogs say special election measures to contain the pandemic have been weaponised to browbeat Museveni’s opponents while leaving the ruling party untouched.

Wine says his supporters are “peaceful but assertive” and vows nonviolent protest should the election appear rigged.

“We come with only words. He (Museveni) comes to us with bullets, bombs, grenades and teargas. We are non-violent. We are just too many for him,” Wine told AFP in a recent interview.

 

Alleged Certificate Forgery: Judge’s Illness Stalls Suit Against Obaseki

A photo combination of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and a court gavel.

 

The sudden illness of Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed on Thursday has stalled the hearing in the alleged certificate forgery suit instituted against Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki by the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Federal High Court in Abuja

The APC and one of its chieftains, Williams Edobor had dragged the governor, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court seeking Obaseki’s disqualification in the September 19 governorship election over alleged certificate forgery and perjury.

They specifically accused Governor Obaseki of forging his Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies degree he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the last governorship election in Edo State.

The judge had on Wednesday adjourned the hearing for the cross-examination of the fourth plaintiffs’ witness, Raphael Onwuzuligbo, a retired police officer, who claimed to be a forensic document examiner.

However, the hearing which was initially fixed for 12 noon did not commence until about 2 pm.

READ ALSO: Alleged Forgery: Witness Admits Not Sighting Obaseki’s Original Credentials

Justice Mohammed while apologising for the delay explained that he had a “severe attack of malaria” and as such would not be able to go the full hub of the day’s proceedings.

Following the agreement of parties in the suit, the judge then adjourned the hearing till January 4, 2021.

The plaintiffs had at the previous proceedings tendered two additional documents to prove their allegation of certificate forgery against Obaseki.

The two documents which included a University of Ibadan degree certificate, belonging to Professor Emmanuel Balogun and a report by Onwuzuligbo, were admitted in evidence by the court after they were tendered through APC’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi.

The first-degree certificate in agricultural science tendered was awarded to Balogun in 1979, the same year as that of the Edo governor.

 

PDP Sweeps 17 Local Govts In Abia Election

A file photo of the ballot box.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won all the chairmanship seats in the just concluded Local Government elections in the state.

The Labour Party won six councillorship seats out of ten wards in Ikwuano Local Government Area, while PDP cleared all Councillorship seats in other local councils.

Announcing the results on Sunday, the Chairman of Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), Professor Agu Mkpa, said the PDP swept the 17 local government area councils of the state.

Below shows the figures and winners of the local council polls:

In Aba South, Clinton Ebere of the PDP polled 26,321 votes to emerge winner unopposed as the chairman.

In Aba North LGA, Prince Ikonne of the PDP polled 29,851 votes to defeat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 3,492 votes

Ibe Nwoke of PDP polled 79,640 votes to Defeat the candidate of APC who got five votes in Obingwa LGA,

Similarly in Osisioma Ngwa LGA, PDP’s Kamalu Christian raked in 26,820 votes to defeat the APC candidate who scored 10 votes.

Also in Ugwunagbo, Nnata Chinasaokwu of the PDP emerged as the elected LGA Chairman by polling 28,800 votes to win the APC candidate who scored 120 votes.

READ ALSO: Teenage One-Day Abia State Governor Releases Inmates

In Ukwa East, PDP’s Nwagbara Chuks emerged the executive council Chairman with 6,235 votes, defeating the candidate of the APC, who polled 135 votes,

Kanu Levi of the PDP polled 9,630 votes in Ukwa West to defeat the APC candidate, who got 804 votes.

Isiala Ngwa North, Ochulor Chinwendu won the Chairmanship seat with 18,323 votes against the APC candidate who got 210 votes, while Anyatonwu Ikechi of the PDP emerged unopposed as the Chairman of Isiala Ngwa South LG after polling 17,465 votes.

In Arochukwu LGA, Dan Kalu of the PDP emerged as the Chairman unopposed, polling 15,620 votes, while in Bende, PDP’s Onwuchekwa Emmanuel, scored 33,561 votes to defeat the APC’s candidate who polled 2,320 votes.

In Umuahia North, Ugochukwu Njinkonye of the PDP emerged winner with 29,931 votes, defeating the APC candidate who scored 25 votes, while in Umuahia South, Benson Humphrey of PDP, polled 11,480 votes to defeat the candidate of the APC, who got 50 votes.

Madu Ifeanyi emerged winner in Umunneochi LGA with 6,971 votes, defeating the APC candidate who got 188 votes.

In Isiukwuato, Agbaeze Chimaobi of the PDP scored 15,630 votes to defeat the APC candidate, who got 1,200 votes,

In Ohafia, Ukaiwe Okoroafor scored 28,671 votes to defeat the APC candidate who scored 3,520

PDP’s Mpamaugo Stephen emerged winner with 8,720 votes against the APC candidate, who scored 110 votes in Ikwuano.

Meanwhile, Professor Mkpa has commended all who participated in the exercise, including the security personnel for their role in maintaining peace and order before, during and after the polls.

The ABSIEC boss also called on all and sundry to accept the results and allow peace to reign.

Gombe LG Poll: APC Wins all 11 Chairmanship, 114 Councillorship Seats

Gombe Governorship Election Tribunal Receives Three Petitions
Gombe, usually referred to as Gombe State to distinguish it from its capital city Gombe, is located in northeastern Nigeria

 

The Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission (GOSIEC) on Saturday declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of all the 11 Local Government Councils seats in the just concluded election.

The GOSIEC Chairman, Saidu Shehu Awak who made the declaration after the collation of results as submitted by the 11 local government electoral officers, also announced the APC as winner of all the 114 Councillorship positions.

The Chairman, in accordance with section 26, sub sections 1 and 2 of the Gombe state Independent Electoral Commission Law 2013 as amended, and as the chief returning officer of the Commission, declared the following candidates of the APC who scored the highest number of votes as winners.

1. Akko LGA: Abubakar Usman- Barambu Chairman with Mahmud Saleh Tabra as Deputy Chairman

2. Balanga LGA: Garba Umar as Chairman with Salamu Ezikiel as Deputy Chairman

3. Billiri LGA: Margaret Bitrus as Chairman with Rev. Panuel Nicodemus Lashobok as Deputy Chairman

4. Dukku LGA: Jamilu Ahmed Shabewa as Chairman with Umar Manu Malala as Vice Chairman

5. Furnakaye LGA: Ibrahim Adamu Cheldu as Chairman with Mu’azu A. Yahaya Tongo as Deputy Chairman

6. Gombe LGA:
Aliyu Usman Haruna as Chairman with Gambo Sulaiman Garko as Deputy Chairman

7. Kaltungo LGA: Faruk Aliyu Umar as Chairman with Solomon Lande as Deputy

8. Kwami LGA: Ibrahim Buba as Chairman with Muhammadu Musa Kolo as Deputy

9. Nafada LGA:
Musa Abubakar as Chairman with Salisu Shuaibu Dandele as Deputy Chairman

10. Shongom LGA: Yohannah Nahar as Chairman with Ambrose Alfred ( Bobby) as Deputy Chairman

11. Yamaltu Deba LGA:
Shuaibu Umar Galadima as Chairman with Garba Usman as Deputy Chairman.

The GOSIEC Chairman said three political parties that participated in the elections included the APC, PDP, and PRP.

The announcement and declaration was made in the presence of leaders of the Inter-Party Advisory Council ( IPAC), members of the Civil Society, the Media, the Nigeria Police and other security outfits as well as representatives of candidates.

I Was Never Under Pressure To Sack Ex-Army Chief, Ihejirika – Jonathan

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a book launch in Abuja on December 15, 2020.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said he was not under any pressure to sack the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika from office.

Speaking during a book launch in his honour in Abuja, Jonathan said some people thought he sacked the general due to some pressure from the north.

“He mentioned my removing the Chief of Army Staff, General Ihejirika and said that because there was so much pressure on me from the north, it was not pressured,” Jonathan said.

“If somebody is doing what is right, even if you want to hit my head. And split my head, I will not (sack the person).”

READ ALSO: FG Approves Five-Year Plan To Reduce Hunger

Also speaking during the launch, a former lawmaker representing Kogi-West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye tendered a public apology to Jonathan for campaigning against him in the run-up to the 2015 general elections.

To the ex-lawmaker, his apology is borne out of what he described as the state of the Nigerian nation, coupled with what the ex-President achieved while in office.

“Having seen what he did as President and the sorry state of our country today, I want to publicly say ‘once I was blind, now I can see.’ On behalf of all of us who shot blindly, we are sorry, very very sorry,” he said.

On his part, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, commended the ex-President for conceding defeat in the 2015 general elections.

He also hailed Jonathan for his administration’s efforts in the Almajiri system of education in the north.

Jonathan’s Acceptance Of 2015 Election Result, A Boost For Africa, Says Ganduje

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan during a book launch in Abuja on December 15, 2020.

 

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has commended ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for accepting the outcome of the 2015 general elections where he was defeated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday during a book launch in Jonathan’s honour, Ganduje said the acceptance of the poll’s result by the former President was a boost for Africa and democracy in general.

“After the 2015 presidential election, suddenly we learned that you congratulated the President-elect then, Muhammadu Buhari. Not only that we were shocked, we were also marvelled. We said this must be a true Nigerian,” Ganduje was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary.

“We salute you for that Sir. You did not make the name for yourself, but for Nigeria, Africa and other developing nations of the world and for democracy as a whole.

“During the United States of America’s presidential election, it was around 2 am, when I was watching the result of the election when President Donald Trump was refuting the results.

“A friend of mine said to me ‘Goodluck Jonathan must be an Angel.’ I asked ‘why? He said ‘Look President Trump is refuting election results.”

READ ALSO: I Was Never Under Pressure To Sack Ex-Army Chief, Ihejirika – Jonathan

The governor also hailed Jonathan for the establishment of Tsangaya schools across many northern states, adding that it was a good initiative to wipe away social problems from the society.

According to him, it was during the ex-President’s tenure that the curriculum was widened and deepened to produce more quality people with various types of skills to earn their living.

“Almajiri issue has been a problem for us; the system was adulterated from its original position when pupils learned the Holy Qur’an without this issue of begging, as it is obtained now. During your time, you just decided to create Tsangaya schools.

“As we also modified the system, we are now establishing more Almajiri schools in Kano State. So we have to thank you for that important legacy,” he added.

Ghana Election Should Be ‘Eye-Opener’ For Nigeria – Atiku

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday said Nigeria should learn from the “smooth conduct” of elections in Ghana.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo won a second term after a tightly contested presidential election, the country’s electoral commission announced on Wednesday.

“Congratulations to President @NAkufoAddo on his reelection,” Atiku said on Twitter.

“The smooth conduct of the Ghana elections should be an eye-opener to our nation.

READ ALSO: Ghana’s Opposition Rejects Election Results

“We must undertake far-reaching electoral reforms that address the shortcomings of our previous experiences and strengthens our electoral process.”

Although the Ghanaian election was considered largely peaceful, five people were killed in election-related violence, police said on Wednesday.

The opposition party has also rejected the results and said it will appeal the electoral commission’s decision.

INEC Declares PDP Candidate Winner Of Zamfara Constituency Bye-Election

A file photo of a bag containing electoral materials to be deployed for and election.

 

The People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the Bakura constituency bye-election of Zamfara State, Ibrahim Tukur has been declared the winner of the poll.

Tukur was declared the winner on Wednesday, four days after the election was conducted in the north-central state.

INEC Returning Officer for the supplementary election, Professor Tanko Yahaya made the announcement, adding that the PDP candidate polled 23,874 polls to defeat his close rival, Bello Dankande of the All Progressives Congress APC who scored 16, 546 votes.

READ ALSO: INEC Declares Zamfara Constituency Bye-Election Inconclusive

Earlier, the electoral umpire had declared the election inconclusive, noting that the results of 14 polling units in Bakura ward had been cancelled.

The affected units according to Professor Magawata have a total number of 11,429 votes.

APC Grants Waiver To Umahi, New Members To Contest Elections

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, attends the APC NEC meeting for the first time on December 8, 2020.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has granted a waiver to all new members of the party and others planning to join its fold from various political platforms.

This formed part of the resolutions adopted on Tuesday at a virtual emergency National Executive Council meeting of the APC presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.

It is the first time the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, will attend the APC NEC meeting since he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in November.

The approval was to allow Governor Umahi and other new members of the party to contest for elections without having to wait for two years, as was done previously.

According to the party’s NEC, the decision to grant a waiver to new members is to encourage young people to join the APC.

Away from defection, the APC NEC resolved to extend the tenure of the Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party by another six months.

With the extension of the tenure of the committee led by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, the members will continue with their duty until June 30, 2021.

The meeting also resolved to dissolve the party structures at the polling unit, ward, local government, zonal, and state levels.

However, members of the dissolved executives were asked to serve as the caretaker committee members.

Another important resolution adopted by the APC NEC was the expulsion of its immediate past National Vice Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Etta.

Etta was expelled from the ruling party for not heeding the directive of the party leadership that all legal cases be withdrawn from the courts.

In his remarks, President Buhari urged party members to collectively work towards the sustenance of peace and promotion of more understanding within the party, with a view to consolidating on earlier successes and winning new members.

He noted that the decision of the party’s leadership to dissolve the National Working Committee and constitute a 13-member Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee on June 25 was well conceived as party members now enjoy a new atmosphere of peace.

The President, who acknowledged the defection of Governor Umahi and the return of many party stalwarts and their supporters, believes the APC is making progress as a party of choice for Nigerians.

Governor Buni, on his part, said the reconciliation effort in the party had yielded positive results, with many old members returning and new members being recorded, most recently the Ebonyi State governor.

He stated that following the President’s instructions, almost all pending cases in courts instituted by APC members had been withdrawn to create a “neutral ground’’ for discussions.

The governor noted that a timetable for membership registration and revalidation exercise would be released after initial sensitisation.

Ondo Election Petition Tribunal Begins Inaugural Sitting

A map of Ondo, a state in south-west Nigeria.

 

The Ondo State 2020 Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has held its inaugural sitting at the State High Court in Akure.

In his inaugural address, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Abubakar Umar, disclosed that there are three petitions filed before the tribunal.

He asked all parties involved to avail the Tribunal all the support needed to enable them to succeed in the assignment.

Justice Umar also appealed to the legal representatives to maintain a cordial relationship with the Tribunal members,  adding that there should be no private or official communication between any member of the tribunal and legal representatives.

READ ALSO: Not Even NEC Or Court Decision Will Make Me Return As APC National Chairman, Says Oshiomhole

The tribunal Chairman called on the legal teams to pursue their cases diligently, noting that video coverage of the tribunal proceedings is prohibited according to the law.

He also called on all media professionals to always abide by the rules of the law and the tribunal.

The PDP candidate in the election, Eyitayo Jegede is challenging the election on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities and pockets of violence and intimidation.

Joined in the petition by Jegede are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the Deputy Governor-elect, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

Maria Akwaji Succeeds Husband, Wins Obudu Constituency Bye-Election

 

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Maria Godwin Akwaji, in the Obudu State constituency of Cross River State has won the election with a landslide.

Akwaji was declared the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday.

INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Abel Ezeoha, said Akwaji won with a landslide victory of 32, 166 votes beating her closest opponent of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abor Adaje Godwin who garnered 3, 546 votes.

 

Maria is wife to the former occupant of the seat, Godwin, who died in June.

READ ALSO: INEC Declares APC’s Abiru Winner Of Lagos East Senatorial Election

With this development, she now succeeds her husband to represent the people of Obudu constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly.

Her husband, Akwaji died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital two weeks after he was admitted.

Although his death could not be ascertained, there have been rumours that the late lawmaker had COVID-19 complications.

INEC Declares APC’s Abiru Winner Of Lagos East Senatorial Election

The APC candidate for the Lagos East Senatorial Election, Tokunbo Abiru has been declared the winner of the poll which held on December 5, 2020. Credit: @TokunboAbiru

 

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tokunbo Abiru, has emerged winner in the Lagos East Senatorial bye-election which held yesterday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Abiru polled a total of 89,204 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Babatunde Gbadamosi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 11,257 votes, leaving a margin of 77,947 votes.

The INEC Returning Officer for the by-election, Prof. Ademola Oremosu of the University of Lagos, declared the result at the Somolu collation centre on Sunday.

He said out of the total registered voters of 1,261,673 in the district, the total accredited voters was 104, 894, the total vote cast was 104, 405, the total valid votes was 102, 336, while the rejected votes were 2,069.

Abiru defeated his opponent by a wide margin in all the five local government areas of Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Kosofe, Shomolu and Ikorodu in Lagos East senatorial district.

The senatorial seat became vacant following the death of the former occupant, Bayo Oshinowo, earlier this year.

READ ALSO: APC’s Bala Ali Wins Bye-Election For Dass Constituency In Bauchi

Candidates from 12 political parties contested in the Lagos East Senatorial bye-elections while eight candidates contested the Kosofe Constituency II, Lagos State House of Assembly by-elections.

Below are the results of the APC and PDP candidates in the senatorial election across the five LGAs:

Shomolu

APC: 17,728

PDP: 2,067

Epe

APC: 22,213

PDP: 1,826

Ibeju Lekki

APC: 16,336

PDP: 937

Ikorodu

APC: 19,204

PDP: 3,766

Kosofe

APC: 13,723

PDP: 2,661