A day after the residents of Bayelsa and Kogi States cast their ballots in the governorship elections in both states, voters are awaiting the results to know who will govern them for the next four years.
Results from the elections which held on Saturday have started trickling in at the collation centre of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the two states.
A Court of Appeal has affirmed the election of Mr Abubakar Bello as the duly elected governor of Niger State.
The court gave the affirmation on Saturday in a unanimous judgment delivered by a five-man panel of justices, while ruling on the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the March 9 poll, Umar Nasko.
It held that it lacked the jurisdiction to enter judgment against Mister Bello as the appellants failed to conclude their petition within 180 days, as stipulated by Section 294 Sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, who read the lead judgment, insisted that election matters must be concluded within the 180 days prescribed by law.
The judge held that having failed to do that, the appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate has failed and was subsequently dismissed.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Chief Great Ogboru, against the election of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the Governor of Delta State.
A five-man panel of the court led by Justice Uzo Ndukwe-Anyanwu, reserved judgment on Monday after the lawyers to the parties in the appeal adopted and argued their final briefs.
Chief Ogboru is seeking a reversal of the decision of the Delta State governorship election petition tribunal which returned Senator Okowa as the winner of the March 9 governorship election.
He had raised 37 appeals through his lawyer, Mr Nicholson Ichekor, upon which he is asking the court of appeal to set aside the entire judgment of the tribunal.
The APC candidate alleged over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has commended the judgement of the Court of Appeal which affirmed his victory in the March 9 governorship election in the state.
In a statement on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, he declared that the mandate given to him by the people of Oyo cannot be taken through the backdoor.
“There is no ambiguity as to the state of things in our pacesetter state, as far as the election of March 9, 2019, is concerned. Our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election,” the statement said.
It added, “The victory was reaffirmed by a ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan, the state capital. On Monday, the Court of Appeal, also sitting in Ibadan, delivered its judgement on the appeal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adebayo Adelabu.
“In its ruling, the Appeal Court refused to grant any of the three key reliefs sought by the APC candidate. The Court refused to nullify the election; it refused to order a fresh election and it also refused to order the retrial of the petition.”
The governor noted that with the above being the reality of the outcome of the appellate court ruling, his election has been reaffirmed.
According to him, nothing in the ruling of the appellate court affects the returns made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and there is nothing that tampers with his mandate
“Governor Makinde, hereby, urges the good people of Oyo State to remain calm and refuse to be provoked by agents of disruption who are seeking to upturn the truth, which remains constant against all odds.
“We also wish to enjoin the people of Oyo State to ignore the doctored reports in some media outlets, which are merely quoting the judgement of the Court of Appeal out of context,” the statement said.
It added that the preference of the people of Oyo was as clear as day and night, with the clear margin of votes between Governor Makinde (515,621) and Mr Adelabu (357,982).
The governor reassured residents that he would not be deterred from taking the state to greater heights through the implementation of his four-point service agenda.
He also insisted that positive governance and unprecedented development would continue to be the portion of the people through his tenure.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has won the case challenging his election at the Court of Appeal.
This comes as the appeal court sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital affirmed the victory of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Ogun State governorship election held on March 9.
The court upheld the judgement of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which validated Abiodun’s victory and set aside the appeal filed by the candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade.
A four-man appeal panel of justices had on November 4 reserved its ruling on the two appeals after counsels had adopted their written addresses.
At Monday’s sitting, the appellate court upheld the election of Mr Abiodun as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Ambi-Usi Danjuma, who stood in for the head of the panel, Justice Abubakar Yahyah.
It dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Akinlade for lack of merit, saying Governor Abiodun won the poll having secured the highest number of lawful votes cast.
Shortly after the judgement was delivered, the APC in Ogun commended the decision of the appellate court through its publicity secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye.
Oladunjoye spoke at a press conference held at the party’s secretariat in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to him, the party is extending a hand of fellowship to members of opposition parties to join hands in building the state’s economy.
The APC publicity secretary attributed the victory at the appeal court to God, as well as the support and understanding of the residents of the state.
He called for more cooperation and a better understanding of the Dapo Abiodun administration’s policies and programmes.
Oladunjoye gave assurance that the party would ensure an inclusive government, saying Governor Abiodun would not betray the confidence reposed in him by the people of Ogun.
Facebook came under fresh criticism Tuesday for its hands-off approach to political speech, as a group of employees and US lawmakers called on the social network to apply fact-checking for politicians spreading misinformation.
A letter from Facebook employees urged the company to crack down on “civic misinformation,” saying the spread of debunked claims is a “threat” to what the company stands for.
“We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy,” said the letter first obtained by the New York Times, which said some 250 employees had endorsed it.
At the same time, US lawmakers critical of Facebook stepped up their calls to revisit its policy, which exempts comments and paid ads on the platform from fact-checking — an issue that has become heated with President Donald Trump’s online ads using what some called “provably false” claims.
“Facebook’s new ads policy allows politicians to run demonstrably false advertising on its platform. I don’t think that’s right,” said Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who added that he sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg calling on him “to reverse this decision.”
Other Democrats joined the effort, welcoming the letter from Facebook employees.
“Being a politician shouldn’t be a license to lie — especially to spread hatred. If Facebook employees get it so should Zuckerberg,” tweeted Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Those comments were echoed by Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted: “Facebook’s own employees know just how dangerous their policy allowing politicians to lie in political ads will be for our democracy. Mark Zuckerberg should listen to them — and I applaud their brave efforts to hold their own company accountable.”
Facebook did not respond to an AFP query, but Zuckerberg earlier this month articulated Facebook’s policy, saying it’s not the job of tech firms to “censor” politicians.
Zuckerberg said the policy is based on a long tradition of allowing free expression.
“I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100 percent true,” he said.
The policy on Facebook, and a similar approach from other platforms such as Twitter, creates a challenge for online firms seeking to avoid the role of being an “arbiter” of truth and entering the fray of politics.
Incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi on Friday won a five-year term in Botswana’s elections which saw his ruling party secure more than 51 percent of parliamentary votes, the chief justice said.
“Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi is elected President of the Republic of Botswana,” chief justice Terrence Rannowane announced.
The main opposition protested the outcome, saying the ballot had been “massively rigged.”
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has ruled since independence from Britain in 1966, was declared the winner after attaining the minimum 29 parliamentary seats required to form a government following Wednesday’s vote.
Masisi thanked voters, saying he was “humbled” that they had entrusted the BDP.
“As the President of Botswana for the next 5 years, I’m blessed and privileged to serve you and promise that I’ll continue to do so with integrity, compassion, humility and honesty,” he said in a tweet.
An unofficial tally showed the ruling BDP won 38 seats in the 12th parliament — a slight improvement from the 37 attained in the 2014 election.
The largest opposition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), lost two seats compared to the previous election, securing only 15 seats this time.
The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), endorsed by the former President Ian Khama, got three seats and one smaller party bagged just one seat in the national assembly.
Around 931,000 of the country’s 2.2 million people registered to vote in the parliamentary and local elections.
Masisi, 58, became president in April 2018 as the hand-picked successor to Khama, who resigned at the end of his constitutional limit of two five-year terms.
Diamond-rich Botswana is seen across Africa as a beacon of continuity and democracy.
But Khama shook up the country’s traditionally calm politics by dramatically renouncing his hand-picked successor, Masisi, accusing him of autocracy.
The rift between the president and his predecessor started last year, immediately after Khama handed over the reigns.
Once in power Masisi quickly started reversing several of Khama’s key policies, including lifting the ban on elephant trophy hunting, infuriating his predecessor, avid conservationist.
During the election, Khama threw his weight behind the UDC, once his fiercest critic.
In May, he stormed out of the governing BDP, and endorsed a newly-created BPF, which fielded candidates in only 19 of the 57 constituencies.
Khama, whose father co-founded the BDP and served as Botswana’s first president, retains plenty of influence, particularly in the central region — a BDP stronghold — where he is a traditional chief.
The feud threatened to fracture the BDP and sap voter support.
Already the ruling party had seen its share of the vote decline in past elections. It fell below 50 percent for the first time in the last elections in 2014.
The three-party UDC, which has posed the greatest challenge so far to BDP dominance, claimed the election was “massively rigged” and riddled with irregularities around voter registration which “undermine the credibility” of these elections.
“Throughout, the IEC has shown grave incompetence and could not have delivered a free and fair election,” UDC leader Duma Boko told AFP
The election outcome “does not deserve any respect,” Boko charged.
Boko also fingered the ruling party for a “deliberate and well-orchestrated plan to steal this election”, after it realised that it was on “very shaky ground”.
The UDC won 17 out of the 57 seats in the last election five years ago.
On Friday an observer mission from the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), declared the pre-election and voting phases had been well organised and conducted in a “peaceful and free atmosphere”.
Despite numerous opposition party disputes, SADC observers have endorsed elections in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in recent years, declaring them all to be free and fair.
A controversial pipeline, reinvigorated Quebec nationalism and a growing rift with western prairie provinces: voters gave Justin Trudeau a second term in office but with a weakened minority government that will face immediate challenges.
Increased oil exports
The Liberals’s nationalization last year of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to prevent its collapse under legal challenges and protests has been panned by the eco-friendly wing of the party that sees it as contrary to efforts to curb CO2 emissions.
Canada’s oil sector is the fourth largest in the world, but has struggled under low prices and a lack of oil conduits to new markets. And oil proponents say Trans Mountain, purchased by Ottawa for Can$4.5 billion, would greatly help ease transportation clots.
In order to stay in office, Trudeau will need to form alliances with smaller parties such as the New Democrats (NDP), but they have come out strongly opposed to the project, putting its future in doubt.
“On Trans Mountain, perhaps both sides will have to put water in their wine,” said McGill University politics professor Daniel Beland.
Trudeau must navigate how to “get along with the NDP without taking his centrist party too far to the left.”
Beland noted that the Liberals have governed for much of the past 152 years since Confederation “because it is a party that is pragmatic, flexible.”
A nation deeply divided
Monday night, the Liberal’s small beachhead in the western prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan was completely wiped out, with Conservatives claiming all 48 seats but one in Edmonton that went to the NDP.
The Conservative premiers of these two provinces are openly hostile to Trudeau and his climate policies, and his win Monday has led to talk of landlocked Alberta splitting from the rest of Canada to go it alone.
“It will be difficult to put together a cabinet without any representation from Alberta,” an oil-rich province that’s the fourth most-populous in the nation, Beland said.
“The Liberals are going to have to work with the NDP, which means they will have to track to the left” and take an even tougher stance on the oil sector to accommodate the NDP, he said. “That’s not good news for Albertans and people in Saskatchewan who are already unhappy with Trudeau’s carbon tax.”
Cancelling the Trans Mountain expansion to appease the NDP “would create a huge backlash in these two provinces” and exacerbate regional tensions, he said.
At the same time, moving ahead with the project could make an alliance with the NDP tricky.
The down-and-out separatist Bloc Quebec, led by charismatic Yves-Francois Blanchet, scored a big comeback on Monday, tripling its seat count in parliament to 32. It went from having previously lost official party status in parliament to being the nation’s third-largest party, despite having only fielded candidates in Quebec province.
The Bloc and Trudeau’s Liberals are at odds over a new secularism law in Quebec that prohibits some public servants from wearing religious symbols such as veils or turbans.
It is hugely popular in Quebec, but seen in the rest of Canada as an affront to individual rights and freedoms.
Trudeau is a strong proponent of multiculturalism and has said he would consider fighting the law, depending on the outcome of court challenges brought by individuals and groups in Quebec. The bloc has urged against federal intervention.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government said Thursday it would make a second attempt next week to call an early general election, to try to break the political deadlock over Brexit.
The day after MPs rejected the first attempt to call a snap poll, senior minister Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs he would put forward a “motion relating to an early parliamentary election” to be voted on on Monday evening.
It would be put under a 2011 law that requires the support of two-thirds of the 650-seat House of Commons, Downing Street said.
A similar move on Wednesday night failed after the main opposition Labour party abstained.
Johnson called the election after MPs approved a bill that could undermine his threat to leave the European Union on October 31 without agreeing exit terms.
Labour said that while it wanted an election, it wanted the “no deal” bill passed first.
The bill is currently being debated in the unelected upper House of Lords but is expected to become law by Monday.
Government sources say they hope Labour would at that point back an election.
However, Labour is divided over the timing of any poll and could still oppose Johnson’s motion on Monday.
Johnson wants a public vote before an EU summit on October 17, which could be the last chance to get a Brexit deal before Britain’s scheduled departure on October 31.
But some in Labour want an election after October 31, which would force Johnson to delay Brexit, thus weakening his support among eurosceptic voters.
There is also the possibility that, if Johnson wins a majority in any early election, he would have the power to force through a “no deal” anyway.
“The painstaking presentation by my lawyers has carefully and convincingly proved beyond any reasonable doubt that my election was not only free, fair and credible, but it was in line with the constitution,” he stated.
Senator Al-Makura described the judgement as a two-in-one victory hinged to the fact that the petitioner could not prove his allegation and his lawyers proved his election was credible.
He was confident that his victory at the Tribunal would spur him to deliver dividends of democracy to his constituents.
The lawmaker said, “I believe this judgement will give me the impetus to continue to do the things that I have been doing and if given the opportunity, I will do much better now that the constituency has been reduced to one-third of the whole state.
“So, all the efforts I have put in the three constituencies before will now be concentrated on one senatorial district, notwithstanding the fact that I will also bring to bear, my contributions to other zones by supporting closely the efforts of the governor of the state.”