Bitter, Unnecessary Disputes Costing APC Seats In Elections, Buhari Decries

President Muhammadu Buhari with the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and APC Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on August 31, 2020.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has lost seats in the legislative and governorship elections as a result of unnecessary disputes among its members.

These were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari at the inauguration of a Tripartite Consultative Committee of the Executive, Legislature and Leadership of the APC at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday.

“… The working relationships between the Executive and the Legislative have been excellent so far; our joint responsibility is to keep things that way and see where we can improve our communication and coordination,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina.

He added, “But we must admit to ourselves that our party has been too often embroiled in bitter and on occasions, totally unnecessary squabbles costing us seats in legislative and gubernatorial elections.

“These never should have happened. We are here to make sure such occurrences do not happen again. We must now ensure regular consultations between the party and the Governments.”

President Buhari stated that enhanced consultation within the ruling political party would strengthen its internal democracy and improve the chances of winning elections.

He also noted that the amicable resolution of conflicts in the party through regular consultations would create more understanding.

A Firm Believer

The President said the APC commands a clear majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives, noting that the Vice-President, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House, and himself all belong to the party.

He, therefore, urged members of the committee to further align the objectives of the party and be alive to electoral promises, reminding party members of the need to always move the country forward.

“I am a firm believer in the doctrine of the Separation of Powers, which is fundamental to our constitutional democracy, but our practice should be harmonious checks and balances devoid of bitterness and petty rivalry,” he advised.

President Buhari said he had great faith in the Consultative Committee to help improve governance and achievements of the party and assured members of his support.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, chairs the committee which has as members Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; Yobe State Governor and APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase; Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; and House Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa.

Others are Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and APC Caretaker Committee Secretary, Akpan Udoedehe.

Ivory Coast President Urges Peace As He Files Candidacy For Elections

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara wearing a protective mask attends a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the country Independance from France on August 7, 2020 at the presidential palace in Abidjan. SIA KAMBOU / AFP
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara wearing a protective mask attends a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the country Independance from France on August 7, 2020 at the presidential palace in Abidjan. SIA KAMBOU / AFP.

 

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called for peace after clashes that have claimed at least eight lives as he filed his candidacy on Monday for elections less than three months away.

Clashes broke out after Ouattara, who initially said he would not stand again, changed his mind following the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, his anointed successor.

“I know I can count on all my fellow citizens to ensure that this election is peaceful and that Ivorians can make their choice in peace, without violence,” Ouattara said as he left the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) in Abidjan, flanked by most members of the government.

“We will submit to the verdict of our citizens. The citizens will remember our record, which is an exceptional record over the past nine years… I have a vision of stability, security, peace and happiness for Ivorians,” he said.

The constitution limits presidents to two terms, but 78-year-old Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock, allowing him to seek a third.

Six people were killed and about 100 were injured in demonstrations that erupted after Ouattara announced on August 6 that he would seek re-election following Gon Coulibaly’s death in July from a heart attack.

At least two more were killed at the weekend in clashes at Divo, 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Abidjan, after Ouattara formally accepted his nomination by the ruling RHDP party.

Opposition and civil society groups say Outtara’s move to stand again in the October 31 vote amounts to a “coup”.

The world’s top cocoa grower remains scarred by a brief civil war that erupted after 2010 elections, when then president Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede to the victor, Ouattara. Months of violence claimed around 3,000 lives.

– Gbabgo barred –

Challengers to the incumbent include 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie for the main opposition party PDCI.

Two former ministers and Ouattara allies, ex-foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and ex-education minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri, are also running.

But election officials have rejected appeals by Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro to be allowed to compete.

Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity.

His return to Ivory Coast would be sensitive before the presidential election. His Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party urged him to throw his hat in the electoral ring.

Soro, a former rebel leader, has been forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems at home.

He was a leader in a 2002 revolt that sliced the former French colony into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south and triggered years of unrest.

He was once an ally of Ouattara, helping him to power during the post-election crisis in 2010. The two eventually fell out.

AFP

APC Sweeps Ondo LG Polls

 

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has swept to victory in the Ondo State council polls which held on Saturday.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC), Professor Yomi Dinakin.

Announcing the results at the commission’s head office on Sunday in Akure, the state capital, Dinakin noted out of the 18 local government areas in the state, there were no elections in five councils.

The five local councils include Akoko North-East, Ose, Ifedore, Odigbo and Irele.

Only the APC fielded candidates in the local governments, and hence were declared winners.

Similarly, the remaining 13 local government areas include: Ese Odo, Akoko South-West, Akure South, Ilaje, Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo, Okitipupa, Ondo West and Akure North.

READ ALSO: APC Takes Early Lead In Ondo LG Polls

Others include Owo, Akoko North West, Akoko South-West, Idanre and Ondo East.

The Returning Officers from the local government areas brought the results collated to ODIEC office where they were announced.

APC also won 194 councillorship seats out of 198, while the results in the four remaining wards were declared inconclusive.

Ten political parties including the ruling APC participated in the election.

The major opposition parties – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) however boycotted the election.

PDP, ZLP Boycott Ondo LG Elections

A voter is seen casting his vote Voting has commenced in unit 4 ward 7 in Akure South LGA, Ondo State on August 22, 2020.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party have boycotted the local government elections in Ondo State.

Channels Television learned that the parties believe the election could not be conducted in a credible, free and fair atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the Ondo State High Court, in Akure, the state capital on Friday struck out the interlocutory injunction filed by 15 political parties in the state, seeking to stop the conduct of the election.

The presiding judge, Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye struck out the application on the grounds that it breached Section 58 of the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) laws.

The polls commenced on Saturday, as Channels Television observed the early arrival of some electoral officials in some local councils.

In Ward 5, in Akure South LGA, ODIEC officials were seen sorting out voting materials as early as 7 am.

Similarly at Unit 10, Ward 6 in Akure South LGA, voting had commenced with low voter turnout.

The electoral body is conducting local government elections in 18 LGAs and 203 wards in the state.

Elections: IGP Orders Arrest Of Individuals, Groups With Prohibited Firearms

Mohammed-Adamu-IGP
File Photo of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, at a meeting in Abuja 

 

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the Commissioners of Police in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory to identify and arrest any individual(s) or groups(s) in possession of prohibited firearms.

The IGP’s directive comes as part of preparations toward the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, as well as efforts by the Police High Command to curb the proliferation of prohibited firearms in the country.

A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, DCP Frank Mba, says, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has ordered Commissioners of Police in the thirty-six states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to immediately initiate appropriate actions to identify, isolate, disarm, arrest and prosecute any individual(s) or group(s) in possession of prohibited firearms.

DCP Mba said that the directive has become necessary against the backdrop of the deliberate arming and movement of political thugs and other criminal elements across the country.

“In addition, the directive is targeted at addressing the proliferation and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms in the country which is contrary to the provisions of Chapter F.28 LFN 2004 of the Firearms Act.

“In a similar vein, Commissioners of Police in all the States of the Federation and the FCT have been directed to immediately convene an enlightenment meeting of all vigilante groups and quasi security outfits spread across the country in order to ensure that their activities are in conformity with the extant laws guiding their establishment and operations”.

The statement further added that the IGP, while observing that several civil groups – vigilantes, quasi-states, and regional security outfits under various guises are arming themselves with prohibited firearms and weapons in contravention of the provisions of the Firearms Act, notes that the trend if unchecked will pose a serious threat to national security.

“The IGP enjoins citizens to cooperate with the Police in the enforcement of this order as it is aimed at ensuring the safety of lives and property in the country”.

Read Full Statement Below:

In reply please quote
Ref No. CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.3/3
Date: 16th August, 2020

The Director of News
…………………………….

PRESS RELEASE

AHEAD OF EDO AND ONDO GOV ELECTIONS: IGP ORDERS NATIONWIDE CLAMPDOWN ON PROLIFERATION OF PROHIBITED FIREARMS
– CPs to identify, isolate, disarm, arrest and prosecute offenders

As part of preparations toward the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States, as well as efforts by the Police High Command to curb the proliferation of prohibited firearms in the country, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has ordered Commissioners of Police in the thirty-six States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to immediately initiate appropriate actions to identify, isolate, disarm, arrest and prosecute any individual(s) or group(s) in possession of prohibited firearms.

The directive has become necessary against the backdrop of the deliberate arming and movement of political thugs and other criminal elements across the country. In addition, the directive is targeted at addressing the proliferation and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms in the country which is contrary to the provisions of Chapter F.28 LFN 2004 of the Firearms Act.

In a similar vein, Commissioners of Police in all the States of the Federation and the FCT have been directed to immediately convene an enlightenment meeting of all vigilante groups and quasi security outfits spread across the country in order to ensure that their activities are in conformity with the extant laws guiding their establishment and operations.

The IGP, while observing that several civil groups – vigilantes, quasi states and regional security outfits under various guises are arming themselves with prohibited firearms and weapons in contravention of the provisions of the Firearms Act, notes that the trend if unchecked, will pose serious threat to national security.

The IGP enjoins citizens to cooperate with the Police in the enforcement of this order as it is aimed at ensuring safety of lives and property in the country.

DCP FRANK MBA
FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
FORCE HEADQUARTERS
ABUJA

NBA Elections: Co-contestant, Babatunde Ajibade Congratulates Olumide Akpata

Lawyer and Contestant in the Nigerian Bar Association election for President, Babatunde Ajibade.

 

A contestant in the Nigerian Bar Association elections, Mr Babatunde Ajibade, has congratulated Mr Olumide Akpata who emerged as the 30th President of association.

In a statement personally signed by him on Friday, Ajibade said he was proud of the level of debate and the quality of ideas that were brought forth during the elections which held on July 29 and 30, for the improvement of the association, the welfare of its members and the good of the society.

He, however, pointed out that the build-up to the elections and the elections were not been devoid of controversy, and expressed hope that the challenges of conducting free and fair elections in the association will be resolved.

 

NBA president-elect, Olumide Akpata. Photo: [email protected] Akpata

 

“It is unfortunate that the process leading up to and during the election itself have, once again, not been devoid of controversy. It is my fervent hope that we will get over these repeated challenges with conducting objectively free and fair elections into the leadership positions in the association.

“I remain resolute in my belief that we cannot succeed in addressing the challenges confronting our profession unless we unite and I urge the incoming President and his executive to take deliberate and proactive steps to unite the Bar,” Ajibade said.

Speaking further, he thanked all those who supported his aspiration to be elected President of the association, noting that although they did not achieve the desired goal, the experience was rewarding and fulfilling.

Read Also: NBA Elections: Olumide Akpata Declared President-Elect

“I say a heartfelt thank you to all the persons too numerous to mention, who supported my aspiration to be elected President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

“Though we did not get the result we wanted, the experience has been rewarding and fulfilling. I have met and established lasting bonds of friendship with colleagues from different parts of our great country Nigeria who share my values and aspirations for a better, stronger and united legal profession.

“To all those who sacrificed their time and resources, both material and otherwise, I owe a lasting debt of gratitude. I pray that God will reward each and every one of you.

“Thank you and God bless,” the statement read in part.

DR Congo Set For Fresh Protests Over Appointment Of Top Election Official

Motorcyclists drive past a barricade in the road at the Kinshasa Grand market on June 9, 2020, during a demonstration where demonstrators ask for the re-opening of the shops around there which has been closed by the government as a precautionary measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by ARSENE MPIANA / AFP)

 

Political parties and campaign groups in DR Congo have vowed to carry out a wave of protests over the proposed head of the country’s election panel.

Anger has been triggered by plans to name a figure accused by the opposition of helping former president Joseph Kabila to rig past elections.

An opposition coalition called Lamuka on Tuesday called for nationwide demonstrations for July 13, with “strict observance” of coronavirus precautions.

This will be preceded on Thursday by a march in the capital Kinshasa, which President Felix Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Progress (UDPS) announced earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC), which is close to the powerful Catholic church, has called for a “great peaceful protest march” in major cities on July 19, along with other grassroots groups.

The CLC staged a march last Saturday that drew several hundred supporters before it was dispersed by police on its arrival outside parliament.

The demonstrations have been triggered by a decision by the National Assembly, which is dominated by Kabila supporters, to appoint Ronsard Malonda as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Malonda, currently CENI’s secretary-general, is accused by Lamuka of “abetting every stolen election since 2006”.

The protests have been scheduled while Tshisekedi has still to approve Malonda’s appointment.

The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been notoriously volatile since it gained independence from Belgium 60 years ago this month.

Tshisekedi took office in January 2019 in the country’s first-ever peaceful political transition.

But he did so after elections roiled by accusations that the results were rigged to deny Tshisekedi’s rival, Martin Fayulu, of victory.

Tshisekedi has to govern in coalition with supporters of his predecessor Kabila, who have a huge majority in parliament.

Kabila stepped down after 18 years in power and still wields influence behind the scenes.

The coalition was rocked last month over judicial reforms put forward by Kabila allies that would define the powers of judges — a move that critics say is a ploy to muzzle the judiciary.

The country has declared a “state of emergency” to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures, which were extended for an additional 15 days on Monday, include a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people.

 

AFP

Ekweremadu Blames Nigeria’s Electoral Problems On Non-Implementation Of Laws

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, speaks on YIAGA’s Town Hall meeting on on ‘Fixing Nigerian elections’ in Abuja on June 30, 2020.

 

The former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has blamed Nigeria’s electoral problems on the non-implementation of the existing laws.

Speaking on Tuesday during a town hall meeting with the theme ‘Fixing Nigerian elections’ which was organised by YIAGA, the lawmaker regretted that much efforts have not been done to implement the nation’s electoral laws.

According to him, the nation has sufficient laws to handle the electoral affairs.

“I think the greatest problem is the implementation of laws. We have sufficient laws regarding our elections and electoral management,” he said.

Speaking further, Ekweremadu regretted that electoral reforms and democratic practices in Nigeria were stopped for about 35 years.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Yet To Fully Embrace Democracy, Says Bishop Kukah

This is because the last major election in the country was held in 1964 shortly before the outbreak of the civil war in 1967.

He explained that the elections held in 1999 weren’t so perfect following the long absence of polls conducted in the country.

“Going back to history, you will recall that the last major election we had before the civil war was in 1964. Thereafter, we had the queue and there was civil war.

“We didn’t have democratic practice and that means that the electoral reforms, electoral practices were stopped for about 35 years until 1999.

“The implication is that a lot happened, just like if you park your car for 35 years and want to start the car, obviously you are going to have a lot of problems. In 1999, we had elections that were not very perfect because of the time lag we have had between 1964 and 1979,” he said.

INEC Is Committed To Introducing Electronic Balloting For Anambra Elections Next Year – Mahmood

INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television June 30, 2020

 

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the commission remains committed to improving electoral processes in the country.

According to him, one of the things it plans to implement in the coming year is the introduction of electronic balloting.

Yakubu said the commission intends to introduce this during the Anambra elections, taking place in 2021.

“The commission is committed to introducing at least electronic balloting in the major election we are going to conduct next year, which happens to be the Anambra governorship election and thereafter, with the support of the National Assembly, we hope that the legal environment will improve such that we can also go ahead to collate and transmit results electronically”.

The INEC boss said this on Tuesday during a town hall meeting tagged Fixing Nigerian Elections, adding that “at present, the law doesn’t permit that because the system is essentially manual”.

He made the comments while responding to a question about what he would like to improve about the electoral system in the country.

“There are quite a number of issues, one of which is the deployment of technology,” the INEC boss said.

“We would like a situation where the electoral legal environment is reformed in such a manner that will continue to deepen the deployment of technology in elections.

“I am happy with what the commission has done since 2010. Recall that there is a trajectory. We started in 2010 with the biometric register of voters and so in 2011, the Commission essentially updated the biometric register and we did the same thing in 2014 and in 2017 and in 2018 over a period of 16 months in which we added 14.2 million Nigerians to the register.

“The second is biometric accreditation of voters and there was an innovation introduced in 2015, the smart card readers that go along with the permanent voters’ card.

“We have achieved that. We are looking forward (particularly with the 2015 amendment) to the electoral Act that empowers the commission to deepen the use of technology, in voting, particularly in the era of electronic voting, to see how far we can go a notch higher,” he added.

Nigeria Yet To Fully Embrace Democracy, Says Bishop Kukah

Atiku Was Invited For Peace Accord Signing, Says Kukah
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah

 

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, says Nigeria is yet to fully embrace democratic norms and values.

He disclosed this on Tuesday during a townhall meeting on ‘Fixing Nigerian elections’ which was organised by YIAGA.

According to him, the military intervention in the nation’s politics has made the system to be so quarrelsome.

Kukah berated the judiciary for undermining the wishes of the people while hearing cases relating to elections.

READ ALSO: 774,000 Jobs: Drama As Senators Walk Keyamo Out Of Meeting

“We are mistaken in assuming that we have had a transition from dictatorship to democracy. We still haven’t.

“This is why we are showing all kinds of systemic malfunctioning. When we talk about political parties, we have assumptions. The truth of the matter is that in our own case, in Nigeria, we have the greed and the political interest.

“Clearly what we have in Nigeria, as we have seen with the occasional malfunctioning of the system midway through the journey, manifested in the quarrelsomeness nature of the process and the way the judiciary has now come to undermine the wishes of the people,” he said.

Speaking further, the cleric called on political parties to imbibe discipline while fielding candidate for public offices.

He regretted that most politicians lack the needed discipline expected of political parties, adding that it has reflected in lack of continuity and consistency in governance.

Uganda Plans Elections In Early 2021 But No Rallies

A file photo of Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni
A file photo of Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni

 

Uganda’s election commission on Tuesday published a roadmap for presidential and legislative elections in early 2021, assuaging fears the coronavirus pandemic would force a delay.

But a plan to ban rallies and gatherings during the campaign drew a rebuke from a leading opposition politician, who said it was designed to favour longtime President Yoweri Museveni.

A calendar posted on the commission’s Twitter account Tuesday called for voting to take place between January 10 and February 8 next year, with “exact polling dates to be appointed in due course”.

That timeline is in line with the constitution.

In an interview with a private television station last month, Museveni, in power since 1986, had seemed to raise the possibility of a delay, saying it would be “madness to continue with elections when the virus is around”.

Uganda has officially recorded 724 COVID-19 cases and no deaths.

“The elections will go ahead as planned. This will be early January and February next year,” Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, the election commission chairman, told AFP Tuesday.

“There were fears that the elections will be postponed due to COVID-19, but the constitution demands that we must hold the polls at a specific time and we can’t do away with that,” he said.

But Mugenyi also said there would be “no mass rallies and public gatherings” and that candidates would “use the media such as radios and TVs to campaign”.

Opposition leader Bobi Wine, a popular singer whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, said those rules would place an undue burden on opposition politicians who struggle to secure media access.

“The roadmap makes it harder for opposition voices to be heard,” Wine told AFP.

“Whenever we show up at radio stations, we are stopped by the police from going on air. The same thing will happen this time and the airwaves will be used by Museveni and his supporters to campaign,” he said.

Wine, who has been subject to repeated arrests, is expected to run against Museveni, who would be seeking a sixth term.

Edo, Ondo Elections: Falana Calls For Maximum Security To Douse Tension

Mr Femi Falana

 

Human Rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has called for maximum security in Edo and Ondo states.

Falana made this call on Wednesday during the Citizens’ Townhall on Voting Amidst COVID-19 ahead of the September 19 governorship elections in the two states.

He noted that the move is necessary in order to douse the tensions that may arise as campaigns will soon begin.

The senior lawyer argued that unlike the local council polls in Cross River and Benue States where the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) swept all the seats, the governorship elections on September 19 will draw opposition parties participating in the exercise.

“You had a Local Government election in Cross River State and Benue State last Saturday, the opposition did not participate because the opposition would have wasted its funds by participating.

“In Cross River State, for instance, the 18 Chairmanship seats were won by the PDP while the 196 Councillorship seats were won by the ruling party.

“Ditto for Benue where 23 chairmanship seats were won by the PDP and of course the 276 councillorship seats were won by the ruling party, but it is going to be different in Ondo and Edo states where you are talking of opposition political parties slugging it out with the ruling political party.

“So tensions will be high, you will need maximum security to guarantee law and order in both states and then monitor some of the political leaders in those two states,” he said.

Falana also predicted a low turnout of voters on the Election Day, asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide facemasks to electorates who may not be able to afford it in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.