APC Directive To Lawmakers Is ‘High Stakes Politics’ – Omatseye

The Chairman, Editorial Board f Nations Newspaper, Sam Omatseye, on Thursday described the Block Budget Directive by the All Progressives Congress to lawmakers in the National Assembly as ‘high stakes politics.’

“This is bringing the issues of Rivers State to the plate of national discourse in the way it should be.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the journalist opined that the issues involving Rivers State, the Presidency and the National Assembly “have been misdirected in terms of focus by so many people who think the issue of Rivers state is about Rivers state.”

“Rivers state belongs to this federation,” he said, adding that “if one state is burning it has implication on the peace of other states.”

He faulted the President who is the Chief Security Officer of the nation, for not taking any official steps to curb the crisis especially in light of the fact that “the state is burning, the commissioner of police is acting as though he does not respect rule of law, he does not respect lives and property and who is supposed to be the chief security officer of the state which is the governor.”

Despite criticisms against its directive, APC has defended its stance on grounds that the directive is working because the third Save Rivers Movement rally held without interruption.

Asked why the opposition is yet to back down, Mr Omatseye said “the directive has been misappropriated by the Presidency and people in the PDP to mean that the APC does not want the budget passed or the minister screened and nominated or passed as well as the service chiefs.

The real thing, he said, is that they are trying to use the instruments of democracy for the purpose of democracy.

Filibuster does not mean we don’t want the budget, he said, adding that “there’s a high stake principle involved here. Let us face that high stake principle. Get it done, then we can go ahead with the budget after all what is the purpose of budget without security.”

On the internal wranglings in some chapters of the APC, especially in Ogun state, Mr Omatseye who criticised the developments played down the issue in comparison to the crisis in Rivers state, adding that there was no issue of impunity on the part of the police commissioner.

He also said “it’s not appearing, as of now, to be an issue of protracted significance. It is a party issue and they are trying to resolve it.”

However, the problem of Rivers state began when Rotimi Amaechi expressed dissatisfaction with how the President removed his successor while the First Lady caused problems before the 2011 elections, followed by the “almighty crisis of the governors’ forum election,” including the issue of Soku oil wells.

Omatseye claimed that the Police commissioner, Joseph Mbu, had become important to the President and is even more powerful than the IG in matters of Rivers State,” adding that, “the IG himself has been completely quiet and complicit in whatever goes on.”

On recommendations that all issues be solved in the Court of Law, Omatseye said “the courts cannot ask the president to fire or remove a police commissioner. It is all within the ambit of the executive.”

He suggested that the President have a dialogue between the Bayelsa and Rivers State governors to settle the matter of Soku oil wells in a bid to get them to settle the matter in court.

Accreditation And Voting Starts Late In Anambra LG Polls

Accreditation of voters and voting started in most polling units around 12pm with low turn out of voters in most of the polling units visited and as at 2PM, voting is still on going.
While casting his vote at his home town in Amatutu, Ward 2, Agulu Anocha Local Government Area of Anambra state,  the Anambra state governor, Peter Obi, commended the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) and security operatives in the state for the proper conduct of the election as it is obvious that the election has been peaceful, free and fair, though there were little hitches due to logistics problems which has been resolved by the state electoral body.
He however debunked allegations that the ruling party in the state has collaborated with the state electoral body to delay the arrival of electoral materials. He said it is a rumour being peddled by a group of people who already know they are losing at the polls.
Electorates complained of late arrival of election materials in most of the polling units. A visit to Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA at 10AM showed election materials just leaving the  LG headquarters, meanwhile in some places where election materials have arrived, there was no result sheet as ANSIEC officials say they are still waiting for the result sheet, while some voters are insinuating that the late arrival of materials and absence of result sheet is a calculated attempt by the ruling party, APGA, to rig the election

C/River LG Polls: Observer Caught Police, CROISEC, PDP Members Thumb Printing

A public affairs analyst, Agba Jalingo, who monitored the local government elections in Cross River state on Friday said that there was no election in the state as the electoral process was ‘a PDP affair” adding that police officers, PDP officials and members of the Cross River Independent State Electoral Commission (CROISEC) were caught thumb printing on ballot papers.

Controversies have trailed the recently concluded the local government elections in Cross River state and Mr Jalingo further fueled the controversy with statements he made while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“Even though it was a one party election, PDP officials, the police including CROISEC officials – we caught them on video, thumb printing”

“They were thumb printing by themselves”.

Mr Jalingo, who said election did not hold in some parts of certain local governments, averred that people were unable to vote, due to violence and yet results were announced.

“There were few places in the mainland where people could not vote” he said.

At the Bakassi refugee camp, “there was uproar in the morning. The camp commander said they got some information that some politicians were going to come hire some people to go and do violence.

Ita Giwa came in the morning and move over a thousand of them to Day Spring Island where some of them actually voted.” Those who could not meet the voyage could not vote.

Mr Jalingo who was an observer at the elections said “it was a one party election”.

There are 18 local governments in cross river state and only the PDP featured candidates in the 18 local government chairmanship positions.

He said that State Independent Electoral Commissioner “is telling a lie”

The commissioner had said that almost all the other political parties pulled out of the race leading to PDP being the only party standing.

Mr. Jalingo faulted this assertion, adding that “if anybody said the parties pulled out, the person is telling a lie”.

According to him, there are 196 political wards in the state and “the PDP had all of them but seven”.

He disclosed that defunct parties such as ACN and PPA also had their logos on the ballot paper.

“APC, the new party that wanted to contest the election was disenfranchised by CROSIEC”. He continued by saying that the electoral body had called a press conference to say that APC does not qualify to contest because “the cross river local government elections electoral acts says that elections must be conducted 90 days before the expiration of the incumbent tenure and APC was registered later than 90 days”.

He also said that APC chieftain, Obono Obla had revealed that the CROSIEC boss had told him (Obla) via a telephone call that the PDP led state government was pressuring him to bar the APC from contesting.

The CROSIEC chairman, Patrick Otu, then told Obla that APC should write a letter demanding for an extension of time.

The letter was written, however, three days later CROISEC called the conference disqualifying APC from the election.

Mr Jalingo said Otuh, who is yet to confirm the allegation, has been unreachable.

Mr Jalingo stated that the said video is on crossriverwatch.com

Mali Scrambles To Be Ready For Sunday’s ‘Fresh Start’ Vote

Malian election officials scrambled to distribute voting material for an election on Sunday intended to provide a fresh start to a country divided by a coup and a war in its desert north.

Candidates wound up campaigns promising reconstruction and reconciliation but, underscoring security fears despite a successful French offensive against al Qaeda-linked fighters, an Islamist group threatened to attack polling stations.

Separatist and Islamist rebels swept across the country’s desert north last year shortly after soldiers ousted the president, an unprecedented crisis in the former French colony, previously seen as an island of stability in West Africa.

Thousands of French troops halted a rebel advance in January and United Nations peacekeepers are deploying to stabilize the broken nation. A successful vote on Sunday would take the gold-producing country another step towards its recovery.

“We need this election – it is critical,” said Abdrahamane Toure, a postal worker who went to the Aminata Diop school in Bamako’s Lafiabougou neighborhood to check where he would vote.

“Once we have a legitimate state back, things might start getting better,” he added.

In a sign of last-minute preparations, residents were still lining up to collect newly-printed ID cards that they will have to show in order to vote as a truck laden with plastic ballot boxes pulled up at the Bamako school on Saturday.

Authorities also instructed some 6.8 million eligible voters how to find their polling stations by sending SMS messages to designated numbers.

In the run-up to the vote, experts had warned that a rushed election might lead to challenges and further crises.

But election officials say they have distributed 85 percent of the ID cards and a free and fair race in a field of 26 men and one women could take place.

Louis Michel, head of the European Union’s election observer mission, said he was “positively surprised” by preparations and that the conditions for the vote were acceptable.

“A month ago, there were a lot of doubts (over the election). But it has come together. Everyone realizes that this interim government has to end as its inherent fragility and uncertainty has been so costly for Mali,” said Mary Beth Leonard, the U.S. ambassador to Bamako.

Voting is due to start at 0800 GMT at 21,000 polling stations across the country, from the bustling, lush riverside capital in the south to the remote desert garrison town of Kidal, which was at the heart of last year’s rebellion.

Most of the front-runners are established political figures over the last 20 years of Malian politics so there is little likelihood of a radical overhaul of the country’s democracy.

A second round of voting will take place on August 11 if no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote.

“LOOKING FOR UNITY”

Before last year’s collapse, Mali, a poor nation straddling the south of the Sahara, had built up a reputation for stability and become Africa’s No. 3 gold producer.

Donors who slashed aid after the coup have promised over 3 billion euros in reconstruction assistance after the election.

The new president will have to oversee peace talks with separatist Tuareg rebels who have agreed to allow the vote to take place in areas they operate in but have yet to lay down their arms.

France is hoping a successful vote will allow it to scale down its military presence in Mali from around 3,000 troops currently. A 12,600-strong U.N. mission is rolling out.

While there have been few counter-attacks by Islamists since they were scattered from their northern strongholds, MUJWA, one of the groups that occupied Mali’s north last year, on Saturday threatened to attack polling stations.

“Places of the so-called election will be a target for the strikes of the Mujaahideen (holy strugglers),” Mauritania’s Nouakchoute News Agency quoted the group as saying in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by the agency.

The group also warned what it called the Muslims of Mali against taking part in the elections and urged them to stay away.

Election experts said they expect some problems given the rushed preparations but added the key to stability was ensuring no-one were seen aiding one side or the other.

“All we are looking for is unity,” Mohamed Kale, imam at Bamako’s Grand Mosque, told Reuters after Friday prayers.

“This vote will allow us to find a leader so it has to be a good one. The number of people who take part will give this legitimacy,” he added.

ASUU Strike: Education Minister Has Not Helped Matters

A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, has said that the Minister of Education, Ruqayat Rufai is not helping the on-going industrial strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and accused of treating the situation in an off-handed manner.

“The Minister of Education has not being helping matters” by “talking glibly.” This, he said, is a very cheap way of looking at a very serious problem.

He said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

The strike action embarked upon by the union is currently in 6th week, however, students may have to wait some more before an agreement is reached between the body and the Federal Government.

Mr Nnaji said “it appears it’s still a long wait” but added that the strike may be called off “anything from next week Tuesday, if it is possible.”

He accused President Goodluck Jonathan and government officials of paying little or no attention to the problems of the education sector and focusing attention on 2015. It is very unfortunate thing because “education is the most primary thing government should provide.”

“The ministers, governors, president, all the people in government are geared towards 2015.”

First, government must accept responsibility because “an agreement is an agreement” and must be respected.

The ASUU strike is happening at a time where there is proliferation of federal universities but “if you do not prepare the child of today for tomorrow, there is no future for this country.”

He addressed the issue of unqualified lecturers and called them to examine themselves. “How many of them are good enough to teach. What is the content of their teaching?”

INEC To Appeal Court Judgment On Deregistration Nullification

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed to prosecute over 93,000 people in Anambra state involved in multiple voters registration ahead of the state governorship election.

The chairman of the commission, Professor Attahiru Jega told a news conference in Abuja that the prosecution of those found to have done multiple registrations would serve as a deterrent to other people with the same motives in other states.

While reacting to the ruling by a federal high court in Abuja which voided the deregistration of 28 political parties, Professor Jega assured that the battle is not over, that the court cannot overturn the deregistration decision and plans are in the pipeleine  to appeal the court judgment which overturned it’s deregistration of some political parties in the country.

And to check electoral fraud, the INEC chairman said the introduction of the permanent voter cards before the end of the year is one strategy that the INEC is deploying to further checkmate electoral fraud in the system ahead of the 2015 elections.

Mali State of Emergency Lifted Ahead of Election

Mali has lifted a state of emergency ahead of the start of political campaigning for a presidential election on July 28, a spokesman for West African nation’s army said.

The state of emergency, which handed the army sweeping powers and banned gatherings of over 50 people, was imposed in January following a French-led military offensive aimed at driving out Islamist militant groups that had taken control of the north of the country.

“The state of emergency has de facto been lifted since midnight yesterday,” Captain Modibo Naman Traore said.

“The military situation has now stabilized, lifting the state of emergency will allow the candidates in the presidential election to campaign,” Traore said, adding that several parties were planning meetings on Saturday.

Some 28 candidates including four former prime ministers are standing in the election

APC’s Number Swells As DPP Prepares To Join New Party

Another opposition political party, the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), has signified its intention to join the newly formed opposition party coalition, All Progressives Congress (APC).
DPP’s entry has further swelled the number of the opposition parties involved in the merger to four, with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) already in the merger.

Addressing Journalists on Wednesday after the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the DPP National Chairman, Major General Bashir S. Magashi (rtd) said the party having analysed the present political development in the country has resolved to close ranks with the other opposition parties to float a merger.

He said the party has decided to set up a merger committee to immediately enter into negotiations with other opposition parties and leaders of APC.

Obasanjo Dances Gangnam Style in Ghana

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently led an ECOWAS team of observers to monitor the Ghana’s general election, thrilled voters, electoral officials and fellow observers with the Gangnam style dance step.

Judge orders arrest of Google head in Brazil over Youtube videos

A judge has ordered the arrest of the president of Google’s operations in Brazil for failure to remove You Tube videos that attacked a mayoral candidate.

The order to arrest Fabio Jose Silva Coelho was issued Monday by Judge Flavio Peren of Mato Grosso do Sul state. It was prompted by two videos containing disparaging remarks against Alcides Bernal who is running for mayor of the city of Campo Grande.

According to AP, Peren ordered the removal of the videos last week. He also ordered a statewide, 24-hour suspension of Google and its video sharing web site.

Police say they have not received orders to arrest Coelho.

Google says in a statement it is appealing the judge’s ruling because it is not responsible for the content posted on its site.

Lawyer says one term of four years enough to perform

A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Benson Enikuomehin on Tuesday said Nigerian politicians do not need to wait for a re-election before they deliver their campaign promises.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Enikuomehin blamed the absence of a clear-cut manifesto in political parties as responsible for the laziness among Nigerian politicians.

Discussing the 2015 elections on our breakfast show Sunrise Daily, Benson Enikuomehin a legal practitioner agreed with Dr. Doyin Okupe saying a lot of Nigerian politicians are jobless which is why they look for all avenues to unseat their opponents who are power even before their tenure is complete.


We are not distracted by preparation for 2015 elections – ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has debunked allegations that rather than engage in providing meaningful development for the country, the party is focused on preparing for 2015 elections.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s morning programme, Sunrise Daily, a former Chairman of the ACN, FCT chapter, Sunny Moniedafe said his party is doing much more than the other parties and that even if they are forced to start preparing for 2015, they are not distracted.