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Taraba APC Crisis Deepens As Hon Danjuma Receives Beating

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Taraba APC Crisis Deepens As Hon Danjuma Receives Beating
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Taraba APC Crisis Deepens As Hon Danjuma Receives Beating

Following the outcome of the All Progressives Congresses Party’s state congresses, all may not be well with the Taraba State chapter of the party, as the crisis seemed to have taken a new twist.

The new twist was the physical assault on the serving Member of the House representatives, Danjuma Shiddi, (popularly known as Danji DSS)who was humiliated and beaten to a pulp at Shraton Hotels in Abuja, when stakeholders converged to fine-tune the emergence of state executives which could bring political stability and harmony within key stakeholders.
Credible sources at the stakeholders meeting, who pleaded anonymity, said “trouble started when Hon Danjuma bluntly rejected the concensus mode of congresses, which was unanimously adopted by all major stakeholders as the pattern of elections across the state.
He was then asked to specifically mention what he thought could be done by the party in Wukari local government as well as if he would prefer direct voting by party members. It was at this 6point that the visibly angry Danjuma started raining insults and invectives on some party loyalists by calling them thugs”.
Our source stated that one of the stakeholders, Prince Adi S Masa-Ibi and other concerned stakeholders, could not take the direct insult and asked him to mention the alleged thugs. It was at this point that the angry member, who could not control his emotions, verbally attacked Prince Adi in a language which was regarded by all as derogatory”.
Our source noted that the derogatory remarks earned Hon Dajuma some serious beating by Prince Adi, who could not contain the uncharitable invectives, not only on his person but his father, the late paramount ruler of the Kwararrafa kingdom, which Hon Danjuma Shiddi claims to represents.

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Hon Danjuma was shielded out of the venue by security personnels and the stakeholders meeting ended abruptly.

All efforts to get his reaction proved abortive as he refused to talk to the press.

In another development, Taraba Truth and Facts reported that a son to the late first class monarch Prince Adi Shekaru Masa-Ibbi descended on Danji SS for ‘disrespecting his late father and mocking him with his death’.

Several eyewitnesses told Taraba Truth and Facts newspaper that Danji SS had referred to the late Aku Son as a thug who always bragged with his father’s influence, “Now that your father, the king is no more let see who you will brag with” Danji SS was quoted as saying.

Adi Husseini narrating what transpired at a breakout meeting of Wukari stakeholder said : “we traveled to Abuja for a critical stakeholders meeting of the party organized by the National Working Committee in Abuja, So in the meeting, the Chairman of the Committee sent from Abuja, said that the National Secretariat, stating that is financially incapacitated for now to conduct elections in the state congress, so they will rather advice that a consensus be made among stakeholders of the party.

“And considering the security issues in Taraba leading to the postponement of the congress, the report has got to them, so a consensus should be made and everybody agreed to comply.

“So all the positions within the party structure for the state, were zoned to each of the senatorial districts, We from southern part of the state were given 10 positions to vie for, we gathered as stakeholders and shared the ten positions into the five local governments making up the Southern zone.

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“For Wukari, we were given Zonal Chairman of the Party and Assistant Publicity Secretary. When it came down to micro zone, we again in Wukari, met and discussed the modalities on how to bring up suitable candidates for the meeting. So in the meeting for Wukari again, we were given time for Wukari to discuss each of the local government within the zone to validate the result of the zone and submit to the state level. In Wukari, micro level, we set up a chairman that will lead us, which is Professor Dalhatu Sangari, General AT Ibrahim, Chief Ezekiel Afokunyo, Chief David Sabo Kente DSK, Hon Danji SS, Hon Josiah Sabo Kente, Alh Danladi Shehu, and a lot of other Stakeholders. we are of advantage in Wukari, for producing the highest votes in Taraba State, but we are only disadvantaged because, we are only given zonal chairman and assistant Publicity secretary, which does not hold water, when it comes to making decisions within the party structure. So for this reason, we all agreed that, the people with experience should continue with the office. At least they can influence certain things when it comes to decision making because they know the workings of the party. So all of us there now agreed that the incumbents should continue holding the positions.”

“At this point, Hon Danji SS stood up and said he doesn’t agree to the consensus because he has produced candidates for the offices.

“For zonal chairman there are two candidate, the incumbent and the person Danji SS bought form for, also for Assistant Publicity Secretary there are also two candidates. The incumbent and the person Danji SS brought for, so all of us at the meeting supported the incumbents, that they should continue but Danji SS alone said his candidates must be given the offices at that point there were a lot of arguments.

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“So Hon Adi Prince son of the Late Aku Uka stood up and asked him (Danji SS) sir, what did you want us to do, he said all he knows is that, he is not comfortable with the consensus. So Chief Ezekiel Afokunyo now suggested that we go for voting since one person is not comfortable with the consensus but Danji SS challenged Chief Afokunyo on who gave them the mandate to vote. Chief Afokunyo tried to explain that If we don’t come to an agreement, then we should cast a vote, he said he is not comfortable with voting and not comfortable with the consensus. It was at that point Adi Prince stood up and asked Danji SS what actually he wants, in the process, Danji SS said they brought in thugs into the meeting referring to Prince Adi as thugs.

“Danji SS now faced Adi Prince and said now that his father, the king is dead who will you be bragging with, let him see how he will act now. Aku is now late let him see how he will brag, it was at that point Adi that slapped him, after the insult. When Adi slapped him, he fell to the ground and stood up to fight back . So they were fighting each other, and his candidate for zonal chairman also joined the fight. The police came and separated the fight which brought the meeting to an end, ” the medium reported.

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Opinion: PDP, APC must field an Igbo presidential candidate in 2023

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Opinion: PDP, APC must field an Igbo presidential candidate in 2023
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Opinion: PDP, APC must field an Igbo presidential candidate in 2023.

In 2007, the north dared Obasanjo and made it clear that power must return to the north after 8 years in the south. It was the pressure from the north that forced Obasanjo to drop Dr Peter Odili at the eleventh hour and Yaradua became the lucky northern candidate.

In 2011, the north almost stopped Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the presidential election after the death of Yaradua. They forced Jonathan to negotiate for one tenure before they could support him in 2011.

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In 2015, the north came out smoking, claiming to have been shortchanged especially as they claimed that Jonathan was dishonoring the one term agreement entered into in 2011.

This caused Jonathan a second term and he lost at the poll.

It is unfortunate seeing some northern politicians declaring for president in 2023.

In 2007, Saraki’s father was among the northern elders that held Obasanjo on the neck until he changed his plan on Peter Odili and went for Yaradua.

Today, his son Bukola has declared his interest to rub the south their turn of producing the next president in 2023. I wouldn’t want to talk about Atiku Abubakar and his role in fighting for northern interests.

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It is a pity that some northern politicians are too selfish. In 2015, Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal etc decmaped to APC to deliver a northern candidate. They left APC because they knew that north can not retain power in APC after 8 years.

This is time for all southern leaders especially to come together and make a strong statement on 2023. This is our turn and no one should be allowed to take it away from us.

AIF Media

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Mahmood Yakubu: Nigerian Voters More Than Voters In Entire West Africa

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Mahmood Yakubu: Nigerian Voters More Than Voters In Entire West Africa
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Mahmood Yakubu: Nigerian Voters More Than Voters In Entire West Africa

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on how the Commission successfully conducted the Anambra governorship election despite the numerous challenges it encountered. He also speaks on preparations for the 2023 general elections as well as the Direct Primary controversy. Excerpts:

Sir, let me begin by congratulating you on the successful conduct of the Anambra governorship election. Many had thought the election will not hold due to insecurity challenges but you insisted that the November 6 date remains sacrosanct and the election was held. How were you able to weather the storm?

Thank you for the commenda­tion. As you are aware, the Anam­bra Governorship election was held on 6th November 2021 un­der difficult circumstances. The Commission has declared a win­ner and the certificate of return has been issued. Like you rightly said, the election was peaceful and the outcome of the election has been universally adjudged to be credible.

However, the Commission is not unaware of the issues raised about the performance of the new technology deployed for vot­er accreditation. The deployment of the BVAS in the Anambra Gov­ernorship election was the sec­ond pilot test. It was intended to achieve two objectives. First is voter accreditation to replace the Smart Card Reader. The second is the uploading of polling unit re­sult on the IReV portal to replace the z-pad. The BVAS performed optimally in uploading results on the IReV but there were the usual challenges associated with the pilot of a new technology in a major election.

From our assessment so far, much of the glitches encoun­tered on Election Day in Anam­bra State had little to do with the machines but more with the oper­ators of the system. The extraor­dinarily difficult circumstances under which the election was held meant that some of the bet­ter trained ad hoc staff withdrew at the 11th hour. Similarly, some critical service providers such vehicle owners also withdrew thereby severely affecting our plans for rapid response by our technicians – the Registration Area Technical (RATECH) staff. Technical issues relating to the performance of the BVAS will be addressed in the presentation by our Director ICT at this import­ant meeting. Suffice it to say that in spite of the glitches, BVAS has justified our determination to deepen the deployment of tech­nology in the electoral process. Given the credible conclusion of the election, it has strengthened our belief that even the mini­mal introduction of technology in voter accreditation is better than the best manual process. We want to thank the voters in Anambra State for their patience and faith in the new technology. This has also justified the hope of citizens across the country that the deployment of more ap­propriate technology is essential to electoral integrity in Nigeria.

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Our response to the glitches encountered started right from Anambra State. This explains there were no challenges report­ed during the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Govern­ment Area held on Tuesday 9th November 2022. I want to reassure Nigerians that we have learnt vital lessons from the Anambra pilot. There will be remarkable improvement in the next major election which is the end-of-ten­ure Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) schedule to hold in three months on 12th February 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic is another major challenge that INEC under your leadership had to contend with. How has the commission been cop­ing and what steps are you taking since a national election is coming up in less than 600 days from now?

The world was confronted with the emergence of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in November 2019. The first case was reported in Nigeria on 27th February 2020, forcing the federal and state gov­ernments to take series of actions to protect citizens. The pandemic caused extensive disruptions in the country’s electoral system, forcing the Commission to the postpone four bye-elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States. The highly contagious nature of the virus meant that the Com­mission cannot conduct these elections without considering how to protect election officials and other stakeholders from the risk of infection. In response, the Commission came up with the Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID – 19 Pandemic in May 2020. The pol­icy, which was first of its kind in Africa outlined the measures to be put in place to ensure the safety of citizens that would par­ticipate as voters, candidates, or officials on election day. It was successfully applied during the Nasarawa Central State Constitu­ency bye-election, held on 8th Au­gust 2021 and in other elections thereafter, including the Edo and Ondo Governorship election in September and October this year.

With your experience and knowl­edge so far at the helm of affairs of INEC, what are the challenges in conducting elections in Nigeria?

Nigeria’s size and population make it one of the biggest democ­racies in the world. It is certain­ly the second largest presiden­tial democracy after the United States of America. The size of our voter population and elective institutions make elections in Ni­geria a huge undertaking. This fact is better appreciated within our regional context. There are 15 countries in West Africa today, including Nigeria. However, with the current voter population of over 84 million, Nigeria has about 11 million more registered voters than the other 14 countries put together which have 73.6 mil­lion registered voters. Conduct­ing a general election in Nigeria is like holding election in West Africa and beyond.

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Furthermore, the statutory responsibilities of INEC make it both an Election Management Body and Electoral Commission. Section 53 (f) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) requires the Com­mission to organize, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice-president, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation. In or­der to do so effectively, there are other extensive responsibilities undertaken by the Commission which include: registration and regulation of political parties, including the monitoring of par­ty and campaign finance as well as their primaries, congresses, meetings and conventions; Na­tionwide continuous registration of voters and the maintenance of the national register of vot­ers; Prosecution of electoral offenders; Creation of polling units; Delimitation of electoral constituencies; Voter education and publicity; Management of electoral logistics; Election se­curity in consultation with the security agencies; Strategic engagement with stakeholders; Formulation of regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections and electoral activities to give clarity to the provisions of the Constitution and Elector­al Act; and maintenance of ex­tensive physical assets (offices, residential accommodation and other facilities) nationwide.

In addition, elections are held all-year round between one Gen­eral Election and another with no respite. There is no election season any longer in Nigeria. The Commission has to think literally on its feet as it reflects, strategises, and innovates and pilots the new innovations. For instance, since the 2019 General Election, the Commission has conducted 36 elections made up of 5 Governorship constituen­cies (Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Kogi and Ondo), six Senatorial Districts, seven Federal Constit­uencies (House of Representa­tives seats) and 18 state Assem­bly constituencies. Yet, there are more elections to be conducted in the next eight months. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council elections made up of 68 constituencies (6 Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors) is scheduled to hold on 12th February 2022, followed by the Ekiti and Osun State Governor­ship elections holding on 18th June 2022 and 16th July 2022 respectively. There are also 3 pending Federal constituency bye-elections (Jos North/Bassa in Plateau State, Akure North/ Akure South in Ondo State and Ogoja/Yala in Cross River State) and 3 State constituencies (Ekiti East I in Ekiti State, Shinkafi in Zamfara State and Akpabuyo in Cross River State). While the off-season Governorship elec­tions are known in advance, the bye-elections, mainly caused by the deaths of serving members of the National and State As­sembly, are unpredictable.

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What is the latest information on the issue of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and Launch of Online Registration Portal by INEC?

You will recall that the Com­mission often undertakes a fresh registration of eligible voters with every general election un­til 2010 when the first reliable biometric register of voters was compiled. Thereafter, the prac­tice is to undertake intermittent registration of voters on the eve of major elections. However, in April 2017, this Commission for the first time began the imple­mentation of the registration of voters on a continuous ba­sis as provided in the Electoral Act. By the time the CVR was suspended in August 2018 to prepare for the 2019 General Election, a total of 14,283,734 new voters had been registered and added to the national reg­ister of voters, increasing the overall number to 84, 004 084. However, the CVR could not resume as planned after the general election due in part to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the earlier part of 2020. In our determination to serve Nigerians better and in response to repeated calls by stakeholders, the Commission introduced a dedicated portal for online registration on 28th June 2021. This allows intend­ing registrants to commence the process online by filling the forms, upload their pictures and required documents, and then make an appointment on the web portal for a date and time to visit an INEC State or Local Government Area (LGA) office to give their fingerprints and complete the registration. In addition, those who are already registered as voters can carry out all the other activities such as transfers, correction of per­sonal details and replacement of damaged or defaced Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) online. Ni­gerians have fully embraced and are taking full advantage of the services available on the portal. The Commission has also been updating Nigerians every week on new development since the CVR started. As of 22nd No­vember 2021, the CVR platform had recorded a total of 4,297,494 fresh registrants while 1,856,771 registrants have validated their application.

What is INEC’s position on the controversy trailing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, especially the Direct primary clause?

Yes, a lot of people have been asking the Commission for its position on the Direct Primary clause which was included in the Electoral Act amendment Bill. But the issue is not about our position, but the process. In the exercise of its constitution­al power, the National Assem­bly has passed the Bill into law awaiting presidential assent. Once the process is concluded, the Bill becomes law and every person and authority in Nige­ria, including the Commission, must obey. The Commission will give expeditious consideration to the law, including the detailed regulations and guidelines for its implementation where nec­essary.

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Bode George Sues Adetokunbo Pearse For ₦500 Million Over Alleged Defamation

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Bode George Sues Adetokunbo Pearse For ₦500 Million Over Alleged Defamation
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Bode George Sues Adetokunbo Pearse For ₦500 Million Over Alleged Defamation

Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has slammed a N500m lawsuit against a chieftain of the party, Dr Adetokunbo Pearse over alleged defamation of character.

Pearse, a state chairmanship aspirant of the PDP in Lagos State was alleged to have said that Chief George, was responsible for the disruption of the state congress election of the party on October 16.

While confirming the lawsuit in an interview with DAILY INDEPENDENT, George said “I have asked my lawyers to take him (Pearse) to court for defamation. I don’t want to comment about him because he is an infra dig”.

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“If I tell you about his character, he will be ashamed to leave his house. When we get to court, he will come and repeat what he said about me and who fired the gunshot. It was an insulting statement by him to make about me and I have sued him for N500m”.

However, speaking with our correspondent, Pearse who confirmed the receipt of the letter from Chief George’s lawyer said he will never apologise as he never accused Chief George of being responsible for the gunshots that brought the congress to an abrupt end.

“The third week in October, he sent me the letter from his lawyer that if I did not apologise for accusing him of truncating the election, he will take me to court and I will pay N500m. I replied and I told him that rather than apologies, let me tell you how you messed up”.

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“He thinks I said he was the one that ordered the shooting. I never said so. All I’m saying is what happened at Tafawa Balewa Square should be looked into”.

“On the day of the congress, I came in about 12:30 pm. All the delegates were there from across the state lined up peacefully under their tents in order of their local governments. By 2 pm, Senator Biodun Olujimi had started accreditation. By 3 pm, they had accredited every local government and voting started right away alphabetically”.

“When voting started, all of a sudden, Bode George went to Olujimi, who is the Secretary of the congress and said she should cancel the election. The woman said ‘no, I can’t do that. He now threatened that ‘if you don’t cancel the congress, you will see’ and he walked away”.

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“ As he walked away, we started hearing gunshots. When the delegates started hearing gunshots, they ran away and that was the end of the congress. That was exactly what I said. I never said he ordered the shooting”.

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