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2015 Polls: Nigeria Won’t Divide – Mark

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RESA for Nigeria Eckankar, Ifeatu John Areh pointing to the Guest Speaker and RESA Eckankar, Maine Mike Deluca (right) Regional Seminar Cordinator for Eckankar Nigeira, Vincent Ochonma (2nd right) backstage Manager, Okwun Omeakwu (middle) during ECK Regional Seminar at Temple of ECK Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

RESA for Nigeria Eckankar, Ifeatu John Areh pointing to the Guest Speaker and RESA Eckankar, Maine Mike Deluca (right) Regional Seminar Cordinator for Eckankar Nigeira, Vincent Ochonma (2nd right) backstage Manager, Okwun Omeakwu (middle) during ECK Regional Seminar at Temple of ECK Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

Senate President, David Mark, yesterday assured Nigerians that the nation will not disintegrate after the February general elections contrary to predictions that the aftermath of the poll would determine the continued existence of the country.
Mark, who stated this in his welcome speech on resumption of plenary after the Christmas and New Year holidays, asked his colleagues to see the forthcoming elections as a national challenge by playing a major role to ensure a peaceful exercise.
He said, “Despite the much vaunted fear, apprehension and anxiety that our nation may not survive the elections by some dooms-day prophets, I personally remain optimistic that we have the strength of character, the political will, the perseverance and maturity to rise above all the challenges that lie ahead. We are all leaders and I know that we will work towards peace and harmony. Our nation will not disintegrate after the elections.”
He appealed to politicians and the entire political class, to support the Independent National Electoral Commission in its responsibilities without hindrance in order to achieve free, transparent and credible elections, and urged the INEC to take into account, “the wishes of a large body of internally displaced persons who have expressed their desire to have their votes cast and counted.”
He said, “The electoral season brings an unusual amount of scrutiny. We are in the fevered grip of elections but despite the pregnancy of expectation and the excitement being generated by the elections, we must always stick to the task of delivering democratic dividends to our people. Politicians must desist from provocative and inciting utterances. We may be in different political parties but we are not enemies. We must educate, caution and guide our supporters and followers. Election should be an asset to democracy but where it leads to violence or acrimony, it becomes a liability.
“We must, irrespective of party affiliations, do our best to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections. At the risk of stating the obvious, I would like to emphasize that for us to hold an elective office, there must first be a nation. I urge all my distinguished colleagues to continue to set example for conduct in the public sphere. I am disturbed and saddened by the war songs emanating from many quarters, particularly from highly placed Nigerians who are threatening fire and brimstone. Elections need not dissolve into theatres of war. It is my belief that war mongering will only result in a legacy that we will all regret,” he added.
Mark urged politicians to renew their priorities, listen to one another more attentively and remind themselves, ways that their aspirations and destinies were intertwined as a people.
He said, “The task before us is enormous but not insurmountable. My distinguished bosses, we are equal to it and we will rise to any challenge that lies in our path. It is my belief that together we can make Nigeria great. As we do our best to serve our country, we need to cherish the beauty in our diversity. Rather than dwell on what divides us, let us look continually at what unites us.”
He commended the senators for the stability which the Senate was enjoying in this 7th Assembly, and urged them to continue to work together for the progress of the nation.
Meanwhile, the next House of Representatives would be short of experienced legislators following their inability to secure tickets to return to the Green Chamber.
Speaker of the House, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal made this observation, yesterday in his opening speech when the House resumed from its Christmas recess.
It is perhaps this issue that informed the defection of five legislators to other parties other than those that granted them ticket to the House.
According to him, ”the return rate of many legislators after the party primaries was below expectation. The expertise of those who lost primaries to re-contest the House will be greatly missed.”
He also expressed worry that crucial bills such as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Electoral Act amendment bill and others are still pending.
Tambuwal also announced the defections of Eddie Mbadiwe (Imo) from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the ruling PDP.
The lawmaker cited as his reason the divisions in the party, which he said now have three factions.
The little known Social Democratic Party (SDP) gained three more members, two in Ogun State and one in Taraba.
Both Reps. Murtala Kayode Busari and Ibrahim Adeniyi, formerly of APC and Accord respectively, joined the SDP in Ogun State, just as Rep. Jerry Manwe left the ruling PDP in Taraba for the SDP.
In Niger, the PDP lost Ibrahim Gambo to the opposition APC.

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Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court

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The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.

Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.

The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.

It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.

They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.

According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.

The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.

However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.

Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.

The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.

Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.

He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.

More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.

Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.

The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.

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World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.

The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.

“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.

“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?

“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.

“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.

“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”

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Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation

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Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.

The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.

“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.

Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.

It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.

It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.

“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’

“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.

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