The running mate to late Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare him governor- elect.
James Faleke, in a November 26 letter to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, insisted that under Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution, he was duly elected as deputy governor of Kogi State.
While expressing sadness over the demise of his principal, Abubakar Audu, the deputy governorship candidate said INEC had no right under the law to declare the election inconclusive.
He accused INEC of deliberately creating what he called “legal conundrum” and urged the APC not to be a party to the action.
“In law and logic, no new candidate can inherit or be a beneficiary of the votes already cast, counted and declared by INEC before that candidate was nominated and purportedly sponsored,” Mr. Faleke wrote through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun.
“Assuming without conceding that INEC is even right to order a supplementary election, the votes already cast, counted and declared on Saturday, 25th November 2015, were votes for the joint constitutional ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu and our client.
“Therefore, no new or ‘supplementary’ candidate can hijack, aggregate, appropriate or inherit the said votes.”
In another letter to APC Chairman, John Oyegun, Mr. Faleke urged his party to distance itself from the “Greek Gift” being offered to it to nominate a new candidate for a planned supplementary election in 91 polling units.
He said the election had already been won and lost, and that the party should rather support him in actualizing the mandate already given to APC and its candidates.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday called on INEC to declare its candidate in the November 21 Governorship election in Kogi , Mr . Idris Wada, the winner of the election. The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the party’s National Caucus emergency meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday.
INEC had declared the November 21 election inconclusive following cancellation of election in 91 polling units. Metuh said that the PDP caucus thoroughly considered the development arising from the November 21 governorship election , following the death of the All Progressive Congress (APC), candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Audu.
He said that PDP had resolved that with the death of Audu, on November 22, APC had ‘legally crashed out’ of the governorship race in accordance with Section 33 of the Electoral Act. Metuh said that APC lost out of the race as no known law or constitutional provision allowed the substitution of candidates, once the ballot process had commenced.
“We are not trying to take advantage of Audu’s death. Nigerians will bear us witness that PDP observes respect to the person and image of late Audu, but this is the law of our land’’. Metuh said that PDP completely rejected INEC decision on the directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) , Malam Abubakar Malami, to allow APC substitute its candidate in the middle of an election.
“The PDP insists that with the unfortunate death of Audu, the APC has no valid candidate in the election. ‘’This leaves INEC with no other lawful option than to declare the PDP candidate, Wada, as the winner of the election.’’ He said that if APC was allowed to substitute its original candidate, then, the party would have fielded two separate candidates in the same election.
“This is a scenario that is completely alien to our electoral laws and to any known democratic norm and practice world-over.’’ Metuh said that if after voting in the Saturday’s election, Audu said he was no longer interested in the election, would INEC have told APC to change its candidate?
“There is no difference between the death and withdrawal of a candidate in our laws. Laws never separated it. This situation can be termed as withdrawal. ”If Audu had withdrawn on Saturday, election would have continued and Wada would have been declared the winner’’.
Metuh said that caucus observed that INEC under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had lost the confidence of Nigerians. He also restated the party’s demand for the immediate resignation of Malami, INEC chairman and all its national commissioners. The PDP image maker added that in order to save the nation’s democracy from imminent collapse, the PDP would immediately challenge the unlawful and unconstitutional decision of INEC in the court of law.
“We are confident that judiciary will restore the proper tenets of our democracy and that this matter will be settled before Dec. 5. ”APC cannot participate in Dec. 5 election because the time has elapsed for the party to substitute its candidate’’. Metuh who stressed that the PDP had not in any way accused APC of killing Audu, however questioned the rationale of AGF INEC and APC decision on the issue.
“They are creating a scenario where a loser in a primaries will patiently wait for the winning candidate to finish election and have him either poisoned or assassinated before the final collation of results.’’
In another development, leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC), in Kogi East Senatorial District have nominated Mr Mohammed, 43, first son of Late Prince Abubakar Audu, to replace him as the party’ s governorship candidate.Leaders, stakeholders and delegates who made this known in Lokoja on Thursday after a marathon meeting, said they arrived at the decision after due consultations .
Their spokesman, Mr Daniel Isah, the Vice Chairman of APC in Kogi East, said they have resolved and are determined to back Mohammed to replace his father if the National Working Committee orders fresh primaries.
Isah thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission and the national leadership of the party for the opportunity given to them to find a replacement for Audu who died on Nov. 23 at Ogbonicha, Ofu Local Government.
He appealed to the national leadership of the party to give their decision utmost consideration and approval in the overall interest of the party and the state.
Present at the meeting were Alhaji Lincho Ocheje, Hon. Hassan Omale, Hon. Benjamin Ikhani, and Sen. Emmanuel Dangana, among others.
Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.
FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer
The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.
Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media
The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.
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