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Group Seeks Electoral Act Amendment To Capture Direct Primaries

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A group, “We The People Forum (WTPF)”, yesterday called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to compel parties to adopt direct primaries in choosing their candidates.
The convener of the group, Mr Nathaniel Okoro made the call in a statement on behalf of the group made available to newsmen in Lagos.
According to the group, it is imperative for parties to adopt direct primaries in electing their candidates for general elections.
It argued that the delegate system was susceptible to corruption and did not guarantee the emergence of popular choices.
“We believe that for sanity to come to our national political firmament, the electoral law must be amended to make it compulsory for candidates for elective offices to emerge through direct primaries.
“The members of a political party must be the ones to choose their candidates through direct primaries.
“Indirect primaries, through delegates, are presently too susceptible to corrupt tendencies,’’ it said.
WTPF also said there was the need for electoral and judicial institutions to be strengthened to build the right capacities for credible elections.
It said that matters arising from Osun State, main and supplementary elections, showed that rigging and vote-buying were widespread.
The group said that similar issues that dominated the Ekiti State elections in 2014 and 2018 must not be allowed to become the template for elections in Nigeria.
In enhancing the credibility of elections, the group urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do more in educating the citizenry about the electoral law.
It also suggested that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should do more to complement the efforts of INEC on voter education.
The group advised security agencies to play their expected roles in ensuring credible elections, adding that they should desist from acts capable of constricting participation.
On the gale of defections in the country, Okoro blamed the development on selfish interests of politicians and lack of ideology in political parties.
He called for the enactment and implementation of the relevant laws to check the practice.
“The Constitution must be amended so that anyone who defects from the party on which platform he won an election to become a political office holder to another party must relinquish his seat and another election must be called in the shortest possible time.
“If the defecting person retains the position in the new election, he is to complete his tenure with the new mandate.
“But in the event that another person wins, the new person is to receive a new tenure of four years.
“This, we believe is the only way to rein the political brigandage savaging the polity through the loop hole in the 1999 Constitution,” it said.
The group appealed to Nigerians to see the 2019 elections as a national project and urged citizens to play their parts to make it a success.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments

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President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari

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Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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