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2019: Between Atiku And Buhari (II)

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Being the concluding part published last Wednesday
Section 131(d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, qualifies any Nigerian for election to the office of the President, if he/she has been educated up to at least school certificate level, or its equivalent.
School certificate implies Ordinary Level. This therefore renders anyone that has attained or acquired education leading to a certification by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) or its equivalent eligible to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
With Buhari’s military experience, the term, “or its equivalent” exonerated him, according to the argument of those who declared him qualified, based on his military trainings that saw him rise up to the rank of a General.
But the snag in all of these is the various razzmatazz associated with the entire certificate saga, both in 2015 and recently, up to the point at which the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) handed him an attestation.
When the Buhari’s certificate issue started initially, the explanation was that the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, now known as Cambridge Assessment had the certificate, it later became that the military was in possession of it, and finally the WAEC attestation.
The question that readily comes to mind is why somebody of the President’s caliber found it difficult to state categorically, and hence resolve the mystery surrounding his certificate as soon as it came up? Who leaves originals of a certificate with any institution? Does this not amount to dishonesty, and hence corruption of sort?
Again, following the APC primaries in Imo State ahead of the 2019 Governorship election, the Governor of the State, Rochas Okorocha, has openly accused the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of haven received a bribe of #400,000,000.00 million to make his (Okorocha’s) son-in-law as the party’s gubernatorial candidate, but failed to do so.
For all the attention it attracted, the issue was not considered to be significant to the Presidency.
This leads to the second key question, which is that given the fore-going, who between the two key contestants for the 2019 Presidency, in the fold of Atiku and Buhari possess the most testable credentials to lead Nigeria out of the abyss it currently is?
For very empirical reasons, the pendulum strikes towards Atiku. The reasons are numerous. For one, both Atiku and Buhari are Fulanies, understandably being the tribe fingered to produce the President, but Atiku is closest to all sections of the country, if for nothing else, through his businesses which are across the country. He therefore not only mixes freely, but also understands and appreciates the multi-ethnic nature of the country.
Another advantage Atiku has, going by the standard set in 2015, is that any government unable to better the lives of the populace in its first tenure should not be given a second chance. Nigerians believe that it is for the same reason Goodluck Jonathan was voted out in 2015. So, why should the goal post be adjusted to suit some persons?
Consequently, if the Buhari-led Federal Government has made life more unbearable than it was in 2015, after promising to make it easier for the populace from three months of coming on board, another person should rightly be tested. Atiku is only fortunate to be the best contender, in the same way Buhari was in 2015.
Again, even as Atiku has been unjustly painted to be “so corrupt”, he has never been found guilty. Many express the belief that putting the country in his hand could be the best thing that could happen to Nigeria. This, they say, is because with such corruption toga unjustly placed on him, he is more likely to do everything possible to disprove his accusers by turning the tide for a better Nigeria, especially with his business acumen and contacts as an international businessman.
The reasoning is that if Atiku can be so successful in business across the country and abroad, he is in a better position to apply the same dexterity and principles that earned him success in business in building Nigeria’s chequered economy.
There is also the esoteric belief acceptance of the “Atiku personality”, unarguably based on the belief that he is an achiever. This explains why even when they know him the way they say they do, those who want to succeed in politics still want him on their side. The only time they relate him with any negative toga is when he refuses to work with them.
On the other hand, if Atiku also fails to make any reasonable difference in the lives of the people, Nigerians still have the opportunity to remove him after four years, that is if the leaders will continue to be comfortable with a leader doing whatever he likes under the protection of the immunity clause, and he cannot be removed before his tenure expires.
The important thing is that it will be morally very wrong and suicidal to let a leader who has proven to have nothing better to offer the citizenry order than complains over the previous government, and words of deceit, to the point of telling Nigerians that the Government spends as much as #3.5 million to feed a prisoner, who is an acclaimed terrorist, in a month, when a worker who makes sacrifice for the growth of the country is paid #18, 000. 00 per month.
If for nothing else, it will begin to instill a feeling of true democracy in the polity: that the citizenry can after all still remove from power a leader who proves to be unsatisfactory in governance. Unless this is not the essence of democracy.

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CROSIEC Deploys About 8,000 Personnel For LG Elections

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Ahead of the next Saturday’s rescheduled Local Government elections in Cross River, about 8000 personnel are said to have been deployed across the state to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.
The Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr. Mike Ushie, who disclosed this in Calabar while
speaking on preparations by the commission, said they are ready for the elections and one hundred percent compliant with post COVID-19
elections guidelines recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the National Centre for Diseases
Control.
He said: “Eight thousand personnel have been mobilised to cover the two thousand, two hundred and twenty-six polling units in the state.
There will be three personnel per pooling unit, five at the accreditation centres, five at the local government and ward coalition centres.
“Accreditation and voting will take place simultaneously and  in line with INEC guidelines, there will be two levels of queuing  and voters
will vote in batches while maintaining social distance.
“We had to make sure that we are on course and lives are protected. Luckily INEC released the procedure for post COVID-19 elections and I
must say that we are in full compliance with it. INEC said we have to provide hand sanitizers, face masks and we have adopted all the
procedures one hundred percent.
“ We have gone beyond INEC  and have gone ahead to procure hand sanitizers, hand washing containers, a good number of face masks  and
we are working seriously to ensure that the right thing is done”, he said.
He added that the commission has given sufficient notice for the elections and confirmed that five political parties will be participating in Saturday’s elections.
From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar.
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Ambassador Desmond Akawor Inaugurated As New Rivers State PDP Chairman

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The new Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Executive Council has been inaugurated in Port Harcourt.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly,  Mr Ikuinyi Ibani administered the oath of office on the new executives led by Ambassador Desmond Akawor.
In a charge, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike called on the new executives to work towards consolidating the gains of the immediate past Executive led by Bro Felix Obuah.
He commended immediate past Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah for leading to victory .
He said: “We had challenges at the beginning, but that Executive was committed to service. Obuah has shown capacity to deliver.  It will not be easy for the new executives, but the new executives must start to prepare the party for the challenges ahead.
“Work hard to surpass the records of the past executives.  Working together is key, unity is key.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government will never condone criminality or any attempt to violate the law.
He said: “But for the steps that , the number of cases would have been more. What makes a leader is the ability  to be firm. I value life more than property.
“Since 2015, we have not demolished any property.  But, someone who was SSG superintended over the demolition of several properties.  Now the person is talking about the draconian process.
“My joy is that majority of Rivers people love what we are doing.”
Governor Wike added that from Information from the State Health Commissioner,  the State is likely to have more cases,  mostly oil workers.
National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus congratulated the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee,  advising them to work for the growth of the party.
Commenting on the fight against coronavirus,  Uche Secondus blasted the Federal Government for refusing to assist State Governments and provide direction for the country.
He said: “The Governors are working without help from the Federal Government.  But for God, the situation would have been worse.
“Governors are running from pillar to post. We must be grateful to Governor Wike for the initiative that he took. What the Governor has done has helped to drastically reduce the number of cases.
“Rivers State is lucky to have Governor Wike at this time of crisis .”
He said those who spread negative propaganda do so out of hatred.
New Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Ambassador Desmond Akawor thanked ththe leadership and members of the party for giving him the opportunity to serve.
He said God has used Governor Wike to rebuild a new Rivers State.  He saluted the resilience of PDP in weathering the storm.
Akawor assured that the new Executive will serve the party diligently.
Immediate Past PDP State Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah said that the Executive Committee under his leadership led the party to victory  since 2015.
He said that the outgone Executives will continue to work for the party  to ensure future victory.
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Bode George Urges FG To Relax Lagos Lockdown

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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.

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