The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will today, show Nigerians that he means business to overturn the verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) that confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election, as his lawyers file a 70-point appeal at the Supreme Court, to beat Wednesday’s deadline.
One of Atiku’s lawyers said: “We will file latest on Monday, September 23, and at most, due to any unforeseen reason, by September 24. Bear in mind that the deadline for submission is Wednesday. We won’t file on Wednesday for tactical reasons.”
According to sources, one of the 70 grounds of appeal is that, “the judgement of the PEPT was based on the facts; the judgement was not on the issues presented to the presidential tribunal by the petitioner, especially in relation to the respondent’s academic qualifications.
“Take, for instance, one of the respondent’s witnesses, Major-General Paul Tarfa (rtd) called by President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyers said that they did not give their certificates to the Military Board. Tarfa’s testimony is against the claim by Buhari that the Nigerian military is in possession of his certificates.
“Secondly, Buhari said that he was recruited into the military in 1961, and Tarfa said he was recruited in 1962. So, what is the correct date of his recruitment into the Army? Somebody is not telling the truth.
“The issue in question is who entered the different grades for him from both the Cambridge and the West African School Certificate results. This is the first time that the court will say that the documents are admitted in the interest of justice. So, who entered the different grades for him and if he did it, why?
“One of the grounds of appeal is that the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, brought the Cambridge documents dated July 18 and testified on July 20. The point here is that it was not pleaded, when the respondent replied to the petitions of Atiku. So, speaking as in point of law, you don’t speak on documents not pleaded.
“The WAEC documents contradicted the Cambridge documents. This is a case of forgery, inconsistency in documents.”
The lawyer added, “On the INEC server, the judgement of the PEPT said the INEC server was hacked, and we then asked, which of the servers was hacked?
“The tribunal judgement was based on the Electoral Act Section 52 (1) (B), but this aspect of the law has since been deleted in 2015. It is no longer in existence. This was the case in Wike Vs Peterside.
“If the judgement said INEC server was recklessly hacked, then, there is a server and, therefore, a criminal offence. Yet, INEC did not claim so or that its documents were stolen. How come the judge reached this scandalous decision?
“If Section 52 (1) (B) is no longer in existence, how come the lead judgement came to this decision? It was not based on the documents pleaded. Therefore, how come it was decided so? That means that the judge went on a voyage of discoveries and exploration. Buhari was not accused of forgery. Rather, he was accused of lying, when he said the army was in possession of his documents
“In his form CF001, he presented an affidavit, instead of his certificates. PEPT relied on the CV presented. We are asking, is that supposed to be so? CV is basically to show working experience. No primary school certificate. The judgement was based on inferences. The judge simply inferred.
“We are surprised that the PEPT went the way it did. It is our view that the judges would have gone further to help improve our electoral laws as well as use it to commence the reform of the electoral laws. So, these are some of the issues that form the grounds of the 70 points of appeal at the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, as President Muhammadu Buhari departed Abuja yesterday for New York, USA, to participate in the 74th Session of United Nations general Assembly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has berated him, saying that he has no agenda and did not articulate any definite objectives, plans and proposals to attract tangible benefits to the nation.
It would be recalled that the Presidency had said that Mr President’s participation in this year’s gathering of world leaders was particularly significant as it coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of UNGA.
It equally stressed that Buhari would underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda, following the renewal of his electoral mandate by a majority of Nigerians.
But in its reaction, the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, frowned at Buhari’s departure to USA and charged him to address EU, AU reports on 2019 polls.
The full statement reads, “The party says attending such an important meeting of world leaders and policy makers without a clear-cut national agenda shows that the Buhari Presidency is not committed to our nation but only going out for another showboating on the international platform.
“Is it not lamentable that while other leaders are heading to the meeting with well-articulated national proposals that will boost their nations’ competitiveness on international engagements, the Buhari Presidency is going empty with zero capacity to engage; a clear signal that it will equally return empty?
“The sad effect of such leadership failure is worsened by the acceptability issues trailing the rigging of the February Presidential election, for which the Buhari Presidency is largely lacking in confidence and poise to vigorously engage other world leaders on issues. In over four years of this administration, the Buhari Presidency has not been able to harness opportunities presented by such important events despite huge resources deployed for attendance.
“The PDP painfully recalls how, earlier this month, President Buhari returned empty from the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), at the same time his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Ado, sealed a deal with automobile giant, Toyota, to establish a Toyota and Suzuki manufacturing plant in Ghana.
“Nevertheless, since Mr. President is appearing before the UNGA, the PDP tasks him to use the opportunity to address world leaders on the reports by the European Union (EU), African Union (AU) and other international bodies, detailing heavy manipulations and outright rigging of the 2019 general election to favour him and his party.
“Our party also urges Mr. President to address the world on reported issues of violations of human rights, disregard to the rule of law and constitutional order, disobedience to court orders, arbitrary arrest and detention of citizens, extrajudicial killings, impunity and swelling corruption under his watch.
“The PDP also insists that President Buhari should address the world on the UN Rapporteur’s report as well as issues of violent division, escalated banditry, bloodletting and general insecurity in our dear nation under his woeful administration. In the same vein, the PDP demands that Mr. President addresses the world on how his administration wrecked our once robust economy from a prosperous nation to the world poverty capital in a space of four years.
“The PDP states that these are facts known to all and for which the world is demanding answers from the Buhari Presidency. Our party also urges Mr. President to assert the confidence and courage required to demand for help from other world leaders.”
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari had departed Abuja, yesterday for New York, United States to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74).
The president will arrive the US, today.
The session opened on September 17, with preparations ahead of the arrival of world leaders.
The President’s participation at this year’s gathering of world leaders is particularly significant as it coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of UNGA.
On June 4, 2019, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was unanimously elected as the President of UNGA74 – an indication of the country’s high esteem in global reckoning.
This marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying that prestigious position following late Maj-Gen Joseph Nanven Garba’s election during UNGA44 in 1989.
The theme for UNGA74 is, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion.”
The general debates would kick off tomorrow during which leaders of delegations would present their national statements as well as speak to the theme of the session.
Buhari is scheduled as Number Five Speaker on the first day of the debates – another plus for the country as most world leaders will be listening in the General Assembly Hall while the global audience watches on live television.
The President is expected to underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda following the renewal of his electoral mandate by majority of Nigerians.
He would also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.
While in New York, the Nigerian leader and members of his delegation are expected to participate in the Climate Action Summit with the theme, “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,” convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; the high-level meeting organized by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage with the theme, “Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”; UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; High-Level Dialogue on Financial Development as well as High-Level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
The Nigerian delegation is also expected to participate at the side-events organized by the country’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
These include: SDGs Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budget Gap for the Achievement of SDGs, organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator/CEO, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) in collaboration with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.
Seven European and African countries have confirmed their participation at this event designed to mobilize collective global action against illicit assets and their recovery and return for developmental projects.
Moreover, the meeting would further boost the profile of President Buhari as the African Union anti-corruption Champion.
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is also organising a side-event on Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign for a Clean Nigeria: Sharing Lessons and Key Insights.
This is crucial for Nigeria as donor nations and organisations are willing to support the country’s target to end open defecation by 2025.
The Nigerian leader is also billed to hold bilateral meetings with some leaders of other delegations; chief executive officers of big companies keen to invest in the country; Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates on sustaining the polio-free campaign as well as issues on human capital projects and development.
Before returning to Abuja at the conclusion of his engagements, President Buhari will meet with a select group of top America-based Nigerian businessmen and potential investors.
The President will be accompanied to New York by Governors Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi and Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun.
RSG To Clamp Down On Illegal Private Schools …Approves Amendment Of State’s Education Law ….To Provide Stiffer Penalties, Sanctions On Breach Of Govt Policies On Education
The Rivers State Government has taken concrete steps to check the illegal proliferation of sub-standard private schools, with the consolidation of two extant laws in the state.
Addressing journalists after a State Executive Council meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that the state government would continue to improve the quality of education in the state.
He said: “Council today approved the amendment of the Education Law in the state by consolidating Rivers State Education Law Cap 47, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria (1999) and the Rivers State Education Private Schools Law Cap 48 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria (1999) under one legislation.
“This is to provide for stiffer penalties, sanctions to prevent the breach of government policies on education as contained in the extant laws.
“Council took this decision to check the present situation of indiscriminate proliferation of private schools in the State without compliance with basic requirements with respect to standards, curriculum, content and facilities.
“The overall goal is to ensure the development of quality education in line with the New Rivers Vision of the present administration.”
The council approved the dissolution of the Petroleum Monitoring Task Force in the state.
The State Executive Council advised members of the Public to stop dealing with the dissolved Task Force.
The Rivers State Executive Council warned motorists against indiscriminate parking of vehicles in front of Port Harcourt Mall.
He said henceforth, motorists who park in front of the Port Harcourt Mall would be sanctioned.
The commissioner stated that the Rivers State Executive Council appealed to residents of Port Harcourt to bear with the state government on the ongoing construction of three flyover bridges and other roads.
US To Place Visa Restriction On Nigeria, Six Others …We Won’t React To Speculation -Presidency
The United States President, Donald Trump, is set to add Nigeria and six others to a new list of countries on America’s visa restriction, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
According to the report, Nigerians would not be barred from entering the country but would not be issued with certain types of visas.
The Trump administration plans to roll out its expanded travel restrictions on Monday, marking the three-year anniversary of the initial travel ban Trump signed on his seventh day in office, sparking controversy at the beginning of his term.
Unlike the initial travel ban list of 2017, most of the new countries don’t have majority-Muslim populations.
Several of them, however, have had relatively higher rates of their citizens overstaying visas in the US, according to DHS data.
The report reads in part, “The Trump administration plans to add seven countries to a group of nations subject to travel restrictions, including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, along with others in Africa and Asia, according to administration officials who have seen the list.
“The new restrictions would apply to travellers and immigrants from Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The countries wouldn’t necessarily face blanket bans on travel to the US, but could have restrictions placed on specific types of visas, such as business or visitor visas, administration officials said.”
Nigeria could be on the list because it has a high rate of persons overstaying their visas.
In the 2018 fiscal year, 24 per cent of Eritreans on business or visitor visas overstayed their permits, along with 15 per cent of Nigerians and 12 per cent of people from Sudan.
Those compared with a total overstay rate in the category of 1.9 per cent.
According to WSJ, some countries could be banned from participating in the diversity visa lottery program, which awards green cards to people in countries with low levels of immigration to the US.
Trump has called for an end to that programme, saying it lets undesirable people into the US, and he has proposed reorienting the existing visa system toward skilled workers instead.
Nigeria had already been barred from participating from the lottery programme over six years ago.
The officials said the list isn’t final, and last Tuesday, the White House was still debating whether to include one or two of the countries.
The Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to request for comment.
The State Department declined to comment.
The administration has said its policy restricting travel is necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, as countries on the list don’t adequately vet their travellers to the US.
The first order, which banned travel to the US by most residents of seven majority-Muslim countries, was struck down by a federal court and withdrawn.
Going Too Far…
In his first broadcast to Nigerians after his longest stay away from the country on medical vacation during his first tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari used this expression “going too far…” The issue was that during his absence there were some agitations to rekindle Biafra, restructuring, etc. So, it became necessary to warn such agitators that they were going too far. Nigerians had expected in vain to hear their President say something about his prolonged health vacation and other matters relating to it, but something else was more important.
Perhaps, some well-meaning Nigerians may not be going too far in drawing the attention of the Federal Government to certain issues that should be of concern to a responsible leadership. Two of such issues were raised in The Tide newspaper, Wednesday, January 8, 2020, namely: “Nigeria Now Fulani Republic” (Page 6) and “You Are Fanning Embers of Civil War, Kuka Tells FG” (Page 7).
Alaigbo Development Forum (ADF) condemned the recent Federal Government’s Visa Free Policy for Africans. Chairman, Central Planning Committee of ADF, Dr. Onyi Gbiyie, called for thorough examination of an alleged January 13, 2018 call by National Movement of Fulani in Nigeria, “for all Fulani in Africa to prepare, get armed and come over to Nigeria for an immediate and inevitable Jihad 9war) ,“ Has this a connection with the Visa Free Policy for Africans?
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kuka, was quoted as saying that “The Federal Government is using different methods to achieve the same goal of Islamic dominance…” He went on to say: “if the people in power don’t do enough to integrate Christians, then they give oxygen to Islamism. If they have countries where everybody in power is Muslim, then you give vent to the idea that Islam should be supreme.”
In the Guardian newspaper of August 27, 2009, one Edwin Madunagwu wrote as follows: “if the ruling classes and blocks continue to behave as if Nigeria is their property and Nigerians are their slaves – to exploit as they wish – and if popular – democratic and Pan-Nigerian forces cannot remove them from power, then a fate worse than disintegration will befall us.”
It is a historical fact that religion is often co-opted and used as an instrument of power hustling and influence peddling. Those who pursue such strategy for political purpose rarely go too far before they encounter bitter challenges. Neither can a peaceful and stable polity come about through subterfuge.
It does not require the crafting of a bill on hate speech to reposition Nigeria or get maximum support of Nigerians. Neither should the settlement of the Fulanis in diaspora take some clever forms that would create some animosity in the country. Those pursuing such projects by subtle means would not go too far before they would encounter oppositions.
Why was it considered expedient to disburse the sum of N100 billion to the Miyetti Allah group by the Federal Government, when Ruga project could not fly? Similarly, why was IPOB considered so dangerous to warrant declaring it a terrorist organisation, while repentant Boko Haram terrorists are being re-cycled into the Nigerian armed forces?
Did the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) go too far by asking “how many Christians are heading any of the security agencies in the country”? Or did a former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, go too far when he raised an alarm about possible moves to Islamise and Fulanise Nigeria? Surely, a man in that position must have some reliable intelligence reports to be able to make such a weighty allegation.
If there is anything going too far in Nigeria, it is the joke in some quarters that Nigerians have become so gullible, malleable and docile that they can be recolonised. It is true that the military laid the foundation during several years of intervention in politics, but it would be false to assume that a state of docility can remain so indefinitely. One may not be going too far to ask if the nation’s armed forces are truly neutral, nationalistic and democratic in temperament! Also include the security apparatus.
To go too far is to do things in excess and cross the line of decency with impunity. Political chicaneries and religious zealotry can be taken too far when compulsion rather than conviction becomes a means of winning the minds of people.
Even the Holy Quran stresses this issue of a free volition, saying: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks.”
The origin of the “Arab Spring” began with the use of compulsion and intimidation to win popular acceptance. It was a proof of the truth that taking the docility of the masses too far and the use of the instrument of intimidation, can be counter- productive. There come a time when the merchants of power can run short of ideas and when prevailing tools of coercion can no longer perform magic. It is usually then that the deficiencies and hidden agenda of power holders can come to light. Things would fall apart!
The issue of one group taking an undue advantage of another group considered as weak, docile or conquered, can create instability in society. Be it in economic, political, religious or a combination of many forms, domination is a factor that raises tension. It is quite worrisome that the issue of resource control in Nigeria is not being seen as the basis of social justice. The use of “gun-boat diplomacy” of which the Ken Saro-Wiwa saga is a reminder, would not always be a winning streak.
A highly placed elder statesman said that the treatment given to Niger Delta people should not be taken too far. Those who lead others should go far enough to feel the pulse of the mases.
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