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.
Poor Performance: Wike Threatens To Sack Task Force On Street Trading …Pledges Support For Indigenes Who Invest In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that if the productivity of the Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks continues to decline, he would dissolve the task force.
Addressing members of the task force at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday evening, Wike regretted that the operatives have compromised in some locations, negatively affecting their performance.
He said that the task force through reduced performance has allowed street traders to return to Mile One, Air Force Junction, Rumuokoro and Agip areas of the state capital.
He, however, praised the team operating in Garrison.
He said: “If the productivity of the task force continues to go down by tomorrow, I will dissolve the task force. We will not tolerate a situation where the progress we have made is reversed”.
Wike warned the operatives of the Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks against acts of extortion, saying that they must focus on their official responsibility.
He said: “All acts of extortion must stop forthwith. Any operative found wanting in this regard will be sanctioned. There is no reason why you should receive bribes from defaulters”.
The governor said that leaders of non-performing zones must rise up and work hard to ensure that the streets are free from illegal traders and motor parks.
He warned members of the public against physically assaulting operatives of the task force.
The governor noted that going forward; the state government would take measures to protect the operatives from criminal elements.
“From now on, we will change our strategy. We are going to activate communication outlets for immediate response whenever criminal elements attack the operatives. Security operatives will be on ground for rescue operations when the need arises.
“We must show that we are ready to protect the operatives at all times. We are determined to clean up our streets, stop illegal trading and improve all round security”, he said.
Wike said that the task force started excellently, noting that they should not allow themselves to end badly.
He said that if this set fails, they would be shown the way out, and wondered why operatives would be complaining about their monthly allowances when they earn more than some civil servants.
Wike urged them to see their appointments as a privilege to serve the state and build their future.
The governor said it was the same way that some members of the State Executive Council complained that they were not getting anything from the administration, but they are now lobbying extensively to return to government.
He informed that an additional 200 operatives would have their biometrics captured, today, to strengthen the capacity of the task force.
Wike said that his commitment to return Port Harcourt to its Garden City status would not be compromised on any account, and reiterated that Rivers interest was his priority.
Meanwhile, he Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has assured that he would continue to support those who invest in the state with a view to strengthening the economy for the good of Rivers people.
Commissioning Vino Emporium in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Wike said that Rivers indigenes who invest in the state were true lovers of the state and people.
The governor said: “I am here to support Dr Abiye Sekibo for this investment. It gives me pleasure anytime Rivers people invest in the state. These investments generate employment for our people.
“He has supported the economy of the state, instead of standing aloof to de-market the state like others do”.
He explained that Rivers people need to continue investing in the state because even after his constitutionally approved second term, the state will remain constant.
“After my second term, another person will become governor. Rivers State is constant and that is the reason why it should not be de-marketed by any Rivers son or daughter”, he said.
The governor called on Rivers people to patronise the new recreational facility, for it to stabilise and grow.
In his remarks, Imo State Governor, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha said his visit to the facility was symbolic as it would cement the relationship between Rivers and Imo states.
He said that his victory during the election was made possible because Wike rescued the PDP and created a platform for Imo people to vote the party into power.
In his response, the Chairman of Vino Emporium, Dr Abiye Sekibo said that he decided to set up the facility because of the “Invest in Rivers” campaign of the governor.
Sekibo said that the facility was the first of its kind in the state.
He said wines in the facility were carefully selected to serve the good people of Rivers State.
The commissioning programme attracted notable personalities from across the country.
FG Vows To Review Broadcasting Code …Explains Why Govt Is Breaking Monopoly In Sector
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says no amount of attacks, sponsored or otherwise, will stop the implementation of approved recommendations on reform of broadcasting code.
The minister stated this, yesterday, at a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos.
“Let me be straight: No amount of attacks sponsored or otherwise, will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations.
“Only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our broadcast industry.
“Only those who are guilty should be afraid of the efforts to sanitize the broadcast industry. Responsible broadcasters have nothing to fear.
“This is not a move to stifle free speech or gag anyone. But purveyors of fake news and hate speech should not expect to sleep easy,” he said.
The minister had on October 10 announced President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the review of National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of broadcasting regulations.
Mohammed, who inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Reform Implementation Committee, added that the President also endorsed the implementation of reforms to end monopoly in the sector.
The minister, however, noted that since the inauguration of the committee, there have been attacks, many of them sponsored, from some quarters.
“As I speak, plans are ongoing to launch more coordinated attacks, with a view to truncating the implementation of the approved recommendations,” he said.
He stressed that no responsible government would sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to rule the airwaves.
The minister stressed that fake news and hate speech have the capacity to exploit the national fault lines and trigger a national conflagration.
He reiterated that the Federal Government would continue to evolve ways to tackle the menace.
The minister recalled that he launched the National Campaign Against Fake News in July, 2018, in Abuja.
“While the national campaign has succeeded in putting the issue of fake news and hate speech on the front burner of national discourse, the menace has yet to go away.
“Let me be clear: we didn’t think the issue will suddenly disappear, but we also didn’t think it will get worse, which is what it is now.
“In fact, it remains a clear and imminent danger to the polity. It is in this light that we are once again asking you to join us in pushing this campaign,” he said.
The minister enjoined the Online Publishers, to lead the campaign against fake news and hate speech, which he tagged as “the Siamese twins of evil”.
“Gentleman, we expect you to remain in the vanguard of the efforts to tackle fake news and hate speech.
“We expect you to educate our people on the efforts being made, especially by the government, in this regard.
“This administration has no intention of muzzling the media or stifling free speech.
“Our campaign is against fake news and hate speech. And we will not rest until our media space has been rid of fake news and hate speech,” he said.
The President had underscored the need to inject sanity into the nation’s broadcast industry, following the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the last general elections.
Highlights of the terms of reference of the reform implementation committee inaugurated by the minister included upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5million for breaches relating to hate speeches, inciting comments and indecency
“Wilful repeat of infractions on three occasions after levying fine on a station to attract suspension of license
“Upgrade of breach of political comments relating to hate speeches and divisive comments to “Class A” offence in the Broadcasting Code.”
The committee is also saddled with the responsibility of amending the NBC Act to enable NBC license WebTv and radio stations, among others.
The minister also said that the Federal Government was determined to end all forms of monopoly in broadcasting because it is detrimental to the actualization of the immense potential in the industry.
The minister stated this on Sunday at a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos.
Mohammed recalled that he, on October 10, inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Reform Implementation Committee to, among others, implement reforms to end monopoly in the sector.
The committee was also mandated to implement the review of National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of broadcasting regulations as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable.
“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity.
“The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.
The minister added: “Of course, the broadcast industry has also been liberalised. But any vestige of monopoly is antithetical to the liberalisation of the broadcast industry and must be dismantled.
“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices.
“You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access.
“Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out.
With the implementation of the committee’s mandate, television viewers, especially lovers of sports may witness an end to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the live airing of high-profile sporting events.
High-profile sporting events, especially for well-loved sports, particularly soccer, are currently only available to subscribers of DSTV.
World Post Day: A Reflection
October 9 was observed globally as World Post Day. Although the occasion is past, it is necessary to say a few things about the experience of the older generations of Nigerians with postal services. There was a golden era of the popular P&T, humourously called “Palavar and Trouble, even though its services had to do with posts and telegraphy. Those who know what was to do business with P &T, coined the term befitting its operations as well as an appropriate term depicting the behaviour of its staff.
To say that someone is making “Post Office face” is depictive of rudeness and snobbery. Such work habit has been responsible for putting a number of people out of the labour market and kept some women single in old age. When a business organization alleviates its customers, it loses their patronage and sympathy. Old P & T was notorious for high-handedness, arrogance and snobbery towards its customers.
Perhaps, the change of its name to NIPOST was meant to launder its corporate image. Did it work?
By the time Nigeria became independent, P & T occupied an exalted and powerful position in the nation’s economy. What was known as P & T Quarters could be likened to Aso Rock in the olden days. There were three most exalted government establishments anyone would work, namely: P & T, Nigeria Ports Authority and the Nigeria Railways. The era of oil boom had not come.
The prestige of these establishments was such that the Ports Authority and Railways had separate police units and quarters, and the P&T was the harbinger of sneaky spying into postal documents and telecommunications. Today, the story is quite different from what the past was. The decline in the Railways began with its chief executive having more official cars than any other senior civil servant in Nigeria. His reply when confronted officially was that: “I love cars”. So, let it be with Dr Ikejiani!
Those who know about P&T training school in Oshodi in the first six years after Nigeria became independent, would testify that it was a beehive of activities, responsible for manpower up building. Communication experts in the armed and security forces had some forms of training there. Things began to change after 1966 and rather than talk about P & T and its roles in posted and telegraphic services in Nigeria, what we hear of today are internet and electronic communications.
Morse code is now an out-dated technology!
Of more relevance to the Nigeria public with regards to the obsolescence of the old wonders of the post and telegraphic service, is the issue of attitude of service providers. Yes, stamp and stamp duty remain relevant in business transactions and revenue generation. Even stamp collection was a creative hobby for youths in the past, but today, it is possible that some secondary school students may not have seen various stamps. Those who transact business and enter into agreements rarely know what role stamp should play.
What used to be known as cablegram in the past would sound like Greek to some Nigerians now. But modern telecommunications technology has made it possible for anyone to talk to other people anywhere on earth, and even see their faces as you discuss. When P&T was responsible for the installation of telephones, it was possible to wait for over 24 months before a subscriber could have a telephone in his home. Phone was a symbol of status.
Far more instructive is the fact that a communications military macho-man who later became a popular senator, once told Nigerians that telephone was not meant for everybody. Now we see children of the agbero-class of Nigerians make use of cell phones every day.
Workers in Nigerian postal services were readily associated with lukewarm attitude, coupled with arrogance and snobbery. For a public servant to be lackadaisical can be a disservice to an establishment. “Post-office face” phenomenon is not confined to workers in the postal services, but it is a serious attitudinal aberration quite common in public establishments. Neither are female workers alone in the exhibition of Irritating snobbishness.
One such snobbish university administrative officer learnt a bitter lesson when he was jolted by the discovery that the person talking to him was a professor on accreditation mission. Of more value is the fact that snobbish people miss opportunities that can come with being nice to strangers.
People exhibit and expose the quality and nature of their up bringing through the way they relate with others. Thus, the attitude of antagonism, confrontation and snobbery would draw similar reactions from those we meet daily. But it pays better to be polite, courteous and humble.
It cannot be said that the attitude of brashness and lack of courtesy among people can be attributed to current economic conditions. Neither is such behavioural pattern peculiar to any particular class of people or sex. What is worrisome is that lack of courtesy is becoming increasingly pervasive among Nigerians. Does military rule have anything to do with braggadocio and coarseness among Nigerian citizens? Maybe!
The history of postal services in Nigeria is quite an instructive one. We are reminded that we live in a world where change is a constant factor. Those pretty and handsome ones who made “post-office face” in the past must be quite old now, with wrinkled faces. As we think of the World Post Day, let us also remember that we can price ourselves out of market when we make too much “shakara” in our relationships with others. Politicians who forget that change is a constant factor in life should think of a Haitian idiom that those who live in the air cannot rest their feet on the ground. Good lessons from P&T!
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