The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari would not withdraw the names of some embattled nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, based on “social media trials”.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to journalists shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He also urged Nigerians to allow the process to take its course, including the imminent screening of the REC nominees by the National Assembly.
The Tide source had reported that Buhari, on July 26, sent the names of 19 INEC REC nominees to the Senate to be confirmed.
Of the 19, five were re-appointed for a second five-year term while 14 others were new appointees.
However, Buhari has come under fire from Nigerians for nominating some individuals believed to be card-carrying members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations noted that the nominee from Sokoto State, Northwestern Nigeria was an APC governorship aspirant in 2015 while another nominee for Enugu State is allegedly a younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, Emma Eneukwu.
Similarly, the CSOs alleged that the nominee for Imo State, Mrs Pauline Ugochi, who is a former Head of ICT at INEC in Imo is known for conniving with politicians to undermine elections while the nominee for Ebonyi State, Mrs Queen Agwu, was suspended on allegations of incompetence and corruption in 2016.
The CSOs called for their immediate removal from the list, premising their argument on Section 14(2a) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which states that “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity,’ and Section 14(3b) of the same Schedule which states that, “there shall be for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner, who shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party.”
But fielding questions on the issue on Wednesday, Mohammed said, “As to the nominees that are being challenged by social media warriors and by some critics, I don’t think it is the business of the President to immediately throw out the nominee based on allegations which have not been proven.
“I think the whole idea is that these people will go for confirmation in the National Assembly, the same questions that are being raised in the public domain will be asked there’’.
“I think this media trial is quite worrisome. Because even when these people are cleared of any wrongdoings, nobody comes back to apologise to them. So, my advice is, yes, there’ll be allegations against anybody. It does not mean that that fellow is guilty. Let’s wait for the process to be completed.”
Obi: You Can’t Speak For Afenifere, Tinubu Campaign Slams Adebanjo
The All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council has slammed Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo for attempting to turn the pan-Yoruba sociocultural association into his personal estate and using same to canvass support for the Labour Party LP presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Mr Bayo Onanuga in a statement on Saturday titled “Our Reaction to Baba Ayo Adebanjo and his new Ohanifere Venture”, said “Papa Adebanjo does not speak for Afenifere”.
According to the council, Pa Adebanjo is free as an individual to support anyone he likes, in furtherance of his democratic rights.
“We know for a fact that Baba has turned Afenifere into his personal estate as Acting Leader. We are also certain that there was nowhere Afenifere, as we know it, met and took a decision to adopt Mr. Peter Obi as a candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“We respect the age of Baba Adebanjo but he can not turn Afenifere into his personal franchise for any political alliance.
“We are very much aware that Baba Reuben Fasoranti, the real leader of Afenifere had stated clearly that Pa Adebanjo has always been speaking for himself on many national issues using the name of the group.
“It is our well considered position that Pa Adebanjo cannot appropriate Afenifere. Baba is just an individual who is free to support any politician of his choice. As an individual, he cannot equate himself with the socio-cultural and socio-political organisation”, the council stated.
2023 Polls: IPC Begins Training Of Media Monitors
The International Press Council (IPC), last Friday began the training of 12 Media monitors in Lagos to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reportage of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections by the print and online media.
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media management should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process.”
The two-day training , the first day of which was facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aimed to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
“Against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.
2023: ‘Same-Faith Ticket, Blunder Laced With Hidden Agenda’
The Christian Awareness Initiative of Nigeria, CAIN, last Saturday night, said no amount of blackmail would stop a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and an erstwhile Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, from publicly condemning the decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for fielding a same-faith presidential ticket.
The Spokesman of CAIN, Yusuf Kanhu, who said this in a statement he personally signed accused supporters of the APC of hiring mercenaries to tarnish the image of the duo.
Kanhu in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja described the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a “blunder”laced with “hidden agenda”
He explained: “The decision by Nigerian Christians through the umbrella Association to reject the same faith ticket was not against any particular party but advice to all political parties. Sadly the presidential candidate of APC ignored the advice and picked his vice from the same faith.
“The Christian Umbrella body came out in the first place to reject the idea and challenge Christians in APC to tell their party and Candidate to do what is right and good for the unity of the country.
“Hon Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal respected the call of their leaders and proved that they are not going to betray the position of CAN just to satisfy their belle.
“Interestingly, the APC candidate and some of his supporters instead of making an honest effort to convince Christians and especially those Christians in their party about the reason for their action have chosen to recruit faceless people and are creating unknown groups with funny names to castigate the Christian body and the courageous Christians from their party that are telling them the danger and implication of their ill advised decision.
“We wish to inform the APC candidate that blackmail will not stop Dogara, Babachir, and others from telling them the truth.
“Nigerian Christians know the difference between fake Christian groups from genuine groups such as Northern Christians Youth Initiative with her faceless coordinator Hon. Mike Msuaan Msuaan.
“We can go on to name many hungry people who have not attended any church service in the last 10 years but are cashing on the desperation of the APC candidate to show that he has Christians’ support to start none existing Christian groups to enable them to get their share of the cake in circulation.
“The church in Nigeria and especially in the North knows the voices and names of their genuine leaders fighting for justice which is different from the newly born and newly introduced names that are only speaking to get money from their sponsors.
“Sponsoring fake people and groups to insult others will not correct your big blunder and will only make more Christians accept the fact that the decision has a hidden agenda.”
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