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2023: Nat’l Peace C’ttee Decries Actions Of Political Actors

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The National Peace Committee has expressed concern over what it called “the deterioration in the communication of fundamental issues among the politicians since the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, lifted the ban on political campaigns on September 28th, 2022. “
The committee in a statement, tagged:”Towards Peaceful Election Campaigns”, released Monday evening, said its members have watched with utter sadness and deep concern, the actions of candidates and political parties since suspension on campaigns was lifted by INEC.
In  the statement signed by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah and General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Converner and Chairman, National Peace Committee, respectively, the committee regretted that despite committing themselves to upholding peace before, during and after the general elections, by signing its initiated peace accord, candidates and their political parties have not kept to their tenets of the peace accord.
It reminded them that Nigerians expected that as men and women of honour, they were committed to keeping their words.
According to the committee,” The political actors cannot pretend to be oblivious of the content of the Peace Accord that they signed.”
The statement read in full:” The Members of the National Peace Committee, NPC, have watched with utter sadness and deep concern, the deterioration in the communication of fundamental issues among the politicians since the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, lifted the ban on political campaigns on September 28th, 2022.
“A day after the ban was lifted and in response to a call by the NPC, the Presidential Candidates and their running mates met and participated in the signing of the Peace Accord at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
“Since its successful outing preceding the 2015 Presidential Elections, the signing of the Peace Accord has become embedded in our electioneering campaigns.
“ Over the years, the event has elevated the level of trust and confidence among ordinary Nigerians in the Democratic process. Some have even called for the institutionalisation of the process into our democratic process due to its moral significance.
“The NPC has continued to maintain its partnership with the INEC to deliver peaceful elections in our country. The international community has taken very keen interest in the development and progress of our country on the path of democracy.
“ For this reason, the NPC has continued to work with and receive high level delegations from Europe and the United States of America interested our elections. Their passion, concerns and commitment in our democracy are genuine and we find this very encouraging. We should therefore know that the world is watching us.
“We appreciate the fact that the President and Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari in collaboration with the National Assembly have shown their commitment to ensuring the successful elections.
“ On our part, we, the members of the Peace Committee, are also encouraged by the progress and innovation that INEC has continued to make under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
“All Nigerians can testify to this development by the successes recorded in the peaceful conduct of the off-cycle elections in Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. We are not where we want to be yet, but we are right to assume that we can do more.
“Nigerians are genuinely concerned, troubled and disappointed by the conduct and attitude of some of the political actors in the last few weeks.
“ Nigerians have been fed a menu of intemperate language, intimidation and outright violence in the field of the campaigns.
“It is evident that some of our actors have not learnt any lessons from the past. There is an increasing tone of desperation, if not incitement, among some of the contestants and members of their parties.
“ Intra and inter party wranglings still persist, with occasions of violence. In desperation, some selfish political actors use these strategies to pursue their frivolous ambitions in the courts.
“When all the Presidential candidates and the Party Chairmen signed the Peace Accord, they were committed to infusing a sense of decency, civility and nobility in the political process.
“The political actors cannot pretend to be oblivious of the content of the Peace Accord that they signed. Nigerians expect that as men and women of honour, they were committed to keeping their words.
“The Security agencies have continued to do their best as they monitor security developments across the country. We continue to encourage them to ensure that the right environment is created for, peaceful elections. During the signing of the Peace Accord, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Baba Usman called attention to the fact that the federal government does not recognize any of the many security outfits that have mushroomed across the country. We call on the law enforcement agencies to enforce the law with the understanding that everyone will be held accountable for their actions, no matter their status.
“ We wish to call on the Media to remain focused in managing information. The social media is with us and it can be a tool for good if only we decide to use it for peaceful purposes. Citizens must be more discreet in the kind of information that they circulate on various platforms. Individuals must take responsibility for what they read. We encourage the Youth to be more restrained and to use their numbers well so as to guard their future.
“We call on all the candidates to rein in their Spokespersons and those who claim to represent them and their parties in the public media. All candidates will be held responsible for what is said on their behalf or of their party. Aggressive and abusive language only diminishes the integrity of the individuals, their candidates and their parties. Nigerians should be ready to punish instigators of violence by isolating them or their candidates.
“We call on the federal and state governments to ensure a level playing field for all parties in the course of the campaigns. Access to federal or state facilities must be open to all candidates as long as they meet their financial and other commitments to using the facilities. It is morally wrong to abuse the power of incumbency by subverting the efforts of those who are in opposition to the status quo. Parties and citizens do not lose their rights because they are opposed to the party in power. All citizens are above political parties.
“Finally, we call on fellow citizens to appreciate the global trends around the world and Africa and their impact on the future where resources are becoming scarce. Nigerians must appreciate the huge resources committed to elections and do everything possible to ensure its integrity. May God the creator of Heaven and earth continue to guide our country and hear our prayers for peace, prosperity, and progress.”

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2023: A’ Court Seals Senate President’s Return Bid

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed Bashir Machina as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North Senatorial District.
The court, on Monday, upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State, which held that Senate President, Ahmad Lawan was not the APC’s candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, who presided over a three-man panel, gave the affirmation in an appeal by Lawan, challenging the decision of Justice Fadimatu Aminu of the Federal High Court Damaturu, which had on September 28, 2022, declared Machina as the winner of the primary election organised by the APC in May 2022, while Lawan opted to contest the presidential primary election organised by the APC on June 9.
The Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu had in September ordered the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Machina as Yobe North senatorial candidate of the party.
The presiding judge, Justice Fadima Aminu, nullified the parallel primary election that produced Lawan on June 9, 2022.
The judge also ordered the APC to forward the name of Machina to INEC as the authentic winner of the primary held in May.
“In the final analysis, the conditions for the validity of primary elections were fulfilled in the election of May 28, 2022, which produced the plaintiff. The phantom election of June 9 2022 which produced the second defendant is hereby declared invalid in view of the outline provision of the law of the very primary election.
“Consequently, the plaintiff is hereby declared the validly elected candidate of the first defendant conducted on 28/05/2022 for the 2023 general election.
“The first defendant is hereby ordered to prepare the name and details of the plaintiff to the third defendant as its rightful candidate. This is my decision,” Aminu ruled.
The judgement come weeks after Machina distanced himself from the notice of withdrawal from the race which went viral.
The Tide source had on August 9, 2022, reported that INEC denied recognising Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the APC, respectively.
Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC presidential primary. However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognise them.
Recall that Lawan, Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, had chosen to pick Senate tickets for Yobe North, Ebonyi South and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts respectively, after losing out at the presidential primary of the APC.

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Ekiti Assembly Leadership Change, Rape Of Democracy – Ajulo

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A Constitutional and Human Rights lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has described the impeachment of the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Gboyega Aribisogan, as a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.
Ajulo, in a statement signed by him, also, joined the league of leading legal luminaries in Nigeria to condemn the recent controversies over the leadership of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
He said that “political players in Ekiti State should not allow selfish personal interests that brewed the sad commentary coming from Ekiti State constitute a great disservice to the State’s enviable records and indelible marks of honour to national building and development of the likes of Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana, Dele Adesina, Dayo Akinlaja and other eminent citizens of the State.
Recall that the Ekiti State House of Assembly had on Tuesday, 15th November, conducted an election to choose a new Speaker following the demise of the erstwhile Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, on October 19, 2022.
The election had two members of the Assembly contesting and one Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan won and was duly sworn-in, having polled 15 votes as against the 10 votes of the other contestant, Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.
However, the new Speaker was reportedly impeached and suspended with six others on the 6th day after swearing-in, even before he could start acting in his new role and the candidate who had contested against him, Olubunmi Adelugba, was announced the new Speaker.
Ajulo, who hailed Aare Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and other notable legal professionals from the State following their collective stance on the allegedly controversial change of leadership in the Assembly, also described the event as “a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.”
The legal luminaries from the state, which include Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole, had described the event as “an act of illegality”, adding that the election that produced Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba was “unconstitutional and ridiculous”
They noted that election into the position of the Speaker of House of Assembly dictates that the present occupant of the office must be accorded fair hearing before being removed from the office, saying the alleged suspension and stoppage of the salaries of the Speaker and six other members of the House were misplaced, illegal, illegitimate, null and void.
Ajulo, in the statement, described the position of these foremost lawyers as a just fight to strengthen democracy and uphold the laws of the country, saying impunity is detrimental to the development of a nation.
“ You cannot underestimate the unmatchable contributions and services of these notable men to the development of legal profession and general growth of this country. “I have had the privilege of working with almost all the 6 of them. They do not engage in frivolities and their integrity is intact.
“They possess enviable track records in the legal profession and national development that precede their names. “ All of them had, at one time or another perfectly resolved more complex national issues. So, you do not expect them to fold their arms while this is happening at the backyard.
“It may be understandable if such a scenario had happened in some of the unsettled States of the country, but it is totally unthinkable to expect such in a peaceful, sophisticated , civilized, educated, egalitarian, land that parades Professors and notable men who have contributed to the development of this country in no small measure and don’t expect a strong reaction.
“I commend these noble jurists for their collective stance on this sheer and gory impudence on the symbol of democracy in their State, Ekiti.
“Delibrate violation of the rule of law must not stand in Ekiti State or anywhere else.”
Ajulo, therefore urged other notable figures in the legal profession to join in the call to end deliberate violation of the constitution of the country.

 

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INEC Vows To Deliver Despite Attacks On Facilities

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The Independent National INEC Vows To Deliver Despite Attacks On FacilitiesElectoral Commission (INEC) on Monday lamented the incessant attacks on its local government offices across the states.
This was as the commission said that though, it will recover losses from the attacks, it could not condone rising attacks on its facilities.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during the visit of African Union Special Pre-Electoral Political Mission to the commission.
The Tide source had reported that within the space of three weeks, three attacks were carried out on local government INEC facilities in Ogun, Osun and Ebonyi states.
Yakubu however re-emphasised that the commission would not be deterred by the challenges, noting that it was ready to conduct a free and fair election.
“In the last three weeks, three of our local government offices were attacked in three different states across the country. The last attack happened yesterday. Though there are no casualties, quite a number of the materials acquired and delivered for the election have been lost.
“The good thing is that so far, we can recover from all the losses but it is a source of concern which should not be allowed to continue.
“We will continue to engage security agencies to make sure that our offices, personnel and facilities are protected ahead of the election. We may express some concern about the attack on these facilities but it will not deter the commission from conducting the election as scheduled.
“I want to assure you that yes, we may suffer little hitches here and there but overall, the commission is required to proceed with the election and in the manner that the law requires us to do using the deployment of technology for the purpose of accreditation and uploading of polling units results.”

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