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Tribunal Reserves Judgment In HDP’s Petition Against Buhari’s Election

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has reserved judgement in the petition filed by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

The party through their counsel, Chukwunoyerem Njoku, is challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 election.

The Tribunal reserved judgment in the petition on Monday after parties in the petition had adopted their final written addresses.

Adopting the HDP’s final address, its lead counsel Mr Chukwunoyerem Njoku, urged the Tribunal to set aside the presidential election of February 23 on the ground that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not follow conditions in the Electoral Act before postponing the poll earlier scheduled for February 16.

Mr Njoku informed the Tribunal that because INEC did not follow the conditions before postponing the election unconstitutionally, a referendum was conducted in line with the law and the presidential candidate of the HDP, Mr Ambrose Oworu, emerged winner of the referendum with over 50 million votes.

He submitted that Nigerian citizens participated in the February 16 referendum as required by law and urged the Tribunal to nullify the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari by INEC as president and in his place, restore Mr Owuru as the authentic winner.

However, the President represented by Mr Wole Olanipekun urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it is frivolous, baseless and lacking in merit.

Mr Olanipekun told the Tribunal that the petitioners did not in any way adduce evidence on how the referendum was conducted and who conducted it in line with the provisions of the law.

He also said he had studied carefully the final address of the HDP and its presidential candidate and there was nowhere they made any case against President Buhari.

Also adopting its final address, INEC through its lead counsel, Mr Yinus Usman, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost to serve as a deterrent to those who may wish to file frivolous and baseless petitions in the 2023 elections.

Mr Usman argued that the petition lacked merit because the electoral body conducted an election and not a referendum and that the claims of the two petitioners were strange to the electoral umpire.

He, therefore, urged the Tribunal to uphold the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the February 23 lawful presidential election.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) represented by Mr Akin Olujimi, in its final address, demanded the dismissal of the petition for lacking in merit.

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POLITICS

Release political prisoners, Secondus tells Buhari

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The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to release “political prisoners”.

Addressing reporters yesterday on the side-line of a visit to Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri at the Government House in Yola, Secondus said there should be no room for political prisoners in a democracy.

He said: “We ask President Buhari to release political prisoners. It is not done in any political dispensation. What we are seeing today is as if we are in a military era. He should urgently release political prisoners and allow a political atmosphere and a country where there is freedom of speech.”

Urging the media to take the lead in the campaign for free speech, Secondus added: “I want to call on journalists and media managers not to sit on the fence. They can’t just sit and watch the country sliding. They played a major role in the past, removing the country from the hands of the military. They have tempered with some among them. It is time for them to join hands with the good people of Nigeria to stand on the path of truth, on the path of democracy.”

The PDP National Chairman stressed that freedom of conscience must be allowed in a political environment.

He alluded to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress (AAC) in the last election and Convener of the #RevolutionNowMovement.

Secondus said: “The President must release political prisoners, particularly the presidential candidate of AAC, Sowore.”

The PDP chieftain, who said his party’s leadership was in Adamawa State to commiserate with Fintiri on the death of his father, enjoined the people to support the governor to record high performance.

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BMO to Atiku: you, not Buhari, impoverished Nigerians

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Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is directly responsible for the pauperisation of millions of Nigerians as head of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) said on Tuesday.

It said this contradicted his claims that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration ruined the country.

In a statement by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO noted that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election is again pushing a false narrative to fool undiscerning Nigerians.

“We are not surprised that the former Vice-President has jumped on a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report issued last month to take a swipe at a man he clearly considers as his nemesis.

“The UN body had noted that slightly over 98 million Nigerians were living in multi-dimensional poverty, but, as usual, the PDP presidential candidate did not fully grasp the details before launching an attack on President Buhari,” the statement said.

It added: “The report indicated that about 46 per cent of Nigerians were poor as at today, but Atiku Abubakar needs to be reminded that   60.9 per cent of Nigerians, or 100 million people, were living below the poverty threshold in 2010, and 120 million in 2012, according to the World Bank, which is the body that provides a global poverty headcount.

“Interestingly, the period the country had an exponential spike in the number of people living below $1 a day was during the 16 unbroken years that the former Vice-President’s party held sway in Nigeria.”

BMO also noted that the PDP stalwart created the pathway for Nigeria’s struggle with poverty alongside his then principal, Olusegun Obasanjo, with the less than transparent privatisation he presided over.

“It is not a secret that Alhaji Abubakar was the executor-in-chief of what has gone down in the annals of the nation as a major heist of the nation’s assets, an action that later pitched him against former President Obasanjo.

“He literally sold off several government-owned enterprises for less than their market values to his cronies to strip and cannibalise, and in the process, tens of thousands of workers were denied their livelihood and laid off without benefits. It is also on record that he kept one of the prized assets (Onne Port) to himself.

“Or, does he also have to be reminded of the period when the nation’s Education sector virtually collapsed but that was when he and former President Obasanjo established high profile private secondary and tertiary institutions?

“So, if Atiku is searching for the person who plunged Nigerians into multi-dimensional poverty, he should just look into the nearest mirror, or maybe he could tell us how many people he drove into penury and how many had their pensions paid, even after the terminal date of the Obasanjo administration.

“In case he missed the latest news, the Buhari administration, through its Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), has paid the outstanding severance package of over 1,500 verified eligible former workers and next-of-kin of deceased former workers of Savannah Sugar Company.

“The former Vice-President cannot say he has forgotten that these workers were not paid their benefits when they were disengaged in 2002, after the company was privatised.

“This is just one out of many examples of how President Buhari has been cleaning up the mess left by Atiku and his party’s leaders, who have not shown any form of remorse but are rather prepared to also insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.”

The BMO urged the former Vice-President to heed the advice of his former boss and seek proper forgiveness from Nigerians for the harm he did the country.

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President Buhari to inaugurate ministers August 21

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The 43 ministers-designate are to be inaugurated on Agust 21 by President Muhammadu Buhari, a statement by Babatunde Lawal, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Ahead of their inauguration, ministers-designate are scheduled to undergo a two-day induction retreat at the State House Conference Room, Presidential Villa beginning from August 19.

The statement reads: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, invites all ministers-designate, head of the civil service of the federation, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries (specifically invited) to a two-day induction retreat to be presided over by his excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the retreat earlier publicised has been rescheduled.”

The objectives of the retreat, he said, include:

  • build a strong platform for synergy and teamwork, sensitise appointees on the status of the implementation of policies, programmes and projects of government from 2015 till date
  • acquaint the appointees with the roadmap for delivery of government’s priorities and next level agenda (2019-2023).
  • deepen the understanding of participants on best practices in conducting government business.

The statement said attendance at both events is mandatory and strictly by invitation.

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