#NextLevelNigeria: The APC Road Map

Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country. We have worked hard to fulfill our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.

Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the NEXT LEVEL of building an even stronger nation for our people.

First things had to come first.

We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity.

Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation.

We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues. Grand scale corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government is now a thing of the past, just as the Treasury Single Account has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption. The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air.

Also, the Federal Government supported state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay workers on their payroll.

We took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme. Through the National Social Investment Programme, we are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses. But even as we lay the foundation for a stable and prosperous nation, we acknowledge there is still much to do. The next level of effort focuses on job creation across various sectors.

From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative sector jobs to Agriculture and revolutionizing access to credit for entrepreneurs and artisans, there is scope for over 15 million new jobs. The march away from a mono-economy must continue with our industrialization plan coming to fore. With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geo political zones and different states by developing 6 Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured.

In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretise our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan. To sustain food production and value addition, our mechanization policy for agriculture will make tractors and processors easily accessible and available for farmers across Nigeria. We will continue a wide scale training policy, prioritising technology to reach the demography of young people within the productive sector on a massive scale even as we create jobs and growth within our economy.

We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investment Programme. We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive ;policy and work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders- a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change and every now and then, opportunistic and cynical manipulation by political actors. We are implementing a blend of measures that ensures that justice, order, modernization and new economic paradigms emerge.

Perhaps our biggest ambition yet is the overhaul of our education sector. Every child counts – and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done. We will remodel 10,000 schools every year and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation, robotics to re-interpret our curriculum.

We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption. We are committed to deepening the work we started this first term such that the nation’s assets and resources continue to be organized and utilized to do good for the common man.

The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria- making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

Join us on this journey to the NEXT LEVEL of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria! Nigerians, WE ARE ALL GOING HIGHER!

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Debunking Fani Kayode’s Assertion

As Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Special Counsel, he’s been speaking with me from his location in Israel in the past few days. I want to make it clear to all that Nnamdi Kanu’s brief chat with Fani Kayode earlier today did not include anything close to agreeing to work together with Fani Kayode to vote out Buhari, as is being circulated on social media.

On the contrary, Nnamdi kanu wants all to know that IPOB remains solidly committed to self DETERMINATION and REFERENDUM; and is therefore not interested in any partisan politics of the moment.

I urge all and sundry to take caution and be guided accordingly.

Barr. Aloy Ejimakor, IPOB Special Counsel.

Below are records found of Aloysius Ejimakor, who did to be 60 years old, born on 8/18/1958. Currently, he lives in Lanham, MD, United State.

 

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Report: Why Atiku Abubakar Can Never Step His Foot On US Soil Again

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar can never step his foot on United States soil again because he is wanted for money laundering and illegal transfer of funds.
Atiku who is the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate was the subject of a probe ten years ago, by a United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin.
The report detailed how Atiku Abubakar while still the vice president of Nigeria between 2000 and 2008, used offshore companies to siphon millions of dollars to his fourth wife in the United States, Jennifer Douglas.
Specifically, the report said Jennifer Douglas, an American citizen, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts.
In 2004, the then President Bush barred Atiku and other corrupt politically exposed persons from being issued visa to the United States.
The US Senate probe was motivated by US government concern about corruption in the Third World and its corrosive effects on the development of honest government, democratic principles, and the rule of law.
“It is also blamed for distorting markets, deterring investment, deepening poverty, undermining international aid efforts, and fostering crime. Some have drawn connections between corruption, failed states, and terrorism. Corruption also continues to be a massive problem. The World Bank has estimated that $1 trillion in bribes alone exchange hands worldwide each year,” the committee noted in its bulky report.
The report unveiled violations of US laws by Atiku and his fourth wife, Jennifer Douglas. It also included revelations about Siemens bribe paid into one of the accounts, and it possibly provided the basis for Atiku being barred from entering the United States, since then.
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Paris Park Where Nigerian Women Are Forced Into Prostitution

The Cable News Network (CNN), has exposed how some ladies are trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery.

Nadège was one of these women before she managed to escape.

Nadège says she was trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery, at €20 ($23) per client, to pay off a colossal debt to a female Nigerian pimp known as a “madam.”

A madam she met in Lagos promised her a better life in Europe, working as a waitress. “I was told it was like a paradise,” Nadège tells CNN. “But getting here, it was like from frying pan to fire.”
Before leaving, the madam made Nadège swear an oath at a “juju” temple with a native doctor of Ayelala — a traditional belief system from southern Nigeria.
Nadège swore to repay her madam for sending her to Europe, and to never speak of her oath, or her debt, to anyone.
A week after arriving in France with a fake passport her madam gave her, Nadège was sent to work in Bois de Vincennes park, which is on the outskirts of eastern Paris, and has also been part-commandeered by human traffickers.
Her madam gave her a €100 daily target and took away her passport and all her earnings, except money for food and rent.
“Sometimes you work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the morning, maybe get home by 8 a.m.,” she says.
She would start work again, elsewhere, from 3 p.m., she says. “Until 6 p.m., then you have to go to your normal place of work.”
Most of the Nigerian women working in the park are “slaves,” she says. “Some are free, but the prostitution has eaten deep into them.”
Nadège said she cut ties with her madam when she got pregnant a year later and decided to keep her baby.
Narrating her escape, she said: “I was waiting patiently for the death or the madness,” she says. “I was like… ‘Should I go over to the street and start working? Should I abort my baby?'”
Nadège discouraged other young ladies against journeying to Europe in search of greener pastures saying: “It’s not easy to be transported to Europe just like a bag of fruit and sold for men to eat. Don’t even think of it.”
Though she has refugee status and a full-time job and has begun learning French, Nadège still feels her life is ruined. The birth of her son, however, has given her a new purpose.
“No matter what I am tomorrow, I’m still going to be useless. Because I can’t proudly say my story. I can’t proudly tell the world who I am.” Her voice falters. “Whatever I’m doing right now, I’m doing it for my son.”
“When I had my documents the first thing that came to my mind was: ‘Thank God I can now give my son a good life,'” she says.
“He’s already teaching me… he speaks French now. And he’s so super smart. When I see him sometimes, I forget my past — I forget myself.”
The International Organization for Migration says the number of potential victims of sex trafficking arriving by boat in Italy has increased by almost 600% in the past three years, and 80% of them are Nigerian.
In March, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional leader of the Edo people, declared a curse on human traffickers and removed the curses on those that had been trafficked under a juju oath.
Vanessa Simoni, of LABF, says the women now “feel less guilty to break the oath” as “they have the approval of their community.”
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2019: Niger Governorship Aspirant, Bello Bwari Picks ADP Nomination Form

Frontline contender for the number one seat in Niger State, Alhaji Bello Bwari yesterday picked his expression of interest and nomination form for the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Bwari who stormed the National secretariat of the party in Abuja with some of his supporters was received by the National Chairman, Engr. Y. Y. Sanni.
Speaking during the presentation of the forms, Engr Sanni urged the aspirant and his supporters to keep working hard to ensure the success of the party at the polls in 2019.
He further said he was encouraged by the quality of the aspirant and his track record in building a strong footing for the party in Niger State.
Responding, Alhaji Bwari assured the national chairman of his commitment to the party and their resolve to ensure that there people of Niger State under his leadership experience a better life and prosperous future.
Bwari said his administration if voted into power will better the lives of the people through the provision of a responsive and responsible style of leadership.
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FG Promises Protection Of Intellectual Property, Investment

For two days, American investors and chieftains from the technology and entertainment sectors of the US and indeed global economies took turns to listen and actively interact with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and the Nigerian delegation drawn from the public and private sectors.

They came in impressive numbers for two full days to listen and assess investment opportunities in Nigeria and also asked questions.

From the Silicon Valley for instance, well over twenty core American investors in technology spent over hours on Monday afternoon interacting with the Nigerian delegation led by the Vice President alongside others including Industry, Trade & Investment Minister Dr Okey Enelamah, on how to invest in Nigeria.

Top among the US investors were Tim Kendall, a US investor who worked with Facebook monetization and has led PINTEREST, headquartered in San Francisco and valued at about $12B. Pinterest is a “web and mobile application company that operates a software system designed to discover information on the World Wide Web, mainly using images and on a shorter scale, GIFs and videos. Pinterest has reached 200 million monthly active users as of September 2017.”

Others who attended the investment summit in Silicon Valley included representatives of StreetEdge Capital, a Bay Area, California multi-billion dollar family partnership with global footprints including holdings in the US, India and Africa. There were also others including Chika Nwobi and Tom Terbell, partners from Rise Capital, “a private equity firm specializing in early venture and later stage investments. It seeks to invest in the internet enabled sector in emerging markets.” The multi-million dollar investment firm is also based in San Francisco, California.

In the same vein, Prof. Osinbajo also visited the headquarters of LinkedIn where he held a meeting with the Co-founder of LinkedIn, Allen Blue, and other senior executives of the company at its headquarters in California.
The Vice President later also featured as the Special Guest at the firm’s Fireside Chat with a packed full room of Nigerians in Diaspora, which was also streamed live to a global audience.

The next day in Los Angeles, right in Hollywood, the Vice President and his delegation, drawn mainly from the Advisory Group on Technology Innovation and Creativity, an arm of the National Industrial Competitiveness Council, also met with an impressive array of entertainment chieftains and investors in the US.

They included top Hollywood executives like Mark Viane of Paramount Pictures; Steven O’Dell of Sony Pictures; Kieran Breen, Karen Mbanefo and Bryan Song of 20th Century Fox, Betty Lee of Lions Gate; Craig Dehmel and Shehu Garba from IMAX Entertainment; Monique Esclavissat of Warner Bros; Mary Ann Hughes from Walt Disney, John Fithian from the National Association of Theater Owners, and Ryan Gibson of BET International, among others. There were also representatives from Fox Network,

Also at the forum from the Nigerian delegation were renowned names in the film, music & entertainment industry, including Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface; New York-based Nigerian visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter, Laolu Senbanjo; CEO, Ebony Life TV, Mo Abudu, Chocolate City CEO, Audu Maikori; founder/CEO Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen-Peters; New York artist, Sesan Ogunro among others.

It would be recalled that the Vice President on Monday was received by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other top Google executives at the global technology company’s corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, California.

After the meeting in Silicon Valley, the Vice President also interacted with scores of Nigerians working with Google.
Speaking in Hollywood before he left the US early yesterday, Prof. Osinbajo noted that the Federal Government is determined to ensure needed regulations to stimulate the growth of the country’s entertainment and creative industries, including the protection of Intellectual Property and investment guarantees.

The VP stated this during the interactive investment forum on Nigeria’s creativity sector with US-based entertainment outlets, media & investors held in Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, all day Tuesday.

According to the Vice President, “we understand how dynamic the environment is, both technology and creative arts. But we think that the way to go will be to work with those who are actually in the industry, those like yourselves who are putting in their money, their resources, time, and energy into this, and trying to do our regulations in such a way that we are competitive practically with anyone else in the world.

“So what we have done so far is that we’ve been looking at what the specific issues are, and there are quite a few. There are those who want to know about what we are doing in terms of Intellectual Property protection, investment guarantee, and all of that. But I think that the most important thing really, is that we have a government and a lot of those who work in our agencies, who are determined to work through this, day by day, piece by piece to make sure that we get our environment right, and we get the right type of investment environment.”

Prof. Osinbajo further said the Buhari administration will continue to make effort to improve the country’s infrastructure and technology to grow the country’s entertainment/creative sector and the digital economy.

He said, “we are also, of course, very interested in many ways, in deepening infrastructure, especially broadband, connectivity and all of that, because we think that mobile telephony is going to be one of the big ways, especially for the distribution of film and all of that. And we are convinced that with the size of our population, we must find ways of getting film and content unto mobile phones, and also working out payment systems around that because we think that that is the way this is going to go.

“We know that in the next couple of years, that really is where a lot of development is going to go to, and we are very anxious to get our regulations right, to get all of our laws in place and to ensure that we are able to attract all of you who want to do business with us, especially those of you who are coming from other countries. As for the Nigerians, we are, of course, actively engaged with the local industry, and that is one of the reasons why we have the advisory council which takes into account many of our local investors, local artistes and the local entertainment crowd generally.”

The interactive forum in Los Angeles was the last leg of the Vice President’s trip to the United States where he led a Public-Private sector collaborative investment road show, including meetings with global industry leaders in the technology, film, music & entertainment industry in San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively.

The investment road show led by the Vice President showcased the efforts of the Buhari administration in developing Nigeria’s technology, entertainment and creative sectors; and sought to deepen collaboration between Nigeria and the US in these areas.

Also on the Vice President’s delegation were representatives of tech firms, Nollywood and several relevant government agencies.

His earlier meetings with a series of key US technology investors, executives from US-based companies at the “Invest in Nigeria Summit”, was held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Palo Alto, San Francisco, California, while the meeting with Hollywood and US entertainment industry operatives was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Los Angeles.

At the meetings which were well attended by US and Nigerian investors/industry chieftains, Prof. Osinbajo reiterated Government’s commitment to the growth of the country’s digital economy by creating the right environment for the technology, creative industries to thrive and unlocking the country’s potential.

The Vice President said, “One of the critical things for us also, is the fact that we are very open to ensuring that regulation is competitive, especially in the Tech space. All over the world, this is a very dynamic environment, and we recognise that, and we want to be able to work with players and investors, to get the regulations and environment right.”

Prof. Osinbajo also showcased opportunities for innovation and investment in Nigeria, while also highlighting the growth of Nigerian technology start-ups and young Nigerians taking the lead in innovation and creativity.

He noted that Government was exploring more ways to leverage on technology to improve infrastructure and other areas of the economy, while also highlighting the impact of the Buhari administration Social Investment Programme such as the N-power scheme and how it leverages on technology to train and empower young Nigerian graduates. So far the N-Power scheme has 200,000 beneficiaries, with 300,000 more expected to be added soon.

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Hard Facts: Growth Of Technology, Creative Industry In Nigeria

As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo leads roadshow to showcase growth of Nigeria’s technology and entertainment sectors, here are the fact sheet on the growth of the industries in Nigeria.

Find below highlights of the growth of technology, creative industry in Nigeria
  • Lagos is one of Africa’s largest markets, with GDP of over $136 billion and significant young population
  • Lagos startups are also building to serve the entire African market, with high quality and relatively lower cost talent
  • Startups like Andela, NESA, and Data Science Nigeria are training developers and Data Scientists
  • Strong community and support system through incubators, accelerators & dev communities
  • Nigeria has recorded significant progress made in recent years with local and international VC funds emerging with over $100 million invested in 2017.
  • Over $100 million raised from VC investors by Nigerian startups.
  • Over $ 40 million raised each by Flutterwave and Andela, and SureRemit recently raised $7 million in an ICO.
  • Government led initiatives (LSETF, Startup Mambilla etc) also providing early stage capital.
  • Nigeria’s young population have strong entrepreneurial and risk taking culture, evident in the growing number of innovative companies leveraging technology to solve locally relevant problems.

Several global technology leaders have launched initiatives aimed at Nigeria, including:

  • Google Launchpad for Nigeria, the first ever Launchpad outside San Francisco.
  • Facebook recently launched physical hub space in Lagos.
  • GE operates a GE Lagos garage for startups.
  • Growth of technology hubs in Lagos has attracted gloabl attention with recent visits by CEOs of Google, Facebook, Microsoft.
  • Significant growth in number of Nigerian startups accepted into global accelerators- Y-Combinator, 500 Startups.
  • FinTech’s with significant Nigerian operations also raising major funding e.g. Cellulant raised $47.5 million.

NEW FRONTIERS: Significant strides made by Nigeria’s technology startups:

  • Online and mobile money payment processors and gateways facilitating web payment through different payment methods (card, bank accounts etc.), e.g. Flutterwave processed over $1.2 billion in transactions in 1 year;
  • Paga has acquired 8 million customers since inception
  • Several startups leveraging alternative data sources and data science to lend to the underbanked, e.g. Paylater issuing over 1,000 loans daily with 5-minute disbursements
  • Players leveraging web payment channels to create alternative automated savings products, e.g. Piggybank grew deposits over 3000% in 2017.
NIGERIA’S E-COMMERCE CHAMPIONS
  • Jumia has emerged as Africa’s first unicorn acquiring over 1 million customers
  • Innovative players creating new channels in entertainment and media consumption such as Adtech players like Twinpine which has created a  mobile ad network for Africa leveraging telco data
  • IrokoTV is the largest distributor of Nollywood content globally
  • Players digitizing an offline health industry and increasing access to healthcare for the mass market e.g. Lifebank, which recently raised $1m to help hospitals better access blood & other health supplies
  • Companies leveraging technology to serve small holder farmers and increase funding for agriculture, e.g. FarmCrowdy has raised over $1 million to build a crowd-funding platform for agriculture and bring Nigeria’s farmers online
  • Startups solving the problem of easing access to physical goods in Nigeria leveraging tech solutions, e.g. Kobo360 has built the ‘Uber for trucks’- matching truck drivers to companies who need their services, and recently raised $1.2M from Western Technology Investment
  • Andela is creating the next generation of tech developers across Africa and providing opportunities for global firms to leverage African talent. Has raised over $80 million from several investors including Chan Zuckerberg initiative
  • Several innovative players building solutions across off grid solar solutions, recycling and environmental protection, e.g. Rensource is building the largest off-grid solar network in Nigeria

 

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How Yobe Govt Resettled IDPs After Shutting Down Camp

MUSA M. BUBA in this report, looks at how Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Yobe state were resettled with the camps closed down

Since the commencement of the insurgency in the Northeast, many people were killed others displaced and moved to IDPs camps or with the host communities.

It was in 2009 when the Northeast sub-region started to experience terror attacks and Yobe state witnessed its first attack in the state capital on November 4, 2011. Since then the insurgents has continued to launch attacks on government facilities such as schools, hospitals, worship centres, as well as on individuals and their private properties. Yunusari, Geidam, Gujba and Gulani, were the local government councils worst hit by the insurgency in Yobe. In fact, they were overrun for years especially Gujba and Gulani.

The main bridge linking the state to southern Borno state was blown off and economic activities were crippled.

IDPs voluntarily returned
These led many residents to flee to relatively peaceful areas while government had to establish some camps to accommodate the Internally Displaced Persons IDPs. With the gallantly fight by the military, the aforementioned local governments were recaptured, the state government reconstructed the blown off bridge, the road reconstructed and some of the IDPs voluntarily returned.

This is not unconnected with the support of the Ibrahim Gaidam led- administration in providing hilux patrol vehicles to the military and other securities agencies, apart from the regular logistics provided to ginger their fighting spirit.
In order to meet the needs of the IDPs, Yobe state government set up committee on Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the displaced persons, headed by the Deputy Governor, Abubakar D. Aliyu, to make sure that all their needs are met at when due.

IDPs that opted to stay in Yobe
The IDPs who voluntarily returned in Gujba and Gulani local governments two years ago after return of relative peace, the government provided them with farming implements of 130 sets of Animal Traction which consist of oxen, agricultural implements and ox-driven carts totaling N49,650.000 for each beneficiary.

Also a good number of 10kg of cowpea, 8kg of sorghum, and millet respectively, 25kg of fertilizer and assorted vegetable seeds to about 33,000 farmers in the state especially the returning IDPs were provided
To provide good health to returning IDPs, the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (YOSEMA) distributed drugs to twelve medical centres across the state especially those affected by the insurgency. The medicines were brought to the state by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) with instruction that they should be shared to the downtrodden who passed through series of hazards as a prevalent terrorists attack occasioned by the Boko Haram.

Succour for IDPs
The IDPs who opted to permanently settle in Kukareta a community in the outskirt of Damaturu the state capital, the Yobe state government presented plots of land, assorted building materials and cash support to 307 of them.
It includes 50 x 100 plots and building materials like blocks, zinc, nails, timber, cement among others to the IDPs, which mark yet another milestone in the quest to assists and support the IDPs to build houses and settle in their new communities, apart from the N30,000 each, given to the 307 heads of households.

Yobe state government had also provided additional social amenities like health clinics, water supply facilities and schools to augment the existing ones at Kukareta and other returnee communities.

Last IDPs camp (Pompomari)
The camp was established in 2015 with 4,211 displaced persons from Ambiya Kura, Ambiya Bulabulin, Ambiya Tasha, Sharfuri and Turo Kura all in Gujba local government area.

The Permanent Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, Musa Idi Jidawa, while closing the Pompomari IDP camp recently, said, state government has so far expended over N140 million since the administration took off, feeding and routine medical upkeep with special referrals to Specialists and Teaching hospitals in Damaturu and Maiduguri as well as, Neuro-Psychiatric hospital in Maiduguri.

Out of the 4,211 IDPs earlier camped, 2,897 IDPs voluntarily left to pursue their means of livelihood after the state government provided them with cash assistance, food items, transport fare and other incentives according to the Musa Idi Jidawa, the permanent secretary SEMA.

As at the time of the closure on 27th June, 2018 the camp had a population of 1,314 IDPs with 318 heads of household and 996 dependents.

Return packages
The Yobe state government had acknowledged received of complimentary supports from federal government and UN agencies like NEMA, VSF, PINE, PCNI, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, and WFP, internal and local NGOs like ICRC, ACF, NRCS and SMYLE, among others.

What the Yobe state government prepared as return packages for the returning IDPs includes 743 bags of 50kg rice, 596 jerry cans of 25 litres vegetable oil, 541 cartons of tomato paste, 370 cartons of bathing soap, 1000 pieces of mosquitoes nets, 1,272 pieces of nylon mats, 60 bales of used clothes and cash assistance of N9,110,000.00 to be shared among the 318 heads of the households based on family size.

It is significant to mention that, the people of the Northeast have had the test of time that will continue to ring in the minds of generation to generations. Many Yobe residents have acknowledged the importance of peace in every society therefore all should contribute his/her quota to make sure that peace reign in our country.

With this development, Yobe state has shut down all the government established camps but still working toward improving means of livelihood of the returnees.

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How The Nigerian Gambling Market Changed

There are a lot of changes happening in Nigeria in the past few years, in politics, culture, and more. If you watch the news, you will be able to understand just how monumental those changes are.

Every shift in Nigeria’s economic and political states affects the public immensely, and one of the results of those changes is the rise in popularity of gambling.

Gambling is one of the most popular pastime activities in the world, with billions of people frequenting online casinos on a regular basis. There are various types of gambling many Nigerian citizens partake in – from land-based gambling venues to sports betting and lotteries. That means that every gambler can find what suits him best with no problem at all.

With that in mind, it is time to explore the changes that occurred in the gambling market in Nigeria in recent years. Are there more players that enjoy the activity or less? Which type of gambling is the most popular one? And what led to those changes?

You will hear those questions come from experts from all around the world, and it is time to address some of them.

Gambling in Nigeria

According to a report about gambling in Africa, people in Nigeria spend about 5 billion Naira per day, which is a substantial sum – especially when a lot of Nigerians are unemployed due to economic changes.

Nowadays, almost 150 million Nigerian citizens have cell phones, and 97 million people can access the internet. A big part of the Nigerian population has access to the internet, which means that they have more opportunities to participate in gambling activities whenever it is possible.

One of the most common forms of gambling in Nigeria is sports gambling – with more than 60 million people around the country participating in the activity on a regular basis – and the reason for that is quite simple.

First and foremost, watching sports is known to be one of the most exhilarating activities that people enjoy on a regular basis. In Nigeria, the locals usually watch football – cheering not only the local teams but international teams as well.

The fact that you can combine one of the most popular sports in the country with the slight chance that the fans can make some money off of it is why gambling is more sought-after nowadays.

But there is another reason why the Nigerian people are drawn to gambling. It is no secret that the country’s financial state is not the best, which leads people to look for other sources of income. Some rely on gambling as their means to survive, while others use it to get quick cash on the side.

Maybe it is hard to get rid of the illusion that if you keep trying and you gamble enough times, you are bound to beat the statistics and win an astounding amount of cash. That kind of hope is what makes people hold on to dear life, and it is a big part of our mentality, no matter if we live in Africa or the US.

All those reasons explain why gambling is turning into a permanent fixture in the lives of Nigerian people, and it seems like this kind of pastime activity will only get more popular with time.

In Conclusion

Gambling is a popular activity all around the globe. It is unpredictable and fun, and there’s no wonder why people all around Nigeria love to gamble every once in a while.

In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people in Nigeria that started gambling, and that is all thanks to the accessibility of the internet and other types of media.

The drastic change in the popularity of gambling in Nigeria is interesting, and there is no way to determine how it will affect the culture and the population in general – only time will tell!

 

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Off Bank Robbery: Why Police Invited Bukola Saraki

The Nigeria Police Force has invited Senate president Bukola Saraki to answer to allegations surrounding his links to the armed robbers behind the deadly robbery  of a handful of banks in Offa in April.

At least 34 people, including nine police officers and two pregnant women, were killed in shootings during the robbery in Offa.

“Millions of Naira from the Banks and Twenty One (21) AK47 Rifles belonging to the Nigeria Police Force in the Armoury of  the Police Divisional Headquarters, Offa were admitted to have been carted away by the Five (5) gang leaders and the other Seventeen (17) principal suspects during the Banks robbery.”

Providing details leading to the invitation of the Senate President, a statement by the spokesperson of the force, Jimoh Moshood said five principal suspects among 15 others paraded in Abuja in connection to the Offa robbery indicted the senate president in their statements.

“The Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki is being invited by the Nigeria Police Force to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja to answer to the allegations levelled against him from the confessions of the Five (5) Gang Leaders and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons which includes some pregnant women and nine Police personnel,”

According to the statement, one Ayodele among the suspects and acclaimed leader of the robbery gang said they were political thugs of Saraki and have been working for him since when he was governor of Kwara state.

Ayodele said they were not working on the instruction of Saraki but they worked with his encouragement.

Among exhibit the police intelligence monitoring unit secured is a vehicle allegedly given him by Kwara state government.

“The Five (5) gang leaders further confessed during investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement a.k.a “Good Boys” admitted and confessed to have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed.”
“In the course of discreet investigation into the confessions of these five (5) gang leaders and the other seventeen (17) principal suspects, a Lexus jeep GX-300 (Ash Colour) with a sticker plate number with inscription  “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” used by the gang leader (Ayoade Akinnibosun ‘M’ 37Yrs) during the bank robbery and the killing of the THIRTY THREE (33) innocent persons was taken to Government House, Ilorin  on 16th May, 2018 where the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” was removed before another plate number (Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM) registered in the name of Ayoade AKinnibosun the Overall Commander of the Offa Bank Robbery was then attached to the vehicle to cover up the identity of the said vehicle.”
“The exhibit vehicle was subsequently recovered from the premises of the Min. of Environmental and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State. While the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” removed from the vehicle was recovered from one Adeola Omiyale who drove the said Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin immediately after the Bank Robbery.”
“The Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan, who is privy to information that the Police is looking for the lexus Jeep as an exhibit used in the Offa Bank Robbery and the killings of THIRTY THREE (33) innocent persons directed one Adeola Omiyale to relocate the Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin. The PA (Political) is currently in Police custody and has made useful statement assisting the Police in further investigation into the case.”
“A revolver pistol and pump action gun were recovered by the Police Investigation Team from the Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan’s Farm where he directed his brother to hide them after his arrest by the Police.”
“In order to conceal evidence, the Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Yusuf Abdulwahab who has been arrested and taken into Police custody, arranged the removal of the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” from the exhibit vehicle and also registered the exhibit Lexus Jeep used in the Offa Bank Robbery and the killings of THIRTY THREE (33) innocent persons in the name of Ayoade AKinnibosun, the overall Gang Commander of the Offa Bank Robbery while the Ayoade AKinnibosun was already in Police custody for more than six (6) days before the registration of the vehicle.
“Investigation is ongoing and effort is being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large. All suspects involved will be arraigned in court for prosecution on completion of investigation.”
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19 Years Of Uninterrupted Civil Rule And Struggle For Institutional Democracy, By Nkannebe Raymond

An offshoot of prolonged military adventure into Nigerian politics is the overhang of military rule. One writer put it in more graphic terms when he referred to it as the “military complex”.

One writer put it in more graphic terms when he referred to it as the “military complex”. This military rule syndrome if you like, manifests itself in arbitrary actions of supposed democratic leaders who unconsciously go about executive functions of state, with a jackboot mentality and has with successive governments become the norm cutting across the full spectrum of Nigeria’s leadership infrastructure namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Throughout the 19 years of uninterrupted democratic rule in Nigeria, the fundamentals of an ideal democratic state have remained in perpetual abeyance.  With a centralised government; a yellow federal structure; a near fusion of executive and legislative powers; the absence of due process of law in executive functions to name a few, the fruits of democracy remain for the most part largely un-reaped.

In recent times, there has been a certain tendency to adap to this system of democratic anomie, such that some political scientists and commentators alike have attempted to create a democracy peculiar to the Nigerian circumstances. But can this be? Democracy as a model system of government derives its beauty and strength on its enabling institutions and as such cannot be subjected to any form of panel-beating to meet the demands of a reactionary ruling class. There is therefore no cherry-picking in the adoption of democracy as a system of government by any state. Indeed it would be most preposterous to say a state is a democracy, yet the freedom of the press is muzzled or the rule of law compromised.

To be sure, Democracy is derived from two greek words, “Demos”meaning people, and “kratos”meaning rule. Put in its definitive context, it is the government of the people and takes its roots from ancient Athens. Deriving its conventional form today from the great American political philosopher, Abraham Lincoln, at the iconic Gettysburg address, democracy is no mean system of government whose distinguishing features can be compromised for parochial considerations. But a one off look at the 19 years of democratic rule in Nigeria would bear out that not much could be said to have been achieved in the institutionalization of democracy.

Institutional democracy exists when all those with a major stake in an institution or network of institutions have significant decision-making power in determining its values and goals. It is a system where the institutions of state are so empowered that they drive the entire government framework. It has an inherent system to redeem and assert itself when subjected to compromise and only admits of the right people within its operation. It is not a shirt term fix; but a long term policy based on practicality and principle.

As against this standard practice of institutionalised democracy, democratic rule in Nigeria has rather thrown up strong men with weak institutions of state to thrown them overboard. In the process Nigerians have witnessed too much politics without governance; noise without action; motion without movement and a country of ethnic nationalities as against a nation. There is no implicit confidence in the capacity of the institutions of state to rise in defence of democratic ideals.

This much was writ large in the circumstances that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power. Up until this day, the phone call of concession made by former president Good Luck Jonathan congratulating his opponent at the time, has been fingered as the sole reason why we were able to have the first transition of power from an incumbent to an opposition element.

It has been suggested here and there, that were the former president to have been an aggregator of political power, he would have deployed his political might to protest the result of the polls as has been the practice in most African states. Through all this, no mention was made of the capacity of the democratic institutions to rise up against such a move were it contemplated by the former president. Thus, the essentials of the ballot?a key element of any democracy has unwittingly been discounted in favour of the discretion of an incumbent. With a largely subservient police force; a sycophantic anti-corruption machinery; an often compromised electoral commission; a warehoused military and a centralised treasure trove, the engine of democracy grinds at the mercy of the commander in chief.

Whereas one of the enduring ideals of the democratic system of government is the principle of Rule of Law; a painstaking deconstruction of our democratic experience would leave behind a pathetic score card of non-compliance with constitutional provisions and a festival of impunity. Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution provides instructively that the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power, yet, these two constitutional evils have since become the unwritten national ethos. And as though in a Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy; presidents, governors and local government chairmen carry on like proverbial Lords of the Manor while a beleaguered citizenry watch with trepidation.

We have seen this resort to abuse of power in our chequered history chiefly masterminded by the duo of the executive and legislative arm of government, with the judiciary rising up to stem the tide when it pleases the establishment to obey its orders. In the surreptitious impeachment of the then deputy governor of Abia state, now senator, Eyinnaya Abaribe, we saw the abuse of legislative power. But even that too was elevated to new heights in the impeachment drama of the then governor of Oyo state, Senator Rashid Ladoja before the judiciary came to save the day.

In the controversial impeachment of governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state in his first ‘missionary journey’ we saw the abuse of political power to settle political differences. In Plateau state, we also saw this being perpetuated even with more conviction of purpose. In the Third Term gambit we saw the abuse of state power; in the impeachments of senators Adolphus Wabara; the late Chuba Okadigbo just to name a few, we saw wholesale abuse of power. Now, it would serve no purpose I think, to chronicle the resort to corrupt practices that has become a rule rather than exceptions in our democratic experience. The ugly records of the country’s performance on this score, are well documented by the periodic Corruption perception index of the German Non-Governmental Organization; Transparency International. But suffice to say that in all, the precepts of democratic rule remain for the most part elusive.

The institutional premises of Nigeria’s democratic rule are so faulty that it cannot be logically concluded that we practice the democratic system of government strictly so called. Ours is a higgledy piggeldy strewn democratic climate where the rule of any-thing-goes and not the Rule of Law is the raison d’ etere of governments both at state and the federal levels.

Only recently, in a state where the principle of Separation of Powers ought to be the standard of relations among the tiers of government, a Court of law interred with the right of parliament to amend a substantive law despite the unmistakable powers of the legislature as endorsed by section 4 of the 1999 Constitution. In like manner, we have an executive arm of government that has repeatedly disobeyed the orders of a properly constituted High Court to release a citizen who has been held without trial for upward of three years. We saw the raid in the house of senior ranking judicial officers on trumped up charges of corruption. And if that was not chilling enough, we saw over bloated expenditure of state resources by the executive without recourse to constitutional checkpoints so to do. In short, democracy has been so prostituted as to lose its majestic force and appeal.

Even as I write, we have a head of an anti-corruption agency whose appointment has been refused by parliament on justifiable grounds, yet carries on his activities in acting capacity for ever with support from the presidency. The head of a revenue agency would not appear before the senate in his official raiment; the head of the police calls the bluff of the National Assembly; political parties who promise to uphold the rule of law if elected into office upend their internal rules and regulations; a party chairmanship election at the ward levels throws up parallel congresses here and there; the civil service is comatose and lying prostrate; health workers are on strike for ever; the educational institutions are decrepit; unemployment statistics race for the triple digits; the citizenry are unprotected with human lives lost to the point of desensitization of the citizenry. It has been one democratic experience without its dividends as the cliché goes.

Yet, if Nigeria must get it right, conscientious efforts must be made at the strengthening of her democratic institutions. I think the cerebral authors of the masterpiece: Why Nations Fail dealt succinctly with the imperatives of an institutionalised system. Since it is agreed by all sides that at the core of Nigeria’s moribund governmental framework is the absence of an institutionalised system, a sure way to start would be by giving power back to the institutions and deemphasising the might of individuals as in the womb of this, lay all the solutions to the problems of developmental governance.

And so while many state governments starting from the presidency would today mount the rostrums to reel out the ‘achievements’ of their 3-year ‘democratic’ superintendence in terms of the number of roads that have been commissioned; the block of classrooms undergoing construction; the amount of megawatts of electricity that has been added to the national grid and so on and so forth, they must be told that the greatest threat to our democracy is not  the absence of few patches of roads here and there, but rather  the attitude of governments at all levels  towards the preservation and respect for democratic institutions.

 

I wish all of us a Happy Democracy Day!

Nkannebe Raymond is a legal practitioner and Public Affairs analyst. Comments and reactions to raymondnkannebe@gmail.com.

 

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2019: INEC And Underage Voting Challenges

Introduction

The beauty of democracy and indeed its attractiveness to many is the broad participation as well as the guarantee of periodic, genuine and credible elections. Nineteen years after Nigeria returned to participatory democracy, it has made discernible progress, including a seamless handover in 2015. Yet, Nigeria’s democracy is fraught with some teething problems. Underage voting has become a national challenge and sore point.

As the election year approaches, it is natural for people to recall words attributed to former Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, as recalled by his former secretary; “I consider it completely unimportant who…will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”1 Going by Nigeria’s immediate-past history, such worries are not completely out of place. Not a few believe it is imperative to look critically at those who will count the votes during the 2019 general elections and the methodology they will use. Certainly, there will be challenges.

Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the body saddled with the responsibility is under intense criticism for what transpired at the Kano State local government area elections. The Nation, in a recent editorial piece could not be have been more critical of what happened in Kano State. Trenchantly, the paper observed that, “A very sad reminder of this was the charade of an election recently conducted into the local government councils of Kano State. In an age when technology has made it difficult to hide anything, photographs of children who were illegally accredited to vote soon filled the cyber space. Then, came the denials – from the state government, the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KNSIEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and somewhat the INEC. No one wanted to accept that the constitution and the Electoral Act had been breached.”2

That broad brush appraisal echoes the views of most Nigerians. Some took to social media to vent their frustrations, especially concerning INEC’s ability to conduct credible elections in 2019. INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, admitted that officials, often out of fear for their lives and threats by community members, do register underaged voters. This confirmed the suspicion of many and opened a new vista of public condemnation.

In a move to save face and apparently restore the confidence of the national electorate, INEC set up a committee to investigate the allegations of underage voting that trailed the Kano State Local Government Area elections. The committee sat and presented their report expeditiously.

In the committee’s report, according to an op-ed piece by the INEC’s Chiarman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC swiftly but deftly walked away from issue of being forced to register minors, and distanced itself from the “charade” in Kano. Furthermore, INEC doubled down on its earlier stance that the only role it played was to provide the KNSIEC with the Kano State Register of Voters for the election. INEC also tried to disassociate the alleged irregularity from where most of the accusing fingers are pointed – at the National Register of Voters. In denying any nexus between the alleged underaged voting and its register, INEC contended that its register “was substantially not used to accredit voters before voting,”3 and thus, “it is logical to conclude that if underaged voting occurred in the election, it was not due to any presence of underaged registrants on the Register of Voters.”4 INEC went on to state that “The few images and video clips from Kano show no accreditation of voters or any relationship with the Register of Voters.”5 That said, INEC sought  to reassure Nigerians that the National Register of Voters, the sole determinant of who gets to vote and who doesn’t during the 2019 general elections is “dependable.”6

A New Wave of Scrutiny 

The veracity of INEC’s contention remains in dispute. Indeed INEC and its operations face new wave of scrutiny. Many see INEC Committee’s self-absolving report as “a proverbial child that passes the exam it sets for itself.” The widespread allegations that dead people signed petitions for Sen. Dino Melaye’s recall, a matter also handled by INEC, has not helped INEC’s image . Indeed it is now compelling for INEC to update the National Register of Voters urgently. The body should work with National Identity Management Commission and other relevant government agencies with national demographic data base to redact names of dead and underaged voters and in so doing, invalidate those PVCs that may be used in ways that could undermine the credibility of every forthcoming state or the national election.

The issue of having a sufficiently credible National Register of Voters is too important a matter to be entrusted solely with the commission’s self-auditing mechanism. Political parties, civil society groups and other stakeholders should show more leadership in this regard. Beyond taking up the media space to call out INEC in the event of real or perceived shortcomings, relevant stakeholders should take the pain to thoroughly scrutinize the National Register of Voters. And in the event of discovering any impropriety, including underage voters, file their fact-backed complaints appropriately and pursue necessary redress rigorously.

Understandably, in its self defense, INEC has passed the buck to various political stakeholders.  According to INEC, “…we have consistently given political parties copies of the register for each year and ahead of general elections as well as Governorship off-season elections. Only recently…, we gave each of the 68 political parties a copy of the register containing names of the 3.9 million new voters registered in 2017. We urged them to use the register not only to reach out to voters, but also to check whether there are ineligible persons on the list and draw the attention of the Commission to them. Unfortunately, since this Commission was inaugurated in 2015, there has not been a single report from any political party of ineligible voters on the Register.”7

Despite INEC’s attempt at self exculpating, it’s clarion call to action has merit. Given what is at stake, much will certainly be achieved if political parties, especially the leading opposition parties, civil society organizations, the media, institute their own independent scrutiny of the rather voluminous National Register of Voters, with a view of highlighting the weaknesses to the electoral umpire, and also making theRegister really dependable.

It noteworthy that as required by law, INEC confirmed that  it displays regularly the provisional register soon after each Continuous Voter Registration for periods usually lasting between 5 and 14 days, for claims and objections. Nigerian citizens, who inevitably bear the greatest brunt of flawed elections, should sustain the tempo by maximizing the opportunity of this display to alert INEC and indeed the whole world about “ineligible registrants, including underaged persons and aliens.”8

Two South-West states of Ekiti and Osun are scheduled to hold Governorship elections before the 2019 general elections. Both states present sufficient basis and the litmus to test the preparedness of INEC. The only limitation being that these two states, unlike their counterparts in the north, do not particularly have a history of underage voting, resulting from “padding” the voters register.

Available evidence and data reveals an interesting pattern in the geographical spread of underaged voters in Nigeria. Recent data say Nigeria currently has 10.5million out-of-school children. The largest swathe of that population are domiciled in the northern part of the country. Incidentally, the same part of the country has the highest occurrence of underage voters. That these children who could not be compelled to enroll and stay in school, could be found and persuaded to obtain voter’s card illegally and eventually mobilized to exercise “a franchise that does not belong to them legally” during elections, speaks volume of the real interests of the national elites and political class.

Discomfortingly, the issue of underaged voting represents only a fraction of irregularities witnessed during recent elections. During the 2017 governorship elections in Anambra State, there were allegations of grotesque manipulations of the card reader machine and a possible compromise of the ICT unit of INEC. Similarly, evidence exist that the votes of those who were manually accredited, were not reflected in the final results announced after balloting. Efforts should be made to investigate those allegations and see that such exploitations, if they indeed happened, will not reoccur in 2019.

Conclusion 

INEC should strive to live up to its statutory mandate – an independent arbiter. It should not allow both external pressure, vested interest and internal compromise to undermine the forthcoming general elections. In doing so, INEC ought to remember that the 2019 general elections could have broad national security implications.  The country hangs on the balance and could be tipped over by the credibility or otherwise of the 2019 general elections. Great circumspection is called for.

Nigeria can ill-afford to have an election that is not credible and sufficiently so, not with the increasing calls for national restructuring, broad feeling of marginalization, high youth unemployment, spiraling  restiveness, ascendancy of armed groups, the threat posed by herdsmen killings and the anger generated by the government’s lackluster handling of the crisis, and new alarming level of ethno-religious divisions.

Whereas post-election violence is hardly a new phenomenon in the country, most violent incidences “often tend to be localised, short-lived and restricted to polling centres and communities.”9 Human Rights Watch reported that more than 800 people were killed in three days of rioting in 12 northern states following the April 2011 presidential elections. Experts think the country is once again at the cusp of a major national crisis and that something in the similitude of what obtained in 2011 could trigger a major revolution.

Thankfully, the major political parties, barring a belated volte-face, are looking to nominate their presidential candidates from the Northern parts of the country. That reduces the north-south divide. But experts continue to warn that the level of anger and frustration in the land is such that the nation need not experiment with policies that will become tripwires as wheel as engage in unnecessary brinksmanship ahead of 2019. Were underaged voters to be seen as the swing bloc on which any candidate is elected, it would be a matter of Nigeria, and more specifically INEC failing to make a stitch in time to save nine.

——

Chima is a Research Associate at Selonnes Consult;   Obaze is the MD/CEO Selonnes Consult
References
1. Snopes, “Joseph Stalin: ‘It’s Not the People Who Vote That Count” https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/stalin-vote-count-quote/ Retrieved 14/5/18.

2. The Nation, “Underage voting in Kano” http://thenationonlineng.net/underage-voting-in-kano/ Retrieved 14/5/18.

3. Vanguard, “ALLEGED KANO UNDERAGE VOTERS: Our story, by Yakubu, INEC Chairman” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/05/alleged-kano-underage-voters-story-yakubu-inec-chairman/ Retrieved 14/5/18

4. Ibid

5. Ibid

6. Ibid

7. Ibid

8. Ibid

9. Prof. Etannibi EO ALEMIKA, “POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA: EMERGING TREND AND LESSONS” http://cleenfoundation.blogspot.com.ng/2011/07/post-election-violence-in-nigeria.html Retrieved 14/5/18

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