Kaduna Gov-elect Nasir Elrufai Names Transition Committee

The governor-elect of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Elrurai has constituted the members of the transition committee that will work with the committee set up by the state governor towards the hand over of power on May 29.

The list sent to Abusidiqu.com indicates that the former chief of staff to the in-coming governor during his tenure as the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Balarabe Abbas Lawal would chair the transition committee.

Other members of the committee include former Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC), Mallam Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, former Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Alh Lawal Samaila Yakawada and the former Director General Energy Commission of Nigeria, Professor Sani Sambo.

Also included in the committee are the former Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Investment Commission (NIPC),  Alh Surajo Yakubu, former Executive Director of the defunct Habib Bank, Alh Abdulkadir, General A. Usman, Musa Sheyin and the former Attorney General of Kaduna State, Bar Aminu Sani Rimintsiwa amongst others.

Information on when the committee is expected to be inaugurated was not known as at the time of this report.

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Social Good Nigeria Unveils ‘The PopUp Incubator Project’ For Techies in #Nigeria at the International Girls in ICT Day Event

Social Good Nigeria has unveiled “The PopUp Incubator Project, a project targeted at developing the capacities of techies, entrepreneurs, young professionals and most importantly to promote women and girls’ involvement in Information Communication Technology Sector in Nigeria. The unveiling took place in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory today, 23rd April being the International Day of Girls in ICT across the world, young school girls from Lead British School, Abuja and professionals in ICT were in attendance.  The Project is funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria

The Project which is in collaboration with Enspire Hub Incubator at the Abuja Technology Village, in Abuja will be commencing its pilot programmes at Technology Villages in 6 major cities across Nigeria, namely: Abuja, Jos, Lagos, Warri, Oyo, Kaduna

Social Good Nigeria PopUp Incubator is expected to enhance the capacities of those who are in love with Techie activities such as programming, coding, web designing as well as social networking with Nigeria having the highest number of users in Africa. Part of our focus is to also see increased women and girls’ involvement in the ICT sector in Nigeria, said Esther Agbarakwe, Co-Founder, Social Good Nigeria.

According to Swedish Ambassador in Nigeria, Svante Kilander, while addressing the participants, he said,

”The Embassy is proud and happy to partner with Social Good Nigeria to increase the knowledge exchange between ?Sweden and ??Nigeria on social entrepreneurship, CSR and women’s rights, resources and representation. The Swedish Government wants to strengthen gender equality, improve women’s access to resources and increase women’s representation – nationally as well as internationally – we call it a feminist foreign policy. I’m thus especially happy that our partnership with Social Good Nigeria and the ‘The PopUp Incubator Project’ was unveiled in connection with the commemoration of the 2015 International Girls in ICT Day. Swedish embassy believes so much in women participation in social entrepreneurship and as part of corporate responsibility we have taken it upon ourselves to be part of a project as this”. Already Sweden has strong Policy Reform on Gender Equality and Feminism. Therefore, this collaboration could serve as Foreign Policy Reform project in Nigeria, he affirmed.

Omasan Ogibi, Software Engineer, Ericsson West Africa, was one of the guest, speaking at the event, she recounted her experience as a young woman who ventured into ICT industry early. ” I could remember I was the only girl in my class back then amongst men. I was a timid girl but determined to succeed” she rose from being Software Engineer at Ericsson to become Regional Head Corporate Responsibility Ericsson, West Africa. “It wasn’t easy, but with determination and hardwork I got it” she alluded. She however, encouraged school girls at the event to hold on to their dreams and never give up irrespective of the intimidation particularly from the opposite sex.

Also speaking via a Video Message, Dr. Mairo Mandara of Gates Foundation said when we educate a girl, we educate a generation.  She further said that With hard work, girls will rule the world

Panel discussion session on ‘how to improve women and girls’ participation and involvement in the ICT sector in Nigeria moderated by Esther Agbarakwe had panellists comprised Bankole Oloruntoba of Enspire Incubator, Ize Adaba of Third Sector Support and Omasan Ogisi had intense deliberations on the ways to overcome low representation of women in ICT industry in Nigeria.

Few challenges were identified such as societal views on gender equality and misconceptions around girl child on the part of most parents. Strategies to overcome these challenges were highlighted such as adequate sensitisation and advocacy on girl child’s right as well as support for gender equality policy.

In attendance at the event were Social Good Nigerian Brand Ambassadors; Dr. Laz Ude Eze and “BigMo”

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Nigerians Support President Jonathan Against ‘Greedy’ Senators #RejectConstitutionalChange

Civil activists are supporting president Goodluck Jonathan in rejection of last minute constitutional changes that will among other things give immunity to senators and life long pensions. Civil activist Femi Falana yesterday rejected the constitutional amendments designed solely to safeguard the law makers’ interests.

Other activists also raised their voices in supprts of Goodlcuk Jonathan against the senators:

President Jonathan has sued the national assembly over these changes.

Jonathan Takes National Assembly to Supreme Court over Constitution Amendment Bill

The Executive Arm of the Federal Government on Wednesday went to the Supreme Court asking the court to declare as a null the ?passage of the proposed amendment of the constitution by the National Assembly.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, instituted the fresh suit with SC/214/2015 on behalf of the executive arm of government asking the court to nullify any attempt by the National Assembly to override the President’s veto powers.

In the suit, the executive arm argued that the bill was not passed by at least four-fifths majority of all members of each House of the National Assembly as stipulated in sections 48 and 49 of the Constitution.

The suit follows the crisis that had developed over President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to assent the fourth Alteration Bill of the Constitution. Instead, the President wrote to the National Assembly last week listing some grey areas that he said were contentious.

The National Assembly had threatened to override the President’s veto powers as it relates to the bill.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana has warned the National Assembly against passing the bill without looking critically at some of the arguments given by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Falana, who stated this in a statement on Wednesday, said if the National Assembly failed to review the grey areas as raised by the President before overriding his assent, it could result in legal issues that could be challenged.

Falana, who also criticised the refusal of President Jonathan to assent to the bill, recalled that the last alterations to the constitution sanctioned by the President in 2010 and 2011, were passed by the same two-thirds majority of the federal and state legislators recalling further how former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, challenged an attempt by the National Assembly to amend the constitution without recourse to the President.

Falana stated: “In 2010, the National Assembly had purportedly empowered itself to amend the Constitution without the assent of the President of the Republic.

“The action was challenged in the Federal High Court by Olisa Agbakoba SAN, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association. The court declared the amendment illegal and unconstitutional and proceeded to set it aside in toto.

“In view of the fundamental errors which have characterised the 4th Alteration to the Constitution, the National Assembly members should go back to the drawing table.

“They should have no difficulty in jettisoning the alteration of section 9 of the Constitution as it is the height of legislative dictatorship to amend the Constitution of a country without the assent of the President and the endorsement of the people via a referendum.

While the concern of the legislators for the rights of Nigerians to basic education and health is appreciated the inclusion of both rights in chapter four of the Constitution is unnecessary as both rights have been statutorily recognised.

“However, if the members of the National Assembly refuse to remove the objectionable provisions before overriding the veto of the President they would have engaged in a futile exercise which is likely to be challenged in a law court.?

“Apart from the serious observations raised by the President some of the provisions of the Amendment completely negate national interests.

“Whereas majority of Nigerians have consistently demanded for the removal of immunity clause from the Constitution the amendment seeks to confer immunity on legislators in addition to the heads of the executive arm of government.

“Another objectionable proposition in the 4th amendment is the provision of pension for life for former leaders of the National Assembly.

“Indeed, one of the former speakers of the House of Representatives who will be a beneficiary of the largesse spent a few months in office and resigned for fear of impeachment.

“Another retired speaker who served for less than four years is barely 40 years old. The National Assembly should justify why Nigerians should pay pension for life to such legislators for rendering part time service in the parliament.”


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Represent The Interest Of Nigerians, Kwara Speaker Charges Lawmakers

A call has been made to elected legislators across the country to afford to use the opportunity given to them to represent the interests of the people, whose efforts and votes brought them into power.  Another call was made to legislators to ensure sanctity in government by delivering their responsibilities carefully.

The calls were made by the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly and Member-Elect of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Razak Atunwa. Atunwa who made this known in a statement signed by his spokesman, Olawale Rotimi said, the noticeable development in Nigeria’s democracy can easily be sustained through vibrant, disciplined and masses oriented legislators in the State and National Assemblies.

Atunwa described the legislators’ roles as central in the policy making process by holding government to account and scrutinizing their decisions. “it is essential that legislators are equipped to highlight the shortcomings of the government in economy, security and other pressing matters and encourage the government to take mainstream steps in state and national growth model.

“The key government arm that needs to thoroughly understand the concept and trends of development is the legislative. The Legislative is at the heart of government and central to making and implementing government policy, advising and supporting the economic management of the state and nation and oversight of development of the public sector.  These functions are of particular relevance and they must not elude our legislators” he stated.

Atunwa who described the legislative arm of government as a community of representatives from all parts of Nigeria urges lawmakers to solely represent the interest of Nigerians without limitations or clash based on party difference. “We are elected from our various constituencies across the country to represent the interests of our constituents, sponsor bills and move motions that are of benefit to majority of Nigeria populace. It’s important to know that our decisions must be masses driven in order to revitalize the hopes of Nigerians by giving them quality representation. Irrespective of our party affiliations, the assignment given to us by Nigerians is larger than anyone’s party affiliation and this must be maintained” he added.

Hon. Atunwa reassured his constituents and Nigerians at large of quality representation through development strides and pushing for bills and motions that will ameliorate the living standards of Nigerians as a whole.

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Kashamu Replies Tinubu, Ask Him To Rise Above Petty Issues

The chairman of the Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West in the just concluded elections, Buruji Kashamu has replied the National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over his comment describing him as a pretender.

Tinubu had in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Sunday Dare, described Kashamu as a pretender, among others, adding that he felt insulted by the open letter addressed to him by Kashamu.

His comment followed Kashamu’s congratulatory messages where he described Tinubu as his role model and the architect of modern Nigeria last week.

But in a reply to Tinubu’s comment, which is sparking off a renewed verbal war, Kashamu said in a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists that, “My attention has been drawn to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s reaction to the innocuous congratulatory messages that I sent to him and other leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the aftermath of the general election.

“First, I must say that I doubt if the statement was approved by him. However, if it was, I must state that I am taken aback by the unwarranted attacks against me as if we were still campaigning. It is unbecoming of someone of his stature and calibre.

“For me, it is high time politicians and leaders rose above petty issues.

and raise the bar in constitutional democracy. We should not just be democrats in words but also in deeds. We should play politics without bitterness.”

He argued that it is on record that no Nigerian politician has taken former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the cleaners even as a sitting President like Tinubu did, saying Obasanjo forgave him.

“As for me and Baba Obasanjo, he remains my father and leader, just as I am his son and follower. At no time did I abuse Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

“As a true party man, I campaigned vigorously for my party and its candidates. Now, the elections are over, and as a true sportsman, I thought I should congratulate those who won. Short of any praise-singing, what I said in the congratulatory message that they chose to react to a week after it published was that there was no way anyone can wish away the achievements of Asiwaju Tinubu in the nation’s political annals, particularly in Yoruba land.

“Part of the message also reads: “Although I now belong to the opposition, your achievements transcend political divides and I am not ashamed to publicly acknowledge them.

“I salute your courage, commitment, doggedness, forthrightness and tenacity of purpose even in the face of daunting opposition and challenges.

“By your sheer wit and unwavering commitment to democratic ethos, true federalism and economic prosperity, you led the Alliance for Democracy (AD) from a one-party state to a regional party, and now a national party that is about to form the government at the centre.”

According to him, these utterances do not translate to praise-singing, saying they are facts of history that he merely adumbrated.

On the contentious U.S case he said, “I wish to state for the umpteenth time that the United States as the bastion of democracy and the rule of law would not lend itself to any form of abuse of the fundamental human rights of an innocent soul, especially one that has been arrested, tried and freed by its most trusted ally – the United Kingdom.

“I am not running from any trial. All I have asked is for the relevant parties to follow due process – if they believe that I yet have a case to answer.”

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EFCC Set To Detain Ali Modu Sheriff Over N300 Billion Borno Funds

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC will on Thursday play host to a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, to respond to questions bordering on allegations of “misappropriation, embezzlement of funds and abuse of office while he was governor”, Premium Times is reporting.

Although the details of the allegations against the former governor is yet unclear, the paper reported that his appearance expected to hold at the agency’s Abuja head office is related to allegations that parts of the N300billion his administration received from the Federation Account between 2003 and 2011 may not have been judiciously spent.

The investigation began in 2012 and had been ongoing ever since, our sources said.

If the Mr. Sheriff fails to show up at the agency’s office as directed, he would be declared wanted and then arrested, the report said.

Mr. Sheriff ruled Borno State on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] between 2003 and 2007. on the ticket of the same party.

The former governor, who has since fallen out with his successor, Kashim Shetttima, dumped the All Progressives Congress, which he helped formed in 2013.

Before leaving the APC, Mr. Sheriff clashed repeatedly with some leaders of the opposition party, including a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, who he accused of harbouring dictatorial tendencies. On one occasion, Mr. Sheriff had a shouting match with Mr. Tinubu at a meeting.

Mr. Sheriff told journalists after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan last year that his defection to the PDP was in Nigeria’s interest.

Apparently because of his romance with the ruling party, the PDP Federal Government rebuffed calls for his arrest and prosecution over his alleged link with Boko Haram.

Mr. Sheriff, alongside a former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, and an unnamed Central Bank of Nigeria official, was named by an Australian hostage negotiator, Stephen Davies, as sponsors of the dreaded terrorist group.

Messrs Sheriff and Ihejirika strongly denied the allegations, and Mr. Davies has so far failed to provide evidence of their culpability.

In September 2014, despite the allegation against Mr. Sheriff, which the State Security Service claimed it was investigating at the time, the former Borno governor was in President Jonathan’s company during an official visit to Chadian President, Idris Deby, to discuss how to combat insurgency in Nigeria.

The opposition APC and some civil society organisations slammed the president for hobnobbing with the ex-governor.

But in defence, the president, through his media adviser, Reuben Abati, accused the opposition and other critics of creating false impression that Mr. Sheriff was part of the president’s official delegation to Chad.

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Top Terrorists Commander Die In Encounter With Troops At Alagarno

A notorious top terrorists commander, Abu Mojahid was among the terrorists that died in their encounter with troops in the outskirt of Alagarno, Tuesday morning.  The terrorists had staged a daring attack on troops who were on patrol of the area.

A number of the terrorists died as the troops repelled the attack.  Some Rocket Propelled Grenades as well as vehicle mounted Anti-Aircraft guns were either captured or destroyed in the encounter.

Meanwhile, the military operations are continuing in the form of offensive action on identified terrorists in some forest locations.  Aggressive patrols, mopping up as well as cordon and search are also continuing in the other locations in search for weapons and terrorists.

Improvised explosive devices planted by the terrorists to deter the comprehensive offensive by the advancing troops are also being carefully cleared as troops continue to pursue fleeing ones.  The operations especially in forest locations are progressing in defiance of obstacles and land mines emplaced by the terrorists.


Major General

Director Defence Information

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Diezani Attends FEC Meeting, Says She Is Not Going Anywhere

Minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison Maduekwe on Wednesday attended the Federal Executive Council meeting which held at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The petroleum minister who reportedly travelled out of the country few days after president-elect,General Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the March 28 president election attended the meeting amidst speculation that she is seeking asylum outside the country.

Addressing state House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister denied media reports that she was seeking asylum in some foreign countries, adding that she was not leaving the country, adding that she has no reason to do so.

She blamed what she described as consistent malicious and libelous attacks on her person on the the reforms she brought about in the oil and gas sector in the country.

The minister said: “Let me state it clearly for the records that Nigeria is my country and am not going anywhere, I love my country and I do think that I have done the best for my country and I would also like to point out that these malicious, malevolence, vindictive libels coming out of places like Osun Defender and other faceless online and other entities need to stop.

“For everything that has a beginning there is an end and that is not a surprise. What is the surprise is the sort of malevolence bothering on personal malicious libel to my person during this period of time. I do believe that I have done the best for Nigeria in this job and I have attained many firsts in the history of oil and gas especially in the reforms that we have done. In this period of time, I have stepped on many big toes particularly the feet of the cabals that were in the industry when we came in. Because I have said severally that we will open up the industry to all Nigerians and we have,  but that is not to the pleasure of certain cabals.  And I have been continuously maligned because of this and we have taken millions and in fact billions of dollars out of the hands of  multinationals and their sub-contractors and put them in the hands of Nigerians through Nigerian Content. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have come into the oil and gas industry because of our reforms.

“Quite frankly, I think as unprecedented as it is, it does not please everybody and that cannot be helped but let us remember the unprecedented reforms that have happened in the oil industry during our time, such as major gas reforms, the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been completely revised, reformed and put into the hands of members of the National Assembly where it has languished for two years in the National Assembly” she said.

On allegation that she was seeking the intervention of prominent Nigerians, especially former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar to  protect herself being held accountable for some of her actions in office, the minister said there was no truth in the allegation.

“I believe that His Excellency, (Gen. Abdulsalami)  has already answered that and called it unnecessary mischief and I will ask that the media do its research properly and deal with the  facts. I have the privilege of meeting with many senior statesmen during the course of my job in the Federal Executive Council and I was surprised that he should be singled out in any such form. The short answer is no.

“I have not sought such assistance because I am not aware that I have been indicted of any crime that I will need a soft landing. Over the last four years, I have been severally and unfortunately accused and labeled in so many malicious and vindictive ways. I have explained these things and pushed back robustly on these accusations  and I have even gone to court on many of them. Yet they keep being regurgitated. And I think it is unfortunate, particularly when we are moving into a transition period and looking forward to an incoming government  which is coming to take over where we have ended” he said.

The minister also dismissed the allegation by  the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) that the NNPC failed to remit money in its custody to the federation account.

According to the Minister, the NNPC has since commenced remitting money that was found through the audit of its operations into the Federation Account.

“The Price Water House Copper forensic audit that was done few weeks ago in its recommendation mentioned that $1.48 billion was owed by NPDC for a block that had hitherto been assigned from the NNPC to Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) which is its subsidiary and they felt that the right process would be that NPDC will refund that money to the Federation Account. NPDC has  apparently started those refunds and it is also in discussion with NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on same. So the refund has actually began.

Speaking on the reforms that she introduced to the Oil and Gas sector, Mrs Deziani Allison Maduekwe said the Petroleum Industry Bill, if passed by National Assembly would further get more Nigerians into the oil industry.

“In that bill are all the reforms needed to tear NNPC apart, make it a National Oil company, an equity share company through transparency, accountability and responsibility and reduce corruption in the industry. We did all these and we put them in place to reduce corruption so for me to be tagged with various tags of corruption, $10 million jet purchases, who buys jet for $10 million dollars for goodness sake? And $20 billion missing money for which Pricewater Copper (PWC) had done a report and the $1.48 billion which is not missing, which is actually money transferred by the NNPC to NPDC which is a subsidiary and NPDC has actually started making payments under my directives.

“I have said during our time that there are gaps in the NNPC and I said that openly. But I can also say that there is no time in Nigerian history in the oil and gas that the NNPC has been as open and audited as it is today.

“It has been positioned to go forward in the industry, it is true that the revenue profile is not sustainable. But we have done our best and the Nigerian oil and gas sector is today in a better shape than it has ever been in terms of achievements that we have recorded.

“We have done enough for this industry, we cannot please everybody. Yes, we have stepped on toes but we did that in the best interest of Nigeria and we have opened up the oil and gas industry to all Nigerians, thousands of Nigerians have benefitted from our reforms in the system”.

On the emergence of fuel queues, she blamed it on the distributors insisting that there were enough petroleum products available for Nigerians.

Alison-Madueke said, “This is very unfortunate and you know that product supply and distribution have been one of the high points of this administration when we came in. We have kept queues to the bearest minimum. We have moved away from the challenges of the past and ensured through our various flexible product arrangement that we kept Nigeria wet with fuel supply.

“Unfortunately, you are coming into a transition, whenever certain things are happening, intruders will hijack the process and certain amount of hoarding taking place for various reasons, this is what we are experiencing and there is no reason for this because our reserves are enough to keep the country wet with products throughout this period.

“I will plead with marketers to please make the fuel available. PMS is available, make it available to Nigerians, we have worked so hard to build the system and we don’t want it distracted in these later days” she said.
Sent from my Otsupunu device  powered by the grace of God

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Meet The New Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase

Born on June 21, 1956, in Oredo Local Government Area, in Edo State, Solomon Arase was bred in Sapele Delta State. He joined the police in 1981 as cadet assistant superintendent of police (ASP).

Prior to the latest appointment as acting IGP, Arase Ehigator Solomon was the deputy inspector-general of police in charge of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID), the main intelligence gathering arm of the Nigerian Police that provides intelligence on crime and national security.

Arase enlisted into the Nigerian Police after graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1980, with a degree in political science. He also has a bachelor of law degree and master of law from the University of Benin and University of Lagos respectively.

The new IGP attended the Nigerian Law School and was called to Bar in 2,000. He also has in his kitty a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan.

Arase has vast experience as a crime fighter, having served in various commands and formations of the Nigerian Police, including being the commissioner of police for Akwa Ibom State.

He was also one time assistant inspector-general of police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Bureau (FCIB).

Arase, due for retirement on June 21, 2016, served at the United Nations Mission in Namibia and is a fellow of the Nigerian Defence College.

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Jega Makes First Public Comment Since The Conduct of the 2015 General Elections

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said on Tuesday that a presidential run-off would have led to a crisis in the country.

Jega, in his first public comment on the March 28 and April elections, predicated his assertion on what he called many lacunas in the amended Electoral Act.

He suggested during a   dialogue session with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in Abuja, an amendment to the electoral law since it provides for only seven days after the first election to hold a run-off.

He   said the   incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari should not wait till 2019 general elections before reviewing the Electoral Act.

Jega disclosed that he was happy when the March 28 presidential poll produced a clear winner.

He said there was no way that INEC could have successfully conducted a run-off election within seven days as provided for in both the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.

The INEC boss said, “I heaved a heavy sigh of relief when the election did not result to a run-off. That would have occasioned a big constitutional crisis.

“This is in view of the fact that the 1999 Constitution only made provision for seven days for such poll. You and I know that there was no way we would have been able to conduct a run-off within seven days.

“This is why I emphasise that amendments to the electoral laws should be done in good time. We could have further sanitised the electoral process if we had got some of the amendments we required in the Electoral Act.”

The INEC boss revealed that there would be electoral reforms to strike a balance between decentralising and centralising the powers of the commission at the national headquarters.

He explained, “In future reforms to electoral legal framework this issue has to be looked at carefully. It’s a delicate balance: you have to balance whether you will give the chairman of INEC or the INEC at the headquarters a lot of powers which may be abused or whether you will want to localise the powers which may also be abused. So, it’s a tricky balance and the balance has to be struck.

“Clearly, from our experience in 2007, a lot of the powers were removed from the INEC national officers and localised to the Returning Officers. And now, we are seeing the challenges and some abuses in some respects. So, in future, as we review the Electoral Act, we may have to look at how to have some balance in this regard.

“Sometimes, when we hear something and a mistake is likely to be made, we can intervene and advise the Returning Officer about the right thing to do. Sometimes some of the Returning Officers, if they are confused and do not understand what they are supposed to do, they can call us directly and seek for clarification.   There are a few cases a Returning Officer may just go ahead and do his own thing either based on lack of understanding or because of some partisan considerations.

“There are many Returning Officers for example in some states where they disappeared with the result sheets. And we have got information about these people and we are going to follow it up in terms of not only reporting them to their institutions but also prosecuting them appropriately for the offences they committed.”

Jega, CSOs disagree on Rivers, Abia and Akwa Ibom gov polls

Jega and the over 60 civil society organisations that make up the NCSSR     however disagreed on the credibility of the Rivers State governorship election.

While the   NCSSR members   said that the elections in Rivers, Abia and Akwa Ibom states were “lacking in credibility and fraught with irregularities”, Jega said “there is no evidence before the commission as it relates to election irregularities in Rivers State.”

It will be recalled that the Situation Room had last week said that the elections in Rivers, Abia and Akwa Ibom states   should not be allowed to stand.

The convener of the group, Clement Nwankwo, said,   “Situation Room has expressed its concern about the overall conduct of the elections in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states where there are good grounds to question the credibility of the elections’ results in both states.

“There are also concerns about Abia State, which recorded multiple cases of electoral misconduct.”

Jega however disagreed, saying that the reports of the three INEC National Commissioners he sent to Rivers State to investigate alleged irregularities did not confirm the petition.

The INEC   chairman said, “We have no power to cancel election results once returns have been made. On the petition against election irregularities in Rivers State, the commission sent three national commissioners to the state to investigate it.

“Some people didn’t want elections to hold, they are the ones calling for cancellation. We investigated the allegation of fake result sheets in Rivers State, our reports showed that there was nothing like that.”

But he admitted that INEC erred by cancelling elections in three local government areas of Abia State.

Jega, however, explained that the commission intervened before a return was made, adding that supplementary elections will only hold in wards where results were cancelled.

He said, “The announcement of cancellation of three local governments was a mistake. And we intervened before a return was made and it was corrected.

“And only the wards where irregularities occurred in those three local governments were to be cancelled. And the supplementary election we are going to do will not cover the entire local government but only those wards that had been cancelled.”

There had been uproar in some quarters following INEC’s decision declaring the April 11 governorship poll in Abia, Imo and Taraba states inconclusive.

The commission had therefore fixed April 25 as date for supplementary elections in the three states.

Explaining that INEC had no power to cancel the election in Rivers State, he   called on aggrieved political parties to approach the tribunal to seek legal redress.

“The law says once the Returning Officer has made a declaration then you just have to go to the tribunal to contest the declaration,” Jega said.

He stated further that there were no evidences to warrant the change of the Resident Electoral Commissioners in Imo and Taraba states.

Jega said that INEC would beam its search- light on both states and would also deploy more electoral officials in them.

He said, “I have no evidence before me to warrant changing the RECs in Imo and Taraba states.

“But we are going to do what we did in Ekiti and Osun states. We will send a lot of supervisors, national commissioners, directors to ensure that a lot of eyes are put on what goes on in these states.

“There were a lot of allegations that RECs were compromised. I was accused of being compromised. Frankly, we can’t just start moving RECs and changing them because there are allegations if there is no substantive evidence presented.

“Anybody who didn’t like the way things stand out would want the returning officers or RECs removed. But we can’t just start indiscriminately removing people unless we have something to hold against them.”

Jega also said that the prosecution of individuals   found culpable of electoral malpractices in the just-concluded 2015 general elections had commenced.

According to him, those who are being prosecuted include a former Director -General of the National Youth Service Corps and some youth corps members.

While saying that INEC would pay attention to high profile electoral offenders, he called on the public to furnish the commission with evidences of electoral breaches.

He said, “Prior to the conduct of the elections, the Inspector General of Police was very proactive. He   established a committee headed by a DIG to work together with INEC for speedy prosecution of electoral offenders. And we believe that this will help us have more prosecutions of electoral offenders than in previous elections.

“Similarly, the Nigerian Bar Association has requested INEC for a meeting so that we can further explore the possibility of working together to hasten the process of prosecuting electoral offenders.

“ There are already clear cut cases where the police have apprehended people red-handed and we are working together with them to ensure that they are prosecuted.

“This is one area where we didn’t do much in 2011. Not that we didn’t try but we were overwhelmed by the number of offenders and we couldn’t handle it. But now with partnership with other organisations, we should be able to do so.”

He said that although INEC   received report of underage voting, there   was no substantial evidence to prove the allegation.

The INEC boss, however, explained that the commission would correct the anomalies by ensuring that Permanent Voter Cards of underage voters were not produced.

He also stated that besides prosecution, electoral officers who are not members of staff of INEC and ran away with result sheets would be reported to their parent institutions.

Jega cited an example of an individual in Adamawa State who has already bagged six-months jail term for possession of multiple PVCs.

On the plea by a participant, urging him to reconsider his decision not to seek fresh tenure , he said: “Man proposes and God disposes. But as I speak with you, I will rather do something else with my life”.

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Tinubu To Kashamu: We Are Not In The Same Class; Go, Face Your Charges In US

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has blasted controversial businessman and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP senator-elect, Prince Buruji Kashamu.

Tinubu said he does not need praises from Kashamu, saying they are not in the same class.

Kashamu had in an advertisement praised Tinubu over the outcome of the 2015 general elections.

The APC national leader asked Kashamu, a PDP financier, to make a trip to the United States of America to answer drug charges against himself.

“Please keep your peace until you make your trip to the USA as a Senator-elect. Upon your return we can then have a conversation. We can then proceed with your repudiation of the PDP with a promise that you will stop corrupting and fouling the political system,” Tinubu said in a statement signed by his media adviser, Sunday Dare.

“Our attention has been drawn to the recently advertised letter by Mr. Buruji Kashamu to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in which he described Tinubu in superlative terms and as his role model. Kashamu needs to stop this cynical fawning. It will not work.

“The days of false adulation are gone in Nigerian politics. Fake praise singers like Kashamu will find that their particular craft is no longer in vogue. During this election cycle, their practice has dramatically turned from the way things are to how it used to be.

“Henceforth, there will be consequences for the positions a politician takes and the words they utter.

“Politicians will no longer be able to change direction and loyalties as if they were changing clothes. Those in politics must know that responsibility and accountability shall now follow them. One can no longer walk both sides of the street at the same time. In case Kashamu has not noticed, the politics of principle defeated the politics of posturing.

“That Kashumu undermined the democratic process by buying his victory does not mean he is part of the new Nigeria. He is merely an isolated vestige of a dying past. The man is an extinct species the realization of which will soon dawn on him.

“For him to liken himself to Bola Tinubu is for a small rut to call itself a mountain. For Kashamu to call Tinubu a role model is Kashamu’s admission that he does not know the meaning of the term. There are no grounds for comparison. There is only contrast. Tinubu has sacrificed years trying to bring democracy to Nigeria. He struggled in opposition to the powers that be. Without this, at times, lonesome fight and singular determination, the great change in Nigerian politics would not have happened as it did. TInubu is an architect of democracy. Kashamu is a failed demolisher of that which Tinubu has strived to build. Under Kashamu’s designs, our elections would be a wholly mercantile undertaking.

“Meanwhile, Kashamu has blown wherever the prevailing winds took him. He stood for nothing and sacrificed nothing except the people’s welfare.

“This same Kashamu rained insults on former President Obasanjo in a vicious campaign of calumny. Kashamu’s party, PDP sponsored defamatory documentaries full of lies and innuendos against me, General Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of APC. Please keep your peace until you make your trip to the USA as a Senator-elect. Upon your return we can then have a conversation. We can then proceed with your repudiation of the PDP with a promise that you will stop corrupting and fouling the political system.

“That Kashamu would deign to compare himself with Tinubu is a distasteful insult to Tinubu and to anyone who knows Nigerian politics. If he has any sense of propriety, Kashamu should retract the corrupt missive and apologize for this latest lie to the public.”

“Kashamu in a factory of incoherent mischief aimed at achieving selfish goals. Before the election, Tinubu was his arch-enemy. Now he seeks to be the prodigal son returned home. This scam will fail.

“Kashamu may be prodigal but he is no political son of Tinubu. Kashamu’s political lineage tracks to people like Bode George and President Jonathan. He should direct his encomiums to these men who are his true role models. They need his contrived affections more than Tinubu does,’’ the statement added.

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Real Reasons Jonathan Sacked IGP Suleiman Abba

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday fired the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba and appointed Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase as Acting Inspector-General of Police, also with immediate effect, both with immediate effect.

Although, a statement announcing Abba’s sack failed to disclose the reason for his immediate sack, Abusidiqu learnt that Abba’s sack is due to the fallout of President Jonathan’s failure to win the March 28 presidential election.

He was particularly sacked for not interpreting the script to rig the March 28 and April 11 elections in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The script, according to the PDP high command, was to use police authorities to coerce the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to rig the vote and return the president in the March 28 election.

It was gathered that Abba had failed to provide sufficient security cover for the ruling PDP agents to rig the general elections for the ruling party after huge funds were released to him  by the presidency for that purpose.

Sources within security circles and the presidency confided in our reporters that IGP Suleiman “committed a litany of sins that have ultimately cost him his exalted position.”

According to the sources, there was a security blueprint designed to aid President Jonathan coast home to victory in the presidential election and also assist the PDP win most of the states during the governorship election.

Abba was said to have been part of the blueprint at the initial stage but was said to have backed out of the deal at the very last minute, by ensuring that police personnel deployed for election duties showed a high degree of impartiality and fair play for all the political parties.

The source revealed that both the president and his henchmen concluded that “Abba reneged and that made the environment conducive for free and fair polls that returned the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) to attain resounding victory over the PDP in most states, especially in the north.”

His colleagues alleged that Abba abandoned the blueprint and allowed the DIGs to call the shots during the elections.

He was also accused of not being firm on “the directive to capture the two key states of Rivers and Lagos” where the contest was particularly important to both the PDP and the APC.

Another source said Jonathan was said to have been particularly irked by Abba’s sudden switch of loyalty to the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC soon after Buhari won the March 28 election.

They mentioned IGP Abba’s alleged presence at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport during the return of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari from his country home in Daura, Katsina State, and also his presence during INEC’s issuance of the certificate of return to Buhari as indicative of the IGP’s loyalty to the president-elect.

Abba’s tenure is the shortest in the nation’s history: he served as substantive IGP for five months. He was confirmed IGP on November 4, 2014, although he was appointed in acting capacity on August 1, 2014, to succeed Mohammed Abubakar who had retired after 35 years of service.

With his removal yesterday, Abba will proceed on a forced retirement four years ahead of his due retirement time. He enlisted in the Nigerian Police as a cadet inspector on December 31, 1984, and would have been due for retirement on March 22, 2019.

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