Not All Nominees Will Be Ministers – Buhari …Says Government Is Broke

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that some of the nominees recently cleared by the senate will not be made substantive ministers, but will only up “sitting” in federal executive council sessions.

Speaking in an interactive session with journalists in New Delhi, capital of India, on Friday, Buhari lamented state of the economy, saying: “The government is broke”.

Backing the 36 Minister nominees Buhari said that he can not work out outside the constitution and that ministers must be appointed in conformity with the constitution of the Federal Government in that ministerial appointment must reflect the 36 states of the country.

And that these minister nominees though representing their sates some will not have portfolios but will be part of his cabinet.

‘We can not work outside constitution there must be a cabinet representative from each state.

“There used to be 42 ministers but we will be lucky if we can have half of that now, others may not be substantive ministers but they will sit in the cabinet because that is what the constitution says and we cannot work outside the constitution.

“Where is the money? Nigeria cannot pay salaries. The federal government had to assist 27 out of the 36 states to pay salaries… The country was materially vandalized and morally sucked.”

Reacting to question on the the divide in the National Assembly over Rotimi Amaechi’s confirmation as minister, Buhari said he did not walk into the presidency alone hence he can not work alone and that some of those having problems at the National Assembly he has never met them.

‘This is team work I said I know people but there are people that I accept from other people in our team that I trust without even knowing them.

‘May be those that are having problem in the National Assembly I doubt if I have meet him in my life but then I am working with others.

‘I did not work into the presidency alone. I have to depend on all the three tiers of government from all part of the country.

Buhari commended India for setting aside a grant of $10 billion for African countries, adding that the assistance will go a long way in helping to shape the continent.

He said he had been able to facilitate some deals that will end up benefitting the country by alleviating unemployment and serving as a boost the economy.

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VIDEO: Radio Biafrans Told To Pick Up Guns And Fight For Nnamdi Kanu

The director of the radio station, British-Nigerian Nwannekaenyi Kenny Okwu-Kanu, aka Nnamdi Kanu has been arrested on charges of treason, sedition and terror.

In this video, radio listeners are told to stop talking out, due to publicity of terror broadcasts and speeches of the group.

The members are told that they know where the weapons are; they should go and pick them up and “defend,” fight Nigeria with deadly force.

Watch the video below:

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17 Things Nigerian Women Do To Find Husbands

Three percent of Nigerian ladies are undisturbed by their lack of a spouse but the other 97% would do just anything to become Mrs. Somebody”.

As we read on, we are going to see some unorthodox things Nigerian women will do in their quest to bag a husband! Some are bizarre, some are good and while some downright bad but if you are willing to try anything and getting a husband is the only activity left on your bucket list, you might want to try a few! (Men beware).

1)  Snatching a friend or relation’s man.

All is fair in love and war! Rumor has it that women have resorted to locking their phones, hiding their men and coding their gist from so-called friends because it’s a jungle out there.

2) Re-inventing themselves.
Pretence is the order of the day. No man wants to tame the shrew or teach the inexperienced or make an honest woman out of a dishonest one so once marriage is desired, women package themselves in pseudo, ready-made, easy-to-use, highly desirable packages. After marriage, what you see is what you get!

3) Trapping with pregnancy.

This used to be the old school method of getting a man to propose. From skipping the pill to seducing the man or getting him drunk when she was ovulating, a woman usually knew she had the man where she wanted him once she missed her period even if there was no commitment. Now the guys are saying YES to baby mamas and YES to child support. Are the girls deterred? NO! The girls have stepped up their game by involving the parents and you know parents don’t like scandals

4) Praying & Fasting.

This would presumably be an honorable means of obtaining a husband but sometimes the prayers are offered up to deities other than God & other times it becomes a song permanently. Taking his photograph to Cele church for a prophetess to pray over or a powerful Alfa. Heard it works like charm. Taking his sp*rm, hair or personal effects to Babalawo. Guys, disposing of your condoms yourself is not such a bad idea.

https://i2.wp.com/api.ning.com/files/x93ABI42iFWOrv11046QWLN9wSRk*-COWljCprJcmVZuqYR2U8QtpOXbryc95wrjroMpea3PgAWC37JRBoeNS9Inxmk5DAXN/blackchurchpeople5111.jpeg?w=940

5)  Outright Jazz.

My friend recently gisted me about how a tied up, live pigeon had been discovered in a friend’s sister-in-law’s box. The woman confessed to using jazz and said she hadn’t been sure if the guy would actually propose so she took the necessary precautions.

6) Putting love potion in his food.
This is classic and timeless but shouldn’t it be called a compelling potion? Because in this case, love na by force!

7) Proposing to a guy.
Yes it does happen (Who wears the engagement ring?) Toasting a man’s family so they make the decision for him! A friend complained that a girl he detested had over the months gotten close to his family.

Lavishing on them, cooking for them and basically being their go-to girl and now his mum had put her foot down that he had to break up with his girlfriend and marry little-miss-went-home-to-mama depending on how much power the family wields, their word may be final.

Asking daddy to get them a husband! If daddy’s a big shot, arranging a husband for you is usually as easy as pie and some men would sell their souls for a large chunk of daddy’s money so both parties are happy.

9) Being the man’s maga.
Some women believe that when you finally get a man to be interested in you, spoiling him and overlooking his every fault would get you into a white gown faster than an okada. Some men don’t mind a woman who houses them, clothes them, feeds them, gives them pocket money, never gets upset with them even when they misbehave and cleans up after them with little or no contribution from them living the dream

10) Giving him unlimited freedom.
Tell me I am number one baby; tell me I am the future mother of your kids and not Amina, Bisi or Ngozi. Women used to want to be the one AND ONLY in their man’s life, now being the number one is good enough.

11) Polishing up a low class, barely educated brother in exchange for a ring.
The deal is simple, you send your cleaner, gateman or driver to night school, you give him language lessons, you take him to buy some new clothes and deodorant and teach him to call you honey instead of madam and in exchange, he gets to marry you, share an expensive bedroom and never worry about his bills ever again!

12) Revamping you.

Change your wardrobe, lose 20kg, buy a truckload of Brazilian hair, study the karma-sutra, do an angioplasty and change the age on your birth-certificate to read 22. Botox, plastic surgery, a compulsory gym membership and a body magic also indicated!

13) Becoming a worker in church.
Rumour has it that men go to church to marry, the same rumour also reveals that Greeters Ushers and Lead Soloists have the best exposure. Praise the Lord!

14) Moving to a new town or part of town.
This always peaks the men’s interest and at the same time you get to run away from your past and the old maid labels.

15) Going for deliverance.

Going for deliverance from a spirit husband and sowing a big marriage seed in church! Giving your possessions to the poor, giving a sacrificial offering or just giving one thing to God that would make you weep.

16) Abandoning hopes, dreams and ambitions.

I’ve heard people say that women looking for a prince charming live unrealistic dreams, virgins are old-school, overly educated women are proud, rich women are not submissive, ambitious women are conceited, women with demanding jobs won’t have time for their families, women who want a faithful man are deluded and women who don’t get pregnant before wedlock have something wrong with their plumbing! So forsake the masters, don’t even dream of a PhD, quit your job, give away all your money and surely a husband will come.

17) Outright Desperation.

And if all the above fails, they marry a married man.

He could be your friend’s husband, your sister’s husband, your cousin’s husband, your colleague’s husband, even your mother’s husband if possible. Can you blame these women? The average guy has commitment phobia or is out to play till he is all spent before he settles down or is waiting to make his first 5 million before saying I do. Even a man with no future ambition or class, much less finances still knows he
could have his pick of the best women out there, once he announces he is looking to settle.

culled from the blueprint newspaper

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Wike Makes U-turn, Denies Saying There Is A Judicial Gang-up Against Him

Already the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, is kind of in the black book of the present Chief Justice of the Federation for trying to play politics with his office by visiting his office on two different occassions without invitation shortly after he was sworn in.

So, after the CJN warned politicians, especially Rivers State government agents, against making unguarded statements against the judiciary, the governor had no choice but to distance himself from his Media Assistant, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, who allegedly claimed that the Judiciary in Nigeria has ganged up against Wike.

Speaking at a meeting with Rivers state Stakeholders at the government house in Port Harcourt, Wike said he has trust in the judiciary and that he never sent any of his aides to affront the judiciary.

“Be assured by the Grace of God our lawyers are working hard to file the appeal within stipulated time. I have told people that it is not in our character to cast aspersions on judges. I have also told people not to speak on my behalf to castigate judges. The tribunal is not the final appellate court on this matter. There is no need of castigating the judiciary.

“We are not one of those when judgment favours you, you says you have confidence in the judiciary. When it does not favour you, you lose confidence in the judiciary. I want to say in the past two days, you must have read where they quoted me as saying judicial terrorism or judicial gang-up, I never said so. And I never authorised anybody to say so on this matter,” he said.
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What I’ll Like To Be Remembered For – Buhari …Says Won’t Loose Sleep Over Criticisms

President Muhammadu Buhari in an emotional statement on Friday said he would like to be remembered as a man who led the battle against corruption when he must have departed this world.

Apparently making reference to a comment by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator from Ekiti, Olujimi Abiodun, who accused him of condoning corruption, President Buhari said such accusations are only but distractions

Olujimi had during the process of the confirmation of former River State governor Rotimi Amaechi as a minister of the Federal Republic said that said though Buhari’s government “is riding on a crest of no corruption, it is actually willing to condone it.”

But Buhari in a chat with journalists at New Delhi, capital of India, said such criticisms are meant to distract him.

He said if there is incriminating evidence against anyone who has “abused trust”, such person will be charged to court.

“I will not lose sleep over it (criticisms); I read it in the newspapers; I watch it on the television,” he said.

“Those that are not corrupt should encourage us to do more but those that are interested in the safety of those that have abused trust in the country will go any length, including bribing people to give false information.

“I am not being selective whoever is caught with documents incriminating him or her will be prosecuted in the court for Nigerians to know those who have abused trust.”

On how he likes to be remembered, Buhari said: “I want to remember by Nigerians as a genuine patriot who not only fought the civil war but fought corruption to standstill”.

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Why Supreme Court Should Uphold Card Reader: Akwa Ibom Election Tribunal Judgment Revisited, By Inibehe Effiong

The Nigerian judiciary is currently faced with a critical and historic task in the exercise of its interpretative jurisdiction which will ultimately enhance or endanger our democracy and electoral process. The fact that the 2015 general elections marked a watershed in the history of Nigeria is beyond dispute. Unfortunately, the most significant innovation that birthed this new electoral, political and ideological order in our country is being threatened by judicial pronouncements like the one delivered in Abuja on Wednesday, October 21 2015 by the Justice Sadiq Umar-led Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal.

Given our notorious history of electoral malfeasance and manipulation of elections by desperate political actors, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) introduced the Card Readers to address this malaise. A section of the political spectrum had ferociously resisted the use Card Readers. In the end, those who fought against this noble innovation lost and Nigeria won.

Various legal arguments have been canvassed against the use of Card Readers in the accreditation process. It has been contended that the use of Card Readers for accreditation is in conflict with the extant provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), particularly Section 49 of the Act. Before going into the kernel of this argument, it is pertinent to address preliminary issues.

Section 160 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) confers powers on INEC to make its own rules or otherwise regulate its own procedure which shall not be subject to the approval or control of the President. Paragraph 15 (I) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution empowers the National Assembly to enlarge the powers of INEC through legislative enactments. In the exercise of this power, the National Assembly enacted the 2010 Electoral Act. Given that INEC as the sole authority empowered by the Constitution to conduct elections is better positioned to make detailed rules and regulations to guide the conduct of elections, the National Assembly delegated the power to make enabling rules for the conduct of elections to INEC. Section 153 of the Electoral Act vest in INEC the power to issue regulations, guidelines and manuals for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the Act and for its administration.

In essence, the Electoral Act will be ineffective without the supportive and complimentary regulations, guidelines and manuals issued by INEC. Pursuant to the powers granted it by the Constitution and the Electoral Act, INEC issued the Guidelines and Regulations for the Conduct of the 2015 General Elections (hereinafter referred to as the Guidelines) and the Manual for Election Officials 2015 (Updated Version). Given that the Card Readers are provided for by the Guidelines, the argument that they are not known to law collapses having regard to the above legal narrative. Paragraph 8 (b) of the Guidelines prescribes the process of accreditation as follows:

“The accreditation process shall comprise of verification of voters using the Card Reader; Checking of the Register of voters; and inking of the cuticle of the specified finger.”

On voting, paragraph 7 (a) of the Guidelines states as follows:

“No person shall be allowed to vote at any polling unit/voting point other than the one to which he/she is alloted and his/her name appears on the register of voters, and he/she presents his/her permanent voter’s card, and has been verified by the Card Reader, or as otherwise determined by the Commission.”

The functions of the Card Reader are deductible from the provisions of paragraph 10 of the Guidelines which prescribes the procedure to be followed when a voter presents himself/herself for voting. It states thus:

10 (a) the APO1 shall: i. request for the PVC from the voter; ii. read the PVC using the Card Reader to ascertain that the photograph on the permanent voter’s card is that of the voter and that the polling unit details correspond with those of that polling unit; iii. request the voter to place the appropriate finger in the place provided on the Card Reader for authentication.

So much has been said about Section 49 of the Electoral Act which the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal relied upon in rejecting the certified true copy of the polling unit by polling unit Card Reader accreditation report (Exhibit 317) obtained by the Petitioners from the INEC headquarters in Abuja on 27 April,  2015. To underscore its substance, Section 49 of the Electoral Act is reproduced below:

“49 (1). Any person intending to vote with his voter’s card, shall present himself to a Presiding Officer at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered with his voter’s card.
(2) The Presiding Officer shall, on being satisfied that the name of the person is on the Register of Voters, issue him a ballot paper and indicate on the register that the person has voted.

It has been forcefully contended that the INEC Guidelines and Manual as they relate to the use of Card Readers are inconsistent with the provisions of Section 49 of the Electoral Act reproduced above. This argument to my mind anchors on the reasoning that any person/voter whose name appears on the register of voters is entitled to vote and that the Card Reader cannot operate to exclude such a person from voting. This argument with respect, is totally untenable and misplaced. A dispassionate perusal of this provision (Section 49) undeniably shows that any person intending to vote with his VOTER’S CARD shall present himself to a Presiding Officer at the unit in which his name is registered with his VOTER’S CARD.

The emphasis of ‘voter’s card’ in the preceding paragraph is deliberate. The commonsensical, elementary and literary interpretation of the provisions of subsection 1 of Section 49 of the Electoral Act is that possession of a valid voter’s card is a condition precedent to accreditation and voting. Therefore, notwithstanding that a person’s name is on the register of voters, the right to vote does not arise except the person whose name is on the register of voters has presented his/her voter’s card. At the risk of repetition, I dare say that the Card Reader has only complimented the requirements and procedure under Section 49 by verifying and authenticating the voter’s card to determine its genuineness.

It should be noted that the voter’s card that was introduced by INEC for the 2015 general elections is radically different from the ones used during the 2011 general elections. This is the point that the learned judges of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal, with respect, may not have appreciated. The disparity between the voter’s cards used during the two elections is very significant. In the 2011 general elections, INEC used mere temporary voter’s cards. However, in the 2015 general elections, INEC introduced a Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).

The new Voter’s Card (PVC), which is far more advanced than anything used in the United States, was used for the first time. The PVCs contain voters’ biometric information in an embedded microchip and replace the Temporary Voter’s Card that was used in the 2011 general elections. The PVC itself is produced by electronic means. What then is wrong in using an electronic device (Card Reader) to determine whether a PVC is genuine or not? How does that encroach on Section 49?.

All that the Card Reader does is to ascertain that the photograph on the PVC is that of the bearer and that the polling unit details on the PVC corresponds with that of the polling unit that the bearer presents himself for voting. It also authenticates the fingerprint of the bearer. The question is: what is wrong with that? How does the Card Reader contravene Section 49 of the Electoral Act? It is instructive to note that by the provisions of subsection 2 of Section 49, the Presiding Officer can only issue ballot papers to a prospective voter if he is SATISFIED that the name of the person is on the voters register.

The Act is completely silent on the test or procedure to be adopted in determining this satisfaction. Neither the Courts nor the Legislature can prescribe this test of satisfaction for the simple reason that it is not within their constitutional mandate to conduct elections. The framers of the Constitution may have envisaged a situation like this when they enshrined in Section 160 that the rules made by INEC shall not be subject to the approval or control of the President.

If INEC decides, as it did, that Presiding Officers recruited by it must only rely on an objective test in determining whether they are satisfied or not that a person’s name is on the register of voters how does that offend Section 49 of the Electoral Act? If the courts see nothing offensive in INEC introducing the PVC what then is the logic in rejecting the device that is meant to verify that same PVC? We cannot accept the PVC and reject the Card Reader.

It is rather shocking that the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal saw nothing wrong with the failure or and refusal by the 2nd Respondent (PDP) to tender the 7 big bags of incident forms it had subpoenaed INEC to bring to the Tribunal. The Respondents witnesses testified in the open court that incident forms were used for accreditation when the Card Reader failed. The 3rd Respondent (INEC) pleaded the use of incident forms. PDP brought 7 big bags said to contain the incident forms which the INEC representative that brought them said were used for accreditation in all the 31 Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State. The 2nd Respondent closed its case without tendering the said incident forms despite being reminded by the Tribunal that the incident forms were not in evidence. Surprisingly, the Tribunal did not hold the refusal to tender the incident forms against the Respondents. It blamed the Petitioners for not taking “advantage” of the situation and tendering the incident forms. But incident forms was not part of the case of the Petitioners, it was the case of the Respondents that they were used. The defence of manual accreditation advanced by the Respondents was premised on the incident forms. Having failed to tender same, the Tribunal ought to have viewed the defence as abandoned.

In contrast, the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Enugu State on Monday, October 12, 2015 in the petition between Chimaroke Nnamani v. Gilbert Nnaji held in its judgment that the failure by the Respondents to tender incident forms which it had pleaded as having been used for accreditation was fatal to its case. The Respondent in that case had disputed the Card Reader accreditation figure put out by the Petitioner by pleading the use of incident forms. The Tribunal rightly held it against the Respondent and proceeded to nullify the election. This is one of the issues that I hope the appellant courts will reconsider in the interest of justice.

One nagging puzzle that the Akwa Ibom Governorship Tribunal did not resolve is: how did 437, 128 accredited persons cast over 1.1 million votes? The polling unit by polling unit accreditation report (Exhibit 317) obtained from the INEC headquarters in Abuja shows that only 437, 128 persons were accredited for the April 11, 2015 governorship election The question is: between the Petitioners and the Respondents, who had the evidential burden of proving the differentials? It is humbly submitted that the Petitioners having tendered documentary evidence (Exhibit 317) to prove that only 437, 18 persons were accredited by the Card Reader which was the only approved mode of accreditation based on the April 2, 2015 press statement (Exhibit 322), the onus had shifted to the Respondents who disputed Exhibit 317 to explain the differentials. See. Sections 131, 132 and 134 of the Evidence Act 2011 and the case of Fayemi v. Oni (2010) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1222) 326.

Another issue that calls for the intervention of the appellate courts is the partial cancellation of elections in Akwa Ibom State by the Tribunal. This has occasioned disaffection with the judicial process. The Tribunal agreed partially with the Petitioners that there were widespread disenfranchisement of eligible voters during the April 11 elections. After reviewing the evidence of the Petitioners witnesses who it said were witnesses of truth, and the very indicting report of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (Exhibit 12) and the report of the Nigeria Police Force (Exhibit 337), the Tribunal cancelled elections in eighteen (18) out of the thirty one (31) local government areas of the State. Leaving only thirteen (13). For us to appreciate the gravity of the contents of Exhibits 12 and 337, the observation part of Exhibit 12 is reproduced below:

“It has been observed clearly, that the general conduct of the April 11th Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections was not properly conducted by (INEC) by all standard, it appears INEC to have had a close dealing with the sitting authority in the State. Thuggery, killings, snatching of election materials was above average. Therefore, the general conduct of the Election in April 11th, 2015 Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections was marred with high level of violence and killings.”

Exhibit 337 is the Certified True Copy of the report of the Nigeria Police on the said election duly signed by AIG B. A. Bolanta, NPM, fwc, supervising AIG, Akwa Ibom State Command. The report is littered with incidences of violence, killings, kidnappings, macheting, snatching of ballot papers, etc. With this mountain of evidence of malpractices and fraud one can understand why the Respondents ferociously fought against card reader. It is instructive to note that the Nigeria Police Force, the 5th respondent in this case, did not defend the petition. Despite being served with processes, the Police declined to defend the ‘election’ at the Tribunal.

The position of the Nigeria Police Force regarding the election is contained in Exhibit 337. This seems to explain why the police did not defend the so-called election at the tribunal. No evidence was led by the Respondents to discredit or contradict Exhibits 12 and 337. The question is: why did the Tribunal not cancel election in all the 31 local government areas of the State? What happened in the 18 LGAs that elections were cancelled that didn’t occur in the remaining 13 LGAs?. Let us consider this: Mkpat Enin is one of the 13 LGAs that the Tribunal preserved. That is the LGA that one omnipotent Barr. Jerry Akpan signed Form EC8B (Ward results) in all 14 wards. In that same Mkpat Enin, there were alteration and mutilation of figures in (Ikpa Ikono 111 Ward 14), (Ikpa Ibom IV, Ward 08); (Ibiaku 11, Ward 10). This scandalous situation was within the knowledge of the Tribunal as contained in Exhibit XX1-XX14. Yet, the purported election in that LGA was not cancelled. This is just one example.

One wonders what else the Tribunal expected the Petitioners to do or prove. The judgment of the Tribunal seems to give the unpalatable impression that the law is not a sufficient instrument that can be used to discover the truth. What is substantial non-compliance? If there was no valid election in 18 out of 31 LGAs what is the basis for allowing the 13 LGAs to remain? Section 178 (4) of the Constitution states that for the purpose of election to the office of governor, a State shall be regarded as one constituency. Therefore if Akwa Ibom State is one constituency for the purpose of gubernatorial election, what is the basis for cancelling election in 18 LGAs and allowing 13 to stand? If invalid election in 18 out of 31 LGAs (almost 60 percent) is not substantial non-compliance then what number of LGAs will be substantial?.

Again, the Tribunal, with respect, failed to give effect to the mandatory requirements of Section 179 (2) (b) of the Constitution which states that a person can only be duly elected as the governor of a State if “he has not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the State.” There is only one possible interpretation to this provision. Akwa Ibom State has 31 LGAs. There can be no valid election or returned except a candidate scores at least 25 percent votes in at least 21 LGAs of Akwa Ibom State. In this country, we were once told that 16 is greater than 19. That was in our tragic past. There is no way Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s “election” can be validated with just 13 LGAs. Having cancelled election in 18 out of 31 the Tribunal ought to have given effect to Section 179 (2) (b) of the Constitution by nullifying election in the entire State which is one constituency and also based on the well entrenched principle of substantial non-compliance. It is as if this was an election into local government councils and not a State.

It is my considered view that the argument that the use of Card Readers for accreditation contradicts the Electoral Act is more artificial than natural. It is also my respectful view that contradictions within the context of two enactments should be clear from intent, explicit in wordings and manifest in practice. The courts should never abdicate its sacred mandate of progressive and liberal interpretation of laws in preference for retrogressive and over rigid construction of statutory provisions. If the Legislature intended to exclude the use of Card Readers for accreditation by Section 49 or 53 of Electoral Act they would have said so expressly. This position is further reinforced by the provisions of Section 52 (2) of the Electoral Act which expressly states that “the use of electronic voting machine for the time being is prohibited”.

It is hoped that the ‘expressio unius est exclusio alterius’ rule which implies that the express mention of one thing is the exclusion of others will direct the minds of the appellate courts in construing the combined effect of Sections 49, 52 (2) and 153 of the Electoral Act and paragraph 8 of the Guidelines. Card Reader is not an electronic voting machine. What the Electoral Act forbids is electronic voting and not electronic accreditation. Notably, the marginal note to Section 49 of the Electoral Act reads “Issue of ballot papers” whereas the marginal note to paragraph 8 of the Guidelines reads “Accreditation”. It is trite law that marginal notes do not form part of an enactment but they offer a guide in the construction and interpretation of the enactment. It is an elementary principle that accreditation is sacrosanct to a valid election. The cases of Nadabo v. Dubai (2011) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1245) 155 at 175 and Ogboru v. Uduaghan (2011) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1232) 538 at 599 are clear on this point.

INEC did not only provide for the use of Card Readers. It also made provisions on the remedial measures to be taken should there be cases of failure of Card Readers. There was provision for replacement of Card Readers that malfunctioned. In case of sustained malfunctioning of a Card Reader at a given polling unit, the rules required that the election be postponed to the next day. Paragraph 12 and 13 of the Guidelines expressly provides for this simple procedure. The Supreme Court had settled in the case of CPC v. INEC (2011) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1279) 493 at 542 that INEC has the legal power to make rules governing the conduct of elections.

In the final analysis, this issue will be tested at and settled by the Supreme Court. Already, there are conflicting judgments on the issue from different election tribunals. This to my mind is a clear indication that there is no hard and fast rule about the legality of the use of Card Readers for accreditation. The judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal is very commendable.

Whether Card Reader is cognizable by the law or not is a substantial question of law for which two possible but varying arguments may be proffered. I am confident that the apex court as the final arbiter will not be guided by rigid arguments but by the spirit and letters of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, Guidelines, Manuals, public policy and the overriding need to enhance our electoral system and constitutional democracy.

I am confident that the apex court will not shy away from recognising the significance of Card Reader to the survival and advancement of our electoral system. The issue of legality of the use of Card Reader is beyond the conflicting interests of the litigants. It is now about the survival of democracy and redemption of our electoral process. Both local and international observers gave a unanimous verdict that the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial “election” in Akwa Ibom State was a sham.

INEC knew from history that accreditation is the foundation of every election and that if it gets it right on accreditation with the aid of Card Reader, the the entire system will be substantially purged. Those who opposed the use of Card Readers out of their disdain for credible elections prior to the March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections and failed are now trying to use the courts with Section 49 of the Electoral Act as their talisman to achieve their aim and legalise their illegality. God forbid!

May the Supreme Court of Nigeria as the guardian of the Constitution, protector of our democracy and civil liberties never submit to the machinations of the enemies of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria. Amen.

Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).

He can be reached through: inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

 

 

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Orubebe To Face Code Of Conduct Tribunal Over N70million Bribe, False Declaration Of Assets

The former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, will be arraigned before a Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on November 9th for false declaration of assets and taking a N70 million bribe.

Mr. Orubebe gained international attention during Nigeria’s presidential elections when he interrupted the collation of votes in Abuja by the Independent National Election Commission. As he disrupted the collation proceedings, he delivered an unsolicited tirade against INEC and its chairman Attahiru Jega.

He is now facing four counts of false declaration of assets, the solicitation of a bribe, and the acceptance of a bribe.  The charges allege that on two separate occasions Mr. Orubebe provided fabricated records of his financial assets to the authorities, despite being legally required to provide an accurate declaration of assets.

In addition, he is charged with the solicitation of a bribe from a Dr. Jonathan Alota as repayment for the awarding of a contract to Dr. Alota’s company Chemtronics Nigeria.  Mr. Orubebe then allegedly accepted a payment of N20 million from Dr. Alota.

The CCT served a summons to Mr. Orubebe on October 29, and scheduled his arraignment for November, 9th.

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APC To PDP: Stop Throwing Juvenile Tantrums Against Everyone; Rebrand Now Or Die

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed the communique issued by the PDP National Caucus on the so-called political developments in the nation as a rehash of the opposition party’s infantile whining which will not save it from going down unless it rebrands most urgently.

”It is time for the PDP to take a long, hard look at itself in the mirror and change everything that is ugly about the party, instead of wasting its energy and time on irrelevancies,” the party said in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

It said the PDP cannot continue to do things in its trademark old, crooked ways and expect a different result.

”The PDP just doesn’t get it, despite being the architect of its own fall from power. The days of winning elections with the aid of slush funds, brigandage, deceit and rigging are gone forever, hence the PDP must return to the drawing board to fashion out decent and empirical ways of repackaging and selling itself to Nigerians, just like the
opposition did when they decided to come together,” APC said

The party said the PDP’s ceaseless and ill-advised attack on the judiciary, now its favourite whipping boy, the endless put-down of government agencies and the demonization of everyone but itself will fetch the party nothing but political grief.

”Instead of a blanket and unsubstantiated accusation against the judiciary over the election petition tribunal rulings in Rivers and Akwa Ibom, the PDP would have shown itself to be a serious party if it had provided statistics on how many of the cases filed at the various election petition tribunals nationwide, after the 2015 elections, have
so far been decided in favour of the PDP and the APC, so that Nigerians can see whether the PDP has not won any single petition or whether all the cases have been won by the APC.

”The PDP has forgotten that the same judiciary that it is wilfully castigating today had decided many election petitions in favour of the party and against the APC, whether at the Governorship, National Assembly or State Assembly levels, and the ruling party has not opted to bring the whole house crashing down on everyone just because of
that.

”Going down the memory lane, when the PDP took itself to court in 2007 over the Governorship election in Rivers, the same judiciary that has now become an apparition to the PDP awarded the Governorship to a candidate who never even featured on the ballot because the party crookedly substituted his name. Then, the PDP did not see the
judiciary as being used by the then PDP Administration, neither did the opposition castigate the judiciary,” it said.

APC admonished the PDP to stop yowling and engage in strategic thinking that could propel the party forward, rather than continue to be nostalgic about its past, which is neither dignifying nor enlivening.

”The 16 years of the PDP – which the party has continued to shamelessly celebrate – are nothing to celebrate, either for the impunity that characterized the party’s governance, the massive looting of the national treasury that is still being assessed or the
bastardization of all the values that the nation holds dear. Thankfully, President Muhammadu Buhari has brought sanity to governance even as the PDP has continued to try to distract him with their endless wailing.

”Our parting word for the PDP: Stop throwing juvenile tantrums against everyone, especially the judiciary. Stop wasting your energy on frivolous accusations. Learn how to communicate your thoughts to Nigerians in a more civilized way and put your shoulder to the wheel if you want to reincarnate as a force to be reckoned with in our
country’s political firmament,” APC said.

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AUDIO: Abdulrasheed Maina Opens Up On Pension Scam

In 2013, Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, reportedly fled Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to escape arrest by the police and other security agents.

He was alleged to have embezzled pension funds which he was appointed to administered to retirees.

He opens up to Brekete family on his side of the story.

We cannot independently confirm it is him.

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Customs Explains Why 34 Senior Officers Were Retired

The Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) has explained the rational behind the retirement of 34 senior officers from the service.

Confirming the retirement of the officers in a statement on Friday, spokesman of the service, Wale Adeniyi, said their retirement is part of the reorganisation plan of the custom boss, Hameed Ali.

Five Deputy-Comptroller Generals, who are part of the 34 senior officers retired had earlier leaked their retirement letter to the media.

“They are John Atte MFR, Ibrahim Mera OON, Musa Tahir mni, Austin Nwosu and Akinade Adewuyi.

But Adeniyi’s statement confirmed their retirement alongside other officers of the service.

“As part of on-going re-organisation in Nigeria Customs Service, 34 senior officers have been retired from service with immediate effect,” the statement read.

“The re-organisation of the service is one of the core mandates of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd).

“Those affected in the exercise are five deputy comptrollers-general of Customs (DCGs) who have earlier given notification to the Comptroller-General for voluntary disengagement.

“Three others, of the rank of Assistant Comptroller-General are also affected in the re-organization exercise. They are Madu Mohammed mni, Secretary to the Nigeria Customs Board, Victor Gbemudu, Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘A’ and Bello Liman, Assistant Comptroller-General, (Headquarters).

The rest are of the rank of Comptrollers serving in customs headquarters, zonal offices and various area commands.

“The comptroller-general of customs stated that the retirements were part of measures to kick-start the repositioning of the service for improved performance.”

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PDP Senators Pass Confidence Vote On Saraki Despite Failing To Get His Support To Stop Amaechi

Some senators of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party have restated their confidence in the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in spite of the disagreement over Rotimi Amaechi’s confirmation as minister on Thursday.

The senators, who are members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said they would also continue to support Saraki as he faced his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

One of them, Gershom Bassey, said that there was no rift between the senators of the PDP and their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts in the red chamber, adding that the PDP senators still had confidence in Saraki’s leadership.

Bassey said that the senators may disagree on issues, but that such disagreements were healthy for legislation.

“We have had two votes of confidence on him and they stand. He has the confidence of the senate and there is absolutely no problem. In spite of the disagreement between the APC and PDP senators, nothing has changed. In democracy, people must have different points of view and we must express those points of view.

“The senate is a vibrant senate that has a lot of vibrant debates; the Senate is not a football team that we all have to play in the same direction,’’ he said.

According to him, in the senate, we can play in different directions and still score the goal; I think the more debate there is in the senate, the more vibrant it is.

“We must continue to discus different points of view; it is important that we have different points of view, but that does not mean we are enemies,’’ Bassey said.

He revealed that the major disagreement was not the petition against Amaechi, but the move by APC senators to flout the rules of the senate and confirm the nominee without considering the report on him.

He said that PDP senators did not see any reason for the rush to confirm Amaechi, adding that PDP would never be part of any move to disobey the rules of the senate in favour of anyone.

On his part, Sen. George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) said that PDP members at the upper chamber walked out to protest the refusal of the senate to discuss a committee’s report on Amaechi, insisting that they would not go back on the decision.

Sekibo, who submitted the petition against Amaechi to the senate shortly after the former governor was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for ministerial appointment, said that PDP senators had made their position known.

According to him, it is now left for Nigerians to know what to do.

On Saraki’s assets declaration trial, he maintained that PDP senators were solidly behind him.

“The Code of Conduct case is against an individual and not APC. We gave him our support in the spirit of esprit de corps. As far as senators are concerned, what happened yesterday has passed; we are not working for political parties, but for the entire nation.

“When the time comes to express the wish of your people, you do that and that is what we did yesterday. We didn’t get it, so we let it go so that the country can move forward; we cannot hold the country to ransom,” he said.

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Buhari, APC Manipulating Courts, INEC, Says PDP …Commends Its Senators For Staging A Walkout

The Peoples Democratic Party said on Friday that the gains of its 16-year rule in Nigeria were being eroded by the governing All Progressives Congress.

The party said under the APC, basic democratic tenets have failed to function while the party perpetuates “actions tilting towards dictatorship”.

The PDP made the allegation in a communique made available at the end of its meeting of national caucus which held at the Ondo state governors lodge in Asokoro district of Abuja on Thursday.

The communique was signed by the national secretary of the party, Wale Oladipo, “…there is serious cause for concern in the nation’s political environment, especially as it concerns the survival of the nation’s democracy,” PDP said.

PDP also accused the APC government of insensitivity to critical issues raised by the opposition party.

They said President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is interfering with the activities of the judiciary, legislature and the Independent National Electoral Commission using the Directorate of States Services.

The PDP said it had resolved to vigorously resist the APC’s interference.

“The party finds it offensive and provocative, the judiciary’s handling of cases involving it in election tribunals in some states, particularly, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Taraba, Ogun, Plateau and Lagos states.

“The tainted judgments of these tribunals, which are evidently products of arm-twisting from the nation’s security operatives under the direct command of an APC member remains unacceptable to us,” it said.

The PDP also said it had “conclusive evidence” of external influence on the Rivers State governorship election tribunal.
The party wondered how the tribunal was able to deliver its judgment within 24 hours, “in a case that had nearly 100 witnesses, 1000 pieces of documentary evidences and nine counsel’s final written addresses; each not less than 40 pages”.

“The decision, in view of the rather interesting history of the case, indicates that the judiciary, like the PDP and the Nigerian electorate are victims of the APC-led Federal Government,” PDP said.

The party said it hoped the judiciary, as an institution, would restore its image by taking immediate measures to protect itself from political interference as well as ensure that needed steps are taken at the appellate levels to remedy the “embarrassing” ruling by some of the election petitions tribunals.

“The party has also noted clandestine moves by the APC to use various agencies of government, to manipulate the processes and rig the outcome of the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states in their favour and vowed to deploy every means within the law to resist such,” it said.

The PDP called on President Buhari, “as the leader of the country, to stand up for justice and equity and halt the undemocratic attitudes of agents of government in the interest of peace and stability”.

Meanwhile, the party has commended PDP senators for their decision to walk out of the Senate chamber shortly before the former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, was confirmed as a minister.

The party said the decision of the senators was commendable because it was a “collective stand against impunity and corruption, in line with the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people”.

The PDP said the decision by APC senators to confirm Mr. Amaechi served as “a death knell on their party’s pretentious war against corruption”.

“The PDP further notes that whilst former APC governors are being rewarded with ministerial appointments, their PDP counterparts are being hounded and harassed in the selective war against corruption,” it said.

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