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2023: Lawan missing from Senatorial candidates, as Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, 15 others make INEC Presidential list

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…Surprises as Akpabio, Ibrahim Shekarau make senatorial list

…4,223 candidates contesting for 469 legislative positions

…1,101 candidates vying for 109 Senatorial seats, 3,122 candidates for Federal Constituencies

…As governorship, state constituencies candidates to know fate on 4th October

By Moses Adeniyi

Surprises have trailed the list of candidates for the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.

According to the record, all the 18 political parties have fielded candidates and their running mates for the Presidential election.

According to the list analysed by Nigerian NewsDirect, for legislative elections, 4,223 candidates are contesting for 469 legislative positions of the National Assembly.

Of the figure, 1,101 candidates are vying for 109 Senatorial seats and 3,122 candidates for Federal Constituencies i.e. House of Representatives seats.

In terms of gender distribution, 3,875 candidates are male, made up of 35 for Presidential and Vice Presidential, 1,008 for the Senate and 2,832 for the House of Representatives.

Similarly, 381 females comprising one for Presidential, 92 for Senate, and 288 for House of Representatives are contesting. There are also 11 Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the race.

While for the Presidency, the number one seat of the Country, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu made the list as the candidate for  the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi for the Labour Party (LP) among the 18-man Presidential candidates list for the forthcoming 2023 election, surprises showered the senatorial list as the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan was missing among the contestants for senatorial seats.

A circular released by INEC on Tuesday, captured the origin, age, and other details of the candidates.

For the presidency candidates, the record captured Tinubu as 70 years old, according to his own approved records.

This is against the hypothetical submission of the renowned flutist and former President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) Tee Mac Omatshola Iseli, who had alleged that Tinubu was older than he claimed to be.

Tee Mac, who revealed that he was an in-law to Tinubu, had noted that the former Lagos State governor was 86 years and not 70.

For his qualification, the Commission wrote B.Sc in Business Administration.

The circular held Tinubu’s running mate, Shettima Kashim is 55 years old and presented Primary school certificate, General certificate of Education, B.Sc Agriculture.

Obi’s record as disclosed by the INEC circular, was FSLC WASC/GCE Degree and is 61 years old.

His running mate, Baba Ahmed Yusuf, holds FSLC GCE, PhD and is 53 years old.

The candidate of the PDP, Atiku is 75 and presented GCE, Masters, while his running mate Okowa Ifeanyi is 63 and presented HSC MBBS.

…Surprises shadow senatorial list as Lawan missing among contestants

Meanwhile, surprises have trailed the senatorial candidates list as the name of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was missing in the circular.

The development translates that the Senate President may have finally lost out in his bid to return to the red chamber, following the omission of his name from the final list of candidates for the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

Recall that Lawan had preferred contesting to clinch the APC presidential ticket to run as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, but lost at the primary, coming fourth.

However, while Lawan lost it on the list, Godswill Akpabio, another APC Presidential Aspirant made the list as the party’s candidate for Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District.

Lawan’s predicament may not be unconnected with his failed attempt to clinch on the presidential ticket as the flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having lost the primary, his move to clinch again the senatorial ticket for  Yobe North had ensued into battle with Bashir Machina, an unsuccessful fight which appears to have cost the APC with no candidate for the Yobe North senatorial district.

…Akpabio, Ibrahim Shekarau make  senatotrial candidates final list

Unlike Lawan, Godswill Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa-Ibom who also had aspired for the APC presidential ticket, had through a court order, secured his party’s ticket to contest for the Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial district in next year’s polls.

INEC documents had earlier showed that Machina was duly nominated as the candidate of APC for Yobe North senatorial district which is being claimed by Lawan.

In a certified true copy (CTC) of the report of INEC officials that monitored the primary election, signed by Omale Samuel, dated May 28, 2022, Machina scored 289 votes out of the 300 delegates that participated in the exercise.

For Akwa Ibom North-West, Udom Ekpoudom, a retired deputy inspector general of police had won the ticket before the APC leadership substituted him with Akpabio, only for last week’s ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which ordered INEC to accept and publish Akpabio’s name as the candidate of the APC for the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial.

The court had held that INEC acted illegally by refusing to accept and publish Akpabio’s name since it was sent to it by the APC.

INEC had refused to recognise Akpabio as a candidate on the ground that the commission did not monitor the APC primary which he claimed to have won.

Also, Ibrahim Shekarau made the list as the candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for Kano Central Senatorial District, despite having defected from the NNPP about a month ago.

…Governorship, State Constituencies candidates to know fate on 4th October 2022 

This is just as the final lists of governorship candidates and those of state constituencies would be made known next month, 4th October 2022, INEC has disclosed.

At its regular weekly meeting, the Commission approved the final list of candidates for national elections (Presidential, Senatorial and Federal Constituencies) pursuant to section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and item 8 of the Timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 General Election.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education committee, Barr. Festus Okoye in a statement explained that the publication of the full names and addresses of all nominated candidates followed the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise.

“Nigerians may recall that at end of the process, the personal particulars of all nominated candidates were displayed in their constituencies nationwide as provided by section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.

“Subsequently, validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally deliver such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election.

“Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 15th July 2022 for national elections and 12th August 2022 for State elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.

“Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction.

“The list published today contains the names of candidates validly nominated for national elections at the close of party primaries and the period earmarked for withdrawal and substitution of candidates.

“The final list of candidates for state elections (governorship and state constituencies) will be published on 4th October 2022 as already indicated on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.

“We note the fact that not all the political parties conducted primaries in all the constituencies, submitted the particulars of candidates that emerged from valid primaries or substituted their candidates after fresh primaries within 14 days as provided in section 33 of the Electoral Act.

“This has led to numerous litigations, some of which are ongoing. Where the commission was served with court orders by aggrieved aspirants or candidates before the publication of this list, these have been indicated under the remark column,” the statement read in parts.

“The list for specific constituencies is published in each State where they are located while the comprehensive nationwide list has been uploaded to the Commission’s website.”

The Commission appealed “to all political parties to channel any observations on the list of candidates to the Commission and such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party and supported with an affidavit as provided in section 32(2) of the Electoral Act 2022.”

…Abia

More so, in Abia, a total of 33 senatotrial candidates and 81 House of Representatives flag bearers from different political parties made the final list of contestants for the 2023 elections in the State.

The list signed by the Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, was published at the INEC headquarters Umuahia on Tuesday.

The list revealed 11 candidates are contesting for Abia North senatorial seat; 10 for Abia Central; and 12 for Abia South.

The only three females in the male-dominated list include: Carol Dike-Okorafor, All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA (Abia North); Nnennaya Nwosu, APM (Abia North); and Blessing Nwagba, APC (Abia South).

According to the list, the oldest candidate is Desmond Ihezie of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) 89 (Abia South); while the youngest are Saidu Ahmed, also of NNPP (Abia North), 36; and Joseph Ulu, NRM (Abia South), also 36.

Some of the candidates that made the final list include: Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abia South; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; APGA (Abia South); Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; APC (Abia North); and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, PDP (Abia North).

Others are Col. Austin Akobundu, PDP (Abia Central); Chief Chuku Wachuku, YPP (Abia Central); and Darlington Nwokocha, Labour Party (Abia Central) who has “court order” as a remark against his column.

Meanwhile, out of the 81 candidates on the list of House of Representatives, only 12 are females while 69 are males.

The oldest candidate according to the list is Lawson Akpulonu, 77, African Democratic Congress, ADC (Ukwa East/Ukwa West federal constituency).

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Bauchi: Police apprehend final-year law student for alleged online harassment, character defamation

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Adeyanju Esther

In a significant development that underscores the growing concerns over online defamation and harassment, The Bauchi State Police Command has apprehended a 34-year-old final-year Law student of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Usman Adamu, for alleged involvement in defaming a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the state, CSP Danladi Mohammed, on Facebook.

According to a statement released by the spokesman of the Bauchi State Police Command, SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, Adamu stands accused of making derogatory statements against CSP Danladi Mohammed on his Facebook page, thereby tarnishing the officer’s reputation and character.

The arrest came after Adamu confessed to the online publication during police interrogation, admitting that he had based his statements on hearsay without a thorough investigation of the situation. The statement from SP Wakil highlighted the sequence of events leading to Adamu’s arrest.

It was revealed that the incident prompting Adamu’s defamatory remarks occurred on April 2, when one AbdulmumuniLiman, also known as Kwakiya, allegedly assaulted and inflicted injuries on another individual over a land dispute. The police received a complaint about the incident, prompting an investigation into the matter.

The situation escalated when a mob gathered in solidarity with the complainant, leading to a physical confrontation between the two sides. However, the timely intervention of a police team, led by DPO CSP Danladi Mohammed, helped resolve the conflict and prevent further escalation.

Despite the resolution of the situation, Adamu’s defamatory remarks on Facebook sparked concerns about potential misinformation and its implications for community peace and security. Consequently, Adamu was arrested and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation, in accordance with directives from the Commissioner of Police.

In a public apology posted on his Facebook page on April 8, Adamu expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging his mistake and seeking forgiveness from the authorities and specifically from CSP Danladi Mohammed. He emphasized the fallibility of human nature and urged individuals to disregard his previous statements.

The arrest of Adamu serves as a cautionary tale regarding the consequences of online harassment and defamation, highlighting the need for responsible use of social media platforms and adherence to ethical standards in communication. As the investigation progresses, authorities remain vigilant in upholding justice and ensuring the protection of individuals’ reputations from unwarranted attacks.

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Ondo 2024: Aiyedatiwa coasts to victory

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..As supporters of aggrieved aspirants storm Party secretariat

…Aspirants call for cancellation of election, allege irregularities

By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo state, has emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming November 16th, 2024 governorship election in the state.

Aiyedatiwa was declared winner of the governorship primary election which took place on Sunday by the Chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo at the International Culture and Event Centre, The Dome, in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

Ododo, while announcing Aiyedatiwa as winner, said he scored 48,569 votes to beat other 15 aspirants.

He said the other aspirants score is as follows: Wale Akinterinwa; 1,952, Olusola Oke; 14,915, Mayowa Akinfolarin; 15,343, Jimoh Ibrahim; 9,456, Isaac Kekemeke; 1,045, Gbenga Edema; 395, Olamide Ohunyeye; 424, Jimi Odimayo; 490, Olusoji Ehinlanwo; 492, Morayo Lebi; 290, Diran Iyantan; 348, Francis Faduyile; 353, Ifeoluwa Oyedele; 462, Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo; 529 and Funke Omogoroye; 115.

While Ododo said that the total numbers of voters; 171, 922, accredited voters; 95178, total vote cast; 95178, valid votes; 95178, invalid vote; nil.

According to Ododo, who was flanked by the secretary of the committee, Ovie Omo-Agege and other members of the committee said; “reports from the field revealed that the primary election went on peacefully, and the end of the exercise, votes were counted and recorded.

“By the power conferred on the committee, and in line with APC guide lines for the nomination of the candidate, of the party in the general election, I Ahmed Usman Ododo, Governor of Kogi State and the Chairman of the Committee and the Returning Officer of the Ondo State APC governorship primary election, held on the 20th, 2024, hereby declared that Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest numbers of votes cast in the direct primary election, is hereby return elected and declare winner.”

Some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo state, on Sunday stormed the Secretariat of the party, in Akure, to express displeasure over alleged irregularities in the conduct of Saturday’s governorship primary election across the 18 local government areas in the state.

The protesters who were supporters of Olusola Oke, Wale Akinterinwa and Jimi Odimayo, alleged that the primary was fraught with irregularities and illegalities.

The demonstrators, who stormed the Secretariat, however, demanded for the suspension of Kogi state Governor, Ahmed Usman Ododo from the party, who led other seven-man committee to conduct the primary.

While flaunting different protest banners and placards such as “No election in Ondo.,” “APC primary electoral officers failed to show up in all wards in Ondo State,” “We demand fairness and justice in APC primary election in Ondo,” they alleged that; “Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will.”

The placards also include inscriptions like, “No mandate for Aiyedatiwa, We’re calling for fresh primary election,” “NWC of APC, No Mandate for Aiyedatiwa,” “Saturday ‘s APC primary in Ondo was a sham,” “APC Must Not Collapse In Ondo State,” “Primary Election materials were not distributed in all wards across Eighteen LGAs in Ondo State,” among others.

They, however, called for fresh primary elections for the interest of peace and tranquility.

Addressing journalists, the Director General for Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Ondo Central Senatorial District, Adeniran Oyebade who spoke on behalf of the protesters said the election was a broad-day robbery.

His words: “We are protesting against our mandate that was stolen. It was  broad-daylight robbery, a monumental disaster. APC delegated some people to Ondo State to conduct the primary; apparently, that was never done. They remained in Akure and started writing results. They wrote the results of 203 wards all across Ondo State, taking the mandate of the people into their own hands.”

He alleged that, “at the end of the day, we started seeing different results flying around stating one particular candidate won the election, but that never happened.”

“APC as a party is about to set Ondo State on fire, and we will never take this lightly. We want the most popular candidate, a candidate that knows the people; we want the candidate whose name is a household brand in every part of Ondo State. We do not want an unpopular or controversial candidate; we don’t want a wife beater. We want someone with a sound mind,” Oyebade claimed.

He also claimed that “Ododo should be suspended from the party. Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will. What we want is the cancellation of the election because any election did not take place. There is no need to say that the election was inconclusive.”

Ade Adeniyi and Bola Fisayo who also spoke said APC members, who are eligible to vote for their preferred aspirants, waited for the conduct of the poll but all to no avail.

As at the time of filing this report, the Ododo’s seven-man committee that came to conduct the primary is yet to announce the winner of the governorship primary.

Similarly another aspirant, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye, vehemently denounced the process, alleging widespread absence of election and calling for its immediate cancellation.

The primary, scheduled for April 20th, 2024, failed to take place as anticipated, leaving Engr. Omogoroye and her supporters frustrated. “There was no election anywhere,” she asserted, decrying what she described as a “complete rape on democracy.”

Expressing her dismay, Engr. Omogoroye lamented the absence of election officials and voting materials at voting centres, rendering her and her supporters unable to exercise their right to vote. Despite her meticulous preparation and financial commitment to the party, she found herself circumvented  to participate in the democratic process.

In a bold move, Engr. Omogoroye called upon the party’s leader, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene and annul the purported election.

Her words: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave us women a renewed hope agenda that prompted me to go into the race with assurance that the election is going to be free and fair and that was why I went into this contest.

“But to my greatest surprise,  the reverse is the case. I was on the field from 7am, no election materials were seen, not to talk of seeing any party officials or INEC officials and a voice came up that Aiyedatiwa has won, Aiyedatiwa has won.

“I don’t know how that happened and I don’t know how the party is going to take that, because I, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye will not accept that; because I believe in the party, I have been in the party for years, and this is the time we have to make the party better that other parties will emulate, but this is not the case.

“Other parties are now making a mockery of our party, all my political followers from all the books and crannies of Ondo state have been calling me that the same thing happened all over.”

She emphasised the urgency the situation is required to be redressed, warning of dire consequences for the party’s future in Ondo State if swift action is not taken.

Furthermore, she threatened legal action if her demand for a fresh and transparent election was not met promptly.

“I am not going to accept it, and now, I am calling for cancellation and if this is not done, maybe we’ll meet in court,” she added.

Also, the Governor of Kogi state and Chairman of the Ondo state governorship primary election committee, Ahmed Ododo, has explained reasons for declaring the Saturday election inconclusive.

Ododo, in a statement on Sunday said that the late arrival of materials and personnel to 13 wards in Okitipupa council area of state, the All Progressive Congress Governorship Primary Election Committee, necessitated the rescheduling of the exercise on Sunday.

According to him, “The rerun election would take place in all the 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government with the total number of 9,515 validated registered party members.”

According to him, this is because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the Local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

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Cardoso clarifies CBN’s stance on Naira defence, market intervention

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…Reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

…As CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Cardoso has clarified the stance of the apex bank on Naira defense and market intervention.

He made this known in an exclusive interview with the International Monetary Fund African Department Director, Abebe Selassie, at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America, held between April 11 and 20, 2024.

The Governor unveiled his strategic vision for Nigeria’s monetary policy, shedding light on the bold decisions that transformed the Naira from its worst state to the best-performing within a span of six months.

Cardoso addressed concerns regarding the defense of the naira, emphasising that it is not the bank’s intention to intervene in currency markets to prop up the naira’s value.

He outlined the CBN’s overarching policy and philosophy, which prioritizes a market-driven approach to currency valuation. ”Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one,” the Governor explained.

According to him, “I know that the issue of defending the naira has become an elephant in some room. I want to try to make this as clear as possible. It is not our intention to defend the naira. It is not.

“Much as I have read in the recent few days, some opinions with respect to what is happening with our reserves. If you think back to what our overall policy and philosophy has been here, you can see that it is counter-intuitive. Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one.

“Ultimately, I perceive a future where the CBN may really not need to intervene except in very unusual circumstances.

“As long as we have a vibrant currency market, why do we need to intervene? I can understand that, especially at the outset, we have experienced that we needed to get the Bureau de Change segment going.

“We had to release tiny amounts of money to catalyse those happenings. Individuals must have funds to send their kids abroad and do things that are important. It is important not to keep them out of the mainstay.

“What we have seen with the shifts in our reserves are the shifts that you would find in any country’s reserve situation. When debts are due and payments need to be made, they are to be made, because that is also part of keeping your credibility intact.

Recall that when the Naira has one time been regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

He stated: “When I started, we had a situation where within a month or two, we were regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

“Six months later, we are judged to have the best-performing currency of any country. So, I think those things speak for themselves. A situation where in the recent past, the greatest amount of liquidity on a daily basis was in the region of $200m to $300m; in six months, we have traded over $1bn.

“FX liquidity has taken a centre stage in the activity of the monetary side, and I think people see that; they also see the exchange rate coming down and they understand that there is a lag. Ultimately, the objective is that we can moderate inflation.”

…Cardoso reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

Cardoso emphasised on the daunting challenges he faced upon assuming office, including high inflation rates and a severely stressed exchange rate, which had eroded trust and confidence in the system.

He reiterated the critical importance of rebuilding trust, acknowledging the significant backlog of unmet forward transactions and committing to address them as a means to regain confidence.

He however highlighted the integration of senior leadership from the Ministry of Finance within the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

…CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

“In the MPC, we have the presence of very senior leadership from the fiscal side as members of the MPC in the person of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who is here today, and we always have very good and open dialogue on issues so we are able to hear the different sides of the situation. Beyond that, we have set up different committees that work hand-in-hand with respect to ensuring that we are on the same page with respect to taming inflation.

“It is also commendable that the Ministry of Finance has begun that process of securitising the outstanding Ways and Means, and I think that is extremely commendable. I think it is less of an issue now, and we can work better together, bearing in mind that as we move towards inflation targeting, there has to be a strong partnership for it to be successful,” he reiterated.

The Governor highlighted the shift away from interventionist policies towards orthodox monetary practices, signaling a clear departure from past approaches.

He emphasised the necessity of communicating effectively with stakeholders, particularly international investors, to foster understanding and restore faith in Nigeria’s economic trajectory.

Meanwhile, Cardoso outlined bold measures such as liquidity mopping and interest rate hikes, demonstrating a commitment to tackling economic challenges head-on for the benefit of all Nigerians.

He stressed the importance of continuous dialogue and transparent communication to elucidate the rationale behind policy decisions and manage public perceptions.

Collaboration with the fiscal side was deemed essential for the success of inflation-targeting objectives, with Cardoso highlighting the need for a harmonious partnership with the Ministry of Finance to achieve sustainable economic outcomes.

Reflecting on his first six months in office, Cardoso emphasised the paramount importance of trust and credibility in driving effective policy implementation, noting the need for consistent communication and realistic expectations.

When questioned about currency risk management and the development of currency risk markets, Cardoso hinted at ongoing considerations, suggesting a phased approach to implementation aligned with broader economic objectives.

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