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Presidential Election: Buhari, APC Urge Tribunal To Dismiss Atiku, PDP’s Petition

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President Muhammadu Buhari (Image credit: State House)

President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have urged the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the February 23 general election on “technicalities and evidential grounds.”

The prayers formed the gamut of other requests contained in both Buhari and APC final addresses to be adopted on August 23 made available to News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.

The respondents had described Abubakar’s address that urged the tribunal to sack Buhari and affirm him (Abubakar) president, as a “wild goose chase prayer.”

They alleged that PDP erroneously allowed a candidate who was not a Nigerian by birth to contest the highest position, adding that such was an adventure that violated the provision of the Constitution.

The president and his party, therefore, prayed the tribunal to invoke Section 131 (a) of the constitution to dismiss the petition.

NAN reports that section 131 (a) of the constitution strictly holds that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to qualify to contest the office of the president.

They noted that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, a former Adamawa Province of Northern Cameroon before a plebiscite was conducted in 1961 that now made the enclave part of Nigeria.

The parties, therefore, alleged that Abubakar was not qualified to enter the contest as the constitution forbade him from canvassing for votes to become a president.

“We pray that the tribunal will see this constitutional reason and go ahead to uphold the election of the second respondent (Buhari) forthwith,’’ they prayed.

On evidence admitted from the petitions, the two respondents said they were empty as none had substantially proven series of the allegations made against the conduct of the election.

They explained that none of the 75 witnesses and 31, 287 exhibits which included 48 video clips proved any of the petitioners’ allegations.

They said the petitioners had tried to mislead the tribunal and public that results from the election were transmitted electronically to a central server managed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The respondents noted that it was public knowledge that the Feb.23 general election was conduct with the Electoral Act of 2010 as amended.

“Moreover, the laws in Nigeria do not recognise but actually prohibit transmission of results electronically.

“Sections 52 and 78 of the Electoral Act 2010 have categorically addressed the issue.

“The only means of transmitting election results under the law are through Forms EC8 series. Form EC8A conveys results from Polling Units.

“It is only through these approved forms that election results can be challenged or proven and not through server, imaginary or real,’’ they submitted.

The parties therefore submitted that the petitioners’ allegation on the use of server by INEC to transmit results was “criminal and misguided’’.

“Atiku Abubakar and the PDP have failed in their attempt to stridently prove their petition.

“The petitioners failed woefully to establish by credible evidence the existence of the imaginary server belonging to INEC,’’ they argued.

They argued that most of the witnesses presented by the petitioners attested to the fact that they signed all the forms that contained the results of the election without coercion.

Buhari and APC, therefore, averred that such testimonies of truth from the petitioners’ witnesses further bestowed legitimacy on the outcome of the election.

On Buhari’s educational qualification, they said that the petitioners failed to adduce credible and reliable evidence to establish that he (Buhari) indeed forged his certificate.

“While it is appropriate to debunk such baseless, mendacious and spurious assertion, it suffices to bring to fore the unequivocal provision of the constitution.

“The constitution is clear on this as it states the requirement for a candidate to contest the presidential election and occupy the office of the president.

“Section 131(d) provides that a person shall be qualified for election into the office of the president if he or she has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

“More so, the consequence of submitting a forged document to INEC is grave.

“It, therefore, requires precise evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt, which the petitioners have not been able to establish,’’ the respondents said.

Drawing reference from the constitution, the respondents defined secondary school certificate or its equivalent to mean: secondary school certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s certificate.

They listed others to include: City and Guides certificate or Education up to secondary school certificate level or Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and Service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to INEC for a minimum of 10 years.

“It is apparent that from the pleadings and evidence adduced led by the petitioners; there is no scintilla or iota of evidence to prove that the president was at the time of the election not qualified.

“It is trite that he who asserts must prove, we have clearly seen that the petitioners had failed woefully in this matter.

“In the circumstance, we urge the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds of both technicalities and evidential failure and to affirm the election of the president,’’ they submitted.

NAN reports that the president, who contested the election on the platform of the APC, was announced winner having scored a total of 15 million votes as against Abubakar’s 11,262,978 votes.

NAN further reports that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man panel awaits the parties to adopt their final addresses on Aug.21 preparatory to judgment.

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Makinde Speaks On PDP Preferring Candidate In Bayelsa

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Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State/Twitter

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has no preferred aspirant for its primary election in Bayelsa State.

Makinde, who is also the Chairman, PDP Screening Committee for Bayelsa, said this on Monday at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, during the screening of PDP aspirants for Bayelsa election.

He said that the committee would be fair to all governorship aspirants from the state to ensure that the party went into proper election strong and united.

“We don’t want a situation whereby our party will go into the election with a divided house.

“We want to go into the election as one big family that we are, with a view to retaining the state,” Makinde said.

He expressed optimism that PDP would continue to remain a strong and united party, even after the primaries.

Makinde appealed to all aspirants to cooperate with the committee to make the exercise easy.

A governorship aspirant, Timi Alaibe speaking with newsmen at the venue of the exercise, called on party delegates in the state to think deeply while making decision on aspirants to cast their votes for.

“Delegates should be clear in the decision to ensure that they vote for who will understand the need of the people.

“Those who have experience, those who have capacity,” he said.

Alaibe, who was former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), promised to attract investors in the private sector to Bayelsa, if he emerged governor.

Another aspirant and incumbent Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, retired Rear Admiral John Jonah, expressed satisfaction and confidence in the committee.

“I have the confidence that they will deliver. I am sure of clinching the ticket,” he said.

While Makinde heads the screening of Bayelsa aspirants, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba also chaired the Screening Committee for Kogi at the party’s presidential campaign office in Maitama.

Mr Joseph Erico, governorship aspirant from Kogi expressed confidence in the committee and the outcome.

Asked if he was sure of successfully passing through the exercise, Erico said if it was to go by merit he would be the party’s candidate.

Another aspirant, Mr Musa Wada, said that from the screening, there was clear indication that PDP had changed.

Wada said if elected, he would change the narrative of governance in Kogi.

The only female aspirant from Kogi, Grace Adejo, who commended the process, said that being the only female aspirant gave her more motivation.

“I never see myself as a lady, the most important is to dislodge the incumbent.

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Nigerian Newspapers: Top 10 Headlines Today Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

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Table of Contents

Nigerian Newspapers
Welcome to the Concise News roundup of top 10 Nigerian newspapers headlines for today, Tuesday, August 20th, 2019.

1. Why I Was Assaulted By IPOB Members In Germany – Ekweremadu

Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu says he was assaulted in Germany because his attackers had issues with the handling of the Operation Python Dance in the South-East. He also described his assault as the actions of a few misguided individuals and not a representation of the character of the majority of Nigerians. The Senator made this known to reporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja on Monday after returning to Nigeria from Germany.

2. Nigerian Embassy Reveals What Will Happen To Ekweremadu’s Attackers

The Nigerian Embassy in Germany has said the attackers of former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu will be prosecuted under German laws. Concise News had reported that Ekweremadu was attacked by members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg, Germany, on Saturday at an event organised under the auspices of “Ndigbo Germany”. In a press statement released on Monday evening, the embassy of Nigeria in Berlin said the threat level of the event had been classified as “minimal” by the German police, hence the lack of security personnel at the event.

3. Presidency Speaks On Probing FIRS Chairman Fowler

The Presidency has ‘categorically’ denied that the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, is under investigation. It made the statement in reaction to the comments prompted by a query issued to the FIRS boss by Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari. Some reports claimed that the query meant that Fowler’s tenure would not be renewed following the expiration of the first term on Saturday.

4. Academic Disruption Likely As NASU, SSANU Begin Warning Strike (See Full Statement)

Employees tied to the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) on Monday commenced a five-day strike. They have embarked on strike because, according to them, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had failed to show firm commitment towards resolving the issues raised by the unions, including the payment of earned allowances to members. Concise News understands that a directive from NASU and SSANU has been sent to all branch chairmen of the unions nationwide. The General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, and the National President of SSANU, Samson Ugwoke, confirmed the directive in a letter dated August 16.

5. Read Full Address By President Buhari At Retreat For Ministers-Designate, Perm. Secretaries

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday presided over the Day 1 of the Ministerial Retreat and Induction with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, all 43 Ministers-designate and top government officials in attendance. Concise News reports that the ministers-designate will be sworn in by the President on Wednesday, August 21. In his address, Buhari said he was counting on his new appointees to build upon his administration’s road map of policies, programmes and projects that would lift the bulk of Nigerians out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.

6. Ekweremadu: German Police Break Silence On Senator’s IPOB Assault

The German police have said they did not arrest any member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) following an assault on Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Concise News understands that members of the pro-Biafra group had on Saturday in Germany molested Ekweremadu during a public function. However, the Press Officer of the Nuremberg police in Germany Raineer Seebauer told Channels TV that the matter is not being investigated.

7. N14b Jewelry: Diezani Challenges EFCC Forfeiture Move

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to reject an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the final forfeiture of her 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised golden iPhone. The court had on July 5 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the items valued at $40million (about N14.4billion), which were recovered from the former minister’s home. Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled on an ex-parte application in which the commission said the items were suspected to be bought with illicitly acquired funds.

8. Gov Ortom Reveals Benue Government Owes Over N22b Gratuity

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom disclosed that the state is owing over N22 billion as a gratuity of the state’s workers, Concise News reports. During the inauguration of the Chairman and members of the State Pension Commission in Makurdi on Monday, the governor said that he  inherited N18 billion gratuity liability in 2015, and that because of the paucity of funds to upset the debt coupled with an additional number of retired workers overtime, the debt had risen to N22 billion. He further disclosed that the monthly pension bill of the state was now N800 million as against the N400 million bill he inherited in 2015.

9. Imo: Court Asks INEC To Remove Okorocha’s Son-In-law’s Name From Govship Race

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the name of Uche Nwosu as a governorship candidate in the last election held in Imo State. Justice Inyang Ekwo voided Nwosu’s candidacy on the grounds of double nomination by two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Action Alliance (AA), in violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act. The ruling came as Nwosu, a son-in-law to the former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, is challenging the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, in the March 11 poll at the Election Petition Tribunal, as the candidate of AA.

10. Pogba Misses Penalty As Wolves Hold Man Utd To 1-1 Draw

Paul Pogba saw a penalty saved as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Wolves on Monday Night Football at the Molineux Stadium. Anthony Martial scored for the second game in a row to put United ahead in the 27th minute, but Ruben Neves levelled with a brilliant curling strike from outside the box shortly after half time. Pogba had the chance to restore United’s lead when he was tripped in the box, but his 67th-minute penalty was well saved by Rui Patricio.

That’s the roundup of top 10 Nigerian newspapers headlines this morning. More Nigerian newspapers headlines are available on Concise News website.

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Ndi-Igbo In Germany Apologises To Ekweremadu Over Assault

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What Student Group Said About IPOB Attack On Sen. Ekweremadu
Senator Ike Ekweremadu/File Photo

The Ndi-Igbo Germany has apologised to former Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu for the attack on him by members of the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg, Germany, over the weekend.

The umbrella body of Igbo people living in Germany made the apology known in a statement on Monday signed by their leader, Engr. Ogechukwu Nsofor.

The group said that any embarrassment to a leading light of Ndigbo like Ekweremadu was an embarrassment to the entire Igbo race and Nigeria, vowing to ensure that the law runs its full course.

The body said the event was part of its efforts to encourage foreign investment and industrialisation of Igboland, noting that it “provided a forum for Igbo people in Diaspora to network and to engage German business community with interest in investments and development in Igboland in particular and Nigeria in general”.

The group said: “We, Ndi-Igbo Germany (N.I.G) the umbrella/apex union of all Igbo unions operating in the Federal Republic of Germany are shocked and dismayed by the unprovoked, unwarranted and senseless attack leashed on Senator Dr. Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany.

“Ndi-Igbo Germany, wish to offer our unequivocal apology to our special guest of honour, Senator Ike Ekweremadu – former Deputy Senate President – for the unfortunate treatment misdirected at him by members of Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB) in Germany during the occasion of our 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival and Convention 2019.

“It must be emphasised that Senator Dr. Ike Ekweremadu had nothing personal to gain in attending our cultural day. Rather the Igbo residents here in Germany lost an opportunity to tap into his reservoir of knowledge.

“No words can describe our shock, our consternation, and our sadness at this inexcusable, shameful and senseless attack. We apologise from the depths of our hearts that you had to experience such a horrible thing here in our midst. This is not how we are here. Please do not hold this incident against the 99 percent law abiding Umu-Igbo in Germany.

“Our apologies go to Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and to all well-meaning Igbo-Diasporan groups and associations both at home and abroad for this disgrace.

“We sincerely apologize to the National Assembly and indeed to our entire country for such an unwarranted assault on Senator Dr. Ike Ekweremadu by the IPOB members in Germany.

“Let this event be a rallying call to all Umu Igbo at home and worldwide to always seek unity rather than primitively turning against ourselves in senseless violence which will make neutral and friendly global nations turn away from us.

“Ndi-Igbo Germany (N.I.G) condenm in strongest terms this action by the members of IPOB in Germany against Senator Dr. Ike Ikweremadu. Ndi-Igbo Germany distances herself from any group that encourages violence, directly or indirectly.

“It is not acceptable that an Igbo man or woman would come to the occasion of an ancient Igbo traditional event like Iri-ji and not only cause commotion, but also physically attack an invited guest, a fellow Igbo brother from home and a senior Igbo elder statesman in the person of Senator Dr. Ike Ekweremadu. This is an abomination in Igbo land. And in a foreign land! Is this what we have come to in our united struggle, Ndi Igbo? A house divided against itself cannot stand.

“This single action will cost IPOB in Germany more than 70% of her hitherto sympathisers. What IPOB Germany thought in their inept, diminutive, and megalomaniac mindset as a humiliation of Senator Ekweremadu is in reality a humiliation of the Igbo race in a foreign Land.

Finally, and on a serious note: Ndi-Igbo Germany abhors all kinds of violence. We are committed to working and cooperating with our host country Germany and with her constituted authorities.

“Ndi–Igbo Germany will let the full weight of the law take its course. As we all work together towards the redemption of Ala Igbo, let no one think that he or she has more claim to Igbo nation than the other”.

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North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un Supervises ‘New Weapon’ Test

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South Korea expect Positive Result From Summit with North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a “new weapon” launch complicating efforts at denuclearisation ahead of next week’s visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang.

Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion.

Defence officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles Friday, that flew some 230 kilometres (140 miles) before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

Martin later told reporters that two Irish republican dissident groups, the New IRA and the Continuity IRA, “would be a very good starting point for the investigation”.

He added: “It’s fair to say their level of activity has increased this year.”

Concerns have grown that the possible return of a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit could increase security tensions in the once war-torn province.

Martin said violent attacks had grown in recent months, calling on politicians to take action to heal enduring divisions in society.

“Terrorism of this nature is a societal problem,” he said. “We shouldn’t take our peace for granted.”

Three decades of conflict known as “the Troubles”, in which more than 3,500 people were killed, largely ended in Northern Ireland with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Violent incidents have continued, however.

In April, a journalist was shot dead by Irish republican dissidents during rioting in Londonderry.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly actions of those responsible for this bomb attack, which could have had devastating consequences,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.

“There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims,” he said.

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Gov Ortom Reveals Benue Government Owes Over N22b Gratuity

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Latest Benue State News Online For Today
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state/The Guardian Nigeria

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom disclosed that the State is owing over N22 billion as a gratuity of the state’s workers, Concise News reports.

During the inauguration of the Chairman and members of the State Pension Commission in Makurdi on Monday, the Governor said that he  inherited N18 billion gratuity liability in 2015, and that because of the paucity of funds to upset the debt coupled with an additional number of retired workers overtime, the debt had risen to N22 billion.

He further disclosed that the monthly pension bill of the state was now N800 million as against the N400 million bill he inherited in 2015.

The governor said the state needed to urgently commence full domestication of the National Contributory Pensions Scheme Act 2004 to mitigate the sufferings of retirees.

He specially commended the 8th State Assembly for passing the PENCOM bill and expressed optimism that in no distant time retirees would have cause to smile home after retirement.

“The members are all victims of nonpayment of gratuities and pensions; so, they understand the pains of not being paid.

“Benue pensioners have been very patient with me and that has given me a lot of burden on my shoulder to ensure that something is done about it urgently,” he said.

Ortom warned the commission members to be wary of people who may want to sabotage their efforts with the aim of enriching themselves to the detriment of the pensioners.

He urged them to bring their experience to bear on the job and block all leakages in the pension sector.

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