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INEC states general elections dates for the next 36 years

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced dates for general elections in the country for the next 36 years, starting from 2019 to 2055.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, made the announcement at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja.

“In 2019, the dates are February 16 and March 2; in 2023, the dates are February 18 and March 4.

“In 2027, the dates are February 20 and March 6; in 2031, it is February 15 and March 1.

“In 2035, it is February 17 and March 3; in 2039, it is February 19 and March 5 and in 2043, it will hold on February 21 and March 7.

“In 2047, it is February 15 and March 2; in 2051, it is February 18 and March 1; in 2055, it is February 20 and March 6,” Yakubu said.

He pointed out that in other democracies of the world, periods of elections are generally known and are not topics for speculation.

Yakubu explained that the aim was to engender certainty in the election calendar and also to allow for long-term planning by the commission and all stakeholders.

He said that certainty in election calendar was necessary to match Nigeria’s democratic system with global best practices.

The chairman said that in the last one week, INEC had received 108 applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties.

He said that 66 of the applications did not meet the initial requirements, while 33 passed and had proceeded to the next stage.He said that nine others were at the final stage of registration.

The INEC boss commended political parties for the roles they played in the governorship and National Assembly by-elections in Anambra, which ensured that the exercises were crisis-free.

He urged all existing political parties yet to comply with all relevant sections of the constitutional requirements necessary for their existence, to do so.

He advised the parties to ensure rancour-free conventions and congresses ahead of 2019 and the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections later in the year.

“Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations.

“Less than a year to the 2019 general elections, there are still cases in courts challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections,’’ he said.

Yakubu urged the parties to support the commission in its quest to sanitise the voter register by drawing the attention of the umpire to any irregularity.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.

He said with little or no financial support, political parties have been at the forefront of voter sensitisation to the need to conduct themselves responsibly at polling units.

Nalado commended the commission for creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections by rolling out election calendar in good time.

He added that the political parties were happy with the position of INEC on the sequence of elections, saying the commission acted on the existing law.

He welcomed the newly-registered political parties to IPAC and urged INEC to support the council’s plan to amend its code of conduct.

According to Nalado, the amendment will address issues of internal democracy and conflict resolution system, among other issues affecting political parties in the country.

(NAN)

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Why Buhari did not attend presidential debate – Spokesperson

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The campaign office of President Mohammadu Buhari has explained why the president was absent for the debate slated to hold on Saturday evening.

According to a statement credited to the campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo SAN, FCIArb (UK), the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari, could not attend the Presidential Debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria which held today, Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the following reasons:

Firstly, out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations, our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town-hall meeting organized by another group which held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was also joined at that town-hall meeting by our Vice-Presidential candidate who is also the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on-line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered. It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria.

In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr. President clashed with this programme. Today, Mr. President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over-stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States, (as seen by Nigerians on live television) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.

Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations. Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago, our Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also attended the debate organized by the same organisations.

Lastly, we note the statement of the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr. President, who is our candidate. According to him, he would not want to “attack” Mr. President in his absence.

It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr. President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule, maladministration and looting of the nation’s resources. When they cannot see President Buhari to attack, the content of their campaign becomes hollow, empty and “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture, he ran away. Afterall, he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people.

On February 16, 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, through their votes, how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation.

Thank you.

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Irregularities mar Paralympics Committee election – Obuh

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The Tuesday, 15th January 2019 Presidential election of Paralympic Committee of Nigeria has been dubbed fraudulent, full of irregularities and outcome totally rejected by the President of Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria, Queen Obuh.
Rejecting the election in its entirety, Queen Obuh told newsmen that the process of the election subverts the constitution and guidelines for election into the body.
The Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria President, Obuh who is one of the presidential candidates said delegates for the election were handpicked within the National Stadium venue of the election instead of from federations across the six geopolitical zones of the country as stipulated by the constitution of PCN.
She said: “One of the zonal representatives claimed Para Tennis but to my amazement Kano State Director of Sports said they don’t do such sport in Kano.
 “The elections lacked merit in all ramifications and the evidences are there. Most of the zonal representatives were not eligible to vote. Most of them were hand-picked by the officials of the Sports Ministry on the Election Day.
According to PCN election guideline, “The elections will be conducted by the electoral committee which shall comprise not more than (5) five persons and not less than (3) three persons or members.
“The Elections shall be monitored by the representatives of Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and members of the Nigerian Olympic Committee.”
Furthermore, it was clearly stated in the Conduct of Election in the Guideline for the election that “The chairman of states Para Sports Associations or The Director of state sports council/Commission shall Authenticate the zonal candidates letter for the zonal election, but all these were fragrantly flaunted.
The most shocking according to Obuh is why the election should be conducted by the Ministry instead of playing observatory role as the constitution stipulates.
Recounting her experience, Lucy Ejike, the team captain of Para-powerlifting of Nigeria said she stood for Athletes Representative election on the 10th of January against Flora Ugonwa which was declared inconclusive but to her dismay, at the PCN presidential election yesterday, Flora Ugunnwa was called to vote as Athletes Representative
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Why I’ll privatise NNPC if elected president – Atiku

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, said on Wednesday that he would privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation if elected, describing the state-owned oil firm as a “mafia organisation.”

Atiku was quoted by TheCable as saying at an interactive session with the business community in Lagos that he would take the step even if doing so would cost him his life.

He explained that he sold the idea to President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he worked with as a deputy between 1999 and 2007 but that the former president did not approve of it.

Atiku said he was convinced that the NNPC would run better if not managed by the government.

He said, “Let me go back to my experience. When we got into office, I walked up to my boss and said, “Sir, there are two mafia organisations in government: one is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the other one is the National Electricity Power Authority.

“I said unless we dismantle these mafia organisations, we cannot make progress. Let’s privatise them… the long and short of this is that I am committed to privatisation as I have said. I swear even if they are going to kill me, I will do it (privatise NNPC).”

Atiku also spoke on how an expert in the petroleum sector influenced his stance on the privatisation of the NNPC.

The former Vice President said, “I asked a Nigerian professor based in America; I said, ‘Prof, do you have a ministry of petroleum in America?’ He said no. I said, ‘Do you have an organisation like the NNPC over there?’ He said no. And America produces oil more than any country? He said yes.

“So I asked him, ‘How do they do it in America?’ and he said taxation, and I decided that I will go by taxation too.”

Atiku criticised the current administration for the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

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