Unmask Boko Haram now –Buhari tells Jonathan

From former Head of State, Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, came yesterday posers for the Federal Government on the spate of terrorism that may have overwhelmed the authorities. He was worried over government’s tardiness. To him, the Presidency must act now if only to earn the confidence of the citizenry that their lives and property are safe.

Buhari, the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the April 2011 general elections, was reacting to last Friday’s bombing of the United Nations (UN) House in Abuja and other unresolved attacks since October 1, 2010.
Speaking through his spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Buhari said that the serial bombings that have taken place in Nigeria, from last October 1, to the latest UN building attack, portend great danger for this country.

Buhari said that for a country that had been ranked as the 14th most failing nation in the world, these are serious signals that should be taken seriously because they suggest that all is not well with Nigeria because the primary focus of any government should be the security of lives and property. He said that there is a wave of terrorism all over the world, noting that serious countries have shown serious efforts to combat the trend, saying the reverse is the case in Nigeria…(read more)

CPC reads riot act to INEC

The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has read riot act to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for declining the party access to inspect the Biometric Database used during the last voter registration exercise and during the general elections.

The party also stated that INEC’s refusal to produce the biometric database has shown the inadequacy and shabby conduct of the April 2011 elections. 

In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, the party said, “CPC wishes to alert Nigerians about the portent of INEC’s vacillation on the issue of biometric database inspection as it is becoming increasingly apparent that INEC may not have given functional biometric central database of all Nigerian registered voters”…(read more)

PDP writes INEC on revalidation of register

The Peoples Democratic Party has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission on its plan to begin registration and revalidation exercise for its members.

The exercise, which is expected to begin on Wednesday (today), is to enable the party to prepare for its national convention scheduled for February 25, 2012.

Our correspondents learnt that the plan was aimed at fulfilling provisions of Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act, which demands that a registered political party shall give the electoral body at least 21 days notice if it wants to organise any convention, or congress.

The section reads, “A registered political party shall give the commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of its elective offices specified under this Act."…(read more)

‘I’m under pressure to withdraw petition against Suswan’

The governorship candidate for the Action Congress of Nigeria in Benue State in the April election, Prof. Steve Ugbah, has said he has been under “tremendous pressure” from some people to withdraw his petition against Governor Gabriel Suswam.

Ugbah, who stated this at an interactive session with journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, vowed that no amount of pressure would force him to surrender his mandate.

He regretted that the election tribunal had not given him a fair hearing so far, stressing that he would approach the Court of Appeal in Sokoto to reverse the ruling of the tribunal on the seven grounds in his petition.

Ugba said,“Yes, there is pressure on me to withdraw my petition. Though, nobody had approached me but those around me are being approached to mount pressure on me to surrender my mandate. But no amount of pressure will cause me to surrender my mandate…(read more)

Kwara ex-LG officials protest over severance pay

Former political office holders in Kwara State local government areas took to the streets in Ilorin on Monday to protest against the non-payment of their severance packages.

One of the protesters said they wanted to enter the Government House to formally complain to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed but were prevented by security operatives at the gate.

The protesters, who could also not gain entry into the Deputy Governor’s office, stayed at a parking space near the office and later displayed their placards. One of the placards read: ‘Enough of empty promises, pay us our severance allowances.’

One of them, who spoke to our correspondent but pleaded not to be named, said some of them were going through hardship because of the non-payment of their allowances.

He said they had made several appeals to the government for the payment but had yet to get the required response.

He said, “We are the 2007-2010 set. They have not paid us our severance payments, hence we are here to express our feelings because we are fed up…(read more)

Opposition plans consensus candidate in C’River

Opposition political parties in Cross River State may present a consensus candidate to challenge Governor Liyel Imoke of the Peoples Democratic Party in the April 2012 governorship election in state

The National Deputy Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Ofem Obono-Obla, who said this in Calabar, noted that the opposition parties were serious about defeating the PDP during the poll.

Obono-Obla claimed that since the people of the state were tired of the PDP-led government, they need a change in leadeship.

He said the CPC would be in support of any governorship candidate with the credentials to turn around the economic fortune of the state…(read more)

Buhari vs Jonathan: Salami hands-off suit

Following his suspension by the National Judicial Council, NJC, the embattled President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, Monday abstained from presiding over the suit seeking to sack President Goodluck Jonathan from office.

Consequently, only four Appeal Court Justices, led by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garuba, sat over the petition challenging the outcome of the April 16 presidential election.

The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, which filed the suit at the presidential election tribunal sitting in Abuja, had on August 1, filed a fresh motion, seeking an order declaring its candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the bona-fide winner of the presidential contest.

Nevertheless, when the matter came up for hearing on August 15, following contention of counsel to President Jonathan and the PDP, that they were not served with the motion on time, Justice Salami, deferred arguments on the application till yesterday.

He was, however, unable to continue further hearing on the suit yesterday due to his suspension by the NJC.

Meanwhile, at the resumed hearing of the petition, the seat hitherto occupied by Justice Salami was left vacant, even as only four justices that sat on the panel continued hearing on CPC’s application.

Moving the application seeking to sack President Jonathan from office, counsel to the CPC, Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN, pleaded the court to hold that the refusal of INEC to grant the petitioner access to all the materials used for the presidential election, was an indication that the election was rigged by the PDP…(read more)

Jonathan urges new CJN to restore confidence in judiciary

President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, swore in the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Dahiru Musdapher, with a charge to ensure the restoration of the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.

The President also declared his commitment to the independence of the judiciary, with a vow that his administration would not interfere in its operations, as enshrined in the principle of separation of powers.

Musdapher’s position becomes substantive when confirmed by the Senate.

Speaking moments after the swearing in which lasted 15 minutes at the State House, the President expressed confidence that Musdapher would rekindle faith in the nation’s judiciary even as he commended the outgone CJN, Justice Alloysius Katsina-Alu, for his courage and patriotism while he held forte…(read more)

2011 poll: 24 convicted for electoral offences – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced yesterday that it has successfully prosecuted and secured conviction of 24 electoral offenders since the  2011 general elections.

Mr Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary, to the Chairman of the Commission Prof. Attahiru Jega, who disclosed this in a statement said 321 cases have  so far been taken up for prosecution by the Commission while the courts dismissed 21 of them.

Idowu also disclosed that among those that were arraigned by INEC for committing electoral offences was the head of its ICT unit in Oyo State who was accused of using direct data capture machines for illicit registration of persons during the last voter registration exercise.

The statement also cited how the Commission dragged one of its indicted officials in Osun State before a court while disciplinary measures were also taken against staff that were implicated in the Appeal Court verdict on the 2007 Ekiti State governorship election.

He further pointed out that   there were three levels to the prosecution of electoral offenders in the country.

According to the statement: “One level is the investigation of suspects to generate useful evidence, which falls within the purview of the Police. Another level is the prosecution in court, which the Electoral Act vests INEC with responsibility to undertake. The third level is the trial processes, the determination of which rests entirely with the Judiciary.”…(read more)

PDP backs deregistration of political parties

THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, hailed the recent de-registration of nine political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as non-performing political parties, just as it called on the Commission to sanction its main opposition political party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

The PDP said ACN must be sanctioned for sacking elected local government officials.

In a statement, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali noted that the move by  INEC to sack the dormant parties would sanitise the nation’s political party system towards strengthening the nation’s democracy.

While commending INEC for the “vital steps it has taken to re-examine the status of political parties in the country, which led to the de-registration of some fringe associations, as an exercise that was long overdue,” the PDP called on INEC to look further and also sanction some of the other political parties whose conducts had not only been anti-democratic but also counterproductive in the nation’s march towards a stable democracy…(read more)

NBA kicks as Musdapher takes over as CJN today

Sequel to a recommendation by the National Judicial Council, NJC, to President Goodluck Jonathan, he will today confirm Justice Dahiru Musdapher as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, even as the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, kicked against his appointment.

The legal body through a communiqué at the end of its annual general conference in Port Harcourt, contended that “the next CJN should not be anyone who has either directly or indirectly participated in the on-going embarrassing murk at the apex judicial body and at best must be appointed from outside the Supreme Court to ensure transparency and continued sanctity of the judicial process.”

The NBA said: “The ominous dark cloud in the polity today is traceable to the fact that the Constitution has unwittingly conferred upon the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, too much powers without any checks on the occupant of the office whatsoever, which powers subtly encourage abuse of power and concomitant corruption of the legal and judicial system.”…(read more)

Salami: Jonathan is not responsible for crisis in judiciary, says forum

The Niger Delta Nationalities Forum has said that President Goodluck Jonathan should not be held responsible for the crisis rocking the judiciary.

Reacting to a call by some groups who faulted the President’s action for removal of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami; the group said the president acted based on the recommendations of the National Judicial Council, NJC.

In a telephone chat with the chairman of the forum, Mr. Manager Seigha said “we are not in anyway saying that whether the way Justice Salami was removed was right or wrong, what we are saying is that the judiciary is an arm of government, it has taken its own decision…(read more)