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OPC to Honour Abiola, Fasheun, Soyinka at 25th Anniversary Celebration

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Late Chief Moshood Abiola, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Dr Fredrick Fasheun would be honoured as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) celebrates its silver jubilee anniversary on Thursday in Lagos.

Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, said in a statement on Sunday that the journey that started 25 years ago was not an easy thing.

The Aare Onakakanfo explained that it was the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election that culminated in the establishment of OPC.

“The zeal and patriotism of some Yoruba nationalists to liberate Nigeria from the brutal, ferocious and savage hold of military junta led to the thrusting of OPC into national consciousness on Aug, 29 1994”.

“The late Dr Frederick Fasehun, myself and seven others took a critical and patriotic decision that the mandate of the late Aare Moshood Abiola (M.K.O.), annulled must be actualised and Nigeria must be set free from the clutches of dictatorship.

“Five years after the formation of OPC, democracy took a firm root in the country in 1999; today it is a thing of joy that we have 20 years of uninterrupted, participatory democracy in Nigeria.

“But this is not without sacrifice, the late Abiola, whose mandate was annulled in 1993, alongside OPC leaders, fought for the actualisation of the June 12.

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“But sadly, the business mogul died in detention in controversial circumstances during the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar on July 7, 1998,” Adams said.

The OPC leader said that many Nigerians that protested the continued detention of Abiola were shot on the streets by soldiers between 1993 and 1998. .

“Some Nigerians such as Pa Alfred Rewane, Mrs Kudirat Abiola, Alhaja Suliat Adedeji, Admiral Tunde Elegbede, James Bagauda Kaltho, Shola Omasola, Oluwatoyin Onagoruwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa were killed.

“Activists and journalists such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Olisa Agbakoba, Frank Kokori, Kunle Ajibade, Chris Anyanwu, Ben Charles-Obi, Onome Osifo-Whiskey, Babafemi Ojudu and others were detained and some jailed.

”Prof. Wole Soyinka, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others were forced to relocate from Nigeria, it was a period of persecution, victimisation and wickedness.

“But today, democracy has come to stay. OPC is 25 years and we have every reason to remember Nigeria’s heroes and those who have been forgotten,” he said.

Adams also expressed regret that despite the death of a number of nationalists and sacrifices of the fallen heroes, not so much had been achieved with democracy.

He, however, said that with the determination of the group not to relent and continue pressing for better change, Nigeria, and the Yoruba nation will be liberated.

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“Though, democracy is here, we are still faced with several challenges. Part of these challenges is the spate of insecurity in the country, but I am optimistic that Nigeria and the Yorubaland in particular, will get it right one day,” Adams said.

Adams said that Prof. Tunde Babawale of the Department of Political Science, University Of Lagos, and the Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) would deliver a public lecture.

He said that special Awards would be presented to 21 eminent Nigerians.

“Some of the recipients of the OPC special posthumous awards include the late Chiefs Obafemi Awolowo, the late Moshood MKO Abiola, Gani Fawehinmi, Dr Beko Ransome- Kuti.

”Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Abraham Adesanya, Justice Adewale Thompson, Amb. Segun Olusola, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Olumide Adeniji, Tony Ngrube, Prof. Sophie Oluwole.

”Ibraheem Abobanawo and the founding father and Spiritual leader of the Congress, the late Dr Fredrick Faseun.

Prof. Wole Soyinka, Barristers Femi Falana, Femi Aborishade, Kehinde Oluwole, Gabriel Akinadewo, Dr Joe Okei- Odumakin and Yemisi Shylon, among others.”

“The awards are to appreciate all the recipients for playing different roles in the course of the struggle to liberate the nation,” he said.

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POLITICS

PDP Berates INEC over alleged Frustrating Issuance of CTC of Results

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over alleged directives aimed at frustrating the procedure for issuance of Certified True Copies (CTC) of form EC8A.

The Spokesman, PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Charles Aniagwu, stated this at a news conference on Friday  in Asaba.

Aniagwu alleged that the INEC headquarters had directed the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) in states and the FCT to ensure comparison with its Result Viewing Portal (IRev) data before issuance of CTC of form EC8A.

He urged INEC to do right thing by allowing the states, which were the original source of the documents to issue same without comparing with the IREV data.

Aniagwu, said that why the PDP was seeking the CTC of the form EC8A was to enable it prove its case at the Presidential election tribunal.

He noted that INEC’s directive to state RECs to compare with IREV figures would be detrimental to its case since the party was already disputing the contents of the IREV data.

According to him, the Presidential election has come and gone but because our party is not satisfied with the conduct of the election, we felt that there is need to challenge the outcome in the court of law.

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“We were able to get a court judgement asking INEC to avail us all relevant documents that will assist us in proving our case.

“We are, however, taken aback that INEC in an unsigned document sent to State Resident Electoral Commissioners directed them not to issue the form EC8A without comparing with IREV records at the Commission’s headquarters.

“This directive is a departure from the usual procedure for the issuance of Certified True Copies of form EC8A which has to do with results from the states.

“The most important data here is the primary data which are domiciled with the RECs of states and INEC knows that the directive is not the right procedure hence they refused to sign the document,” Aniagwu said.

He said that the IREV portal were already being interrogated by the party, while pleading with INEC to allow the RECs upload the CTC of form EC8A without recourse to the IRev.

“The IREV portal in this instance is a secondary data because the primary data which is the form EC8A is domiciled with the RECs.

“We cannot at this moment believe that what was uploaded in the IREV portal will be what actually transpired because of the delay in the upload of the data.

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“In the actual fact, it is INEC headquarters that is supposed to confirm from the states and not the other way round because the primary source of the form EC8A is the States,” Aniagwu said.

On the governorship election in Delta, Aniagwu said the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had no case with the election as Sheriff Oborevwori won fair and square.

“The Delta State Governorship election was won fair and square and for Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and the APC to run to the media claiming manipulations in parts of the state, particularly the 21 local governments the PDP won is preposterous and we urge him to go and prepare for 2027.

“This election is won and lost and they know because they brought forward a candidate that is not acceptable to the people of Delta.

“So, we advise the APC in Delta to begin to organise themselves possibly for 2027 because the governorship election result is a true reflection of what happened on ground,” he added.(NAN)

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Appeal Court Dismisses PDP Suit Against Tinubu, Shettima over Alleged Double Nomination 

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The Court of Appeal, Abuja, Friday evening, dismissed an appeal by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking the disqualification of Sen. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate, All Progressives Congress (APC), and his vice, Kashim Shettima, in the Feb. 25 election.

A three-member panel headed by Justice James Abundaga, in a unanimous judgment, held that the PDP failed to establish that its had locus standi to institute the case.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PDP, in an appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023, had prayed the appellate court to reverse the Jan.

13 judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja which dismissed its suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked locus standi to have instituted the suit.

While the PDP was the appellant, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu and Shettima were respondents in the appeal.

The PDP had, in the suit filed on July 28, 2022, challenged the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election.

It argued that Shettima’s nomination as the running mate was in breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84{1)}(2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended), claiming that Shettima had double nominations.

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 It claimed that as at the time Shettima was nominated as vice presidential candidate, he had not resigned or withdrawn his nomination as candidate for Borno Central Senatorial poll.

The party argued that Shettima’s nomination as a vice-presidential candidate as well as the candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial seat contravened the law.

The PDP, which sought an order disqualifying the APC, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the presidential election scheduled for Feb. 25, equally prayed the court for an order nullifying their candidacy.

It further prayed the court for an order compelling INEC to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.

The defendants, in their preliminary objection, urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.

They contended that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the case, which invariably challenged APC’s decision and its nomination of candidates for the election, which were within the confines of the party’s internal affairs and thus, non-justiciable.

Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Abundaga, who agreed with the submissions of lawyers to the respondents, including Thomas Ojo of Lateef Fagbemi and Co, described the PDP as a busy body, who dabbled into issues that were internal affairs of the APC.

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Justice Abundaga held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi.

“The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” he said and proceeded to affirm the judgment of the FHC.

The judge also awarded N5 million cost against the appellant’s lawyer, J. O. Olotu.(NAN)

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2023 Presidential Poll: Protesters Storm NASS, Reject Tinubu

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja 

Protesters, in their numbers, under the auspices of Free Nigeria Movement, stormed the National Assembly, rejecting the outcome of the February 25 Presidential election, where Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner amidst serious controversies.

The angry protesters are pushing for an Interim National Government, (ING), pending the determination of all litigations arising from the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections held on.

The protesters said the elections fell short of every good standard, even as they accused the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu of complicity, demanding his arrest.

They wielded placards with diverse inscriptions such as ‘Save our Democracy’, “INEC + Corruption, Politicians are killing our Democracy,” and “INEC killing the Nigerian Democracy”, the protesters called for annulment of the election.

Although they were not granted access into the National Assembly arcade by security agents, as they made use of their spaces by the gate to drive home their demands.

Addressing the crowd, the convener of the protest, Dr. Moses Paul, said the votes of Nigerians must count.

Paul said the protest would also be taken  to the court of appeal headquarters in Abuja, from the ministry of justice.

“Today, we mourn the demise of credibility, the rape of trust, the abuse of will. Today, we stand in the ruins of transparency, on the embalming table of inclusion, equity and accountability. Today, we are voices, toneless, stripped of the music of choice. Today, we are Nigerians, broken, calling on INEC to count our votes.

“On February 25, 2023, Nigerians trooped to their polling units with one mission, ‘to cast their votes and choose their next leaders.’ They qualified for this exercise by participating in the yearlong Continuous Voter Registration which witnessed an unprecedented spike as has never been seen in any election since 1999. 

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”Months later, they returned to collect their Permanent Voters Cards and went home with a commitment to participate and engage with the process. The chain of apathy was broken, tossed to the belly of oblivion. 

”We were free, free to experience the full potential of our Nigerianness. Our binding lines were unbroken: in ideology, they held us together; in trust, they washed us like water; in truth, they kept us alive.”

“We breathed the full breathe of what being citizens should be in a progressive, secular society. So, when the day finally arrived, we had no doubt in our hearts, in the portion that always questions truths that our votes must count. But nothing could bolster our belief like the assurances by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud. 

“Recall that a little over a year ago, President Muhammadu Buhari appended his signature to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022. The fanfare that greeted that can well claim recognition as one of the most colourful in our recent history due to its unbroken allegiance to the Nigerian spirit. 

”On that day, we were neither Igbo, Hausa nor Yoruba. We were not Efik, Tiv, or Urhobo. No, we were not Gbagyi, Kanuri or Ijaw. On that day, we were Nigerians full of the positive energies of our land.

“I hate to announce that today in the heart of some, all this has gone to waste. You may have seen the video of the diasporan who tore his passport. Some other Nigerians have done same to the fabric of our identity because INEC through Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud chose to silence their voice.

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“So I ask, what is the value of democracy if the process that recruits its leaders consistently lacks credibility?

“Perhaps, the answer is at the International Conference Center where Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud began, sustained and concluded collation and declaration of a candidate as winner of the presidential election, based on falsehood, contravening its guidelines and the Electoral Act. 

“It is most disturbing that this was done in the full glare of the world. Never has our democracy been so sorely abused by any citizen in either public or private service.

“Prof. Yakubu Mahmood has raised a bar in impunity that will cost our country many years of electoral excellence to correct. This was not the electronic transmission he promised Nigerians and the world at Chatham House. 

”Prof. Yakubu Mahmood has lied to Nigerians and abused our right of choice. We pass a vote of no confidence and call for his immediate sack and prosecution. We cannot afford to continue the culture of performing lawlessness without consequences. We are as strong as our laws and as tall as our institutions. We cannot afford to descend any lower than this.

“As microcosm of our demography, the National Assembly represents our collective aspiration, desire, hope, and faith in a country that works for all. The laws you make device the path of our corporate engagement as individuals and institutions. 

”The lawmaker should be on the side of justice, equity, and fair play. Our call to you is to take a stand with the people of Nigeria whosen place you hold in these hallowed chambers in their demand for a system that works for all and call on INEC to count our votes. This is the only way the laws you make can hold the deserved essence and effect.

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“We, therefore, call on President Buhari, whose commitment to free and fair elections is engraved in the legacy of the Electoral Act 2022, to initiate processes and procedures that will bring Nigeria under the control of an interim government pending the resolution of all litigations pertaining to the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.

“Our country needs healing. It will be counterproductive to allow a fraudulent process to subsist as fraud will eternally birth fraud. We cannot grow our democracy on falsehood and suspicion. The holes in our national fabric must be woven shut. 

”One way is to immediately establish a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Lagos State and other flashpoints of voter intimidation and violence during the presidential, national assembly, governorship and state assembly elections. This will help build trust, confidence and further ethnic cooperation among Nigerians.

“As concerned citizens, we believe that our country is destined for greatness and are hopeful that in no distant time, our faith will nudge our dreams to reality. This is our prayer as we nurse the bruises of hope. 

”For though they force us to precipice, we will not curse our country or stand by those who curse it. We will not steal from our country whatever treasures it possesses in dignity. We will hold on to the promise of unity and faith, peace and progress.

“We are not stopping till they arrest Prof Mahmood and give us an interim government that will conduct credible elections”, the protest convener, Paul said.

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