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Appeal Court Adjourns Hearing on Election Sequence

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

 

As a custodian of the law, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division has adjourned hearing in a suit challenging the ruling of a Federal High Court which set aside the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya told the parties in the case on Thursday that a full court would be constituted to hear the suit, as their panel cannot hear the appeal.

The counsel to the National Assembly, Mr Joseph Daudu, said the issue before the court was very urgent.

He told the court that suit torched on matters of the coming general elections and as such, time was important.

Daudu stressed that urgency was much more intense, as not having a pronouncement could make anyone want to challenge the bill.

In his submission, counsel to the Accord Party Wole Olanipekun told the court that there was nothing urgent about the appeal to warrant parties to return to the court when the Appeal Court was headed for its annual vacation.

He, therefore, urged the court to adjourn the case till the next legal year.

In a short ruling, Justice Yahaha adjourned the case till a date to be communicated to the parties, for a full panel to be constituted.

The Federal High Court had ruled in favour of the Accord Party which urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign into law the amended Electoral Act Bill 2018.

The court held that the National Assembly lacked the powers to decide on the sequence of the election on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Since Nigeria returned to democracy, presidential and National Assembly elections have been conducted on the same day before other polls, while the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections follow.

Lawmakers at the National Assembly had in February amended the election sequence such that the National Assembly polls would be conducted first, followed by the state lawmakers and the governors while the presidential election should take place last.

This led to a heated debate in the Senate after which President Buhari wrote the lawmakers in March, informing them that he had withheld assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

The President had stated that the amendment to election sequence in section 25 of the Principal Act might infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.

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UN @73: CISLAC urges increased implementation priority for SDGs in Nigeria

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As the world marks the Global Day of Action on SDGs, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) commemorates with the United Nations on its 73rd Anniversary, urging increased legislative priority and inclusive process in the implementation of SDGs.

In a statement Signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC Auwa Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) on Monday said that while the SDGs remains the globally ratified blue print to effectively drive development agenda and priorities, we find the critical roles of the legislators as paramount in actualising such priorities in Nigeria.

Rafsanjani said that as effective implementation of the SDGs requires greater transparency, accountability and political will, CISLAC calls on the legislators as custodians of the SDGs to promote, safeguard and strength oversight activities on implementation of the SDGs to high impact and efficiency at all levels.

According to the Executive Director, this syndicated action will enhance appropriate domestication and implementation of the SDGs by all levels of government with prioritised citizens’ engagements to promote sustainability and ownership.

He noted that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a set of 17 aspirational “global goals” and 169 targets adopted in 2015 by the 193 UN member states. With strong commitment by member states to steer policy-making that would be incorporated into national planning processes and policies. The United Nations encouraged countries to define national targets tailored to their specific circumstances and identify locally relevant indicators and data sources that will be used to measure progress towards achieving each of the SDG targets by 2030.

Recalled that since independence, one of the inhibitors of Nigeria’s development and economic stride has been corruption. Which has caused the mismanagement of our natural resources, poor healthcare provision and education, insecurity and youth unemployment and restiveness. Corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society that it is becoming more of a lifestyle that corrupt individuals are praised and worshiped.

He noted that Nigeria in 2017 was projected to have 43,000 individuals owning assets worth at least 1 million USD. The country also boasts of 23 billionaires with collective wealth reaching almost 78 billion USD. As the number of millionaires and billionaires increases every year, the poverty rate continues to proliferate due to staggering inequality, illicitness and corruption. Much of this wealth in Nigeria by certain individuals stems from corruption and embezzlement. Corruption in Nigeria is outrageous and its growth has further sunk the economy and drowned many into poverty.

“CISLAC in the same year, with support from Transparency International (TI), presented a Shadow Report on SDG 16, which was a modest contribution to the monitoring of the SDG progress in Nigeria and aimed at providing independent and objective assessment and progress made under SDG 16, in particular targets 16.4, 16.5 and 16.10. The report responds to three key issues related to the official SDG monitoring processes: the multi-dimensional nature of SDG targets, data availability and perceived credibility of data generated by government agencies. Collectively, these limitations provide a strong rationale for an independent appraisal of the government’s anti-corruption efforts in the context of the SDGs” he stated.

Nigeria has ardently adopted the SDGs much more than it did with the MDGs and the National Assembly (NASS) has demonstrated strong leadership role and best practices on the SDGs by chairing the African Network of Parliamentarians on the SDGs, a pan-African advocacy group facilitated by the United Nations and establishing standing committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which are engaged with the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria. However, there is still a lot to be done to ensure the prompt implementation of the SDGs, particularly SGD 16 are institutionalised in governance and systems.

CISLAC joined UN SDG Action Campaign (UNSDG-AC) to mark this year’s 73rd Anniversary of the United Nations through its Global Day to #Act4SDGs to call on stakeholders and citizens to amplify the impact of local and global actions for the SDGs by encouraging legislative and civic movement for the implementation and achievement of the SDGs.

“We also seek that the recommendations of the SDG 16 Shadow report be promptly given attention to and possible implementation.
The statement read further thus:

We call on the leadership of the National Assembly who have demonstrated commitment and guidance in the implementation of the SDGs, particularly SDG 16 to provide legal and legislative actions on targets 16.4, 16.5 and 16.10. NASS should also monitor and provide legislative oversight on the appropriation, release and management of funds to the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) to enable them function effectively, transparently and accountably in implementing the SDGs.”

We also remind all stakeholders that time is of essence to begin implementing the SDGs and make it a priority as 3 years has passed after its adoption.

We call on civil society, the media and all other advocates not to be despondent in the advocacy and campaign for the goals but continue their multi-sectorial engagement, reporting and monitoring of the SDGs. They should never work in silos but work together combining resources, skills and ideas for the realization of the SDGs.

CISLAC and her partners remain committed and open to partner and provide technical support to other organizations. We will continue to ensure that processes leading to the implementation of the SDGs are transparent, accountable and effectively monitored because we believe the realization of the SDGs is everyone’s business and rest on the pockets of combined efforts of all of us while leaving no one behind.

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2019 presidency: Tambuwal has my blessings – Babangida

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Former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has said that Sokoto governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has his blessings in his aspiration for the 2019 presidential election.

Babangida said this when he hosted Tambuwal and his team at his Hilltop residence in Minna on Saturday.

He said Tambuwal is a grounded politician who understands the challenges of the country and has the potentials to fix them.

The former leader lauded Tambuwal for promoting peace, rule of law and unity during his reign as Speaker of House of Representatives.

“I am very proud that you belong to the generation that want to keep Nigeria as one. You have a good team to keep that.

I have no doubt that Nigerians will give you the opportunity to put these good ideas for the good of the country..

You know the country, you understand the challenges of the country. I trust you will work base on your conviction for this country.

You have my blessings and I will keep monitoring to ensure you don’t deviate,” Babangida said.

Tambuwal said he was in Minna as part of his nationwide consultation to seek the blessings of the former leader.

He said IBB and others fought to keep Nigeria as one but that it is unfortunate that the country is now divided along ethnic and religious lines. He promised to serve as a bridge and a unifier when elected as the president.

“Mr President Sir , we are here also to drink from your fountain of knowledge and experience and to consult you on this all important mission of not only securing the flag of our party the PDP in the 2019 Presidential election but also eventually by the grace of God getting elected as the president of this great country.

The former Speaker of House of Representatives vowed that he will assemble the best brains to turn around the economy of the country and restore the confidence of Nigerians in the government.

He also pledged to ensure devolution of powers to states, so that among other things, funds are available to states to carry out meaningful projects.

“I believe in the devolution of power to state. We will ensure states get more fundings for them to be able to carry out meaningful projects in their domain,” he said.

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Osun Decide: Frank Raises Alarm Over Manipulation of Osun Election Results in Favour of APC

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Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has raised the alarm over ongoing manipulation of the Osun State gubernatorial election results in favour of the APC candidate, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola.

Frank in a statement in Abuja on Sunday morning, said he has reliable information that security forces and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been directed to rewrite the results to make the APC candidate win.

He noted that even though most of the results have been declared at the polling stations, the military has been drafted to local government collation centres to change the figures.

Frank said: “Already, military personnel have been drafted to collation centres in the remaining local governments areas comprising the stronghold of the the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), especially Osogbo local government to rewrite the results.

“It is common knowledge that the chairman of INEC is already aware that PDP is in the lead and they are doing everything possible to alter the result to Favour the APC. Teargass was used on people in order to dispatch them from the vicinity to enable them carry out the planned manipulation.

“Mr chairman, here’s a test case for you to prove your integrity. Do not allow APC to use you as the world is watching.”

He called on both local and international observers in Osun State that monitored the elections to intervene by keeping vigil at the local government collation centres to prevent the plot to openly rewrite the results and deny rightful winner of victory

He called on the international community to hold President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, responsible should anything happen to votes already scored by Adeleke.

He also called on the people of Osun State to resist any attempt to foist a wrong Governor on them having voted to make their rightful choice.

“It is clear that Buhari is not committed to the conduct of free and fair elections so long it is the APC that will benefit from the rigging. In Ekiti, it was the use of security agencies to intimidate the people and massive vote buying, but this time they have activated their Plan B which is to outrightly change the election results to make the APC candidate win.

“Many people have spoken and rightly so that the Osun elections will largely determine what the world should expect during the 2019 general elections. With the current move to rig the Osun poll in favour of the APC, it is clear that a similar fate awaits the opposition political parties during the 2019 general elections, unless urgent steps are taken to prevent security forces and INEC from thwarting the expressed wish of the people of Osun State.

“The plot to change the results of the Osun Gubernatorial election results in favour of the APC candidate at the Local Government collation centres is not only the height of corruption but a direct slap on the face of Osun people who trooped out enmasse to cast their ballot in favour of their choice candidates.

As it is, Frank expressed fears that INEC as led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has lost credibility to conduct the 2019 elections as I and a good number of Nigerians have lost confidence in him and the INEC of today.

“Everything must be done to prevent this electoral heist and open robbery by the Federal Government. Let the votes count. Let the true winner emerge. This country is not the property of the APC. This move will definitely be resisted by the people of Osun.

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