Buhari expresses eagerness to leave office and focus on farming; Tinubu urges end to politicking, calls for healing process | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Buhari expresses eagerness to leave office and focus on farming
  • Tinubu urges end to politicking, calls for healing process
  • LP to sue APC, Governor Sanwo-Olu over alleged malpractice in recent election
  • INEC Chairman did not work under me – Wike
  • US warns of using all available sanctions against those who undermined 2023 polls

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

Buhari expresses eagerness to leave office and focus on farming

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated his eagerness to step down so he can return to Daura, Katsina state, and focus on his farms and cattle.

On Tuesday, at the State House in Abuja, Buhari addressed a farewell meeting with Mary Beth Leonard, the outgoing United States ambassador.

“I plan to be a big landlord back at home, working on my farms and tending to more than 300 animals. I am eager to go,” he said.

The president addressed the elections, saying that the results of the February 25 and March 18 votes proved that the people of Nigeria are capable of deciding for themselves who leads the country.

He was very impressed by the voting patterns in Nigeria, which he said demonstrated a deep commitment to democracy.

Democracy in Nigeria, according to Buhari, has reached full maturity.

“The people are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do,” he said.

“But I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election. I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost. With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”

Buhari said he was happy with his own role in the election process by staying above board, without meddlesomeness or any form of interference.

He lauded the outgoing ambassador for the enormous achievements recorded in Nigeria-US relations in the three-and-half years she had been in the country.

The American ambassador said she was impressed with the progress made in Nigeria-US relations.

She cited the recent institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware including warplanes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters; and also cooperation in the health sector to fight HIV and COVID response

President Buhari will on May 29 hand over to Bola Tinubu, the president-elect when he might have served his second term of four years.

Tinubu urges end to politicking, calls for healing process

Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, says with the general election out of the way, Nigerians must champion the healing process to unite the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, Tinubu urged all Nigerians to rise above the differences that emanated from the poll and embrace nation-building.

He congratulated all the elected governors and states lawmakers while urging them to provide the “better life that we promised during the campaigns”.

“With the conclusion of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, I congratulate all the elected governors and assembly members for earning the mandate of the people. The March 18 governorship election held across 28 states and the state legislative poll across the 36 states of the federation have brought the 2023 election circle to a fitting close,” the president-elect said.

“Consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level will bring more development and improved quality of life to the masses. The more we entrench and consolidate the gains of our democratic venture across the length and breadth of our country, the more our people benefit in terms of dividends of democracy and good governance.

“Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us.

“As the elected, the only way to justify the trust and confidence of the people and the mandate entrusted in us is to commit ourselves to the service of the people. We must all work diligently and sincerely to make life better for the masses. As elected officers, we have no other assignment than to be burden-bearers for the masses and ensure they have the better life that we promised during the campaigns.

“We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters. As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation-building, a task beyond one individual or a section of society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck.

“I am ready to work with you all as your President. I will be a worthy partner you can trust and rely on as we all bond together, in unity of purpose and renewed hope for, the betterment of our blessed country and beloved people.”

LP to sue APC, Governor Sanwo-Olu over alleged malpractice in recent election

The Labour Party (LP) has expressed its intention to challenge the result of the March 18 governorship election in Lagos State, where the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged the winner. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), having garnered 762,134 votes while Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the LP candidate, secured 312,329 votes.

In a media briefing, LP Chairman in Lagos, Mrs. Dayo Ekong, stated that the victory of the APC was momentary and that the gubernatorial and assembly polls failed democratic tests, with attacks on opposition parties’ agents and loyalists. She also recalled how violence and threats hindered the voting process in many polling units across the state.

Ekong declared, “Ballot boxes were snatched and burnt; all manner of evil things happened. There was no credibility. It was not free, we will seek redress. Whatever it takes for us to get justice, we will do.” She further disclosed that the party would petition INEC, the police, and the military over brutal attacks on some LP members.

The LP leader said that if the Lagos election result is not challenged, it would set a bad precedent, urging the youth not to give up. Before the declaration of results at the collation center, Ekong had berated INEC and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Segun Agbaje, over alleged violent activities during the election, which resulted in disenfranchisement and loss of lives.

Ekong stated, “People died…people were disenfranchised from exercising their civic responsibility. In Alimosho, Eti-Osa, and Ibeju-Lekki, no results from over 1,000 units. This election is a sham. Election marred by violence! We reported this case in the past election and nothing was done. I want to tell you, Mr. Gbaje, the REC, that you have failed the youths. You have failed the masses, and you have not done the right thing.”

INEC Chairman did not work under me – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has refuted claims that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, worked under him during their time at the Federal Ministry of Education. According to Wike, he and Yakubu worked under the Ministry’s Minister of Education.

In a recent interview, former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, alleged that Professor Mahmood Yakubu conducted the worst elections in Nigeria’s history. Amaechi also claimed that Yakubu worked under Wike during their time in the Federal Ministry of Education and opposed his reappointment as Chairman of INEC because he was nominated by someone from the President-elect’s camp of the APC.

Wike has clarified that Yakubu never worked under him. Instead, both of them worked in the Federal Ministry of Education, where Yakubu served as the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund under the supervision of the Minister of Education. Wike, on the other hand, was the Minister of State for Education.

He also pointed out that Yakubu was the one who conducted the 2019 general elections, which the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari won.

US warns of using all available sanctions against those who undermined 2023 polls

The United States Mission in Nigeria has released a statement concerning the recent gubernatorial and state assembly elections that occurred on March 18th. The statement expressed deep concern about the violent voter intimidation and suppression that took place in Lagos, Kano, and other states during the elections. The United States diplomatic mission members observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed some of the incidents first-hand.

The American embassy expressed particular concern about the use of ethnically charged rhetoric before, during, and after the gubernatorial election in Lagos. The Mission praised political actors, religious and community leaders, youth, and citizens who spoke out against violence and inflammatory language and who were committed to the democratic process.

The U.S. called on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice any individuals found to have ordered or carried out efforts to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process. The government also stated that it would consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions, on individuals believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining the elections.

The United States recalled its involvement with other international observers in urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve voting processes and technical elements experienced during the February 25th poll. The statement concluded by urging those who are aggrieved with the results of the general elections to go through established legal processes, which must not be interfered with.

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