Obi left PDP over northern power agenda – Wike; PDP urges IGP, DSS to investigate INEC chair for electoral crimes | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Obi left PDP over northern power agenda – Wike
  • Court: Only INEC decides result collation method
  • PDP urges IGP, DSS to investigate INEC chair for electoral crimes
  • Labour Party adopts Gov Abiodun as candidate
  • NBC warns broadcast stations on election coverage, may revoke licences

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

Obi left PDP over northern power agenda – Wike

Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, has claimed that former Anambra State governor Mr. Peter Obi defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Labour Party (LP) because of efforts by some politicians within the PDP to keep power in the north.

This was said by Wike on Thursday when the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide paid a courtesy visit to the Government House in Port Harcourt.

After former Governor of Jigawa State Sule Lamido assured Obi that power would remain in the north this year, the governor said Obi decided to leave the PDP and became a staunch supporter of a Southern president.

He said: “I supported that power must come to the south. When [Peter] Obi came here, I gave him all the logistics, vehicles, and other support and paid for the stadium, but some other persons applied and I refused. You should know me too well by now.

“Obi was running with us. I knew when Obi left. He was principled and he said he couldn’t stand it, people should say the truth.

“He went to see Sule Lamido in Jigawa, not in Dutse, but in a village that will take you more than four or five hours drive from Dutse, the capital.

“You know what he told Obi? He did not tell him that look, you came late and I have chosen somebody. He said it is the north that would produce the next president. That was how Obi left [the PDP] saying why is he wasting time. Ask him. That is how he left PDP.”

Court: Only INEC decides result collation method

Judge Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled on Friday that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the legal authority to regulate how election results are collated and transmitted.

Judge Nwite declared in a ruling that only INEC has the authority to direct the Polling Unit Presiding Officer on how to transfer election results, including the total number of accredited voters and ballot results.

Judge Nwite ruled further that the manual collation and transfer of election results in the general elections of 2023 cannot be deemed inconsistent with the pertinent sections of the Electoral Act of 2022.

The ruling concerned a lawsuit filed by the Labour Party against INEC, which was the sole defendant.

The party had asked the court to rule that INEC does not have the authority to choose a manual technique other than the electronic method stipulated under the Electoral Act of 2022.

It sought the court to impose an injunction instructing INEC to comply with the Electoral Act of 2022 regarding the electronic transmission of election results.

In a ruling issued on January 23, 2023, Judge Nwite concluded that the plaintiff misinterpreted the terms of the law and dismissed the case.

Justice Nwite also noted that Section 60, subsection 5 of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides for the transfer of election results, including the total number of accredited voters from the polling unit, and that Section 62 (2) of the same Act provides for the compilation, maintenance, and continuous update of the register of election results as a separate database for all polling unit results as collated in all elections conducted by the commission.

Judge Nwite determined that Section 62(2) mandates that the electoral body’s national headquarters maintain this register of election results in an electronic format.

PDP urges IGP, DSS to investigate INEC chair for electoral crimes

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has requested that Usman Baba, inspector-general of police, and Yusuf Bichi, director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), investigate Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for alleged electoral offenses “immediately.”

Debo Ologunagba, the spokesperson for the PDP, stated at a press conference on Friday in Abuja that Yakubu should be probed and prosecuted for allegedly violating provisions of the 2022 electoral act in the conduct of the presidential election.

The opposition party reiterated its previous demand for Yakubu’s resignation.

The PDP asserted that INEC’s plan to reconfigure the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) devices for the governorship election is a “scheme to erase and destroy evidence of its manipulation of the presidential election, deny Nigerians and political parties, particularly our party and candidate access to relevant information required to prosecute our case at the presidential election tribunal.”

“From all indications, the INEC under Mahmood Yakubu was compromised to rig the election by brazenly violating the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022,” Ologunagba said.

“By flagrantly violating these provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as INEC’s regulations, guidelines and Manual for the election, Mahmood Yakubu is not only culpable of serious electoral offence but also betrayed, thrashed and threw overboard the trust, confidence and hope Nigerians reposed in him and the electoral commission to deliver a free, fair and credible election in the country.

“The continuing stay of Mahmood Yakubu in office as chairman of INEC is, therefore, vexatious, injurious to the integrity of the electoral commission and an unpardonable assault to the credibility of our electoral process, the sensibility of Nigerians and the international community.

“Moreover, Mahmood Yakubu’s stay in office is capable of paving the way for the suppression, tampering and destruction of critical evidence required to further expose the infractions and violations by the Commission at the Presidential Election Tribunal.

“This fear is evidenced by the desperation of INEC to reconfigure the BVAS devices to erase vital data contained therein.

“Consequently, the PDP demands that the chairman of INEC Mahmood Yakubu immediately step down from office, having abused the confidence and dashed the hope of millions of Nigerians as well as political parties and the International Community for a free, fair and credible election.

“Nigerians no longer have faith in Mahmood Yakubu’s capacity and integrity to manage a democratic institution as sensitive as INEC.

“Mahmood Yakubu’s exit as chairman of INEC will be the first step towards sanitising the electoral commission and restoring the confidence of Nigerians especially as the nation prepares for the rescheduled March 18, 2023 governorship and state assembly elections.

“Furthermore, the PDP demands that the inspector general of police and the director-general of the DSS immediately commence investigations into the electoral violations and manipulations by INEC with the view to prosecuting Mahmood Yakubu and other officials of the commission for electoral offences.

“In the same vein, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should open an investigation into allegations that certain top officials of INEC were heavily compromised financially to manipulate the electoral process.”

Labour Party adopts Gov Abiodun as candidate

Ahead of the governorship election rescheduled for March 18, the Labour Party (LP) in Ogun State, has endorsed and adopted the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate and the incumbent governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun for another term of four years in office.

Speaking when he led the state executive members of the Labour Party to the governor’s residence at Iperu-Remo, the state chairman of the party, Comrade Michael Ashade, disclosed that the good works of the governor and the need to sustain them till 2027 informed the party’s decision to throw its weight behind him.

With Ashade were the National Publicity Secretary of LP, Abayomi Arabambi, State Secretary, Engr. Michael Feyisola, Women Leader, Elizabeth Oladimeji, Ogun East Senatorial Chairman, Babaseun Ogunyemi, State Treasurer, Sobayo Olaniyi and State Youth Leader, Adebiyi Adekunle.

Others are State Legal Adviser, Monday Mawahi, Assistant Secretary, Wale Okusanya, State Deputy Chairman, Otunba Yinka Adeboye, Senatorial chairman for Ogun West, Olufemi Olusola, State Organising secretary, Tosin Meadows and Youth Leader, Ogun West, Godwin Adeleye.

Ashade said: “We are here to appreciate His Excellency, our governorship candidate, whom we have come to endorse at this occasion. We have not had it better in Ogun State at a time like this, we as an opposition party are not intimidated by the fact that we are in the opposition.

“All through the campaign period which is still ongoing, I don’t think any party will complain that its supporters are being strangulated or impeded. None of our candidates can make that statement. We want to thank you, sir, for giving all the parties a level playing ground. We equally want to thank His Excellency for allowing peace to reign before, during and after the election of February 25.

”It is glaring that all through the nation, Ogun State can stand out as being the most peaceful during this election period. Your leadership style has alluded to this and your statesmanship in leading this state on the right path has laid credence to that.

“As the Chief Security Officer, the governor has demonstrated that all lives matter and everyone can say to an extent that Ogun State is peaceful and safe and we, even though we are in the opposition, we have come to say thank you for allowing peace to prevail in Ogun State.

” We have also come as a party to say we are supporting you on your bid to govern Ogun State for a second term. Even though we have lost, we are not losers, we are magnanimous even in our defeat and we are lending our support to you.”

While maintaining that the party’s support to the governor was key and symbolic, the Labour Party chairman observed that in present Nigeria’s political space, the LP has become a formidable force to be reckoned with as elections are no longer a two or three-horse race, pledging his members’ complete support at all times.

Ashade said that though no one is expecting Ogun to be El Dorado after the governor’s second term in office, the state is expected to fare better as his victory will bring another new dawn in the history of the state.

NBC warns broadcast stations on election coverage, may revoke licences

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has threatened to shut down broadcast stations whose activities are capable of undermining peaceful co-existence.

Ekanem Antia, NBC spokesperson, on Friday, said Balarabe Ilela, NBC director-general, spoke at a meeting with broadcast stations on the coverage of the February 25 elections.

“The NBC is giving its last warning to broadcast stations and will not hesitate to shut or revoke the licence of any when convinced that its activities are capable of undermining the peaceful co-existence of the country,” he said.

“Any further breaches of the Nigeria broadcasting code and act will no longer be tolerated.”

He said the commission monitored the coverage of the elections by some broadcast stations and noted how they made their platforms available to “unpatriotic individuals” to make subversive, hateful, and inciting utterances, particularly post-election.

The NBC DG said the coverage of the elections and post-election matters were “marred by unguarded statements, divisive and dangerous comments”.

He said the media has a role to play in ensuring national development by publishing or broadcasting narratives of national reconciliation and healing.

He called on broadcast stations to avoid the promotion of negative conversations which are not only dangerous to democracy but pose threats to Nigeria’s corporate existence.

“In as much as the commission believes in the freedom of expression, it is also seriously constrained to act decisively on any broadcaster that exploits the fragile peace of our nation,” he said.

He appealed to broadcast stations to abide strictly by laid-down rules of the broadcasting code, the act, and other extant laws guiding broadcasting in Nigeria.

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