Obi’s petition against Tinubu incompetent – INEC tells court; Wike begged me to help him emerge as VP – Dino Melaye | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Obi’s petition against Tinubu incompetent – INEC tells court
  • Wike begged me to help him emerge as VP – Dino Melaye
  • Reps summon Malami, finance minister over ‘fraud’ in whistleblower programme
  • Buhari committed to job creation in Niger Delta – Minister
  • No one can stop Tinubu from becoming president – Gov Umahi

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

Obi’s petition against Tinubu incompetent – INEC tells court 

According to recent reports, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has requested the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and his party, challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the President-Elect.

The petitioners argued that the election was marred by rigging and manipulations and that the INEC violated its own regulations when it announced the results before fully scanning, uploading, and transmitting the polling unit results electronically, as required by the electoral act.

In its response, INEC claimed that the reliefs sought by Obi and his party are not grantable and that the grounds of the petition are vague. The commission prayed the court to either dismiss or strike out the petition for being grossly incompetent, abusive, vague, non-specific, ambiguous, and academic.

The commission further discredited the petitioners over the claim that Tinubu was not elected by the majority of lawful votes cast, stating that the petitioners’ prayer to declare Obi the winner lacked the requisite particulars and pleading to support it.

Furthermore, INEC argued that Obi cannot be returned as elected, having not polled the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and secured one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all states in the federation and the FCT. INEC also denied the petitioners’ claims of double nomination by Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima.

On the issue of non-representation, INEC said the petitioners did not have polling agents in all the polling units across Nigeria, as they only submitted a list of 134, 874 polling agents, which is 41, 972 short of the 176, 846 polling units across Nigeria.

Wike begged me to help him emerge as VP – Dino Melaye

Former Nigerian senator and governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State, Dino Melaye, has claimed that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, begged him to convince former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to choose him as his running mate in the 2019 Presidential election.

Melaye revealed this in response to Wike’s comment that he would never be the governor of Kogi State.

In an interview with AIT, Melaye said: “Wike was calling me when Atiku Abubakar was to announce his running mate. I have records and I’m going to print them out. He called me 19 times in two hours, begging us to convince Atiku Abubakar to make him the vice presidential candidate.”

Melaye further alleged that Wike’s refusal to accept Atiku’s choice of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate brought about the plot against Atiku in the presidential election.

He said, “He was at the airport. I have the video. He spent hours in the airport waiting for me to call him that Atiku Abubakar has picked him as the running mate. He was at the airport here waiting, calling me. I have witnesses. He was begging, promising heaven and earth that Atiku should announce him. It was around 1 or so that I called him that, Oga, nobody go give you vice president. That’s when he left and flew back.”

Reps summon Malami, finance minister over ‘fraud’ in whistleblower programme

The Nigerian House of Representatives Committee has summoned government officials over their handling of the whistleblower policy, which was launched in December 2016 to encourage Nigerians to disclose information on fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, and any other form of corruption. Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha are among those expected to provide clarification on the implementation of the policy.

The summon was issued during a public hearing chaired by Mark Gbillah, who is investigating the alleged loss of $2.4 billion in revenue from the illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil in 2015. Gbillah said the committee had received reports that Malami received funds outside the country through the whistleblower policy but did not remit them to the federation account. Gbillah also claimed the finance minister approved payments to whistleblowers that were not in accordance with the policy stipulations.

According to Gbillah, some government agencies operated their treasury single account (TSA) without approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The CBN responded to the committee indicating that agencies operate their TSA account and make expenditures from these accounts without recourse to the CBN. Gbillah said the constitution stipulates that all revenue accruing to the federation must be paid into the federation account. If recoveries are being made from whistleblower revelations, Gbillah said they expect the money to be paid into the account of the federation as required by law.

The committee will also investigate individuals and companies related to whistleblower revelations, including payments made into company accounts without records of the services they provided to the country. The identities of whistleblowers will be protected, and the committee will exercise its statutory powers to compel the appearance of anyone who fails to honour the summon of the lawmakers.

When contacted to comment on the development, Umar Gwandu, Malami’s spokesperson, said his principal was “never involved” or received funds without remitting to the government. The ad hoc committee was set up in December 2022 to investigate the whistleblower’s claims that 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude were illegally sold in China in 2015, as well as all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 until now.

Buhari committed to job creation in Niger Delta – Minister 

President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to create job opportunities for youths in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. Speaking at the commissioning of a Multi-Skills Vocational Development Center in Edo State, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, hailed the project as one of the Infrastructure Agenda’s successes under the Buhari administration.

“This commissioning is an eloquent testimony to the unwavering commitment of the Federal Government towards addressing the inequalities in the Niger Delta Region,” Umana said. “I am certain that the construction which was handled by local and indigenous contractors has benefitted the communities through the employment opportunities created for the Youths.”

The training facility, which features an ICT center, hairdressing salons, footwear design and tailoring studios, carpentry and catering workshops, outdoor exhibition space, and auxiliary offices with conveniences, was constructed in two phases, in December 2020 and December 2021. The center aims to train youths in the Niger Delta region in technical skills, transforming them into wealth and job creators.

The minister also noted that the Ministry is developing similar centers in each of the nine states in the Niger Delta region. This initiative will help address the inequalities in the region, create job opportunities, and promote socio-economic development.

No one can stop Tinubu from becoming president – Gov Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has expressed his belief that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has been given a mandate by God that no power can take away from him.

Speaking in Abakaliki, the governor laughed off the attempts of opponents to challenge the outcome of the February 25 election, saying that they were simply wasting their time and resources.

“APC, as a Party, merited all it got at the polls,” he added. He also advised those who think they can rob Tinubu of his mandate to reconsider, as he cannot be stopped. According to him, “When people say they are going to court or going to tribunal, I just laugh because there is no power or force that can remove Tinubu from being the President of Nigeria. This is because the time God would have stopped him, God allowed him [and] because God allowed him, no man can stop him.”

Umahi dedicated the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state and across the country to God. He urged Nigerians to have faith in God, as he believes that God is in control of the country’s political landscape.

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