The Big 5: 2019 elections will be free and fair – Buhari assures; PDP speaks on alleged secret pact with Governor Ambode | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

The Nigerian Army says troops of 117 Battalion have killed a Boko Haram terrorist in Borno, while several others escaped with gunshot wounds when the terrorists engaged them at Forfor village, Borno 

A statement released on Thursday by Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman revealed that two of the terrorists were arrested by troops during the encounter while “two soldiers sustained injuries and have since been evacuated to 28 Task Force Brigade Field Ambulance for medical attention,” adding that the gallant patrol team recovered one AK-47 rifle, a magazine, 21 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, a 36 Hand Grenade, magazine pouch and a Motorcycle.

“Troops of 117 Battalion, 28 Task Force Brigade, Operation LAFIYA DOLE in conjunction with some members of Civilian Joint Task Force, following a report on the presence of suspected Boko Haram terrorists in a hideout, embarked on fighting patrol along Yachida, Korongelen, Bombula and Forfor axis, Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State, Tuesday 4th December 2018,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari says he respect the feelings of Nigerians and has pledged that all would be done to ensure that results of 2019 elections reflected the will of the people.

The President who made the commitment on Thursday, while receiving the Letter of Credence from Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Dr. Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said Nigerians reserved the right to elect leaders at various levels in 2019, stressing that all efforts would be made to safeguard the integrity of the process.

“I respect the people’s feelings. I assure all that we will have a free and fair election next year,’’ he said.

 The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Lagos has described the speculations about a secret pact between it and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to self-destruct the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state as conjectures and theories that doesn’t necessarily have to be true.

Speaking on the development in an interview with Vanguard, Director of media of the Jimi Agbaje Governorship Campaign, Felix Oboagwina said the APC as a party neither stands for internal democracy nor external democracy as manifested in the primaries that it recently held, while he stressing that APC was a marriage of convenience bound to collapse and “we are seeing the beginning of the end of that edifice that was put together just for a tyrannical purpose.”

Following Wednesday’s resignation by the immediate past Commissioner for Energy, Olawale Oluwo from the Lagos State Executive Council and subsequent defection to the opposition party, there have been speculations of a secret pact between the Governor and the PDP that would see the governor remain in the APC and at the last minute throw support and logistics behind the PDP as revenge against his party for making him the first sitting governor of Lagos State to be denied a return ticket.

About three political parties under the umbrella of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), have dissociated themselves from Wednesday’s announcement by Ikenga Ugochinyere, spokesman of the group that they have adopted Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the consensus candidate of the coalition.

Speaking on the development, SDP National Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Alfa said the party was not part of the endorsement as it already has a candidate, Donald Duke whose name had been submitted to INEC for the 2019 election, while KOWA party stressed that being a stands for transparency and accountability, they consider the CUPP process largely flawed and quite dubiously executed, and as such had nothing to do with it.

Similarly, the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN) has rejected the said endorsement, as its Presidential candidate, Dr Davidson Akhimien, said his party’s leaders were also not part of the resolution reached at the meeting, hence abandoning his ambition would amount to a betrayal of trust.

The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Thursday disclosed that all Nigerian homes will have access to prepaid meters by 2020, noting that the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari has since 2015 been working on providing Nigerians with stable and affordable electricity.

Chairman of the commission, James Momoh who made the disclosure on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ show said the body seeks to ensure that the customers have power supply that is affordable, accessible to them and available at all times, while calling for patience from Nigerians on the delivery of the prepaid meter which he said is not trivial.

“With all the mechanisms we have put in place, I am certain that every Nigerian home that wishes to have prepaid meter can have it by 2020,” Momoh said.

And stories from around the world:

President Donald Trump did not know about plans to arrest Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder Huawei in Canada, two U.S. officials said on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to stop the incident from impeding crucial trade talks with Beijing. (Reuters)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is to close on Saturday amid fears of further street violence from “yellow vest” anti-government protests.

Across France, 89,000 police officers will be on duty and armoured vehicles will be deployed in the capital, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced. (BBC)

CNN’s New York offices were evacuated Thursday night after a bomb threat, but no explosive was found and police later gave the all clear, the network said. (AFP)

Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons’ range to return to compliance with a key Cold War-era arms control treaty and avert a U.S. pullout from the pact, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. (Reuters)

Yemen’s foreign minister has sparked anger in his home country after he demanded Houthi rebels, who control the capital and large swathes of territory, hand over power to his exiled government.

Speaking at UN-sponsored peace talks in the Swedish town of Rimbo, Khaled al-Yamani gave little indication he was going to offer concessions to his adversaries after the first day of peace talks were held in nearly two years. (Al Jazeera)

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