The Big 5: The opposition has more money than government – Garba Shehu; Governor Ayade says PDP is an unfair party with no conscience | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

Media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, says the opposition has more money than the government, alleging that the leading opposition parties have resolved to undertake a campaign clearly aimed at aggravating differences between Nigerians on the basis of especially religion, region and tribe.

In an article he wrote and published by The Cable, Shehu stessed that the amount of money spent by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during its convention in Port Harcourt should be a major concern to Nigerians, adding that such act contrasts sharply with the high level of discipline put in place through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) being implemented by the Buhari government.

“This opposition, it must be said, has liquidity of the type that government itself does not have. The US Dollar rain by a major opposition party at their convention in Port Harcourt is a dire warning in this direction,” he said.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Raheem Olawuyi, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s House of Representatives bye-election for Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero constituency in Kwara, as winner of the poll. 

INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the poll, Prof. Abimbola Adesoji, said Olawuyi got 21,236 votes of the 39,599 valid votes cast, and was closely followed by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Saheed Alatise, with 18,095 votes, as well as those of the Labour Party, Femi Ona-Ara who had 150 votes, the People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN) Ajadi Olayemi with 76 votes and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN’s)  Olaniyan Ayorinde with 42 votes.

As reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) some cancellations arising from snatching of ballot boxes and over voting were reportedly experienced in three polling units in Irepodun Local Government Area of the constituency, while INEC officers were confirmed to have been attacked and inflicted with wounds in the process.

In a related development, INEC will Sunday(today) lift the ban on campaigns for the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for February 16 2019, in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities issued by the electoral body months ago.

According to a statement by INEC’s Director Of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, on Saturday in Abuja, political parties who fielded candidates for both elections would commence campaigns across the country in accordance with Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides that “the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.”

“Political Parties are expected to conduct their activities in an organized and peaceful manner, devoid of rancour, hate and/or inflammatory speeches,” he added while reminding political parties and their candidates that campaigns for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly would commence on December 1.

Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade, has expressed bitterness over the disqualification of his friend, Chris Agara from the Cross River Central Senatorial primaries of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), describing the party as one that is unfair and with no conscience.

“I have spent more money than any other candidate in the state. PDP is a party that is so unfair and has got no conscience. A man came ready for election and you take out his name from the ballot paper because you know he is too powerful. When people use God’s given opportunities to do injustice, injustice would wait for them,” Ayade said.

The Guardian reports that the governor was however excited that Agara did not defect to another political party despite pressure, as he called on him: “Let us shame the devil. Let us shame the enemies. Let us shame all those who thought that they can put a fight between two brothers. We have conquered. We are the richest Cross Riverians in the oil and gas inustry.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for the replacement of the nation’s Security Chiefs, while urging the President to probe the killings in the country.

CAN President, Reverend Samson Ayokunle, who made the call during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari weekend at the Presidential Villa, Abuja also asked the Federal Government to direct the security agencies to be non-partisan during the forthcoming general elections and put necessary measures in place to ensure that the polls are conducted peacefully.

The group also called on the President to adhere to the rule of law and release from detention, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Leader of the Shi’ites movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky  to enjoy the bail granted them by the courts of law, which they say would ease tension in the land and give credit and respect to his administration from the international community.

And stories from around the world:

The US Central Intelligence Agency has concluded Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US media reported Friday, citing people close to the matter.

In his reaction however, President Donald Trump on Saturday called the CIA assessment blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “very premature” and said he will receive a complete report on the case on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Former Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab has criticised the British government’s “lack of political will and resolve” in dealing with the European Union, as he told the Sunday Times that the UK should not allow itself to be “bullied” and must be prepared to walk away from negotiations if necessary.

More than 40 people have been killed and dozens wounded in Central African Republic (CAR), in an attack on a Catholic mission sheltering 20,000 refugees, according to a regional legislator. (Al Jazeera)

Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have suspended efforts to contain an Ebola virus outbreak in the town of Beni because of worsening rebel attacks.

A militia attacked just “a few metres” from an emergency centre, the country’s health ministry said. (BBC)

The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to U.S. demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday. (Reuters)

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