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The Big 5: Those criticising my choice of running mate didn’t vote for me – El-Rufai; 2,045 PVCs stolen from INEC office in Akwa Ibom | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna on Tuesday reacted to criticisms trailing his choice of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate in the 2019 governorship election in the state, saying she was considered most competent for the job.

The governor, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Kaduna, said that she was picked from an initial list of 32 names forwarded to him based on merit, adding that he consulted President Muhammadu Buhari, who then advised him to pick the best woman, since he (el-Rufai) was interested in a woman for the position.

“The people that have criticised me most on this are people who never voted me in the first place. So, are they not supposed to be celebrating it. In their own opinion,  I have made a wrong choice? Then, why are they mourning?” the governor said.


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says 2, 045 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) awaiting distribution to the owners have been stolen from its Local Government Area office in Okobo, Akwa Ibom.

INEC National Commissioner supervising Akwa Ibom, Delta and Cross River states, Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Lecky, revealed this on Tuesday during a press briefing at the INEC state headquarters in Uyo, said it was likely to be a mob action which was a consequence of the primary elections that were taking place at that time, but assured that security agencies were working to track down the suspects with a view to recovering the cards and prosecuting the hoodlums.

“What they (hoodlums) have done is a nullity because we have a list of everybody; we have their names; we have their pin numbers and we have their pictures on the voters’ register. It is a matter of reproducing the PVCs and making them available. But still we have to go after those culprits who were responsible so that we can apprehend them and punish them according to the law,” he added.


Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo has alleged that the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Imo, Senator Hope Uzodinma is desperate to become governor  of the state in order to leverage on the immunity attached to the office to evade prosecution.

Debunking speculations that he is behind the travails of the APC flag bearer, Okorocha, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said, the issues he (Uzodinma) is battling had happened years before now and they have nothing to do with Rochas Okorocha, while stressing that in saner climes, Uzodinma should have resigned his position in the Senate instead of seeking to be governor.

“So, Chief Uzodinma is desperate to govern Imo State through the assistance of men like Adams Oshiomhole to evade the criminal trials he is already facing. His idea is that once he becomes governor he would be leveraging on the immunity provision to evade these trials,” he added.


The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday raised an alarm that there ae moves by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to procure frivolous court orders from compromised judicial officers to garnishee accounts belonging to PDP and critical stakeholders, perceived to be against the President’s re-election bid.

In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said it was aware of how instructions have been given to certain agencies of government to trail and throw up fabrications in order to create an impression of financial infractions around the said accounts, adding that accounts belonging to critical stakeholders are already being frisked with a view to have them liquidated ahead of the general elections.

“It is clear that the only reason for this is to ensure that our party and candidates are deprived of access to funds for campaigns, but the APC and the Buhari Presidency fail to realize that the 2019 election is now a battle between them and Nigerians, who are the bastion of the PDP,” the statement read in part.


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Tuesday said the desperation of politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections was a sign of danger, adding that if something urgent was not done to curtail such desperation, it could set the country on fire.

President of the association, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who stated this when he paid a courtesy call on the Bayelsa State Government, at the Government House, Yenagoa, said the church was on its knees praying seriously for God to rule over the affairs of Nigeria ahead of the election and appealed to politicians to stop the violence and killings across the country.

“We are also parlaying with those in government, who can make things happen. Nigeria has to maintain peace and order to ensure free and fair election in 2019. From the intra-party election, the kind of desperation we see in our politician is quite unacceptable and give us palpable fear that if care is not taken, the people may set the nation on fire, God forbid.” he said.


And stories from around the world:

Hundreds of Central American migrants planning to seek asylum in the United States moved toward the country’s border with Mexico on Tuesday as U.S. military reinforced security measures, laying barbed wire and erecting barricades. (Reuters)


The Italian government has defied the European Commission (EC) by sticking to its big-spending budget plan.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said a deficit target of 2.4% and a growth forecast of 1.5% were unchanged. (BBC)


The US Senate may vote within weeks on legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen. (Al Jazeera)


Thousands of firefighters battled blazes in northern and southern California on Tuesday as body recovery teams searched the remains of houses and charred cars for victims of the deadliest wildfire in the history of the US state.(AFP)


U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday that the violence and persecution by her country’s military and vigilantes that sent more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh was inexcusable. (Reuters)

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