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2019: Why We Chose Five Presidential Candidates For Debate —- NEDG

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) has explained how five political parties were selected to participate in the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

NEDG Executive Secretary, Eddie Emesiri, said in a statement on Thursday that the parties for the debate were picked through an independently administered multi-stage process.

The statement was issued in reaction to the criticism triggered by the number of political parties selected by the group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) organizers of the debates.

Emesiri stressed that the decision to select five parties was taken at the beginning of the process to ensure that the debates were managed effectively.

According to him, the stages of the selection process focused on political parties while the organisers considered the importance of diversity in the nation.

The NEDG Executive Secretary insisted that no preference was given to any candidate or party, adding that nobody influenced the organisers to include or exclude any political party from the debates.

The statement read: “Further to our earlier announcement of participating parties for the Presidential Debates, the organising partners of the Debates hereby reiterate the transparency and independence of the selection process that resulted in the five participating political parties.

“Firstly, we would like to state that the Presidential Debates are organised by a partnership of the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), a broad coalition of over 100 public and private broadcasters in Nigeria with coverage of terrestrial radio, television, direct-to-home, digital terrestrial television and multimedia distribution system. The members of BON are responsible for over 250 radio and tv stations across Nigeria.

“The choice of participating parties for the debate was made through an independently administered multi-stage process. The first stage was an independent online poll and the second involved the distribution of survey questionnaires per state, to professionals, artisans, students, etc; respondents were within the voting age and spread across urban, semi-urban and rural classifications. The third stage was to take an aggregate of the stage result and extend invitations to the top 5 parties for the debate.

“Following our disclosure of the participating parties earlier in the week, our attention has been drawn to some reactions in the public space over the decision to limit the participation to five parties and exclusion of some party flag bearers from the debate. Considering the vast number of contending parties, the decision to limit to five parties was taken at the beginning of our process to ensure ease of management for the debates. All the stages of the selection process were focused on political parties, taking into consideration the importance of national spread and diversity. Focus was not on specific individuals or candidates.

“We wish to emphatically state that the NEDG and BON were not influenced or induced by anyone to include or exclude any political party from the debate. We understand the disappointment of some political parties who would have wished to see their candidates share their visions for the country at the Debates. However, Nigerians have spoken through the multi-stage process and we urge all Nigerians to respect their choice as we abide by the outcome of the independent party selection process.”

NEDG and BON had named only five political parties to participate in 2019 vice presidential and presidential debates.

The parties listed were Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

This meant that the presidential aspirants expected at the debate are President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu.

However, Presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, Oby Ezekwesili, has sought for five more influential presidential candidates.

The five candidates include: Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party, SDP; Omoyele Sowore, of the African Action Congress, AAC; Byron Fagbemj of KOWA Party; and John Gbor of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA.

The Vice-Presidential Debate and the Presidential Debate are scheduled for Friday, December 14, 2018, and Saturday, January 19, 2019, respectively.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rejects APC’s Request To Review Bayelsa Judgment, Upholds Judgment Sacking David Lyon

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The supreme court has struck out the application of the All Progressive Congress (APC) seeking a reversal of the judgment which sacked David Lyon as the winner of the Bayelsa governorship election.

The apex court held that the application constitutes a gross abuse of the judicial process.

On February 13, the supreme court affirmed the verdict of a federal high court which disqualified Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s running mate, for allegedly submitting forged credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

As a result, the court also voided the victory of Lyon on the grounds that both men contested the election on a joint ticket.

A seven-member panel of the court, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the two applications filed and argued for the applicants by Afe Babalola (SAN) and Wole Onanipekun (SAN), and held that the applications were without merit and amounted to an abuse of court process.

Justice Amina Augie, who read the lead ruling, said the application was an attempt to make the court violate its rules and the. provision of the Constitution which makes it the final court of the land.

Justice Augie said the applications if granted has the capacity of belittling the dignity and status of the court and open a floodgate for such requests in the future.

She expressed regret that senior lawyers in the country could be involved in the filing of such applications.

Justice Augie awarded N10milion cost for each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents (the PDP, its governorship and deputy governorship in the last election) – Sen. Duoye Diri and. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo – to be paid personally by the applicant’s lawyers.

Afe Babalola (SAN) represented the 1st and 2nd applicants (Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo), while Wole Olanipekun (SAN) represented the APC.

More to follow…

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Lagos Government To Remove Bus Garage, Mechanic Workshops, Kiosks, Others Around Public Schools

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The Lagos State Government has disclosed that it would begin pulling down shanties, kiosks, and removal of bus garages, as well as other illegal market structures erected near the state public schools, a move said to take effect after seven days ultimatum issued to owners of those structures, by the government.

As said, the clearing, according to the ultimatum sighted by PorscheClassy News, would affect owners and occupants of illegal structures, shanties, mechanic workshops, kiosks and commercial bus garages surrounding public schools in Mile 2, along Badagry expressway.

The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce), in a statement issued on Wednesday through its Public Affairs Unit Head, Adebayo Taofiq, confirmed that a seven-day ‘Removal Notice’ had been issued to owners of illegal structures and workshops located around public schools, and that, it was a decision which was made by the state government to ensure safety of students.

Taofiq explained that the task force chairman, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, had discussed ultimatum issuance with a gathering of illegal owners and occupants, as well as traders, mechanics and sectional heads of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and warned them to immediately vacate stipulated areas within vicinity of the schools within time allocated.

He affirmed that the removal order became imperative following an outcry by residents, particularly managements of Imoye High School and Amuwo Odofin Junior Secondary School, that criminal elements had turned the region into hideouts for carrying out their nefarious activities thereby making the environment unconducive for learning.

“These children are the future of our nation, it is thus, left to us, what we make of them,”

“In light of this, it has become necessary to facilitate conducive learning environments around our schools. It is disheartening to allow illegal business operators to turn schools surroundings to a market place while the vicinity becomes a dumpsite of refuse”.

Furthermore, Taofiq added that investigation conducted had revealed that the illegal structures and shanties served as home to criminal elements who rob unsuspecting members of public, making off with valuables along highways on Lagos- Badagry expressway, and added that the occupants had received no government permit or operating license from the state government.

He reiterated that, immediately after the expiration of the evacuation order notice on Monday, 3rd of March, 2020, Task Force operatives would embark on a clean-up exercise in the area, as well as a clampdown on all criminal elements.

The Task Force, however, cautioned traders and occupants not to make a financial contribution or bribe anyone in order to prevent or stop the removal order, stressing that the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had approved monetary compensation for those who deserved it.

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Lagos Pastor, Wife Remanded In Prison For Stealing N63.5m Belonging To Dead Woman

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court, Tuesday, remanded a pastor and his wife in custody of Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS) facility for allegedly stealing N63.5 million belonging to certain late Mrs. Odemuyiwa Janet Adeola.

The defendants, the senior pastor of Temple International Church, Lagos, Harry Uyanwanne and wife, Oluwakemi were arraigned alongside their church.

They are facing a seven-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and obtaining money by false pretense contrary to section 278, 278 (1) (b), 285, 285(1) of the criminal law of Lagos state of Nigeria, No 11, 2011 and section 1 (2) and (3) Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses Act before Justice Mojisola Dada.

Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) prosecutor Mr. S.O Daji, told the court that the couple sold the property of one late Mrs. Odemuyiwa Janet Adeola at plot 32, block 9, Magodo Residential Scheme 1, Ikeja local government to one Mr. Kingsley Atere for N42, 000,000

He further stated that the defendants dishonestly converted the sum of N10 million being proceeded of the property of late Mrs. Odemuyiwa Janet Adeola to their own use.

According to the charge sheet, “Harry Uyanwanne, Oluwakemi Odemuyiwa (aka Kristein Uyanwanna) and Temple International Church on or about March 18, 2016, converted to your own use the sum of N10, 000,000 property of late Mrs. Odemuyiwa Janet Adeola.”

The charge further stated:” Harry Uyanwanne and Oluwakemi Odemuyiwa (aka Kristein Uyanwanne) on or about the 14th day of March 2016 in Lagos, by false pretense and with intent to defraud sold the property known as plot 32, Block 9, Magodo Residential Scheme 1, Ikeja local Government to one Mr. Kingsley Atere for the sum of N42million on the false representation that you were authorized to sell the property by the Bonafide owner, late Mrs. Odemuyiwa Janet Adeola which representation you know was false”.

The couple pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor, Daji urged the court to remand them in view of the not guilty plea of defendants.

He also asked the court for a trial date.

Justice Dada remanded the defendants in the medium correctional facility.

She adjourned the matter until May 5, 6 and 7, 2020.

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