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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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BIG STORY

BREAKING: I Remain Lagos Police Commissioner, It’s A New Order From Abuja – Edgal Imohimi Declares

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Edgal Imohimi, has declared that he remains the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.

Imohimi told members of the press on Tuesday during a handover-takeover ceremony between him and supposed incoming CP, Kayode Egbetokun, that they were about concluding the process when a directive came from Abuja asking them to suspend the action.

Imohimi, who addressed journalists in the presence of Egbetokun at the Lagos State Police Command’s headquarters, said, “I am sure that you know Mr Kayode Egbetokun, he is an old timer in the command.

“You all know that our first job is about order and direction; we were about concluding the handing and taking over procedure when we were instructed by our bosses from Abuja to suspend action for now. So, there will be no change of guard for now. Of course, we would keep the press briefed about any development.

“But I am happy, humbled that you find it serious enough for you all to come to witness what we are doing here. I consider it an honor.”

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JUST IN: Buhari Formally Names Mohammed Adamu New IGP, Decorates Him In Aso Rock [PHOTOS]

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President Muhammadu Buhari has officially named Mohammed Adamu as acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP.

Buhari decorated him with the new rank during his meeting with the outgoing Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris and Adamu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mohammed had served as the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State.

He was one-time director of peacekeeping operations of the Force.

He had been the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone Five, in Benin, Edo State.

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BIG STORY

EFCC Nabs Bishop Defrauding People In God’s Name

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Benin Zonal Office has arrested a Bishop and suspected fraudster, Giniko Obi, for allegedly defrauding thousands of people of millions of naira, in the guise of helping them “fight poverty”.

Obi, founder of Beloved Gideon Foundation, based in Agbor, Delta State, with outreaches in Bayelsa, Onitsha, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Benin City, however, denied any involvement in fraud claiming that he was only “doing the will of God by trying to help the people fight poverty”.

According to him, it was his desire and God’s will to see people prosper that led him into operating what appears to be a Ponzi Scheme. Obi who claim to be a consecrated Bishop, possessing a diploma in theology explains thus:

“We write books such as ‘24 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘36 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘48 Nuggets for Successful Living’. We organise seminars and conferences on how to be successful. We tell the people to subscribe to these publications. If you subscribe with N10, 800, we give you N15, 000. If you subscribe with N18, 000, we give you N23, 000. I had about 30,000 subscribers and I was paying them”.

According to him, when he left Agbor for Lagos, his desire was to expand his subscription base but his subscribers were impatient.

“If they allowed me to hold the conference in Lagos, I would have paid them,” he claimed.

However, some of his victims who have continued to throng the EFCC office, since his arrest, described him as a “fraud”.

One of them, Janet Amaka Okafor, said the Bishop sold a dummy to them by claiming that he was from the famous Gideons International, based in the United States.

She said: “He organised seminars in Agbor market that he was from Gideons International and that their mission was to help eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

“He told us that unlike in the past when Gideons International distributed Bibles and Christian literatures, their mission now was to eradicate poverty”.

On how she became a victim of the scheme, Okafor, 35, who claims she has never participated in any Ponzi scheme in the past said she fell for his tricks because the “Bishop” swore with the Bible.

“The Bishop knelt down and swore with the Bible. He convinced us that he was from Texas, USA and we believed him. I subscribed with N10, 800 and he paid me N15, 000. It was after this that he engaged over 60 of us as canvassers. I brought many people including my relations and friends. All together, they invested over N5 million”.

Another victim, Bessie Nwadibire, 67, said the Bishop was very deceptive from the beginning.

“When he came to the market he gave out drinks and dashed some people money as much as N50, 000 as he said the poverty rate in Nigeria was too high,” Nwadibire said, praying and hoping that the Bishop will be made to refund her money.

Expressing gratitude that the EFCC has arrested the Bishop, she said, “Before he was arrested, we went into hiding, because all the people who invested their money into the business through me have threatened to kill me unless I refund their money. The money is over N8, 000, 000 (Eight Million Naira) only”.

The same tale of woes has become the lot of Wisdom Aderemor Okpuzor, a civil servant based in Agbor.

Okpuzor who said she had to flee her home for fear of being attacked described the Bishop as “callous and evil”.

The suspect will soon be arraigned in court. (NAN)

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