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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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Call Your Violent Members To Order, Fulani Herdsmen Created Their Enemies —– CAN Tells Miyetti-Allah

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday urged the leadership of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to call their members who are violent to order.

The President, CAN, Dr Samson Ayokunle, who made the call at a news conference in Abuja, said until they were called to order, they cannot regain the trust and respect of Nigerians.

The cleric explained that nobody hated the Fulani until some Fulani began to act violently, killing innocent people.

CAN said that if there was any enemy from any Fulani man, the Fulani man created the enemy for himself, adding “they have been living peacefully for many years in our various communities, till the killing issues started.”

”In those days, our children married them, they married our children, but when they became too violent and started carrying AK47, killing people, what type of play is that? that’s a dangerous play.

”We can no longer think we are friends with that type of play it’s too dangerous, so let them call their people to order and ensure that they remove the enmity they have created around an average Fulani person,” NAN quoted him as saying.

He challenged their leaders to call out the violent ones among them to order, that is the only way people will respect them and people can trust them again.

Ayokunle also charged the government to step up its security system across the country with a view to stopping the unending killings.

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El-Zakzaky: Steer Clear Lagos, South West —- Yoruba Youths Warn Shi’ites, Sponsors

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The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council, the umbrella body of southwest youths, has cautioned members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, against taking their protest to Lagos State and the entire “Oduduwa region.”

They warned members of the IMN to desist from their alleged plan of inflicting harm on innocent citizens in an attempt to make the country ungovernable.

Addressing newsmen on Thursday in Lagos, Dayo Jacob, National Chairman of the group, fingered some politicians as faces behind the activities of the sect.

The group warned the IMN and their sponsors to desist from their “nefarious activities and explore peaceful means of airing their grievances if they are indeed genuine.”

The statement read: “The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council the umbrella organisation for the youths of Oduduwa extraction in South West Nigeria dedicated to sustaining the ideals of the Oduduwa Empire took a cursory look at the sudden resurgence of the violent tendencies of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) with a view to ascertaining the motives behind their actions and putting issues in proper perspective for the discerning members of the general public.

“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria in recent times has undertaken violent protest in the federal capital territory Abuja and some parts of Nigeria in an attempt to drive home a hidden agenda of making the country ungovernable and thereby subjecting innocent citizens to untold hardship.

“The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council in line with its core mandate of bringing to the fore issues that affects the relative peace and tranquility in the Oduduwa kingdom and by extension Nigeria, undertook a systematic research on the issues been canvassed by the IMN that led to the death of law enforcement officers and the disruption of peace and tranquillity in the country.

“The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council consequently deployed its resources and network across the country with the sole aim of unraveling the motives of the IMN that led to the resurgence of violent protest in the country.

“The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council commissioned a high powered delegation of a special investigative committee to look at the issues objectively by activating its array of the network in Nigeria, and the findings were subjected to series of checks in an attempt to put forward a balanced discovery for the members of the unsuspecting general public.

“The findings of the committee were mind-boggling, and an indication the indeed the activities of the IMN are sponsored by individuals and organizations with an ulterior motive on the continued existence of Nigeria as a country.

“It was discovered that some disgruntled politicians who ended up at the losing side during the recently conducted general elections were behind the resurgence of the activities of the IMN in Nigeria, and with a vow ensure that the country is made ungovernable for the present administration.

“This much was gathered by the various report gathered from credible sources which indicated that the protest by the IMN is sponsored by wealthy politicians that are yet to get over their electoral defeat at the recently concluded general elections in the country.

“These set of politicians have devoted a vast amount of money towards actualizing their nefarious motive by mobilizing the IMN with dangerous arms and ammunition as well as logistics for wreaking havoc on innocent citizens.

“We also have it on competent authority that a key member of the position party that aspired for one of the highest position in the country is indeed the brain behind the protest in the country. This individual owing to his massive war chest has devoted a large amount of money through proxies to continue to encourage and fund the activities of the IMN towards painting a picture of a high level of insecurity in the country.

“It was discovered that the target of the IMN is innocent citizens that are going about their normal businesses and operatives of the security agencies which culminated in the disruption of businesses and the death of some police officers.

“The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council, having studied the facts before it consequently made the following resolutions.

“The IMN and their sponsors should desist from their nefarious activities and explore peaceful means of airing their grievances if they are indeed genuine.

“That the politicians that have vowed to make the country ungovernable by devoting vast amounts of money in the destabilization plot should desist from such as it has become apparent that national interest should surpass personal and selfish interest.

“That the IMN and its sponsors should steer clear southwest Nigeria and other parts of Oduduwa kingdom in the interest of peace and tranquillity.

“That the IMN should in clear terms desist from extending their nefarious activities to Lagos State, the commercial nerve center of the country as such moves would be resisted vehemently.

“That the interest of the country should be taken into consideration due to the heterogeneous nature of the country at the risk of insulting the sensibilities of the generality of Nigerians.

“That those politicians that are behind the violent activities of the IMN should have a rethink and explore other civil avenues towards driving home their reservations on the electoral mandate freely given to the present administration by the people of Nigeria.

“That gives the magnitude of the evidence at the disposal of the Progressive Yoruba Youth Council, there would be no hiding place for sponsors of political unrest in the country.

“That the Progressive Yoruba Youth Council has initiated various mechanism towards ensuring that sponsors of violent protests in the country are made to face the full wrath of the law given the present circumstances.

“That the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and as such, they should have a rethink in their destabilization plot and instead channel their time and resources towards productive ventures in the interest of peace and tranquillity.

“That the Progressive Yoruba Youth Congress has notified its members of the impending plot by the IMN and its political sponsors to disrupt activities in southwest Nigeria.

“That the Progressive Yoruba Youth Council would not hesitate to present the array evidence of the destabilization plot to the general public and the various security agencies in the country.”

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‘I Felt Ridiculed Contesting Against A Dancer’ —- Oyetola Mocks PDP’s Adeleke

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, has said he felt ridiculed contesting against the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the candidate in the last governorship election in the state, Ademola Adeleke.

Following the election, which was conducted last year, the Supreme Court had a few weeks ago affirmed Oyetola as the winner of the contentious election.

However, Oyetola, while speaking when he received the leadership of the Social Democratic Party, SDP-led by Professor Yemi Farounbi, said the PDP governorship candidate should have been screened out of the race.

The governor stated that the lack of control in Nigeria’s electoral system gave Adeleke the opportunity to contest against him.

He said: “The country’s electoral system is weak, especially regarding the screening of candidates, which gave room for somebody like Ademola Adeleke to contest for the governorship seat of the state.

“Sometimes when I sit down and realize that I was actually contesting with Adeleke, who is best at dancing, I felt ridiculed, very ridiculed. It would have been a tragedy for our state if the whole thing had turned the other way round.

“Anybody that is seriously concerned about the development of the state would at least be interested in whoever is going to pilot the affairs of the state.

“One wonders why the country’s electoral laws would have allowed that guy to even contest in the first instance. We don’t have control. Even in the north where we believe they’re disadvantaged in terms of education, they put in the best always. See whoever goes for any political office in the North is always the best of their stuck.”

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