The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has disowned campaign posters titled “The Pukka’’ that has flooded some of the major streets of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.
Atiku disowned the posters in a statement issued by his media adviser, Mr Paul Ibe, on Wednesday.
Pukka, an Hindi word, means “authentic, genuine, sure, solid and excellent”.
The posters boldly carry Abubakar’s portrait and the message, ‘HE Atiku Abubakar GCON, The Real and The Right’, with a web address www.deservation.org, which the News Agency of Nigeria found belongs to a group of the same name based in Magaji/Sanda ward in Yola.
NAN correspondent in Yola confirmed that the posters have also appeared on some streets in the capital of Adamawa, Atiku’s home state.
Dr.Sani Adamu, the director-general of the Atiku Deservation Group, an Atiku Abubakar campaign group, claimed the group was not waging a political campaign or breaching the campaign rules of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“Our attention has been drawn to posters of Abubakar, Presidential candidate of PDP in the 2019 election being circulated in Abuja”, said Paul Ibe in a statement.
“We dissociate the former Vice President of Nigeria from the said posters in circulation. The campaign season is over. The tainted electoral victory by the incumbent is being challenged in court.
“We refuse to be distracted, which is exactly the objective of our opponents, but to remain focused on diligently pursuing our election petition with a view to retrieving the stolen mandate.’’
Ibe earlier in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the posters had nothing to do with the just concluded elections and the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization had no connection with it.
“I have not seen the posters. I am just hearing it from you. We are not aware of it. Whatever it is it not connected to the PDP campaign organisation.
“The campaign season has long been over but following the electoral hype by the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar, as a democrat has submitted himself to the electoral tribunal to decide on matters arising from the concluded election.’’
A search on the web address (www.deservation.org) shows Atiku Deservation Movement (Project 774 for Atiku 2019) with RC 1167591 with the contact Magaji/Sanda Ward Yola South Adamawa State as well as phone number and a mail address.
The boldness of the campaign and the meaning it connotes have triggered questions whether the group behind it has not breached the electoral law. The campaign for presidential election began on 19 November 2018 and officially ended 48 hours to the election initially scheduled for 16 February, 2019.
Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 1999 as amended states that every political party shall commence campaigns 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.
Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in an interview with NAN, said that the posters could not be considered as campaign materials.
Oyekanmi, who said he had not seen any of the posters said if a poster has no party logo or name, the commission does not consider it to be campaign materials.
“Is there anything like party name or logo on it? If a poster does not contain any of these or ‘vote for a person’ the commission does not see it as campaign.The election is over and I wonder if anybody will be campaigning for an election that had been concluded,’’ Oyekanmi said.
Dr. Sani Adamu, the Executive Director of the Deservation group in a telephone interview with NAN, justified the poster’s PUKKA theme. He claimed that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the PDP in the just concluded presidential election is Nigeria’s authentic president.
Reminded that Abubakar already has a case before the presidential election petition tribunal, Adamu expressed confidence that Abubakar would get justice at the tribunal.
He insisted that the posters in circulation were not for campaign, adding that they did not carry the logo of any political party.
He also explained that the posters did not carry ‘vote’ Abubakar, insisting that it was not for campaign.
He said that the group was established to galvanise support for credible candidates that can make Nigeria great.
“We support only candidates and not political parties,” he said.
Abubakar was also recently reported to have hired two American lawyers, close to President Donald Trump, to lobby Trump’s inner circle and the Congress, so that the United States can delay recognising President Muhammadu Buhari as the elected President of Nigeria. He also wanted to be recognised ‘as the authentic President’ of Nigeria, going by the claims he has made at the tribunal.
8 Nigerian ATM Robbers Sentenced To Death In UAE
Eight Nigerians, all men, have been sentenced to death in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates(UAE) for a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines(ATMs) across the emirate in December 2016.
The ninth Nigerian, found guilty for possession of stolen money was sentenced to six months imprisonment.
He will be deported after serving his prison term.
The Gulf News reported that the Nigerian denied the charge against him and said that one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60,000 to an account in Nigeria.
All the convicted Nigerians were not identified by both the Gulf News and Khaleej Times, all local newspapers, which reported the trial.
A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. Out of 20 suspects, nine were convicted.
Some of the accused confessed to their crimes while others denied the charges levelled against them.
The verdict was handed down by Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.
The eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out on the same day on December 18, 2016.
The gang — who were all in the UAE on visit visas — were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks that were transporting money boxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.
The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street where Dh340,000 was stolen, then two days later they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda fleeing with Dh700,000, and an ATM in Muweilah where they stole Dh710,000. A fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints was foiled by police.
The gang of 20 was arrested in record time but police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money — almost Dh1.8 million — had been recovered, as the gang members had divided the money among themselves and transferred it to their home country.
Suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.
The gang committed the heists at the busiest times of day when streets were crowded, which added to the confusion and enabled them to escape, said police.
In each robbery the assailants struck quickly before police could arrive, the attackers however could not evade security cameras and police were able to recognise the suspects through surveillance footage captured at the exchange house in the mall.
Video footage showed the suspects attacking security guards, making off with cash, and in one of the robberies slashing the hands of a security guard with a knife before running away with money boxes.
Police believe the suspects had monitored and tracked the security trucks used to transport money for a period of time before launching the attacks took place.
A prosecutor told Gulf News on Thursday that as per the law, a group of people who threaten the life of others while committing robbery are subject to the death sentence, however an appeal is expected to be launched and the sentences could get downgraded to life imprisonment.
The trial appeared unconnected with the arrest of five Nigerians in March this year, who robbed a Bureau de Change operator of Dh2.3 million (N225.4 million) in Sharjai, Dubai.
The suspects were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.
The five Nigerians reportedly barged into the BDC on March 20 and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.
Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers. One of them managed to notify the police. The Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed.
A top police official said the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18.
Sanwo-Olu Unveils Inauguration Committee Ahead Of Swearing-In
Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Thursday unveiled an inauguration committee that will usher in his administration on May 29th this year.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who was in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, presented the committee members at his campaign office on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi.
A statement signed by media officer to the Governor-elect, Gboyega Akosile said the committee is chaired by the Director-General of Babajide Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (ICG), Mr Tayo Ayinde, while the Lagos State APC Women Leader, Honourable Mrs. Jumoke Okoya-Thomas and Mr. George Osifeko will serve as Vice Chairmen respectively and Mrs. Titi Oshodi will act as secretary.
While unveiling the inauguration team, the governor-elect said the committee is mandated with a responsibility of organizing a smooth programmes that will usher in his administration. The committee is also billed to reach out to Nigerians in corporate and political sectors, stakeholders and various interest groups locally and internationally to grace the swearing-in.
Sanwo-Olu urged members of the committee to co-operate and work diligently in achieving their mandate. He also tasked the team members to streamline their activities with the plans of the outgoing government and work with security agencies in order to have smooth transition.
Mr Ayinde assured the governor-elect and his deputy of the committee’s readiness to organize a seamless swearing-in programme.
He pledged the committee members’ readiness to work assiduously towards achieving an inauguration ceremony that will become a reference point in annals of political events in Nigeria.
”I want to assure your Excellencies that sitting before you are highly experienced men and women who have contributed tremendously to various industries. I can attest to their individual capacity to deliver on the terms of reference of a smooth inauguration ceremony.” Ayinde State.
Other members of the committee include:
Mrs. Obiageli Onu
Mrs. Funke Bucknor Obruthe
Alhaji Abdullahi Enilolobo
Mr. Kamal Salau-Bashua
Mr. Olatunji Disu
Mr. Kappo Emmanuel
Mr. Bolaji Durojaiye
Mrs. Olabopo Odiachi
Mr. Bimbo Onabanjo
Mr. Ajala Rasaq
Mrs. Taiwo Abiodun
Mr. Gboyega Akosile
Mr. Lanre Adeyinka
Mr. Sesan Daini
Atiku Should Produce His Academic Credentials, I’m Far More Qualified – Buhari Tells Tribunal
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to produce his academic credentials before the Presidential Election Tribunal.
Buhari said this in his response to allegations contained in the petition by Atiku and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, before the tribunal.
Buhari, in a response filed on April 16 by a team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said that the claim by Atiku and the PDP that he was not qualified to stand for election to the office of the President was a lie.
Buhari told the Tribunal that he was far more qualified to stand for the election than Atiku.
The President insisted that it was Atiku who was not qualified for the election.
President Buhari insisted that he never “at any time, provided any false information in Form CF00] submitted to the lst respondent, either in 2014 or 2018.
“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.
“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.
“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected for a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The respondent avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner (Atiku); and that in terms of educational qualifications, trainings and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals, and experience.
“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner, who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.
“1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”
The President gave his educational resume as: “Elementary School, Daura and Maid’adua (1948 – 1952), Middle School, Katsina (1953-1956, Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina (1956-1961).”
Buhari condemned the entire petition filed by the PDP and Atiku, and told the Tribunal that they are more about pre-election issues, which the Court of Appeal, sitting as a tribunal lacked jurisdiction.
He also argued that the petitioners told lies against themselves in the petition and made conflicting claims which the tribunal cannot grant.
For instance, Buhari noted that while the petitioners claimed to have won the last presidential election and also won elections in many states in the south-south and south-eastern part of the country, they also urged the court to nullify the election and order a fresh presidential election.
Burari argued that by virtue of Section of 137of the Electoral Act, petitioners cannot question the results of elections in states where they claim to have won and still retain themselves as petitioners.
Buhari faulted the petitioners’ claim that the election was marred by corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.