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Presidential Tribunal Begins Hearing of Atiku’s Petition Against Buhari, INEC

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has fixed today (Wednesday) to commence pre-hearing session on four petitions that are seeking to invalidate President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election. Buhari and Atiku.

The petitioners are separately challenging the declaration of President Buhari as the legitimate winner of the February 23 presidential election. Vanguard learned that the tribunal has already issued pre-hearing notice on all the parties.

Basically, the session affords the tribunal the opportunity to meet the parties with a view to setting up modalities to be adopted in the actual hearing of substantive issues in dispute. Meantime, aside the petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019, which was entered against Buhari by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku, on March 18, the second petition marked CA/ PEPC/001/2019, was by the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, Chief Ambrose Owuru who secured a total of 1,663 in the election.

While the third petition, CA/PEPC/004/2019, was lodged by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, Pastor Aminchi Habu, who is seeking a fresh election on the basis that his party’s logo was not included in the ballot paper.

The last petition with suit No. CA/PEPC/003/2019, was filed by the Coalition For Change, C4C and its presidential candidate, Geff Chizee Ojinka, who are contending that Buhari’s re-election was vitiated by substantial non-compliance with mandatory statutory provisions.

The petitioners maintained that the irregularity substantially affected the election, “such that the 1st Respondent was not entitled to be returned as the Winner of the Presidential election”. Remarkably, unlike in all the other petitions where only Buhari, the APC and INEC were cited as Respondents, the C4C, which garnered a total of 2,391 votes at the presidential poll, cited the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as the 2nd Respondent in its case.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on February 27, declared that Buhari garnered a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP, who it said polled a total of 11,262,978 votes.

However, Atiku had almost immediately the result was announced, vowed to upturn it in court. Specifically, in their joint petition, Atiku and his party, insisted that data they secured from INEC’s server, revealed that they clearly defeated President Buhari with over 1.6million votes. The petitioners alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawful allocated votes to President Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that result of the election as announced by the electoral body, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast Atiku alleged that in some states, INEC, deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office.

The petitioners said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.

“The Petitioners plead and shall rely on electronic video recordings, newspaper reports, photographs and photographic images of several infractions of the electoral process by the Respondents”, they added.

More so, in one of the five grounds of the petition, Atiku and the PDP maintained that Buhari was not qualified to run for the office of the President, contending that he does not possess the constitutional minimum qualification of a school certificate. The petitioners serialised results that were recorded from each state of the federation in order to prove that the alleged fraudulent allocation of votes to Buhari and the APC, took place at the polling units, the ward collating centres, local government collating centres and the State collating centres.

They argued that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, Atiku, garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who they said got a total of 16,741,430 votes.

“The Petitioners state that Smart Card Readers deployed by the 1st Respondent, in addition to accreditation, equally transmitted electronically the results of voting from polling units directly to the server of the 1st Respondent.

“The Presiding Officers of the 1st Respondent directly inputted the results from the polling units at the end of voting and transmitted directly to the server, in addition to manually taking the Form EC8As to the Wards for collation.

“The 1st Respondent is hereby given notice to produce the records of results from each polling unit uploaded and transmitted electronically by officials of the 1st Respondent through smart card readers to the 1st Respondent’s Servers.

“The Petitioners plead and rely on the 1st Respondent’s Manual Technologies 2019, and notice is hereby given to the 1st Respondent to produce same at the trial. The 1st Respondent’s agents at the polling units used the Smart Card Reader for electronic collation and transmission of results.

“The Petitioners plead and shall rely on and play at the trial, the video demonstration by the 1st Respondent of the deployment of Smart Card Reader for authentication of accreditation and for transmission of data. Wherefore, the Petitioners pray jointly and severally against the Respondents as follows: “That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in the said election and therefore the declaration and return of the 2nd Respondent by the 1st Respondent as the President of Nigeria is unlawful, undue, null, void and of no effect.

“That it may be determined that the 1st Petitioner (Atiku) was duly and validly elected and ought to be returned as President of Nigeria, having polled the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on 23rd February 2019 and having satisfied the constitutional requirements for the said election. “An order directing the 1st Respondent to issue Certificate of Return to the 1st Petitioner as the duly elected President of Nigeria.

“That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election. “That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent submitted to the Commission affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election”. In the alternative, the petitioners prayed the tribunal to nullify the February 23 presidential election and order a fresh poll.

However, in a swift reaction, both Buhari and the APC, filed preliminary objections to challenge the competence of the petitions, even as they challenged Atiku’s locus-standi to even participate in the Presidential poll. In his objection, Buhari described Atiku as a serial loser, boasting that he had always defeated him in every electoral contest that both of them took part in.

President Buhari insisted that electorates always chose him ahead of Atiku in both inter-party or intra-party contests, using the 2014 presidential primaries the All Progressives Congress, APC, as an instance.

“In particular, at the primary election conducted by the 3rd respondent (APC) in 2014, to pick its presidential candidate for the 2015 election, the 1st petitioner and respondent, amongst others, were the candidates; and while the respondent polled 3,430 votes, 1st petitioner came a distant third with 954 votes”. Besides, President Buhari, queried the powers of the tribunal to nullify his election victory at the poll, contending that the joint petition Atiku and the PDP entered against him was incompetent as it was based on conjectures.

Insisting that reliefs the petitioners are seeking from the tribunal were “vague, nebulous and lacking in specificity”, argued that most of the issues and grounds of the petition were not only “mutually exclusive”, but also outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

He contended that by virtue of section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, only the Federal High Court or High Court of a State has jurisdiction to adjudicate on some the issues, among which included the allegation that he was bereft of the requisite educational qualification. Buhari told the tribunal that contrary to Atiku’s allegation that he submitted false academic qualifications in the Form CF001 he used to secure clearance from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, he said he was at the time of the election, “eminently qualified to contest the election, having not only the minimum qualification of reading up to secondary school level, but rose to the peak of his career as a General in the Nigerian Army with cognate experience and training.

Buhari said he has more educational qualification than Atiku. Likewise, his party, the APC, in its own objection, branded Atiku an alien, alleging that he is not a Nigerian by birth and therefore was not qualified to contest the February 23 presidential poll. APC told the tribunal that the PDP candidate is a Cameroonian.

According to APC, Atiku, was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa, in Northern Cameroon and is therefore a citizen of Cameroon and not a Nigerian by birth. It told the tribunal that prior to 1919, Cameroon was being administered by Germany, adding that following the defeat of Germany in World War 1, which ended in 1918, Cameroon, became part of a League of Nations mandate territory which consisted of French Cameroon and British Cameroon in 1919. APC noted that in 1961, a plebiscite was held in British Cameroon to determine whether the people preferred to stay in Cameroon or align with Nigeria. It stressed that while Northern Cameroon preferred a union with Nigeria, the Southern Cameroon chose alignment with the mother country, saying it was as a result of the plebiscite that Northern Cameroon, which included Adamawa, became part of Nigeria. The ruling party argued that contrary to Atiku’s claims in his petition, he had no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019.

Buhari, APC, out to cover corruption, incompetence- PDP It averred that by reason of Atiku’s ineligibility to contest the election, all votes credited to him and the PDP in the February 23 election ought to be deemed as wasted votes. APC contended that most of the claims contained in Atiku’s petition have become statute barred, arguing that the Tribunal was therefore bereft of the jurisdiction to entertain it.

However, in a further response he filed before the tribunal, Atiku, rebuked the APC, describing the allegation that he is a Cameroonian as puerile, face saving, vexatious, absolutely and completely unfounded.

Atiku maintained that he is a full blooded Nigerian, even as he urged the tribunal to ignore what he termed as “extraneous facts, contradictory, diversionary, evasive, speculative and vague assertions”, by both the APC and President Buhari. Atiku told the tribunal that contrary to APC’s allegation that he is an alien, he said he is a Nigerian by birth and a Fulani by tribe, adding that his parents were from Jigawa and Sokoto states. INEC replacing servers nationwide, PDP alleges

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Sanwo-Olu Declares Emergency On Lagos Roads As Work Begins

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Work begins today(Monday) on the deplorable city roads in Lagos State as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday declared an emergency on the situation.

The governor gave the directive for the commencement of repairs to construction companies. It followed his promise last week to start fixing the roads immediately after the rains.

Lagosians have been groaning under the state of roads and the attendant traffic situation. The extended rainfall has not helped matters.

According to the governor, all the construction companies had been mandated to mobilize their tools to the sites assigned to them.

He said: “This (Sunday) afternoon, we have just concluded meetings with various reputable construction companies and all of them have been given the brief to immediately commence major construction work in various parts of the state. The exercise will begin tomorrow with palliative work on the selected roads, which are on the Island and the Mainland.

“The contractors have been given the mandate to start mobilizing their equipment to their respective sites without further delay. Their activities must first give our people immediate relief on the affected roads so that there can be a free flow of traffic even during the rehabilitation work.”

To complement the major construction work on the highway, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs on 116 inner roads across the state.

This, he said, would be in addition to the over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.

Sanwo-Olu said his administration was not oblivious of the pain experienced by road users in the past few days, which was compounded by the persistent downpour.

He appealed to residents to bear with the government while efforts were being made to assuage their pains and bring permanent relief to them.

He said: “We expect the rains will begin to subside in this month of October and this is why we are mobilizing our contractors to immediately start the major construction work on the identified highways and bring permanent relief to residents. I am giving all Lagosians the assurance that the contractors will start the construction in earnest and will deliver on the terms of agreements reached with them.”

Sanwo-Olu said officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be working round the clock to control traffic on the areas where the construction would take place.

The Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, listed some of the critical areas to include Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road; Motorways – Kudirat Abiola Way; Apogbon Highway; Babs Animashaun Road; Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu as well as Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.

She added that there would be massive re-construction on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.

The contractors deployed by the government are: Julius Berger, Hitech, Arab Contractors, Metropolitan Construction, Slavabogu Construction, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Rajaf Foundation Construction and RCF Nigeria Limited.

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Minimum Wage: Prepare For Strike, NLC Tells Workers; Issues 4-Day Ultimatum To FG

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Sunday gave a four-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to accept its demand for the consequential adjustment of salaries, based on the new minimum wage, or risk a nationwide strike.

The ultimatum ends Wednesday, the umbrella union said in a letter to the Federal Government by its General-Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, urging the state councils to prepare for dispute.

But, to douse the brewing tension and avert the strike, Labour and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige has called for a meeting between NLC and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) tomorrow.

The minister said: “NLC and TUC leadership know the rule and what the ILO statutes say on such situation. So, we will continue our effort on Tuesday.”

Also, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, appealed to workers to shelve the proposed strike.

Warning that the strike may amount to an exercise in futility, he cautioned workers against uncritically confusing minimum wage increment with general wage review.

Fayemi, who shed light on the scope of the new minimum wage, urged workers to take into consideration the country’s economic situation before embarking on industrial action.

He told reporters in Lagos that increase in minimum wage does not translate into a general wage review.

After the first phase of negotiations collapsed due to percentage differences between the two parties, the Federal Government’s negotiating team and the JNPNC, which is representing labour unions, are expected to meet again tomorrow.

Labour is demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17 as against the Federal Government’s offer of 11 per cent for officers on grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent for workers of grade level 15 to 17.

The NLC letter to the state chapters reads: “You will recall that a joint communiqué was issued by the leadership of the NLC, Trade Union Congress and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council stating that after two weeks from the date of the said communiqué, industrial harmony could not be guaranteed in the country, should an agreement not be reached with the Federal Government on the consequential adjustment of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30, 000.

“You are hereby directed to coordinate preparations with TUC and JPSNC in your state for necessary industrial action should the time expire without an agreement as contained in the communiqué.”

Organised labour also faulted comments by Ngige that they misinterpreted minimum wage to mean general salary review.

The Secretary-General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Alade Lawal, described the minister’s comment as a political gimmick meant to distract the union ahead of the expiration of the ultimatum.

Ngige had told members of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) last Thursday that the Federal Government had not commenced total implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage because organised labour mistakenly perceived consequential adjustment in salary as total salary review.

The ASCSN secretary-general said labour understood its demands from the Federal Government for workers.

Lawal said the NLC had earlier written to the government for general salary review for workers.

He said: “From the memo on general salary review, which we had earlier submitted, we were asking for N777, 000 for Grade level 17 step one and for Grade level one step one we are asking for seventy-something thousand.

“If we are asking for that and we are negotiating for 29 per cent and 24 per cent, is that the same thing? So, it shows you that we understand what we are saying.”

Lawal said that the minister’s claim that the government’s personnel budget had risen astronomically to N3.08 trillion from N1. 88 trillion between 2016-2020 was not true.

Lawal added: “What he (Ngige) said is not correct. We understand what we are saying and we have told him that. These are distracting strategies. We have passed that stage. Our eyes are on the ball.

“We have passed that stage of misinformation. They should tell us what percentage of personnel cost is really coming from the wages of workers as opposed to political appointees.

“They should do a breakdown and publish it in the newspapers for everybody to see, that is if they are really serious. We know their gimmicks and antics and we will not go by that one. We have passed that stage.”

Asked how far labour has gone with its mobilisation for a nationwide strike, he said: “We are mobilising. It is not everything you discuss. These are strategies and you don’t reveal your strategies. They should let us test it and see what is going to happen.”

Urging labour to have a rethink, Fayemi, who sued for peace, said it is not the wish of government for workers to down tools.

He said: “We don’t want workers to down tools, but you will recall that the governors’ proposal in the course of the tripartite negotiation was N24,500. But, after negotiation back and forth, we ended up with N30,000 and the governors,’ in principle, said ‘we will pay.’

“However, in private discussions with the President, we made it clear that this is another recipe for the future bailout. To be frank with you, I don’t even consider N30,000 a living wage in today’s Nigeria. But, you cannot promise what you don’t have. It is also a fundamental principle of labour relations because you get into trouble if you do that.

“No doubt, we settled for N30,000, but we all agreed to look for ways to boost revenues going to the states and we are working on that. We are doing reconciliation with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). All these pipeline vandalism, we have a committee headed by Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasri el-Rufaiworking on that.”

Fayemi added: “We don’t want workers to down tools. But, we made it clear during the tripartite negotiation that an increase in the National Minimum Wage is not tantamount to a general wage review.

“The fact that we moved people, who are below N30,000 to N30,000 and wherever they should be on the scale, should not automatically mean that we must increase the salaries of people on Level 17, who are on N400,000. It is a minimum wage law; it is not a general wage law.

“Yes, if you promote levels 05 or 06, they may go over what the current level 07 is earning. So, that calls for consequential adjustment, but that adjustment should not go over levels 08 and 09. The Federal Government has even agreed to do nine per cent for levels 07 to 12 and five per cent for levels 13 and above, but they said no and insisted on 45 per cent.

“Where is Nigeria going to find the money? I mean the economy is in the doldrums. Whether we openly admit or not, everyone knows. If you have an economy that earmarks N2.4 trillion for debt servicing; then, what are we talking about? So, I hope good sense will prevail and that people will be able to convince labour that it is a futile effort if they do so because Nigeria cannot pay what it doesn’t have.”

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Yahoo Boys Are A Curse To The Country, Avoid Wonder Banks and Money Doublers —- EFCC Issues Strong Warning To Nigerians

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has again warned Nigerians over money doublers.

The anti-graft agency on Sunday warned Nigerians to avoid wonder banks and money doublers.

EFCC also advised Nigerians to stay away from businesses without offices, adding that no one; even politicians are not exempted from being arrested if found committing any economic and financial crimes.

The anti-graft agency issued the warning during a question and answer section on its verified Twitter page on Sunday.

The post read: “Nigerians beware of wonder banks, beware of “Money doublers”!

“Flee from business entities with no office location! Don’t be pushed by greed!

“It is better to act wisely than to regret the action. We also have what it takes to arrest and prosecute ANY Nigerian politician who has committed economic and financial crimes.”

EFCC added that Yahoo boys are a ‘Curse’ to Nigeria henceforth will continue to be hunted until they desist from the fraudulent act.

“Yahoo boys are actually A “CURSE” to the country and need to be stopped spreading at once

“For the purpose of education and information, internet fraud is a form of cybercrime punishable under several Sections of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

A jail term of 7 years awaits the convict or a fine of N5m,” the post added.

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