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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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Jungle Justice: Angry Mob Ignore Law, Set Man Ablaze For Killing Wife In Abia

Peter Okunoren

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Tragedy struck Tuesday at Etitiama Nkporo community in Ohafia council area of Abia state when a man, identified as Kalu Ilum, shot his wife dead while the natives of the community meted instant justice by arresting and setting him ablaze.

It was gathered that Ilum, with no known means of livelihood, had been having marital problems with his wife, simply known as Chichi, a food vendor.

A resident of the community told journalists that Chichi had sought a divorce, believing that it was the only solution to the incessant problems with her husband.

“The couple has long unresolved marital issues, leading to the late wife, Chichi who sells food in the community to seek for divorce,” the resident said.

However, things were said to have gone out of hand at about 7am Tuesday when Ilum in a fit of anger, invaded his wife’s shop and shot her dead.

Ilum was reported to have fled after committing the heinous act and hid inside water well in an attempt to escape justice. The natives of the community who were hell-bent on getting the man to account for his misdeed, went searching for him, all to no avail.

They later engaged the services of a native doctor, who was said to have used his diabolical powers to smoke out the killer husband from the well. As soon as he came out from well, he was beaten to death and later set ablaze by an angry mob.

It was gathered that irate youths of the area marched to his residence and set it ablaze.

Contacted, spokesman of the Abia State Police Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, said he was yet be briefed on the incident.

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Fire Guts Popular Sabo Market In Ogun

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The popular Sabo market in Sagamu, Ogun State has reportedly been engulfed in a fire.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained as many shops and properties are affected.

As of the time this report, the fire is yet to be put out.

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JUST IN: Court Reduces Maina’s Bail Conditions To N500m, One Surety

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday varied the conditions attached to the bail granted former Chairman, Pension Reform Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Justice Okon Abang, before who Maina is being tried on charges of money laundering, granted him conditional bail on November 25, 2015.

Among the bail conditions were that Maina endorses a bond of N1billion and produce two sureties, who must be serving Senators, and who must attend court at every subsequent proceeding.

Maina later returned to the court with a prayer for variation, on the grounds that the conditions were too stringent.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Abang reduced the bail bond to N500million for Main, who he said, should now produce a single surety, who must be a serving Senator.

Justice Abang ordered that the Senator, who must own property in any of the high brow areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), must attend court at every adjourned date to sign at the court’s registry.

Details shortly…

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