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BIG STORY

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.

BIG STORY

Blackmailer On The Trail of Seyi Tinubu, Demands For N7million

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Activities of some unscrupulous element who are of the opinion that they can make quick money through blackmail were brought to fore recently when one unidentified individual called up the number of the Executive Chairman of Loatsad Promo media, Mr. Seyi Tinubu and demanded a whopping N7million so they will not soil his name on the social media.

The blackmailer, according to sources close to the hardworking philanthropist had placed a call through to the energetic young entrepreneur and claimed he is in possession of a video of him fighting a club manager in Lekki during the COVID-19 ordered lockdown and that he will be taking such to the social media except he’s paid to keep quiet.

Though Seyi who is sure he was never in such a situation had called his bluff and asked him to go ahead, his friends and close associates are of the belief that the activities of such individual should be made known to the public in other for such false and malicious plan not to soil the good-standing his company and his family are enjoying on the heart of Nigerians.

The blackmailer we gathered hid the number with which he’s making the call and claimed he’s a journalist but failed to name the medium he’s working with, an act which is against rules of the journalism profession thereby showing clearly he’s a criminal trying to give the noble pen-pushing profession a bad name.

It was not too long that a young man now in the net of the police has resorted to blackmail to extort money from legendary Nigerian female musician Salawa Abeni before he was exposed and is currently facing the tune of the music.




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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Churches, Mosques Remain Shut In Lagos, Says Commissioner

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The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said that churches and mosques in the state might not be reopened soon for worshippers.

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said this on the sideline of the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The Federal Government had on Monday, June 1, lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country, based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.

Elegushi said that the reopening of the worship centers was not possible soon, as the state was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

”Even before the pronouncement by the Federal Government, we have been having meetings with the religious leaders, we even had one with Safety Commission, looking at the possibility of reopening of religious houses.

”We also had one with the leaders of the two faiths and I want to tell you categorically that at that meeting, the possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out totally.

”They claimed that they cannot take such responsibility of ensuring that only 20 or 50 people are praying behind them.

”Like an Imam said, he doesn’t know what is going on at the back immediately he is leading a prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying at his back he is not going to take responsibility for their presence.

”So, in the meeting, we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so.

”The Federal Government mentioned it, but it never ruled out the state in achieving that pronouncement, so all states will have to look at the possibility of doing so in their respective states.

”We all know Lagos is still having more figures. So definitely that will speak to our decision,” he said.

The commissioner, however, said that the governor of the state would come out with further directives on the matter.

(NAN)




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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Senate Approves Buhari’s $5.513bn External Loan Request

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The Senate on Tuesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s $5.513 billion external loan request to finance the revised 2020 budget.

The approval followed the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Clifford Odia (Edo Central) by the upper chamber.

Buhari has in his letter of request, said that the $5.513 billion external loan is to enable the Federal Government to fund the 2020 revised budget.

However, the components of the external loan which is to enable the Federal Government to execute its priority projects and for projects to support State Governments in stimulating their economy which has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was stood down by the Senate due to lack of requisite details.

Details shortly….




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