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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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More Trouble For Sowore As FG Charges Him With Treason, Money Laundering; Accuses Him Of Insulting Buhari

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The Federal Government on Friday filed seven counts of treasonable felony and money laundering against the Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, is charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.

The charges were signed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), by Aminu Alilu, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The charges were filed a day before the expiration of the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the Department of State Service to keep the activist for 45 days.

The detention order elapses on September 21.

In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.

It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It also accused Sowore of money laundering offences in breach of section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 by alleged transferring by means of swift wire.

The sums of money he was said to have been involved in the alleged transfers were the sums of $19,975 on April 2, 2019; $20,475 on May 21, 2019, $16,975 on June 27, 2019, and another $16,975 on July 16, 2019.

The DSS arrested Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, following his call for revolution in a protest he organised to take place in some major cities on August 5.

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COZA Reacts Officially To Allegations Against Biodun Fatoyinbo, Indicts Unnamed Pastors Of Jealousy; Says Busola Dakolo Never Had A Relationship With Their Founder

Peter Okunoren

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Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has condemned what it called recent ‘unprovoked satanic campaign of calumny orchestrated against its leadership and members by agents of darkness.’

Ademola Adetuberu, Executive Senior Assistant to the Senior Pastor, in a statement on Saturday, said the church would like to break its silence and clear certain misconceptions and misinformation being churned out in order to misguide members of the church, public and relevant authorities.

It reads: “We stand with anyone who has been a victim of rape. We stand by our Founding and Senior Pastor, Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, who has been at the receiving end of organized blackmail and all sorts of attacks because of his innocence and we are sure that our faithful and unfailing God will vindicate him very soon.

“As for Busola Dakolo, justice will soon be served. We would like to, again, for the record reiterate that our Senior Pastor, Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo has never had anything personal to do with her. Busola was not raped by Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, and she had never been in a relationship with him either.

“We see this ugly development fuelled by envy and sheer jealousy as an unnecessary distraction and a fight from the pit of hell against the ministry that God gave Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, as well as a declaration of war against the Church of Christ to which COZA is a flourishing branch under God’s grace.

“We are not unaware that certain pastors that felt threatened by the unprecedented growth of COZA and the grace of God upon His Servant are after some of our members, just making every effort to cash in on the attack against God’s servant. There was nothing they had not done behind the scene until this rape scandal.

“They are accusing our Pastor of snatching their members. Some are even asking why he couldn’t remain in Ilorin. Our focus is the Kingdom of God and winning souls for Christ. COZA is home to those who have sold out to Jesus. At COZA, we believe that every sent servant of God has his or her harvest field given to him or her by God and not by poaching souls or believers of another ministry.

“We, therefore, urge those sponsoring these evils to desist however if they do not, the God of vengeance will visit them. They should let Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo continue freely with the divine mandate that our Lord Jesus Christ gave him. It is ungodly and sinful to be used by satan against the anointed”.

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BIG STORY

Police Arraign 15 Over Alleged Attempt To Kill Patience Jonathan, Rob Her Of N.3billion

Peter Okunoren

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Authorities of the Bayelsa State Police Command have arraigned 15 persons before the State High Court sitting in Yenagoa over an alleged plot to kill the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and rob her of her valuables worth over N.3billion.

A 17-count charge of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit a felony with armed robbery, malicious injury to property, conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and burglary were filed against the suspects.

Those arraigned included Golden Vivian (40 years, Erama Deborah (45yrs),Precious Kingsley (20yrs), Vincent Olabiyi (28yrs),Ebuka Cosmos (25yrs), Williams Alamo (29yrs),Tamunokuro Abaku (32yrs) and Boma Oba (42yrs).

Others include Emmanuel Aginwa(42yrs), Emeka Benson (33yrs), Tamunosiki Achese Frisberesima (30yrs), Wariboko Salome (28yrs), Sahabi Lima (35yrs),Reginald Sunday(20yrs) and John Dashe(39yrs).

The charge sheet was signed by S. A. Ofoegbu Esq. O.C. Legal State Criminal Investigation Department, Yenagoa Bayelsa State.

Defending the accused persons are Stanley Damabide, Padiowei P.P. Tamuno, E. Samuel, Chuks Momoh.

They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In the charge sheet, the count 1 accused the arraigned persons of conspiring to commit murder which is an offence punishable under section 252 of the Criminal code law cap. C14 Laws of Bayelsa State.

According to the charge, ”All the accused and some at large, sometime in the month of June 2019 at Otuoke community in Ogbia local government within the Ogbia Judicial Division of the state high court did conspire to kill Her Excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan, former first lady, there committed an offense.’

”That you and some other persons at large, on the same date and place aforementioned Judicial division of Bayelsa did steal seven gold bangles and pieces of jewelry, five Samsung Air Conditioner, Two sets of upholstery chairs, six Samsung flat-screen television stands at two hundred Million Naira (N200,000,000). These are the property of Dame Patience Jonathan and thereby committed an offense.”

It would be recalled that operatives of the Operation Puff Adder of the State Police Command had in June arrested some persons over alleged involvement in the illegal entry into his home in Otuoke community in Ogbia Local Government area, carting away pieces of jewelry, custom made walking stick and other valuables worth over N.3billion.

It was gathered that one of the arrested suspects, who is a management staff of the Aridolf Resort, Hotel and Spa owned by the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan had mysteriously duplicated the keys to the rooms where the valuables were kept and led the forceful entry and gradual looting of the valuables.

It was also gathered that after some domestic staff to the former President discovered he was informed and he quickly called in men of the Bayelsa Police Command to effect their arrest and recover the looted valuables.

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