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Governors-Elect To Get Certificates Of Return Next Week — INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that state governors-elect in states where elections were concluded will get their Certificates of Return next week Wednesday, March 27 and Friday, March 29.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this on Thursday in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the outcomes and updates of the 2019 General Elections.

This means that of the 29 states where governorship elections were held, only 22 will received their certificates, as seven others have to wait for judicial pronouncements or the conclusion of re-count, re-collation or supplementary elections.

While the election was suspended in Rivers, it was declared inconclusive in six states of Bauchi and Adamawa (North East), Benue and Plateau (North Central) and Sokoto and Kano (North West).

“Certificates of Return in respect of Governors-elect shall be presented by the supervising National Commissioners of the respective states between Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th March 2019.

“They will be assisted by Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Legal Officers of the Commission,” Okoye said.

He said the precise date for the presentation in each state shall be made known by the respective RECs after consultation with the supervising National Commissioners.

He also said that the date of presentation of Certificates of Return to the respective winners of the State Houses of Assembly will be announced in due course.

BIG STORY

Anambra Governor Soludo Backs Single Term For Politicians, Rejects LG Autonomy

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The executive governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo on Wednesday threw his weight behind the growing calls for a single term for elected officeholders but he argued that any form of autonomy for local government areas in the country is against the tenets of true federalism.

Due to the nation’s declining revenue, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Solomon Odunwa, advocated for a National Assembly with only one chamber.

Soludo, who served as the CBN’s governor from 2004 to 2009, delivered a speech at The Platform Nigeria, an event organised by Covenant Nation, a church in Lagos, in honour of 2024 Democracy Day.

Other speakers at the event, which had the theme “Democracy and the Free Market Economy,” included former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, former Minister of Works Babatunde Fashola, and the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan-Kukah.

“Sometimes, these conversations about single term might begin to make some sense so that you fix it, whether you say four years or five years, six years, seven years, single term,” Soludo said.

“So, you are not thinking about the next election once you finish getting into this. I face that all day in my state. You want to get into this (project), they say, ‘No, wait, you know you have an election’. And I say, ‘No, let’s get it, if we get there, we get there and if we lose, we lose.”

  • LG Autonomy Anti-True Federalism

There have been increased calls for local government autonomy in Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu has also supported the calls and in May the Federal Government sued the 36 state governors over alleged misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas.

Governor Soludo, however, has a different view.

He said, “Funny enough, more recently, some people are arguing for the autonomy of local governments including some APC persons, which would take Nigeria back many decades from what a true federation is about.

“There is no federal system in the world where you have three federal units. The counties in America where we copied (democracy), their local governments don’t go to the centre to collect money directly.

“Each state must have the power to design the kind of local government system they want. That is what true federalism is about.”

Soludo said the Federal Government should give some of the responsibilities in the Exclusive List to sub-nationals.

“We need to tinker with the fiscal powers of the federal and state governments, devolve much of the responsibilities under the Exclusive List to the states, and at about 60 to 65 percent of the revenues to the states, with each deciding on the local system to adopt.

“Why not consolidate the National Assembly into one with no more than five representatives per state? We don’t need a National Assembly costing over N300bn yearly to maintain. We don’t need it,” he said.

  • Tinubu Should Clear Economic Mess

The Anambra governor admitted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not cause the country’s economic problems. Rather, he believes that Nigeria is feeling the effects of poor actions and inactions of administrations since 1999.

“We are now suffering the consequences of delayed adjustments,” he said, adding that Tinubu has “the historic duty to mobilise Nigerians to clean up the mess for future generations.

“Nigeria faces fiscal quagmire and even technical solvency problems. Debt has piled to a level that leaves little headroom for more borrowing albeit at a very high cost. Yet, the needs of the citizens keep increasing in geometric proportion by the day.”

The governor warned that printing more money would lead to spiraling inflation.

“We are in a bind and must get out of it,” he said.

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BIG STORY

Tinubu’s Tenure As Lagos Governor Would’ve Been Rough Without My Support — Atiku To Shettima

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Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, says that without his backing, President Bola Tinubu’s time as Lagos’ governor would have been difficult.

Recall that President Tinubu was Lagos governor between 1999 and 2007.

Atiku made this known when reacting to a statement made by Vice-President Kashim Shettima on Thursday.

Speaking in Ado Ekiti, the state capital of Ekiti, Shettima said that Tinubu had supported three northern candidates for the same seat prior to his presidential run, including Atiku, who ran in 2007 under the banner of the Action Congress (AC).

At the time, Tinubu was a party chieftain.

Atiku’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, responded to Shettima’s remarks by saying Tinubu was unable to provide Atiku the party’s platform in 2007.

He continued by saying that all of the party’s delegates from across the nation had nominated Atiku for president.

“But for Atiku’s support, hinged on his pro-democracy instincts and rule of law, Tinubu’s tenure as governor of Lagos would have been rough with a wide possibility of termination of his political career,” he said.

“For some time, and especially leading up to the 2023 election, there has been a deliberate attempt to distort the history of the politics of the early 4th Republic by ascribing the AC, the political platform that Atiku ran in 2007, as Tinubu’s party. Nothing can be further from the truth. Vice President Shettima, obviously carried away with the euphoria of the unveiling of his official residence as Vice President, repeated the same lie.

“Moreover, Tinubu was not in a position to lend the platform to Atiku as erroneously being suggested, as he (Atiku) was nominated by all the delegates from all the states.

“It will be appropriate for Vice President Shettima to refrain from making statements on subject matters on which he knows little or nothing about.”

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BIG STORY

Protesters Storm APC Secretariat, Demand Women Leader’s Resignation Over Alleged Corrupt Practices

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Hundreds of women demonstrated on Friday outside the All Progressives Congress offices in Abuja, calling on Dr. Mary Alile-Idele, the National Women Leader, to step down.

During a visit to the party secretariat, Alile-Idele was charged with carelessness, pursuing personal interests, and allegedly diverting some of the 24,000 wrappers presented by Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady, and her group.

Singing songs of unity and flying many banners that said, “Enough is Enough!” The offended women pleaded with the First Lady and National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, to remove Mary Alile for persistently undermining female party members, chanting, “Mary Alile Resign Now” and “APC Women Leader Must Go.”

Alile-Idele became the substantive national women leader after her predecessor, Dr. Betta Edu, was appointed Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (now suspended) by President Bola Tinubu.

The agitation for her removal comes barely two weeks ago when the First Lady, who was represented by Hajia Nana, the wife of Vice President Kashim Shettima, presented bales of wrappers to Alile and her state women leaders following their outcry the previous week that they had been abandoned by the president despite their contribution to his election victory.

After the donation, Ganduje warned that the women leaders should distribute the fabrics judiciously.

But the protesters led by the Coordinator of ‘Concerned APC Women’, Rebecca Sheneni, told journalists on Friday that it was as if the APC national chairman had a premonition of what would happen, alleging that only 9,000 of the 24,000 fabrics were shared.

The North Central APC member also alleged that rather than pursue a common cause for their benefit, the national women leader has been junketing all over the country promoting the agenda of a pet project in her non-governmental organisation.

She said, “We, the Concerned APC Women Group, an umbrella body for all female members of the governing APC, deem it necessary and imperative to demand the immediate resignation of Mrs Mary Alile-Idele, the National Women Leader of our party.

“We are concerned that since assuming office, Mrs Mary Alile-Idele has displayed incompetence in her role. She appears to be more focused on promoting her Non-Governmental Organisation rather than the party. This is evident in her recent travels to various states to inaugurate her NGO’s executives, instead of promoting the agenda and manifesto of our party to Nigerian women.

“Furthermore, Her Excellency the First Lady provided her with over 24,000 wrappers to distribute to Women leaders and party members, but she only distributed less than 9,000. Where are the rest? We wonder how a UK-based person with no political experience and no record of membership in our party could be considered for this exalted position.

“She prioritises her personal interests over those of the APC, leading to the nomination of her husband for appointment as a member of the University of Port Harcourt Governing Council and various party assignments.

“Considering her numerous misdeeds and misconduct, we call for her immediate removal from the position of the APC. She has demonstrated a high level of incompetence and we have had enough.”

Efforts to get the APC national women leader to react to the allegations proved abortive.

As of the time of filing this story, she has not picked up calls or responded to the SMS and WhatsApp messages sent for clarification.

However, the women leader for Imo State, Mrs Patricia Okuebor-Benson, rose to her defence, saying the allegations were not true.

According to her, virtually all their members across the various states have received their fabrics.

She said, “I am just hearing of this now because nobody told me before. As I speak, the 36 state women leaders and the FCT are in Abuja having a meeting and nobody has accused anybody of anything.

“We don’t know where these women are getting their stories from. I believe every state has received its fabrics. I really don’t know what they are talking about. I think somebody is sponsoring them.

When contacted, a former lawmaker and women leader in Lagos, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, declined comment, saying she wasn’t aware of the development and couldn’t speak for any of her principals.

“As you can see, I am not in Abuja. I am in Lagos because there is a very important programme that I have to attend. So there is nothing I can say about it,” she pleaded.

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