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Nigeria’s Buhari confident of win in 2019. Are his boasts empty?

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Nigerians are weighing in on President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances in the presidential poll slated for 2019. On Friday, the man himself expressed confidence that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will win the 2019 general elections.

Buhari boasted that his party’s victory was imminent, stating that only the blind would fail to notice that victory lay ahead.

His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted the President as speaking in that regard while receiving, in his hometown of Daura, Katsina State, the representatives of the 34 chairmen of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria.

Buhari said the string of victories recorded by the APC in bye-elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi States was sufficient proof that 2019 elections would be won by the party.

“Coming against the backdrop of the victory in Ekiti governorship election, the string of victory by our party, the APC, is a clear indication of the way things will go in 2019.

‘‘For those who are discerning; those who have ears and eyes they will see, hear and understand.

“Those who don’t understand are entitled to their mistaken assumptions.”

The President said the victories in the recent polls were “signs of things to come,” he said.

Buhari’s boasts have, however, attracted very strong reactions from critics and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A former lawmaker and a well known critic of President Buhari, Junaid Mohammed, doubts his claim to being an autocrat.

He said, “The boast as far as I am concerned, the man Buhari is not a democrat and he is incapable of learning to become one.

“I sincerely hope that the 2019 elections come and happen the way normal elections should hold because if what we saw happen in Ondo, Ekiti and the last three Senatorial bye elections in Katsina, Kogi, and Bauchi is what they refer to as an election, then I doubt if we are going to have an election worth its name.

“If we call it an election because people have gone to vote and there was no too much violence, but a humongous amount of money was doled out to voters in exchange for their ballots; will the election be worth anything? I doubt.”

On its part, the PDP advised Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress not to be deluded into believing that it had the 2019 elections all wrapped up.

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Secondus said: “President Buhari is being deceived by those who are not familiar with politics of their states that they would deliver results to him.

“The President and the APC would be shocked with the level of their rejection by the electorate come 2019. Winning of elections is not about boasting. What will the President tell Nigerians that he has done for them? What will he tell workers he has done for them? What will he tell Nigerians he has done about the economy, job creation and others?

“Will Nigerians vote for someone who will not stay in the country to administer the country, but would choose to be junketing all over the world?

“We know he relies on security agencies and INEC to rig for him, but we want to assure him that the people are determined to put an end to the misery he and his government have brought to the nation.”

Analysts predict a very close race in 2019. Buhari’s cult-like following in northern Nigeria is still talked about as one that could work in his favour. In the northwest, north-central and northeast, the emergence of former governors Aminu Tambuwal, Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and incumbent Senate President Bukola Saraki as aspirants has done little to sway the views of some close watchers of the polity.

This body of analysts maintain that Buhari’s confidence is buoyed by the tremendous support coming from the Southwest which for a while has been under the firm control of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who continues to voice strong backing for the incumbent President.

There are indications, however, that the general elections would not be a walkover for APC. The forces massed against Buhari are not just those organized by PDP. The emergence of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) said to be pro PDP remains a major headache though APC maintains that it also has an amalgam of other parties willing to back her in the coming polls.

APC’s biggest huddle yet would certainly be the open conspiracy by former military rulers Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo and Theophilus Danjuma to truncate Buhari’s rule. Collectively, they have branded him incompetent, nepotistic and incapable of addressing the security challenges facing the country, particularly the largely perceived ethnic cleansing in the north-central States of Benue and Plateau.

They have not hidden their intentions to work with others to overthrow APC in 2019.

Politics

Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga plans protest rallies, questions recruiting at IEBC

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As part of the fallout from the 2022 presidential elections in Kenya, the opposition under Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition has called for a public rally this Sunday in Nairobi.

At the rally, former prime minister and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to amplify his recent calls for an independent audit of the 2022 elections and their involvement in reconstituting the electoral commission.

The former Prime Minister has written a petition seeking to nullify Ruto’s victory, citing fraud and tampering with the Commission’s central server by the chairman, Wafula Chebukati, and other staff.

General elections were held in Kenya on 9 August 2022. Voters elected William Ruto as the East African country’s fifth president after a close contest with a veteran contender, Raila Odinga.

Kenya’s opposition has renewed its quest for what it calls electoral justice, vowing it has not recognised President William Ruto’s regime.

The seven wrangling officials of the electoral body, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have since left — through retirement, resignation, or suspension amidst allegations that the body was compromised to grant President Ruto the victory.

Following the development, the President on Monday signed an amendment Bill on the composition of an IEBC selection panel, setting the stage for the recruitment of new electoral commissioners.

The recruitment is already being questioned by the opposition suspicious that Mr. Ruto may populate the selection panel with his cronies and influence the appointment of friendly commissioners to smooth his re-election path in 2027.

“We demand that any attempts to reconstitute the IEBC single-handedly by Mr. Ruto cease forthwith so that Kenyans themselves can reconstitute the body after the firm and fair deliberations,” Odinga said Monday.

The is fear in some quarters that the planned protest by the opposition of Saturday will be countered by ruling authorities.

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Politics

Nigeria: Tribunal sacks Osun state governor, Ademola Adeleke, declares ruling party’s candidate winner

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In Nigeria, an election tribunal has declared Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the validly elected governor of the state.

The tribunal held that the governorship election was characterized by over-voting, adding that after deducting the excessive votes, Oyetola’s figures rose to 314, 921, while Adeleke’s came down to 290, 266.

The tribunal instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi. It directed that the certificate of return be issued to Oyetola instead.

Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Oyetola in the July 16, 2023 poll in the state.

INEC declared Adeleke the winner after polling 403,371 against Oyetola’s 375,027 votes.

Though there were 13 other candidates in the Osun governorship election, it was dominated by Adeleke and Oyetola.

The PDP candidate was victorious in 17 of the 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state governorship poll. The remaining 13 LGAs were, however, taken by Oyetola of the APC.

Meanwhile, the sacked Governor, Ademola Adeleke has faulted the judgement, describing it as “a miscarriage of justice”. He also vowed to appeal the ruling which he says is “an unfair interpretation against the will of the majority of voters”.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done,” Governor Adeleke was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson Olawale Rasheed. “Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate.”

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