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Government condemns opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s pledge to reopen Nigerian borders

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has condemned the promise by one of the major presidential candidates in next year’s elections, Atiku Abubakar, to reopen all Nigerian borders if elected president.

Atiku Abubakar, a veteran contestant for Nigeria’s top job is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, made the pledge during his campaign rally in Katsina on Tuesday.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at the 15th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, Administration Scorecard Series, argued that Atiku’s pledge was born out of political desperation.

The minister maintained that Atiku’s hunger for power would not make him hesitate to return Nigeria to the era of unbridled inflow of weapons and massive importation of food to the detriment of local farmers.

“By that statement, Alhaji Atiku will shut down most, if not all, of our new fertiliser blending companies, with thousands of jobs going down the drain.

“Also, by his declaration, the former vice president has told Nigerians that he will worsen security in the country by allowing arms and ammunition to flow in unhindered into the country,” he said.

“His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, may also want to know that while Nigeria was the number one export destination for rice in 2014, our country has now moved to number 79, according to Thai Authorities.

“By throwing open the borders indiscriminately as he has pledged, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has simply announced that he intends to return Nigeria to the number one importer of Thai rice in 2023!

“For sheer expediency, Alhaji Atiku, a former Customs Officer who rose to the pinnacle of his career, is ready to erase the gains made since 2015 in pushing Nigeria closer to self-sufficiency in the production of staples,” he said.

The Nigerian government in August 2019 ordered the closing of all the country’s land borders and opened some of it in December 2020, a move that President Buhari says was in the interest of local farmers.

Since his entry into politics in 1993, Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested to be Nigeria’s president five times. In 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019.

Nigeria is due for another general election in 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been in office since 2015 will be completing his second term of four years. Will Atiku Abubakar get lucky this time?

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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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