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Nigeria 2015: SERAP drags APC, PDP to court for undisclosed campaign expenses

APC Presidential Primary.

For failing to disclose their planned expenditure and sources of funding, Nigeria’s two largest political parties have been charged to court.

The suit is coming over one month after both parties received a Freedom of Information, FOI, request, but declined to disclose their finances to a civic group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP. The group said it dispatched the FOI request to the the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, and that of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun on November 18.

Dissatisfied that both parties refused to honour its request, SERAP has charged them to court. Between them, the APC and PDP govern 34 of Nigeria’s 36 states. The February 14, 2015 presidential election is also expected to be between the PDP’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, and APC’s Muhammadu Buhari.

In stating why it charged both parties to court, SERAP said “Nigerians have the right to know about spending by their political parties especially the major parties with a strong possibility to assume government in the future.”

Read SERAP’s full statement below:

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to court over “failure to disclose their sources of spending on their respective electoral campaigns and other operations linked to the February 2015 general elections.”

The suits filed last week at the Federal High Court Ikoyi followed Freedom of Information requests to PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, and APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, dated 18 November 2014.

The originating summons against the PDP with suit number FHC/CS/1969/2014 and against the APC with suit number FHC/CS/1968/2014 were brought pursuant to section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, and signed by SERAP Senior Staff Attorney, Olukayode Majekodunmi.

The plaintiff is arguing that under the FOI Act, “Nigerians have the right to know about spending by their political parties especially the major parties with a strong possibility to assume government in the future. Citizens should be able to examine financial transactions of parties and be certain that politicians are working for their voters, not their benefactors.”

The plaintiff also argues that, both the APC and PDP “Cannot take the position that the FOI Act does not apply to them because to do so will seriously undermine citizens’ trust in their political parties and lack of trust will inevitably destroy confidence in the system and decrease citizens’ interest and participation in democratic processes.”

The plaintiff also said that “Without free and fair elections there can be no democracy. However, elections are only one part of the democratic process, and a fair and effective electoral system must be founded in an adequate democratic infrastructure and responsibility of political leaders.”

The plaintiff wants the court to determine “Whether by virtue of the provision of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under an obligation to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested for.”

The plaintiff is seeking:

A DECLARATION that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information relating to the following:

1. Information about the spending and sources of income derived from federal, state and other institutions, agencies or persons for the campaigns and other operations of the Defendants related to the February 2015 elections.

2. The total amounts that have been spent and the anticipated spending and the sources of any such spending related to the February 2015 general elections.

3. Total contributions received by the Defendants for or on behalf of their Presidential candidate and candidates for the governorship elections and the sources of any such contributions.

Earlier in its FOI requests, the plaintiff had expressed “serious concerns about the risks of corruption during electoral campaigns for the February 2015 general elections, especially the role of money in politics and the persistent failure generally to comply with national and international law on political party finance.”

According to the plaintiff, “Releasing the information will help to address the perception among the citizens that the major political parties in the countries are less transparent and accountable. The lack of transparency and accountability in political finance is seriously undermining the legitimacy and credibility of the democratic and electoral processes, and invariably contributing to denying the citizens the right to effective participation in their own government.”

The plaintiff further argued that, “Transparency, accountability, integrity and independence of political parties is also important to achieve greater transparency in public life, to curb the influence of money in politics, to promote a level playing field, and to remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders and the risks of conflicts of interest, including undue influence and corruption in the funding of political parties.”

According to the plaintiff, “By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information being requested. Under the FOI Act, your party is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

The plaintiff also said that, “By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FOI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing the necessary information are widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means. The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.”

Signed
Olukayode Majekodunmi
SERAP Senior Staff Attorney

U.S. restates support for Nigeria in fight against Boko Haram

The Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu in an audience with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle during a visit in the minister's office in Abuja

The United States said on Friday in Abuja that it remains committed to helping the Federal Government in tackling the threat of Boko Haram and other extremist organisations to the country.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Affairs Department embassy in Nigeria.

It said the U.S. government has also restated its commitment to support Nigeria’s efforts to​ “​rescue the abducted Chibok girls and all others who have been abducted in various communities​”.

It particularly condemned the attack on Gumsuri village, Borno, which was reported to have been perpetrated by Boko Haram.

“We are aware of reports from persons who fled the scene of the attack that suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 people.

“We abhor such violence, which continues to take a terrible toll on the people of Nigeria, and we extend our condolences to the victims and their families.

“Boko Haram has shown no regard for human life,” it said. 

It expressed concerns that this year alone, Boko Haram had murdered thousands of innocent people in vicious attacks on schools, churches, and mosques.

According to the statement, Boko Haram attacks have resulted in displacement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.

(NAN)

Ekiti Assembly Crisis: “Speaker” named by minority slams APC lawmakers over sitting claim

Ekiti_State_map

The Ekiti House of Assembly member, who has usurped the position of speaker after minority members claimed to have elected him, has described a claim by assembly’s majority All Progressives Congress, APC, members that he has been suspended as “comedy of the festive season”.

Dele Olugbemi, who was “elected” by six members and has since claimed to be the speaker, dismissed the claim by 19 APC members that they sat in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on Friday, and sanctioned him.

The APC lawmakers had announced that they sat and suspended Mr. Olugbemi and the other PDP members in the House.

The APC lawmakers led by the Speaker, Adewale Omirin, held a plenary session in an unknown venue during which Mr. Olugbemi and the six Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members of the House, loyal to him, were suspended.

Crisis had erupted in the House on November 20 when seven PDP lawmakers, amid tight security provided by the police, sat and elected Mr. Olugbemi as Speaker and Abeni Olayinka as his deputy.

They also approved some appointments made by the governor, Ayo Fayose, who is a member of the PDP.

The seven members sat while the 19 APC members, including Mr. Omirin and his deputy, Adetunji Orisalade, were in Lagos.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Olugbemi, said no sitting of the legislature took place today.

“The APC lawmakers could have met at a beer parlour in Ikoyi, Lagos or Osogbo, in Osun State,” he said.

He said it was only a group of “clowns” that would gather at a hotel, consume several bottles of beer and later send pictures of purported sitting as members of Ekiti State House of Assembly to the press.

While urging Ekiti people to ignore the APC lawmakers, Mr. Olugbemi said: “They are in court, challenging the removal of Adewale Omirin as the Speaker and it is commonsensical that they allow the court to adjudicate.”

He argued that if the APC legislators really wanted to take their job seriously, they should have returned to the Ekiti State instead of running from one hotel to another in Lagos and Osun States.

“The APC lawmakers are behaving like the clowns that they are and one cannot but pity them,” he said.

“The hallowed chamber of the Ekiti State House of Assembly is the only venue for the sitting of the State House of Assembly and those meeting in hotels and paraga joints in Lagos and Osun States should know that they are just advertising their collective idiocy.”

Nigerian military confirms killings near Chibok; says “abductions” being investigated

Road to Chibok

Nigerian troops have taken over Gumsere, a town near Chibok, where residents said at least 30 people were killed and over 100 others abducted last Friday by suspected Boko Haram militants, the defence headquarters said Friday.

The military said while it could confirm some people were killed in the attack, investigations were still ongoing to confirm the reports of kidnappings.

Residents had said that militants arrived the community at about 4p.m. a week ago and attacked the community overnight, killing “many people” and burning “several houses”.

A pastor in neighbouring Chibok, Mark Enoch, confirmed the attack to PREMIUM TIMES.

He said he could not be precise about the number of people killed, but said there were still bodies when he visited the area on Monday.

Residents said the militants descended on the community targeting a powerful leader of a local vigilante who had succeeded in wading off previous Boko Haram attacks.

They said the vigilante leader was killed finally and all members of his family, including his wife and daughters, taken away by the terrorists.

The military said while it has confirmed that some people were killed, it was yet to confirm new abductions.

“Although it has been confirmed that some people were killed by the terrorists during the attack, the reported abductions as claimed by unidentified sources being quoted in some foreign media is yet to be verified from any credible sources in the community,” the military said in the statement.

The military, however, said its officers are “investigating as well as patrolling the area in search of terrorists”.

The DHQ said it has shored up security patrol in Gumsere and that normal life has returned to the area adding that some of the residents who fled have returned.

“Some of the villagers who fled during the attack have started returning to the village. Normal life has also returned to the area. The surveillance and patrol of the area by air and land forces has been stepped up to secure the general area.

“Troops have been ordered to sustain an aggressive patrol over the area and the surrounding communities in order to ensure that terrorists do not have any freedom of action in the area while the counter-terrorism campaign continues,” it said.

Yobe, Borno villages under Boko Haram attacks 

When Boko Haram attack villages, they raze it.

Hours after soldiers of  the 7th  Division of the Nigerian Army celebrated the killing of over 70 Boko Haram terrorists after repelling attack on a village near Maiduguri, the insurgents have launched fresh attacks on two towns near Potiskum, residents have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The attacks are still going on as the time of filing this report, witnesses said.

The two towns under attacks are Damagum in Fune local government area and Mamudo in Potiskum local government.

came under heavy attack of suspected Boko Haram terrorists when residents of the neighbouring towns were about to retire back to their homes on Friday.

Mallam Yahaya, a business merchant in Damagum, informed PREMIUM TIMES on telephone that he and other residents began to hear gunshots at about 6p.m.

“The shooting started at about 6p.m shortly after the late evening prayers; we didn’t know what was happening but when it became persistent as we continued to hear the shooting coming from the direction of the local government secretariat, we had to flee to our homes,” Mr. Yahaya said.

“We are still lying down on our bellies now as I speak and everywhere is quite but we continued to hear periodic shooting and many sounds of motorcycles moving around the streets; that makes us to fear that our town may have been taken over by Boko Haram because no one is allowed by the soldiers to ride motorcles once it’s 6pm.

Details of the ongoing attack is sketchy at this time as the police and the military cannot be reached for comments.

Meanwhile, soldiers of the Nigerian Army yesterday said they killed 75 members of the Boko Haram sect at  Bulabulin village near Damboa town of Borno state as the insurgents attacked the town.

An electricity company official, who witnessed the incident as he worked alongside some of his colleagues fixing some of the destroyed electric installations said “they were many in number when they came to  town, but it was as if the soldiers were aware of their coming, so they laid ambush and then opened fire on them, killing over 70 of them while many others abandoned their vehicles and fled.

A soldier in Maiduguri, who cannot be named in this report because he was not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed the incident.

In the seized town of Gwoza, reports coming through local hunters said the Boko Haram gunmen in charge of the area have begun serial massacre of old men and women who could not flee from the captured territories.

Muhammed Gava, an operative with the Nigeria Vigilante Group, who  is an indigene of Gwoza town and resident of Maiduguri, said “we heard that more than 50 old men and women have been forcefully taken to Government Day Secondary School, Gwoza, where they would assemble them and then open fire on some of them”.

He said a relative from Gwoza who spoke to him from the top of the mountains using phone lines tapped from Cameroonian networks said “more people are being forced to assemble in other areas like Dhimankara, Ville, Kuranabasa, Gudugum and some other nearby villages and being taken to Uvaghe Central Primary school“.

There has not been any official statement in regard of these attacks.

Nigerian army’s death sentence on 54 soldiers “genocidal” — Falana

Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has condemned the death sentence passed on 54 soldiers by an army court-martial.

In a statement Thursday, Mr. Falana said the convicted soldiers, the second batch to be condemned to death by a military court, had been sent on a suicide mission by army authorities ill-equipped and poorly motivated.

The soldiers, attached to the 7 Division, Nigerian Army in Maiduguri include two Corporals, Cpl, nine Lance Corporals, LCpl and 49 Private soldiers.

They were found guilty Wednesday by a General Court-Martial in Abuja after facing a two count of criminal conspiracy and mutiny.

Of the 59 soldiers initially arraigned before the court, five were discharged and acquitted while 54 were sentenced to death.

Mr. Falana said that the acquittal was designed to give the false impression that the “dubious” verdict was fair and just.

“The soldiers were in the SF 111 Batallion which has 174 instead of 750 soldiers,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“The soldiers in the Batallion were neither equipped nor motivated. They are young men whose ages range between 21 and 25. Most of them joined the army in 2012.

“With little or no training whatsoever they were deployed to fight the dreaded Boko Haram sect.”

Mr. Falana also accused the army hierarchy of diverting funds allocated for payment of salaries and allowances of soldiers and for purchase of arms and ammunition.

“Instead of bringing such unpatriotic officers to book the military authorities have engaged in the diversionary tactics of wasting the lives of innocent soldiers by sentencing them to death without any legal justification,” Mr. Falana said.

On July 9, 2014 the Boko Haram sect launched a ferocious attack on the Batallion killing three officers and 23 soldiers and inflicting injuries on 82 others.

Despite assurances that adequate weapons would be provided to fight the terrorists, according to Mr. Falana, authorities failed to fulfil their promise.

On August 4th, and after the insurgents had annexed more territories in Borno State, the soldiers were ordered to recapture Delwa, Balubulin and Damboa from the Boko Haram terrorists.

“The soldiers demanded for weapons so as not to lose more officers and men in the circumstance. A few soldiers who embarked on the suicidal mission together with the Commanding Officer were ambushed by the Boko Haram troops,” said Mr. Falana.

“When some weapons were made available on August 8, 2014, the soldiers moved to the battlefront, dislodged the satanic Boko Haram sect and liberated their captured colleagues and officers.

“They were commended for their bravery and sacrifice. But for some inexplicable reasons, the army authorities ordered that the soldiers be charged with mutiny for allegedly exposing the armed forces to embarrassment by asking for weapons.

“Thus, 60 soldiers were charged before the court-martial led by Brigadier-General M. Yusuf. The charge was however withdrawn against one of them on health ground.”

Mr. Falana, who served as defence counsel to the convicted soldiers, said that midway into the trial, journalists were shut out of the military court to avoid further embarrassment to the army.

“It is public knowledge that it was when the trial of the soldiers was in progress that the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, sought and obtained the approval of the National Assembly for a loan of USD$1 billion to purchase equipment for the prosecution of the war on terror,” he said.

“Up till now, the loan has not been utilized for the purchase of weapons.

Mr. Falana also faulted the judgment delivered on Wednesday, noting that the court-martial refused to consider the evidence led in court and convicted the 54 soldiers for having the temerity to ask for weapons to carry out their tasks.

“Apart from the fact that the Prosecution did not lead any scintilla of evidence to prove the 2-count charge of conspiracy and mutiny against any of the convicts the Court-martial did not consider the defence of the soldiers in any material particular,” said Mr. Falana.

“Convinced that soldiers who made a legitimate demand for equipment to fight the insurgents cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be properly convicted for mutiny we shall take all necessary legal measures to prevent the army authorities from giving effect to the genocidal verdict of the court-martial.

“We submit that the oath of allegiance taken by the accused soldiers is not a license to commit suicide. It is a solemn undertaking to defend the nation based on the expectation that the Federal Government would have complied with Section 217 of the Constitution on the mandatory requirement to equip the armed forces adequately.

“It is important to state that when equipment was made available on 18 August 2014, the accused soldiers fought gallantly.”

Oil workers end nationwide strike

petrol station fuel

Oil workers under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Worker (NUPENG)  have called off their four-day long industrial action.

The National Executive Councils of the two unions agreed to suspend the strike after a long meeting on Thursday with federal government representatives.

The meeting lasted till the early hours of Friday.

Though details of the resolution were yet to be released, a senior national official of PENGASSAN in Abuja told PREMIUM TIMES  that the unions were able to extract “firm” commitments from the government with regards to their grievances.

The meeting, convened by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Some of the demands of the workers included the immediate reinstatement of one of PENGASSAN zonal official in Rivers state, Elo Victor, sacked by the management of Total Oil Nigeria and the suspension of plans by government to sell the refineries.

The workers were also protesting against the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been pending at the National Assembly for about six years.

The PENGASSAN official, who pleaded that he should not be named as he was authorized to speak on the issue, said a formal joint statement calling off the action would be issued by the NEC of the union later on Friday.

$1 bn excess crude money “missing” as FAAC meeting ends in confusion

Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and President Goodluck Jonathan

The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, meeting for November ended in confusion Tuesday as representatives of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory accused the federal government of not accounting for about $1billion(N168 billion) of excess crude oil money.

The Chairman of State Commissioners of Finance, Timothy Odaah, told reporters after the meeting which ended Tuesday night, that no state knew how the $1 billion difference reported in the Excess Crude Account balance, between October and November, came about.

The FAAC meeting is a monthly gathering of state finance commissioners and the federal finance ministry and the Accountant General of the federation, where federal oil receipts are shared between the federal and state authorities.

With falling oil price, the 36 states have turned more attention on the Excess Crude Account, which has depleted from more than $40 billion in 2007 to about $4 billion in 2014.

Though Mr. Odaah said the discrepancy has been noted for discussion at the next FAAC meeting, his disclosure called to question how transparent the management of the excess crude revenues is.

Prior to the October FAAC meeting, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had told reporters that the balance of the Excess Crude Account stood at $4.11billion.

At the event, the minster also revealed that the country’s external reserves rose from $36.6billion in June to $39.48billion as at October 16.

She also said the balance in the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) stood at $1.55 billion.

But, at the end of the FAAC meeting on Tuesday, the Minister of state for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, told reporters that the current savings in the ECA had a balance of about $3.1 billion, raising questions about the $1billion difference.

Mr. Odaah had said on October that owing to the dwindling revenue allocation to the states from the federation accounts as a result of falling oil prices, the states had sent a request to President Goodluck Jonathan that $2 billion be shared.

But he said on Tuesday that the states had no knowledge how the balance suddenly dropped from $4.1 billion to $3.1 billion.

APC to name Buhari’s running mate Wednesday

Muhammadu Buhari

The National Chairman of the All Progressives [APC] John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the party would on Wednesday announced its vice presidential candidate for the February 14 election.

He stated this in an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

The opposition party had elected a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, as its presidential candidate at its national convention in Lagos on Thursday.

Since Mr. Buhari’s emergence, the leadership of the party has met a number of times to pick his running mate before their names are submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

A meeting held Tuesday for the purpose ended in a deadlock.

There were speculations that a leader of the party and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, did not only canvass the nomination of Mr. Buhari’s running mate from the South West geo-political zone, but also pushed for himself to be named for the position.

It was further gathered that Mr. Tinubu also pushed the name of a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Yemi Osibajo (SAN), in the event that his quest to be the vice presidential candidate failed.

Some party members, it was learnt, have kicked against the Buhari-Tinubu ticket because both are Muslums.

The possible choice of either Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State or Adams Oshiomhole of Edo has also also been touted.

Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to speak with Mr. Odigie-Oyegun were not successful as he did answer or return repeated calls to his mobile telephone.

However, a senior member of the party, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak, told this newspaper on Tuesday evening that “Tinubu’s quest to be the vice presidential candidate is the dilemma the party is facing.”

He said the matter would be resolved in the next few hours because the names of the presidential and vice presidential candidates have to be submitted to INEC by Wednesday or Thursday.

Fuel Scarcity: Nigerian govt to meet striking oil workers Wednesday

PENGASSAN-Logo-4

The Federal government will meet officials of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Wednesday, in an attempt to resolve issues surrounding the ongoing strike by members of the union.

The president of the union, Francis Johnson, disclosed this in a telephone interview on Monday.

“Government has called the union for a meeting against Wednesday,” Mr.Johnson said. “The strike is ongoing we have started and everyone can see it. There is total compliance in some of the oil installations in the country as the strike continues (Tuesday).”

Mr. Johnson said that the level of compliance to the industrial action by the oil workers was impressive.

PENGASSAN and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, embarked on an indefinite strike on Monday to protest what they called anti-labour practices in the sector by oil companies, and the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

Others grievances are the inability of government to carry out turn-around maintenance of the refineries and reduce pump prices of petroleum products in line with the slump in global prices of crude oil.

The strike is also to ensure that government evolves new strategies to combat pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft that have impacted negatively on the nation’s economy and employment in the country.

The unions are also protesting the non -implementation of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development, NOGICD, Act to reflect Nigerians in management positions and expatriate quota law, among others.

(NAN)

Buhari, Atiku in secret meeting

Buhari visits Atiku

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress [APC] on Sunday visited ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, days after defeating the later and three others to clinch the presidential ticket of the party.

It is not clear what both politicians discussed at the closed-door meeting held at  Atiku’s  Abuja residence.

Mr. Buhari visited alone with just his orderly and driver while all Atiku’s aides were asked to stay away as the two leaders conversed behind closed-doors.

A source in the former vice-president’s camp however said “the APC presidential candidate came to seek the support and collaboration of Atiku in line with the former VP’s pledge to work for the success of the APC in the general elections”.

“It is also possible that they may have discussed the choice of Buhari’s VP consideration ahead of the meeting by the party tomorrow on the subject in Abuja,” the source said.

Before Mr. Buhari’s visit, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that a chieftain of the party and former Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP], Ogbonnaya Onu, and Lawal Shuaibu, APC’s Deputy National Chairman (North), had visited Atiku.

Their mission to the former vice-president’s residence is also unclear. But the Atiku Campaign Organisation had before the APC presidential primary proposed Mr. Onu to head the party’s Negotiation Committee, which was expected to work towards ensuring that the party went into the 2015 election after its primaries with a united front.

“I cannot confirm if that proposal was accepted by the party and if indeed Onu came visiting in that capacity to discuss the affairs of the party post-primaries and to chart a way forward,” our source in the Atiku camp said.

Atiku had in his concession speech, after losing the primary,  pledged to hand over his policy document to Mr. Buhari for possible review and implementation.

Atiku lost the party’s primaries to Mr. Buhari but congratulated him minutes after the results were announced and since pledged his support.

Gunmen kill Edo community leader

Police armed for protest

A 66-year-old community head in Ugbowo area of Benin City in Edo State was on Saturday night killed by gunmen who invaded his residence.

The deceased, John Asemota, was the Odionwere (Clan Head) of Power-line community at Ugbowo.

The gunmen, seven in number, were said to have attacked the late Mr. Asemota’s residence at about 9:30 p.m. and shot him in the head and back.

The deceased person’s son, Osemudiamen Asemota, said three of his father’s tenants were also shot.

He said his father died on the spot, while his tenants were rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, where they were receiving treatment.

Osemudiamen said the incident was reported at the Ogbowo Divisional Police Headquarters which responded promptly by coming to the scene shortly after the incident occurred.

“It was the police that took my father’s body to the mortuary, while they also rushed those were shot to hospital for medical attention.”

He, however, ruled out possibility of robbery, alleging that his father was killed over community issues.

Some of officers at the Ogbowo Divisional Police Headquarters confirmed the murder, but refused to comment on the incident.

Pleading anonymity, one of the officers who was drafted to the scene of the incident said the matter would be handled appropriately.

(NAN)

UNN Postgraduate students protest hike in fees

UNN Postgraduate Students Protesting Hike in Fees

Postgraduate students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka [UNN] on Friday  barricaded the office of the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ben Ozumba, in protest against hike in their tuition fees, describing the increase from N69,000 to N145,000 as outrageous.

UNN Postgraduate Students Protesting Hike in Fees
UNN Postgraduate Students Protesting Hike in Fees

The placard-carrying protesters, numbering over 200, marched round the school calling on the authorities to reverse the increment.

One of the protesters said, “To us, the increment is outrageous. We are not against any increment, but it should be reasonable. It is not fair to increase the fees for a session of nine months from N69,000 to N145,000.

“Where do they expect us to get that kind of money? “We will continue this protest until the university reduces it. I do not think it is a crime for one to further his education in UNN.”

UNN Postgraduate Students Protesting Hike in Fees
UNN Postgraduate Students Protesting Hike in Fees

The dean of the university’s PostGraduate School, Professor A. Ubachukwu, addressed the students, saying, “Government does not give any allocation for postgraduate school as it is assumed that postgraduate students are adult and can pay cost for their education.

“I use my personal money at times to run the PG school,” Mr. Ubachukwu said. “I have been talking with some of your leaders on this issue for some time now and we compared notes with other universities before the increment on PG school fees was made.”

Terrorism will never prevail over Nigeria – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kano and Jos.

This is contained in a statement made available to journalists in Lagos by the APC.

Mr. Buhari, in the statement, said that the two historic cities were known for their rich cultural and religious heritage.

“Once again, those who seek to influence our way of life, modify our faith and our most sacred core values, have struck, leaving in their wake lives brutally cut short, limbs badly broken and dreams forced to fade away.

“But these people, whose actions are not sanctioned by any religion and who subscribe to no known decent values, will not succeed.

“Our people are resilient and strong, and our nation is capable, based on our rich human and material resources, of successfully tackling these nihilists.

“No religion condoles the killings of such innocent people; hence we are sure these terrorists profess to none of the world’s great religions, much as they seek to mask their actions with the cloak of religion,’’ he said.

Mr. Buhari commiserated with the victims and their family members and prayed that Allah would grant repose to the souls of the departed and comfort those who lost loved ones.

“I urge all of us to demonstrate our time-tested compassion by providing support and succour to those affected one way or the other in their hour of need,’’ he said.

Mr. Buhari said that terror would be defeated, saying that all it required was the political will, uncommon courage and unrelenting determination.(NAN)

Scores feared dead in Akure gas station explosion

Ondo-20121020-00101

An unspecified number of people were feared dead in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Saturday night following an explosion at a gas station located along the  Arakale Road area of the city.

Many others were injured in the incident which spread panic across the city, witnesses said.

Some residents initially thought it was a bomb attack masterminded by the extremist Boko Haram sect, which has somehow confined its activities to the north of Nigeria.

Witnesses said the explosion first sounded at about 7pm as gas was being sold to customers.

The resulting fire soon spread to other parts of the station, and then to cars and buildings nearby.

Fire officials were slow in arriving the scene, but when they eventually approached, some protesting residents were seen pelting them with stones and other objects.

Soldiers from the nearby 32 Artillery Brigade had to be called in to help restore order so the fire officials could be allowed to do their job.

It is not clear how many people died or were injured as at the time of filing this report.

But witnesses suggested “quite a number of people were killed and injured” in the incident.   

Army reaffirms commitment to win war against insurgency

Recapture of Mubi Town

The Nigerian Army has reaffirmed its determination to win the ongoing war against the Boko Haram insurgents.

Aba Popoola, a Colonel and acting Brigade Commander, 23 Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yola stated this on Saturday, while decorating three senior officers of the brigade recently promoted.

Mr. Popoola said that the battle could only be won when officers and men of the brigade and others deployed for the operation improved their skills and intelligence network.

He gave an assurance that the Nigerian Army would continue to provide all necessary logistics and encouragement to enable those engaged in the battle to excel.

Mr. Popoola stressed that the welfare of such officers would be given special attention on regular basis.

The acting brigade commander said that the newly promoted officers deserved their new ranks.

“With my short stay with them, they have shown their ability to lead those behind them and total loyalty and commitment to the Nigerian Army,” Mr. Popoola said.

He reminded the officers that ‘’in the Nigerian Army, the higher one goes, the hotter it becomes, you should face the tougher tasks ahead.”

Those decorated with their new ranks were two Colonels, Aminu Garba and Faruoq Mijinyawa and a Major, Solomon Akinyade.

Responding on behalf of the newly promoted officers, Mr. Garba pledged their loyalty to the army, as the new ranks would ginger them to redouble their services to the nation.
(NAN)

 

Golden Eaglets camp opens in Abuja on Sunday

Emmanuel Amuneke, Coach of golden Eaglets

Nigeria’s U17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, will resume camping in Abuja on Sunday.

This was disclosed by officials of the team.

The head coach of the team, Emmanuel Amuneke, said fresh opportunities would be given to new players as the Eaglets intensify preparations ahead of the African cadet championship which will hold in the Republic of Niger from February 15 to March 1, 2015.

Amuneke, a former Super Eagles player, noted that the next two weeks would be used to ascertain the fitness level and condition of the older players.

He said it was necessary to fortify the team in view of the challenges expected at the tournament.

The Golden Eaglets were close to winning the 2013 CAN Under-17 Championship but were beaten 5-4 by Junior Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire after a pulsating 1-1 draw in Marrakech, Morocco.

“The peculiar nature of the Under-17 category means that we would continue to work with most of the players that have been with us for some time now,” the coach was quoted in a press statement signed by the team’s Spokesperson Morakinyo Abodunrin.

Amuneke, the 1994 African Footballer of the Year, also added that his major objective was to secure a ticket for next FIFA World Cup in Chile hence the desire to give as many eligible players the chance to vie for shirts in his team.

“We have not foreclosed the chances for others to break into the team since we need to present a very good team because our objective first and foremost is to secure one of the tickets for the next FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile,” he said.

The team would begin its training session on Monday at the FIFA Goal Project Pitch and officials hinted that only those who are invited would be taken care of while others who want to be screened would cater for their own welfare.

Nigeria remains one of the most successful country in the U-17 cadre, winning her fourth title at the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup held in the United Arab Emirates.

APC presidential primary election evidence of my popularity — Kwankwaso

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, outgoing governor of Kano state.

The Kano state Governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has said that his participation and performance at the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress as a testimony of his growing political stature across the country.

“I joined the race in order to win the election. however, I came second. I am happy because I am now known all over the country.”

Mr. Kwankwaso said this on Friday in an interview with journalists in his office, saying, “I started (the race) very late, just two months ago but I got second position.”

The governor said by its transparent and incident-free primary, the APC had demonstrated that it is capable of holding free and fair elections.

He thanked all delegates that participated in the just concluded National congress, especially those who voted for him for their maturity and decorum.

The governor maintained that prior to the election, all the five aspirants of the APC promised to support the winner of the contest, adding that he would support the candidature of Muhammadu Buhari 100 per cent, until he wins the presidential election next year.

He said Mr. Buhari has the capacity to address the insecurity problems bedeviling the nation, and described the APC presidential candidate as very honest, committed and determined to bring positive changes in the country.

“Buhari”, Kwankwaso said, has promised in his acceptance speech, to address corruption, insecurity as well as to promote and promote patriotism among Nigerians as well as to stop divisiveness in religion, ethnicity and regionalism.

The governor blamed the ruling PDP under President Goodluck Jonathan for the difficulties and insecurity facing the nation, assuring that in the 2015 election, the electorate would vote PDP out of power because it is already incapacitated.

He said the APC would win the 2015 gubernatorial election and all other elective posts in Kano state, adding that the state would also vote for Mr. Buhari to become Nigeria’s next president.

Asked whether he would contest for a senatorial seat following his failure to get his party’s presidential ticket, Mr. Kwankwaso said he was consulting with political associates and would make his position known soon.

“For over 20 years I have been an active politician,” adding that he would continue to be so for the rest of his life.

Again, crude oil price falls below revised benchmark, as IEA lowers demand forecast

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

For the second time in a month, crude oil price at the international market slipped below the revised benchmark proposed in the 2015-2017 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) submitted to the National Assembly for approval.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) daily basket price, which stood at $60.50 per barrel on Thursday, added $1 and a cent to close at $61.51 per barrel on Friday.

The price, which continued its free fall to a five-year low levels, came as the International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered its 2015 demand forecast for the fourth time in five months.

The agency had estimated that global oil demand in 2015 would grow by 230,000 barrels per day amid declining crude oil prices, as the production of shale oil by United States impact output.

The IEA had relied on expected daily supplies outside OPEC in 2015 to be about 200,000 barrels, projecting output to expand by 1.3 million barrels per day to about 57.8 million per day.

Following the decline of the price close to the benchmark price of $78 per barrel in the year’s budget, from a high of over $114 earlier in the year, the Federal Government announced a review of the price to $73 per barrel.

The review was announced by the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who said government was also compelled to revise proposed expenditure in the MTEF from N4.8 trillion to about N4.6 trillion, with oil production left at 2.27 million barrels per day.

But barely two weeks after the revision exercise, the federal government was, again faced with the dilemma of resubmitting fresh MTEF, revising the oil benchmark by another 12 per cent to $65 per barrel.

According to Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, government had adopted a scenario-based strategy that would enable it contend with the situation even if the price were to decline below $60 per barrel.

“We have always been clear that the price could certainly fall lower, and that’s why we took this scenario-based approach. I have said openly that we have done scenarios around $70, $65, $60, and we will kick those scenarios in as the situation evolves,” he minister said.

With new level currently below $62 per barrel, government appears under a fresh pressure to further adjust the proposed benchmark in the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

Court strikes out PDP’s suit seeking to unseat defecting governors

Amaechi group Sokoto

An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday struck out a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, urging the court to sack its five governors who defected to APC.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held that the suit’s originating processes were invalid because they were wrongly issued and served on the defendants.

“This suit is struck out as the originating summons has been declared invalid.

“It is preposterous, audacious and breath-taking for the plaintiff to argue that the defendants sued individually in personal capacity, could be served through the office of the party to which they defected.

“Having been described as governors of their respective states, who carry out most of their functions in their states’ capitals, it was wrong to assume that they reside or operate from APC headquarters in Abuja.

“Since APC is not a party in the suit meant to sack the governors, it is wrong to provide the APC’s address as the place where the governors could be served,’’ Mr. Kolawole ruled.

PDP had in Dec. 2013 sued governors: Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara).

The PDP also joined the impeached Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako, whose name was removed from the suit shortly after his impeachment and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.

The party had through its counsel, Alex Izinyon, prayed the court to declare the defecting governors’ seats vacant, and order INEC to conduct elections to replace them.

Mr. Kolawole further upheld the argument of the governors’ counsel that the originating processes, issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, meant for service outside jurisdiction ought to be endorsed.

He held that the PDP acted in violation of the provisions of Section 96 of the Sheriff and Civil Processes Act (SCPA) with respect to the serving of court processes.

The party ought to have applied for and obtained the court’s leave before engaging in substituted service, the judge said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the party had served the originating processes on wrong address, which it claimed was the headquarters of the APC, which the court later set aside.

PDP again obtained an ex-parte order for substituted service of the originating processes through newspaper publication, which it published on July 3, 2014 in Thisday newspapers.

The governors faulted the procedure adopted by the PDP in serving them, arguing that the plaintiff failed to obtain the leave of the court to serve them through substituted means. (NAN)

APC narrows search for Buhari’s running mate to South West

Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC, has resolved to confine its search for a vice presidential candidate for the 2015 election to the country’s South West, a day after electing former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, as its flagbearer for the polls, those familiar with the matter have told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Buhari, from the North West, defeated four other contenders Thursday to emerge APC’s presidential candidate, set to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in February.

The former military ruler’s running mate is expected to come from southern Nigeria- one among South West, South East, and South South.

But the party has yet to agree on a choice after 24 hours of intense negotiations and talks between its top leaders.

Party officials told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that except the APC decides to reverse its decision, the searchlight has been narrowed to states in southwest alone.

The reason, they said, is the belief that only the South West delivered to Mr. Buhari approximately 100 per cent block votes.

Officials believe that while the South East and South South regions supported Mr. Buhari by voting for him, significant portions of those votes were also shared with other candidates, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.

There was speculation on Friday that the Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, had been chosen as Mr. Buhari’s running mate.

However, one senior official of the party denied the plan.

“The South West gave General 100 per cent of their votes and so it is only fair that they get to produce the vice president,” the source, who declined to be named because the issue is not yet official, said.

The official also said a “victory” dinner was held at the resident of one of the national leaders of the party, Bola Tinubu, in Ikoyi after the election on Thursday and the matter was discussed briefly.

“Another round of meeting was held today, there will be another one tomorrow here in Lagos, but I believe probably the last meeting will be held in Abuja on Monday after which whoever is selected will be made known,” he said.

Parties have up to December 18 to submit names of their candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The choice of South West to produce the Vice President is also strategic because Mr. Buhari is expected to get substantial votes from the northern states and will need to get the votes from the South West to stand any chance of upstaging incumbent President Jonathan.

Mr. Buhari got 3,430, to beat the other candidates, who also included publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah.

Atiku got 954 votes, Kwankwaso: 974, Rochas Okorocha: 624 and Mr. Nda Isaiah: 10 votes.

Among the major contenders to the vice presidential ticket are Yemi Osibanjo, a professor of Law, who was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos state under Governor Tinubu.

The immediate past governor of Ekiti state, who also chaired the National Convention Planning Committee of the primary, Kayode Fayemi, is also under consideration.

#Nigeria2015: APC presidential primaries – LIVE UPDATE

APC prsidential primaries (1)

At least 8,000 delegates of the All Progressives Congress [APC] are gathering at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos today – Wednesday – to pick the party’s flag-bearer for the February 14 presidential election.

The delegates, both elected and statutory, drawn from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, will choose from the five aspirants who are asking to be the party’s candidate for the election.

The aspirants are (in alphabetical order) former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari; governor of Kano State, Rabi’u Kwankwaso; his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha and the publisher of Leadership newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah.

Whoever of the five is selected at the primaries will face President Goodluck Jonathan, who is being ratified later today in Abuja as the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], having earlier been chosen the party’s sole candidate.

In the last three months, the five candidates have traversed the country selling their programmes to party supporters ahead of today’s presidential primary.

So far, their campaigns have been decent, apparently in adherence to the party’s stern directive asking them not to engage in mudslinging and character assassination.

Discreet attempts by some party leaders to pick a consensus candidate among the aspirants were unsuccessful. All five contenders preferred to go into today’s contest, believing they could secure victory in a credible primary.

PREMIUM TIMES’ reporters, at Teslim Balogun Stadium, will bring in live updates and analyses of events at the APC convention.

LIVEBLOG

13.32

It's a carnival atmosphere outside the Teslim Balogun Stadium with supporters of Atiku dancing to loud music. apc presidential primaries dancing outside

13.34

Sources at the venue of the convention have told PREMIUM TIMES that Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso would step down for Muhammadu Buhari later tonight. We are yet to confirm this at the moment.

13.35

Apart from the main podium, a smaller one is also erected nearby and various music instruments have been set up there. It looks like, there will be lots of dancing today. Whether that would be before or after the election is not clear, but it seems certain there will be some partying tonight, here at Surulere. The Song, Surulere by the Mavins is playing as we write this update.

13.36

Chairman of APC National Convention Committee, Kayode Fayemi, his deputy, Kawu Baraje, and other members of the committee just arrived Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the convention and are going round to inspect the arena and make final arrangements. Delegates have also begun trickling in. The venue, at the moment, is mostly populated by Journalists and their “friends”, security agents.

13.50

Fayemi on inspection of facilities at Teslim Balogun Fayemi on inspection of facilities at Teslim Balogun

14.25

Outside the Teslim Balogun stadium, in Lagos, traffic is building up as delegates add to the already congested city. apc presidential primaries traffic outside the stadium

15.16

The accreditation of delegates from the South Western states.

APC PRIM 1

16.23

Its past four pm in Lagos and We keep getting reports that various interest groups are meeting to forge alliances and find consensus.

The latest information coming in is that Sam Nda Isaiah has stepped down for Muhammad Buhari.

The initial reports we received is that the duo of Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso and Rochas Okorocha have stepped down, although, Kwankwaso’s deputy, Ganduje has posted a tweet to say his principal is still in the race.

Meanwhile, the Convention Planning Committee has provided Reporters with free Internet Wifi, at the press gallery.

16.58

The police officers guarding the ballot boxes have just been relieved by a new set of policemen. they deserve the break. they stood under the sun all day.

17.12

Another good aspect of the ‪#‎APCconvention‬ is that delegates biometrics are taken before being issued tags. Kills manipulation. Sani Tukur

17.24

Governor Rabi'u Kwankwaso of Kano state and APC Presidential Aspirant addressing delegates from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, today, Wednesday. He was accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Abdullahi Umar, Ganduje, APC BOT member, Chief Sam Nkire and former governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu. Photo: Govt. House, Kano. Gov. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso of f Kano state and APC Presidential Aspirant addressing delegates from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, today, Wednesday. He was accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Abdullahi Umar, Ganduje, APC BOT member, Chief Sam Nkire and former governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu. Photo: Govt. House, Kano. Gov. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso of f Kano state and APC Presidential Aspirant addressing delegates from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, today, Wednesday. He was accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Abdullahi Umar, Ganduje, APC BOT member, Chief Sam Nkire and former governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu. Photo: Govt. House, Kano.

17.26

From Tinubu to delegates, through Twitter
You came not just as party members from your particular states or communities. You came here as representatives of a new Nigeria.
As APC, we cannot afford to squander this moment. We cannot afford to look history in the face then turn our back to it.
Let that which you do here not only be recorded as a high moment for the party but also as an inspiring turning point for our country.
Welcome to Lagos and welcome to your convention, the convention for the people.
During this convention, the history of our beloved nation is to be rewritten for the better.

17.28

Deputy Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje, has just tweeted, saying his boss, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is  still in the APC Presidential race. Mr. Ganduje tweeted perhaps to debunk speculations that Governor Kwankwaso had stepped down.

17.28

Police officers relieving their colleagues who has been standing under the sun all day. APC National Convention

17.44

Ushers filing into the election venue to help coordinate the delegates. Notice the police officers guarding the ballot boxes are now sitting. apc presidential primaries - ushers entering

17.44

With the sun rapidly setting, delegates have began trickling into the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium to go and seat on their states designated seating areas. Not unexpectedly, Lagos state delegates were the first to come in.

18.12

Presidential aspirant, Sam Nda-Isaiah just told PREMIUM TIMES he has not stepped down for anybody. "It is a lie, I remain very much in the race," he said.

18.20

The Master of Ceremony, Abike Dabiri, has finally called on all delegates to come into the Stadium and take their seats as proceedings will soon commence!

18.42

LETTER TO THE DELEGATES OF ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS, APC, DURING THE NATIONAL DELEGATES CONVENTION

My Dear Delegates,

As you gather for our convention, please remember that history, change and the hopes of Nigeria are there with you. They are there to ask you to perform according to your best judgment and patriotic conscience. I also ask you to do the same.

We seek a new Nigeria. It starts with us. It starts today. I have placed myself before you seeking your help to nominate me as your standard bearer for our progressive party, APC.

Personal ambition does not drive me in this regard. I seek to be the next president of our beloved nation because I believe I have something to offer Nigeria at this time of multiple crises. Insecurity, corruption, and economic collapse have brought the nation low. Time is past due that we work together to lift Nigeria up. I am ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future.

I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability. I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me. This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person. I can’t give you a pocketful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale.

What I will give you, and this nation is all of my strength, commitment, sweat and toil in the service of the people. What I can give you is my all.

I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want to democratically govern it with your help. I seek a Nigeria where Christians and Muslims may practise their faiths in peace and security; a Nigeria that is just and where corruption no longer trespasses into our institutions and national behavior and a Nigeria where our diversity could be used for our national prosperity.

Nigeria is our home. Let us now turn it into the great nation we know it can and should be.

I thank you all

Muhammadu Buhari (RTD) GCFR

18.43

APC is about to start voting. Chairman of National convention committee, Kayode Fayemi, walked into the stadiium with mmbers of his committee, moments ago. apc presidential primaries - fayemi walks in

18.48

Again Sam Nda Isaiah Refutes Rumours Alleging His Stepping Down, Insists That I Am In The Race To The End

It seems that the stories allegedly making the rounds that the publisher of the Leadership Newspapers and APC presidential candidate, Sam Nda Isaiah had stepped down for General Muhammadu Buhari is untrue.

This rumour has been refuted in a press statement released by the Director of Publicity, Mr. Igboeli Arinze.

Mr. Arinze who described the story as wicked and untrue blamed Sahara Reporters and the Nigerian Television Authority which had also tweeted the rumour.

“I wish to state that at no point in time, now or in the past was it ever considered by our principal that he would step down for any aspirant, so those spreading such rumours are only wasting their time as the stories have no truth in them.

Again, before such rumours began receiving propagation, I had expected those who used it to have reached out to us here to either confirm or get the repudiation, it is the social responsibility of these media houses, but unfortunately they did not do so and went on to publish it.

As Director of Publicity of the Sam Nda-Isaiah Campaign Organisation I wish to refute these stories making the rounds that Mr. Nda Isaiah has stepped down for any aspirant, Mr. Nda Isaiah is in the race and he is in the race to win. We are hereby refuting this story and are also calling on the media houses that used it to retract it.”

18.50

The announcer, former musician, Tony OneWeek, just announced that the event would now start at 8:00 p.m. He said that the event has been divided into two parts, the first part featuring entertainers like Tony Tetuila, Jay Martin, 9nice.

19.07

Programme of Events

Based on the programme of events lined up at the National Convention, the Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, Kayode Fayemi, will give a brief welcome address after the opening prayer. The National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, will then deliver the “State of the Party Address” and also unveil the party’s General Election Manifesto. The National Chairman’s presentation will be followed by some goodwill messages, after which all the aspirants would be given 10 minutes each to address delegates. After the speeches by the aspirants, the presidential primary election will follow after which the results will be declared. After the declaration of results, the party will then handover the General Election Manifesto to the winning presidential candidate. Once that is done, the winner will then deliver his acceptance speech. The national Convention would be rounded up with closing prayer and vote of thanks sometime on Thursday.

19.46

Comedian Seyi Law steps on stage as the first entertainer of the night. apc presidential primaries - seyi law commedian

19.51

It is now the turn of the Gongo Aso master, 9ice to thrill the audience at Teslim Balogun with a rendition of one of his songs “No bi mistake”. Its almost 8 clock and proceedings are yet to commence, although dignitaries continue to file into the Stadium Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola just arrived. 9ice performing at APC National Convention

20.02

The Governors have started arriving. Borno’s Kashim Shettima, who was here earlier but stepped out to pray just returned to the arena, just as Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto also came in.

20.03

The crowd just went wild and ecstatic with the performance of the hit song "Street credibility" by 9nice.

20.09

We are still having a taste of 9ice and his street credibility - Sani Tukur

20.26

Dinner is been served at the APC convention venue in Lagos to all delegates. Dinner at the APC

20.28

Tony Tetuila is now the one singing “Tinubu you don hit my car" Tony Tetuila performing at the APC National Convention

20.30

Some Governors Including Kashim Shettima of Borno, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto and other dignitaries are now going round the various delegates sitting area to “Hail” them.

20.36

Also part of the “hailing” group are the governors of Nasarawa Tanko Almakura, Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo

21.13

Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso returns to Kano, from the APC presidential primary in Lagos, after two female suicide bombers killed at least six people in the northern city, Kano Deputy Governor Abdullahi Ganduje says. Mr. Kwankwaso remains in the race for the APC presidential ticket nonetheless, Mr. Ganduje adds.

21.24

Second round of relieve for Police Officers guarding the ballot boxes is happening now.

21.34

A documentary of the achievements and projects in APC governed states is currently showing on large screens in the stadium.

22.23

One of the five aspirants; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has arrived the venue of the convention.

22.27

Buhari writes APC delegates, “I don’t have dollars to give you but I will give my all to Nigeria"
My Dear Delegates, As you gather for our convention, please remember that history, change and the hopes of Nigeria are there with you. They are there to ask you to perform according to your best judgment and patriotic conscience. I also ask you to do the same. We seek a new Nigeria. It starts with us. It starts today. I have placed myself before you seeking your help to nominate me as your standard bearer for our progressive party, APC. Personal ambition does not drive me in this regard. I seek to be the next president of our beloved nation because I believe I have something to offer Nigeria at this time of multiple crises. Insecurity, corruption, and economic collapse have brought the nation low. Time is past due that we work together to lift Nigeria up. I am ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future. I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability.  I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me.  This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person.  I can’t give you a pocketful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so.  The fate of this nation is not up for sale. What I will give you, and this nation is all of my strength, commitment, sweat and toil in the service of the people.  What I can give you is my all. I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want to democratically govern it with your help. I seek a Nigeria where Christians and Muslims may practise their faiths in peace and security; a Nigeria that is just and where corruption no longer trespasses into our institutions and national behavior and a Nigeria where our diversity could be used for our national prosperity. Nigeria is our home. Let us now turn it into the great nation we know it can and should be. I thank you all Muhammadu Buhari (RTD) GCFR  

22.37

Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, returning to the State Box after going to exchange pleasantries with delegates from Sokoto State. IMG_20141210_222305

22.48

The national Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun and one of the presidential aspirant Rochas Okorocha just arrived Teslim Balogun Stadium.

23.03

General Muhammadu Buhari and Kano governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, have also just arrived venue of the Primary election. Kano Deputy governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had earlier announced Kwankwaso was returning to Kano after two female suicide boombers caused mayhem in the state.

23.07

APC convention begins proper with the rendition of the National Anthem!

23.08

Olabiyi Durojaiye and Bala Na’Allah now offering the opening prayer.

23.21

The Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, kayode Fayemi is now giving his welcome remark.

"Convention is a good opportunity for the APC to demonstrate its democratic credentials. “Today we will show the spirit of sportsmanship and the love for the greater good that has been the pillars of this party. “Today we will show Nigerians that it is possible for patriots from all nooks and crannies of this contrite congregate to determine an outcome on a crucial issue. “We will leave this venue stronger and more united as a party. “ APC represents the first real opportunity for an opposition party to mount a viable challenge for power."

23.29

“I am pleased to inform that all our presidential aspirants are eminently qualified to bring about the change we all desire in our country” - Fayemi

23.40

Excerpts from Ogbonnaya Onu's speech

I'm very happy and highly honoured to stand before you on this special day that history is being made. For 16 years, we have seen that the the problem they inherited they have been unable to solve them. A time for change has come and APC is the vehicle which Nigeria will use for that change. There is great hope that with APC in government we would be able to secure our great country. The young in Nigeria hope is on the way change is coming. We are already doing this in many of the states that we control. The difference between the APC and the PDP is the difference between light and day. I called on Nigerians not to make a choice of continuing the way it has been in the past 16 years. If that is not desirable, Nigerian should vote for the APC. Nigeria should vote for the APC. This is the first time that an opposition party controls 14 states and out of those 14 states, we control the two most populous -- Lagos and Kano. What is happening today is an eye opener for most people. This is a party that means well for our great nation. As the chairman of the screening committee, I want to assure Nigerians that these men have what it takes to take Nigeria out of its present problems. I thank you so much and may the Almighty God bless our APC and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

23.45

Excerpts from Fashola's speech

My duty today is simple yet is the one that excite me greatly. As I welcome you to Lagos I'm welcoming you to change. I welcome you back to the epicentre of nationalism. to the home of change. I welcome you back to where the plan of nigerian was hatched as a place of possibility. 

Because I believe that promises must be kept. The list of promises are long as the list of disappointments. if we go through some of these promises you will discover that none of them have been fulfiled. 

There was promise to complete the Second Niger Bridge, there was a promise to resuscitate all industries in Kano. there was a promise to reduce the importation of importation. There was the promise to complete the road leading to the Muritala Mohammed Airport.

There was a promise to complete Ilesha water scheme, there was a promise to play politics without bitterness. As if the promises were not bad enough, they have lost parts of Nigeria and in spite of these that party and the president are coming back and making more promises. 

Today we all have the responsibility to replace promises to promises that can be actualised. 

One man would have that opportunity to implement that manifesto and bring the change we desire. what we have promised to do is important. we gather to elect the potential leader for the most populous nation in Africa.

23.48

Chairman of APC, John Oyegun, is currently delivering his speech. He is mainly presenting the party's manifestos, just as he boasts that all the APC presidential aspirants are better that the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan.

23.55

Excerpts from Oyegun's presentation

“ Let me begin by welcoming Chief Bernabas Gemade, who is attending his first National Convention of our great party as a member”.

“ Only one of five aspirants will be elected, yet all are winners because they have all pledged to work with the winner as if they are the flag bearer.

“They are winners because they love Nigeria and our great party, more than they love their individual aspiration.

“ As you proceed to exercise your power today, I want you to do so with every sense of responsibility because you are engaged with a historical responsibility.

“Know that this vote you cast may change your future and the future of Children yet unborn.

"

23.58

Muiz Banire, the national Legal Adviser of the APC has coordinated the ratification of the Manifesto based on Article 13 (1). Dikko Umaru seconded the motion moved by the National Legal Adviser. The legal Adviser put the question to the crowd and the Ayes had it.

00.03

Just before the voting starts, there will be goodwill messages. First, from former chairman of the ANPP, Ogbonnaya Onu. His will be followed by Bola Tinubu, Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, and two others.

00.22

Excerpts from Ogbonnaya Onu's speech

I'm very happy and highly honoured to stand before you on this special day that history is being made. for 16 year we have seen that the the problem they inherited they have been unable to solve them. A time for change has come and APC is the vehicle which nIgeria will use for that change. there is great hope that with APC in government we would be able to secure our great country. thee young in Nigeria hope is on the way change is coming. we are already doing this in many of the states that we control. the difference between the AOC and the PDP is the difference between light and day. I called on Nigerian to make a choice of continuing the the way it has been in the past 16 years. if that is not desirable nigerian should vote for the APC. Nigeria should vote for the APC. This is the first time that an opposition party controls 14 states and out of those 14 states we control the two most populous Lagos and Kano.
What is happening today is an eye opener for most people. This is a party that means well for our great nation. as the chairman of the screening committee I want to assure Nigerians that these men have what it takes to take nigeria out of its present problems. I thank you so much and may the Almighty God bless our APC and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

00.28

The Speaker of The House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to gave the next goodwill message.

Mr. Tambuwal began his remarks by commending the National convention planning Committee and all delegates for leaving their comfort zones to come and work for the progress of Nigeria.

“Together we are yet again making history. the coming of the legacy party is a big sacrifice, but it is worth it.

“The most credible alternative to what we have in Abuja today is the APC”

“APC is the party for today, tomorrow and the Future.

"All Nigerians committed to democracy and the peaceful co-existence of this country should come together to vote our the malfunction and incompetent administration that we have in Abuja today.

”We all need to get a Nigeria that we can all call our own, not what is happening today where some part of Nigeria is being taken away by Boko Haram.

“the APC can and will arrest this situation almost immediately after coming into office.

“To all aspirants, we shall come together and work in unison to face the challenge ahead of us.

“Nigerians should come out en masse and support the candidate of the APC.

“What we have witness in the last six years is very sour inner mouth, we must come together to salvage Nigeria".

00.33

The economic doom Nigeria now faces will be wiped away by the APC cure - Tinubu
Tinubu has just delivered his goodwill message. Like others, he advised party members to support whoever wins.

00.43

Excerpts from Tinubu's Speech

Tonight a special energy is in the air. Many of us have attended political convention before none would remain the same but this is different. I can see the hands of history on us guiding us to achieve something for our nation in the period of crisis. We are here to pick a captain that will secure our nation. You would hear something inspiring, it is the voice of change, it is the voice that would lead us to win the election come 2015, it is the voice of North South West East of Nigeria, it is the voice of christians and muslims, it is the voice of determination, it the voice of our children, telling us of their dreams. During this convention the history of our nation is to be rewritten for the better. You have come from all parts of nigeria to conduct a solemn task. You came here as a part for new Nigeria of new dreams and new hope. You would do it differently from what they are doing in Abuja by the other party.
I trust you that you would rise to perform your duty. You cannot avoid to look history in the face and turn back from it with shame. The convention must be performed with openness and according to the dictate of fair play. We have conducted ourselves in the same manner. APC we are the cure. Llet our behaviours show that we would cure. Let's tell Nigerians that today they might despair but help is on the way. Let that which you heard here be recorded as a high moment of the party. Let the convention be remembered for ever as the one Nigerian moved further from despair. If we do this not only shall we here the voice of change we shall also hear the trumpet of victory.
Nigeria would change. Change for the better. The economic doom that stares Nigerian in the face shall be cured by APC.

00.49

Audu Ogbe's goodwill speech followed Tinubu's.

Mr. Ogbe began by thanking the delegate for making it to Lagos to “engage on debate, exchange views, descend and then ascend."

He also prayed to God that the best among the five aspirants emerge tonight.

He also welcomed his kinsman, Barnabas Gemade who recently joined the APC.

He asked the delegates if there is anyone that is so blind he cannot see the disaster coming.

He also asked if there is anyone deaf or unconscious than cannot see the biggest threat facing Nigerians as a people.

”60% of our people below the age of forty have no jobs," he said.

“Oil is at per barrel and it is to stop this disaster that is before all of us that we are here.

“You are here to take one of the most important decisions of your life because we are going to win the election in 2015.

“Once you make up your mind come and cast your vote.

“God bless all of you and as you go back after this convention give support to all leaders who will emerge"

00.50

Senator Danjuma Goje in his brief remark said that what is happening tonight is an indication of the seriousness, determination and commitment of the APC to take over Government in 2015.
“I call on all our members not to be intimidated. Do like the people of Osun. Anywhere you go in this country, people are yearning for change because they are fed up with insecurity and bad governance."
Goje also called on the people to vote and protect their votes until results are announced. "The convention we are witnessing today is the best organised since 1999"

00.52

The National Woman Leader of the APC, in her brief remark said the APC must get it right and urged the delegates to reflect deeply before casting their votes.
“We cannot afford to fail because history will be unkind to us if we do “I urge the women of our great party to rise up to the challenge and make possible, democracy to take firm root in Nigeria.” “remember the pains and agony of the thousands without jobs.

01.04

Youth Leader, Dasuki Jalo, said today is historic because the APC will elect its first presidential candidate. He said the Youtth will support whoever emerge as the candidate of the party in today’s primary.

01.11

With the speech making over, all five aspirants appear on stage for a photo op before voting begins. As it appears, no aspirant stepped down for another. image

01.34

Atiku Abubakar has just finished his speech to the delegates where he told them that any of the aspirants is better than the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. He wishes to be elected, claiming he has the qualities of a good leader, but he asks the delegates to use their best judgement.

01.39

Excerpts from Atiku's speech

By the end of this convention, you would have elected a presidential candidate. That is not the main reason that I'm here. Nigerians want change and they want change because they are fed up with the PDP government. They are tired of the crushing level of unemployment. They are tired of poor electricity. They are tired of the dangerous PDP mathematics, a dangerous maths where 16 is greater than 19. They are tired and disgusted by the siege of power and the tear gas of our speakers on the orders of the same executives that deceived the speaker to reconvene the assembly on issues of national importance. Nigerians are tired of the dead traps called road. They are tired of the collapse of the public school system.
You came here because you believe in change. You believe that our hopes and dreams can become a reality. You believe that our great country can set a standard for all of Africa to see. Change for a better Nigeria and Nigeria for all as the candidate of our great party in 2015.
Today we would demonstrate that every vote counts. The APC is offering something we have never had in a long time. We would have the chance to replace a party with a party that knows what to do.
A party that understands that education should not only be accessible but delivers what it takes. The nominee you are about to elect must be a person trusted by all across all ethnic groups in the country.
Distinguished delegates, fellow Nigerians, I continue to speak out for democracy. I've been a successful entrepreneur creating jobs empowering men and women.

01.49

Buhari spoke after Atiku.

Know that the hopes and destiny of Nigerians are with you and they expect you to play a credible role. I expect you to do the same. I seek to be the next president of our beloved nation because I feel I have something to offer our great nation at this time.. I am ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future. I have always serve Nigeria to the best of my ability.. I am not a rich person, thus I cannot give you dollars to purchase you, but the fate of this nation is not for sale.. What I will give you is my commitment, and service. For the past six years Nigeria has moved backward.. We are a nation afflicted by endless crisis. PDP cannot save us.. It is now time for change.. PDP government may say it needs more time and continuity, but what we need is change. To solve Nigeria’s problems. we need leadership with integrity and strength.. The next leader should not just mouth change but live it.. I own no foreign account or companies benefitting from government contracts.. I am what you see before you; a simple man who belief in serving Nigeria and God.. In the past I led a war against indiscipline. Today, I will lead a battle for hope.. You cannot trust the corrupt to end corruption. . Failure and incompetence does not deserve continuity.. Make no mistake as is always the case, for those who seek to bring change, it will not be easy.. I will govern Nigerian in accord with the constitution and rule of law.. I will tolerate no regional, religious or ethnic balance.. I will select the best Nigerians in my government.

02.08

Excerpts from Kwankwaso's speech to delegates

I congratulate the National Convention planning Committee for doing a good job. “The environment has been made so good to allow the delegates to vote for persons whether they collect money or not. In the next few minutes, voting will start and I belief the delegates will vote for the best aspirant to fly the flag of our party. From 2011, education has been free at all levels in kano state. The government is feeding children in all public schools, five times a week.. We have the most lighted city in Nigeria today.. Kano was able to establish IPP which produce 35MW for the city of Kano. With Kwankwaso as president, we will do whatever what it takes to move education forward. As a former Minister of Defence, I am wondering what is happening to our armed forces who were doing extremely well. Our administration will provide all that is needed to the armed forces to return its glory.. I will use my experienced relationship as a legislature to work harmoniously with the Legislature.. As a former governor, I will also work in harmony with all governors... Our administration will ensure the reduction of corruption. We have done it in Kano and I see no reason why we cannot do it at the centre... We will work hard to ensure peaceful co-existence and stop our citizens from becoming refugees in their own country and neighbouring nations.. Delegates should support the right candidate and I belief the right candidate is Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

02.12

Sam Nda-Isaiah and Rochas Okorocha have also spoken to delegates. Mr. Okorocha spoke fervently about his young age of 52 and his views on free education. See excerpts of the two speeches below.

02.17

Excerpts from Sam Nda-Isaiah's speech

APC has a divine responsibility to win the election next year. This is not the country you want your children to grow in. I want to tell you why I'm the best candidate. I fit the slogan of the party, which is change. I don't think that there is a better candidate than me. Nigerian wants a new generation to step forward to lead the nation. I'm the only one with a clear plan. I'm the only one that have come with big ideas. That's why I believe I'm the best. This country is too divided. And there is no country that is as divided as this country that can make progress. That's why I want to come with big ideas.
Any leader that cannot secure its people has lost its right to lead. I'm going to achieve it as the person who takes the job of the commander-in-chief seriously. In this country, we still have soldiers who I believe are the best in the world. If they are well armed, Boko Haram would not be a match for them.
I'm talking of the kind of big ideas that would eliminate unemployment in the country, the kind of big ideas that if we call ourselves the biggest oil producer in the continent we would not be importing oil.

02.27

Excerpts from Okorocha's speech

I am very happy to be part of this history making event. We are the last hope of Nigeria and today we must get it right. We formed APC believing that coming from our small parties, we stand a chance. We are here gathered for the love of our nation. We are here to provide for nigeria the much needed dividends of democracy. There is nothing wrong with the Head of State, but there can be something wrong with the State of the head. I celebrate General Muhammadu Buhari who is today 73 years old, and Atiku is today 68 years old and Kwankwaso who is 52 years old. Jonathan is 57, Barack Obama 53, Rochas Okorocha is only 52 years old. Nigeria of today is different than Nigeria of 1960s. I am here to sing a different song, that of unity. We are here to give Nigeria a good cheque; a good leader. I offer myself to offer service as the president of Nigeria. Political power can only be justified when use for the good of the common man. “My people, my people” When I say to Nigerians, I will make education free, Nigerians will believe me, because I have done it before. I am a child of poor parentage, I hate poverty and what it brings. Today destiny has brought to your shoulder to change the fate of this nation, you must do it well, not on the basis of sentiment. Vote for me and I assure you that the Nigerian Naira will be equal to the dollar. My people My people.

02.28

Speeches over. Voting is just about to begin. Delegates may vote in state batches.

02.34

Chairman of the electoral panel, Kayode Fayemi, now showing the agents of the five aspirants and representatives of other relevant bodies the sealed ballot papers. He also showed it to delegates and others at the election venue.

03.11

Voting proper about to commence with the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Kayode Fayemi, inviting delegates from Abia to come cast their votes.

03.15

There are nine boxes of ballot papers with each box containing 1000 ballot papers, making a total of 9000 ballot papers. Pictures and names of aspirants are printed based on alphabetical order. Mr. Fayemi said pictures were collected from the aspirants before being used for the election He said 7214 delegates were accredited for the election. He also said the process is simple, as states will be called based on alphabetical order to use the forty desks and voting booth to cast their votes. Delegates are expected to collect ballot papers, go into the booths to cast their votes secretly and then come out to drop the ballot papers into the transparent ballot boxes provided. He also said delegates must ensure they thumbprint all ballot papers and then return to their seats in their state section. At the end of the exercise, all the ballot boxes would be uploaded into giant ballot boxes before being sorted and counted.

06.23

The voting at the APC primary is still on. States are filing out alphabetically to vote. Kano has just finished voting. Katsina is next...

06.59

A crowd of supporters and journalists just accompanied Buhari to cast his vote as Katsina State delegates were invited to cast their votes.

Due to the number of voters following him, what could have been a minor stampede was averted by the intervention of security men.

07.05

Delegates from Kebbi State have been called upon to come cast their votes.

They are headed to the ballot area in a single line amidst loud singing and chanting by the vociferous red caps wearing supporters of the governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso.

07.18

Senator Bukola Saraki, in blue flowing babanriga, with matching hat, is leading delegates from Kwara state to vote.

07.21

Governor Babatunde Fashola is now leading delegates from Lagos state to go vote.

We have noticed an increase in the pace of the voting process, perhaps to make up for lost time. We have basically just 10 more states to go as far as voting is concerned.

Immediately after voting, the electoral panel will begin the task of sorting the ballots and then counting accordingly.

07.22

Governor Babatunde Fashola is now leading delegates from Lagos state to go vote.

We have noticed an increase in the pace of the voting process, perhaps to make up for lost time. We have basically just 10 more states to go as far as voting is concerned.

Immediately after voting, the electoral panel will begin the task of sorting the ballots and then counting accordingly.

07.36

After Lagos, delegates from Nasarawa and Niger states delegates were called to vote.

Before being called, we noticed that Governor Tanko Almakura called out delegates from the state to an isolated spot at the stadium, perhaps for a last minute decisive meeting.

Sam Nda-Isaiah is from Niger state and is therefore leading the contingent from the state to the voting booths.

07.38

Ogun state is now set to vote, led by their governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

Ogun is the only state which came to the National Convention with a full compliment of drummers and musicians. They have been singing and dancing nearly all night.

At some point, Governor Amosun himself joined in the dancing and merry making.

Ogun also came fully attired in two different sets of Ankara material.

Closely following Ogun is Ondo state, followed by Osun, led by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, and Oyo by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

08.04

The two states of Osun and Oyo are almost done with their voting. Plateau and Rivers have been asked to get ready and approach the voting area. Rivers contingent is led by the state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.

If Plateau and Rivers eventually complete voting, we will be left with only three states -- Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.

Part of Sokoto state contingent is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

Mr. Tambuwal, like Senator Barnabas Gemade, are attending their  first APC National Convention. They both recently crossed from the PDP to the APC.

We can sight the Speaker from here already leaving the state box to go and meet the delegates from his state to be called upon for voting. He seems anxious to vote.

08.26

Now it is the turn of Taraba to vote. The state contingent is being led by Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, the first female gubernatorial candidate in Nigeria.

After Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara will be the two final states to vote before the next stage of sorting and counting begins.

08.36

The last state on the list, Zamfara is currently voting. The state's delegation is led by the Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.

Voting proper began at about 2am, which means the states took approximately ‎7 hours to completes the voting processes.

The sorting and eventually counting is however not expected to take too long.

Already, the Mobile Policemen in the arena has taken strategic position around the large transparent Ballot box to be used for sorting.

08.44

Some of the delegates from states that have already voted are leaving the Teslim Balogun Stadium even before voting is concluded. Most of the delegates stayed up all night and may either be leaving to catch some sleep or to freshen up after a tedious night.

Unlike the delegates from most states, the delegates from Sokoto are mostly middle-aged men. They are taciturn and have trooped to the ballot area without funfare to cast their votes.

08.47

Now it is the turn of Taraba to vote. The state contingent is being led by Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, the only female gubernatorial candidate of the APC.

After Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara will be the two final states to vote before sorting and counting begin.

08.49

The poll has officially closed. Agents assigned to each of the 40 transparent ballot boxes have been directed to lock the boxes.

Returning officers for the five aspirants have also been asked to approach the boxes.

Each aspirant was given a chance to nominate‎ two returning officers.

09.02

The sorting process will involve putting all the contents of the transparent ballot boxes into a giant transparent box.

After which the ballots will be sorted based on aspirants votes and be placed into separate black boxes.

Once all ballots are sorted, the content of each of the black box assigned to each aspirant will then be counted.

09.06

The smaller ballot boxes are now being ferried to a location close to the big ballot box.

Each ballot box is accompanied by two fully armed mobile police officers.

09.20

Contents of a smaller transparent ballot box being turned into a bigger transparent box before being sorted. APC Ballot

09.56

So far Muhammadu Buhari and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso are ahead of the other three candidates, followed by Rochas Okorocha and Atiku Abubakar.

Sam Nda-Isaia’s name is yet to be called.

10.42

Buhari in early lead

With over 1,000 ballots sorted, out of the 7, 214votes at the ongoing All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, has earned more ballots than his four other challengers.

Coming a distance second is the Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who seems to be performing way beyond expectation and appears to have earned more votes than former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is generally regarded as the most experienced politicians among the lots.

The Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, is also putting put some contest but he clearly lies in a distant fourth position behind Mr. Atiku, who seems to have gotten the third highest votes at the moment.

Not entirely surprising in fifth place is the Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah, who clearly is the less experienced politician of the lot.

Mr Nda-Isaiah is yet to get a ballot so far.

It is however early to award victory to any of the candidates at this time as there are still thousands of ballots to count.

Sorting is still on going and PREMIUM TIMES will continue to update you with happenings at the venue.

10.45

Abubakar Kawu Baraje that have been announcing the names on the ballots have now transferred the role to Boss Mustapha.

The Sun is really up here and the sorting is being done under the Sun.

Baraje however chose to remain by the side of Mustapha.

14.35

Vote sorting is still ongoing at the Teslim Balogun stadium centre of the APC presidential primary election. Votes for each candidate are sorted into unique boxes - one for each candidate. Proper vote counting will commence after the sorting.

14.36

The sorting of the ballots has just been completed. Now officials are about to commence counting of the ballots earned by each aspirants. They are starting with the box of ballots earned by Atiku Abubakar.

15.06

After the counting of his ballots, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, scored a total of 954 votes. out of the 7214 ballots. The electoral officials are proceeding with counting of the ballots of Muhammadu Buhari next. 

16.31

Although Buhari's votes are still being counted, Atiku Abubakar, one of thr contestants have tweeted a congratulatory message to Buhari.
Congratulations General Buhari. The delegates have spoken, you fully deserve the victory -AA
IMG_20141211_162812

17.10

Atiku congratulates Buhari, says he deserves to win

The statement reads:

“I am very confident that you will provide the needed leadership to turn this country around. I have no doubt that you will work with dedicated and qualified Nigerians to protect our citizens, improve our economy, create jobs, improve education, reform governance and fight corruption. You will indeed bring the change Nigerians have been yearning for. Once more, congratulations.

“I congratulate the other contestants, namely Governors Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Rochas Okorocha as well as the erudite Sam Nda-Isaiah. You have all demonstrated your commitment to democracy by participating in this transparent process and by campaigning vigorously across this country.

“I thank our delegates for their sacrifices and their commitment to democracy. In particular, I thank those who voted for me for your faith in me. However, since we came up short, we have to now rally behind General Buhari to help him prevail in the coming Presidential election.

"The APC has demonstrated, through the transparent process, the Party’s commitment to democracy and rule of law. It has demonstrated its respect for people and their choice through the ballot box.

"I sincerely thank the Convention Committee for putting together a hitch-free convention.

"My dear friends, we have voted, a winner has emerged. I pledge my commitment to this Party, and to campaign vigorously for our candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and all APC candidates to ensure victory in the 2015 elections.

"I call on all other contestants and our party’s rank and file to unite behind our candidates at all levels to ensure that the PDP is defeated, so Nigerians can have real change.

"I will hand over to Gen. Buhari for his review and possible implementation my policy document which was developed in line with the party's philosophy.

"Long live APC!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Thank you all and God bless!"

18.01

Final results

Rabiu Kwankwaso:  974 Rochas Okorocha: 624 Sam Nda Isaiah: 10 votes

18.30

We have come to the end of the LiveBlog. Thanks for following.

Maku, Doma floored in Nasarawa PDP governorship primary election

MAKU1_729492831

A former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has lost his bid for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s governorship ticket in Nasarawa State.

The Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Adolphus Wabara, who announced the result of the primary held Monday, said Yusuf Agabi polled 214 votes to defeat former Mr. Maku and former Governor Aliyu Doma, who polled 160 and 129 votes respectively.

Eight aspirants contested the primary as one of them, Musa Hussaini, had withdrawn from the contest shortly before the exercise commenced.

Mr. Wabara had shortly after announcing the results urged other aspirants to support the winner in line with the party’s commitment.

Mr. Wabara reminded the aspirants of the undertaking signed to rally round the winner even before the exercise began.

The winner, Mr. Agabi, called on other aspirants to rally round him, to win the general elections next year.

He said the victory at the primary was not for him alone but for the all members of the party, adding that it would take the collective effort to make the objective of reclaiming the state from the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2015 to be actualised.

Mr. Agabi promised to tackle the security challenges facing the state, if given the mandate in next year’s general elections.

(NAN)

Court sacks all Kogi LG Chairmen, councillors

Kogi State

The Kogi High Court sitting in Koton-Karfe on Monday nullified the May 4, 2013 Local Government Elections conducted in the state by the State Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC).

The judgement was delivered in two hours, eight minutes by Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye.

The court issued a consequential order for the council chairmen in the 21 Local Governments to hand over the affairs of the councils to the most senior directors.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye affirmed the contention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the commission was not properly constituted to conduct the election.

The suit had the State Government, KOSIEC and seven others as co-defendants.

The judge held that, the constitution of members of the commission contravened Section 200 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).

He said that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The prosecution proved that the Chairman, Ayo Olaniran, David Apeh and three other members of the commission were card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This, the court said, contravened the provisions of the constitution.

NAN reports that three political parties had on April, 2013 approached the court to stop the conduct of the election.

It listed the parties to include the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

The claimants, now APC, raised for consideration four fundamental questions, including whether the commission was properly constituted in consonance with section 200(1) of the court.

Mr. Omolaye-Ajileye held that the commission, as an umpire, must “manifestly” be seen to be neutral.

He said that it would be inappropriate to interpret Section 200 (1) of the constitution (as amended) in his favour.

The judge described as shocking, the way the chairman of such a commission went “completely out of his way to join a political party.

“It’s not that he joined alone, but proceeded to contest the primaries of an election under the umbrella of a political party.

“After the election, such a card-carrying member of the political party came back to organise an election involving his party and other political parties.

“Any claim to neutrality, integrity, transparency and fairness in favour of such body headed by such a person goes to no issue.

“The truth is that, the constitution has, by that singular act, been violated with a tincture of impunity”, he said.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye held that the membership of Messrs Olaniran and Apeh and the conduct of the election under the PDP compromised “irredeemably” the integrity of the commission.

“Given the centrality of these notions and the transparency embedded in the works and functions of a state SIEC.

“From the foregoing, I hold that as at 4th May, 2013, the 3rd defendant was not properly constituted, in accordance with section 200(1).

“The direct consequence of this is that, all the acts and actions of the defendants on May 4, 2013 become a nullity, ” he said.

The judge said there was no way the chairmen and councillors elected under the voided election could be allowed to benefit from such a flagrant breach of the constitution.

He therefore issued an order directing the most senior directors of the councils to assume responsibility, pending the conduct of a fresh council poll by a properly constituted commission. (NAN)

Tinubu picks APC ticket for Lagos Central Senatorial District

Oluremi-Tinubu1

Senator Oluremi Tinubu on Monday picked the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the Lagos Central Senatorial District at the party’s primary election.

Mrs. Tinubu is presently representing the senatorial district at the senate.

Kehinde Akinola, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, who declared the winner, said that a total of 2,428 votes were cast during the election, out of which 2,379 were valid.

Mr. Akinola said Mrs. Tinubu had 2,354 votes while her opponent, Odutola Adetokunbo, had 25 votes.

He said there were 49 invalid votes.

Addressing journalists, Mrs. Tinubu commended the delegates and the people of the constituency for the confidence they had in her.

She described the victory as a “debt” that would be paid back through quality representation at the senate.

Mr. Adetokunbo and his agents were not at the venue when the result was announced.

The election started by at about 1:00p.m and ended at about 5:40p.m. at the Landmark Centre, Oniru Estate, Victoria Island.