As the 2019 general elections draw closer, campaigns for the presidential and National Assembly polls formally started last Sunday, in accordance with the timetable set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
President Muhammad Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All progressives Congress (APC), and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) set the pace by releasing their policy documents.
– President Buhari pledged to renovate 10,000 schools each year, across Nigeria if re-elected for a second term next year.
Mr Buhari made the promise during the public presentation of his campaign manual titled “Next Level” at a ceremony at the State House Presidential Villa, Abuja. Hei said if re-elected, he will focus on education.
– Mr Abubakar of the PDP announced he would present his policy document for the presidential election campaigns at a live Facebook event. He described the document as his vision for a prosperous Nigeria.
Mr Abubakar had spent the preceding months criss-crossing the country, engaging Nigerians on key elements of his ‘Get Nigerian Working Again’ slogan, with economy, unity and national security taking the front-row.
He said Nigerians would now get a chance to see the entire document when it was unveiled on Facebook and Twitter at 12:00 p.m. , only a few minutes away through the handles: Facebook.com/Atiku.org and Twitter.com/Atiku.
Mr Abubakar said the document would be uploaded on his campaign website, Atiku.org, shortly after the live broadcast, and encouraged Nigerians home and away to download and review it
-As President Buhari and former Vice President Abubakar launched their presidential campaigns Sunday and Monday respectively, two of their rivals warned against choosing either of the two veterans.
Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) and Oby Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) described the two front runners as failed participants in Nigeria’s democratic history.
According to a statement on Monday, Mr Sowore spoke while addressing Nigerians in Diaspora at a town hall meeting and fundraiser organised by his campaign group, #TakeItBack Movement, at the Christ International Community Church, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America.
He warned Nigerians to be cautious of the “fake promises and documents which will be used by some candidates to deceive unsuspecting Nigerians.
Mr Sowore, who is seeking elective office for the first time in Nigeria, said as the campaigns start officially, he would allow the opposition lead while he catches up when he returns to Nigeria.
On the other hand, Mrs Ezekwesili also spoke on Monday but in Abuja, urging Nigerians not to resign to low standards by voting for parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
She said the mistakes of previous PDP administrations were being repeated by President Buhari of the APC.
The former minister of education assured Nigerians she would fulfill her electoral promises, adding that a situation where elected candidates deny their promises was bad for Nigeria’s growth.
-Former President Goodluck Jonathan on the occasion of his 61st birthday launched his book titled “My Transition Hours” at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
This event was attended by notable persons like former Vice President Namadi Sambo, former presidents of Ghana, Benin and Sierra Leone, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, former Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, former Senate president, David Mark, PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, presidential candidate of the PDP, Mr Abubakar, among many others.
-At his book launch, Mr Jonathan railed against the conduct of Barack Obama, describing the former U.S. president as overbearing and ‘condescending’ in his message to Nigerians ahead of the 2015 general elections.
He said Mr Obama displayed an unusual level of bias by issuing a video appeal to Nigerians which all but advised them on which candidate to give their mandate. Mr Jonathan lost his reelection bid.
Mr Jonathan also suggested a vast conspiracy by the Independent National Electoral Commission partly cost him his re-election in 2015.
Mr Jonathan of the PDP conceded defeat to Mr Buhari of the APC on March 31, 2015, heralding the first victory for an opposition platform in Nigeria’s presidential election history.
-A day after the public presentation of his book, ‘My Transition Hour’, Mr Jonathan was criticised by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who described the book as “elementary” and containing “fiction.”
Mr Shettima said the former president lied about the issue of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted in 2014. The issue was included in Mr Jonathan’s new book.
-INEC asked parties to stick to the electoral laws in their campaigns.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a meeting with resident electoral commissioners (RECs) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
-A day after two members of the House of Representatives dumped the ruling APC, two others also announced their movement to other parties.
The two lawmakers are Ahmed Abu, who represents Lavun/Mokwa/Idati federal constituency of Niger State, and Olemija Stephen, who represents Akoko North-East/West of Ondo State.
In a letter read by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara on Thursday, the duo based their defection on the conduct of the APC primaries.
Mr Abu announced he was defecting to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) while his colleague, Mr Olemija, defected to Action Alliance (AA).
Similarly, one of the two members who defected on Wednesday but did not declare for a political party, Mukaila Kazeem, formally announced his membership of Allied People’s Movement (APM)
-The presidential candidate of ACPN, Mrs Ezekwesili, revealed how her government will tackle Boko Haram insurgency if elected in the 2019 general election.
She said her government will completely overhaul the security system to win the war against Boko Haram.
The former minister of education made this known in an interview on a CNN programme with Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday evening.
-Mr Jonathan has raised an alarm that a fake copy of his book, My Transition Hours, launched on Tuesday, was being pirated online.
PREMIUM TIMES checked through the pirated PDF copy trending on WhatsApp and observed it has 254 pages against the original which has 194 pages.
“We have just been informed that a fake document contrived by mischief makers is being passed on as the e-version and hard copy of the just launched ‘#MyTransitionHours’, Mr Jonathan stated on Twitter.
-The PDP presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar, mourned dozens of Nigerians soldiers who lost their lives after Boko Haram terrorists invaded their bases in Nigeria’s volatile northeast on Sunday.
A Nigerian Army commander was also amongst those killed during the pre-dusk raid on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State, PREMIUM TIMES learnt from multiple military sources.
As of Thursday morning, fresh findings by PREMIUM TIMES indicate at least 70 soldiers might have been killed in the attack by the insurgents.
The Nigerian Senate adjourned session on Thursday in honour of the fallen heroes, most of whose loved ones have not been notified by the military. Neither the presidency nor the military has issued a statement about the tragedy, which occurred on November 18.
The killings on Sunday followed months of heavy losses of both personnel and equipment which the insurgents have been inflicting on Nigerian military since resuming their latest campaign in July.
Expressing concerns about the frequency of the attacks, Mr Abubakar said funding has been a major challenge for the Nigerian military, but one which must not be allowed to linger much longer.
-The Senate asked the police in Akwa Ibom to immediately vacate the state House of Assembly complex.
The demand was made after a senator, Bassey Akpan, explained the situation in the state’s House of Assembly.
The police had on Wednesday sealed off the premises without giving reasons for their action.
The closure came barely 48 hours after angry youth, who are members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), stormed the assembly complex protesting the sacking of a lawmaker, Idongesit Ituen.
-The APC condemned moves by the Senate to investigate the situation surrounding the recent Kwara State by-election.
The party, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said this was an abuse of power, as the Senate is not an election tribunal.
The Senate had on Wednesday directed its Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the alleged harassment, intimidation and molestation by security operatives, before, during and after the Kwara House of Representatives by-election, last Saturday.
This directive came after the senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District, Rafiu Ibrahim, drew the senate’s attention to the roles allegedly played by the police in the poll.
-The gate of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Uyo, was reopened for members of the public to go into the assembly complex, three days after the police sealed off the complex following a crisis over the defection of five lawmakers.
This came after the seats of the five lawmakers were declared vacant by the speaker, Onofiok Luke, for defecting from the ruling PDP to the APC.
-Former military head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, urged Nigerian youth to stop criticising the failures of government and misrule of bad leaders but “rise up and vote out incompetent governments”.
The retired general also urged Nigerian parents to dissuade their children and wards from being used for violence in the upcoming general elections in 2019.
Mr Abubakar staid this at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, where he delivered a speech at an annual lecture on ‘Election and Security in Nigeria: Policy Options and Strategies’ ahead of the Graduation Ceremony of the Senior Executive Course (SEC)
-The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari to his promise on the conduct of free, fair and credible general elections in 2019.
Mr Abubakar made the statement at the 2018 second general meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), youths wings summit.
-A week after killing of military personnel in Metele village of Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists, President Buhari expressed deep shock over the incident, assuring at the same time that immediate measures were being taken to ensure that the loopholes which led to the fatalities are blocked once and for all.
This was contained a statement Saturday night by a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
At least 118 soldiers and officers were killed when the terrorist Boko Haram sect attacked Nigeria’s 157 Task Force Battalion in Borno State on November 18.
Rather than explain details of the incident, and what it is doing to curtail further attacks, the Nigerian Army devoted a large part of its own reaction to bashing the media.