With about a month to the presidential election, various political parties began their campaign tours to various states.
Below are some of the major stories from last week.
1. The campaign team of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar released audio tapes which it described as that of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
The tapes which were made available to PREMIUM TIMES by Phrank Shaibu, the special assistant on public communication to the PDP candidate portrays the minister as lacking confidence in the product (Mr Buhari) he was appointed to market.
2. Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State again met with President Muhammadu Buhari alongside his preferred candidate for governor in the 2019 election and candidate of the opposition Allied Peoples Movement, Adekunle Akinlade.
The Presidency said the president would only support candidates of the All Progressives Congress. It said Mr Buhari however welcomes endorsements from other parties.
3. Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, and his estranged benefactor and predecessor, Godswill Akpabio, put aside their political differences and embraced each other in the church, to the admiration of those who witnessed it.
Messrs Akpabio and Emmanuel met at the Cardinal Ekanem Seminary, Uyo, during the closing ceremony of the New Year prayer and fasting organised by the Catholic Church, Uyo Diocese.
1. The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), a group of opposition political parties, threatened a mass protest on January 15 if the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, is not retired.
According to civil service statutes, the occupant of the office of the Inspector General of Police is to resign after spending the mandatory 35 years in service or attaining 60 years of age.
Mr Idris is expected to retire from service after reaching the mandatory 35 years in service this month.
2. A Federal High Hourt in Port Harcourt nullified both the direct and indirect primaries conducted by two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
The court, presided by Kolawole Omotosho, also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any candidates of the APC for the 2019 general elections in the state.
Two factions of the party had conducted parallel primaries that produced two sets of candidates.
3. President Muhammadu Buhari said former Lagos State governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, will take full charge of his re-election campaign.
Mr Buhari said while he will also be “involved” in the campaigns, he would only do that without allowing governance to suffer.
He said this while inaugurating his presidential campaign council at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
4. Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented the national register of voters to political parties.
The register was presented by the chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, at the quarterly consultative meeting with political parties in Abuja.
The commission also revealed the official total number of registered voters is 84 million.
5. A former governor of the old Borno state, Mohammed Goni, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Goni was governor of old Borno State, that comprised the present Yobe State, from 1979 to 1983.
His defection was announced Monday by former Senate leader, Ali Ndume, who led a delegation from the north east to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.
6. As part of its reforms to ensure a credible 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has abolished the separate incident form.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in Abuja while presenting the national voters register to leaders of the political parties.
He said the commission had “modified” the register of voters for the 2019 general elections accordingly.
“Consequently, the separate Incident Form used in previous elections which is only completed by the Presiding Officer without the involvement of the voter is now abolished,” he said.
7. The family of the National Commissioner in charge of Health and Welfare at the Independent National Electoral Commission, Amina Zakari, rose in stout defence of the election official, saying critics should leave her alone to do her job.
A statement by Isah Zakari, a lawyer, faulted some of the claims published in media reports about the INEC official, saying rather than being castigated, Mrs Zakari should be celebrated as an accomplished woman.
8. The Bus Conductors Association of Nigeria (BCAN) expressed its readiness to support President Muhammadu Buhari in the February general election.
Israel Adeshola, the BCAN National President, disclosed that the association was convinced beyond doubt that the only way to guarantee better future for the country was through good governance and sincere leadership.
9. The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Abubakar Atiku, promised to complete all abandoned federal projects in Kogi, if elected president in the coming election.
Mr Abubakar made the promise on Monday in Lokoja, the state capital while addressing a crowd of party supporters at a rally also promising to create jobs and wealth for the unemployed youth.
He said his decision to contest the presidency was focused on ordinary citizens, and described Kogi as a beacon of hope and progress which must be carefully managed.
1. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) suspended its deputy national chairman (North), Gamawa Babayo, over allegation of dereliction of duty and anti-party activity.
The National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Mr Babayo was suspended by the National Working Committee (NWC).
The committee held an extraordinary session on January 5, where it reviewed the petition against the deputy national chairman.
2. President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians not to re-elect governors who failed in their first terms, especially those who failed to pay civil servants salaries even after collecting bailouts from the federal government.
Mr Buhari, who is also seeking reelection on the platform of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), said Nigerians’ votes should go for competence.
Mr Buhari, who spoke with the Hausa service of the Voice of America, which was aired Tuesday morning, said he saw no justification in governors collecting bailout funds from the federal government and still failing to pay wages.
The president was quoted as saying, “I wonder how these governors are able to sleep knowing that they have refused to pay workers their wages.”
3. The voter register presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to party leaders on Monday showed that Lagos and Kano States have the highest number of registered voters with 6.5 million and 5.4 million respectively.
Bayelsa and Ekiti States have the least number of voters with 923,181 and 909,967 respectively.
The total number of registered voters stands at 84 million, 15 million more than the figure in 2015 which stood at 68 million.
4. The suspended deputy national chairman (North) of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Babayo Gamawa, joined the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Gamawa was suspended by the PDP Mondayover allegations of dereliction of duty and anti-party activities.
1. The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar reiterated his promise to create more job opportunities for unemployed women and youth in the country, if elected president.
He restated the promise on Wednesday in Minna, while addressing party supporters at a rally.
He also harped on the need for better infrastructural development in the Niger State.
The presidential candidate claimed that over 10 million Nigerians, including women and youth, had lost their jobs in the last three and half years of the All Progressives Congress-led administration.
2. The Senate President said President Muhammadu Buhari lacked integrity and that his government was corrupt.
Speaking in a Channels TV interview Wednesday, in his capacity as the director general of the Atiku Campaign Council, Mr Saraki said the president was tolerating corrupt associates and that had cost him his integrity.
1. The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo denied endorsing Atiku Abubarkar, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 16 presidential election. The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Chuks Ibegbu, disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu at a media briefing to mark the second anniversary of the current executive of the organisation.
Mr Ibegbu said the clarification became necessary following misconceptions on the event of November 14, 2018 where some Igbo leaders endorsed the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar for presidency.
2. Magnus Abe of the All Progressives Congress (APC), representing Rivers South-East in the senate urged supporters not to blame the present challenges of the party in the state on Governor Nyesom Wike.
Mr Abe made the call on Thursday while reacting to the recent Federal High Court judgment which nullified the direct and indirect primaries allegedly held by two factions of the party in Rivers.
3. Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) promised to run a youth-driven administration if given the mandate in February 16 election. Mr Abubakar gave the commitment on Thursday at the PDP presidential campaign in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
According to the presidential hopeful, the essence of running the youth driven administration was to prepare them to garner experience for effective governance.
4. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, challenged northern elders to raise their voices against insecurity in the region “just as they did during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan”.
Mr Jonathan hails from Bayelsa, South-south Nigeria, while the current president, Muhammadu Buhari is from the north-west.
The speaker, who stated this in Lafia, Nasarawa State at the campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday, noted that the elders’ silence on insecurity in the region could be taken as enabling the poor management of security in the country, especially in the north.
He condemned “sycophants” who elevate some public office holders to the status of “god”, saying such attitude brings destruction upon the country.
1. The People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council in Ekiti State chided the Ekiti State government for denying it the use of the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti, for its campaign rally scheduled for Monday.
The campaign council also condemned the attack on traders at Old Garage, Ijoka and Oja Oba areas of Ado Ekiti by thugs allegedly loyal to the state government.
The director general of the Campaign Council, Dipo Anisulowo, said in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Thursday that it was sad that the All Progressives Congress’ government in the state had taken its political intolerance to the level of preventing opposition parties from using facilities belonging to the public.
2. Masked security operatives on Friday stormed the hospital where Dino Melaye, the Senator representing Kogi West, was receiving treatment, and forcibly removed the lawmaker. Mr Melaye was taken from his hospital bed into an unmarked vehicle and drove away, witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.
The senator was arrested last week after police laid siege on his home in Maitama, Abuja, for eight days.
He turned himself in after hiding in the house for days. Mr Melaye has been in the hospital since then.
Police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, later said that Mr Melaye was moved to a medical facility of the State Services Service (SSS) in Abuja.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, accused police officers of providing cover for thugs who are attacking his supporters in Kwara State.
Mr Saraki also accused the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, of ‘undue interference’ in the Kwara Police Command.
He asked Nigerians to hold the police boss responsible if anything untoward happens to him and family members.
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