Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy. We recognize the critical role that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace. We also thank our civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election.
The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and by reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers. We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election. As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.
•El-Rufai, Amaechi, Burata, MC Oluomo may be affected
•Says Nigerians not targeted
The United States Department of State has imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians responsible for undermining the democratic processes in the country, especially before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
Some of those suspected to have been affected by the new travel ban include the Governor of Kaduna State, who threatened to send foreigners or foreign observers “back in body bags”, and the former Minister of Transport, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi who was widely reported to have been denied Visa recently by the US Embassy in Nigeria as well as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai over the role of the Army during the elections, especially in Rivers State.
Sources also told Global Sentinel that the new rule affected many individuals who served in the government and some elected officials too.
“The visa restrictions may affect people like Amaechi, Akpabio, Buratai, El Rufai, Ganduje, Oluomo, likely but it says not directed at Nigerian people or new government,” the source clarified.
This was contained in a statement on Tuesday, signed by the Department of State Spokesperson, Ms. Morgan Ortagus, condemning those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process.
Ortagus who also announced this in her Twitter account, reminded that in January 24, 2019, the US government had warned that it would “consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence”.
To that end, she said, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.
According to her, “these individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights”.
The Department of State Spokesperson, however stressed that the actions announced on Tuesday were “specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government.
“This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”
Read full statement
Imposing Visa Restrictions on Nigerians Responsible for Undermining the Democratic Process
The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy. We commend all those Nigerians who participated peacefully in the February and March 2019 elections and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes. As Nigeria marks the twentieth anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations. We condemn those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process.
In a January 24 statement, the U.S. government said that we would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence. To that end, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria. These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.
The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.
Several officials who said they were deployed as electoral officers by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 presidential election said they transmitted results electronically to a ‘central server’ through smart card readers.
This they said was done in compliance with the directive given by the commission during a three-day training before the polls.
The 20 officials deployed to various states, who mostly worked as presiding officers, said they were told that there was a “central server in Abuja” where results are collated electronically.
It is not immediately clear on which “central Server” the officials admitted to transmitting results but this has added a new twist to the ongoing confusion trailing INEC’s consistent denial that it used no server for the election.
A manual issued to the electoral officials by INEC for the 2019 election revealed that the “Communicate” icon on the Smart Card Reader should be used to transmit the accreditation data to the central server.
Another handbook for election officials in 2018 was however more précise on how presiding officers should use the card readers for electronic collation and transmission of results.
It said it became necessary to apply technology to transmit data and results from the polling units due to irregularities that take place after the voting process.
“After successfully filling the EC8A result sheet and announcing the result, the presiding officer shall tap the e-collation application on the home screen”, a part of the book read.
The runner up in February’s presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the election tribunal.
Determining whether the commission operated a central computer database that received election results has become central to the dispute after Mr Abubakar said results obtained from the server proved he won the election with 1.6 million votes to defeat Mr Buhari.
But INEC has strongly denied the claim, saying it neither transmitted results electronically nor saved them on any server. It said such activities were not permitted by the electoral law yet. The commission also accused Mr Abubakar of circulating fake results.
Following the controversy over the veracity of INEC’s position on not using a central database, PREMIUM TIMES randomly interviewed about twenty electoral officers who worked in various states during the election.
While most of them admitted to sending the results electronically using the internet enabled smart card readers as directed, the rest said they only sent the number of accredited voters and rejected votes, “to the central server”.
Some of the officials, who requested to speak anonymously for fear of victimisation, said they were instructed to turn in the card readers after sending the results.
“INEC asked us to paste the result sheet and also send them electronically through the card reader,” a serving corps member who worked as an ad-hoc staff at Ido Local Government of Oyo State said.
“The results, as we were told, were sent into a central server in Abuja. The results can’t be more than the accredited voters on the card reader. It will reject it… You can’t submit your card reader without posting the results.”
Gbenga Oladayo, an Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) in Ipetumodu area of Osun State, described INEC’s denial as ‘contrived’.
“They told us there’s a server that automatically records the number of accredited voters, cancelled votes and rejected voters.”
The APO2 for polling unit 023 at Maryland, Kosofe Local government in Lagos corroborated this.
“We did that as we were told during the training. I was shocked when I also saw the news that INEC claims that there is no server.”
‘How we handled results’
An ad-hoc staffer for PU8, Ode Ajibade Ward, Ilorin East Local Government, Ode Ajibade in Kwara State explained how they handled the results as instructed.
“We were instructed, in line with the guidelines, to record the results on form EC8A and paste at the polling unit and also transmit the result via the electronic card readers through the e-collation option, and this was communicated to us during training. The revision was done by ‘RAC TECH’ guys too.
“The challenge we had was bad network. However, we ended up transmitting the results via the electronic card readers when we got to the collation centre. You must send the results before submitting the card readers.”
When asked where the results were transmitted to, he said he believe ”it’s to the central server”.
“Not only were the results sent. Figures regarding accredited voters were also transmitted. I did all these as the PO, and I also had an APO (VP).”
Another ad-hoc staffer for PU10, Ologbenla ward, Ifetedo Local Government, Osun State gave a similar account.
But the Presiding Officer (PO) at PU002, Ward 8, Agege Local Government of Lagos State disputed this.
He said ”they were not directed to do anything with the result”.
Others who spoke said they experienced hitches in sending the results to the “central server” due to network challenges.
Ayo Aderibigbe, the P.O for Kware Local government in Sokoto State said during the training, said, “We were told to press the ‘send’ button on the card reader after the voting and the counting has been done.”
“They told us it would automatically get to them. But on Election Day, it was not going through because of the poor network, and after trying for hours, we paid one of the INEC technical officers at the local government, Raphael. He promised to help us upload this to the server when it was less congested,” Mr Aderigbe, a corps member, said.
Another corps member, who was the P.O at PU 022 ward 2 of Jos South local government In Plateau State, had a similar experience.
“I could not sleep that night. The issues most people had was the network. The network was not responding.”
But Collins, a student of Obafemi Awolowo University on election duty at PU008 of Fajuyi hall, Ile-Ife in Osun State said the network was “okay”.
“At exactly 1:40 p.m. that day, we sent the necessary information that should be sent via the card reader. I was shocked by INEC’s denial.”
Conundrum of INEC laws
PREMIUM TIMES saw details of INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections, and the spending plan shows the electoral body collected N1.47 billion from the federal government for servers.
But a spokesperson for the commission, Festus Okoye, told this Newspaper that the budget for servers was made in anticipation that President Buhari would sign the amended Electoral Act to allow electronic transfer of voting results.
This medium reported how Mr Buhari refused to sign the Electoral Bill in letters to the leadership of the National Assembly last December. The president said signing such a bill few months to the general elections could disrupt the process, a position criticized by several Nigerians.
With the foregoing, our reporters further reviewed the duties of the electoral officials as prescribed by the electoral act and guide.
According to the electoral regulations and guidelines for 2019 elections, the presiding officers are duty bound to “transmit the result as prescribed in the Electoral Act”.
Section 65 of the Electoral Act specified how results should be submitted by the presiding officer but did not provide for electronic transmission of results and data.
However, a new section (65A) inserted in the amended electoral act seeks to mandate digital storage and archiving of election results by INEC at its national headquarters.
It is that amended electoral act that Mr Buhari refused to sign into law.
More questions than answers
In a response to INEC’s denial of the server and its purported result, Mr Abubakar submitted affidavits from 12 persons he said worked for INEC as election officials.
The officials reportedly admitted under oath that they transmitted results electronically.
A civil society group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), said its observers saw polling officers ‘attempting’ to transmit results electronically in 65 per cent (961 of 1489) of polling units observed on the presidential Election Day.
After the postponement of the election by a week, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, also said the commission made provisions for a central collation server.
“…The fact is that I am aware that at the polling unit, the same result is there, the duplicate has been given to the party agents and transmitted to the central server. Without talking to me, both of you have the result” the official said during a Channels TV programme aired on February 18.
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“Apart from the incontrovertible facts our IT and legal teams have in their possession, and ready to bring to the attention of the tribunal, I wish to present to you another evidence obtainable by FoI.”
A joint committee of information technology and legal experts has claimed to have incontrovertible evidence about Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) servers, installed in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The groups, Deservation and Pukka Initiative, made the revelation in Yola, Thursday night, showing a document, that detailed how and when INEC server was allegedly installed and put to use.
Dr. Sani Adamu, who spoke for the two groups, said, “Apart from the incontrovertible facts our IT and legal teams have in their possession, and ready to bring to the attention of the tribunal, I wish to present to you another evidence obtainable by FoI.”
Quoting the INEC chairman, Prof. Yakub Mahmood, Adamu stated the electoral body’s chairman had publicly declared that “we are pioneering and deploying in 2019 general elections, a new platform for the electronic Collation and transmission of results of the 2019 elections”.
He, therefore, decried alleged moves by INEC to deny the availability of the server, stressing that the action is grave, just as it is a looming national disaster.
Countering the electoral umpire’s claims, Adamu referred to “INEC’s 2017-2021 strategic programme of action document, page 5, serial number 1.4 and key action, titled ‘improve ICT operational deployment and utilization, including activities SN 1.4.1 to SN 1.4.57”, saying these series of activities “have captured all the essence of the server deployment by INEC”.
He insisted that all of the activities underscored the approval for a server and its subsequent implementation between the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2018.
“Specifically, based on activities SN 1.4.57 in the strategic programme of action 2017-2021, the INEC leadership have received the approval for the transmission of electronic results to the collation centres.
“In the same vein, SN 1.4.16 indicates that INEC has received the approval to procure servers for the 36 states and the FCT in the second quarter of 2017 and completed in the second quarter of 2018.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to tender a copy of the 2017-2021 strategic programme of action document, which dealt with issues of ICT including servers, card readers and the electronic transmission of election results,” he claimed.
He called on all Nigerians to join the campaign for INEC to own up and do the needful. “Because we are in a situation similar to the June 12 of Moshood Abiola,” he added.
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Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has raised alarm of plot to arrest him.
This was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, on Sunday.
It said due to Atiku’s insistence of existence of a server used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), his enemies attributed a false comment on “mass protest” to him to prepare ground from his incarceration.
Ibe said: “I wish to emphatically state that such a statement did not emanate from Atiku Abubakar or his privies.
“It is the work of mischief makers who want to mar his spotless pro-democratic record and lay the ground work for their threatened actions against him on false charges of being a threat to national security.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar believes in the rule of law and in the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In his almost four decades in politics, he has never taken action or spoken words against democracy and will not start now.
“Atiku Abubakar and his team have confidence in God and thus call on those bent on mischief to have the fear of God and retrace their steps.
“Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. The culture of fear being created now cannot rein in our democracy. Nigeria and Nigerians have a consistent history of outlasting tyranny and will continue to do so by the grace of God.”
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Olusola Fabiyi, Kamarudeen Ogundele and Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The outgoing Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Tuesday lamented that he had been afflicted with more evils in the ruling All Progressives Congress than he would have suffered if he had been a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He regretted that the APC had inflicted what he called the greatest devilish political machinations against his person 10 times more than what he would have been inflicted with if he were to be a member of the PDP.
Okorocha spoke with journalists in Abuja.
The embattled governor however said he would remain in the ruling party despite alleged moves to frustrate him out of the APC.
He accused the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and other unnamed leaders of the party of working with the Independent National Electoral Commission to kill his senatorial ambition.
This, he said, was being done by ensuring that he did not get his certificate of return as the duly elected senator for Imo West Senatorial District.
He said there were moves to damage his political career by his enemies.
Okorocha, who was elected governor in his first tenure as a member of the All Progressive Grand Alliance before he joined others to form the APC, said it was regrettable the evil that made him to dump the PDP for the ruling party had become more fiery.
He said, “The evil I feared in the PDP has befallen me 10 times in the APC. Last week, I wrote a letter to INEC for the first time informing them of their wrongdoings and illegal actions to withhold my certificate on mere allegation of duress which was never founded, neither was there any committee set up to investigate the matter.
“So, INEC on its own believed the reports of the Returning Officer without investigating the authenticity of the accusation. So, there was no issue of fair hearing at all.
“What is important here is that INEC does not have the power to withhold the certificate of return, having declared the result.
“I believe the INEC chairman is up to a game with the chairman of the APC, who is being used to frustrate my coming to the Senate, and this is politically motivated. I’ve given INEC enough time to correct itself and do the needful and issue me my certificate of return but to no avail.
“Many things have happened so far and these should be of concern to everyone. INEC that made the submission to the tribunal has gone back, requesting to withdraw it because the submission was defending its declaration. But because the submission seems to be in my favour, they have said they want to withdraw the affidavit which is out of time.
“The withdrawal was made by one of their members of staff who said that Festus Okoye, a commissioner in INEC, had threatened to sack him if he did not withdraw it. So, there is a huge threat going on in INEC.
“Festus Okoye is presently being used as the hatchet man; he has gone to the tribunal in Imo asking for the withdrawal of the affidavit that has been filed defending the APC.”
Okorocha wondered what the electoral body would do with the certificate of return.
He added that the image of the commission had been “bastardised.”
He said, “I wonder what they want to do with the certificate, if they don’t give it to me, who will they give it to?
“Maybe they will give it to Festus Okoye because he is from my senatorial district but what they are doing is presenting INEC as a lying organisation and that is dangerous for our democracy because, as it stands right now, the image of INEC is bastardised.
“What it means is that tomorrow somebody can withhold the certificate of return of anybody because you don’t like his face, because you feel that he wants to politically challenge you in future.”
Although he is said to be close to President Muhammadu Buhari, Okorocha however said he did not want to bother the President with such an issue especially as it concerns INEC.
“If you know the President well, you will know that he will never intervene as he will only keep mute. But whether President Buhari speaks or not, INEC should do the right thing by giving me my certificate of return,” he added.
Return to a democratic party, PDP tells Imo gov
Meanwhile, the PDP has urged Okorocha to return to its fold, saying the views of its members will not be discarded.
It also said that unlike the APC, there was no one or group that could lay claim to the ownership of the PDP.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said the PDP “will always treat its members with respect and allow for robust debate on issues affecting the party and our members.”
He added, “Unlike the APC that is owned and controlled by different cabals, the PDP is owned by the people and they are the ones that determine its present and its future. So, I will expect all those that are suffering and smiling, all those who have been beaten by rain and chased out of the party they formed and the house they built without a solid foundation to return to their natural abode where there is peace and tranquility.”
Efforts to reach the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, were unsuccessful.
He neither returned phone calls nor replied to a text message sent to him by one of our correspondents as of the time (8:30 pm) of filing this report.
CJ rejects Okorocha’s petition, refuses to re-assign CoR suit
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Kafarati, has rejected Okorocha’s petition in respect of his suit challenging INEC’s refusal to issue him a certificate of return as a senator-elect.
Okorocha had petitioned Justice Kafarati requesting that the case be withdrawn from Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the court and be reassigned to another judge of the same division.
The governor had anchored his petition on a claim that the opponents to his suit were confident before hearing could commence that Justice Abang would rule in their favour.
On April 18, the date fixed for the hearing, Justice Abang announced his decision to withdraw from the suit after seeing the petition.
The development came barely a week after the first judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, also of the Federal High Court in Abuja, withdrew from the case.
Justice Taiwo had withdrawn from the case after being accused of likelihood of bias by two parties to the suit.
He withdrew from the case on April 10, following which it was reassigned to Justice Abang.
But indication has emerged that Justice Kafarati had rejected Okorocha’s petition seeking the re-assignment of the case to the third judge as the matter came up before Justice Abang on Wednesday.
It was learnt that the Chief Judge returned the case file to Justice Abang on being satisfied with his response to Okorocha’s petition.
At the Wednesday’s proceedings Okorocha, who is of the APC opposed the PDP’s motion seeking to be joined in his suit.
Okorocha, through his counsel, Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), objected the PDP’s application on the grounds that the application was brought in bad faith.
But PDP’s lawyer, Mr Stanley Imo, held that the objection to his client’s application for joinder by Okorocha was not well-founded.
Justice Abang agreed that the matter was time sensitive but assured all the parties of fair hearing.
He adjourned the matter until May 9 (Thursday) to rule on whether or not to join the PDP as a party in the suit.
INEC had refused to issue Okorocha the certificate of return on the basis that the Returning Officer for the February 23 election, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, said he had announced the outgoing governor as winner of the senatorial election under duress.
Okorocha had subsequently filed his suit challenging INEC’s decision to withhold the certificate of return due to him as the winner of the election. (Punch)
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Some presiding officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said they transmitted official results from their polling units to the servers of the electoral body.
Their claims contradict the position of the commission which earlier claimed it did not transmit the result of this year’s presidential election electronically.
Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who lost the presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari, had petitioned the Presidential Election Tribunal over the outcome of the exercise.
Mr Abubakar, a former vice president said results from the servers of INEC clearly showed he won the election with 18,356,732 votes against Buhari’s 16,741,430 votes but INEC overturned his victory by claiming the president got 15,191,847 votes as against the 11,262,978 votes attributed to him.
But distancing itself from the claims of the former vice president, the electoral body denied it collated or transmitted results of the election to its servers online.
However, the submission of some presiding officers that conducted the election does not tally with the position of INEC.
They claimed that they were personally trained by the commission on how to transmit the result of the election to the commission’s servers.
This was made known in the petition filed by Atiku and his party through the respective Witness Statement of Oath they made.
According to News Telegraph, one of the PO from Borno State claimed to have received training on how to discharge his duties on the day of the exercise.
“I was employed as an ad hoc staff and trained for three days by the 1st Respondent at the Government College, Maiduguri, Bomo State to serve as a Presiding Officer (PO) at Waliri Polling Unit with Code 003, of Shehun Barna Ward, Bomo State on the 23rd February, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections,” the witness said.
“The training covered the duties of all 1st Respondent’s ad-hoc staff at the polling units and the procedure for the conduct of election which includes accreditation, verification, authentication, collation and transmission of results as well as the use of Smart Card Reader (SCR), amongst others.
“At the 1st Respondent training, we were specifically instructed that the use of the Smart Card Reader for accreditation, verification, authentication, collation and transmission of results is mandatory and that any election conducted without the use of the Smart Card Reader would be invalid.
“I took part in the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections of 23rd February, 2019 where I served as the Presiding Officer (PO) and I ensured the use of the Smart Card Reader for accreditation, verification, authentication, collation and transmission of votes in my polling unit.
“At the end of voting, the information on the Smart Card Reader with the results inclusive, were collated by me in the presence of the party agents and other ad-hoc staff of the 1st Respondent after which my Assistant Presiding Officer (AP0-1) transmitted the result electronically in my presence to the 1st Respondent’s server, using the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and the code provided by the 1st Respondent.”
Furthermore, in the witness statements of the Presiding Officer of Daza Primary School Code 001,Daze Marte Ward of Borno State, who was coded as BU; the Presiding Officer of Mustapha Ali Bama, Code 036, Mafoni MCC Ward, who was coded IM; the Presiding Officer of Binkalion Code 003, Maisandari Damaturu ward Yobe, coded as AB and APO of Kafan Sarki Code 007, Yabir-Gujba of Yobe state, coded as AW; they all admitted that the results of the Presidential election were transmitted electronically to INEC’s server. (Politicstimes)
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The Peoples Democratic Party’ s candidate in the February 23 presidential election , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar , has denied the All Progressives Congress’ allegation that he is not eligible to contest because he was not born in Nigeria .
Atiku stated this in a response to the APC’s reply to the petition he and his party jointly filed before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
He said he was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, therefore he was a Nigerian.
The APC had alleged in its response that as of November 25, 1946, when Atiku was born , Jada, was part of Northern Cameroon .
But Atiku insisted that he was a Nigerian citizen, adding that his parents were also Nigerians by birth.
He said while his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir , hailed from Wumo in the present day Sokoto State, his mother, Aisha Kande, hailed from Dutse, now Jigawa State.
Atiku and the PDP said, “Contrary to the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 and 6 of the 3rd respondent’s ( APC’s) reply, the petitioners state that the 1st petitioner ( Atiku ) is a citizen of Nigeria by birth and thus qualified to vote and be voted for and returned in the election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, held on Saturday February 23, 2019 going by the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The 1st petitioner was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, by Nigerian parents and he is, therefore, a citizen of Nigeria by birth.
“The 1st petitioner’s father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wumo in the present day Sokoto State, while the mother, Aisha Kande , was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in the present day Jigawa State.
“The parents of the 1st petitioner are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria .
“The birth of the 1st petitioner in Jada, in the present-day Adamawa State of Nigeria, was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku, who was an itinerant trader, from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State to Jada in company of his friend , Ardo Usman.
“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st petitioner, gave birth to Garba who in turn gave birth to the 1st petitioner and named him after his father, Atiku .
“The 1st petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande, was the grand daughter of Inuwa Dutse who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in the present-day Jigawa State.
All averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons , League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the 1st petitioner and therefore completely irrelevant more so that the 1st petitioner is a Nigerian by birth within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st petitioner. ”
The Independent National Electoral Commission had on February 27, 2019, declared that the All Progressives Congress alongside its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, won the February 23 election with 15,191, 847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, whom it said polled 11,262,978 votes.
But the petitioners stated that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s ( INEC’s) server … the true, actual and correct results” from “state-to -state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes defeat Buhari whom they said scored 16,741,430 votes.
INEC had in its response to the petition distanced itself from the “server results.”
The commission, through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman ( SAN ) , had said the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically.
It added that it kept no such server where such electronically transmitted results could have been obtained.
In their reply to the APC’s reply, Atiku and the PDP insisted that they truly got authentic results of the February 23 election from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s server.
They said, “In reaction to paragraph 29 of the 3rd respondent’s reply, the petitioners aver that the data and scores in the 1st respondent’s server were as transmitted by the 1st respondent’s officials and those scores are valid, and legitimate.
“The conduct of elections and declarations of results by the 1st respondent is the subject of the present petition.
“Contrary to paragraphs 31 and 34 of the 3rd respondent’s reply, the petitioners contend that the figures and scores in paragraph 22 of the petition are neither false nor contrived or concocted by the petitioners .
“Indeed, the adhoc staff and officials of the 1st respondent in obedience to the training/instruction by the 1st respondent (INEC) transmitted the scores they got from the polling units to the 1st respondent’s server.” (Punch)
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In a press release, the former national deputy publicity secretary of APC, Mr Timi Frank has revealed a shocking details of a secret desperate plan to kill Atiku like Abiola was killed while in detention.
Find the press statement is below:
Frank Accuses Buhari, APC of Plan to Give Atiku, Abiola’s Treatment
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC of plotting to arrest former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on trumped up charges of treasonable felony.
Frank in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, said that according to authoritative sources in the Villa, how to kill Atiku – who is currently challenging the victory of General Buhari in the last elections – has been the subject of series of hushed-up security meetings by the Aso Rock Cabal in the past few weeks.
He disclosed that the sinister plot against Atiku has commenced with the planting and spreading of fake news by members of the cabal purporting that Atiku has paid lobbyist in the United States of America the sum of $30,000 to lobby the U.S. Congress not to recognise the fraudulent re-election of Buhari for a second term.
He said that the grand plot is to arrest Atiku on arrival from his vacation abroad and clamp him into jail for alleged treason.
He stated that “as part of the overall design to liquidate the former Vice President, the Buhari Media Organization (BMO) has already called on the nation’s security agencies to “probe Atiku” – a euphemism for arrest and kangaroo trial – for allegedly seeking the ‘Venezuelan option’ by lobbying the U.S. Congress not to recognize the re-election of General Buhari.”
He said that after the planned arrest and detention of Atiku, the Presidential Candidate of the PDP would suddenly be pronounced dead in prison just like the winner of the June 12 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Abiola, who died in questionable circumstances in prison while seeking to reclaim his stolen mandate during the General Sani Abacha’s Junta.
He disclosed that the sole aim of wanting Atiku out of the way at all cost is borne out of desperation, “the cabal having realized that Buhari’s purported victory during the last presidential election cannot withstand forensic judicial scrutiny, which the former Vice President is now poised to unravel before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.”
He disclosed that information available to him further show that the presidency has ordered all APC state governors to pull down all Atiku’s Billboards in their states and in their place erect others with inciting and incendiary messages just like they have started to execute with the “PUKKA Posters” bearing the name and photograph of Atiku now placed at strategic positions at the Central Business District in Abuja.
The Bayelsa-born political activist however warned Buhari and his evil plotters to desist from acts capable of eclipsing democracy in the country and with untold consequences for all Nigerians.
He stated that any attempt to frustrate and foreclose the judgement of the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal by arresting Atiku and sending him to jail, preparatory to his murder will ignite the anger of Nigerians and bring cataclysmic tragedies never before witnessed in the history of the country.
He called on patriotic Nigerians and members of the international community, especially the General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Peace Committee and the United States and United Kingdom respectively not to gloss over events of monumental proportions currently being incubated by General Buhari and his men, in the interest of peace and democratic sustainability in the country.
Comrade Timi Frank
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC
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President Muhammadu Buhari, PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
***What we witnessed in the recently concluded election was the death knell of democracy in Nigeria.
For those of us who had hoped against hope, the 2019 presidential election has proved to be the last straw. We are now convinced that Nigeria is a hopeless case. This country is not just a major disappointment; it is decidedly firmly on the trajectory of a future break up.
Today, the silence in the Nigerian political space is deafening. Just look back to 2015 and before, when there was vibrant debate about almost everything under the sun. But now it is “siddon look.” We just had an election that was no election and more like selection. It was even more a mini civil-war, characterised by killings, voter suppression and intimidation, ballot-snatching and falsification of results.
There was even a case where the electoral umpire claimed he was made to declare a false result at gunpoint. But in spite of the bogus outcome of the elections, nobody is fighting anymore. Nobody is burning tyres today or demonstrating in the streets. Instead, people are watching and waiting to see what will happen. Surely, this cannot be the end of the matter.
The so-called victors are jubilant, reading the eerie silence as mission accomplished. However, the omen is bleak and dire. It is always better when people express their feelings freely. That way, you know exactly where they stand. But when everything is bottled up as it is now, then you know we are in for trouble. Sooner, rather than later, the dam will burst.
There is definitely a cold war currently going on in Nigeria today, and it is a lull before the storm.
Only those who have been bought, or political sycophants looking for scraps of the stolen pie, are talking. They are giving back-slaps and high-fives to the phyrric victors. Meanwhile, wisdom and reason have concluded that Nigeria is a lost cause. No point waiting for another farce in 2023. Now is the time for all good people to leave the country; either physically or psychologically.
It is now clear that those who believe they have a future have no part in this failed and discredited state called Nigeria. To your tents, O Israel!
Those who make peaceful change impossible, make forcible change inevitable. But that is not to suggest military intervention is the answer. We have already done that and got the t-shirt. All the military did, in all their years in power, was to drag Nigeria through the mud. There is no point putting any hope in them again, after all, it is the same military men who hijacked the democratic system simply by taking off their uniforms and putting on agbadas.
Things Fall Apart
Seeing the template established in this fraudulent 2019 election, the inevitable conclusion, at least to me, is that this Nigeria cannot survive. The message of the 2019 election is that Nigeria is doomed to disintegration. Things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold.
The message is that the powers-that-be are determined that we must be satisfied willy-nilly with incompetence. They say we must put up with economic failure. They insist our new status as the poverty capital of the world is to be commended. They tell us returning Nigeria to major debt status is next-level achievement. They tell us to celebrate abject failure as glorious success.
If you were to believe the lie, our leaders have resuscitated the naira. They have nullified power blackouts. They have removed the petroleum subsidy. They have reduced the pump price of petrol. They have created millions and millions of new jobs. Our hospitals are no longer consulting clinics. Life and property is now secure in Nigeria. Our agricultural sector has been suitably revamped.
So a new panoply of ambitious political mavericks came out, talking up public policy, debating the issues, offering new ideas for the renewal of the national mandate. Among these were Kingsley Moghalu, Oby Ezekwesili, Tope Fasua, Fela Durotoye and Omoyele Sowore. I shared their delusion in thinking the Nigerian political system was amenable to change.
Our leaders have achieved self-sufficiency in food production in Nigeria. They have killed corruption in the land. They have rebuilt our roads and bridges. They have defeated Boko Haram and rescued the Chibok girls. They have restored the reputation of Nigeria in the comity of nations. As a result of these glorious achievements, the current government not only won re-election, it did so with a resoundingly bigger majority than before.
All this makes 2019 a major watershed in Nigerian political history. For some reason, hopes were rekindled during the campaigns; only to be dashed ruthlessly. The times are so bad, our situation so worrisome, that many presidential hopefuls came out of the woodwork. It was time to rescue Nigeria. It was time to change the dismal trajectory of the nation’s history.
Surely, even the blind can see that we cannot go on like this. Surely, these crop of current Nigerian leadership will be thrown out by a despondent electorate. It was time for a new page; a new departure. What we needed was our very own Mercutio proclaiming a plague on both the houses of our delinquent political establishment of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
So a new panoply of ambitious political mavericks came out, talking up public policy, debating the issues, offering new ideas for the renewal of the national mandate. Among these were Kingsley Moghalu, Oby Ezekwesili, Tope Fasua, Fela Durotoye and Omoyele Sowore. I shared their delusion in thinking the Nigerian political system was amenable to change. I believed with them that we are all fed up with the status quo.
So they formed new parties, toured the country, pumped flesh, marshalled new agendas; only to meet their Waterloo at the discredited polls. They obtained, or were awarded, an insignificant fraction of the millions of fabricated votes. So completely were they crushed that there is even talk now of making it difficult, if not impossible, for other parties to contest in future elections apart from the tweedledee and tweedledum of the APC and the PDP.
The message of our Caesars in Abuja is without ambiguity: there is no room for change in the politics of Nigeria. Under no legal circumstances will those who have ceased power by deception and subterfuge willingly relinquish it for the sake of some nebulous construct called democracy. To hell with power to the people, they insist in one accord. Power belongs to the professional politicians in Nigeria, and forever so shall it be.
The Nigerian electorate itself is no better inclined. God says in the scriptures about the Israel of old: “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so.” (Jeremiah 5:31).
The 2019 elections show that a substantial number of Nigerians, especially in the North, are convinced this failed country called Nigeria is the best that Nigeria can be. Indeed, if the verdict of the doctored polls were to be believed, then most Nigerians are very much in love with this malignant Nigeria.
They love a Nigeria that is poverty-stricken, where our leaders are thieves, armed-robbers and pen-robbers, where beggars and vagabonds roam the streets, where the illiterate and the uneducated are the champions of public policy, where human life is worthless and people are massacred in numbers every day. Nigerians, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), adore a Nigeria where truth has fallen in the streets and justice is an orphan.
Death-knell of Democracy
Never again. If there is anything to be learnt from the experience of the failed new idealists who ran for president in mushrooming parties this time around and lost their shirts, it is that Nigerian politics is a complete waste of time. The electorate has apparently never believed in the polls. They know their votes will not count. They know the only time politicians have any regard for them is during election campaigns.
The system has been rigged so that every election in Nigeria will now be determined by those who have filled the voting register with underage voters. So doing, your chances of being elected to high office are excellent if you are an incompetent, a crook, or a thief to boot. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance.
So, if they can get a small bag of rice or garri from the charlatans running for office, or maybe even just N1,000 for their thumbprint, that will do just fine. If you can give them even more, so they can attack polling booths in opposition strongholds and make away with the ballot boxes, they are ready. If you can give them lunch, so they can incite a riot, so an election being lost is declared inconclusive, they will do it. Thereby, the victor becomes the vanquished.
As a result, we will not see the idealism of 2019 come 2023, should this misnomer we call Nigeria still exist by then. The newcomers are once bitten, twice shy. Even now, by the time we came to the gubernatorial elections, after the farce of the presidential, Nigerians had lost all interest in democracy. Most people did not even bother to come out to vote again.
Of course, this did not prevent states like Kaduna from recording more fabricated votes in the gubernatorial election than even Kano did fictitiously in the presidential election. In short, what we witnessed in the recently concluded election was the death knell of democracy in Nigeria.
So what is the answer?
More and more people are going to vote with their feet. The industrious and the enterprising are going to seek greener pastures elsewhere, having concluded that Nigeria is a lost cause. They will go to Canada, to Australia, to those countries where merit is rewarded and excellence is the watchword. The smart ones who stay behind will start insisting on the dismemberment of this bogus contraption called Nigeria.
What the 2019 election tells me, in no uncertain terms, is that the future of Nigeria lies in the breakup of Nigeria. It is not what I want. It is not what I desire. But it is there in the cards.
I have written on several occassions that Nigeria should remain united. I said again and again that Nigeria cannot do without the Igbo. I have shouted in the wilderness that Nigeria cannot do without the North. But I have now reached the conclusion that, under the present circumstances, the breakup of Nigeria is inevitable. It is just a matter of time.
This is not a prediction: it is a warning. It is a call to arms. It comes from the realisation that the Nigerian political system has now been programmed so that every election will now be decided by those whose votes can be bought with 30 pieces of silver.
The system has been rigged so that every election in Nigeria will now be determined by those who have filled the voting register with underage voters. So doing, your chances of being elected to high office are excellent if you are an incompetent, a crook, or a thief to boot. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance.
I congratulate all those who won infamous victories in the just concluded elections. But “send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
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