The Southeast for President and Igbo Leadership Development Foundation has threatened to drag the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and other Nigerian political parties to court, if they did not respect the Federal Character Act and zoning principles enshrined in their constitutions and zone their presidential tickets to the Southeast in 2023.
Addressing a joint press conference in Enugu, the National Coordinator of SEFORP, Okechukwu Obioha and National Chairman of ILDF, Godwin Udibe, issued a 30-day ultimatum to the major political parties to zone their presidential tickets to the southeast region or face legal action.
Udibe, who spoke on behalf of the group said, “We have observed some ongoing subterranean maneu-verings in the political parties to shortchange the Southeast in the presidential contest in 2023.
“We wish to make it abundantly clear that any arrangement, be it at political stakeholders or political party levels, which denies the Southeast of presidential slot in 2023 will be resisted by every possible legal means
“We call on Nigerian political parties to respect the Federal Character Act and zoning principles enshrined in their constitutions and zone their presidential tickets to the Southeast zone in clear, unambiguous and unequivocal terms within the next 30 days, failing which we will take legal action for appropriate reliefs but in particular for the order of court compelling all the registered political parties to zone their presidential ticket to Southeast zone”.
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken exception to Presidency’s attack on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, saying the Presidency and not the governor, was guilty of spreading hate amongst Nigerians.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said its position was against the backdrop of an “inciting hate statement issued by the Buhari Presidency in a bitter personal attack on Governor Ortom on Wednesday, in which the Presidency made allusions to genocides in Rwanda.”
The statement read, “The PDP recalls how the Buhari Presidency has been planting seeds of discord in the country with hate language, divisive tendencies and unconcealed nepotism, to the extent that our nation has become widely divided along all fault lines.
“Nigerians have not forgotten how President Buhari, ahead of the 2011 general election declared that ‘if what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.’
“Moreover, Nigerians can recall how Mr. President tagged those whom he believed did not vote for him; how he described citizens as “dot in a circle,” as well as the hate language that attracted sanctions by Twitter.
“It is rather alarming that instead of taking steps to address the killings in Benue State as well as the worsening insecurity, carnages, banditry, terrorism and imminent humanitarian crisis in the country, the Buhari Presidency is thinking of Rwandan genocide while exposing its deep-seated detestation for Governor Ortom.
“Governor Ortom is a highly principled and forthright leader, who is loved not only in Benue, but also across the nation. The PDP urges Nigerians to hold the Buhari Presidency responsible should any harm come to him or his family members.
“As a party, the PDP demands that the Buhari Presidency should come clean on its handling of insecurity in the country. This is particularly against the backdrop of its manifest failure to battle and rout out terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and marauders that have taken over our highways, forests, pillaging communities and killing Nigerians on daily basis.
“Under President Buhari’s lethargic regime, bandits and terrorists have become so emboldened that they now attack military formations, including the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) where they killed and kidnapped officers for ransom.
“The PDP calls on President Buhari to rein in his aides, wake up from his slumber and decisively address the worsening insecurity in the country under his watch.”
The House of Representatives Committee on Finance, has said that the National Lottery Act 2005 was inconsistent with Nigeria’s constitution and not in the interest of Nigerians.
The committee stated this at its 2022 to 2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) interactive session with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The lawmakers expressed their worry over some of the provisions of the Act when the management of the National Lottery Trust Fund appeared before the committee on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The Chairman of the Committee Rep. James Faleke (APC-Lagos state) said that the committee was not satisfied with the powers given to the Fund on utilisation of resources.
“It is not in agreement with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as to who has the authority to approve the budget; it is not the president, the president shall present, and the National Assembly shall approve.
“In the meantime, we are giving this directive; that the Budget Office should write a letter to the Trust Fund pending the investigation we intend to carry out on the National Lottery Trust Fund, all revenue remittance to the fund should stop for now.
“We are not satisfied with the utilisation of the funds accrued to that agency and that money can save a lot out of our deficit.
“We will look at how the law came and we will amend it; it is completely not in agreement with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; there is no national interest at all, it is self-centred.,’’ Faleke said.
Also, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) described the Act as self-serving and not in the interest of Nigerians nor the interest of the Trust Fund, saying that it will be amended.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Fund, Mr Bello Maigeri, said that the Trust Fund had a mandate to intervene in several areas like sports, health, education and disaster management when there was need.
He said that in 2018, most of the activities carried out by the Fund covered the areas where it had mandate to intervene.
“Section 40 of the Act says proceeds of the Trust Fund shall be applied from time to time to fund projects approved by the President on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of the Fund, in the interest of the Nigerian community.
“Such a project shall be for the advancement, uplift-ment and promotion of sports development, education, social services, welfare, relief, and disaster management in Nigeria.
“Sub section B allows the Fund to use part of the proceeds for the cost of the administration of the Trust Fund; meaning that we are to lease our operational office in the headquarters and in the zones.
“We are to fund our operational vehicles and to carry out very key duties, such as monitoring and valuation, research and development and implement all these good causes under this cost of administration.
“Sub section C empowers the Fund to apply part of the proceeds for payment of emolument and allowances of staff and members of the Board of Trustees of the Fund,’’ he said.
An independent election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has predicted that poor turnout of voters will pose as a major threat to the success of the November 6, Governorship Election in Anambra.
The observer group said this at a one-day meeting with newsmen in Awka on Wednesday as parts of its pre-election monitoring activities in the state.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, a Board member of Yiaga Africa, said there were no visible signs that suggested that insecurity would hamper the exercise.
Nwagwu said the trend where no winner had emerged with more than 300,000 voters in Anambra which had no fewer than two million voters since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, was ugly and unfortunate.
He said that the fear of security threats had always been there as in the past and should be guarded against.
According to him, the major challenge is to get the Anambra electorate to come out and cast their votes.
He said Yiaga Africa was engaging with relevant stakeholders including the Police, NSCDC, traditional rulers, the media and political parties to change the narrative of elections in the state.
Nwagwu said the observer group would deploy 548 workers to polling units, collation centres and other layers of the process.
He urged residents of the state who had attained voting age to endeavour to register and ensure that they cast votes on the election day.
Also speaking, Prof. Nnamdi Aduba, a member of Yiaga Africa Board, decried the level of docility among politicians which was responsible for outcomes that were different from the real process.
Aduba said observer findings were good evidence in time of disputes.
In his presentation, Mr Paul James, Project Manager at Yiaga Africa, said the group would deploy “Watching The Vote” (WTV) to 250 of the 5,720 polling units in the state to capture the true situation on the election day.
James said the technology was successfully used in elections in Africa and that activities of Yiaga Africa were used as a guide for producing better electoral environment in Nigeria.
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