The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday accused members of the opposition political parties of working with ‘’hostile foreign intelligence services to undermine’’ the general election.
In a similar vein, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, yesterday raised the alarm over the plot by ‘’subversive elements’’ in Nigeria, acting in collaboration with some ‘’foreign conspirators’’ to scuttle the poll.
But reacting swiftly to the minister’s allegation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) described it as ‘’a false claim,’’ adding that many Nigerians no longer take the minister seriously.
Mohammed, who stated this while addressing some editors in Abuja, made reference to ‘’a particular presidential candidate,’’ who he alleged was holding ‘’suspicious meetings with some envoys’’ as part of his plans to instigate them against the outcome of the elections.
Specifically, he claimed that the oppositions are sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington DC, to push the “concocted line that the Buhari administration has perfected the plan to rig the polls, while pushing for a rejection of the results if the president wins re-election,” saying they are also predicting carnage in the event of the president’s victory.
“He (the presidential candidate) is doing this because he has seen the handwriting on the wall; that he will be defeated; they are very desperate,’’ the federal government’s spokesman added.
The minister recalled how on January 21 this year he alerted the nation, also via a press conference, to the plot by some opposition elements to scuttle the 2019 general election by instigating widespread violence across the country, basing his alarm on ‘’credible intelligence.’’
According to him, ‘’We revealed that the plan to scuttle the polls is part of moves to push the nation into a constitutional crisis, with the plotters hoping they can leverage on that to push for an interim government. When we raised the alarm, the opposition dismissed it. Of course, they were shocked to have been found out, so we understand their panic reaction.
‘’To underscore the seriousness of our alert, a week after our press conference, the National Security Adviser (NSA) met with state governors to also inform them of this same plan to scuttle the polls via widespread violence. As I said at my last press conference, the alarm we raised is based on credible intelligence.
‘’Today, still based on credible intelligence, we can reveal that the opposition is moving a step further. They are working hard to discredit the forthcoming election before, during and after the polls.
‘’Specifically, they are sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington, DC, to push the concocted line that the Buhari administration has perfected the plan to rig the polls. They are therefore pushing for a rejection of the results if the president wins re-election. They are also predicting carnage in the event of the president’s victory.’’
He accused the opposition of engaging in ‘’incendiary rhetoric and in making outlandish claims’’ using several fronts, including the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) which, describing it as nothing more than a ‘’reincarnated Association for Better Nigeria (ABN)’’ that played suspicious roles in the failed 1993 political transition process.
The minister said that the oppositions are targeted, for the attack, the two key institutions that are most critical to the success of the election: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police by using every ‘’malleable and malicious’’ personality to make wild allegations against INEC.
Supreme court dismisses Atiku server suit
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, seeking to Inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for lacking in merit.
The apex court held that the request lacked merit because it was brought by Atiku after the parties had joined issues on the existence or otherwise of the server.
According to the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Chima Nweze, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was in order in refusing to grant Atiku’s request at the time it was made so as not to prejudice other parties in the matter.
In addition, the apex court held that the appeal lacked merit because the appellants failed to prove how the decision of the tribunal was unfair to them.
Justice Nweze said a party can only complain of the lack of fair hearing when discretion of court was wrongly or arbitrarily used by the court, adding that in this instant case the tribunal used its discretion judicially and judiciously.
“I see no reason to depart from the decision of the lower court, the appeal is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed,” the judge held.
Supreme Court set to rule on INEC server
The Supreme Court has suspended proceedings to rule on an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, for permission to be allowed access to a supposed server owned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) had on June 24, 2019, dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server, which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
It is the decision of June 24 that Atiku and the PDP now appealed at the Supreme Court.
A panel of the Supreme Court (led by Justice Datijo Mohammed after taking arguments from Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, (for the appellants); Yunus Usman, SAN, (for INEC); Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (for President Muhammadu Buhari) and Charles Edosomwan, SAN, (for the All Progressives Congress), rose briefly to consider the arguments and return for its decision.
The Election Petition Court, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, had, while dismissing the application by Atiku and the PDP, held that INEC, having denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba, who read the ruling, added that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
Buhari tasks ministers on team work
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja told ministers-designate that they must work as a team, stressing that his administration would rely on them to implement policies and programs to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
The president also described as frightening Nigeria’s “looming” population status, which he put at 200 million today but has been estimated by the United Nations (UN) to rise to 411 million by 2050.
He told the would-be ministers in Abuja at the opening of the two-day retreat for them that “working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing.”
The retreat is to familiarise the incoming cabinet members with governance process and to let them know expectations of them.
The retreat also began on a day the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, refused to grant an order by indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) seeking to stop the president from swearing in the 43 ministers-designate.
In his speech at the retreat, Buhari said: “As ministers, I am counting on you together with advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to building upon our road map of policies, programs, and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
“Our administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the world’s great nations.”
The president also told participants at the retreat to see their appointments as a great privilege and to ensure that they put in their best because Nigeria needs frontline individuals to address its many challenges.
He warned them to prepare for arduous commitments, which would require long hours of work and acute labor all geared towards optimal performance.
Buhari seized the occasion to give account of activities of his administration in the first term.
He said: “First – we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Second – we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Third – on corruption, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption.”
BREAKING: S’Court strikes out Atiku, PDP suit
The Supreme Court has struck out an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election.
The appeal marked SC/738/2019 was filed against a ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), in which it held that the Atiku and the PDP do not have a reply to an application filed on May 14, 2019, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking among others, the dismissal of their (Atiku and the PDP) challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the last presidential election.
In a ruling on Tuesday, a five-man panel led by Justice Datijo Mohammed struck out the appeal for having become statute-barred.
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