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APC cautions foreign envoys

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council yesterday warned the United States Ambassador, Mr. Stuart Symington, and other diplomats that have been critical of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, against making further comments that are capable of undermining the integrity of the general election starting on Saturday.

All Progressives Congress

The Director of Strategic Communication of the party’s campaign, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, in a statement in Abuja, expressed worry at comments allegedly made by the US ambassadors and other diplomats, saying they are tended to cast doubt in the ability of the Buhari-led administration to conduct free and fair elections.

The ruling party also accused Symington of threatening that his country would punish any politician who makes inciting political speeches.
The party, which referred to recent statements credited to the US ambassador, said that it would appear that the envoys have discredited the election even before it took place.

APC further accused the US of being guilty of a double standard for granting Vice President Atiku Abubakar special status to enter the US territory.
In a statement issued yesterday, Keyamo described the diplomats’ views directed at Nigeria’s upcoming elections as unwarranted and attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Nigeria.

“We are deeply concerned about many of the expressions of the United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, and other Western diplomats, which have been directed towards Nigeria’s upcoming elections.

‘’While we laud and whole-heartedly welcome their interests in the elections, many of these expressions have been notably off-key. The continued warnings about flawed elections are capable of casting an unwarranted cloud over the process,” it said.

The APC said that instead of encouraging efforts towards credible elections, such statements undermine public confidence in government.
It said that Ambassador W. Stuart Symington was reported to have threatened to “hold to account anyone whose speech, no matter the motivation of that speech, engendered hatred.”

For instance, APC said the American Ambassador had criticized its call on Nigerians to reject the presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar over “his political and economic policies that are abhorrent and dangerous”.
“We truly hope some of the statements attributed to these diplomats are inaccurate; the unfounded allegations and threats to penalize people for constitutionally-protected free speech is improper interference in our internal affairs.
“We all agree that any speech wilfully intended to trigger violence is condemnable. However, in condemning other forms of political speech, the American envoy overstepped his ambassadorial brief.

“We take the view that the constant statements by Ambassador Symington and the other diplomats are implicit attacks against the government of Nigeria.
“These statements imply the Nigerian government is inclined to rig the election in favor of President Buhari. This is unfair and unacceptable to us. President Buhari has never been accused of electoral malpractice all his life,” said APC.

While defending its campaign statements, APC said it is the duty of the candidate to tell the people truth to protect the nation from subsequent calamity.
While further deploring the US envoy’s views, APC said he failed to acknowledge an open confession of blatant electoral malfeasance by the PDP candidate.
It also said that the ambassador intentionally issued his threats to place a chilling effect on speeches in Nigeria, which if uttered in America, would be constitutionally protected.

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Imo: House of Assembly recalled five members it suspended for months

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Imo State House of Assembly has finally recalled five of its members it suspended six months ago over alleged “un-parliamentary” conduct.

The lawmakers were recalled during the Tuesday plenary of the state Assembly presided over by Speaker Acho Ihim.

Announcing their recall, Ihim said the lawmakers were recalled after invitation for an interaction during the Assembly executive session.

The Imo State House of Assembly had in October 2018, suspended the lawmakers on allegations bothering on un-parliamentary conduct.

The recalled members are Chiji, Uche Oguwuike, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Donatus Onuigwe, and Kenna Nzeruo.

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Senator: Buhari has no favourite candidate – Yusuf

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The Senator representing Taraba Central senatorial district, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, on Tuesday disclosed that contrary to speculations in certain circles, President Muhammadu Buhari was not supporting any particular aspirant for the office of the 9th Senate President.

Speaking with select newsmen in his office, Yusuf stated that Buhari told the aspirants to go into wider consultations with their colleagues in the hallowed chamber for support.

In his words, “I’m only speculating Mr. President on this issue.

“Buhari has no particular aspirant in mind to support. He said everybody is free to contest.

“He has asked all interested aspirants that they are free to aspire but urged them to consult widely with their colleagues for support.”

When further grilled, the Taraba senator said nobody among the aspirants should be contented with being nominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership.

He added, “Since the position was zoned to the North-East, it is the duty of the lawmakers from the geo-political zone to harmonise and have a consensus candidate”.

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President Buhari congratulates newly elected Isreali Prime Minister

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel on his victory in the parliamentary election.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday, extended best wishes to the people of the State of Israel in the aftermath of the successful conclusion of the poll.

The Nigerian leader, who also wished them peace, progress and stability, said he looked forward to continue to work with the Israeli Prime Minister to strengthen existing cordial and mutually-beneficial relations between the two countries.

Buhari wished Netanyahu a successful new term in office and prayed that his record fifth term would bring enduring peace and security to the Middle East.

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APC challenges Atiku’s nationality. The former vice president replies

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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 election, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not deserve an answer, after contesting his Nigerian citizenship.

The former vice-president stated this in a statement, signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, on Saturday.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, claiming that from the data in INEC’s server, he actually polled a total of 18,356,732 votes while Buhari recorded 16,741,430.

But APC urged the tribunal to dismiss PDP’s petition for incompetence, arguing that Section 131(a) of the Constitution stipulates that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to be qualified to contest for the office of the President.

Atiku’s statement read: “Dear citizens of our beloved country, Nigeria, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, told us previously that he has verifiable and incontrovertible evidence to show that the last Presidential elections were fraudulent, not credible and did not reflect the will of the Nigerian people, and he has been vindicated by the response of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, to his petition to the Electoral Tribunal hearing the petition he filed.

“The former Vice President based his case on facts and statistical evidence and challenged both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC, to disprove his factual submissions.

“The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019.

“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’.

“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

“Atiku Abubakar has served our nation diligently in various capacities, form the civil service, where he rose through merit, to the top of his chosen field, to public service, where, by the grace of God, he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Moreover, he has committed his assets and talents to developing our nation through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.”

Atiku added that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty, are the very people whose Nigerians should be in doubt “and not a man who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than eight years.”

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