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APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at the inauguration of new governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Director of Media and Communications to the Kano State governor, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, @Dawisu tweeted pictures from the inauguration ground that showed Tinubu exchanging pleasantries with other dignitaries at the event.

 

Tinubu was believed to have worked against the emergence of Akeredolu, going by a letter he wrote to the APC National chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, after the primaries which produced Akeredolu as APC’s flagbearer for the guber poll. In the letter, Tinubu demanded Oyegun’s resignation as party chairman, accusing him of unfairness in the handling of the conflict emanating from the party primary.

It is believed that Tinubu’s candidate was Olusegun Abraham who scored 635 votes, just 34 votes short of Akeredolu’s 669.

Speculations on Tinubu’s unhappiness heightened when leadership of the APC, including President Muhammadu Buhari, went to Ondo State for campaigns without Tinubu being present. Also, Lagos state governor, as well as Osun state governor, both of whom are seen to be extremely loyal to the party leader, were absent from rally.

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South Africa is irked over Nigeria’s call on the Africa Union (AU) to intervene in the renewed xenophobia attacks in the southern African country.

 

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, spoke tough against Nigeria’s call and said that such issues were better discussed at the diplomatic level. According to Africa Review, Gigaba is reacting to the statement credited this week to Nigeria’s senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

 

The presidential aide had said there was need for the AU to step in. She claimed 116 Nigerians had been killed in South Africa in the last two years.

 

Youths protesting xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa, yesterday, in Abuja. Photos: Gbemiga Olamikan. “This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” said Dabiri-Erewa in an e-mailed statement.

 

Mr Gigaba Thursday said South Africa would ensure they take the issue up at a diplomatic level with Nigeria. He is set to meet with AU ambassadors in Pretoria on Friday. “We should desist as countries from pointing fingers at one another in regard to issues we may not have sufficient levels of information about,” he said.

 

Mr Gigaba was referring to the figures quoted by Ms Dabiri-Erewa that 20 Nigerian nationals were killed by South Africans last year and 116 in the last two years.

 

“I’m not privy to the figures from the Nigerian government and how they collected them. I don’t think it’s a discussion we should get into. “I don’t think it’s a discussion we need to get into because it will turn out very bad should we start counting how many South Africans have died at the hands of Nigerian nationals in South Africa,” Mr Gigaba said.

 

The minister had recently visited Rosettenville in Johannesburg where several houses belonging to foreign nationals had been burnt down. He said his engagement with the community showed that the people were only acting against immigrants perpetrating crimes in the area. “The people of Rosettenville where clear that they were not acting against foreign nationals but against immigrants involved in crime as they would act against South Africans involved in crime.

 

“There is nobody in South Africa who has attacked someone purely on the basis that they are from another country. Whenever there have been incidents, they were sparked by something and they then blew up,” he said. Mr Gigaba said he expected the AU ambassadors to support South Africa’s efforts to fight crime.

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Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), newly sworn in Ondo governor

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Rotimi Akeredolu minutes ago was sworn in as Governor of Ondo State.

Akeredolu took oath of office at exactly 11:34am as the sixth executive governor of the state. The accomplished lawyer led the All Progressives Congress (APC) which was in opposition in the state to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a hotly contested governorship election.

 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has received the report of the Joint Police/DSS Special Investigation Panel on Rivers Re-Run elections of December 10, 2016.

The rerun election to elect state and federal lawmakers for Rivers was marred with violence include the death of at least two police officers.

An audio later emerged where the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was heard admitting to bribing some INEC officials.

Mr. Wike and the Rivers State government boycotted the police investigations accusing the police of having a premeditated agenda.

Six police officers attached to the governor during the elections have since been dismissed by police authorities for alleged partisan roles; a move condemned by the Rivers governor.

An INEC National Commissioner, Solomon Soyebi, said on Thursday in Abuja at a press conference that “from the report, we gathered that the police have concluded their investigations and 25 INEC staff who were indicted will be prosecuted. The commission has resolved to co-operate with police in the process.

“In addition and without prejudice to their prosecution, the indicted INEC staff will also face the commission’s internal disciplinary process.

“The commission wishes to reiterate clearly that it will not shield staff that engages in any conduct that will undermine the integrity of the electoral process.”

Mr. Soyebi added that the commission had also considered the report of its Administrative Inquiry into the same election in which 28 staff were indicted of misconduct.

He explained that the commission accepted the report’s recommendations that all the 28 indicted staff should face internal disciplinary action for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and negligence.

But INEC’s promise to prosecute electoral offenders is not new. After the 2011 general elections, under the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega, INEC promised to prosecute electoral offenders, a promise that remained unfulfilled until he Jega left office in 2015.

However, INEC later explained the difficulties it was facing with prosecution of electoral offenders. Speaking in 2013, Jega said for the organisation to be able to prosecute offenders, it needed its legal department completely “unbundled”. He said INEC’s legal unit was too small, a situation that would make electoral offenders walk free if not corrected.

He also called for the establishment of an electoral offences commission.

It is not clear that both issues which the former chairman raised have been addressed in the commission, which raises the question of the commission’s capacity to make good its latest promise of prosecuting electoral offenders.

 

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Brazil's Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Serra speaks to the media during a press conference in Montevideo, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Jose Serra, Brazil’s foreign minister, has resigned from his post to attend to health-related issues.

Serra, in a letter to Brazil President Michel Temer, said he needed to take care of his health and prepare for upcoming medical treatments, CNN reports.

The foreign minister expressed sadness over his decision to step down but noted that his doctors told him he would need “at least four months” to adequately recuperate.

Serra was said to have personally given Temer the letter which was published by state-run news agency Agencia Brasil.

The 74-year-old had only been on the job for less than a year.

Serra assumed the role after former president Dilma Rousseff was suspended in May 2016

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The Nigerian naira on Thursday recovered to N490 per dollar, as the fresh policy action from the Central Bank of Nigeria finds its foothold, according to online newspaper, The Cable.

A bureau de change operator, who spoke to TheCable in Lagos, said the naira recovered drastically from 515 per dollar on Wednesday, to 490 on Thursday morning.

Ibrahim Baba, a trader in Abuja, the nation’s capital, said the local  currency is trading 498 to the greenback at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno State

Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor, has said it is only insanity that can motivate anyone to be talking about succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari at a time when he is addressing his health issues.

Reacting to a purported call made to this effect by Danlami Kubo, the deputy speaker of the Borno house of assembly, Shettima said, “It would amount to moral insanity for anyone to be discussing succession of President Buhari at this time.”

Isa Gusau, his spokesperson, in a statement said, “I received a Google alert of the story credited to a lawmaker in Borno State over issue of succession. Governor Kashim Shettima was deeply angered by that report and he has tried reaching the lawmaker to clarify if he granted that interview or he was misrepresented.

“In the meantime, Governor Shettima feels it would amount to moral insanity for any Nigerian to be discussing issues of succession at a time a very popular, highly experienced and capable sitting president is managing his health.

“We have a sitting President, a popular one that we are all proud of for working more than anyone would have done in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency which is our number one problem in our state, the north-east and the Northern region.

“How can anyone in his right thinking be talking about succession when a cherished President is dealing with his health? What has gone wrong with our moral values?

“Has politics taken over our sanity? What is most precious to me is to have Boko Haram brought to an end and I don’t think anyone would have done better than what President Buhari is doing for us. This call does not represent the slightest of my thoughts.

The Borno governor further noted that nobody in Nigeria’s history nobody had successfully aspired to be the country’s president.

He said most Presidents were invited to contest without actually nursing any aspiration.

“Only a mad man blindly aspires to be Nigeria’s President if history is anything to go by. From 1979 to date, nobody with aspiration for the presidency has achieved it,” Shettima said.

“President Shagari was invited to contest without aspiration in 1979; President Obasanjo was invited to contest without aspiration in 1999; President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was invited to contest without aspiration in 2007; President Jonathan who eventually succeeded

“Yar’Adua was also invited to become Vice President without aspiration. Even President Buhari with his electrifying popularity didn’t win the presidency in his 2003, 2007 and 2011 aspirations until in 2015 when he was invited to contest.

“This is the complexity of Nigeria’s politics and any person with the slightest wisdom must learn from history and face his business of the day.

The Borno governor added that President Buhari will be fine and successfully re-elected, noting that his “greatest wish is that the person succeeding me as the next governor of Borno State doesn’t inherit the Boko Haram crisis like I inherited the crisis in 2011 and my other wish is that Borno is rebuilt before whoever is taking over from me at Allah’s appointed time.”

“I am not the ungrateful and not the blindly ambitious type and I thank Allah for his grace and pray that I succeed in positively reversing the Borno story

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Amnesty International took to Social Media on Wednesday to dismiss the recent attack by Nigerian Military on the organisation’s latest report which detailed how the military violates human rights in the country.

In the report, the organisation stated that 240 people including infants died in a dreaded military detention centre in Borno in 2016 while 177 pro-Biafran agitators were extra-judicially killed same year.

Angered by the report, the military released a statement claiming Amnesty International was on a mission to tarnish the “good image” of the Nigerian military.  Acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, described the report as a continuation of AI’s “series of spurious fabrications aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Nigerian military.”

Continuing in its vituperation against Amnesty International the military said the organisation was in the habit of encouraging “activities of non-state actors who take up arms against the state, killing, maiming and destroying public property.”

“In as much as the Nigerian military acknowledges and respects the views and constructive criticism of individuals, groups or even international organisations including Amnesty International, it will not fall for nor accept the deliberate falsehood that have no bearing with the fact or reality on ground.

“The truth is that the Nigerian military has always been open in its operations and do not hide its activities from the probing eye of the public. Amnesty International chose to bandy fabricated reports and concocted stories instead of seeking clarifications from the relevant authorities.”

“It smacks of mischief for the AI to insist on publishing unverified and unsubstantiated report as it is only them that knows why it embark on such dishonourable venture over a period of time,” he said.

“The Nigerian military rejects this AI reports in its entirety and appeals to all well meaning Nigerians to disregard the report and discountenance its contents as they were meant to paint Nigeria in bad light. We reassure our citizens of our commitment to terminate these myriads of security challenges facing our country, mindless of unfounded reports and cheap blackmail by AI,” the statement said.

But Amnesty International has dismissed the attacks on its report by the military as an age-long tactic applied globally by human rights violators. The organisation identified the Nigerian Military as being in the habit of attacking AI whenever its report on the military’s habitual human rights violations is published.

Amnesty Nigeria posted the following tweets in response to the military:

 

 

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Justice Adeniyi Ademola, High Court judge standing trial over allegations of corruption

Kola Awodein, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), on Wednesday, admitted to giving Adeniyi Ademola, a judge facing corruption trial, N500,000, but he said it was a gift for the wedding of the judge’s daughter.

While being cross-examined in the trial of the judge on Tuesday, Babatunde Adepoju, an agent of the Department of State Services (DSS), claimed that Awodein gave Ademola N500, 000 at the time he was representing President Muhammadu Buhari in a “missing certificate” suit before the judge.

However, the witness added that it was a gift and not a bribe.

In a statement issued through Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari’s lawyer said he gave Ademola the gift for his daughter’s wedding as a friend.

He said the gift had nothing to do with Buhari because it was his personal offering to the judge, whom he had known for 35 years.

“I am constrained to make in absolute good faith , in good conscience and in the interest of justice and fair play the following very short statement on account of the distorted news story currently being peddled as  affecting the person of Mr President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and  my good and very noble self,” he said.

“The very simple and plain facts are as follows:

“I have known as a friend and for well over 35 years Mr Justice Niyi Ademola, a notorious fact known to majority of lawyers who have practiced especially in Lagos for over that same period more or less and also to so many other professionals of other disciplines and other prominent and not so prominent Nigerians.

“It is a fact that the sum of money mentioned was personally paid by me as a friend to Mr Justice Ademola as a personal gift, as our custom well recognises and demands, on the occasion of his daughter’s high society wedding solemnised at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, on the 9th of May 2015, which I attended in person.

“I was fully convinced then, as I remain today, that I could do no less as a friend of longstanding to fairly reasonably support him on that memorable occasion of his daughter’s wedding.

“Anyone and everyone who knows me would readily and unquestionably testify that I am and have always been a man of impeccable integrity on and off the courts and that such a record speaks always loudly for itself.

“I would conclude by stating categorically and without any equivocation that  ANY link whatsoever with Mr President, or any court case or cases, of my personal gift from my personal resources delivered to Justice  Niyi Ademola by myself on that occasion or any suggestion whatsoever that it was anything but such a gift or that it ever came from Mr President or at his instance or that I was acting, under any circumstances, on his behalf is most malicious, utterly ridiculous and in very very poor and revolting taste and most undeserving of any further comments.”

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Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has declined approving four bills the national assembly forwarded to the executive for assent.

Osinbajo conveyed his decision in a letter read on the floor of the senate by Bukola Saraki on Wednesday.

The bills are –  Dangerous Drug Amendment Bill, 2016; National Lottery Bill, 2016; Currency Conversion Freezing Order Amendment Bill, 2016, and  Agricultural Credit Scheme Bill, 2016.

The acting president said assent to some of the bills was withheld due to “concerns regarding words and phrases, and the spirit behind the amendment”,  and due to “the existence of pending legal issue”.

Speaking on the refusal of the acting president to sign the bills into law, Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi west, said the executive must respect the principle of separation of powers.

He said it was the responsibility of the executive to assent to bills made by the legislature or go to court to challenge them.

However, the senate president said the matter would be referred to the legal department of the national assembly for advice and interpretation.