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Prosecutors frustrate Gbagbo’s return to Cote d’Ivoire

(Reuters) Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday asked judges to bar former Ivory Coast President, Laurent Gbagbo, from returning to his homeland, a day after he was acquitted on all charges.

In a filing ahead of a hearing on Wednesday in which judges are expected to discuss the terms of his release, prosecutors said if they appeal the acquittal, Ivory Coast might not ensure or be able to compel Gbagbo’s return to the Hague.

After Gbagbo’s arrest and extradition in 2011, Ivory Coast’s government has not cooperated with the court in other matters, prosecutors said in a statement.

Facebook tightens rules for political adverts for Nigeria, others due to upcoming election

Facebook is tightening the rules of political advertising on its platform in countries with big elections to be held in 2019, such as India, Nigeria, and Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The company is taking such measures in order to counter interference with the electoral process, the source noted.

According to Katie Harbath, director of global policy and coverage, beginning on Wednesday in Nigeria, only ads located in the country will be able to run electoral ads, mirroring a policy unveiled during an Irish referendum last May.

Tthe same policy will take effect in Ukraine in February, the source noted adding that Nigeria holds a presidential election on Feb. 16, while Ukraine will follow on March 31.

What comes to India, which parliamentary elections set for this spring, Facebook will place electoral ads in a searchable online library starting from next month, said Rob Leathern, a director of product management at the company.

“We’re learning from every country,” he said. “We know we’re not going to be perfect, but our goal is continuing, ongoing improvement.”

Facebook believes that holding the ads in a library for a total of seven years is a key part of fighting interference, he noted.

Buhari, Osinbajo to address people live on TV

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will today participate in a live TV two-hour town-hall programme.

The programme will start at 8pm, according to a statement by Festus Keyamo, Director, Strategic Communications,
APC Presidential Campaign Council.

The town hall meeting shall hold at the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Ballroom of Sheraton Hotel Abuja.

Keyamo said attendance is strictly by invitation. All guests are expected to be seated by 7:00pm.

The presidential series, which is titled “The Candidates”, is designed by the organisers to have both the Presidential and their Vice-Presidential Candidates of selected political parties on stage at the same time and at different dates to take questions from the moderator, Kadaria Ahmed and from the general public through various platforms.

The programme would be broadcast live on NTA, which shall in turn provide the live feeds to other partner stations like TVC, Wazobia TV, Oak TV and on all Radio Nigeria stations.

It will also be streamed online at Dtv.media to enable Nigerians in diaspora to participate.

Female Soldiers Assault Motorist in Lagos

Two female soldiers assaulted a man on Tuesday at Shipeolu Street, Shomolu, Lagos.

The incident happened in traffic this morning, an eyewitness said that the soldiers came down from a BMW car and started beating up the man.

Click to watch video of him being beaten.

The man Mr Onilude Ayangbemiga said they tried to overtake him but he did not stop because their plate number was covered and he feared they were robbers. They overtook him the second time and started beating him when he came down.

“They were claiming to be a soldier, but at the end of the day I was beaten to the extent that I have this wound on me”. – Mr Ayangbemiga.

Efforts to talk to the soldiers were proved abortive as our correspondent was slightly attacked by the soldiers.

Ohanaeze backtracks on Atiku’s endorsement ahead forthcoming elections

By News Desk

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has denied endorsing Alhaji Atiku Abubarka, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Chuks Ibegbu, disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu at a media briefing to mark the second anniversary of the current executive of the organisation.

Ibegbu said that the clarification became necessary following misconceptions on the event of Nov. 14, 2018 where some Igbo leaders endorsed the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar for presidency.

It would be recalled that some Igbo leaders had during a meeting in Enugu attended by Atiku and the national leaders of the PDP including the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki endorsed Atiku.

Ibegbu, however, clarified that the said endorsement was done by the friends of Atiku, adding that the organisation had not endorsed any particular candidate.

The deputy national publicity secretary said that the organisation needed to be circumspect, “as our children are in all the political parties.’

“It is erroneous to say that we endorsed Atiku. Ohanaeze Ndigbo did not endorse anybody. That meeting at Nike Lake Resort was organised by friends of Atiku.

“However, due to our peculiar circumstance in the country, we will identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria if voted into power,” he said.

He said that the organisation would soon meet to take a holistic position on the 2019 general elections.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been canvassing for our people to identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria.

“We still stand on that and in the next few days we shall meet to take a holistic position on the elections,” he said.

Ibegbu noted that within the two years in office of the Chief John Nwodo led Ohanaeze Ndigbo, “we have given our modest contribution by re-jigging Igbo leadership and issues concerning our people”.

He said that the current leadership of the organisation had built synergy with its affiliate groups with a view to achieving unity in the area.

He said that the dexterity and leadership acumen of Nwodo had positively affected the relationship between the organisation and other ethnic socio-cultural associations in the country.

“This has earned the president general an award as ‘Bridge Builder of the Nation’, which will be presented to him on Jan. 17 by Daily Independent Newspapers,” Ibegbu said.

84m Nigerians eligible to vote during 2019 election-INEC

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Barely 40 days to the Presidential elections, Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that no fewer than 84 million Nigerians were eligible to cast their vote during the election.

The announcement came weeks after the commission deployed voter register to all polling units across the country to assist voters identify their polling units.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed number of eligible voters on Monday at the Quarterly Consultative meeting with Political Parties in Abuja.

While presenting the National Register of Voters to Political Parties, Yakubu stressed that the 84,004,084 Nigerians were those that have registered and data captured in its bank for onward check for any party.

He stressed that handling over the names to parties was one of the steps required by the commission to embark on before organising election in the country.

 

Buhari cedes 2019 presidential election campaign to Tinubu

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

President Muhammadu Buhari has handed over his entire re-election campaign team to National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, barely 40 days to the election.

Buhari stressed that the unlike past administrations that often allowed their re-election bid affect governance, he would concentrate on governance allowing the APC national leader to run his daily campaign exercise for him and the party.

The president announced ceding of his campaign structure to Tinubu at the inauguration of Presidential campaign Council on Monday which was also attended by Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Amobode and his campaign Director General, Rotimi Amaechi and others.

He noted that though he would be deeply involved but governance in the country must not be allowed to suffer because the campaign would require that every part of the country be visited for the exercise.

“Even though we have only 40 days, this campaign is going to tax us all, because we intend to touch all corners of our great and vast country. But I must also add that, though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge, and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.

“That is to say, the operational buck of this campaign stops at his table, and I therefore urge all of us in the leadership of this campaign, in the field operations on the campaign trail and in the secretariat to consult with Asiwaju whenever guidance is needed.

“To my mind, the division of responsibility is clear enough. The Leadership that has formulated the campaign policy will supervise its execution; the Director-General will have overall responsibility for all aspects of the campaign, including field operations; while the Secretary will be responsible for all administrative and treasury-related activities of the council,” he added.

The president however tasked the council members to resist being provoked, remain focused and civil in their campaigns, saying, let us engage our citizens on issues and ask for reflection on the comparative difference between 2015 and 2019 on security, economy and corruption and abuse by those entrusted with leadership in Nigeria.

In his welcome address, Director General (DG) of the President Muhammadu Buhari reelection campaign, Rotimi Ameachi, appealed to Nigerian not to cast a single vote for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in next month presidential election.

Amaechi warnedd that a vote for the PDP was voting for a return to looting of the public treasury which ended since the present administration assumed office.

“I appeal to Nigerians, dont give one vote to the PDP. They are hungry. They cannot stand poverty” adding that what makes APC different from the PDP is that “we arent stealing money”.

He said the reasons why Nigetians are hungry is because the opposition party has stolen all the money meant for the development of Nigeria

Amaechi urged Nigerians to demand from the PDP what they did with the nation’s resources in the 16 years they were in power.

Reeling out the achievement of the the APC led Federal Government, the DG said the party under President Buhari has done well in the fight against corrupt, creation of jobs for the unemployed, growing the economy as well as infrastructure development stressing however that no leader can fix Nigeria in four years.

“The change is a gradual process,” Ameachi said adding “we cant change Nigeria in four years and anybody who says he can change Nigeria in four is lying but we are getting there”.

ASUU accepts INEC modalities, okay participation in 2019 General Elections

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Despite on strike over increase in salary and other benefits, Academic and Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accepted to participate in the forthcoming elections.

The acceptance was announced after a closed door meeting between the lecturers and officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Friday.

At the meeting, it was gathered that both parties discussed ongoing strike by the Union and how they could help save the country’s democracy through their participation in the election.

Earlier, the INEC boss said: We are concerned that the bulk of critical election duty staff are drawn from the universities. We are determined to ensure that processes are not affected by the Union’s industrial action.

“ASUU is a critical partner to the Commission in delivering credible elections. We look forward to the meeting and we are confident of a positive outcome.”

 

Herdsmen urge Nigerians to reject Atiku ahead Presidential election

BY News desk

Ahead of the Presidential election, Herdsmen have urged Nigerians to reject Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, alleging he was moving to destabilize the country’s peace and harmony.

Herdsmen came weeks after the PDP candidate supported Amnesty International on report released in December; entitled, “Harvest of Deaths: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders”, where the international organisation said the clashes claimed 3,641 lives in three years.

The herders on the aegis of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio-Cultural Association, have asked Nigerians not to vote for Atiku during Feb.16 election.

The National President of the Association, Bello Bodejo, made the call at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.

The organisation said the killings were fuelled by the “failure of authorities to investigate communal clashes and bring perpetrators to justice”, an allegation that the Federal Government has dismissed.

“Atiku weighed in on the report to attack the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for failing in its duty to protect the lives of its people who have witnessed many preventable deaths.”

Miyetti Allah came down hard on the former vice president, describing his reaction as “a naked dance in the market place”.

“We totally condemn the desperate vituperation of Atiku for lashing on the false Amnesty International report with the hope of garnering political capital from the farmers/herders conflict.

“We call on our members and peace-loving Nigerians not only to condemn him for the naked dance in the market place but to totally reject him as a presidential candidate.

“This is because his intentions are inimical to progress, development and peaceful coexistence of the country.”

The association’s leader said former President Olusegun Obasanjo should be blamed for “hoisting a shadowy character like Atiku as vice president on the nation, and now trying desperately to bring him back as president.”

The PDP’s candidate, he further alleged, “is surrounding himself with ethnic irredentists and hate speech merchants that have been profiling the Fulani race and calling for their genocide”.

Bodejo called on Buhari to direct the security agencies to place Atiku under surveillance for his alleged inciting statements against the herders.

“His statement as a presidential candidate is capable of destabilising the country, especially considering that he is currently surrounded by anarchists and hate speech merchants feeding on the lucrative industry of fake news and ethnic irrenditism.”

The association also condemned AI for releasing a “substantially false” report, which it said was intended to satisfy the organisation’s paymasters and further stoke the conflict.

The national president called on the Federal Government to closely monitor AI’s activities in the country, especially its sources of funding.

Sanwo-Olu hits campaign ground-running after 5,000 OPC members endorsement

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos state gubernatorial candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu campaign has received external boost from 5,000 Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) members’ who endorsed him as next governor of the state.
OPC endorsement came barely days after the Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obefemi Hamzat, shelved their holidays to extend their campaign across the state for all APC candidates including President Muhammadu Buhari.
Director General, Independent Campaign Group (ICG), Tayo Ayinde, said that the endorsement would serve as a boost for the party to achieve maximum vote during election.

Addressing the members on Thursday at the Sanwo-Olu Campaign office in Ikeja, Ayinde assured that the Sanwo-Olu administration would operate all inclusive governance.
He said: “Aside declaring your support here, we all need to also do it with our Permanent Voter Card (PVC), by voting for APC candidates in Lagos. And do not limit this endorsement to Lagos alone, extend it to other states because your members are present there; tell them that they should cast their vote for all APC candidates.”
According to him, the victory of APC must not be ensured in order to have a better Nigeria because welfare of every Nigerian is concern of the party.
After accepting their endorsement, Ayinde tasked the OPC members to ensure they protect their vote to prevent alteration of election results.
“As you have declared your support for us, ensure that on Election Day, wait till electoral officers count your vote. After announcing the result, monitor movement of ballot boxes to the collation centres because anything can happen within that time. I am not saying you should fight but monitor movement of ballot boxes to prevent any alteration.
“Our aim is to have more votes than any political party and with your support, we can achieve it. We accept this support and believe with this support, we will achieve our aim during forthcoming election,” the Director-General added.
Earlier while declaring their support for APC, Vice President, OPC, Wasiu Afolabi, stressed that their visit was to officially declare their loyalty to APC and Sanwo-Olu, saying, this is the dream of our late founder, Fredrick Fasheun.
Afolabi added that the aim of the late founder was to partner APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to protect the interest of Yoruba race in the country.
He noted that part of the plan was to assist APC claim all available seats during forthcoming election in South West.
“We are fully ready to ensure APC win through our votes. Aside voting, we will ensure that no one disrupt the electoral process across the state.”
The Vice President hinted that the official declaration would have happened before demise of Fasheun but efforts to actualise it broke down due to miscommunication.
“The APC party leadership played a role in bringing the dream of our founding father, Fredrick Fasheun, to reality towards the formation of OPC, so we are glad to be back home as a progressive people.

“It is a of joy and great achievement for OPC that our late founding father Dr fredrick fasheun has resolved to put his difference aside with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and work together for the common interest of the Yoruba race and the whole South West.”