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INEC states general elections dates for the next 36 years

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced dates for general elections in the country for the next 36 years, starting from 2019 to 2055.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, made the announcement at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja.

“In 2019, the dates are February 16 and March 2; in 2023, the dates are February 18 and March 4.

“In 2027, the dates are February 20 and March 6; in 2031, it is February 15 and March 1.

“In 2035, it is February 17 and March 3; in 2039, it is February 19 and March 5 and in 2043, it will hold on February 21 and March 7.

“In 2047, it is February 15 and March 2; in 2051, it is February 18 and March 1; in 2055, it is February 20 and March 6,” Yakubu said.

He pointed out that in other democracies of the world, periods of elections are generally known and are not topics for speculation.

Yakubu explained that the aim was to engender certainty in the election calendar and also to allow for long-term planning by the commission and all stakeholders.

He said that certainty in election calendar was necessary to match Nigeria’s democratic system with global best practices.

The chairman said that in the last one week, INEC had received 108 applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties.

He said that 66 of the applications did not meet the initial requirements, while 33 passed and had proceeded to the next stage.He said that nine others were at the final stage of registration.

The INEC boss commended political parties for the roles they played in the governorship and National Assembly by-elections in Anambra, which ensured that the exercises were crisis-free.

He urged all existing political parties yet to comply with all relevant sections of the constitutional requirements necessary for their existence, to do so.

He advised the parties to ensure rancour-free conventions and congresses ahead of 2019 and the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections later in the year.

“Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations.

“Less than a year to the 2019 general elections, there are still cases in courts challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections,’’ he said.

Yakubu urged the parties to support the commission in its quest to sanitise the voter register by drawing the attention of the umpire to any irregularity.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.

He said with little or no financial support, political parties have been at the forefront of voter sensitisation to the need to conduct themselves responsibly at polling units.

Nalado commended the commission for creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections by rolling out election calendar in good time.

He added that the political parties were happy with the position of INEC on the sequence of elections, saying the commission acted on the existing law.

He welcomed the newly-registered political parties to IPAC and urged INEC to support the council’s plan to amend its code of conduct.

According to Nalado, the amendment will address issues of internal democracy and conflict resolution system, among other issues affecting political parties in the country.

(NAN)

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NEWS

Kano Assembly sets up panel to probe bribery allegations against Gov. Ganduje

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The Kano house of assembly has set up a panel to investigate the bribery allegation against Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the state, according to DAILY NIGERIAN.

In a video trending online, Ganduje was seen collecting bundles of dollars and putting them into his white dress known as ‘babanriga’ in the northern part of Nigeria.

The video has generated a lot of reactions from Nigerians, with some saying it is a dent on President Muhammadu Buhari’s corruption agenda since the governor is a member of the ruling party.

Raising a motion on Monday, Labaran Madari, a member representing Warawa constituency, said the assembly should investigate the authenticity of the video and take necessary actions.

Madari said the videos had brought the institution of governance in the state to disrepute.

The matter was seconded by Baffa Dan’Agundi, a member representing Kano municipal.

Alhassan Rurum, speaker of the house, therefore, constituted a seven-man committee to investigate the matter and report back to the assembly.

Members of the committee include Baffa Dan’Agundi, Labaran Madari, Garba Gafasa, Zubairu Masu, Ayuba Labaran, Abubakar Galadima, Garba Yau Gwarmai and Mujtafa Amin.

Sources were quoted as saying the assembly is planning to serve the governor impeachment notice as soon as the committee submits its report.

“This is a serious matter that should not be swept under the carpet. We did preliminary investigation and found out the videos are genuine. The committee is just mere formality,” said a member who was said to have preferred anonymity.

“The governor confessed to some of us that it was real but he is now trying to stop us from exercising our constitutional duty.”

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INVESTIGATION

Rivers APC Guber candidate, Tonye Cole reportedly skipped NYSC, omits degrees in nomination forms

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The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, is in trouble for skipping the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, the NEXT EDITION has found out.

Sources close to the stylish businessman-turned-politician said he is struggling to get the NYSC to help him out with the problem.

The Lagos-based billionaire emerged APC’s gubernatorial candidate for 2019 during the party’s primary in Port Harcourt on October 1.

Lawal Isa, Chairman, Rivers State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee, had said Mr. Cole got 3,329 votes to beat other aspirants.

According to him, Dawari George, a former aide to Rotimi Amaechi, scored 491 votes to come a distant second.

Dumo Lulu-Briggs, another business mogul who stood the election, secured 38 votes while a serving Senator, Magnus Abe, got a single vote.

Mr. Abe was the only person who voted for himself in the primary that was attended by no fewer than 4000 delegates.

But weeks after the primary was conducted and won, Mr. Cole is yet to name his running mate, situation observers blamed on the fear he might be disqualified after all.

This newspaper found out Mr. Cole deliberately omitted his tertiary education qualifications in the nomination forms he submitted to his party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Under academic records, Mr. Cole indicated he attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos from 1973-1978 and King’s College, Lagos, between 1978 -1983.

This shows in spite of his rich educational background, he only filed his primary school leaving certificate and the ordinary level West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education he obtained in June 1983 from the King’s College.

Apart from the WASCE, Mr. Cole also attached a testimonial from King’s College which showed he was born on January 11, 1967, and had attended the institution from Form One to Five.

With registration number 4107, he was a member of Mckee Wright House as well as the Literary and Debating Club.

The principal of the school at the time, Olapeju Oladele, indicated he held no leadership position but indicated he had a promising career.

“He has very strong personality traits and was well-behaved,” under behavioural traits.

However, under general remarks, Mr. Oladele wrote, “Patrick was a very promising student who has high potential to succeed in his chosen career.”

Based on his WASC attached to his nomination forms, Mr. Cole had credit (4) in English Language, good (3) in Geography, credit (4) in Economic and credit (6) in Mathematics.

Others include Physics – pass (7), Biology – credit (5), Art –credit (5) and Technical Drawing –pass (7).

With only WASC and a testimonial from King’s College attached to his forms, it seemed Mr. Cole, for some undisclosed reasons, deliberately omitted his degrees as contained in his public profiles.

While he failed to indicate his tertiary education qualifications, the APC candidate sumptuously showcased the training he has attended across the globe and the many papers he has presented and positions he has occupied.

But findings by this newspaper showed Mr. Cole went straight to King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom after he left King’s College, Lagos at age 16.

He is also said to be an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he was graduated with merit honours in Architecture.

Curiously, information regarding his tertiary education and the record of his compulsory NYSC participation are all absent in the document he filed with his party and INEC.

 

Given his family background and the age he completed his primary and secondary education, it is very clear Mr. Cole got his first degree before he was 23.

The one-year service, organised by NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.

Apart from being a prerequisite for obtaining government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the NYSC Act prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.

For instance, eligible persons, who skipped the scheme, are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2, 000 fine, based on Section 13 of the NYSC law.

In Section 13 (3) of the Act, a three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine is prescribed for anyone who contravenes the provisions of the law.

Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.

It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.

NEXT EDITION made several attempts within the last two weeks to speak with Mr. Cole on the issue but failed.

The APC chieftain would not pick calls or respond to text messages from this newspaper.

However, when contacted, on one of his allies, Tonye Princewill, said Mr. Cole could not speak on the issue because the party was yet to set up a campaign structure for the 2019 polls.

All of Mr. Cole’s public profiles show he had tertiary education in Nigeria and in Brazil but none indicates the dates of his graduation.

NEXT EDITION could not also extract any record of where he served in any of such profiles, some of which have been edited recently.

Attempts to speak with the NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, failed as her line was unreachable and text message to her phone was not replied.

But a senior staff of the scheme, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter said the NYSC has no record Mr. Cole served or was offered an exemption.

 

*Culled from THE NEXT EDITION

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NEWS

2019: Atiku picks Peter Obi as running mate

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The Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday picked former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, as his running mate in the 2019 general elections.

This newspaper gathered that Mr Atiku made the choice after narrowing his search for running mate to a politician from the South East.

On Wednesday, ThisDay reported that at least three technocrats and two politicians have been penciled down for the position.

The technocrats include: former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Charles Soludo; former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina; and former Managing Director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Chike Obi.

The politicians are: former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The PDP hierarchy are still undecided between the South-West and South-East, on the zone the position should be allotted.

Both zones were believed to have helped Atiku neutralise the Northern zones’ delegates’ votes that went to Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, during the presidential primary on Saturday.

More details soon..

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