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Niger LG Polls: APC Clinches 22 Chairmanship Seats, PDP 1, 2 Awaited

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The Niger State Independent Electoral Commission, NSIEC has declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner in 22 out of the 23 chairmanship seats announced so far, while the opposition People Democratic Party, PDP got 1 seat. Results of the remaining two local councils are still been awaited.

The Chairman of the state electoral body, Alhaji Aminu Baba, who disclosed this on Sunday during a press briefing in Minna, said the PDP won the chairmanship in Gbako Local Government.

Baba said Mashegu and Tafa Local Government areas were yet to submit their results to the commission.

He noted that the election was inconclusive in seven wards in four local government areas, adding that a date for rerun in the affected areas will be communicated soon.

According to him, results for the councillorship elections were still been collated and would be announced in due course.

He further stated that nine political parties contested the elections, comprising 85 candidates for chairmanship and 616 councillorship contestants across the 25 local government areas of the state.

The state electoral boss commended security agencies for ensuring a hitch free conduct of the polls.

“We as a commission are proud to say the elections were generally impressive especially with novel innovations introduced by the commission to ensure free and fair elections.

“We must express our appreciation to the police, DSS, NSCDC and all other security agencies for their support towards a peaceful and successful conduct of the election,” he added.

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Why Tinubu May Decide to Play Osinbajo as His Trump Card

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Politics of 2023 has started and the process of brining onboard fresh heads for the plum seat, is in full throttle with the unabashed interest of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead Nigeria, writes Emameh Gabriel.
The 2023 general election is just around the corner with less than two years remaining for the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the road to 2023 continues to garner interest.

While politicking for who succeeds him seems to have been in full gear with gladiators, groups and stakeholders clamoring and canvassing for who and what they deem is the way forward for the country, given the current challenges in the country, the next general election promises to be filled with intrigues and controversy as forces jostle for dominance.
One particular name and personality that has continued to ring bell, somewhat controversially, is that of the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu rose to political prominence in the current democratic dispensation through shrewdness and far sighted political orchestrations. A factor that has enabled him to continue to exercise political influences when many of his peers have receded into oblivion.
For him, like some of his contemporaries who made similar attempts in previous elections, this might be his last shot. The coast is near clear for him as power is expected to shift from the north to any part of the south in 2023. It is an opportunity anyone in his shoes will grab without hesitation, particularly for a man with deep pocket.
Tinubu as Governor of Lagos between 1999 and 2007 successfully resisted the incursion of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into the Southwest region in the 2003 general election, and as ever since continued to gain strength and grounds, across the country, and becoming in 2015, the mastermind of the emergent APC victory at the polls. A feat that made him a domineering figure in the post – 2015 administration and politics, even claiming the title of national leader of the party.
It is widely believed that Tinubu’s support for the incumbent President Buhari in 2015, is premised on the ambition of subsequently emerging as the President of Nigeria. His hopes of first becoming vice president on a joint ticket with Muhammadu Buhari was dashed when forces within the formative APC resisted a Muslim – Muslim ticket, which left him with the only choice of deciding who emerges as the running mate of the then presidential candidate of the APC.
Tinubu decided to chose for the position, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a close associate, who was the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice during the former’s tenure as governor of Lagos. Having a professor of law on a joint ticket with Muhammadu Buhari caught the imagination of the public, shoring up the democratic credentials of the former military dictator and was a good sell for the APC propaganda machinery.
But with the emergence of the APC administration, pre – existing factions in the new ruling party began to crystallize and battle for supremacy, and much of the issues seems to revolve around the game plan for who and which region should succeed to the presidency in 2023. However, the South-west is believe to be in the best position to produce the next president going by permutations and Tinubu appears to be top on the ladder.
“Why not? He (Tinubu) should get the offer of first refusal”, said Mr. Elton Onwu, a member of the 2018 APC National Convention Committee and a member of the Screening Sub Committee.
Similarly, a former leader of the socio-political group, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti, recently expressed support for the presidential ambition of Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Mr Fasoranti stated this while receiving members of the South West Agenda for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (SWAGA 23), who paid him a courtesy visit in his country home in Akure.
He said: “Tinubu has all it takes to rule Nigeria. Considering his activities and track record, he deserves to be President, come 2023. May his prayers be answered. When he gets there, he will do all we want,”
Battle for the Soul of APC
APC which started as a union of five political factions in 2014 but after it ascended to power in 2015, two dominant tendencies crystallized to play dominant roles in the party affairs and general public administration. The northern tendency as symbolize by Nasir el-Rufai, Atiku Bagudu, Abba Kyari, Malami, Pantami and co, and on the other side, the Southwest faction led by Tinubu.
It was this power play that ushered the exit of John Odigie Oyegun as chairman of the ruling party and subsequently, Adam’s Oshiomhole. This tendencies do not fall strictly within geo – political/ regional lines as alignment and allies still exist across the geo- political regions. In the ensuing struggles, all sides seems to have laid claim to the moral ground but much of the final direction rests on the approval or body language of the president. As was the controversial deposition of Adams Oshiomhole as Chairman, a known protege of Tinubu.
Tinubu had sought key positions for his allies in both the government and party structures in a bid to fortify the pathway to his future aspiration. A desire largely responsible for his fallout with the leadership of the eight National Assembly and the subsequent determined imposition of the leaders of the 9th National Assembly.
But Tinubu’s hitherto free run of the party with former Edo State Governor and national chairman of the ruling APC, Adams Oshiomhole by his side came to an abrupt end with the intrigues that saw the emergence of Governor of Kebbi State, Mai Mala Buni as Chairman of the APC Caretaker and Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee. According to political observers, the subsequent APC registration and revalidation exercise by the new leadership of the party was intended to whittle down the remaining hold of the self styled national leader on the affairs of the party administration and scuttle his presidential ambition.
Analysts also believe that Tinubu may be in for the toughest fight of his political career as he contends with the latest forces arrayed against his interests. His case file was recently making rounds with the newly appointed Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa a supposed loyalist of the AGF, as the the anti – graft agency beams its search light on his dealings during his time as governor of Nigeria’s commercial capital.
A move seen by many as an attempt to damage his well crafted political brand for the eventual 2023 election. As a seasoned politician with a reputation, deep pocket and men to commit to a cause, the former Lagos State Governor is no doubt fighting back. He recently held his 12th Colloquium to mark his 69th birthday in Kano which saw a rich collection of important dignitaries. He is also said to enjoy the support of Kano and Katsina state governors as well as others in the region.
Although the Tinubu has not officially declared interest to contest in 2023, his body language has betrayed his intentions and with his campaign posters flooding streets in some parts of the country, it is obvious that he would no doubt throw his hat into the ring anytime soon.
While voices even in the north are calling for a southern presidency in 2023, making Tinubu a possible favourite, observers however opine that the new entry of Governors Dave Umahi and Ben Ayade of Bayelsa and Cross River states respectively into the APC, the raging agitation in the South-east for presidency will also contribute to the emerging permutations in the ruling party and the eventual decision of the party’s power rotation arrangement.
Osinbajo as Tinubu’s Joker
While Tinubu has been on the forefront of the multiple frays and absorbing the blows, Osinbajo, his protege and loyal lieutenant seems to have gone almost unnoticed on the political battlefield. The Professor of Law use to be a vibrantly visible character in the early days of the administration but as the intricacies of politics pulled his master away from the presidency, he has limited himself strictly to the scheme of things.
But some observers however averred that Osinbajo’s limited political stature may not be unconnected with the intention of the former to be visibly seen as the man at the heart of the play and a possible presidential successor in 2023. Osinbajo despite his electoral value to the APC/Buhari sellability propaganda in 2015 has always declined comment on the 2023 presidency candidacy.
But as Tinubu sets to contend against the obstacles ranged against the biggest prize of his political career, there are some who posit that VP Osinbajo may remain Tinubu’s only game if his original plan goes awry.
Tinubu has no doubt had a good run with the APC, beginning with the defeat of the ruling PDP in 2015 but his current quest seems to carry many luggages, which some believe may not stand the test of time.
“He knows what he is doing and he understands what is at stake. He is not desperate and at the same time, he will not watch them rubbish what he has built and the sacrifice he has made in the last decades. Yes, he might end up taking the bullet for one of his men”, a source from his camp told THISDAY.
Tinubu is a Muslim from the South, while being a Muslim from the South should ordinarily have been an advantage for his ticket as it would galvanize the northern Muslims to his cause, but on the contrary a Muslim succeeding a Muslim as president may not seat well with many people.
Since the advent of the Fourth Republic, the presidency has alternated between Muslim and Christian presidents. With Umar Yar’adua, a northern Muslim succeeding Olusegun Obasanjo, a Southern Christian, and Yar’adua subsequently succeeded by Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian who was also succeeded by a northern Muslim, Muhammadu Buhari.
Besides, it almost impossible to harvest a Christian from the north with good command of a fraction of the population in the region. This will be another mountain for Tinubu to climb.
Only recently, a group under the auspices of Progressive Consolidation Group (PCG), pleaded with Tinubu to shelve his ambition and support Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to contest the 2023 presidential election.
The group argued that for the purpose of re-strategization priorities of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, Osinbajo is the best replacement.
“Both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo must reach an accord for timely preparation of a more vibrant successor administration to be headed by the current Vice President while Tinubu should reconsider his ambition,”
However, having been in the thick of the annulled June 12, presidential election that witnessed a Muslim – Muslim ticket carry the day, may decide to seek a favourable balance that may hand him the presidential ticket of the APC, and some analysts posit that it may be possible through a balance with a popular northern Christian politician. No doubt one of the factors in former speaker, Yakubu Dogara’s recent political calculus when he returned to the ruling party.
But in the event that the ball slips out of his direct grip, observers believe that his best bet in retaining influence in the post – 2023 political dispensation is by supporting the emergence Vice President Yemi Osibanjo as flagbearer of the party. They opined that Osinbajo being a Christian from the South with a highly touted professorial status that enticed the Nigerians and galvanized the 2015 APC presidential ticket, It would be a better and easier sell, if it has the backing of Tinubu and the APC.
It is believed that the candidacy will unite and pacify many Nigerians, especially those who reckon that the Osinbajo as Vice President was lacking the presidential mandate and freedom to exercise his intellectual and political dexterity in dealing with issues and solving national problems.
While the clock ticks, it is clear that it would not be a smooth ride for the lion of Bourdillon, as Tinubu is sometimes known.
Source: Thisday

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INEC To Unveil New Polling Units Next Week

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said on Monday the commission would release a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the country next week.

Yakubu, who disclosed this at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck deployed by the Federal Fire Service to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, added that details of the locations of its registration centres and the procedure for the commencement of online registration Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of June.

He thanked the Federal Fire Service and all security agencies for demonstrating their support for the protection of INEC facilities nationwide.

Yakubu said: “We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centres and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week.”

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on INEC offices across the country.

The INEC chief added: “This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

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World leaders welcome new Israeli PM, Hamas adamant as Netanyahu vows soon return

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Several world leaders have welcomed Israel’s new government, but Palestinians remained defiant over what they perceived as a continuation of the previous administration.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year grip on power ended on Sunday, his administration replaced by a coalition government cobbled together by the centrist Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett. In a razor-thin 60-59 confidence vote, Israel’s parliament approved the new government.

The vote was won after Lapid finalised a coalition deal between eight different parties with little in common, aside from the desire to topple Netanyahu, leaving many analysts to question the new government’s chances of long-term survival.

Here is how world leaders reacted to the new government:

Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden said the United States remained committed to Israel’s security and would work with its new government. In a statement, the US president welcomed the new government coalition led by nationalist Naftali Bennett and sought to reaffirm US-Israel ties.

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations,” Biden said. “Israel has no better friend than the United States.“

The United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security,” Biden said. “My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was looking forward to “working closely” with Israel’s new prime minister.

“Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further. With this in mind, I look forward to working closely with you,” Merkel said in a message addressed to Bennett and shared by her spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Twitter.

Mahmoud Abbas

The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the change in government remains an Israeli matter and that Palestine’s demands remain the same.

“This is an internal Israeli affair,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Abbas’s spokesman, said in a statement. “Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” he added.

Hamas spokesman

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum insisted that no matter the colour of the new administration, Israel “remains a colonial entity”.

“Regardless of the shape of the government in Israel, it will not alter the way we look at the Zionist entity,” Barhoum said. “It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back,” he added.

Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz congratulated Bennett and Lapid and said he looked forward to working with them.

“Austria is committed to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and will continue to stand by Israel’s side,” he said on Twitter.Yair Lapid was the architect of the new Israeli coalition government [Gil Cohen/AFP]

Dominic Raab

The United Kingdom’s foreign minister also congratulated Bennett and Lapid on the formation of the government.

In a tweet, Dominic Raab said he looked forward to continued UK-Israel “cooperation on security, trade and climate change, and working together to secure peace in the region”.

Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he looked forward to working with Bennett and Lapid “to keep our people safe and supported as we recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic, and help both of our countries build back better”.

In a statement, Trudeau said the leaders would “explore ways to further strengthen the relationship between Canada and Israel”, including through a bilateral trade agreement. He also thanked Netanyahu “for his valuable partnership over the years”.

Chuck Schumer

US Senate Majority Leader said he hoped the new government will pave the way for “serious” negotiations over a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I am urging the Biden Administration to do all it can to bring the parties together and help achieve a two-state solution where each side can live side by side in peace,” Schumer said.Netanyahu promised that he would be back [Ariel Schali/AP Photo]

Benjamin Netanyahu

Removed Israeli prime minister swiftly took to social media promising to return soon to power.

“Do not let your spirit fall,” he said on Twitter. “We’ll be back – and faster than you think,” he added.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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