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Nigeria’s electoral body uphold PDP’s winning of Bayelsa after court ruling4 minutes read

INEC’s recognition of the Supreme Court judgment on Friday finally put a death knell to the ambition of APC’s David Lyon who was let down by his deputy-governorship candidate, Biobarakuma Degi-eremienyo, caught in a certificate forgery scandal.

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Senator Douye Diri, candidate of the PDP recognised as winner of Bayelsa state November 16 governorship polls by Supreme Court which INEC complied with as the former winner, David Lyon of the APC and his deputy were disqualified due to certificate forgery./Google

Nigeria’s electoral body has declared the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Duoye Diri as winner of Bayelsa state election in the southern part of the country after a Supreme Court judgment on Thursday overturned the election results held November 16, a day to inauguration of the former winner earlier announced. 

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu at a briefing in Abuja said a certificate of return will be issued immediately to the winner as pronounced by the court judgment.

The chairman announced that INEC had received a certified true copy of the judgment by the Supreme Court and will act on it despite earlier speeches by national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole that no governor will be sworn in on Friday due to his interpretation of the criteria set by the court ruling. 

The leadership of INEC had met on Friday morning to review the judgment and results of the election, without including the voided votes of the APC.

“In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the Commission met this morning and reviewed the result of the election in which 45 political parties contested,” Yakubu told journalists at the briefing. “Without the votes scored by the All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidates were deemed not to have participated in the election,” the INEC chairman said.

INEC said the total votes cast after excluding the voided votes of the APC’s David Lyon and his deputy now stand at 146,999 and it said that since PDP polled 143,172 and scored 25 percent as required by the law, it had concluded that PDP was the winner of the election. Consequently, it would be giving the Certificate of Return to the candidate of the PDP, Douye Diri.

APC’s David Lyon who had formerly been declared winner by INEC in the Nov. 16 poll was rehearsing for his swearing in on Thursday when the news broke that he had been kicked out by the Supreme Court due to his deputy’s certificate forgery scandal./tori.ng

– APC kicks over court ruling –

“PDP candidate does not have one-quarter of the total lawful votes cast in that election in two-thirds of the eight local government areas in Bayelsa State,” Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress at the federal level had said on Thursday, stirring attacks by members of the opposition and other Nigerians who insisted that the Supreme Court judgment must be obeyed like it happened in Imo state recently. 

Oshiomhole had insisted that the “judgement lacks the fruits of justice” and was based on mere technicalities which portend “danger to our democracy,” warning that “where justice and democracy thrive on the altar of technicalities, it constitutes a danger to our democracy.”

“Nobody has raised issues whether David Lyon and his running mates won an overwhelming majority,” he said at the party’s secretariat in Abuja while trying to explain how the interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment was allegedly misquoted and and misunderstood.

In the previous results released by INEC in November, APC’s David Lyon had been declared winner with 352,552 votes while PDP’s Douye Diri came second in the election with 143,172 votes. While Lyon won in six of eight local government councils, Diri had won in only two of the eight local governments. The tables have now turned after the certificate forgery scandal.

INEC’s decision to recognise the Supreme Court judgment finally put a death knell to the ambition of Lyon who was let down by his deputy-governorship candidate, Biobarakuma Degi-eremienyo that was caught in a forgery of his academic credentials by the courts.

The APC’s Lyon had been backed by former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP who chose to do an anti-party activity because of the high-handedness of the outgoing Bayelsa state governor, Seriake Dickson. This caused uproar among party members and when the opposition APC eventually won, it was deemed all over for the PDP until it bounced back to power through the courts in the oil-rich state.

“The Commission is aware that the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State ends at midnight today Friday 14th February 2020. Therefore, in fulfilment of the requirement of Section 75 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) the Certificates of Return to the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect will be presented to them immediately as ordered by the Supreme Court,” the INEC Chairman announced to a nation itching to hear its version of the debacle. 

With Friday’s recognition, Diri who is a serving Senator would be handed a certificate and inaugurated as Governor of Bayelsa state.

Just on Thursday morning, Lyon had been rehearsing with security forces and protocol officers ahead of his botched inauguration on Friday. 

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  1. AffiliateLabz

    February 16, 2020 at 12:25 am

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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Politics

Lesotho Prime Minister resigns, to leave office in July

While there’s speculation that his resignation follows mounting pressure over his former and late wife, Thabane attributes his decision to lack of energy.

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Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane./Yahoonews

Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane has announced his resignation. He also failed to show up at a court on Friday for a trial that involved himself and the first lady over the death of his ex-wife.

In a televised speech in the capital in Thursday, Maseru, the 80-year old PM said the decision has been the hardest he’s made in his career and promised to step down in July despite pressure by members of his party.

“Today I wish to reiterate my announcement to retire from office. I might still have the necessary zeal and fervor to continue serving my people and country, but the truth is that at my age I have lost most of my energy. I’m not as energetic as I use to be a few years ago”, he said.

He appealed to all Basotho “not to intentionally misconstrue my announcement to retire from office,” as being linked to his ongoing trial.

While there’s speculation that his resignation follows mounting pressure over his former and late wife, Thabane attributes his decision to lack of energy.

“My fellow countrymen and women it is very unfortunate that some have deliberately decided to distort my decision to retire either motivated by hate or for political gain”, Thabane added in an AFP report.

The Prime Minister was on Friday charged with the murder of 58-year old Lilopelo Thabane, who was murdered in June 2017 by unknown assailants. But he was absent from court and his son said he had gone to South Africa to see a doctor.

“He’s not fled the country, he has gone to South Africa to see a doctor,” Potlako Thabane told Reuters by telephone.

The couple was embroiled in a bitter divorce. Months after assuming office. Thabane married Lesotho’s current first lady, Maesaiah Thabane.

The 48 year old is also facing trial over the murder. She returns to court on March 17.

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Politics

‘Nigeria too important to be on US travel ban’, seeks removal -Interior minister

“Nigeria is too important an ally of America to deserve such a sanction,” Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola told the visiting US Ambassador.

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Nigeria's Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Mary Beth Leonard during a working visit to the minister's office in Abuja on Thursday Feb 20th, 2020 where they discussed issues on the Visa Reciprocity Policy vis-a-vis; Length of Visa Validity, Partial Refund for Rejected Visa Applications, Use of Dropbox amongst others./Twitter: @raufaregbesola/OgundiranDolapo

The Nigerian government has asked the United States to remove it from the list of countries whose citizens are banned from accessing certain categories of visas for long stay or permanent residency by the new policy which took effect on Friday, Feb. 21.

Nigeria’s interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola made the request to drop the ban to the U.S. ambassador in Abuja, a ministry statement said on Thursday.

“Nigeria is too important an ally of America to deserve such a sanction,” Aregbesola said, according to the statement quoted by Reuters.

“We are positive that (the) visa restriction is a temporary one, it will soon be put behind us,” he said, adding that Nigeria had complied with most of the concerns raised by the United States.

The statement did not say how U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard responded to the request, but it said she assured Aregbesola of “her country’s determination to continue to collaborate with Nigeria”.

U.S. President Donald Trump included Nigeria and five other countries in an expanded version of his travel ban list early this month, sparking outrage from many of them.

U.S. officials have said the six countries failed to meet U.S. security and information-sharing standards, necessitating the new restrictions.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the biggest country on the list whose citizens will be suspended from U.S. visas that can lead to permanent residency.  

The original travel ban, issued in 2017, barred nearly all immigrants and travellers from seven countries with majority Muslim populations.

The policy was revised amid court challenges, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld it in 2018.   

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East Africa Politics News

President Kiir, Machar agree to form South Sudan unity government on Saturday

“We had a meeting with the president on the outstanding issues. We have agreed to form the government on 22 Feb,” Machar, First Vice President-nominee said.

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President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar pledge to power-sharing deal
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar in a previous reconciliation meeting in Kampala, Uganda brokered by President Yoweri Museveni. /AFP

Former rebel and opposition leader, Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to meet Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.

Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the Feb. 22 deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.

“We had a meeting with the president on the outstanding issues. We have agreed to form the government on 22 Feb,” Machar said.

Kiir confirmed the agreement, a Reuters report said.

“We have agreed to form the government,” he said after the meeting, adding that he will appoint Machar as first vice president on Friday.

“We are going to discuss the security arrangement for the protection of all opposition forces and members,” Kiir added.

All the members of the opposition will be given protection, he added. “And if there are things we have not agreed upon, we had agreed to resolve them. We shall finalise them incoming days,” Kiir said.

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