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Buhari, APC Say Atiku’s Final Address ‘Wild Goose Chase’, Urge Tribunal to Dismiss Petition on Technicalities

President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC have urged the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Candidate Atiku Abubakar challenging the Feb.23 general election on technicalities and evidential grounds.

The prayers formed the gamut of other requests contained in both Buhari and APC final addresses to be adopted on Aug.23 made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

The respondents had described Abubakars address that urged the tribunal to sack Buhari and affirm him (Abubakar) president, as a “wild goose chase prayer’’.

They alleged that PDP erroneously allowed a candidate who was not a Nigerian by birth to contest the highest position, adding that such was an adventure that violated the provision of the Constitution.

The president and his party therefore prayed the tribunal to invoke Section 131 (a) of the constitution to dismiss the petition.

NAN reports that section 131 (a) of the constitution strictly holds that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to qualify to contest the office of the president

They noted that Atiku was born on Nov.25, 1946 in Jada, a former Adamawa Province of Northern Cameroon before a plebiscite was conducted in 1961 that now made the enclave part of Nigeria.

The parties therefore, alleged that Abubakar was not qualified to enter the contest as the constitution forbade him from canvassing for votes to become a president.

“We pray that the tribunal will see this constitutional reason and go ahead to uphold the election of the second respondent (Buhari) forthwith’’, they prayed.

On evidence admitted from the petitions, the two respondents said they were empty as none had substantially proven series of the allegations made against the conduct of the election.

They explained that none of the 75 witnesses and 31, 287 exhibits which included 48 video clips had not proved any of the petitioners’ allegations.

They said the petitioners had tried to mislead the tribunal and public that results from the election were transmitted electronically to a central server managed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The respondents noted that it was public knowledge that the Feb.23 general election was conduct with the Electoral Act of 2010 as amended.

“Moreover, the laws in Nigeria do not recognize but actually prohibit transmission of  results electronically.

“Sections 52 and 78 of the Electoral Act 2010 have categorically addressed the issue.

“The only means of transmitting election results under the law are through Forms EC8 series. Form EC8A conveys results from Polling Units.

“It is only through these approved forms that election results can be challenged or proven and not through server, imaginary or real,’’ they submitted.

The parties therefore submitted that the petitioners’ allegation on the use of server by INEC to transmit results was “criminal and misguided’’.

“Atiku Abubakar and the PDP have failed in their attempt to stridently prove their petition.

“The petitioners failed woefully to establish by credible evidence the existence of the imaginary server belonging to INEC,’’ they argued.

They argued that most of the witnesses presented by the petitioners attested to the fact that they signed all the Forms the contained the results of the election without coercion.

Buhari and APC therefore averred that such testimonies of truth from the petitioners’ witnesses further bestowed legitimacy on the outcome of the election.

On Buhari’s educational qualification, they said that the petitioners failed to adduce credible and reliable evidence to establish that he (Buhari) indeed forged his certificate.

“While it is appropriate to debunk such baseless, mendacious and spurious assertion, it suffices to bring to fore the unequivocal provision of the constitution.

“The constitution is clear on this as it states the requirement for a candidate to contest the presidential election and occupy the office of the president.

“Section 131(d) provided that a person shall be qualified for election into the office of the president if he or she has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

“ More so, the consequence of submitting a forged document to INEC is grave.

“It therefore requires precise evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt, which the petitioners have not been able to establish,’’ the respondents said.

Drawing reference from the constitution, the respondents defined a secondary school certificate or its equivalent to mean: secondary school certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s certificate.

They listed others to include: City and Guide certificate or Education up to secondary school certificate level or Primary Six Scholl Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and Service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to INEC for a minimum of 10 years.

“It is apparent that from the pleadings and evidence adduced led by the petitioners; there is no scintilla or iota of evidence to prove that the president was at the time of the election not qualified.

“It is trite that how who asserts must prove, we have clearly seen that the petitioners had failed woefully in this matter.

“In the circumstance, we urge the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds of both technicalities and evidential failure and to affirm the election of the president,’’ they submitted.

NAN reports that the president, who contested the election on the platform of the APC, was announced winner having scored a total of 15 million votes as against Abubakar’s 11,262,978 votes.

NAN further reports that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five man panel awaits the parties to adopt their final addresses on Aug.21 preparatory to judgment. (NAN)

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Crafts Create Jobs Development Initiative Launches Entrepreneurship Boot Camp in Anambra to Address Unemployment, Youth Restiveness

A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Crafts Create Jobs Development Initiative has launched a week-long entrepreneurship boot camp for youths in Anambra state.

Speaking at the flag off of the camp at the weekend in Awka, the state capital, the NGO’s Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman, Dr. Harry Oranezi said the programme,first of its kind in the South East region will address rising unemployment in the country by training youths on various vocational skills and providing them with necessary support to make them self dependent.

Oranezi, a former House of Representatives member argued that entrepreneurship is the way out of the present economic downturn in the country and youth restiveness. He called on government at all levels to prioritise funding of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a panacea for unemployment.

He said, “there’s no euphemism which can obscure the dire economic condition of our country. The unemployment rate is above 18%,17.6% rate in ANAMBRA which grew from 15.7 % at 2017 and when you consider underemployment the situation because more severe. Minimum wage is N30,000 with inflation at 11.25%, the minimum wage is nothing but tissue paper. This means there’s mind boggling poverty all over the country and many can hardly feed their family.

“Despite shrinking economic jobs available, our tertiary institutions and other institutions keep churning out graduates in large numbers to the labour market. Unfortunately, over 80% of these graduates and those caught by the effects of unemployment are youths, the same youths who should carry this nation on their shoulders and into the next phase of development. Someone must do something to salvage us from the impending cul de sac.

“Entrepreneurship has been the next alternative, it has been preached by the government and in different medium – have an alternative skill and rely on it rather than search for jobs. Why the message is valid, the government has made no strenuous efforts to promote financial Independence through entrepreneurial brilliance and innovation, develop and/or create apposite platform to impact these skills to the youths who need it. This is what we intend to change in the next 7 days with crafts create jobs.”

The programme will train 1000 participants drawn from 21 local government areas of the state on varieties of skills such as, software development,web design,graphics and visuals,general computing hardware and repairs,phone repairs,security and car tracking, interior decoration, solar installation, solar repairs,solar panel manufacturing,painting and paint production.

Others include cinematography,wig making,embroidery,tailoring,shoe making,pedicure and manicure,auto mechanical repair,auto body repair,auto electrical repair,shopping bags production,wielding and fabrication,landscaping, tiling and POP construction.

Participants during accreditation

According to the NGO’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Frank Maduka, the boot camp taking place at the Federal Science and Technical College Awka is targeted at young people,male and female in secondary schools , 100 level and those awaiting admission. Participants will be trained at no cost including free accommodation and feeding.

Explaining further on the programme, the publicity officer, Ms Sharon Oparaocha said the initiative was youth driven, devoid of any government intervention.

She said, “The training is not theory, but practical based. On the 24th there would be exhibition, these young participants will display the skills they have learnt .

“At the end of the boot camp, they would be assigned to a particular trainer who is a professional in the skill set they chose and will continue to learn under the free learn a craft scheme sponsored by the organisation until they are certified fit to set up their own, and they would provided with all the equipments they would need.

“The exciting thing about this programme is that it is not funded or co-sponsored by any government, it is the brain child of a set of youths who feel that there is need for us to make our own seat since we are not offered a seat at the table. This idea is borne out of genuine interest to ensure that the younger ones do not fall into the dangers of unemployment and underemployment. Most importantly, no one will tell them that they are not employable.

“I tell you a child who has education , knowledge and skill is 60% successful.”

Come Home and Settle Any Issue You Hold Against Us, South East Governors Tell IPOB

Governors from the South Eastern part of the country under the platform of the South East Governors Forum has urged members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to come home and settle their grievances with leaders from the zone rather than resort to attacking them in foreign lands.

The chairman of the Forum and the governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi while reacting to the threat made by the group to attack the governors of Anambra, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi states whenever they travel abroad, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Uzor on Sunday said the group does have the ability to track down Governors.

“They have no such spread and powers to track down South-East governors for an attack anywhere in the world. They are too small. I don’t want to say they sound so cowardly, but they can’t see the governors to attack” the statement said.

Umahi denied allegations by the group that Governors from the region betrayed them. He said the issue the group had was with the federal government and has nothing to do with the governors.

The statement reads further, “If there is any issue IPOB holds against the governors, they should come home to settle it in Igboland instead of a foreign land.

“What happened was a security issue which was within the purview of the Federal Government. Attacking governors in a foreign land is a wild goose chase. We love them because they are our children.

“IPOB cannot achieve Biafra alone, except with the collaboration of all stakeholders including the governors. They don’t need to attack the governors to achieve Biafra.”

“They should come together and work with the governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo Presidency come 2023 instead of fighting the governors. We want them to be close to us instead”.

Members of the proscribed group had on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany attacked a former deputy president of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu at an Igbo event where he had gone to deliver a keynote address.

Ekweremadu: Kanu Speaks on Attack, Offers N1m For Information on South East Governor’s International Travel Plans

The fugitive leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu has described Saturday’s attack on former deputy president of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu by members of the group in Germany as a ‘polite warning’ to other political leaders from the South East region.

Kanu reacting to the incident on Sunday through his Twitter handle, @MaziNnamdiKanu commended the attackers for their actions.

See tweet

“The courageous act by IPOB at Nürnberg Germany is a polite warning to those engaged in selling our collective interest to Fulani caliphate. Nwodo, Igbo govs are warned.”

Kanu later in a broadcast on Radio Biafra FM Sunday evening promised N1m reward for information on international travels of some Leaders from the region.

“Anyone who will provide any reliable information about any country that any of our corrupt politicians will be travelling to will be awarded One Million Naira. Give IPOB accurate information on their whereabouts and collect One Million Naira (N1, 000, 000). E.g People Like David Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Nnia Nwodo, Buratai, Willie Obiano And Many Others”, Kanu announced.

He alleged plans by the Nigerian Army to commence Python Dance III in the South East while warning of the consequences.

He said, “They Are About To Start Another Operation Python Dance III Exercise Tomorrow In Biafra land. I’m Sounding This Warning, If Any IPOB Is Killed Again In Any South-East State, We Will Come After The Children Of The Governor In The State Any IPOB Member Is Killed. We Will Go After Your Children, Because We Know Where They Are In Europe And Abroad”.

He also warned Yoruba and Hausa Fulani leaders against condemning the attack on Ekweremadu, which he called ‘a family matter’.

“And For Those Yoruba and Fulani leaders who Are Getting Involved with what Happened In Nuremberg Germany, You Should Stay away from it because what happened with Ekweremadu is a family matter. Stay away or we come after you too. South-East governors were responsible For the killings of IPOB members during Operation Python Dance exercise and we’re coming For them” he added.

Ekweremadu Reacts to Attack in Germany

Former deputy president of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu has reacted to Saturday’s attack by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg, Germany.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Senator representing Enugu West explained that he was invited to deliver a keynote address alongside the President-General of apex Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo at a Cultural Festival and Convention when some people identified as IPOB members stormed the venue to protest the killings in the South East region.

See statement

“I attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nurnberg today where I was billed to give a keynote address along with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however could not make it eventually.

“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.

“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue. The organisers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.

“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons, who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency as well as rallied the South East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to heart against them, for they know not what they do.

“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well meaning Ndigbo and Nigerians. I want to assure them that I am hale and hearty. I have also spoken with the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.”

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Condemns Attack on Ekweremadu

The apex Igbo Socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has condemned Saturday’s attack on a former deputy president of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu in Germany by members of the Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB).

In a statement issued by the president-general of the association, chief Nnia Nwodo described the attack as disgraceful and dangerous.

See Full Statement

“The assault on Ekweremadu by Igbos in Germany, described as IPOB, is disappointing, grotesque and dangerous for Igbo solidarity.

“This violent, rude, impertinent, divisive and discourteous style of IPOB or IPOB-instigated miscreants is damaging to our cause. It strengthens the case of those who describe them as terrorists and weaken our case against the infringement of our fundamental human rights.”

“Ekweremadu negotiated the sureties and securities for Nnamdi Kanu’s release on bail. He does not deserve this picketing and disgrace. A disgrace to him is a disgrace to Igbo race.

“Whilst I condemn the attack on our revered son and leader, I call on the law enforcement agencies in Germany to bring to book the perpetrators of this despicable act. It is un-Igbo. It is disgraceful.”

Ekweremadu was billed to deliver keynote address at the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by Ohaneze ndigbo in Nuremberg when he was attacked by some aggrieved IPOB members.

Egbule Bows Out From Salaries and Wages Commission

Mr Ekpo Nta, the former Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC), has taken over the leadership of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC).

The Chief Press Secretary of the Commission, Mr Emma Njoku made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

According to Njoku, the Chairman of the Commission, Chief Richard Egbule handed over to Nta, who is also the Commissioner for Compensation at the NSIWC, after the completion of his statutory 10 years tenure.

Egbule, while handing over to Ekpo Nta, described his tenure as historic, being the first to complete two terms and the first Chairman as the pioneer staff of the Commission from inception in 1992.

He called on staff of the Commission to get acquainted with the Act establishing the Commission.

This, according to him, will enable them know the enormous contributions and importance of the Commission to the development of the Civil Service and overall welfare of Public Service.

Nta, in his response, commended Egbule for his achievements in streamlining the nation’s salary administration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Egbule started his working career as an Administrative Officer on grade level 08 in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and rose to the post of Chief Management Consultant in the same office in 1992.

He became a pioneer staff of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission in 1992 and worked to structure and builds the Commission with the best professional practice.

In 2006, he was appointed the Secretary to the Commission and on Aug. 17, 2009, former President Umaru Yar’Adua made him the Executive Chairman of the Commission.

He attained 10 years as the Executive Chairman on Aug. 17

NAN